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Thread: Custom Engine Swap

  1. #11
    So wow, it's been a while. I'm a slow worker / not a lot of spare time to work on things in general. It took absolute ages to get my custom cam wheel sensor made. The first one took the better part of a month to get to me due to a manufacturing error, then when I received it I realized it was too thick to work. I thought I could get away with it but no dice. Had a second one made which while was thin enough to fit inside the Aerio cam position sensor housing didn't exactly inspire confidence in its quality, didn't exactly match my design. Thats what I get for going with the cheapest vendors. The first wheel was made using laser cutting and the second was water jet cut. Neither one is anything to write home about.

    So after putzing around we finally got the engine fully assembled and installed in the car. Only to realize that we forgot to install the rear main seal. Damn. Had to take the transmission out to put that guy back in (or in the first time as it were).

    Once everything was finally sorted we went to turn the key and... nothing. Lots of trouble shooting and we forgot the ground that is behind the alternator. That and a new battery had it turning over but not starting. Liberal application of starting fluid had it run, but only while spraying. Scratching our heads we figure there are only two things different physically about the engine: the cam position sensor and the crankshaft. We were confident we had spark since the engine ran under starting fluid. But, since the cam wheel was custom and not exactly confidence inspiring we decided to try and start it with the cam position sensor unplugged. This time it wouldn't run under starting fluid. So plugged back in the cam sensor and disconnected the crank position sensor and started right up! Sounded like death but after breaking it in and verifying the timing using a strobe and the timing gauge in the bellhousing it seems to be OK.

    We are going to double check the valve lash. I bought a rebuilt head and like a fool didn't really check it over.

    In any event. She runs!

    Need to do something about that intake... Also I'm not sure what the oem ECU is doing with the crank position sensor unplugged and not entirely sure what to do about it. There must be something different either about the pattern of teeth on the J18 crankshaft and the one on the J20A crank. Either that or the diameter is smaller and the sensor just isn't picking them up. Not sure. I think my plan is to get another (oi!) wheel cut for the crank pulley and just do an external crank position sensor.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    North of Montréal, Canada
    I think you're right about the crank pattern. I did all that research you did for your motor build, but like 10 years ago lol. I know for a fact the J20 (aluminum girdle, Aerio engine), J23 and J20A (both iron girdle) all have the 36-2-2-2 crank wheel (same pattern used in older swifts, and WRX to name a few). In fact, they are exactly the same dimensions. the J18 has shorter stroke (that you figured out already). But I remember there was something about the J18 that did not work. I think there is no missing teeth on the J18 wheel.

    I know it's too late for you now, but I would've kept the J20A crank only because it's forged. the other ones are cast. It's also compatible with any good aftermarket ECU. with this crank wheel you only need 1 tooth off the cam to get 100% sequential injection and ignition. That being said, just put an oscilloscope on it and you can figure out what pattern it has, and choose your aftermarket ECU accordingly
    former Suzuki Gold Master Tech

  3. #13
    I didn't hook up an oscilloscope but I did look at the J23 crank that isn't in the engine. It doesn't have missing teeth, assuming the J18 is the same. Would work then in an Aerio but doesn't in an SX4 using the oem ECU. Going to get a bracket made up to mount the crank sensor externally and pickup a 36-2-2-2 wheel from the crank pulley. That should solve my problems and I'll finally be good to go.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    North of Montréal, Canada
    IIRC the J18 is different from the rest.

    I can't find an example of scope trace for the J18, but I found it for the old J20 and it confirms the 36-2-2-2 in the aerio 2.0L engine. the 2.3 got 36 teeth none missing. I was certain it had 36-2-2-2. you are probably going the right way with the external 36-2-2-2. I'm not even sure the J18 could be modified to work, must have 36 teeth. It could very well have 6 teeth only. it's a pattern that was used in the past alongside the 36-2-2-2 (in the swift and sidekick G series)

    aeriostyle forum was a good place to look for J18/old J20 stuff, but their site seem to be down. they are on FB tho.
    Last edited by automat; October 12th, 2017 at 04:44 PM.
    former Suzuki Gold Master Tech

  5. #15
    Well I got it going with the external crank sensor, 36-2-2-2 as automat said. Ended up having to buy a 2-channel oscilloscope to get it set up in the right place but it runs now, no check engine lights! Prototype brackets made from plastic SLA printer, going to get final parts machined from aluminum and I'm good to go. Project finally coming to a close (for now).


