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Thread: AQUILA- THAT'S THE NAME! AND SEBRING- CHASSIS / FRAMES?

  1. #1
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    AQUILA- THAT'S THE NAME! AND SEBRING- CHASSIS / FRAMES?

    Like I mentioned in past post- will be getting the Aquila within the week.

    I did purchase a Sebring (aka Sterling/Nova) in 1984. I have had for 22 years now.

    Are there any other chassis options and eninge options I can go with and not
    break the bank?

    What other options other than a VW chassis is available? Or, am I just better
    off rebuilding current chassis and updating parts? Would like to put a reliable 6cyl in. Any ideas? Budget around $5000 to do so.

    Sebring

  2. #2

    Re: AQUILA- THAT'S THE NAME! AND SEBRING- CHASSIS / FRAMES?

    I plan on rebuilding my Sterling towards the end of next year. When I do so, I will be going with a tube chassis. There are a lot of people making tube chassis replacements for the tired beetle platform. The ones I like use the Mustang II front suspension. Out here in Northern California, there are three different shops that can build the chassis.

    As for the engine, stay light. The Sterling is almost 70% rear bias with the stock 200lb VW engine. Installing a heavy V6 or V8 will kill the handling. For cost, the VW engine can be hopped up. I went with the flat four Subaru engine. Also, there is something as too much power. 300hp is down right scary in a car that has 70% of the weight in the rear. I would stay around 150-180hp. Trust me, the car will still be fast.

  3. #3

    Re: AQUILA- THAT'S THE NAME! AND SEBRING- CHASSIS / FRAMES?

    The little 1.3 liter (13b) Mazda Rotary engine was my dream engine for a VW.

    It doesnt take much to make the engine safe to run up to 9k RPM and make up to 300hp without a expensive turbo..

  4. #4
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    Re: AQUILA- THAT'S THE NAME! AND SEBRING- CHASSIS / FRAMES?

    Do you have the name of the shops that are doing chassis right now?

    How does the flat four Subaru engine run in the car? Gotta be more
    smoth than the 54 horsepower vw.

    Sebring

  5. #5

    Re: AQUILA- THAT'S THE NAME! AND SEBRING- CHASSIS / FRAMES?

    I have a Subaru engine in mine right now and like the way it looks. I have not finished the radiators, so it is not running yet. Hopefully next year.

    http://www.6speed.org/bradley/frame.html

  6. #6
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    Re: AQUILA- THAT'S THE NAME! AND SEBRING- CHASSIS / FRAMES?

    I've owned Sterlings and 4 Sebrings throught the years. VW, 2.8 Chevy V6, and finally my supercharged 13 B rotary car. That rotary was 305 h.p. at the crank with a little over 200 ft.lbs. of torque. It was by far the most streetable and fun car I have ever driven. Rotary motors are light weight and don't upset the balance of the rear engine placement. They also develop their torque at a 1.1 ratio to horsepower which when combined with the smoothness of the motor doesn't tend to overwhelm the VW transaxle with initial high torque. Fuel economy was decent for the performance level (18 to 22 m.p.g.). The Camden supercharger sold by Atkins rotary is darn near bulletproof and really brings the rotary to life at lower speeds. And as mentioned before my engine was balanced to 10,000 r.p.m. That may not sound like a big deal but when the other little imports or v6's are scrambling to catch the next gear you just keep your foot planted and get right on the supercharger's boost curve.

  7. #7
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    Re: AQUILA- THAT'S THE NAME! AND SEBRING- CHASSIS / FRAMES?

    WILL THE MAZDA ROTARY ENGINE BOLT RIGHT ONTO THE VW CHASSIS?
    WHAT MOD'S NEED TO BE DONE AND WHAT TYPE OF TRANSMISSION?

    YOU HAVE HAD SEVERAL TYPES OF THESE CARS. WHAT CHASSIS SET UPS AND HOW DIFFICULT FOR ENGINE CHANGE OVER?

    THANKS

    SEBRING

  8. #8
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    Re: AQUILA- THAT'S THE NAME! AND SEBRING- CHASSIS / FRAMES?

    The rotary motor will bolt directly to the VW transaxle using a Kennedy Engineering adapter plate and clutch set-up. The original tranny mounts are used although you might want to move up to urethane mounts instead of the stock rubber. That package from Kennedy is $500 or so. As far as transmissions go I had Transform in California build a really nice hi-po tranny with a 3.44 ring & pinion which was about perfect (steel shift forks, heavy duty diff., etc.) for $900. I've seen sales on similar transmissions for as low as $650. That transmission with Kennedy's Stage III clutch was a nice combo. As far as chassis I used the stock VW IRS style with Sway-A-way adjustable spring plates and sway bar in the rear. My front VW beam was not lowered but I did run a Sway- A-way front sway bar and also caster shims for better road feel. Because that Sebring was still light in the front I use just plain OEM style Boge shocks. In the back I had KYB GR-2's.

