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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I haven't been here in a while (new system, wow it has been a while) but I figured this may be the kind of automotive crazy that someone here may enjoy. I'll start back at the beginning and if people respond I'll continue to update as things progress.

A while ago a customer brought in a 1964 Jeep Gladiator J-200 to have us restore the body on it and as one thing led to another we ended up doing an engine swap on it as well. Without going into too much detail here I ended up getting given the old engine, transmission and transfer case in exchange for a nice story. The engine is of the original type for that Jeep but the transmission isn't technically correct for it and I'm not sure the transfer case is either. Here it is after we pulled the whole deal out of the frame and sat it on a pallet where it still sits tonight.




I had never seen one of these before this one drove into the shop, it's a single over head camshaft inline six cylinder with 2 valves per cylinder in a hemispherical combustion chamber. Even more bizarrely there are only six lobes on the camshaft, each lobe works both the intake and exhaust rockers for that cylinder. The engine was only sold commercially in the United States from 1962-1965 and then dropped from the lineup, it was sold to the military for several years even after that though. Apparently they were and are extremely popular in Argentina and ended up being sold by Renault down there into the 90s.

Doing research on the engine instantly piqued my curiosity, with the hemi chambers the head flows extremely well, really too well for the 230 cubic inch extremely long stroke architecture of the engine. Parts are difficult to find for basically everything and it shares nothing with the Jeep inline sixes that everyone is used to. This was actually done when Kaiser still owned Jeep and was basically an exercise in how to squeeze more power out of the Kaiser flat head inline six engine which itself was based upon a tractor engine. They were notorious for using and leaking oil, being difficult to maintain, and not really making much power.



This thing is just too cool looking to toss to the scrapper though.
 

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This is very cool. I have heard of the ”Tornado” six cylinder engine, but I have never actually seen one.

🍺
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
One other strange thing with these engines is there is no real flange to the back side of the block for the bell housing to bolt to. There are five bolts that hold the bell housing to the engine block with three of those bolts being behind the flywheel, which is covered on 5 of 6 possible sides by that same bell housing. You have to remove the transmission from the bell housing, unbolt the flywheel and drop it out the bottom of the bell housing, and then you can remove the bell housing from the block. Oh, and the bell housing is 3 inches deeper than a normal bell housing from other engines of the era. That added depth meant the input shaft of the transmission was unusually long and consequently there really aren't transmission upgrades possible unless it was meant for this engine or one of the Kaiser flathead engines.


That's a picture of the front side of the bell housing showing the lack of a wide flange on the engine block and the enclosed front side of that bell housing.

More fun was the valve train I described earlier.



The rocker arms/followers weren't mounted on rocker shafts or pivot studs like a normal Jeep inline six engine. They were mounted on ball studs like a Chevy or Ford small block V8 where you would typically use pushrod guide plates to keep them straight. Obviously with the cam in the head there are no pushrods so they just sort of bent a piece of steel with finger type pieces that fit into the stamped steel rockers and kept them straight-ish. The funny thing with this is that finger plate is softer metal than the rocker arms in order to not destroy the rockers, but as it wears the cam timing changes because the rockers can twist sideways on the lobes.


A closer up image of the cam lobe, you can see there are rectangular pads welded to the rocker arms to ride on the camshaft lobes so as the rocker twists the that pad will hit the lobe earlier. Also if you look closely you can see the oil hole in the lobe itself to lubricate this rocker pad, the cam itself is hollow and an oil galley. This rocker guide plate is worn and someone has brazed on additions trying to keep it working in the past. I'd love to be able to buy one, but so far as I've found new ones don't exist. What I can get is a new old stock set of rocker arms so I'll grab those at some point and then we'll have to make a new guide plate which should be simple enough.



