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EA81 PERFORMANCE, is this what i should be looking at for some more serious power?


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16 replies to this topic

#1 backinbrat

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 05:03 PM

alright there everyone, ive got the engine out of my suby, tis an EA81, 1988 UK model, im assumeing its exactly the same as everyone elses! lol

right, so im looking at doing some performance work on it, the main reason was to basically refresh it, as after 19 years of use, its pretty carboned, crapped and just generally used, lol, it has been maintained, i can tell, theres always been plenty of oil in it, theres always been antifreeze in it, no cracks, no nasty noises, so i think its a good block to be working on, i just want to upgrade it a bit.

i was looking at these mods for it
-balanced bottom end
-shave the heads (anyone know whats the best for rally application compression wise and stuff, i can get 98 octane at the pumps if that helps)
-do a good bit of porting and polishing
-possibly performance camshafts, valve springs, and lifters
obviously all new rings and shells and some low friction assembly lube
-are stainless valves worth it? or is it just as good to clean up the valves and make them oober smooth?

theres also all the other bits and bobs
-dual carbs, maybe
-advancing the timing, i heard something around the 12 degree mark is good, am i right in saying that? correct me on any of this if im wrong!
-silicone HT leads, some new NGK's, and ive got a new performance coil

-ive also heard of lightend flywheels, and they can be done whilst having the bottom end balanced, so ive heard, also on a thread about these ive heard that they will
-NOT reduce torque
-NOT change the torque curve for the worse (WILL look better)
-make it easier to stall
-make your clutch easier to overheat (You are lightening your heat sink)
-NOT change your gearing
-NOT make it harder to accelerate up hill
all that true? lol

remind me if ive left something obvious out which is a performance tweak/mod

all this is probably edging towards £700, thats probs about $1400 US, and to be honest, here in england, it aint to bader price, things are f**ing expensive over here, or they end up being so when shipped, lol

my eventual aim for at least one of my trucks is sort of a rally spec machine, and to just plop a EA82 in (which are quite hard to find here) and i dont want the hastle of bloody ECU's and such, i just dont want the hassle, the same with EJ's but with these its the price! woo! maybe when im older and have the money though!

give us your thoughts and opinions, please, no argueing! ive seen it happan enough times on other threads! ideally i wouldnt mind some useful info out of this
anyone also know what sort of power i might be putting out at the end of it all? im sorta guessin the 110-120 mark, and hopefully more torque, im not worried bout any of this 'seems like lost torque crap' ill just buy a performance clutch, lol

once again, things that are to put into consideration
-98 octane pump fuel is no problem to get hold of, can get higher
-this is more focused towards rally application, im getting the tyres and wheels, and having a stripped out race interior, bucket seats, 4 point race harness etc
-everyday 'driveabilty' is not really much of a bother (how smooth it runs blah blah)
basically i want it noisey, fast (for what it is) unforgiving and harsh
oh, and whilst were at is, dose anyone know why rally cars pop and bang when changing gears and stuff, as far as i no tis the turbo, but, i have heard mk1 escorts and such doing the same, well thats what i would like mine to do LMAO!

hope you all had a good christmas and have a fun filled 2007! soz for the long post, keeps ya entertained though! thanks for bothing to read to!

#2 carfreak85

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 11:49 PM

This topic was brought up just a month or so ago. Use the search function to find what mods will work for you.

#3 Matty B

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 12:22 AM

Hmm where to start....welcome firstly.
Good choice of Vehicle too.

Up the compression with some EA71 or SPFI pistons, this keeps the heads intact and the manifolds will still fit.
Plane too much and they won't.
Electronic distributor and a good coil is a must, loads of advance too.

Yank off the mecheanical fan and install electric ones,
there is five horses right there (little ones).

Go for a weber or even a JDM twin carbie set.
or.....Look into the SPFI swap , it looks the goods too.

Port and polish all you want, they don't really breathe well, unfortunately.


Only lighten the flywheel if you are shedding weight,
there is a delicate balance and torque is handy stufff.

Speaking of of torque...keep the Y pipe arrangement in the exhaust and then open it up to 2 1/2 inch.
The torque is made in the backpressure pulses and the factory manifold does a great job.

There is more.......search on.

All the best
Matt.


(oh my God I think he photocopied my first post....spooky)

#4 GoldDiggerRoo

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 12:27 AM

Yank off the mecheanical fan and install electric ones,
there is five horses right there (little ones).


