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econo power for a 34 pu?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by garyv, May 1, 2007.

  1. garyv
    Joined: Nov 6, 2006
    Posts: 129



    I'm building a fenderless, channeled '34 pickup to commute in (110 miles a day). 30 mpg is my target. My Saturn SL (DOHC, OD auto) got about 31. I like the look of the motor (flowthru head). Is there a RWD OD automatic transmission that would mate to it without major work?

    If not the Saturn motor, how about something else - any suggestions? Something that doesn't sound like an angry bee; with intake on one side, exhaust on the other.


  2. ian
    Joined: Aug 6, 2005
    Posts: 781


    If you're concerned about MPG, how about a smaller displacement v8 or even a straight-six. Your truck shouldn't be all that heavy after all is said and done. Make sure to use an axle with highway friendly gears and/or you could use an transmission with OD as well. The saturn motor isn't going to sit all that well with the look of the truck. Also, remember that the H.A.M.B. is a traditional rod and custom site. Good luck and keep us posted with what you decide to do.
  3. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 48,326


  4. garyv
    Joined: Nov 6, 2006
    Posts: 129



    Some very cool stuff there. I remember seeing several Frontenacs back in my youth (40 years ago).

    "If you're concerned about MPG, how about a smaller displacement v8 or even a straight-six."

    When gas hits $4 a gallon later this year I want to be getting as much milage as possible. Hey, at least I'm not thinking rotary :)

    Back in 03 there was a long thread about the Chevy II and Monza 4-bangers. I've been watching for one but they've proven to be pretty scarce. (

    I was also considering a 4-cylinder Tempest motor but they are not out there in abundance either.


  5. chopnchaneled
    Joined: Oct 21, 2004
    Posts: 1,413

    from Buford Ga.

    mean gene, put a 4.3 vortech complete with FI and a 5 speed in his 33 p/u
    he might give you some info on mileage.
  6. When gas hits $4 a gallon later this year I want to be getting as much milage as possible. Hey, at least I'm not thinking rotary :)


    Rotary motors get crappy mileage anyway, use a late model fuel injected 4 cyl. if you want good mileage. Then put a hood on the truck so no one can see it.

  7. Stick Shift
    Joined: Oct 2, 2005
    Posts: 2,558

    Stick Shift
    from LENA IL

    God I hate to say this but my fendered 33 has a 2.0 pinto motor in it. It is mated to a 39 trans. It gets anywhere from 25-30 mpg.

    I wanted to put a flathead v8 back in it, but I think I will just leave it alone and keep driving the hell out of it. There was a thread about this type on stuff before. I remember a few people getting 25mpg or better with v8s.
  8. hemi
    Joined: Jul 11, 2001
    Posts: 1,961


    I guess we need to start thumbing through the old 70's hot rod and car craft magazines for fuel economy tips... :(

    I'd look into building a small V8 and then investing in a Gear Vendor's overdrive or an overdrive trans with some tall gears out back. If most of your commute will be highway, a small block idling along at 65-70 sips gas. The truck can't weigh too much...
  9. 47bob
    Joined: Oct 28, 2005
    Posts: 625


    I'm thinking 260/289W.....good sound ,good looks. light weight, adapts easily to an early drivetrain
  10. AlbuqF-1
    Joined: Mar 2, 2006
    Posts: 909

    from NM

    I think to get near 30 mpg, and for daily driver use, you'd want to shuck the stock drivetrain (trans and axle) and go to a T-5 w/ 3.25 gears. 4.3 Vortex or even a 3.8 V6 from a Camaro would be a good lick. For sure EFI will help get close to 30 mpg.
  11. Dreamweaver
    Joined: Feb 26, 2003
    Posts: 1,017


    I doubt any v8 will get you 30 mpg, dont think any current factory model can get that.

    5 speed, FI 4 cylinder is your best bet and you might get 20mpg, my 2 cents.
  12. hemi
    Joined: Jul 11, 2001
    Posts: 1,961


    Yeah, but they're not pushing around a lightweight truck, either, they are pushing airbags, A/C systems, full interiors, and side impact stuff.... with a light foot, highway driving, and some low revs, I bet you could get pretty close without resorting to a Prius motor....
  13. garyv
    Joined: Nov 6, 2006
    Posts: 129


    I considered a Pinto motor. I had a '71 and I remember what a pain it was to adjust the valves - did that change with later versions? Had a tube header on it and it sounded like a "real" motor when I uncorked it. Got second gear rubber, too :)

    "...use a late model fuel injected 4 cyl. if you want good mileage. Then put a hood on the truck so no one can see it."

    There was a really fine track roadster in (I think) Rod and Custom within the last year that had a Quad4 in it. I guess he had to machine an adaptor to hook the tranny up.

    Something out of a small pickup would work without having to make an adaptor. Are there any FWD motors from the last few years that would mate to a rear-wheel drive transmission?

    Regards to all,

  14. garyv
    Joined: Nov 6, 2006
    Posts: 129


    Just so you all don't think I'm a total heretic, I just bought a Caddy 500 to put into my other PU.

  15. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 48,326


    really small engines get decent mileage because they just don't have much power.

    a modern V8 with serious overdrive gearing can get 25-30 mpg highway in a modern aerodyamic car...but not likely when it's pusing a 34 ford pickup "brick" around, even if it's a relatively lightweight brick.