More evidence of people being in here in the past is that the valve seals look to have been replaced with positive seals instead of umbrella seals. This is fantastic news and probably a reason why the engine didn't appear to be burning oil in the Gladiator it was in. I would love to open the thing up and make sure the valves are sealing well and re-ring the pistons but I don't have that kind of money laying around. The plan is to find a way to put an M90 supercharger on this thing using a draw through carburetor so the ring seal is gonna get tested.
 

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That’s amazing, I’ve only ever seen one of these at a car show and I was fascinated by it. Much like the time I saw my first Pontiac Sprint motor at a show. In the ‘90s you just didn’t know about these things even if you were a car guy.

Im surprised he was willing to part with it, seems odd.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I was able to swipe a rear axle from more old junk for free too. This bit of junk to be precise.



That thing looks like death, and it kinda is. We bought that for a couple hundred bucks to rob door trim, vent window frames, and a core support for the Gladiator and the rest was going back to the junk yard so I swiped the axle. It's a Dana 44 with an offset center section and a 3.31:1 gear set.



The brakes on that thing were Done, but I don't really care about those. The bearings and gears in the thing all feel good and it's had fluid in it the whole time. It will need new seals though. My older boy and I have cut the spring and shock mounts off of it and cleaned a lot of the rust off it.

Now we only grabbed the rear axle despite having a four wheel drive transmission because the plan is to convert the transmission to rear drive only by making an adapter housing to take the place of the transfer case. The input gear of the transfer case is mounted to the transmission output shaft so there are no bearings or anything to have to make work and support the input side. Here is a picture of the back side of the transmission with the transfer case removed. Something else kinda funny is the transmission and transfer case shared gear oil on this design.


You can clearly see the dog gear to make the transfer case to 2 wheel high on the aft side of the low range gear. The idea is to literally turn the transfer case into a single speed transmission and ditching the intermediate and front output shafts. The rear output shaft is part of a separate cast housing that also has the bearings for that output shaft incorporated into it. The vent for everything is also located on this housing.



The cool thing here is the way the output gear is made there is plenty of room to put the slide collar forward to lock the input and output shafts together and then weld that collar to the output gear so that it's permanently engaged. All I have to do is make a flange plate to bolt to the back of the transmission, weld a piece of large diameter pipe to the back of that and then have another flange to bolt the output housing welded to that tube section. Boom the transmission that was four wheel drive only and next to impossible to replace is now a rear wheel drive transmission.

The money shot, the reason that I asked for this lump of uselessness and am converting it to rear wheel drive, is that I'm going to build something like this....

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I haven't used any computer modeling for anything, it's all been pencil and paper. You could say it adds to the romanticism of making something akin to a 20s/30s Grand Prix car doing the designing the old fashioned way but it's more just this way is easier and more entertaining for me. One of the first things I did was just locate everything in profile to get a good idea of where the components would sit and what I'd need to be looking at for wheel base and the height I needed the nose and cowl and seating position and things of that nature. Then I did it again several more times because I'd want to change this or modify that.



The engine is BIG and it's mostly iron so it's heavy. Conversely the transmission is tiny, literally the same length as the bell housing. The extremely long stroke of the engine (4.375 inches I think......) makes the engine very tall and the overhead cam makes it even taller. That picture was like version four I think, I've lost track at this point, and I've since lowered the cowl, seating position, and rear deck.



This was drawn shortly after the side shot and was starting to establish a frame. I mentioned above that the center section of the rear axle was offset and this shows why that's important. I'm off setting the engine 3 inches to the right to be able to keep the body narrow. The axle is offset 4.5 inches so I can set both things as zero incline and still have a driveline offset that way. Top down here also showed I'm running narrow tires, I got some 26 inch tall vintage racing tires from Coker that have 4.5 inch treads to keep with the look.



The wheels are going to be 15x6 smoothies, painted center with polished rims. I REALLY wanted taller wire wheels, the Jeep rear axle is the same bolt pattern as a Ford Model A so you can fit 19 or 21 inch wire wheels for them and go with a 28 or 30 inch tall tire. Just the wheels though was going to cost more than three thousand dollars and I just couldn't justify it.