    As far as how hard of an engine conversion this is here goes... If you plan on keeping the stock fuel injection that is on most rotary motors it can be a wiring nightmare. You would definitely have to probably get the whole car just to make sure you had eveything. If you switch to a carb. or carb. and supercharger like I had wiring is simple. You have just a few wires to hook up and you'll need the old stock oil cooler or a newer heavy duty oil cooler for the engine (cheap VW engine oil cooler are a big no,no as the rotary can develop monemtary pressures up to 100 p.s.i.) Obviously you'll need to run metal tubes (just heavy duty exhaust tubing will do) or even just heavy duty hose (that's how Renegade Hybrids does their Porsche V8 conversions). A couple short hoses up front to a V8 or large v/6 radiator with a bleeder at the low and high points and a couple of short hoses in the rear. You can even keep the stock water fill point on the 13 B motors like it was designed for the application. The hardest part of this whole installation involves the exhaust. Rotaries are very sensitive to what you do here. Usually a "short" 2 into 1 system going into a "presilencer" first (heavy duty steel can packed with stainless steel wool) then going into the largest turbo style muffler you can fit. A rotary motor's exhaust is very hot and that presilencer acts as a heat sink as well as a silencing aid. Companies like Racing Beat, Mazdatrix, or Mariah Motorsports can provide you with a drawing of the exhaust plus parts to get that done.
    For the first time guy doing this install by himself I would think 40 to 50 hours would cover it. If you had a decent ASE certifed mechanic doing it I would think that 20 labor hours would do the job. If I was doing one myself tomorrow I could do it in 30 hours tops.
    Now here is the tricky part about all this, money. Depending on how much of the work you're willing to do (plus what used or rebuilt parts you go with & wether you go carb. or supercharger) this conversion in total could run from $3000 to $7000. That ain't cheap but look at what built up VW motors run $$$. How long can higher horsepower versions last mileage wise? You still have to build up your trans. some for them as well.
    Personally I would never do a v/6 swap to VW trans. again because of harshness and vibration. If you go that route definitely consider using the entire front wheel drivetrain from a later model GM car. The 3800SC II with 4 spd auto is a great set-up and could be planned into a tube frame set-up. That would give you a mid-engine car. Your only problem with a Sebring style car would be moving the rear firewall forward but I don't think that would be too bad. I've cut out fiberglas firewalls and moved them before.
    Subaru motors are definiety a consideration here too as you've been told but for the upper horsepower ones you've definietly got enough torque to hand grenade a VW transaxle if it isn't built up enough. To me the weakest link is always going to be that VW trans. Sure, you could go Porshce in that case but Poof! there goes the budget.
    Hey, just to wet your appetite a little, my last Sebring with that motor set-up could run in the mid to low 12's in the quarter without hammering the drivetrain. Felt kind of like a turbine behind you, and was so quiet at 80 m.p.h. I could hear the electric fuel pump running louder than the motor! Neat stuff.
    Just some thoughts...

  9. #9
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    Re: AQUILA- THAT'S THE NAME! AND SEBRING- CHASSIS / FRAMES?

    DarrelK:

    You seem to have a great indepth knowledge of what I am looking to do. Once I get the Aquila (next week) I would like to send you over some photos of the engine bay and get some ideas from you.

    As well, I would have no problem paying you good hard cold cash to help
    consult me on this build up. Serious.

    I would you will be open to this idea and will contact you next week.

    Sebring

  10. #10
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    Re: AQUILA- THAT'S THE NAME! AND SEBRING- CHASSIS / FRAMES?

    I don't know about the in-depth knowledge thing but I've been building kit cars for myself for 34 years now so I'm finally starting to get things figured out! I remember the Aquilla kits when they were first introduced. I think that engine bay was decent size to begin with. I'm almost positive I saw one at a show with a v/6 in it.
    As far as the consulting, I own 3 different business ventures so I'm probably not the best guy to get involved in projects right now. I'm already starting to build my 350 h.p. v/6 Fiero based Finale kit for next spring. My wife would have my head if I get any more stuff to do! I can certainly point you to the right guys for your answers though. If you do go rotary I think I have the raw plans for building the exhaust and oil line routing for the oil cooler and remote spin-on filter. I'll share what I can to help you out. If you do send pic.s of the engine bay also send some rough measurements as well.

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