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Discussion Starter #22
I don't know what powertrain you would choose that would make that much work worthwhile, but I certainly applaud your enthusiasm.
An exotic twin turbo V8 ;)

I would still love to know your opinion based on the systems I said I wanted to keep. I have the feeling this is not a topic many know deeply about. But you seem to be very knowledgeable about it. :)

Reason for the project is basically because I already have the powertrain. Well, basically the whole crashed donor car actually. So I started thinking of a new home for the engine. It would be a waste not to. So I thought of the kappa. I thought the kappa would be up for the task. It's a nice chassis.
 

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I'd do a Tesla motor swap if I were to do anything that didn't involve the 2.0T. The price to pain ratio for anything else just didn't seem to pan out for me. If you want an LS motor it's easier and probably cheaper to get an older C6 vette. Plus you have a huge aftermarket. If you want straight six turbo then get and E89 series Z4. Really good aftermarket there too.
 

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An exotic twin turbo V8 ;)

I would still love to know your opinion based on the systems I said I wanted to keep. I have the feeling this is not a topic many know deeply about. But you seem to be very knowledgeable about it. :)

Reason for the project is basically because I already have the powertrain. Well, basically the whole crashed donor car actually. So I started thinking of a new home for the engine. It would be a waste not to. So I thought of the kappa. I thought the kappa would be up for the task. It's a nice chassis.
"Exotic" is not a manufacturer that I am familiar with, so that isn't much help.

You really need to talk to some of the guys who have done this to see what they had to give up, and what they are able to get away with.

I don't know, for example, what happens if you operate the vehicle without the ECM connected to the bus. You might be able to put in a terminator and get everything else to work. Absent that, you might be able to leave it connected and not doing anything without setting off any alarms. If you can get that to work you can keep the airbags and ABS (maybe).

On the Exotic Motors side, I don't know what happens if you only use the powertrain components.

Some things are going to be a real cluster (literally) since the instrument cluster is going to need information from the GM BCM and the EM ECM, which isn't going to be pretty.

For Traction Control your EM ECM is going to have to interface with the GM wheel speed sensors, even as they are connected to the GM EBCM (Brake Control Module).

I think you are going to need deep pockets, a lot of time, and a lot of patience.
 

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I'd do a Tesla motor swap if I were to do anything that didn't involve the 2.0T. The price to pain ratio for anything else just didn't seem to pan out for me. If you want an LS motor it's easier and probably cheaper to get an older C6 vette. Plus you have a huge aftermarket. If you want straight six turbo then get and E89 series Z4. Really good aftermarket there too.
I like the Tesla idea, but packaging the batteries would be a nightmare in the space available.
 

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Discussion Starter #26 (Edited)
I'd do a Tesla motor swap if I were to do anything that didn't involve the 2.0T. The price to pain ratio for anything else just didn't seem to pan out for me. If you want an LS motor it's easier and probably cheaper to get an older C6 vette. Plus you have a huge aftermarket. If you want straight six turbo then get and E89 series Z4. Really good aftermarket there too.
Sounds interesting. But I'm not a fan of electric cars and I'm not looking forward to when all of us will have to drive one if we like it or not. So I will drive big engines for as long as I can. Besides this project has nothing to do with search for power. As has been said, if this was the goal, used Corvettes are cheap to buy and cheap to tune. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #27
You really need to talk to some of the guys who have done this to see what they had to give up, and what they are able to get away with.
Thanks. I'm guessing the FB group mentioned on the thread will be the best place to do so?

I don't know, for example, what happens if you operate the vehicle without the ECM connected to the bus. You might be able to put in a terminator and get everything else to work. Absent that, you might be able to leave it connected and not doing anything without setting off any alarms. If you can get that to work you can keep the airbags and ABS (maybe).
Ok, but if that doesn't work, could I just trash the ABS in the kappa and bring in the ABS of the donor? Will the computers care which discs and calipers they are stopping?

And why does the airbag have to talk to the ECM? Airbgas used to be just a sensor on the front which would fire it in case of collision. And I never looked, but isn't there aftermarket airbags? I have heard for example of people installing airbags in classic cars. Obviously not something as sophisticated as curtain airbags etc. But steering wheel and even passenger side.

On the Exotic Motors side, I don't know what happens if you only use the powertrain components.
This is the thing. I can use the whole car loom and system if needed be. It's all in there. ;)

Some things are going to be a real cluster (literally) since the instrument cluster is going to need information from the GM BCM and the EM ECM, which isn't going to be pretty.
Ok. Then just replace the kappa instruments with the donor's? Would that kill the problem?