It's likely got electric fans already, since it's an EA81 vehicle.... unless that's just a USDM thing

#5 daeron

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 01:16 AM

You mentioned going EA-82 in the future...

I am about to start a fire here, but from what I have read the EA-82 is simply an OHC version of the ea-81, with a slightly higher tendency towards blowing headgaskets. Maybe more than slightly. It also has timing belts, and as long as we are talking NA motors, it doesnt breathe any better. These things arent necessarily problematic, but they all lower the "reliability" factor of a DD, or if it is for performance only applications, they increase the chances of breaking something at an event. Maybe not your first. Maybe not for a while.. but _probably_ sooner than if it were an ea-81.

If you feel like spending some cash, search for RAM performance or RAM engines.. they make airplane engines, many of them ea-81 based. they go hog-wild with it, BUT they also sell parts and bits like you might be hunting for in your engine build. I gather they are infallible. (they ARE making engines that keep thousands of pounds of metal up in the air.. as opposed to engines that keep about a ton of metal rolling on the ground.. infallible is definitely the correct word to use here) I don;t know the website URL, but a google search or a search here on the USRM of RAM engines or RAM performance (maybe not all caps for searching..) should turn you on to the right place. it is something like ramengines.com.

Beyond that, I can't help you. Never owned an ea-81. Just thought I would let you know about those people and their airplane products.

#6 bgd73

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 09:32 AM

You mentioned going EA-82 in the future...

I am about to start a fire here, but from what I have read the EA-82 is simply an OHC version of the ea-81, with a slightly higher tendency towards blowing headgaskets. Maybe more than slightly. It also has timing belts, and as long as we are talking NA motors, it doesnt breathe any better. These things arent necessarily problematic, but they all lower the "reliability" factor of a DD, or if it is for performance only applications, they increase the chances of breaking something at an event. Maybe not your first. Maybe not for a while.. but _probably_ sooner than if it were an ea-81.

If you feel like spending some cash, search for RAM performance or RAM engines.. they make airplane engines, many of them ea-81 based. they go hog-wild with it, BUT they also sell parts and bits like you might be hunting for in your engine build. I gather they are infallible. (they ARE making engines that keep thousands of pounds of metal up in the air.. as opposed to engines that keep about a ton of metal rolling on the ground.. infallible is definitely the correct word to use here) I don;t know the website URL, but a google search or a search here on the USRM of RAM engines or RAM performance (maybe not all caps for searching..) should turn you on to the right place. it is something like ramengines.com.

Beyond that, I can't help you. Never owned an ea-81. Just thought I would let you know about those people and their airplane products.



No fires.:) EA81's are great in fantastic places.. like the air- surrounded at all sides to keep the little overfrictioned upside down pushrods clunking along in thier oil killing glory. On earth the ea82 where I live is the reigning soob engine- unless you can run an ej fast enough into high miles while they are young and nearly perfect (they will never ever do what an ea82 can in longevity- EVER). From experience in my locale and 10years of the ea82s- they just dominate in more ways than can just be forgotten.Ea81s are something antique to look at and sigh, ya know what I mean?

interesting note about ea82's rare in England... they do not like big engines for the populus.After visiting there more than once, I thought it was a very small world. Being not a large person physically, it was quite startling. Even the tractor trailors are in a different build. Ea82's have that better potential once ridiculous rumours are put aside. I hope you find one, they are very common sense once the emmission paranoia is out of the way.That engine in England would be a big one, once the silly chatter is out of the way and builder actually build one. I've got an spfi block here.. but that is a long haul to be even worth it.:)

#7 NoahDL88

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 10:20 AM

Holy Triple post batman !! :dead:


Check out Ram Engines, they have a bunch of stuff to improve performance of the EA-81.

As for milling the head, don't go more than .020 per head, or you won't be able to compensate for the intake and exhaust.

#8 Loyale 2.7 Turbo

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 02:00 PM

Check this out: :)

http://ramengines.com/_wsn/page2.html

Nice 200 Hp EA81... I guess if some of Those EA81 have been installed in a Subie...



