Subaru rarely makes mistakes, but in the case of the earlier EJ251 used engines there’s a high incidence of head gasket failure and coolant passage clogging. This is easily addressed during a reseal by replacing the stock single-layer head gaskets with multi-layer ones, having the heads machined, and putting it all back together. The later EJ253 engines didn’t have this problem.
Fuel economy and reliability are both profound (as is expected), but the model year difference is where you should pay attention. The ’90 and ’91 models are going to be your best bet because, after some minor restyling, Honda decided to give the CRX four-wheel disc brakes and new wheels, which can make a world of difference as far as handling is concerned.
The 2019 Kia Forte sedan has actually already been revealed at this year’s Detroit auto show. The new model is sharp-looking and features a fastback-like rear end with a shortened overhang. It’s 3.2 inches longer and slightly taller and wider than the outgoing model. Similar growth philosophy can be expected in the Forte5 hatchback as well.
The subcompact hatchbacks might not offer best-in-class efficiency or the most powerful of engines; it neither wins the cargo room war nor does it sport a class-leading set of features. Yet, it does all of the above more than admirably and offers a well-rounded package of perks that simply can’t be overlooked. It especially excels in the cargo room department where its folding rear seat does wonders. When fully folded down, Honda’s Magic Seat increases the Fit’s starting 16.6 cubic feet of cargo space to a whopping 52.7 cubes. Magic seat indeed.
The Grand National came stock with RWD and a 3.8L turbocharged V6 after 1984, so there’s your ideal model year window. It was originally intended to be a very limited production run celebrating Buick’s back-to-back wins in the NASCAR circuit but was so popular that it lived on for five glorious years.
The best part? These cars are regularly being sold on Autotrader for between $22,000 and $30,000, which is great news because it means you still have money to replace the seats in this car. If you’re planning on using it daily, you should know that the biggest complaints about this car involve garbage seats and a meh interior, but that can always be remedied.
Some of you might not consider this to be an upgrade from a Stanza. I get that. But there’s a huge following for Nissan hardbody trucks, and let’s face it, nobody makes a basic small truck anymore. Most Nissan trucks originally used engines of the VE and other styles, so keep it in the family and choose a KA swap. If you need an occasional parts hauler that doubles as a weekend drift machine, these are a pretty good choice.
Later 240sx models used engines of the KA24DE derivative which had double overhead cams and four valves per cylinder, as opposed to the KA24E’s three-valve SOHC setup. This resulted in higher power, torque, and redline figures. As far as used engines go, either one is a reliable starting point for your next swap.