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KA24DE vs SR20DET realistic price of swap


mccuistion

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Hey guys, I recently got a 73' 620 and it has 2 cracked valves and a dead fuel pump so I've decided to do a modest swap.

 

I was originally thinking ka24de but after researching price and availability it appears that an sr20det would be a "better bang for my buck". From my searching it looks like the sr20 will be about $1000 more upfront but I feel like the extra money is worth it to get the higher hp/tq ceiling of the sr20 on the stock block.

 

My plan is to get around 300whp which is very doable on a stock sr20 with bolt-ons and a tune. What confuses me is people saying a ka24de can be had for under $500? The cheapest I've found was a truck ka24 with trans and ecu for $1500. The rear sump will make it easy to install but it still needs a harness and wont be able to pass 200hp without extensive modifications.

 

So I'm looking for your expert opinions..... is the the extra money worth it to get 300hp sr20 instead of the 200 I'd get with a ka24det?

 

Also, here is a picture of my new trucky.

97s5jr.jpg

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Guys saying a KA24 can be had for $500 are the ones that could afford to wait around for 5 years, back in 1993. Do they come up? Yes, but not with enough regularity to say they can be had for $500 as though you can just go out and pick one up at any time.

 

That said, an SR20DET has a lot more expense in terms of fabrication/fitment with the extra plumbing involved...

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Ok, that's great to hear, thank you.... I was starting to think my google-fu was lacking since all the ka24de engines I found were well over $1k.

 

By extra plumbing are you referring to ther turbo/intercooler piping, or is there other extra systems that have to be done? I'm OK if it is just turbo/wastegate related piping. I owned a 360whp sr20 powered car several years ago and didnt have any issues fabricating the needed turbo piping.

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Car KAs that are coming out to be replaced with an SR will go much cheaper just to get rid of them. They will be higher mileage and who knows about the abuse it went through. SRs are low mileage imports. Make sure you get the transmission with it.

 

Now the '73....

 

It has scary four wheel drum brakes so you'd better up grade to disc on the front at the least. You should be able to stop faster than you can go with an SR. Some suspension mods (shocks, stiffer front and rear springs) would come in handy also, as the first line of accident defense is being able to avoid one. Lowering the center of gravity also good. Some performance tires.

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Agreed datzenmike! I'm in the process of ordering beebani's Z32 front/rear disc brake brackets right now. So breaking shouldnt be an issue but I haven't decided on what to do suspension wise yet. Part of me wants to do front coilover conversion but if I go SR swap i may not have the budget for coilovers. Do you have any suggestions for budget oriented suspension upgrades? I plan on lowering the truck a bit no matter what option i choose.

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Agreed datzenmike! I'm in the process of ordering beebani's Z32 front/rear disc brake brackets right now. So breaking shouldnt be an issue but I haven't decided on what to do suspension wise yet. Part of me wants to do front coilover conversion but if I go SR swap i may not have the budget for coilovers. Do you have any suggestions for budget oriented suspension upgrades? I plan on lowering the truck a bit no matter what option i choose.

...what's your budget?
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Agreed datzenmike! I'm in the process of ordering beebani's Z32 front/rear disc brake brackets right now. So breaking shouldnt be an issue but I haven't decided on what to do suspension wise yet. Part of me wants to do front coilover conversion but if I go SR swap i may not have the budget for coilovers. Do you have any suggestions for budget oriented suspension upgrades? I plan on lowering the truck a bit no matter what option i choose.

 

There are a few problems with what you laid out there. Take it from a guy with a stalled engine swap:

 

1: If you're budget can cover engine OR Suspension, you should either save up more money, or choose suspension and just enjoy the lil L series engine for now. 

 

2: I say this because the stock suspension has little that can be done to make it ride better, sit lower, or handle better without drastically modify or replacing parts. Sure the beebani brake conversion is a good idea, but it should be coupled with some upgraded suspension changes. Coilovers, airbags, whatever. 

 

3: Whatever budget you have estimated for an engine swap: Double It!

