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Author Topic: RB20DET Vs CA18DET  (Read 21919 times)

Offline Smalltar_The_Impaler

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RB20DET Vs CA18DET
« on: 02:38:33 AM / 27-Jun-06 »
Hello, I am planning to do a swap into a 200SX and I have two choices of engines within my price range. It seems that the CA18DET and the RB20DET would both cost me about $1200 (S+H included) or $1800 (S+H included) for the front clips. Either way, if I go for the CA18, I'll have close to 50/50 weight distribution, the car will be lighter and the installation will be way easier whereas with the RB20, I'll be up about 40HP and have a fairly unique swap, but the car would be a bit front heavy. Though, I've never done a swap before, my dad is good with cars and I have plenty of time this summer, so the installation won't be a huge problem, but what I am wondering is how much the handling will be affected with all that weight at the front. Since I've always been a finesse over brute force kinda guy, I'm not so sure if it's worth the risk putting it in there. I don't want it to handle like a mule on skates. Anyway, what's your guys' opinion on these swaps... I'm not quite sure what to go for.

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Offline Julie

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RB20DET Vs CA18DET
« Reply #1 on: 05:17:06 AM / 27-Jun-06 »
KA24DETT


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Offline Smalltar_The_Impaler

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RB20DET Vs CA18DET
« Reply #2 on: 05:26:35 AM / 27-Jun-06 »
The KA series? Nah, I prefer engines that weren't carved out of stone by angry mexicans.
« Last Edit: 05:29:58 AM / 27-Jun-06 by Smalltar_The_Impaler »

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Offline Julie

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RB20DET Vs CA18DET
« Reply #3 on: 05:30:40 AM / 27-Jun-06 »
u want a "unique" swap... well theres lots of ca18det swaps and a couple rb20s. not alot of options if u wanna be unique. could do a rb26 or try to do a twin turbo ka24


"like people, every car possesses a unique character, with its own DNA, talents, and idiosyncrasies. push it too hard and it'll turn on you, as a person would. if its worth anything, it gets more interesting the more you get to know it"

luck is earned through hard work and determination, not to mention the willingness to take risks and to see bad luck and setbacks as opportunities for growth and a new direction.

Offline Smalltar_The_Impaler

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RB20DET Vs CA18DET
« Reply #4 on: 05:35:33 AM / 27-Jun-06 »
True enough, but then you're back to the weight issue. I can't say I've ever driven a S12 with a big engine up front, but I've driven a RX-7 with a LS1 and let me tell you, that understeer gets scary.

Does anyone have approximate weight of some of these engines?
« Last Edit: 05:46:18 AM / 27-Jun-06 by Smalltar_The_Impaler »

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Offline Nebuchernezzer

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RB20DET Vs CA18DET
« Reply #5 on: 07:45:19 AM / 27-Jun-06 »
From what i've read the LS1 is comparable in weight then the 13B tt because of all the extra crap the tt has on there for the sequential system.  I can't confirm that of course.
Like you said it'll be a toss up between capacity vs handling, what are your aims with this car?  Will it have to make more power then the CA18DET can produce and so on?

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Offline sam31183

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RB20DET Vs CA18DET
« Reply #6 on: 02:32:03 PM / 27-Jun-06 »
also if you go rb20 you will have to have custom mounts made, and you will have a lot less engine bay space. The rb20 looks kind of cramped in an s13 chassis. With more space it will be easier to fix things with the engine in the car if something does decide to brake. Also, there is more info around on swapping the 18det into the s12 then there is swapping the rb20 into the s12. I dont know the wieght comparison tho. Obviously having 2 more cylinders is going to cause the wieght to go up tho.

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Offline Smalltar_The_Impaler

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RB20DET Vs CA18DET
« Reply #7 on: 04:13:31 PM / 27-Jun-06 »
Well, by the time I'm done I'm hoping to be around 300HP. I've heard that the stock bottom for the CA18 can handle it, but I'm not so sure how well, or long I'll be able to run it pushing almost twice the stock horsepower. I do know it's a pretty tough engine though seeing that I have one (well, the CA18DE anyway) in my pulsar and it's still running strong at 310,000KM on the motor. Anyway, it's a tough decision, it's a choice between handling and power as it seems.

