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Small diesel engine swap in a Midget? Anyone?

Posted by momonimosimus 
James Kamp
South Carolina, USA   usa
1978 MG Midget "Trouble"

I currently make biodiesel and run it in my Cummins powered Dodge Ram 2500 Truck. I know there are several small 3 and 4 cylinder diesels out there. Has anyone ever heard of someone swapping out the petrol engine in a Midget with a small diesel engine? If so, can you please provide some links or other sources so I can get some ideas?
Many Thanks!



James of the Upstate and Midlands, SC USA

Vehicles Past and Present
1977 Pontiac Firebird (455 Big Block) Sold for a song - Much Sadness
1977 Ford School Bus Motorhome Conversion
1977 Toyota Celica (5 Speed with the 22 RE engine) Totalled - Much Sadness
1978 MG Midget - Eaten by squirrels and now being rebuilt
1989 Mitsubishi Mighty Max - Totalled and good riddance
1990 Dodge Ram 1500 Traded in for a new 1998 model
1990 Honda Accord - Sold and good riddance
1998 Dodge Ram 1500 - Traded in for a new 2003 model
1999 Harley Davidson Fat Boy - Early midlife crisis passed, sold 1 year later at a profit
2002 Honda Accord (V6 Vtec) - Bought for wife and we will drive it till it dies. Awesome car!
2003 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins Powered Diesel 4WD - "If Dodge could ever build a truck as well as Cummins can build an engine, then they both might be able to build a truck to last a lifetime."
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dlrhine Avatar
Dave Rhine
South, Carolina, USA   usa

Any swap is most likely possible if you have the fabrication skills or a fat enough wallet.

A diesel in a Midget? Not for me, but I'm curious too...



If it ain't broke, I'll fix it 'til it is! winking smiley
prop46 Avatar
Prop Black Hole Midget
Missouri, USA   usa

Ive seen some referance to the A series being used as a desial in small tractors...so might be as simple as an old cly head, some pistons and a cam to make a conversion...id start with gooling vintage british tractors

Prop
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AmishIndy Avatar
Seth Jones
Wheaton, IL, USA   usa
1971 MG Midget MkIII "Guenevire"
2007 Mazda 3 "Porco Rosso"

In reply to # 2033186 by prop46 Ive seen some referance to the A series being used as a desial in small tractors...so might be as simple as an old cly head, some pistons and a cam to make a conversion...id start with gooling vintage british tractors

Prop

Actually its a lot more complicated than that. The A-series was made into a diesel for the BMC mini tractor. It was only in the 948cc size and produced all of 15 hp.



Graham Robinson writes in his book The A-Series Engine: Its First Sixty Years,

"The first joint BMC-Ricardo diesel project was the 2.2-litre four-cylinder unit which was used in the Austin badged, but Carbodies-inspired, London taxi-cabs (and later in other BMC commercial vehicles), after which the team turned to dieseling the 1.5 litre B-Series engine. It was this team, of which John Barnett was a member, that was then asked to do the same transformation on the A-series Engine."

"The original unit was of 948cc, and was developed at Longbridge but was always intended for manufacture at Curthouse Green, where most 'specialised' A-Series types seemed to settle. it was of course, a considerable if not total redesign of the existing 948cc unit. not only did it have a new, purpose designed, cast iron cylinder head, complete with CAV injection, but to meet Ferguson's demanding tractor standards it had to pass 1,000 hour durability tests, and be able to run at a variety of inclined angles as the tractor struggled with uneven terrain."

"The block was reinforced, the front end of the block also being changed to allow the diesel injection pump to be driven off the front of the crankshaft (rather like the layout of the BMC 2.2-litre diesel), and of course a more ridgid crankshaft was also specified. Complete with the Ricardo-patented 'Comet V' combustion chambers, and the very high compression ratio of 23.6:1, the new little diesel produced a mere 15 bhp at 2,500 rpm and never stood a chance of being adopted for pure private-car use."

He goes on to explain that this tractor's intended market was "the far east", and this engine was only in production from december 1965 to november 1968 after which it was replaced by a 25 bhp version of the B-series diesel.



Seth Jones

1971 MG Midget

www.SpridgetGuru.com
AmishIndy Avatar
Seth Jones
Wheaton, IL, USA   usa
1971 MG Midget MkIII "Guenevire"
2007 Mazda 3 "Porco Rosso"

You'd probably be better off with this engine of you can get a hold of it

http://green.autoblog.com/2010/02/10/fiat-500-gets-new-1-3-liter-multijet-diesel-engine-and-60-mpg/



Seth Jones

1971 MG Midget

www.SpridgetGuru.com
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mjamgb Avatar
michael anderson
NORTHERN NEVADA, USA   usa

Good luck. Ain't a mystery why they are so huge...

http://www.powertechengines.com/30-65.html

OTOH, the VW Diesel isn't too large (but tall being OHC) but it makes like 40Hp.
Bill Masquelier
Santee, Ca, USA   usa

I know that back in college the shop teacher had a Midget and put a Kubota 3-cylinder diesel and a Toyota 5-speed trans in it but that was back in 1978. Haven't heard anything about it since.
BillM
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James Kamp
South Carolina, USA   usa
1978 MG Midget "Trouble"

