944 SBC and LT-1 Conversion
Thank you for your inquiry regarding the Porsche 944 series engine conversions. Over the past 23 years, Renegade Hybrids has specialized in engine conversions for the Porsche 911 and 914 models. These cars have proven themselves to be incredibly fast and reliable. The majority have been used as daily driven commuter cars.
For the past 14 years Renegade Hybrids has offered a Small Block Chevy conversion kit for the Porsche 944. There are numerous advantages to using the Chevrolet motor for this type of conversion. Chevy has developed many affordable performance engines and the small block V-8 is arguably the most economical choice. Attempting to produce the same horsepower from a Porsche motor can cost up to 10 times as much, and reliability would be greatly reduced.
The 944 chassis is a very solid platform and is capable of outstanding handling and agility. However, the original 944 Porsche motor is unreliable, underpowered, and, to increase horsepower beyond the original specifications, is extremely expensive. As owners of these vehicles are already aware, even the routine maintenance of the stock Porsche engine is quite costly. The pairing of the Porsche chassis, with its superior handling capabilities, coupled with the Chevy power plant, with its reliability and high horsepower, produces an affordable car with exotic car performance specifications.
NOTE: For all the 924 owners (excluding '87-'88 924S) looking to do a conversion, I'm sorry to say, we discontinued our 924 kits years ago. We found that the 924 platform could not properly support the cumbersome "U" shaped motor mount that is required. If this was not enough, to safely complete the conversion, you would need to change, the brakes, the torque tube, transaxle, "CV" axles, and the whole clutch pedal assembly, which adds greatly to the difficulty of the kit. If you attempted to retain the 924 drive train, not only was it too weak for even a mild V-6, the gear ratios were also completely wrong. Finally, with countless free 924's popping up all over, the $8000 cost (plus your motor) to do the conversion correctly seems far and way too expensive.
Renegade Hybrids has designed a conversion kit, which looks clean, and performs efficiently, yet is simple to install. It is essentially a no welding or cutting, bolt-in swap, which requires about 40-60 hours to install when performed by a competent do-it-yourself mechanic. ( pictures )
Any 283-350 Chevy small block V-8 will work, but the "F body" LT-1 is arguably the best motor for this application. These Chevy V-8 engines generally produce 250 horsepower and above, with street-able performance levels approaching 500 horsepower. The advantage of choosing the V-8 over the V-6 is a smoother running engine with less vibration and greater power. To further the advantages, the LT-1's out of a Camaro or Firebird actually have a compact enough fuel injection system and serpentine belt assembly that they fit under the stock hood without the use of a hood scoop. The installation of a V-8 engine results in some additional weight to the front of the vehicle. To compensate for the added weight, we recommend the use of heavier springs: 250 lbs. for the V-8.
Contrary to popular opinion, the superb handling characteristics of the 944 are not decreased by the addition of the V-8 power plant. In normally aspirated versions of the 944, the weight distribution changes less than two percent. In the turbo cars, the change is less than 1.5 percent. A typical characteristic of a stock 944 is a slight "push" or under steer during acceleration. We have found that with the added weight of the V-8, the "push" condition actually diminishes. Furthermore, the more manageable torque and predictable horsepower allows the driver to easily transfer weight from front to rear allowing for increased car control. Quite simply it is much more fun to drive a converted 944.
Modifications to the body are limited to a hood scoop or cowl induction hood, which we offer. ( picture ) This is necessary to accommodate the engine's higher carburetor location. The remainder of the exterior of the 944 remains stock so no one suspects the tremendous power hidden under the hood. However, if you have installed the LT-1 motor, no scoop is required... even better!
The power brake booster must be removed converting the power assist brake system to a manual braking system. With most race related companies such as Tilton using manual brakes, we have developed a simple but effective manual braking system using a custom mounting plate and custom push rod we provide with the kit. The advantage to this upgrade is better pedal to road feel and increased reliability.
With the added power, we recommend that you upgrade to larger brake calipers. This provides more braking power. After all, if you are increasing horsepower by as much as 100% (or more), then increasing stopping power should be a priority.
We have designed one of the most compact and efficient radiator packages to date. Due to a limited amount of space between the stock 944 radiator mounts, we needed to produce our own higher efficiency aluminum radiator assembly that can keep up with the cooling duties of a Chevy V-8. This includes pre-wired high volume electric fan, switches, and relays already installed, and it mounts directly into the stock mounting location. ( picture )
The 944 torque tube and trans-axle remain stock and in their original locations. These components can handle the power output of mild performance motors when used in street driven applications. However, the 944 Turbo trans-axles are stronger and have more favorable gear ratios for the V-8 application. Automatics are not an option with this kit... sorry.
The bell housing and clutch are custom Renegade components. The one of a kind custom aluminum bell housing adapts the Porsche 944 torque tube to the Chevy small block. The custom clutch disc is a Chevy 10.5 inch high performance disc, with the Porsche center spline.