For Traction Control your EM ECM is going to have to interface with the GM wheel speed sensors, even as they are connected to the GM EBCM (Brake Control Module).
Again, the donor car most likely has similar sensors. Would the sensors care which wheel they are looking at? I could bring it from the donor car.

I think you are going to need deep pockets, a lot of time, and a lot of patience.
Time and patience is a given. But I was always thinking this would be a full chassis strip down type of project anyway. One reason being it will get fully repainted and I want it to be done properly. So full chassis strip. Then when putting back the loom and systems of the kappa, putting in the donor car systems instead would really be that much extra work then just putting the Kappa systems back?

As I said, everything in the donor car is available. It has all the systems I want to keep. Mainly ABS, airbag and TC. So my initial though was, if the computer would give me grief and make integration with the kappa systems difficult, I would just approach it as a race car build. Strip the car and have it running normally with the new engine and gearbox. Then add the few systems I want back from the donor car. Not something which sounds doable in a reasonable way?

Thanks for your continued help.
 

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I'm also trying to find more detailed info on the 2JZ swap.
For the 2JZ check out Pantherqs YouTube channel, and scroll back to about four years ago. Or just click on the videos w/a black Solstice in it (though he has about 100 videos of stuff he's into). It appears he does a lot of illegal street racing against other cars w/the Sol. If memory serves correct I don't think his videos are particularly heavy on technical data as far as the 2JZ swap goes. The below video is his last one posted from four months ago.

PAW is the only vendor that I know of that advertises an Kappa LS harness. However I have read negative comments of its functionality so make sure you do your research on it.

There was also a former member (gmtech16450yz) who installed a LSA (supercharged) engine that came out of a Cadillac V Series (mid 2000s). Very knowledgeable & technical guy, but he didn't care for the forum and left after awhile. But you can search the forum for for his old postings.

patherqs 2JZ

gmtech LSA
 

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Join the Kappa Swap group on Facebook. Those guys will be able to answer all of your questions and you can see swaps currently being built.
 

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Thanks. I'm guessing the FB group mentioned on the thread will be the best place to do so?
Yes
Ok, but if that doesn't work, could I just trash the ABS in the kappa and bring in the ABS of the donor? Will the computers care which discs and calipers they are stopping?
The sensors and servo module are probably incompatible, so you may be replacing those too. And the sensors are built into the wheel bearing assemblies.
And why does the airbag have to talk to the ECM? Airbgas used to be just a sensor on the front which would fire it in case of collision. And I never looked, but isn't there aftermarket airbags? I have heard for example of people installing airbags in classic cars. Obviously not something as sophisticated as curtain airbags etc. But steering wheel and even passenger side.

This is the thing. I can use the whole car loom and system if needed be. It's all in there. ;)

Ok. Then just replace the kappa instruments with the donor's? Would that kill the problem?

Again, the donor car most likely has similar sensors. Would the sensors care which wheel they are looking at? I could bring it from the donor car.

Time and patience is a given. But I was always thinking this would be a full chassis strip down type of project anyway. One reason being it will get fully repainted and I want it to be done properly. So full chassis strip. Then when putting back the loom and systems of the kappa, putting in the donor car systems instead would really be that much extra work then just putting the Kappa systems back?

As I said, everything in the donor car is available. It has all the systems I want to keep. Mainly ABS, airbag and TC. So my initial though was, if the computer would give me grief and make integration with the kappa systems difficult, I would just approach it as a race car build. Strip the car and have it running normally with the new engine and gearbox. Then add the few systems I want back from the donor car. Not something which sounds doable in a reasonable way?
The problem is that everything talks to everything else to at least a small degree, and you may not be able to remove just one component without crashing the network.

If you start replacing sub-systems you will extend the problem to the component level, since the GM wheel sensors, brake servo module, airbags, fuel level sending unit, etc are not likely to be compatible with the EM control modules, so now you are looking at replacing those components as well. Since they are not likely to be dimensionally interchangeable you will be looking at a lot of rework.
Thanks for your continued help.
I'm not sure that I have been any help at all, but it has been an interesting thought experiment. Given the number of swaps being done, there has to be a shortcut that I am missing.

It is too bad all of the swap groups are on FB as I would kinda like to see what they are doing.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
Ok, so what is the process used to build Kappa race cars? They get the engine and car running.