    I need to take some pictures of the intake setup, had to try a few things before I found a very tight silicone 180 union which was the key to clearing the power steering hard lines (which the throttle body points right at with the Aerio intake manifold).
    Last edited by nskeim; October 27th, 2017 at 11:05 AM.

  6. #16
    J23 into a J20A M/T SX4, what did we learn (and what some people already knew), to sum up:
    • J23 block is bolt for bolt compatible with the J20A
    • I used the J20A oil pan on the J23 so that transmission bolts will line up.
    • J23 head (59J casting) does not match the J20A head engine mount bolts. It is possible to make it work in a weakened state like I did. However you must use the aluminum Aerio intake manifold (which requires further modification of the rear engine mount for clearance).
    • Aerio aluminium intake manifold is not compatible with the SX4 throttle body mounting holes. An adapter is necessary. Furthermore the throttle body is on the opposite side of the engine bay and requires extending the throttle body wire harness.
    • Aerio intake manifold has no provision for a MAF sensor. I used a Cobb 712100 intake with an adapter to allow the OEM SX4 MAF to be used. The I.D. of this intake is a match which is why I chose it.
    • The J23 Aerio crankshaft has a straight 36-tooth sensor ring which is not compatible with the J20A ECU. However, swapping in the J20A crank should solve this problem (I did not do this).
    • The J23 Aerio cam position sensor (CAS) is of a different type than the J20A. Fortunately it is "easily" modified by the production of a custom disk that fits within the CAS housing.
    • The J23 Aerio CAS has a 4-wire plug, the J20A SX4 engine wiring harness has a three wire plug. Buy these and you'll be good (with some slight modification): Tyco, SSC Series, Female Pigtail, 184030-3; Sumitomo, 62 Series, Female Connector, P/N 6098-0144; and CONN-85759 3 Way Receptacle pigtail (this last one is not strictly correct, modified with a box cutter to work)
    • If you can use the J20A head and crankshaft, and I don't know 100% that you can, but probably, then it should be a very easy drop in swap.

    OK, so what if you're stupid and have more time than brains?
    • You can swap a J18 crankshaft into your J23, but you need longer connecting rods. I don't know how long they would need to be using stock J23 pistons, but simple math should make that easy.
    • You can go nuts like I did and use Ford Modular V8 pistons for the 4.6, bored 0.020" (which comes to 3.572in bore, so engine builder or machine shop needs to slightly bore out the J23). I had them made with as short a compression height as possible, so 1.0in. Flat top, still have tons of piston valve clearance (checked with clay).
    • If you are nuts like me then the correct rod length for this setup is 151.9mm. Pauter now has a part number for this: SUZ-220-530-1519C, the part number includes the small end modification to 0.866in diameter and correct width.
    • Since you went nuts the crank position sensor on the J18 won't work out of the box (unless you're going stand alone), so you need to rig up a crank pulley mounted 36-2-2-2 trigger wheel.

    Was it worth it? Probably not. But it was fun.

  7. #17
    Had my plastic parts machined up from 6061 and anodized. Powder coated the toothed wheel white for fun. It looks great! Now my SX4 is back on the road, going to take it easy to break in the engine and then start to think about stand alone ECU...



    I keep meaning to take a picture of the intake setup, but I forget, and the car isn't at my house yet.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Hot damn
    SX4 2007 AWD Manual

  9. #19
    Finally took picture of the intake setup. At issue is the passenger side throttle body position of the Aerio intake manifold. I'm using a 3D printed adapter to mount a BRZ/FR-S/GT-86 throttle body to the Aerio manifold and with that installed it puts everything pretty much right up against the power steering and A/C hoses. Tried a few different things but what ended up working best was a 180-degree silicone hose with 4in legs (specifically: Pegasus E180.76-BLACK). That got my air intake pointed in the right direction and had a small enough length/radius to clear all the piping over on the passenger side. From there it is just 3in aluminum pipe to the Cobb intake.



    I can't remember where the power steering reservoir normally lives and if it would also be a problem for this setup. I relocated mine when I put on the Ultra Racing strut bar (which is a total waste I now realize and should probably remove one day, made getting the engine in/out a serious pain).

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