Thanks all for the excellent ideas. I think I will follow up on some of the older engine ideas as I am highly opinionated about the newer manufactured diesels coming out now days. They are too filtered and simply have too many emission control gizmo's on them. They have taken the simple concept of the original diesel engine which was initially designed to run on peanut oil, and turned it into a smog puffing, petro-diesel drinking, overly computer controlled and over priced monstrosoties. I prefer the older diesel engines from the early 80's and 70's that have minimal electronics and virtually no filtration. I can run B100 biodiesel through them and have virtually no harmful emissions. Try running even highly filtered and good quality 100% biodiesel in these newer engines and you confuse the computer, gum up the filter, overwork the fuel lift pump at the tank, and really make a mess inside the catalytic converter. These newer diesels are made to run petro diesel only, and therefore are not true diesels (IMO).
I really like Kubotas, I'm going to look into that for sure. Going to the warehouse Sunday afternoon to mess around with the 78 Midget and take some engine compartment measurements. Have a great weekend to you all.



James of the Upstate and Midlands, SC USA

Vehicles Past and Present
1977 Pontiac Firebird (455 Big Block) Sold for a song - Much Sadness
1977 Ford School Bus Motorhome Conversion
1977 Toyota Celica (5 Speed with the 22 RE engine) Totalled - Much Sadness
1978 MG Midget - Eaten by squirrels and now being rebuilt
1989 Mitsubishi Mighty Max - Totalled and good riddance
1990 Dodge Ram 1500 Traded in for a new 1998 model
1990 Honda Accord - Sold and good riddance
1998 Dodge Ram 1500 - Traded in for a new 2003 model
1999 Harley Davidson Fat Boy - Early midlife crisis passed, sold 1 year later at a profit
2002 Honda Accord (V6 Vtec) - Bought for wife and we will drive it till it dies. Awesome car!
2003 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins Powered Diesel 4WD - "If Dodge could ever build a truck as well as Cummins can build an engine, then they both might be able to build a truck to last a lifetime."
LodiMidget Avatar
Jim Casey
Lodi, USA   usa

Is the 1275 too snappy for you? I drive a diesel VW, and it makes for liesurely motoring
Kunanative MK1 Avatar
Larry G
Midvale, Idaho, USA   usa
1963 MG Midget "Kunanative MK1"

Owning 2 Ford diesel's, and a tractor with diesel power, my big question would be the weight difference in the front, AND........would the frame hold up to the torque? I love diesel, but I'm not sure the midget body is designed to stand up to the difference.

Just my humble opinion.
AmishIndy Avatar
Seth Jones
Wheaton, IL, USA   usa
1971 MG Midget MkIII "Guenevire"
2007 Mazda 3 "Porco Rosso"

In reply to # 2033642 by momonimosimus Thanks all for the excellent ideas. I think I will follow up on some of the older engine ideas as I am highly opinionated about the newer manufactured diesels coming out now days. They are too filtered and simply have too many emission control gizmo's on them. They have taken the simple concept of the original diesel engine which was initially designed to run on peanut oil, and turned it into a smog puffing, petro-diesel drinking, overly computer controlled and over priced monstrosoties. I prefer the older diesel engines from the early 80's and 70's that have minimal electronics and virtually no filtration. I can run B100 biodiesel through them and have virtually no harmful emissions. Try running even highly filtered and good quality 100% biodiesel in these newer engines and you confuse the computer, gum up the filter, overwork the fuel lift pump at the tank, and really make a mess inside the catalytic converter. These newer diesels are made to run petro diesel only, and therefore are not true diesels (IMO).
I really like Kubotas, I'm going to look into that for sure. Going to the warehouse Sunday afternoon to mess around with the 78 Midget and take some engine compartment measurements. Have a great weekend to you all.

Except the 1.3 liter Fiat diesel looks like it actually develops more power than the original a-series engine. Most of the diesels I can think of that will fit dont develop enough power.



Seth Jones

1971 MG Midget

www.SpridgetGuru.com
dbandel Avatar
David Bandel
Glenwood, Maryland, USA   usa

In reply to # 2033373 by Billm I know that back in college the shop teacher had a Midget and put a Kubota 3-cylinder diesel and a Toyota 5-speed trans in it but that was back in 1978. Haven't heard anything about it since.
BillM

That swap was probably similar to this home-built car based on Spitfire mechanicals:



There was an earlier article in Popular Mechanics or one of those similar mags in the '70's on putting the Kubota diesel into a Triumph spitfire but I haven't seen any links online. I remember because one of my favorite things as a kid was reading all grand-dad's "home project" magazines and there was one in there on this subject about the time of the '73 oil crisis.

-David
Speedracer Avatar
Hap Waldrop
Greenville, SC, USA   usa
1967 MG MGB "The Biscuit"

Small diesels are a dime a dozen in Europe, but not so much here, when I was in Italy last year I noticed this, and the fuel stations over there have more diesel pumps, than gas pumps, and in Italy they what they called Supremo Diesel, whatever that is. I wonder when we get such cars in the US, it seems inevitable. I would say, in Italy, 70% of the cars were diesel.