 

4: The question that is always asked in these kind of threads: How much mechanical and fabrication experience do you have? Engine swaps can be as simple as changing some mounting locations and figuring out wiring, but oftentimes run into major rebuilding messes that bog down builds and can put your project in limbo for years. 

 

5: Decide what you want out of the truck. If you want a race car/truck, then you need SR20DET, full coilover suspension, roll cage, fuel cell, etc... If the goal is just a cheap, reliable daily driver, the KA24E/DE is a better choice, and you could probably get away with mild chassis upgrades and slowly make it better. But keep my rule #3 in mind....

 

 

That's all just my opinion, and I'm not hating on you or trying to bust your balls, I just know this is the kind of info I would like to have received before I took on a similar project. Then got stalled, then life got in the way, now my truck sits in a corner for the last 2.5yrs.... :(

 

~Peter

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i've driven with redeye a few times and he gets up and goes plenty well enough with a ka motor. as much as i enjoy my sr motor i don't think i would want to put the extra money into figuring out how to stuff it into a truck unless you're trying to keep up with carlos and his 521. but still, you'll want better suspension. i'd say fix up an l motor, get the suspension work done and ride it like that while you save and PLAN your engine swap. plan being the key word. the ka is a well documented swap, the sr not so much from what i've seen. know that whatever you have budgeted you will probably end up spending more plus the time and effort of doing it. 

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You need to re-figure your SR numbers.  Low mileage engine and trans $3000 plus shipping.  Then you talk about bolt on parts to bring it up to 300 hp.  LOL you are looking at another $3000 in bolt ons.  Then you need to get it mounted in the truck and all the little problems that arise, conservatively another $1000.  This last figures does not figure in custom cooling for the engine.  Then there is wiring and gauges.  Drive line will need to be custom.  The suspension will have to be done to handle 300 hp.

 

I do not think you really have a clue on how to do a 300 hp engine swap let alone what the costs will be.

 

You have a great looking 620 so pull the head have a credited machine shop give you an estimate on rebuilding your head and go from there.

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I've been planning my SR swap for over a year and a half now. The engine has been sitting next to the truck in the garage for nearly a year, but I haven't pulled the L20 yet, so it's still drive able. Though the real reason I haven't done it yet is I have had other projects in line, including a Tracker 16V engine swap in my Samurai. 

 

Pretty much all those who gave words of caution above have about nailed it.  

 

If you're reluctant to do coilovers now because of cost, you may be in for a rude awakening when you see how a swap will nickel and dime you to death. A couple hundred dollar coilover swap is relatively nothing cost-wise (and a huge help for routing the SR exhaust). 

 

The SR swap is a lot of work to do right. And I don't describe right as being that it runs. Look at many of the hack swap jobs you'll find online - if that's good enough for you, have at it. If you've been paying attention, you'll have found that most of the swaps never actually get finished and they just get parted out. I've seen many of these "packages" on craigslist. The KA will still be a job, but at least it's more documented and has fewer complexities. 

 

But...if you're a go-getter and have at least $5-8K for a 300HP SR, go for it! 

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my ka swap was cheap and easy, tend to be 1-3 ka24de's for sale per year around here but all around 500 including trans ecu ect. However i wasn't planning a swap my l series was dying and thats why it was a cheap build. That being said the next one will be a rebuilt ka with a bit of money put into it. will still come out cheaper than just a sr20 around here.

Also it takes a while but I was surprised how much i've made parting out l20bs. defs takes a big chunk out of the cost. 

If you chasing big speed and lots of revs go for the sr and brake upgrade but it will be $$$.

 

Edit: 240sx engines are cheaper, check out the tapered insert thread its easy to flip the link for the pan, cost breakdown there too. however if your looking for 300hp it will be hard to get that reliably from a ka. here is a good write up on na ka builds:https://www.s-chassis.com/forums/na-motor-11/proof-na-ka-can-make-200chp-%241000-30440/
 

Edit 2: to summarize that link a ka+1000$ in mods will put out the same power as a sr with 7 psi boost. so if you can get the ka24de +1000$ in mods for less the a sr20 turbo then get the ka. however if you want more than 200hp it will be easier to build a reliable sr with  300 hp than to design a custom ka24 turbo setup.