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Offline rage

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RB20DET Vs CA18DET
« Reply #8 on: 04:59:20 PM / 27-Jun-06 »
swap in a qr25det

TX > CA

Offline Nebuchernezzer

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RB20DET Vs CA18DET
« Reply #9 on: 05:27:37 PM / 27-Jun-06 »
300hp at the wheels or engine?
If you are going for higher power levels and ever intend to thrash the car for long periods of time RB20 is your only choice, the RB will do 300hp at the wheels with ease on the stock internals, the CA however has gotten past it's reliability level by this stage.
You could always use an RB25DET instead, it should be able to achieve around that power figure at the wheels on the stock turbo injectors etc whereas the RB20 will not.  Might as well go a 2.5L in the same size package as a 2L.
You can be unique to if thats important ;).

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Offline AkiraS12

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RB20DET Vs CA18DET
« Reply #10 on: 06:44:43 PM / 27-Jun-06 »
Next topic: GA16DE Vs RB26DETT

Both the CA18 and the RB20 are great engines for their time, allbeit there's more aftermarket support for the CA18. I'd say go with the 4cyl. and save money on fuel.
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Offline Smalltar_The_Impaler

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RB20DET Vs CA18DET
« Reply #11 on: 08:37:34 PM / 27-Jun-06 »
I was gonna go for around 300Hp at the wheel, but now that I think about it, I never actually thought of the aftermarket stuff. There seems to be very few aftermarket options for the RB20 unless you live in Japan, and I don't have that convenience. Thinking about it though, for most unique swap options you don't have it either. That's why they're unique. If everyone was dropping FJ20s in their toasters for example, there would probably be more aftermarket anyway... But anyway, how does a RB20 powered car handle compared to the stock engine? I've driven the stock XE and it seemed nimble enough, so how does it do with maybe another 100lb up front?

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Offline floodshark

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RB20DET Vs CA18DET
« Reply #12 on: 09:00:26 PM / 27-Jun-06 »
Properly tuned you should be able to do 300 safely on a CA18DET. Just take baby steps and make sure you always up reliability and stability over power...dont drop it in and crank up the boost super high and call it a day heh. They're pretty robust engines though, they dont get enough credit in this world of sr's and rb's.
Also what do you want the 300 at the wheels for? Gonna be tracking the car or just want it to be quick on the street?
« Last Edit: 09:04:59 PM / 27-Jun-06 by floodshark »
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Offline Nemisis

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RB20DET Vs CA18DET
« Reply #13 on: 09:41:45 PM / 27-Jun-06 »
Well, since you havent personally done any swaps, and sound somewhat like a novice at tuning (just going on what I've read, I have no idea what you've done in the past), Go for the CA18DET. Easier to work with as far as parts go, and will keep the car nice and light.

AS it was said before, the RB will cause headaches when you try to install it. LOTS of custom stuff. ONE person has already done it here (forgot who it was, but I have a vid of the car running)and Draconis already has the engine and (as far as I know) is gonna intstall it soon and maybe do a wright up.

But yea, go CA, but tune in baby steps, and always upgade the reliability.
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Offline Flynlow

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RB20DET Vs CA18DET
« Reply #14 on: 11:56:05 PM / 27-Jun-06 »
Quote from: Nebuchernezzer
From what i've read the LS1 is comparable in weight then the 13B tt because of all the extra crap the tt has on there for the sequential system.  I can't confirm that of course.



I spoke with a guy at the last 24 hour autox who'd done that swap.  He said neither the weight or balance of the car was thrown off in the slightest.  The LS1 is fairly compact and  lightweight, and sits far and low enough back in the chassis that it doesn't screw anything up.  That's why the swap is so popular.

