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Author Topic: Car engine ignition conversion  (Read 945 times)

glort

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Car engine ignition conversion
« on: January 22, 2020, 07:52:04 AM »

I am thinking of getting a 2l subaru engine and converting it to a stationary engine. Can get a few of the thinga and they are worth nothing now.

These are all electronicaly computer controlled and i dont want to pull out a wiring loom and try and make it work with the oem computer. Way too many things to stop it working like needing the right key in the ignition barrel and probably wanting a transmission.

I can easily add a carb for fuel and bypass the fuel injectors or possibly use them but the main thing is spark. The engines have crank angle sensors so i can get a timing point and i dont need advance or anything other than basic timing like most stationary engines.

Looking on the net everything is to convert from points to electronic but i want to more or less go from computer to basic electronic.

Does any know of any threads/ kits/ yt vids of this?
Im thinking it should be pretty simple and could be done even with arduino but not having much luck finding anything. If i could find a way of spark triggering it might be possible to trigger the injectors for fixed load rpm operation and could experimint with governors from there.

Should make a good long lived engine and be able to run at low rpm for quiet as well as easily adapting to co gen.

EdDee

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Re: Car engine ignition conversion
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2020, 08:01:04 AM »
Hey Glort...

A brief look at a few cutaway pics on the net suggest that the end of a camshaft with an external old school distributor might be the easiest....

Cheers
Ed
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Johndoh

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Re: Car engine ignition conversion
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2020, 09:07:42 AM »
Some cars have the immobilizer chip in the cluster so you'd need the cluster, the key, pickup coil etc all connected to the ECU just to get it to start. My mate has a 20kw generator that used to be PTO driven off a tractor. He has if connected to a VW 1,9 NA diesel engine running at 1500 rpm. No governor, he says it always makes 240 volts or so. No huge loads on it just backup for his house so he has steady power.
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AdeV

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Re: Car engine ignition conversion
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2020, 12:09:02 PM »
Many many years ago I built a generator using a 1.6 (IIRC) petrol engine, chosen because it used points and a carb. Biggest problem we found was, at the RPM range we wanted to run it (about 1500), it just didn't have the power. We'd have needed to build a 3krpm screamer to get anything like enough horsepower out of it. The other problem was managing the warm-up, since there was no automatic choke. A very clever chap built a PIC based controller for it, using servos to drive the choke & throttle cables. It worked, after a fashion, but it was always a bear to try to get it stable. It reacted too slowly to changes in load, and the fuel efficiency was in the toilet.

Next attempt used a 1.9 diesel engine, same controller (re-written), with just a throttle control. That worked much better, still a bit sluggish to respond to load changes; the biggest problem was it ate glow plugs, and sooted up something chronic. It was just too much of an engine, in many ways, it was never loaded up properly. Plus it was surprisingly noisy, and exceedingly smoky.

If I were to build another one, I'd use a Chinese horizontal, sized approximately to the gen head, so it ran flat out on full load when everything was drawing power. Cheap car engines sound great in principle, but in practice, they're not really suited to the application, unless you're going with a BIG alternator, and they are surprisingly difficult to dial in.
Cheers!
Ade.
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sirpedrosa

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Re: Car engine ignition conversion
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2020, 02:19:04 PM »
Hi Gentles

In my little or no experience, and above all, given your admiralty knowledge, there is a conclusion I geted: to get a voltage stable genhead, I need to have a heavy flywheel, or other weight to preserve the momentum. Of course it would be best to have low rpm to extend engine's life.

Another conclusion I could get in most of LEF´s threads, is the start key of any engine must have - at least - more than 2kg, I mean a starting handle (I'm not referring big ships) . (forget SOM, a good stationary engine must be attended)

Ever you ever thougted the luck we have to tweak "nowadays" a 6/1, or a 12/2, or other low rpm engine. They are machines builted for life. (How many mechanics did you had 50 years ago in the middle of australia to give assistence?)

Just my thoughts for this thread.

Cheers
VP
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glort

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Re: Car engine ignition conversion
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2020, 02:30:13 PM »
Hey Ed,
Glad to see you back. Make sure you come back with far more regularity please.

The engine in question is a belt driven quad cam so it may be possible to just drive a distributor off the cam belt. I have plenty of the original timing pulleys.