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That's a fine looking 620. :cool: 

 

Parts availability is also something to think about. Much easier to ask the parts guy for hardbody/240sx stuff. :lol: 

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That's a fine looking 620. :cool:

 

Parts availability is also something to think about. Much easier to ask the parts guy for hardbody/240sx stuff. :lol:

shit, this is a fact. I can't just go into a store and buy a water pump for one if my cars. Shit I don't even know if I can go to a dealership to get it. Sr20det stock motor...
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Holy Cow! a lot of replies here, awesome to see how active the community is! I will do my best to address them all. I can already tell i didn't explain my suspension OR sr20 comment and may have come off as ignorant.

 

To better clarify, what i meant was i already plan on spending  a lot to do the SR swap, discs, and wheels/tires all the way i want(this will be my 3rd SR swap, first into a Datsun though). I would like to keep it around $7000-$8000 with a HARD cap @ $10k, it doesn't leave room to do a FULL coilover suspension upgrade($3000?) right now. I didn't mean to imply that i wouldn't be touching the suspension at all, or that i'm trying a cheapo swap, just that if i go coilovers then i'll want to go the whole way and do ball joints, diff, LSD, and full suspension upgrades.... which doesn't fit in my hard cap budget right now.  I do plan on fully upgrading suspension but this build will be in steps and the first one is what I've laid out. My plan for step 2 when i get the funds is full suspension and interior.

 

There are a few problems with what you laid out there. Take it from a guy with a stalled engine swap:

1: If you're budget can cover engine OR Suspension, you should either save up more money, or choose suspension and just enjoy the lil L series engine for now. 

 

2: I say this because the stock suspension has little that can be done to make it ride better, sit lower, or handle better without drastically modify or replacing parts. Sure the beebani brake conversion is a good idea, but it should be coupled with some upgraded suspension changes. Coilovers, airbags, whatever. 

 

3: Whatever budget you have estimated for an engine swap: Double It!

 

4: The question that is always asked in these kind of threads: How much mechanical and fabrication experience do you have? Engine swaps can be as simple as changing some mounting locations and figuring out wiring, but oftentimes run into major rebuilding messes that bog down builds and can put your project in limbo for years. 

 

5: Decide what you want out of the truck. If you want a race car/truck, then you need SR20DET, full coilover suspension, roll cage, fuel cell, etc... If the goal is just a cheap, reliable daily driver, the KA24E/DE is a better choice, and you could probably get away with mild chassis upgrades and slowly make it better. But keep my rule #3 in mind....

 

 

That's all just my opinion, and I'm not hating on you or trying to bust your balls, I just know this is the kind of info I would like to have received before I took on a similar project. Then got stalled, then life got in the way, now my truck sits in a corner for the last 2.5yrs.... :(

 

~Peter

I appreciate your input Peter, i know what you mean with life getting in the way. My first sr20 swap sat half done for a year while i was in Alaska for work. what i wrote above your quote addresses most of your questions. The suspension issue i need to look further into though... basically what can be done to help without going all out.

 

Also to address my experience i am currently a diesel mechanic but learned my skills while in the Navy. I was an MM3 or nuclear mechanical engineer on a Los Angeles Class fast attack submarine. My enlistment bonus is what got me into cars..... I was an 18yr old with a whole lot of money and nothing to spend it on, an S13 and an sr20 swap fixed that problem   :thumbup:

 

You need to re-figure your SR numbers.  Low mileage engine and trans $3000 plus shipping.  Then you talk about bolt on parts to bring it up to 300 hp.  LOL you are looking at another $3000 in bolt ons.  Then you need to get it mounted in the truck and all the little problems that arise, conservatively another $1000.  This last figures does not figure in custom cooling for the engine.  Then there is wiring and gauges.  Drive line will need to be custom.  The suspension will have to be done to handle 300 hp.

