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 What to add for performance
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green96v4
V4 Mad

Canada
738 Posts

Posted - 13 Aug 2023 :  18:13:26 Show Profile Reply with Quote
Ok, hopefully a bunch of Rally or historic racing experts can wade in on this, here's my dilemma:

When I restored my 71, I wanted to keep it factory authentic (it was when I had it as my daily through college, 20+ years ago) and I've made some mildly sympathetic upgrades, but more from an "ease of use" perspective, Weber 34ich, Accuspark, hybrid timing gears. After a lot of advice when rebuilding the engine, I didn't even get the valve seats hardened for unleaded fuel (I use VSP additive, a Porsche engine builder advised me it would be fine for the level of motoring I'd be doing).

However, I'm finding the car less and less enjoyable to drive as I spend most journeys with some cosseted SUV jammed up my rear end pushing me along, so I've got to thinking how do I make the car more enjoyable?

In the word(s) of Clarkson, "POWER!!!"

So, here's my question, what would be the best tuning for increasing the power on a 65bhp engine and the best "bang for buck" when nailing bits on? and what would be the approximate horsepower increases for said pieces?

I'm thinking (and here's where I need the experts to wade in):

Inlet manifold (if Melle still has some left)
Larger Weber (but no clue which)
Jetex exhaust (or similar)

Cam?
Head porting etc.?
I've just been following Joop Abbink on one of the facebook groups do a whole head refurb, with enlarged exhaust manifolds (if you can call them that) and a bunch of porting for someone in the UK, pure art!!

and, of course the rough associated costs with these enhancements so I can get financial approval from "Upper Command"

TIA

melle
V4 Guru

United Kingdom
3833 Posts

Posted - 13 Aug 2023 :  20:58:04 Show Profile Reply with Quote
Hi Matt, I've never had any issues with a std 1.5 engine in traffic, but they can definitely be improved. I personally wouldn't bother with cams and big valves, but each to their own, it's just what kind of performance you're expecting and how much you're willing to spend. Instead of trying to get a ballpark figure for a bunch of mods you may not need, ask yourself (and upper command!) what you're willing to spend, and see what you can get done for that money.

I can highly recommend my friend Joop's work! I think I have the heads you've seen on Facebook here in Bath, they're not mine though! Joop's just collected a load of heads from me, so he's got plenty more in stock to modify. ;) He can also make you a really nice inlet manifold, for any type of carb you may want to use. I have one std 2bbl manifold left, but it's not the nicest one, someone's messed up the thermostat housing bolt holes (pics on eBay: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/225723104518 forum price 175). I don't have any intermediate plates left.

www.saabv4.com

Edited by - melle on 14 Aug 2023 13:25:44
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SAAB96L
V4 Mad

United Kingdom
518 Posts

Posted - 13 Aug 2023 :  21:07:20 Show Profile Reply with Quote
A selection of those will give you some improvement BUT only increased cubic capacity will truly give you power - which of course is obvious.

For mild improvements on any car, exhaust extraction and induction input are the key factors; better breathing and efficient dispersal of exhaust are key. Next stage is head porting for better delivery of induction requirements.

The least effective is a cam change UNLESS the engine has been improved upon to accept that. Many folk think chucking in a hotter cam will sort problems, it will not and in many cases makes the situation worse.

Once I have completed the restoration on the body of my SAAB I will be going down this route.

Regards.

Richard.
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green96v4
V4 Mad

Canada
738 Posts

Posted - 14 Aug 2023 :  11:53:29 Show Profile Reply with Quote
Thanks Melle and Richard

Melle - I agree that the standard power in the UK and Europe is adequate in traffic, sadly on this side of the pond everyone is rolling around in large displacement pick up trucks and SUVs (a friend of mine described our Honda Passport as "that little V6" it's a 3.5l 290bhp engine!!) so a bit more power would be beneficial. We also live in a "stop light culture" traffic doesn't flow as well (lack of roundabouts) so it's all very stop-start - probably explains the NA 0-60 obsession!

As for the costs - I'd be comfortable spending a couple of grand, but want to make it count and there's a lot of speculating out there (alloy wheels on BaT last year for $5K, gearbox rebuild on eBay for 4500, wow!!)

I should reach out to Joop and ask what he charged for the work, as said it was pure automotive engineering art!!

Your eBay link doesn't seem to be working (but I did find it on eBay just by doing a search) and yes I see what you mean about the thermostat bolt hole (tap and die?)

And Richard - yes I agree with you, we use to import classic Mini Coopers to Canada and the easiest thing to do with those was increase the breathing of the car, but true bhp gains were larger displacement engines ("there's no substitute for cubic inches" as they say over here!)