That Jeep axle did cause problems with the front end though. I'm going to have to make spindles so I need a bolt in hub that has a bolt pattern that works with the 5x5.5 rear axle and the choices were certainly limited there. The wheels themselves are dual pattern 5/5.5 so what I ended up getting were hubs from a 2004 Grand Cherokee. Going with those I also got the brake disks, and then brake calipers and brackets from a 1994 Chevy Caprice. It turns out that most everything with that bolt pattern either came with wheels much larger than my 15 inch ones or the caliper brackets were integrated into the suspension upright, or the brake rotors themselves had integrated wheel bearings. The brake rotors from the Grand Cherokee and Caprice are nearly the same measurements though so I can mix and match. The bonus is that because of the 1996 Impala SS you can get performance brake pads for the Caprice calipers.
 

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this sounds like a really fun build, I’m excited to watch this unfold. thanks for coming back, I know the new forum is hard to get used to but I think I’m starting to like it. for me it wasn’t completely a shock because the Outback forums switched to this a year or two ago.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Building the frame it's been decided to do a combination of steel tubing and welded panels. I wanted to go with .095 wall tubing but it seems like they've just quit importing a lot of types of steel. What ended up being ordered was 1.5 inch .120 steel tubing to do the main frame sections and the plan is to double that tube vertically, and then weld 14 gauge down the inside and outside covering where the two tubes touch. Think of a figure eight inside an oval, 3 inch by 1.5 inch rail that is 4 separate tubes in cross section.

With the car being single seat and hopefully quite light weight it doesn't need much vertical strength but I want it to have a lot of lateral and torsional stiffness. To go with this and reinforce parts of it as well as make the hoops to hold the body panels from the firewall back I ended up getting 1 inch .120 wall square tubing. Again I wanted .095 wall, the thinner tube would've cut weight by 20%, but it wasn't an option. A side drawing of the frame.



This one again is partly right partly not. It's still got the higher cowl and has an idea for a roll bar on it that may or may not show up. I'm also thinking the diagonal bar by the seating area should be angled the other way so as to reinforce where the frame has to raise over the rear axle. The scribbled numbers were from trying to figure out how much tubing I needed to buy to get the frame started.



The was the drawing that convinced me to change the cowl height and to change the way the front end is done. I had started with the sheet metal of the nose being in line vertically with the frame rails, but it looks way better with the narrower nose so I'll have to inset the sheel metal in the frame rails at the front. The grill was something I designed off the top of my head and later realized I must've been thinking about a 33 Ford without realizing it. These were done before I had started working on suspension angles for the front but I already knew I wanted to do independent even though 20s/30s cars were still solid axle front ends.

You can also see there that I'm planning on coil over shocks rather than leaf springs and am planning on the same in the back. I had entertained the idea of a transverse leaf spring in the back, but I want to do a Watts linkage back there and the transverse leaf would've been in the way. The rear axle is going to be a long arm set up with the Watts being the centering link. Days of measuring, figuring, checking, repeating resulted in front suspension architecture.



I'm real happy with a lot of the numbers kicked out by that, the camber curve and scrub radius are good and it should make the tie rod ends manageable. The roll center is a little higher than I'd like but only by an inch or so. I've looked at trying various changes to lower than roll center but they end up adversely affecting my scrub radius and camber curves. The vertical center of gravity is going to be high because of the tall engine so I think I'd rather have the tall roll center than lose camber curve.

The car is simply going to be a track car/engineering and fabrication exercise with no plans on making it street legal so the suspension design is straight up race car geometry (or at least as close an approximation as I can get). Wheel travel is going to be 2 inches compression 1 inch extension with a -1.7 degree per inch camber gain on compression and -2 degrees static camber. The shocks are going to have to be raised slightly in reality as opposed to the picture, I wasn't thinking of the threading of the Heim joints needing room when I drew that. Roll center should be just over 3 inches.