 

I do not think you really have a clue on how to do a 300 hp engine swap let alone what the costs will be.

 

You have a great looking 620 so pull the head have a credited machine shop give you an estimate on rebuilding your head and go from there.

while i appreciate you trying to help charlie, you basically assumed i'm some idiot 15yr old that has no clue what hes talking about.  This will be my 3rd SR swap and my last one was 357WHP and for well under my current $10,000 cap. My comments about KA being $1000 or so cheaper was talking about a stock engine swap comparison, obviously not bolt-ons, turbo, standalone ecu, RAS/headwork, intercooler, ETC. Hopefully my explanation above will help clarify.

 

I've been planning my SR swap for over a year and a half now. The engine has been sitting next to the truck in the garage for nearly a year, but I haven't pulled the L20 yet, so it's still drive able. Though the real reason I haven't done it yet is I have had other projects in line, including a Tracker 16V engine swap in my Samurai. 

 

Pretty much all those who gave words of caution above have about nailed it.  

 

If you're reluctant to do coilovers now because of cost, you may be in for a rude awakening when you see how a swap will nickel and dime you to death. A couple hundred dollar coilover swap is relatively nothing cost-wise (and a huge help for routing the SR exhaust). 

 

The SR swap is a lot of work to do right. And I don't describe right as being that it runs. Look at many of the hack swap jobs you'll find online - if that's good enough for you, have at it. If you've been paying attention, you'll have found that most of the swaps never actually get finished and they just get parted out. I've seen many of these "packages" on craigslist. The KA will still be a job, but at least it's more documented and has fewer complexities. 

 

But...if you're a go-getter and have at least $5-8K for a 300HP SR, go for it! 

I will admit i'm extremely new to the 620 platform, i obviously don't know enough about the coilover swap because i assumed it would be $2500 or so to do it right. I will look further into it today but if it can be done for $500ish then i will definitely fit it into my budget. my plan was to do engine properly, disc conversion, and wheels/tires, then drive it for a bit until i can afford proper coilover setup but i may have overestimated the price? Thanks for the heads up, ill dig into it.

 

 

my ka swap was cheap and easy, tend to be 1-3 ka24de's for sale per year around here but all around 500 including trans ecu ect. However i wasn't planning a swap my l series was dying and thats why it was a cheap build. That being said the next one will be a rebuilt ka with a bit of money put into it. will still come out cheaper than just a sr20 around here.

Also it takes a while but I was surprised how much i've made parting out l20bs. defs takes a big chunk out of the cost. 

If you chasing big speed and lots of revs go for the sr and brake upgrade but it will be $$$.

 

Edit: 240sx engines are cheaper, check out the tapered insert thread its easy to flip the link for the pan, cost breakdown there too. however if your looking for 300hp it will be hard to get that reliably from a ka. here is a good write up on na ka builds:https://www.s-chassis.com/forums/na-motor-11/proof-na-ka-can-make-200chp-%241000-30440/
 

Edit 2: to summarize that link a ka+1000$ in mods will put out the same power as a sr with 7 psi boost. so if you can get the ka24de +1000$ in mods for less the a sr20 turbo then get the ka. however if you want more than 200hp it will be easier to build a reliable sr with  300 hp than to design a custom ka24 turbo setup.

that's exactly my thinking, the ka24 can be turbod but to get the power i'm looking for it will require forged internals and at that point i'm better off paying the extra upfront for the sr20 and doing bolt-ons and a tune since the stock block can handle 350+whp easily and that is WELL above my goal.  I think ~300bhp will be MORE than enough for this little truck.

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shit, this is a fact. I can't just go into a store and buy a water pump for one if my cars. Shit I don't even know if I can go to a dealership to get it. Sr20det stock motor...

I feel your pain with sr20 parts..... luckily there is a massive aftermarket from all the drift guys. I will say though, i've noticed a slight drop in sr20 support over the last few years with more and more people going to LSx swaps now that they're so damn cheap. 

