Official: SR vs. KA vs. CA vs. RB vs. VQ vs. LSx


pardon the ignorance…are u tlkin bout a GM LS6 swap for an S chassis??



I did a Ls1 swap last winter in my s13 …its great


Guys need help, here is the scenario…I have owned my 89 S13 for 14 years (call me an oldtimer) my body has rotted to shit - I have gutted down to the shell with the exception of brakes and engine KA24E /h-vac module…I have a special bond with my KA24E but with all of the sport vehicles running around 200hp I would like to beef my baby up!! But here is my concern I have read many threads about SR, RB, CA, KA and everyone has their preference and pros and cons, but seriously I am mehanically inclined but technically degenerate so I need some guidance - do I keep old faithful and add a turbo or do I change the motor.
I want to achieve something that is reliable, does not need constant tuning, and obtains decent gas mileage as I want to give this to my daughter down the road
Please help??

Better a hasbeen than a never was!!240 forever


vg30et swap, uses the same style transmission so everything behind like driveshaft can remain

take a peek in the junkyards, once or twice a year they turn up, you can get the whole car they come in for $500 or so, ecu and all


just throwing this out there chevy small black 350s are a dime a dozen an with a carb do present a reasonably easy swap. So i think that is def s strong engine for the 240sx… though a big con would be the cheap 350s are cast iron blocked


wow old thread…



i have read this kind of discussion many times in the european sx-forum
in the end the opinion of about 70% of the readers agreed that the cheapest way to get about 400hp is with the SR20
because all the parts are easier to get.
The RB´s are nice, but the whole parts and all just are expensive, and gettin interesting if you are looking for 500+ hp
THE CA18DET is an old engine, and tuning parts are hard to get (for example headers, cams…).
if you already have an CA18 lump in your engine bay its kinda cheap (compared to the others) to get 300 hp…all above needs more time, money and all…
Regarding that the CA18 Block will handle much more power than the SR20, i just can say that is not right, because it has one weak point: the half-counter crankshaft…thats why the crank bearings wear out to fast.
also it has some issues with the cooling…for water and oil (got only 3.5l without oil cooler)…
so you see, there are alot of points to think of.

thats why i drive the CA18 dayly and building on my SR20 besides…maybe some time with 440whp :headbang:


thanks for enlightening us all


i thought thats what a forum is all about, helping and explaining the own opinion.
thats what it did, i posted MY OPINION, nothing more.
If someone has a problem with it…then…whatever :slight_smile:


Hmmm, I recently started doing a bit of research on RB20 and CA18 engines. I became very curious on the effects it has on the car. Is the RB20 engine that much heavier than an SR20? Does it even make an S13 lose its nimbleness (as someone has mentioned earlier). How about the CA18? What kind of power does it product (stock), and how high does these two engines rev up to @ stock?


CA18’s stock hp is 175hp. Most people are under the assumption that the CA loves to spin…they are very wrong. Yes, it does have a good design to sustain higher RPM, but it does have a few flaws. As small as these flaws are, they play a crucial role in the death of high RPM CA’s.

The “breathing” system of the crankcase gases was very poorly designed. There is only one tube that lets the crankcase breath into the head and that pipe makes several transitions smaller in size. It can also get clogged over time and resulting in no ventilation of the crankcase at all. When high RPM is sustained the crankcase gases actually cannot go though the tube fast enough and have only one other path to the head…through the oil return passages. This causes the oil to be “pooled” in the head, starving the bottom end.

The stock rods are strong yet are are known to not like sustained high RPM and can bend or break.

The crankshaft is only half counter weighted. This plus the poor designed breathing system can and do yield spun crankshaft bearings.

With all the smack talk about the CA…I still love the motor and will stay true with it until the end.

If proper maintenance and overall good health of the motor it should last years of enjoyment.

The real question is what are the plans of the vehicle? If you plan to drift, look at another motor other than the CA as it will take more $$$ to make it super reliable in sustained high RPM running.


Thank you! that made it MUCH more clear!!

So, what would you say about the RB20DET? Would it be a much ‘smarter’ choice for a DD? Does the RB20DET eliminate these issues that the CA faces completely, including the higher rpm issue? But then the RB is heavier; even heavier than the SR, no? I prefer the RB, because of its Cast Iron design, but I wouldn’t want to lose the nimbleness of the car.



Dont get me wrong, in the first place i didnt like the CA18DET in my 200SX, because i have also read all this things about the engine. but now driving it every day, i kinda like it.
It idles smooth, revs fast, and is capable of 300 hp with slight mods, and in the extreme way of about 730 whp…
so it cant be this wrong.


in terms of power potential but u keeping-stock because of tight budget, easiness of install (if you buy mounts/ins-package from a vendor), daily drivablility, kinematics(weight and center of gravity), engine reliability (bullet proffy-ness) and durability.

in term of hp/cost from start to finish. if 500 hp is the wat you looking for.

for drifting and track. making smokkyy, reliability, cool factor, sound


you forgot JZ and KA-T motors




karkas9 the new expert


i thought im too childish for you to do sell me a car. interesting.
\i really just wrote what i think about those engines after-all the thread is about opinions.


I heard the KA-T ends up with more torque then a built SR. I have a stock KA and my buddies doing an SR-T setup I believe, so I can’t wait to feel the difference, but in my opinion. I want a torque monster. I also just wanna keep the KA because everyone I know with a 240 wants or has an SR swap or another engine. I wanna keep the KA just to be like that 1% group that doesn’t want a swap. Yeah, I’m gonna build it over years, and if I have to replace it I will. But I’m gonna build, I’m gonna drift it, and it’s gonna be my DD/show car. So whateva!


well if u have the money go for it… lots of guys think its cheaper going KA-T but when your done you could have purchased two SR swaps lol,
but if u really want more info just read up on the earlier posts in this thread, you will find out a SR is more practical on a tight budget…