That said, semms it would be a shame to waste the crank position sensor input. I'm thinking it should be just a matter of feeding the signal to an arduino and programing it to divide the pulses and fire the coil. They run a wasted spark system anyway and can get plenty of coils not that i should need them.

I,m sure i have seen aftermarket computers somewhere which would be ideal to use all the built in sensors and the fuel injection as well. Id probably like to try and hack something together to make it run just fornthe hell of it. Ch

glort

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Re: Car engine ignition conversion
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2020, 02:53:14 PM »

Ade,

I get what you are saying and i wouldnt be going into this as a serious generator although quite happy to do that if i learn more than i anticipate.

The thing is there are a number of these engines i can get that may well otherwise be scrapped. They are all perfectly good low mileage engines. Im trying to sell them but unfortunately because they have proven so reliable, so is every one else. I might just change the engine in my daughters car rather yhan vhange yhe cam bely as y by e engines only have half the miles on average.

Im thinking one of these engines should have good power and torque  but im thinking in the 10 to 15 hp range at  maybe 2000 rpm or lower. They could be geared as required for the speed and rpm.
Compensating for load is an interesting point and one i hadnt thought of. My hope was just to make one run and see what i could do from there. Being these are petrol engines  they are never going to be as viable for me as a diesel i can run on veg oil. I could get a gas carb or maybe brew some alcohol and give that a go.

At the end of the day i thought it might just be interesting to get one to run and see what happened from there.
I keep changing my mind and have a bunch of engines i was "gunna" use but right now for a decent setup im pretty sold on a little kubota diesel being yhe nicest yhing inhave come across so far.

Almost wondering with enough advanced timing and water injection if i could run one of these petrols on a 50% veg  petrol mix?

AdeV

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Re: Car engine ignition conversion
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2020, 09:18:04 PM »
I get what you are saying and i wouldnt be going into this as a serious generator although quite happy to do that if i learn more than i anticipate.

Fair enough: As a project to mess about with & use up some old-but-good engines, I think you'll have a ball. If you ever came to rely on one for electricity, you'll be cursing them...

Im thinking one of these engines should have good power and torque  but im thinking in the 10 to 15 hp range at  maybe 2000 rpm or lower. They could be geared as required for the speed and rpm.

That was pretty much what we were aiming for. a 6KVA gen head should require around 15-18hp to run - call it 20 with parasitic loads such as belts and pumps. Yes, the engine would do it - IF it was up to speed before the load was applied, and if the load was applied fairly slowly. Throw in both rings of the cooker (this was on a giant RV, or a "mid-sized" by US standards  ;D), and the engine would bog down, and couldn't recover fast enough, so it would just stall. If a load was suddenly released (e.g. kettle boiled, cooker turned off), it would over-speed, and the safety routine would cut the engine. This was not something I'd want to risk a laptop on...

On the other hand, if you can give it a fairly even load, with a slow ramp up/ramp down (say... battery charging with an intelligent controller?), it could be quite successful.

Almost wondering with enough advanced timing and water injection if i could run one of these petrols on a 50% veg  petrol mix?

If you skim the heads enough, you could probably run them on diesel! Sure, they wouldn't have the strength to lug a Subaru bodyshell around the forest for 100,000 miles - but as a cheap-ass stationary engine, I don't see why not. Put the injectors where the spark plug is now...
Cheers!
Ade.
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glort

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Re: Car engine ignition conversion
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2020, 01:56:57 AM »

With the bliss of ignorance Ade, the problems you had sound like a lot could be put down to govenor issues.
That said, my second thought is rotational mass that would give reactive power.
The suby engines are not heavy but i spose all that matters is the moving parts not the block. Many times i have moved these things by putting a sling on them and sticking a bit of timber through and lifting them easily with someone else on the other end.

On the 3rd hand, there are bv a million little petrol gennys out there that have good load control and they dont weigh a lot so it may well be more on the govenor and geating the engine to run in a decent spot on the torque curve.

I think being a multi cylinder engine would help giving 2 power pulses per revolution.
There are electronic govenors now that seem to do well from what i have read and are very affordable. I was thinking of one for the kubota engine which does not have one so would not go to waste playing with this setup.

Seems a lot of engine just get 20 hp out of even with a carb and fixed ignition. If there is a Basic aftermarket  computer available, that would be great.
In any case , this would be find for driving an IMAG which was grid connected and driving a constant load. I wonder if there is a reasonable way to use these things for battery charging?  May be better going with a big neece in the first place than an imag.