Renegade Hybrids offers bolt-in headers (listed with pictures under the options list), however, the rest of the exhaust system should be upgraded to a larger diameter (2.5" - 3.0"). The exhaust system should follow the same route as the original system. A muffler shop can perform this step. ( picture )
Big horsepower has become an easy and relatively inexpensive achievement with small block Chevy's. In order to answer many requests for higher performance parts, we now offer our new header high performance header design as seen here. For 400+ HP applications, these custom built headers, designed to fit all the tight spots in a 944 conversion, will flow very well and increase performance noticeably.
The new engine's electrical system will require minimal splicing into the original Porsche wiring harness. The original Porsche oil pressure gauge and water temperature gauge can be used with our custom sending units. Also, the original tachometer can be recalibrated for the 8-cylinder engine. When using the LT-1, complete wiring harnesses are available for ease of installation.
A 300 horsepower V-8 conversion can take you from 0 to 60 M.P.H. in under 5 seconds...Fast enough to beat most production sports cars and that kid down the street with the souped up Honda. You will achieve very impressive performance at a very affordable price. If the 300 horsepower performance figures are not enough to excite you, for a few hundred dollars more (when compared the cost of a 300 horsepower 350) you can easily obtained 400 horsepower. This will put you in the same league with the world's fastest exotic cars! If you choose to do a V-8 installation, a properly completed conversion will increase the value of your car. You will enjoy the big boost in horsepower, not to mention the low maintenance and greater reliability you will gain from a Chevy conversion.
NOTE: Be sure to check your state and local laws regarding engine swaps before beginning your conversion.
Note to California residents and other applicable areas: California emission requirements allow changing the engine in your car if you use the same year or newer replacement engine. You must use all the emission equipment that the replacement engine came with, when new. For more information, contact the Bureau of Automotive Repair Referee at (800) 622-7733.
Questions? For more information, please give us a call between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, Pacific Standard Time.
Basic Engine Conversion Kit (944 V8)
The following custom parts contained in the basic conversion kit will provide most of the components required to adapt your Chevy V8 to the Porsche torque tube and install it within the engine bay of a 944. However, other components are required to complete the conversion. Additional components, available through Renegade Hybrids, your local Chevy dealer, or a parts store, are not included in this kit. Please see the Options List if you would like to purchase the balance of the components from Renegade. ( picture )
|DISCONTINUED||BELL HOUSING ASSEMBLY:Due to the overwhelming popularity of the 944 LS-1 conversion kits, the LT-1/SBC bellhousing has been discontinued. The lighter and much more impressive LS-1 V-8 has proven to be the best choice for the 944 time and time again. For a list of parts, prices and further information, please click here.
NOTE: Parts listed below are still available as replacements for existing LT-1/SBC 944 conversion kit owners.
|$195||CLUTCH DISK: This custom unit incorporates a Chevy 10.5" high performance disc with the Porsche drive shaft spline. Use with a Camaro V8 ('83 - '92) pressure plate. (Please refer to Option List.)|
|$75||PILOT BEARING ASSEMBLY: Custom made bearing and bushing.|
|$389||MODIFIED OIL PAN: Custom built to clear the cross-member and rack and pinion.|
|$395||MOTOR MOUNTS: Bolts directly to the cross-member and sway bar mount locations. Fabricated from tubular steel - unit is powder coated. Adjustable for exact engine positioning. Design allows for mounting of sway bar at a lower position. Includes rubber engine isolators.|
|$95||BRAKE TEMPLATE AND PUSH ROD For mounting brake master in new location for installation on firewall. This allows you to convert a Porsche power break system to manual so the booster does not interfere with the valve cover.|
|$120||PRESSURE PLATE: Camaro 10.5" high performance pressure plate|
|$205||FLYWHEEL: GM 153 tooth unit. (Please specify early or late model block)|
|$895||RADIATOR ASSEMBLY: Our radiator assembly is an excellent unit and includes a custom made, aluminum radiator, that will bolt into the stock location. In addition, we include a high performance 16" electric fan, thermal fan switch, and relay. The system comes pre-wired for ease of installation.|
|$25||COOLANT TEMPERATURE SENDING UNIT: Works with your stock VDO gauge. Please specify range of your stock gauge when you are ordering.|
|$45||OIL PRESSURE SENDING UNIT: Works with your stock VDO gauge. Please specify Range of your stock gauge when you are ordering.|
|$250||HIGH TORQUE LIGHT WEIGHT STARTER: Lightweight gear reduction unit. Provides additional space for exhaust header routing. Excellent for V8 engines.|
|$145||HEAVY DUTY FRONT SPRINGS: Compensates for the added weight of the V8 engine. Spacer- required for some later model years-inquire.|
|$275||REAR TORSION BARS: While not mandatory for the conversion, upgrading the torsion bars will provide improved handling. 23-33 mm.|