 

Do you have a build thread hobospyder? ill try to search for it. It's awesome to know there are so many 620 trucks around here.... i'm planning to meet up with Steve to check out his KA24 swap in the next few weeks and pick his brain. It would be awesome to check out your sr20 swap sometime too! Too bad i missed Canby, it would have been a wealth of information.

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ooooo... a true RHD 180? i'm jealous! my dream car was an S13 coupe for a long time. They just weren't importable at that point.

 

Now that i'm married and kids on the way it's tough to justify a sporty coupe to the wife..... but that same powertrain in a truck is an easier sell  :ninja:  :rofl:

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We automatically assume everyone is a dumb kid until proven otherwise :) just the way it is

 

We scare of some people, and I don't mind that cause it weeds em out a bit ?

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We automatically assume everyone is a dumb kid until proven otherwise :) just the way it is

 

We scare of some people, and I don't mind that cause it weeds em out a bit

 

/\ well said. 

 

Mccusition, it sounds like you're a lot more aware of what you're getting into than you let on in your original post, so you're probably far better off doing this than we assumed based on the information provided. 

 

If you do your research here as well as on the 620 facebook pages, you'll find info on most all you need. 

 

Congrats on getting a 620! They really aren't practical for families either, but they can be great for fun projects. Heck, I'm a widower with 6-year-old twins. When the heck will I ever be able to take my kids anywhere with it? lol Fortunately, it's just another fun project vehicle for me and not my daily driver or truck. 

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It's not a Silvia. Silvia's have non pop up headlights and I think we're only coupes, I have a hatchback. Also if you're meeting up with the Steve that called my car the wrong thing I could possibly swing by depending on day and time.

 

Only person that generally rides anywhere with me is my daughter so sports coupe and trucks are perfectly fine for me. I personally plan on shoving a vg30 into a 620 at some point. Don't know when yet though. And look for hoboland projects in project datto or go 4 it 5 pages back and there's 2 locked threads, little miss and the toolbox and ducky Chronicles or something like that. I update via YouTube these days

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We automatically assume everyone is a dumb kid until proven otherwise  :) just the way it is

 

We scare of some people, and I don't mind that cause it weeds em out a bit

Well i can't blame you at all..... 90% of people with 1 post history asking about swaps and referencing horsepower are people that have trouble changing brake pads but read how "easy" swaps are and think they can do it alone over a weekend haha.

 

 

2wheel-lee-  we are in the same boat with 620's, i have a daily and a 1 ton diesel truck so that relegates the 620 to fun project truck. 

 

Hobospyder- Yep, i'm referring to Redeye Steve, we've been talking and he is nice enough to show me his truck since i live nearby. correct on the silvia it was only a coupe and had a long light bar headlight with a flat nose. The 180sx is very similar to our usdm 240sx hatch and had popup lights, still awesome to have a 180 though!

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Ka's bit easier to find parts and work on. But i well say sr is lighter, which might help with cornering. Ka'd the 521 and now corners like shit. Wieght only diff i can think of. 300hp if u can get it to hook up would a monster. 

My swap ran close to 2k with rebuilding the  ka24e. its was wore the fuck out. Cheap ka's r always out there,but id always find them when i was broke

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Your first post was one of a newb.  Limited information and big wants.  Since you have done 3 SR swaps you should have a pile of parts left over to choose from.

 

On Ratsun It is, "pictures or it did not happen," please post some pictures of your SR swaps. 

 

A friend of mine purchased Orangies' 620 SR swap project and It is a mess.  Orangie did some good stuff but the mounts, steering, brakes, and a few other mods all need to be re done for safety purposes.  Robit is talking about taking the SR and installing it in his 720.  He is also thinking on parting out the 620.

 

This 620 was orange in color also.

 

Myself I have no desire to do SR swaps.  But i am looking into KA and VQ swaps for my 720 king cab.

 

Please document your swap well as with your experience this should be a clean swap.  You have already experienced many of the pit falls that can derail an average person's desire to finish the swap.

 

Have you considered a chassis swap to bring the truck up to ball joints and disc brake?

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