I did do a ****ty MS Paint drawing showing the colors I'm thinking and having a six foot shadow person for scale (His name is Antoine).



There is a picture of the Tornado engine online where someone has painted it gold and I like it so that's what I'm going to do. The white and blue were the "Official" racing colors of the United States back in the day with it being white with blue stripes. I'm not a fan of racing stripes on cars of this type but I like the way this looks with kind of a slightly darker than medium blue grill surround and everything else being off white. I like the burgundy wheels with it and I love white over red interiors so the seat will be covered to match the wheel color. I promised the previous owner of the engine that if he wanted I'd include a version of his company logo on the side of the tail where a number plate likely would have resided.

I'm hoping to be no more than 8 thousand dollars all in on this thing and have it done by Summer 2022. Both numbers may be unrealistic in the end but I really believe they're possible. A couple coworkers in the custom shop I work at are sounding excited to help and between the three of us we can probably get it made by then. As long as the money doesn't go crazy there shouldn't be too big an issue on that side either (provided my wife keeps putting up with this). This is pretty much where things stand now, I've got metal ordered and we're hoping to be able to get started assembling the frame soon. If were get the thing to a rolling chassis by the end of May my boss wants it in our GoodGuys show booth so that'd be cool as my Yamaha XS650 is maybe going to be there too.

I've still got to get steering worked out and really should've done that tonight, but like I said just thought maybe people here would be interested. I'm going to use a quick ratio Vega steering box, but even that is really slow steering with 6.25 turns lock to lock. I'd love to have that number down to 3 and need to figure out how the steering arm on the spindle needs to be placed to achieve that. Hope some people get some enjoyment from this, like I said if it's received well I'll try to keep this updated. I've got another build thread on this happening at XS650.com and have gone a lot more in depth on numbers there if anyone wants that.

P.S. I'm not a chassis engineer or race car builder or anything like that, it's likely none of what I've drawn out is perfect. I'm just a good working at a custom car shop with a dream of owning an old race car and this seemed like that chance.
 

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This is friggin' cool!!! Is the driveshaft gonna be running right under your ass? That's gonna be a fantastic drive for sure. Good luck, hope you can find what you need.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That’s amazing, I’ve only ever seen one of these at a car show and I was fascinated by it. Much like the time I saw my first Pontiac Sprint motor at a show. In the ‘90s you just didn’t know about these things even if you were a car guy.

Im surprised he was willing to part with it, seems odd.
It's such a strange engine and the fact that Kaiser is who did it just makes it stranger. To think this was designed in 1958 and was done straight from a flat head engine boggles my mind, they didn't do a pushrod overhead valve engine in between. Like a lot of people here I've loved cars for a lot of years and have read a ton of stuff on the history of the automobile but had no inkling of the existence of these because Kaiser was barely big enough to warrant a footnote in that history. I kinda fell in love with the idea when I saw the engine and especially so once I started reading everything I could find on it.

They were weak even by the standard of the day rated 140hp and 210lb-ft and people say you can't even push them past 5000rpm or things try to come out. The head flow numbers wouldn't be out of place on a hot factory Chevy 327 though, and that's a lot of the problem because the bottom end simply can't move enough air to use the heads, and the best you could get was a tiny 2 barrel carburetor on top of that. The casting for the exhaust manifold looks extravigant by the standards of the day though.

Desktop Dyno 2000 in my experience is actually a pretty reliable predictor of engines in my experience if you plug the numbers in truthfully and I've modeled this engine in it. The assumption with the Tornado was that it was slightly underrated and was actually more like 150hp and 215lb-ft of torque and that's what DD comes up with as well. Amusingly you can find places online where guys have stuck this head on flow benches and recorded the numbers but you couldn't find the camshaft specs anywhere so I had to degree the cam myself to get those numbers. If you take those numbers and add in the info from an M90 spinning at twice crankshaft RPM that bumps up to 240hp and 310lb-ft of torque though and even then only running 4-5psi of boost because the M90 is still too small for the head flow. The stock compression ratio though is 8.5:1 and the M90 shouldn't really stress the engine, apparently RPM is the only thing that really kills then because the heavy pistons and high speeds just rip the connecting rods in half. To that end I need to run an MSD 6AL and set a hard limiter to 5,000. If I can keep dry weight in the 1500-1600 pound range with the skinny tires it should be enough to make the car a hoot to drive.

