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Old 10-06-2008, 11:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Geo Metro convertible / Kubota diesel engine conversion (driving!)

[Admin note: this thread split off from Diesel Metro? ]

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Originally Posted by michigandiesel View Post
I sent a request to a JDM company asking if they have diesel engines that would fit into a Metro. Has anyone tried fitting a diesel into a Metro? I learned just this evening that the 4 banger Suzuki transmission sits further to the outside than the one in a 3 banger, so that could allow more room between the shock towers. Any thoughts on this approch to even better milage? For the record, I had a 1990 Metro and will be picking up my next one, a 1998 tomorrow morning. Paul
I am installing a Kubota 905E diesel of 900 cc's in my Metro Convertible. I used the stock transaxle location, a Swift flywheel and clutch, and a Kubota geared starter. Pretty straight forward so far. Needs exhaust, coolant lines and a few more electrical connections to run. The oil filter was in the way of the axle and soon I will modify the oil pan so it will not be the lowest point of the car. It sits closer to the right side frame rails that I would like, no room for vacuum pump pulley. I'll try it as is and see if the whole project was worthwhile. Then I may move the transaxle to the 4 cylinder location. We'll see. Tricks or tips, email me at [email]cbx_kim@HOTMael.com ,mispelled for the robots. For pics, how I did it.

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Old 10-07-2008, 12:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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VW parts place had some 3cylender Lupo size engines that were used on some sort of pump or something up for sale a while back, hard to get parts for if something broke down, but the engines are avalible in the USA at least.
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Old 10-07-2008, 12:36 AM   #3 (permalink)
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kimer6 - are you keeping a build thread anywhere? I can tell you this is something people would love to see in a forum thread rather than email. It would generate a lot of interest.
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Old 10-07-2008, 07:46 AM   #4 (permalink)
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kimer6 - keep us posted, ok? Pictures, no matter how awful would be nice. It's always good to have a few people checking out your progress and giving suggestions and asking questions. I had always thought the Kubota line would be a good choice to stick in a Metro. A mechanical diesel would be great - not too much in the way of electronics to worry about. I live out in the country with no emissions requirements, so I could probably get away with it - maybe some future time when the JDM gives out.

I agree with MetroMPG. You should start a new thread with your play by play. I would read this with interest. Good luck on your build!

PS Say hey to my dad. He's spending his retirement days in the po-po (Carson City).
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Old 10-07-2008, 09:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Diesel Metro Po Po Unit

I used a Suzuki G13 flywheel, 7.5 inch clutch, pressure plate and got rid of the Kubota boat anchor flywheel. I bored the flywheel ID fit for a snug fit to the crankshaft. Bolt holes need to be egg shaped, no biggie as this is under 500 horsepower. Need to make a 1/2 inch 1/4 inch deep hole in the crank end to allow for the tranny input shaft clearance. The transaxle I have is from a 4 cylinder Metro and has the tall gears. All of the others 5 speeds will fit but have different final ratios. This is a 900cc 3 cylinder 24 hp diesel Kubota 905 engine.

The 1/2 inch thick steel plate adapter I made just so happens by pure accident to locate the trans/flywheel/engine block in the stock gas engine location. I used the Kubota geared starter and switched it to opposite side of the engine, turned it upside down to fit the transaxle. More majic...the starter depth engages perfectly as mounted on the unaltered engine face of the steel adapter plate.

2 of the 3 motor mounts needed no modifications. The engine motor mount was modified to bolt to the frame rail, used the stock rubber mount.

Much of the wiring on the Kubota will be patched into the stock wiring harness. There will be MINIMAL mods to the car such that I can put the gas engine back in within 4 hours. The testing will be done with a small diesel fuel tank inside the passenger floor, the stock gas tank will be left untouched for now.

I removed the A/C unit as there is no room for an extra pulley next to the frame. The Kubota is slightly longer than the gas 3 cylinder engine. It should be noted that the 1.3 liter 4 cylinder engine has the transaxle moved about 4inches toward the driver's side. Maybe I will move everything later but the 4 cylinder axles need to be used as they are different lengths than the 3 cylinder uses. Too late to start now.

The one picture shows a new Mitsubishi turbo. I have an intercooler as well and may mount these for testing especially if the engine is really gutless. We'll see. Unfortunately I have a real job training monkeys to tig weld and this project has been stalled for the last 6 weeks.

I started the diesel while coupled to the transaxle before dropping it in the frame. There was no unusual vibration. noise, and the odd couple Kubota starter/Suzuki flywheel sounded sweet.

I need to make the coolant lines, attach the heater lines, and make an exhaust system, rig the throttle cable, and rig fuel lines to get this on the road. SOON! (I hope). Keep ya posted...Kim.... dats me in da pic so don't send no kisses.
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Old 10-07-2008, 11:02 PM   #6 (permalink)
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your project! I've long wanted to do something similar. Cost of the diesel engine has been holding me back.
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Old 10-08-2008, 03:55 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Yup, I lost quite a few eBay auctions looking for Kubota diesels in a year. I found a guy needing to move his diesel shop to Montana who had 3 of these. I bought a runner and one that he began disassembling....for $400. I started the good one several times on the garage floor. It still had the radiator and fan attached. I just got plain lucky! I went back a month ago to buy the 3rd one and his old place is vacant. This engine is just plain cute. I hope it pulls the car OK or I will make a diesel powered margarita mixer out of it....Kim
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Old 10-08-2008, 07:12 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I don't think you should have posted those pictures. You are going to get real popular, real quick! What a steal for $400. A used JDM G10 goes for $395 right now plus shipping. I can understand a real job getting in the way of the fun stuff. The engine looks a tad tall, might have issues getting the hood back on? This is a cool project you are working on. Me likey!
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Old 10-08-2008, 12:17 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Metro Diesel

The hood closes fine on the works, but I need to make a right angle discharge thermostat housing as a rubber hose will rub on the underside of the hood. The Metro motor mounts really have some travel and will isolate the vibration nicely.

Kane66, agree, I would love to have a purpose built automotive low emission turbo diesel with common rail injection, electronic injection, etc. Europe has many makes and models. But being a back yarder, I'm stuck with what I can scrape up....for peanuts. The Kubota governor is not suitable for automotive use either. I'll have to make do.

My real purpose for going diesel is that I can brew fuel myself should we get into a 1973 like crisis. I can't make gasoline. I can brew alcohol but in such times I would probably stay home and drink it. Biodiesel stores much safer than gas or alky. Yes VW has a long tranny.

Anybody see the new Pontiac G-6 trans? 6 speed, front wheel drive, new and cheap on eBay, ratios galore. Adapters aren't that hard to make at home......Kim
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Old 10-15-2008, 11:02 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Diesel Metro Road Test

Got it on the road today for the first time. Took it to 55mph and it ran fine. Smokes a little but not like an old Mercedes. Need to shim up the front springs as the engine is heavier and the front end sags. The Kubota iol pan is also 4" from the ground so I limited my fun drive to 25 miles. It got me home OK...Kim



video loads horrible slow the first time. Good for spotting the details, though.

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