Last Call: More Frankenstein Monster Mashups

The obvious thing to do when you acquire a Mitsubishi L300 is to think about an engine swap. And obviously the only reasonable option to go with is an LS. I would be so curious to watch them load this thing up onto a dyno or to watch it do some pulls up and down an open road. Now, I’m sure if you were to ask the guy who made this beast “why,” I bet he would respond with “why not”?

That’s what I love about the car culture, you’re really only limited by your imagination. Plus, you don’t really need a reason for any of it. So carry on mister V8 van man, you’re a hero in my eyes. And when you’re out at dinner and hear something roar down the street only to look up and not see some pony car, maybe it was this guy.

Last Call indicates the end of Hooniverse’s broadcast day. It’s meant to be an open forum for anyone and anything. Thread jacking is not only accepted, but it’s also encouraged.

My name is Colby Buchanan and I love all things car-related all the way from rusted 240sx's to McLaren Senna's and of course I have a soft spot for American Muscle. You can spot me in my bone stock '06 350z named MackenZ.

16 Comments

  1. Things are looking grim for the Econoline. My mechanic (Econoline fleet mechanic in the ’90s and 2000s) said, “I can see most of the things I need to test, some of them I can’t even see. Even if you test them, if they’re bad, there’s no guarantee you can get a new one. Also, the air pump isn’t pumping air.” On the plus side, he revived the EGR, which helps. That and a new Cat might get it to pass once, but we inspect every two years here.

    I can sell the thing for parts, or non-op the registration while I try to install a programmable Holley EFI system that might get me through SMOG. I’m not even sure detuning it for a day will solve the NOX fail.

    1. Engine swap? If you go for a newer cleaner engine, would that be approved?
      Maybe not quite an LS though… Wouldn’t the drive train come straight out of an F150/250/350?

      Or are you trying to keep it original?

      1. Perplexing ponderbles. The engine is strong and smooth, but gets shit mileage and fails emissions, no point throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Would a Holley intake/fuel management solve those problems? At the end of the day I’d have a nice 351 Windsor with a bitchin’ intake anyway.

        But since this is a Frankenstein Last Call, the Ford Ti-VCT V6 out of a 2016 F-150 puts out twice as much horsepower and just 10 fewer torques than the old iron. Will it bolt up to my transmission? What do I tell the SMOG inspector?

        Considering I’ve put 5,000 miles on this truck over two years, and I got rid of the DRZ400 it was supposed to carry around, why don’t I sell it and buy a Mercury Mountaineer?

        1. What do I tell the SMOG inspector?

          “Do you want numbers-matching, or do you want clean?”

          If emissions testing were actually about emissions and environmental protection, pass-fail would be solely about, y’know, the measured emissions. I know, it gets a little more complicated than that in terms of verifying that the measured emissions performance is actually representative of real-world driving [looking at you, VW], but that just tells me we need a better testing/measurement method. Emissions Analytics have mobile, attach-it-to-the-car measurement rigs to figure out this sort of stuff (their stuff shows up in RealMPG testing, as reported on by Motor Trend, for example); it’s cumbersome now, but perhaps an improved or simplified version could be created that would be acceptably straightforward to use for a biannual test drive? At minimum, it’s not as simple as saying that parts without the magic government sticker must by definition be dirty, nor for that matter that OEM parts previously approved by the same government must be clean [looking at you, regulators, while gesturing toward VW over there].

          This concludes another of Tiller188’s obligatory smog test and parts-restriction-regulation rants. Thanks to CARB for providing the impetus for today’s rant, and thank you for attending.

          1. There’s a certain amount of setup the tech has to do to conduct the test, it’s not just a probe in the tailpipe. If they’re expecting to see a 1991 351 Windsor and they’re faced with a 2016 V6, there’s gonna be some questions. I haven’t investigated the Holley setup, but I imagine some ports and connectors go bye-bye.

          2. Good point — modern EFI setups do seem have quite a bit of onboard diagnostic capability. Actually, I’ve wondered about that, too, running with the idea of “measured output uber alles” — I wonder what it would take to integrate sensors for a couple of key data points into a car’s intake and exhaust tracts to enable it to “self-report”, or even log. The downside then would be that it would probably be easier for an unscrupulous aftermarket vendor to “dummy” the emissions results of the car (vented or blanked-off sensor bungs, etc.), so as cool as it sounds like it would be, maybe a completely external, third-party measurement setup is the way to go for accurate emissions testing.

            At any rate, if I were being reasonable, I should have realized that your point was about confusion/different setup, as opposed to the legality of a parts swap…but then, this is the Internet, since when does reason come into it or prevent a good rant? *sheepish shrug*

    2. Sometimes those old automatic chokes can stay closed and ruin your mileage and emissions. Some of them had screws to loosen and adjust the choke sensitivity.

  2. I approve of LS L300, but my first thought would be Evo Van. My second bad idea is to use the GM-Opel 3.0L V6, since that was used in the other L300 (the Saturn).

  3. I remember two problems with my Starwagon (or L300 if you prefer): Tiny fuel tank, short wheelbase (making for interesting handling). This solves neither.

    I want one.

  4. There’s one in Sydney that ran 10.10 quarter miles before they put twin turbos on, I’ve also seen one with a jet engine in the back (used for drying a different drag strip); the guy also somewhat amusingly had a jet powered Holden Shuttle van.

  5. Well you could put in a 1JZ like this guy…https://www.whichcar.com.au/features/1jz-powered-1994-mitsubishi-l300-van-sleeper
    https://d3lp4xedbqa8a5.cloudfront.net/s3/digital-cougar-assets/whichcar/2018/09/27/Misc/mitsubishi-van-engine-2.jpg

    There is method in Chris’s madness – it was simply far cheaper than replacing
    the stock motor when it blew. Not to mention it’s run a high-12 best so
    far, and Chris reckons it will be good for 11s if he can get it to hook
    up
    “A replacement motor was going to be around $2000,” Chris explains,
    “so instead I bought a twin-turbo 1JZ-powered Soarer for $900 and took
    the whole lot to a mate’s workshop and swapped it in.” See? Told you it
    made sense.
    Chris’s 1JZ-powered, 400hp Mitsu van is all good as far as the
    constabulary are concerned. The L300 is mod-plated for Queensland, so
    it’s all completely legal. “The standard engine is 2.4L, and this one is
    2.5 with a turbo, so there were no dramas getting it engineered,” Chris
    says
    Chris has had up to 30psi boost in the motor, which is dead stock: factory
    head studs, cams, valve springs – everything! The gearbox is pretty much
    standard Toyota too; Chris has just given it a manual valvebody and
    3500rpm converter. The diff is a 28-spline BorgWarner from an old Falcon
    ute, just trimmed down to fit the van.
    What’s it like to drive? “Well I don’t think it’s scary,” Chris says.
    “It’s my daily driver but I’ve raced it a few times too; the best it
    has gone is 12.80@120mph, but with a 2.5-second 60-foot, because it just
    can’t get off the line. It would run an 11 pretty easily.”
    At pretty much any speed you can floor it and it just bakes the tyres,
    Chris reckons. “I’ve powerskidded the whole back straight of Queensland
    Raceway with it, but it’s actually pretty good at roll racing – I’ve
    embarrassed a couple of VF SS Commodores and XR6 Turbos

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