The owner of the Gladiator had originally said he wanted to keep the engine, but we're having to modify the frame to engine swap and add power steering for him so there wouldn't be an easy way to go back to it. He wanted something that would be easier to maintain and add power steering but still look correct so the truck is getting a 258 and a four speed transmission. I don't think I've mentioned to this point the trans that is on the Tornado is a 3 speed. But the difficulty finding parts, the incompatibility with essentially all other vehicles, and the modification made to the truck frame he just decided there was no point to holding on to it and there isn't really any market to sell it. He said he's looking forward to see the engine continue to be used and the race car idea so here we are.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
This is friggin' cool!!! Is the driveshaft gonna be running right under your ass? That's gonna be a fantastic drive for sure. Good luck, hope you can find what you need.
Sort of under and beside you, The body/frame at the seat is 36 inches wide and the driveshaft off center to the "passenger" side 3-4.5 inches which leaves a bit over 20 inches for the driver beside the driveline with the rear axle about a foot and a half behind the seat. The wheel base is 111 inches and the entire length of the vehicle just over 140. Height at the cowl 36 inches not counting the small wind screen I'm planning, and again maybe a roll bar.

I'm actually wondering should I decide to take this thing to autocrosses will I be able to get on the track in the first place, and will I need a roll bar to make that a possibility. I've never autocrossed anything and have no idea the safety requirements. This won't be fast or win anything I know, but it should be tons of tail happy sliding fun.
 

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It's such a strange engine and the fact that Kaiser is who did it just makes it stranger. To think this was designed in 1958 and was done straight from a flat head engine boggles my mind, they didn't do a pushrod overhead valve engine in between. Like a lot of people here I've loved cars for a lot of years and have read a ton of stuff on the history of the automobile but had no inkling of the existence of these because Kaiser was barely big enough to warrant a footnote in that history. I kinda fell in love with the idea when I saw the engine and especially so once I started reading everything I could find on it.

They were weak even by the standard of the day rated 140hp and 210lb-ft and people say you can't even push them past 5000rpm or things try to come out. The head flow numbers wouldn't be out of place on a hot factory Chevy 327 though, and that's a lot of the problem because the bottom end simply can't move enough air to use the heads, and the best you could get was a tiny 2 barrel carburetor on top of that. The casting for the exhaust manifold looks extravigant by the standards of the day though.

Desktop Dyno 2000 in my experience is actually a pretty reliable predictor of engines in my experience if you plug the numbers in truthfully and I've modeled this engine in it. The assumption with the Tornado was that it was slightly underrated and was actually more like 150hp and 215lb-ft of torque and that's what DD comes up with as well. Amusingly you can find places online where guys have stuck this head on flow benches and recorded the numbers but you couldn't find the camshaft specs anywhere so I had to degree the cam myself to get those numbers. If you take those numbers and add in the info from an M90 spinning at twice crankshaft RPM that bumps up to 240hp and 310lb-ft of torque though and even then only running 4-5psi of boost because the M90 is still too small for the head flow. The stock compression ratio though is 8.5:1 and the M90 shouldn't really stress the engine, apparently RPM is the only thing that really kills then because the heavy pistons and high speeds just rip the connecting rods in half. To that end I need to run an MSD 6AL and set a hard limiter to 5,000. If I can keep dry weight in the 1500-1600 pound range with the skinny tires it should be enough to make the car a hoot to drive.