#9 burtonsnowman

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 04:23 PM

EA81 PERFORMANCE = Oxymoron

#10 backinbrat

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 05:06 PM

some consistant good feedback on Ramenignes then, thats where im wanting to get the performance parts, and ive been thinking, well yeah, tis expensive, BUT it'll last, as it has to! lol, i can always put it in my other truck anyways, the main point of this build, is not just to bring the old thing back to life, but to get the experience of building a 'high performance' engine, lol and not just go and cheat, and spend money on a standard engine, and not modify it, compared to an engine that i already have, which i know i can work with, and mod, cause theres none of that bloody ecu gear flying aroound everywhere, im no mechanic yet, just i know me engines. cheers for the feedback everyone.

oh, and yes, everything in england it a bit toy town compared to america, ive been to the states, and, well it dwafs here, that why whenever me and my mate see anything big, its not just big, its industrial sized, heavy duty, and most importantly AMERICAN SIZED, LMAO!

#11 backinbrat

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 05:12 PM

EA81 PERFORMANCE = Oxymoron


yeah, i spose u could say that, but i aint gonna give up that easy!

#12 Phizinza

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 07:00 PM

EA81's are great in fantastic places.. like the air- surrounded at all sides to keep the little overfrictioned upside down pushrods clunking along in thier oil killing glory.

once ridiculous rumours are put aside.

I don't understand.... :confused: Never mind... :rolleyes:

#13 Phizinza

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 07:01 PM

yeah, i spose u could say that, but i aint gonna give up that easy!


What we all have to understand here is we don't do this stuff for MAX POWA. We do it because it is fun...

If you have a problem with that.. Stuff ya! :-p

#14 keltik

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 07:57 PM

People who hate ECU's are still forgetting you "can" get carbed EJ series engines. It seems like a good solution to me. I think the general consensus is the EA81 wont make good power so why not skip the first step of messing with the EA series and go for an EJ.

Also - being in the UK you might want to try for a SPFI EJ series engine, carbs get cranky in the cold and the M25 is not a nice place to break down. Throttle body injection is relatively easy to wire up and the advantages are huge over a carb.

I dont know how easy it is to source engines in the UK but consider the money you'd be putting into getting 120hp out of your EA81, then consider having an EJ18 with all the kit you need imported. Or bolt the SPFI/carb manifold onto an EJ22 and get even more torques to play with.

My 20 cents/pence whatever....

#15 backinbrat

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 03:28 PM

People who hate ECU's are still forgetting you "can" get carbed EJ series engines. It seems like a good solution to me. I think the general consensus is the EA81 wont make good power so why not skip the first step of messing with the EA series and go for an EJ.

Also - being in the UK you might want to try for a SPFI EJ series engine, carbs get cranky in the cold and the M25 is not a nice place to break down. Throttle body injection is relatively easy to wire up and the advantages are huge over a carb.

I dont know how easy it is to source engines in the UK but consider the money you'd be putting into getting 120hp out of your EA81, then consider having an EJ18 with all the kit you need imported. Or bolt the SPFI/carb manifold onto an EJ22 and get even more torques to play with.

My 20 cents/pence whatever....


yeah, an EJ would be really nice, but finding one for £700, hmm, might have a hard time, their aint that many GL imprezas and woteva else they come of around, loooooooooads of EJ20T's but i would ethier have to buy a wreaked one (cheapest one ive seen is probs about £3000) and if i were to look at an STi, well, theres no point, lol, would blow my wallet past mars and keep going on till it gets to pluto, lol BUT, i will look more into EJ's, ive always put them out of the question because of price, im only on 33 quid a week! plus some of the money in the bank, but even so, i shall be interested in the EJ route, would i have to do a drive train change over? or is the EA gearbox and diffs all up to the job?

#16 grossgary

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 03:51 PM

the EJ engine won't bolt up to the EA trans. best bet is to get an EJ trans too (get a wrecked EJ), but an adapter plate will allow you to bolt an EJ up to an EA trans if you wanted too. over here EJ vehicles are fairly easy to get (depending on where you live), with some effort you can easily end up with an EJ vehicle for next to nothing, so that's part of the reason there's so much leaning that way.

#17 keltik

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 11:39 PM

Well im sure for well under 3 grand you can get an engine imported. In fact for under 3 grand you could get the front clip of a car imported from new zealand including the purchase price, and thats all the way from down under. Maybe go see a jap car importer and see how much to have the engine of your choice.

Despite all my rantings about this wonderfull EJ18, go get an EJ22 cos the 1800 is rather gutless. I shall be doing the same shortly.




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