With the fueling, i was thinking of running the spark ignition and using the petrol to try and get the oil going. All the injectors could fire  at once, early injection was like that with the fuel just sitting behind the valve.  For the output i want, would be fine just to fire a single injector down the inlet single point style.  On these engines each injector is delivering a lot more than that anyway.

Cant skim these heads much, got one back from the head guy the other day where the cutter clipped the valve and that was just to get the head flat  rather than try and get the compression up.


snowman18

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Re: Car engine ignition conversion
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2020, 06:28:31 AM »
Everything electric ignition, Brian Miller's page a wealth of information.

http://gardentractorpullingtips.com/ignition.htm


dax021

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Re: Car engine ignition conversion
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2020, 08:26:36 AM »

If there is a Basic aftermarket  computer available, that would be great.


In SA we have two that I know of, Spitronics and Dicktator

www.spitronics.co.za
www.dicktator.co.za

glort

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Re: Car engine ignition conversion
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2020, 10:37:19 AM »
Everything electric ignition, Brian Miller's page a wealth of information.

http://gardentractorpullingtips.com/ignition.htm

Thanks very much for the link. Much appreciated. 
I think that has given me the soloution already, the Gm HEI controller.
Just have to modify the oem tone wheel to 4 points and should be right. I think it will give advance as well. Can get them here for $26 so definately within budget.

Looked up the engine management links and some others and as i feared, going to be way too much money for this project. I would like to have a play with tuning on a computer but more than i want to spend on this exercise.
It did give me an idea though, there is a place not far from me that builds these things, I might send them a message and see if they have any old development boards or units that are partially inoperative like boost or launch control is buggered they would sell very cheap.

In any case it seems like the ignition is not a difficult problem.
Failing the computer, I'll go the next best thing to injection with an SU type flatslide carby.  I have a 40mm Mikuni up the back off my Harley  i replaced years ago and a bunch of jets for the thing as well. Im real comfortable with these things and find them very easy to tune. Put a lot of them (smaller ones) on different engines and have a feel for which way to go with them. I'd bet the suby engine would be pretty close to the Harley jetting, probably a size or 2 down.

Would also be interesting to see how the engine went with a smaller carb like a 28mm. Well within flowing the air fuel for the power I'd want and would keep the vac and gas speed up through the carb as well.

mikenash

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Re: Car engine ignition conversion
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2020, 04:39:07 PM »
TM40 pumper carb.  Good bit of kit.  Have put lots of them on large Japanese singles over the years.  Lots of jet info on line for them.  You'll want to come down a long way on the accelerator pump jet in an application like that or it'll bog when you open the throttle.  Any sort of stationary application imho you want to remove the accelerator pump linkage altogether as a trial

AdeV

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Re: Car engine ignition conversion
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2020, 06:16:27 PM »

With the bliss of ignorance Ade, the problems you had sound like a lot could be put down to govenor issues.
...
govenor and geating the engine to run in a decent spot on the torque curve.

Both valid points, particularly the latter. By running at low RPMs, you're waaay down on the torque curve. I guess the way to look at it is; if you're driving along the flat at 1500rpm (say 60mph), then start climbing a steep hill; the engine will bog down & just hitting the gas will take a long time before you're back to 1500rpm. Do the same thing at 3000rpm, or 4500rpm, and you'll be back to speed almost immediately.

I do think we had 2 problems: The slow speed meant the engine couldn't handle sudden uptakes of power; the overspeed was probably the governer responding too slowly to a speed increase. After all, cut the fuel and the engine will slow down no matter what the load is... The best way to overcome this would have been to have a "hard stop" maximum RPM (so a mechanical governer, perhaps), and running the engine at it's peak torque, i.e. about 4500rpm. Then you're looking for a tiny little engine, because at 4500rpm, an old Scooby 2 litre is going to be giving you maybe 90kW... or 200kW if you use the WRX version  ;D
Cheers!
Ade.
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hwew

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Re: Car engine ignition conversion
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2020, 02:27:45 AM »
Some 4 cylinder Volvo engines used a distributor mounted on the camshaft end. The timing could be advanced or retarded by rotating the distributor.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2020, 02:29:26 AM by hwew »