    Consider a small V8, like a 289 or 283, with overdrive and rearend gearing in the high 2s. it will be kind of gutless around town (relatively) but should get well over 20 mpg on the road.

    efi really won't get you much...modern efi cars get good mileage for other reasons, mostly aerodynamics, light weight, and long gearing
  16. hemi
    Joined: Jul 11, 2001
    Posts: 1,961


    I was getting 14-18 in a 5,000lb '73 Plymouth with a worn out 318 2bbl and 2.73's on a cross country trip... high 20's can't be THAT unachievable with a V8 and a 2,000lb pickup....
  17. draggin ass
    Joined: Jun 17, 2005
    Posts: 1,920

    draggin ass
    from hell

    seriously just go buy a fucking honda if your worried about gas....
  18. chuckspeed
    Joined: Sep 13, 2005
    Posts: 1,643



    I just did a hiway run with a modern V8, t-56 trans, 4.30 gears runnin' a consistent 75 MPH and clocked 27.5 MPG in a car that traps at 110 MPH.


    You've got a couple of choices. Look for a drivetrain out of a minitruck - make sure you get that O/D manual trans; it makes driving fun. chrysler used the 2.5 liter motor in their early Dakotas; there's even bosses on the motor to accept 'normal' motor mounts.

    the Pinto motor is a good choice - but they're getting hard to find.

    another choice (and I KNOW this is blasphemous) is to look for a Mazda Miata engine and trans. decent power, not a hateful sound and good economy.

    ideally you'll need fuel injection and an OD trans to get better than low 20's with just about any combo. Best I ever got out of something that wasn't woefully underpowered yet carbueted was 33 MPG outta an Opel GT. Best econo gas MPG was 43+ from a Ford Festiva - similar engine architecture to the Miata motor - crossflow head, like you mentioned.
  19. How about a 2.3L/T5? EFI, or go back to Duraspark and carb.

  20. NYfatboy
    Joined: Oct 5, 2005
    Posts: 247


    Maybe not traditional,but my 90 mustang with a 5.0,AOD and 2.73 gears gets me 25 mpg when driven very lightly!Shocked the shit outta me!I keep thinking of throwing a Nissan deisel with a 5spd into one of my 36 Fords,My old pickup broke in half and I still have the engine,used to get in the high 30's milage wise.
  21. neverlift666
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 28

    from Sacramento

    The Ford Pinto 2.0 is just a destroked 2.3 that came in Rangers and Thunderbirds, and some of the early fox-body Mustangs. After the Pinto era, many came with hydrolic lifters, so you didn't have the valve-adjustment problems. They put all kinds of trannys behind 'em, and you can get a LOT of power outta those things... or just drive it :) Ford Racing used to make boatloads of parts for 'em.

    Other than that, maybe a nissan 240/60/80z motor?
  22. AHotRod
    Joined: Jul 27, 2001
    Posts: 11,343


    Your on the right track, you may have seen this post I started a few years ago, and it's still going because of this exact reason.

    We have a member of our Poor Boys Chapter that is building a '32 fenderless Studebaker Rockne' Coupe that will run a Ford Thunderbird Turbo 2.3 and the 5 speed that came behind it. I know that John will get at least 30MPG and more out of the combination, and it will run like a raped ape.
    So, I say persue your idea, because I would rather see you driving a HotRod everyday and having the time of your life......or do it some other way that ends up costing you a fortune and then it just sits.
  23. Wyle E Coyote
    Joined: May 24, 2006
    Posts: 442

    Wyle E Coyote

    Yeah I'm that crazy guy that's gonna put the 2.3 turbo in my ride. I expect at least 30mpg+ in a car that with probably scare the bejesus out of you when you stick your foot in it. I can get 25mpg from my 94 LT1 Vette at 80-85mph. I even built a 57 Chevy with all C5 Corvette drivetrain that got 28mpg and that thing was no light weight. Unfortunetly the only way I can see to get great mpg is with modern technology. The developments that have been made to efficiancy just can't be beat. You might get lucky with a mild V8 combo but it takes a lot of work to get 30mpg from any old iron.
  24. flatblackindustries
    Joined: Oct 7, 2006
    Posts: 645

    from Ogden, UT

    But that was pretty funny..
  25. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,757

    Member Emeritus

    Just a word of caution. We went through this same shit in the seventies. Everybody paniced and said V8 hot rods were dead. There was a rash of V6 hot rods when gas got to 70 cents a gallon. After a few years they all were yanked out once we became accustomed to the sticker shock. I'd build a 265/283 with OD and highway gears. If gas comes back to reality you can easily make it hotter and easier to sell if you want to move on to another one.
  26. AHotRod
    Joined: Jul 27, 2001
    Posts: 11,343


    Truer words were never spoken, excellant plan.
  27. gahi
    Joined: Jun 29, 2005
    Posts: 731

    from Moab, UT

  28. scottybaccus
    Joined: Mar 13, 2006
    Posts: 4,109


    I have been toying with the idea of cheap (efficient) power for years. I looked at the 2.3 ford, 215 rover V8 (buick), etc. Since I can't afford 2 cars, and I can't get the power I really want out of these small displacement engines, I decided to go with alternative fuel and light weight. I am aiming for <2400 Lbs. and 400 HP with 3.55 gears and .86 OD final drive. I'm burning propane because it is readily available and supports the engine performance I'm after. It usually costs about 60-75&#37; of gasoline, and provide similar mpg and power. I don't buy into the "not traditional" argument. Propane has been used as motor fuel for a century and has shown up in all kinds of vehicles. I do wonder if it has been used at Bonneville... Anyway, I get my hotrod and will get to drive it more on every $.
  29. tjm73
    Joined: Feb 17, 2006
    Posts: 3,386


    The 2007 6.0L LS2 is rated at 28 mpg highway, I'll bet money I can break 30 with it.
  30. metalshapes
    Joined: Nov 18, 2002
    Posts: 10,706

    Tech Editor

    What Tommy said...

    But if I was going to put a 4cyl in a Hot Rod, I'd use one of these Italian mini Offy's.:D

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