I have no clue on the larger Weber's (32/26, 32/36 ??!) and don't think I'd want to go as far as the cross flow madness (and costs) but would love some recommendations on what would work with the std 2bbl manifold

and I've just watched some "aging wheels" on YouTube hack his 69 up and creates his own intermediate plate, by his own admission he's more of a YT entertainer than a skilled technician - and it is mildly entertaining
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SAAB96L
V4 Mad

United Kingdom
518 Posts

Posted - 14 Aug 2023 :  13:05:00 Show Profile Reply with Quote
Matt,

That was the phrase I was trying to think of, concerning cubic capacity !!

In preparation for my mechanical rebuild [way way down the line] I have purchased a Weber 32/36DGV manual choke carb. I have used these before on engines up to 2L and works an absolute treat. Plenty of power and economical at the same time. Folk have a view that Weber carbs are gas guzzling items, the truth is that correctly set-up they are anything but. As with all carbs, poor set-up contributes to poor return in every field.

The 32/36 is a twin barrel progressive down-draught carb.

Too big a carb on the incorrect engine build is not only wasteful but completely over-fuelled.

Regards.

Richard.

Edited by - SAAB96L on 14 Aug 2023 13:08:11
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melle
V4 Guru

United Kingdom
3833 Posts

Posted - 14 Aug 2023 :  13:17:32 Show Profile Reply with Quote
Joop's big valve heads won't turn an otherwise standard 1.5 into a monster, but he can make any type of head you want. As Richard already suggested, if you aim for a real power increase, you'll have do the bottom end too (i.e., upgrade to 1.7>), so essentially build a completely new engine. If you go that route, and you'll add a Jetex exhaust with Sweedspeed Y-downpipes (the standard Jetext downpipes are sht if you ask me), a new carb, and an improved ignition system (e.g., 123 ignition), you'll need more than a couple of grand these days I'm afraid.

If you just want to change bolt-on parts, I would essentially do what I did with the 1.5 that's currently in my 96, see my project thread. Most of what I did cost a lot of time, but hardly any money, and the improvements I've made are very noticeable.

I like Weber 28/36DCD carbs, but 36/36DGV (or DGAV/ DGEV) are much easier to get now, and also supply of jets and overhaul kits is good. By the way, Joop also does beautiful cross-flow manifolds!

Edit: eBay link now fixed, I'd put a semicolon directly behind it, which messed it up.

www.saabv4.com

Edited by - melle on 14 Aug 2023 13:26:49
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green96v4
V4 Mad

Canada
738 Posts

Posted - 14 Aug 2023 :  20:21:27 Show Profile Reply with Quote
Thanks Melle and Richard

So I'm thinking of 2 options here:

1: go find a 1.7l on this side of the pond and go "hole hog" on it (much more expensive)
2: do the enlarged manifolds/exhaust and 2bbl Weber (32/36 as per what Richard is referencing) and live with a much smaller hike in power.

The Mini's stage 1 kits (all of the above referenced in number 2) seemed to be a 10-15bhp hike in power, not much I concede but of the ones we sold that had it on, they were peppy

So Melle the build you're referencing in the Projects is the EFi you fitted?
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melle
V4 Guru

United Kingdom
3833 Posts

Posted - 14 Aug 2023 :  22:23:20 Show Profile Reply with Quote
Power (= rpm x Nm, i.e., not a static figure) means absolutely nothing to me. Your average tractor is capable of way more power than our V4s, but it's pretty useless in a sprint or on the motorway. Way more interesting are power curves, and a good idea of how you want to use an engine. I can highly recommend reading a few books on engine tuning before spending money on engine upgrades, even if you're not planning to do the work yourself.

You'd be surprised how much a few 'minor' tweaks will do to liven up a std 1.5. I would personally start with an ignition upgrade (often overlooked if you ask me), either to a basic but decent Hall system like I use (http://www.saabv4.com/index.php/project/hall-ignition/), or a programmable system like 123 if you can afford it. Next, I would do a bit of inlet/ exhaust manifold porting in combination with a better exhaust and a 2bbl carb. See how that feels before you do more radical stuff. At this point you could still decide to build a new engine, everything that you've spent money on so far can be moved onto the new power plant. You will only have "wasted" time on porting the exhaust manifolds; call it "practise" and it's time well spent!

My EFI engine isn't ready yet. Mods to otherwise std 1.5 throughout my 96 project topic: http://www.saab-v4.co.uk/speedball/topic.asp?topic_id=31068

www.saabv4.com
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