Hap Waldrop
Acme Speed Shop
864-370-3000
Performance/Race engines-heads, and DIY engine rebuilt kits
New alloy wheels options for MGBs, see vendors forum for details.

Acme Speed Shop   – Greenville, SC USA MG/ Triumph Performance Street/Race Engines - Cylinder Head Porting - Modified SU HS Carbs - DIY Engine Rebuild Kits With Tech Advice - Alloy wheels for MGB/TR6
CraigZ Avatar
Craig Zeni
Cary, NC, USA   usa
1973 MG Midget "The Heap"

Rudolph Diesel's initial concept was to run the engine on pulverized coal dust...

I've had oil hammers of various sorts for the past 21 years, ranging from a Benz 240D to a Peugeot 504D wagon to the current pair of VWs. Love...love the torque!
jim jensen
cleveland, USA   usa

heresy
nathan c
albuquerque, USA   usa

Coal dust? Willikers
mg man 75 Avatar
maurice sallee
Campbellsville, Central Kentucky, USA   usa

Unsure how big a motor. VW 1.6 turbo hook to Suzuki Samari gearbox. Info here to put in Suzuki. Maybe some of some use to you. I would check into how large that motor is first. Maurice
http://www.rocky-road.com/diesel.html
http://www.acmeadapters.com/approach.php
Engine picture.
http://www.streetfire.net/photo/2-16-vw-turbo-dieseljpg_1918872.htm
Engine specs.
http://www.4crawler.com/Diesel/index.shtml#EngineSpecs
keithllfixit Avatar
keith f
colchester, United Kingdom   gbr

Hi, I'm new to the forum but have noticed the question as I'm doing a conversion exactly of this type, mainly because I'm poor and the price of fuel keeps on rising! I considered the Peugeot 1.8/1.9 first as it's very light and high revving and doesn't have any fancy electronics to go wrong. Don't know if they were available over the pond, but eventually decided on the Isuzu 1.5td as fitted in our old Vauxhall (GM/Opel) Corsa model. It's a brilliant little engine, light and high revving (you need this if you want any performance out of a diesel), comes with a watercooled turbo and twin stage injection, no electronics and as long as you take the engine management relays out of the donor it's a doddle to fit. The most important reason to use this engine tho is that Opel made a 5 speed getrag gearbox to fit in the 1.8 petrol Manta which bolts virtually straight on to the Isuzu, so not only do you get a lovely torquey engine but you also get a 5 speed box which is half the weight of the old one, simples! We are close to completing our project now and the only hassle could be the springs are too strong now for the weight of the engine, but if we have to we'll cut them down a bit. Pics are on photobucket if anyone is interested;
http://s1032.photobucket.com/albums/a407/seriesbus/mg%20midget%20isuzu%20conversion/
AmishIndy Avatar
Seth Jones
Wheaton, IL, USA   usa
1971 MG Midget MkIII "Guenevire"
2007 Mazda 3 "Porco Rosso"

In reply to # 2200248 by keithllfixit Hi, I'm new to the forum but have noticed the question as I'm doing a conversion exactly of this type, mainly because I'm poor and the price of fuel keeps on rising! I considered the Peugeot 1.8/1.9 first as it's very light and high revving and doesn't have any fancy electronics to go wrong. Don't know if they were available over the pond, but eventually decided on the Isuzu 1.5td as fitted in our old Vauxhall (GM/Opel) Corsa model. It's a brilliant little engine, light and high revving (you need this if you want any performance out of a diesel), comes with a watercooled turbo and twin stage injection, no electronics and as long as you take the engine management relays out of the donor it's a doddle to fit. The most important reason to use this engine tho is that Opel made a 5 speed getrag gearbox to fit in the 1.8 petrol Manta which bolts virtually straight on to the Isuzu, so not only do you get a lovely torquey engine but you also get a 5 speed box which is half the weight of the old one, simples! We are close to completing our project now and the only hassle could be the springs are too strong now for the weight of the engine, but if we have to we'll cut them down a bit. Pics are on photobucket if anyone is interested;
http://s1032.photobucket.com/albums/a407/seriesbus/mg%20midget%20isuzu%20conversion/

Nice, but please start new thterads instead of grave digging. Gravedug threads dont get much notice and dont help the OP. leave sleeping dogs lie.



Seth Jones

1971 MG Midget

www.SpridgetGuru.com
pacomb Avatar
Paco Moreno de Barreda
Madrid, Spain   esp

In reply to # 2035112 by Speedracer Small diesels are a dime a dozen in Europe, but not so much here, when I was in Italy last year I noticed this, and the fuel stations over there have more diesel pumps, than gas pumps, and in Italy they what they called Supremo Diesel, whatever that is. I wonder when we get such cars in the US, it seems inevitable. I would say, in Italy, 70% of the cars were diesel.

In Spain, possibly almost 60-70% are diesel cars....

Maybe a small land rover diesel engine could fir nicely on a spridget, but sound and acceleration would be stupid jajaja
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