Back on topic though, RB20 doesn't make much sense to me, its the same external size and weight as a -25 or -26, might as well opt for one of those in that case.
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Offline Nebuchernezzer

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RB20DET Vs CA18DET
« Reply #15 on: 12:30:05 AM / 28-Jun-06 »
Quote
Properly tuned you should be able to do 300 safely on a CA18DET.
You should be able to it's true, but in practice the reliability of the CA when pushed hard ends up being lowish, not poor but not flog it all day every day.
I agree with the bloke above me, if you want to go to an RB forget the RB20 and use an RB25.
I don't know what parts you want for your RB that you can't get locally, they are a very well supported engine and it's not like finding rear feed injectors and T3 pattern turbos is a tough job in any country.
The CA is CAKE to drop into an S12, if you are a swap noob i'd say yeah do the CA, push it but not to much past 170-180rwkw and it should be peachy.
If not then decide to go from there, people seem to have much higher power outputs in mind when they go for engine swaps then they really need (IMHO).  If i was you i'd probably drop in the CA, get around 130rwkw (a nice power figure that is achievable on all stock gear), use it like that for a while as you sort your suspension, brakes, cooling and all that jaz.  Then when everything is good then start chasing more power.

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Offline Fantasy

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RB20DET Vs CA18DET
« Reply #16 on: 01:01:48 AM / 28-Jun-06 »
Basically the CA18DET is a 4cyl RB20DET.
The RB20DET is a good 2L engine, comparable to an SR20DET and other 2L engines.
If you start comparing the RB20DET to its bigger brothers the RB25, RB26 and RB30 it gets left behind. This is why I like to look at it as a 2L engine and compare it to similar capacity engines instead of trying to compare it to the bigger 6cyl engines.

I think the some of you American guys (& gals) are getting to court up in thinking engines that are rare or exotic to the US market must be great engines. In Australia we have been lucky enough in the last 15 years to have tons of Jap import engine come in and get fitted into just about everything so we now have a fair understanding of the potential of most of the JDM engines.

My thoughts on CA18DET vs SR20DET vs RB20DET.
CA18DET is a good choice for the very budget minded S12 owner but not the best choice for the power hungry. I am going to be bold and say 300rwhp (US) is past being a reliable engine.

SR20DET will make 300rwhp US or AU comfortably and reliably and have a heap of mid range torque to make for a fast and fun car to drive.

RB20DET will make 300rwhp US or AU comfortably and reliably but will not have the same mid range torque of the SR20DET. It will rev harder but because of the extra weight of the engine and lack of mid range torque the SR20DET powered car will be quicker.
The reason the Australians use RB20DET’s so often in S13’s is because they are cheap as chips and they pretty much bolt straight into a S13 chassis. Once people have blown up there CA18DET, CA18DE or SR20DE or just want more power and can not afford to put an SR20DET in there S13, they go for the cheaper alternative. The RB20DET.

I can’t see the point of putting a RB20DET into a S12. I you are going to go to all the trouble of putting such a big engine in there and throwing the weight balance out the window, you may as well make it worth the while and put a RB25 or bigger in. Or better yet for weight balance put one of the turbo VG30 variants in.
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Offline Julie

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RB20DET Vs CA18DET
« Reply #17 on: 01:05:46 AM / 28-Jun-06 »
i went with a ca18det cause of the price, ease of swap, and my low power needs. ill be happy with 220-250hp reliably.


"like people, every car possesses a unique character, with its own DNA, talents, and idiosyncrasies. push it too hard and it'll turn on you, as a person would. if its worth anything, it gets more interesting the more you get to know it"

luck is earned through hard work and determination, not to mention the willingness to take risks and to see bad luck and setbacks as opportunities for growth and a new direction.

Offline Nebuchernezzer

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RB20DET Vs CA18DET
« Reply #18 on: 01:20:37 AM / 28-Jun-06 »
I'm with Fantasy on this one.
What Julie says is true to.
You have your info, now what you going to do?

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Offline Smalltar_The_Impaler

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RB20DET Vs CA18DET
« Reply #19 on: 02:35:10 PM / 28-Jun-06 »
Well, I've decided to go with the CA18DET in the end. I've read a whole lot of information on the swap as well as pretty much any other swap into the 200, but I haven't actually done it firsthand. I'll go with the CA18 for now which will also give me some much needed experience, and tune it up with my dad as well as I can. Once I've learned a bit about it (and the car in general), it's not like I can't sell the engine and get a RB20 later. In retrospect, It's not like I need all that power. The places around where I live where I have the ability to push the car without ramming into oncoming traffic are probably too cornery and bumpy to put all that power down anyway. I'll do my research and for the rest I'll be depending on your Guys' help. BTW, thanks for all the info.

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