Then adding 3 systems is really that hard? There is no stand alone aftermarket ABS and airbag? Maybe there is not traction control. But something as simples as ABS and airbag maybe?

Otherwise maybe I should look into another platform? Maybe slightly older? I would have thouht the Kappa was old enough, being probably developed in 2004 or so, not too be such a pain in the neck. Guess I was wrong. Probably all that I want to do is doable in a Miata. But I don't like them much and they are quite a bit smaller. Maybe a BMW Z? Or any suggestions for another RWD sports car platform that could make it easier? Something not as small as a Miata but not as large as a Corvette.
 

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There is a book available (used only at this point) that will tell you how to make a solstice race car, published by GM for the SCCA. I don't have it, but it might cover disabling or modifying such systems.

The rest of your recent comments have me seriously doubting that you would have the ability to pull this off to the level you think you're going to.

Bosch sells an aftermarket ABS/TCS module. It costs $6,500 and it's up to you implement their sensors and hardware.

Here's a link to the best example I can give you of what happens when you try to copy or transfer someone's "simple" airbag and it changes the timing of it by 0.070 seconds.
 

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I'm not aware of any modern engine swap projects that aren't a giant pain in the neck.

That being said I've always thought the Scion FRS was a good looking, lightweight car desperately in need of a real engine. There seems to be a fair amount of LS swap info on those.
 

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They certainly get more difficult every year.

Fundamentally, you need to keep the body electronics stock and functioning, while tricking them into thinking that any missing components are indeed there and functioning correctly either via basic circuits that will provide the steady-state "on-line" signal they are looking for, some sort of artificial variable signal that you create yourself (arduino boards are popular for this,) or bastardizing the donor car circuits. All of this is very tricky and time consuming because it's pretty much a crap shoot as to figuring out what needs to see who when, and it'll be different for every chassis, even different year to year between similar cars. And just because something works in the garage doesn't mean it will continue to work with a car in motion. The TBW example I referenced earlier for example, may work fine until the car detects slip, at which point it tries to command a different throttle position, is unable to do so, and goes into limp mode.

Once you get that done, the rest is relatively easy, and includes:

Implement and calibrate/tune a stand alone ECU for the engine, attempting to use as many OE sensors as possible.

Use some sort of aftermarket configurable dashboard or generic gauges, piggy backing the ECU input/outputs for things like temperatures and engine speed, and harvesting others such as vehicle speed from a source you come up with.

Re-wire the rest of the car so that you can have things like a radio, power windows, power locks, dome lights, trunk releases, HVAC, etc via something like a Painless kit.
 

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Ok, so what is the process used to build Kappa race cars? They get the engine and car running.
You don't want a race car, you said that you want a fully-(or mostly-) functional street car.
Then adding 3 systems is really that hard? There is no stand alone aftermarket ABS and airbag? Maybe there is not traction control. But something as simples as ABS and airbag maybe?
Yes, it really is that hard. Phil summarizes it pretty well above.
Otherwise maybe I should look into another platform? Maybe slightly older? I would have thouht the Kappa was old enough, being probably developed in 2004 or so, not too be such a pain in the neck. Guess I was wrong. Probably all that I want to do is doable in a Miata. But I don't like them much and they are quite a bit smaller. Maybe a BMW Z? Or any suggestions for another RWD sports car platform that could make it easier? Something not as small as a Miata but not as large as a Corvette.
Any chassis that you use is going to have the same basic problems, unless you get something that pre-dates OBD2 in the mid-90s. At that point you won't have the features that are giving you problems adapting to anyway.

The best thing you can do, since you say you have a fully-functional exotic donor car, is to strip the Kappa chassis down to basically nothing, and use all of the components from the donor. Re-machine the uprights for the donor hubs with their wheel speed sensors and for the donor brake calipers. Use the ABS servo system from the donor, along with the fuel system and instruments. You can probably keep the drive axle, but it may be easier to mount the donor's than to adapt the propeller and axle shafts. Engine, transmission, ECU, etc of course from the donor. The HVAC and power windows can probably stay as they are stand-alone, but you will have to re-wire the trunk latch, hopefully with some safety circuit to prevent actuation when the car is moving. Use the airbags from the donor, since adapting them physically to the Kappa is probably easier - and safer - that trying to get the Kappa controller to play well with the donor electronics. Lighting control should probably be from the donor, although clearly you can splice the Kappa lights into the donor harness.
 

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Thanks.

I have seen a supra. But so BMW has also happened?

