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A Smart Beetle?
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undercover
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 2:17 am    Post subject: A Smart Beetle? Reply with quote

I quite like older Beetles, especially the beetles with cloth Front -> Rear Sliding sunroofs. But I would prefer to buy/build a vehicle that conforms to (or exceeds) modern emission standards.

As smart cars are also aircooled, rear engine, rear drive vehicles, I'm wondering if it is possible to install a smart car engine in a circa 1963 beetle. I imagine the swap would be quite involved (custom mountin gear, custom axels, ...) But this is a dream of myne that may take many years to accomplish so my main goal is to find out if this is even possible.

Does anyone know if it is possible to fit a smart engine in a Beetle? Does anyone know where I can find the dimensions of Beetle engine compartments?

BTW. Several smart engines are available (in different countries) including a
*700cc 3 cylinder inline gas engine that puts out 50HP and 60lbs-ft
*700cc 3 cylinder inline gas engine that puts out 80HP and 80lbs-ft
*700cc 3 cylinder inline gas engine that puts out 101HP and 95lbs-ft
*800cc 3 cylinder inline diesel engine that puts out 40HP and 75lbs-ft
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Ovalzealous
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 3:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The style of Beetle that you are referring to is known as a ragtop. These were produced until 1963.

A Smart car motor may not be up to the task of pushing the weight of a Beetle. Do you know how much a Smart weighs? By the figures you listed the specifications sound possible but the deciding factors will be where the engine makes its power. If it does not make enough torque in a low enough rpm range it may have too much difficulty pushing a likely heavier car. Transmission choice and gearing will also play a large part. Typically with a Beetle engine swap the stock transmission is retained. This will not likely be possible with the Smart engine as a custom adapter would need to be made. Nor would the Beetle gearing be ideal. This may lead to a loss of economy, which was part of the point of the swap. As the Smart engine and transmission are transversely mounted the best scenario would be to place the engine and trans package in the position the Beetle transmission occupied. This may nescessitate some body modification depending on the height of the Smart motor. It may also prove easier to change the Beetle frame to adapt some kind of subframe for the new engine to line everything up with the wheels.

This is an interesting idea and is possible. But some more info would be needed.

Weight of a Smart car compared to a Beetle.

Height of the Smart car engine.

A comparison between the horsepower and torque curves of each cars engine to determine if they are similar, lacking or better in most respects.

I hope this helps you in your idea. It's a good one and I hope I have not dicouraged you in any way. Even if a Smart car engine becomes unworkable there are many other modern, clean and relatively fuel efficient possibilities available.

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undercover
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 3:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the info.

I would probably have to contact the dealer to find out the dimensions of the smart car engine. For now I can comment on the vehicle weigth, engine details, and transmission details.

* The Smart fortwo weighs in at 1606lbs + upto 2178lbs of passengers/cargo
* Smart forfours weight in at upto 2398lbs or 3454lbs with cargo
* As for the beetles I googled and found a heavily modified 64 at 1650lbs, a stock 63 at 1900lbs, and a 2003 Mexican beetle at 1786lbs.
* All and all I would say the weights match up pretty well.

* The diesel engines maintain close to their maximum tourque between 1800 and 2800 RPM and reach max power at 4200RPM
* The gas engines maintain close to their max torque between 1800RPM and 4200 RPM and reach their max power at 5200RPM

* All of the smart car engines are turbo charged
* Most of the smart cars ship with 6speed softtouch transmissions
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66beetle
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This could work. If you used an early Beetle, as you've suggested, the gearing is fairly low, as is the weight. Also, the stock engine found in '61 to '65 Beetles produced 40hp with a redline of 4200 RPM. Sounds a lot like the specs of the 800cc Diesel Smart Car engine, so it would likely be a fairly good match to the stock transmission. Also, diesels generally produce more torque the gas engines, so even though the horsepower rating is the same, the Smart Car engine would likely give you better acceleration and hill climbing than the Beetle engine.

One thing though, are you sure these engines are air-cooled? It was my understanding that they are water cooled, though I could be wrong.

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vanBoven
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wow thats quite the project! that sounds interesting...hope it works for u
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JamesT
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like a great idea, except that I believe Devin is right in that the Smart engines are watercooled. On the bright side, the engine is so small, that the tiny radiator would be very easy to find a place for in your bug as you can see here. I'm actually kinda curious how this would work out for you.
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undercover
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm pretty sure smart cars are aircooled but I've heard so many rumours about them that its hard for me to know.

According to thesmart.ca->models->forTwo coupe->Specs [ http://www.thesmart.ca/index.cfm?id=4730 ]
The engine is described as a "3-cylinder inline cdi turbo diesel with rear mounted charge-air cooling"

I also quickly looked in the engine compartment at the dealership. I saw a fan blowing on the engine and I don't remember seeing a radiator. This appears to be confirmed by this picutre [ http://www.thesmart.ca/index.cfm?id=4806 ]

According to a US importer - [ http://www.smartcarofamerica.com/ ] - "The Smart is, of course, a rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive car and has an aluminum three-cylinder, air-cooled engine."


In terms of implementation - I'm somewhat inspired by Herbie the Love bug so I lean towards a 63. I also think the project is a couple years away because, it will take me a while to save up for the car/parts...
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, charge-air cooling is an intercooler. The fan you see in the engine compartment is attached to the radiator, which is mounted above the transmission. This may not be a bad thing though, since if you do use a complete drivetrain from a fortwo, you could keep the radiator in the same loctation.
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Brad
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry to say....

http://www.robichaud.freeserve.co.uk/Smart/Smart.htm



That's the intercooler radiator and fan on the left. The engine coolant radiator is at the front, along with the air conditioning radiator.

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66beetle
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't get discouraged about the fact that it's water cooled, though. As James says, it's a small radiator and could easily be mounted somewhere under the Beetle where you wouldn't even see it or know it's there.
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undercover
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not too discouraged. The idea still appears to be possible. At the same time, I was kinda looking forward to the simplicity of an air cooled engine (no radiator fluid to worry about, no radiator to leak, no waterpumps to change...)
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Brad
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

no heat.....
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Greg
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

if your thinking of the watercooled engine, why not put in a subaru.
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Ovalzealous
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

undercover wrote:
I'm pretty sure smart cars are aircooled but I've heard so many rumours about them that its hard for me to know.

According to a US importer - [ http://www.smartcarofamerica.com/ ] - "The Smart is, of course, a rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive car and has an aluminum three-cylinder, air-cooled engine."


Finding out about this for sure would be a good step in the right direction. Next would be the height of the drivetrain package. But really depending on how much space you feel like giving up inside the car anything is possible. After all there was the guy up island that stuffed a cadillac V8 with transaxle into the back of a bug.
But even if it is watercooled I think it would work fine, just a bit more plumbing. Might even be nicer inside with the canvas roof losing all that heat.

Swapping an engine is not a new idea except for your choice of engine. Take a look at this site.

http://www.geocities.com/volkdent/1.html

This could also be done with the VW TDi engine. But mostly look at the placement of the drivetrain. This might be ideal for your idea.

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68IIIbuggy
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Smart engine is most likely a "drive by wire" diesel, and setting up the control brain might be a hassle. Also, what exactly is your aim with this project? Don't forget that the early beetles with 1200 engines got in the neighborhood of 40 mpg, not outstanding by today's standards, but still very good. Also, wrecked smart cars won't be showing up in wrecking yards for a while yet, so you will have to pay top dollar for a new motor (If you can get one at all). I don't want to sound like a pessimist, but you really need to think about all the costs of an undertaking like this, and what exactly you hope to obtain.
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