The owner of the Gladiator had originally said he wanted to keep the engine, but we're having to modify the frame to engine swap and add power steering for him so there wouldn't be an easy way to go back to it. He wanted something that would be easier to maintain and add power steering but still look correct so the truck is getting a 258 and a four speed transmission. I don't think I've mentioned to this point the trans that is on the Tornado is a 3 speed. But the difficulty finding parts, the incompatibility with essentially all other vehicles, and the modification made to the truck frame he just decided there was no point to holding on to it and there isn't really any market to sell it. He said he's looking forward to see the engine continue to be used and the race car idea so here we are.
the potential seems to be more or less uncharted, and that’s very exciting. did you choose an M90 because of its availablity? I had two M90 powered cars and they make fantastic noises when allowed to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
the potential seems to be more or less uncharted, and that’s very exciting. did you choose an M90 because of its availablity? I had two M90 powered cars and they make fantastic noises when allowed to.
Yeah, ease of getting one and the relative cheapness of them. Being put on so many GM cars 15-20 years ago they're pretty plentiful and that makes them not worth all that much. Wanted to do a twin screw type blower because they were sort of the in thing on the Grand Prix cars in the 20s and 30s. I had originally thought because of the low performance nature of the engine an M62 would work but after doing some looking realized it would basically make no boost. The noise is a draw too and I'm definitely going to block off those slots in the supercharger housing that are there to quiet it down.

The question is: Is the potential uncharted because nobody has bothered to mess with these long enough to find it? Or is it uncharted because it's not really there? I don't have the answer to that yet and I'm hoping the engine is healthy enough I don't just end up throwing oil out the breather.
 

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@NashGTI Look up the FIA requirements for roll cages and then (I am not kidding here) also read the 24Hrs of LeMons rules in depth. LeMons spec is very very tight and produces quite safe cars that are legal at nearly any track. Pay special attention to the bracing of the driver hoop and harness bar mounting. You will not be running a forward hoop so ignore that stuff.

One place to get good info for hoops from is the Caterham groups. While they can often buy off the shelf stuff, they are also dealing with a similar situation to what you have.
 

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Okay, this is awesome.

My curiosity is piqued. That Kaiser engine is definitely weird, but I have to ask. What limits the RPM the most, is the the heavy pistons, weak rods or is it a thin, whippy crank? If the crank is stout enough the rods and pistons would be an easy fix. How many main bearings are in that engine? 5? 7? If that's a solvable problem then it would take a custom cam or regrind and beefing up the rockers. And if that's solvable then it'd come down to a header and intake manifold, both of which should be something that can be fabricated for a one-off. Three sidedraft Webers hanging off of that OHC engine would look killer under that hood. :)

Damn, that looks like a fun project!
 

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I owned a Tornado for several years. Mine was mil spec which means they fixed the biggest problem that you will run into: the mounting points. The non mil 230's mount to the frame using the front engine cover. Vibration causes them to leak, and there really isn't a good way to fix this without changing the mounts to the block. Overall, the engine is a good engine. DUI makes a distributor for it which is well worth the investment. The valve cover seal will always leak. Do not over rev the motor unless you want to see internal parts come out of it.

68608
 

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Yeah, ease of getting one and the relative cheapness of them. Being put on so many GM cars 15-20 years ago they're pretty plentiful and that makes them not worth all that much. Wanted to do a twin screw type blower because they were sort of the in thing on the Grand Prix cars in the 20s and 30s. I had originally thought because of the low performance nature of the engine an M62 would work but after doing some looking realized it would basically make no boost. The noise is a draw too and I'm definitely going to block off those slots in the supercharger housing that are there to quiet it down.

The question is: Is the potential uncharted because nobody has bothered to mess with these long enough to find it? Or is it uncharted because it's not really there? I don't have the answer to that yet and I'm hoping the engine is healthy enough I don't just end up throwing oil out the breather.
also a source for an M90



 
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