About getting a NA car, is that only because it will be cheaper or it also makes the swap easier technically?

Oh yes, I'm not expecting to make money on it. You never do. These types of projects are money losers. :)

What is the biggest obstacle in an engine swap with the kappa? Does it already use CAN-BUS ? CAN-BUS was introduced in 2004 but only made mandatory from 2008, when the kappa was already on its way out. Since kappa was introduced in 2005, maybe it doesn't use CAN-BUS yet and still use one of the older GM protocols?

I'm guessing there is no published manual or book on the subject like there is for several other cars?
Pontiac, because of their low production numbers, were guinea pigs for testing new technology, IE. the Fiero was introduced to develop glue on plastic fenders for the future Saturn line. The Solstice used version x? CAN-BUS in 2006-7 and version y? CAN-BUS in 2008-9. The 6-7 ECU can be modified for LS swaps, the 8-9 ECU only supports 4 cylinders. If you can find someone that can make the CPU talk to the BCU, pay them the money, or go stand-alone, and live w/o cruise control, traction control, and all the fancy dash display. If you look at the wiring diagram for the 09, (mine is an 09 coupe), it has pins for both Can-Busses. I suspect that you could swap ECU, BCU, dash and wiring harness from an LS3 Camaro into a Solstice. Might as well take the transmission as well. Someone has some of the required wiring diagrams on the forum.
 

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You don't want a race car, you said that you want a fully-(or mostly-) functional street car.

Yes, it really is that hard. Phil summarizes it pretty well above.

Any chassis that you use is going to have the same basic problems, unless you get something that pre-dates OBD2 in the mid-90s. At that point you won't have the features that are giving you problems adapting to anyway.

The best thing you can do, since you say you have a fully-functional exotic donor car, is to strip the Kappa chassis down to basically nothing, and use all of the components from the donor. Re-machine the uprights for the donor hubs with their wheel speed sensors and for the donor brake calipers. Use the ABS servo system from the donor, along with the fuel system and instruments. You can probably keep the drive axle, but it may be easier to mount the donor's than to adapt the propeller and axle shafts. Engine, transmission, ECU, etc of course from the donor. The HVAC and power windows can probably stay as they are stand-alone, but you will have to re-wire the trunk latch, hopefully with some safety circuit to prevent actuation when the car is moving. Use the airbags from the donor, since adapting them physically to the Kappa is probably easier - and safer - that trying to get the Kappa controller to play well with the donor electronics. Lighting control should probably be from the donor, although clearly you can splice the Kappa lights into the donor harness.
GM is pretty good at sharing parts between models. A wheel speed sensor is a wheel speed sensor and will work on most models of the same vintage until GM changes/improves it. Just figure out the wiring. The bigger problem is making the computers play together. Take traction control. Is the control code in the ECU where the throttle software is or in the BCU, where the wheel sensors connect????? Does the BCU just pass the data to the ECU or tell the ECU to reduce throttle???? This is all controlled by the software loaded into each computer. That is why there are dozens of part numbers for each model ECU. The software can be unique for every combination of features for a model. Put a computer that expects wheel speed sensors in a vehicle that doesn't have them and you will get an error code and possibly limp home mode. Put a computer in a car with wheel speed sensors that doesn't expect them, and your traction control and ABS do nothing. Let's not even talk about the transmission computers. Get a donor Camaro and take everything. I put Corvette wheel hubs on my Solstice to be able to use 18x9.5 Corvette magnesium wheels. Guess what, the traction control and ABS still work.
 

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So it might be easier to get a turbo car. Price might not be that different anyways if going for a salvage one. We will see. Thanks.
I think you can go a lot faster with the four cylinder engine. Get the compact sport book from GM and see how you can make 700HP to 1200 HP without that low rpm torque of a V8 that breaks your drive train. Hair dryer motors make 500HP per liter. Go to the bank and see if you can afford it before you start. Launch control becomes a real problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #39
There is a book available (used only at this point) that will tell you how to make a solstice race car, published by GM for the SCCA. I don't have it, but it might cover disabling or modifying such systems.
Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #40
I'm not aware of any modern engine swap projects that aren't a giant pain in the neck.

That being said I've always thought the Scion FRS was a good looking, lightweight car desperately in need of a real engine. There seems to be a fair amount of LS swap info on those.
I honestly prefer the look of the Solstice and Sky over the FRS-GT86. Besides since they are newer I guess they would be an even bigger pain in the neck to swap. ;)
 
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