Illustration for article titled Swapping A Turbo V8 At The Track: How Hard Could It Be?

It took me and a friend of mine five days to get a motor out and back into my ‘70s Volkswagen. These guys swapped out and re-assembled a turbo V8 in less than a day at the track.


The track was Road Atlanta for the recent Gridlife event down there, and the car housing the motor belongs to none other than Hoonigan’s Hert. Here’s what the initial build process looked like a few years back, with a Garrett turbo getting mounted up to a Chevy LS V8 in the front of this second-generation ‘FC’ Mazda RX-7. The motor sounds, and this is a technical term, sikknasty:

In any case, Hert likes to drive the car constantly on the rev limiter and as he pulled up to Gridlife the thing went kerblooey and needed a new engine. That meant the old one had to come out, all of its high performance/turbo parts needed to get swapped onto a new engine, and then all of that needed to get back mounted and wired up to the car:

This is a great watch to remind yourself of all the little things that can go wrong on late night wrenching. (If they didn’t have just that one little part they were missing the whole swap would have taken maybe half a day less time, but then, there’s always some little part you’re missing, right?) And it’s nice to remember all of the weird, sleep-starved things you thought were funny at the time, people you met who just wanted to help with the swap, and all the other things that go on in impromptu car repair moments.

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

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