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Old 01-23-2013, 11:30 PM   #1
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Default Katech V4 for a Miata?

Hmm just ran across this engine v4 Katech | Katech Inc.
Apparently it has already been put in a motorcycle, but given it's lightness it would seem like an ideal match for a miata or perhaps the catfish kit car?
Given I have no idea how much they cost or what kind of transmission they can be mated to, just seemed like a cool concept-a motorcycle engine oriented in the right way to power a RWD car.

Last edited by Joe Perez; 01-23-2013 at 11:35 PM. Reason: Your leenk! I feex!
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:47 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by kaisersoze View Post
Given I have no idea how much they cost or what kind of transmission they can be mated to,
Given that "The V4 draws on the legendary architecture of the Corvette LS series V8," I'm going to go out on a limb and postulate that perhaps it's capable of mating with the same bellhousing that the LS-series engines use.


While 350 HP / 360 ft lbs in a package weighing 162 lbs is extremely appealing, I can't imagine that this engine could cost less than a complete LS3 swap, including the Miata to put it in.

Exotic, artisan engines like this are never cheap. The Radical SR8 (double-Hayabusa) engine, for instance, sells for around 20,000 (~$31,600), and that engine uses off-the-shelf heads.
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Old 01-24-2013, 12:02 AM   #3
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I just shot Katech an email asking for price and trans options. I'll post the answer here if they feel like responding.

It can't cost that much, right? I mean, just the price of an LS motor and a whole bunch of bandsaw blades. Then you have two motors to sell! -- Joking, of course.
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Old 01-24-2013, 12:17 AM   #4
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Just buy a wrecked corvette and call up Fae.

The rest will be history and for 1/4 the price.



On a serious note: only the f/i version makes impressive power/torque, all of which would easily be achieved by a bone stock ls, or a honda engine, or even a miata engine.

Which begs the (probably) obvious question: is low weight and compactness what makes you guys lust after something like this?
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Old 01-24-2013, 12:25 AM   #5
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Which begs the (probably) obvious question: is low weight and compactness what makes you guys lust after something like this?
Yes, that's what interests me the most. Of course the cost alone would keep me from doing it, or even an LS3 swap.
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:03 AM   #6
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Given that "The V4 draws on the legendary architecture of the Corvette LS series V8," I'm going to go out on a limb and postulate that perhaps it's capable of mating with the same bellhousing that the LS-series engines use.


While 350 HP / 360 ft lbs in a package weighing 162 lbs is extremely appealing, I can't imagine that this engine could cost less than a complete LS3 swap, including the Miata to put it in.

Exotic, artisan engines like this are never cheap. The Radical SR8 (double-Hayabusa) engine, for instance, sells for around 20,000 (~$31,600), and that engine uses off-the-shelf heads.
Possibly but I think the Motus motorcycle was going to retail for like 15K so I doubt the entire engine would cost 30K like the Hartley and the powertec hayabusa derived engines. Even if it is 10K for the engine is it worth that to lose 200lbs from the front of the car?
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:33 AM   #7
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OK here's what I got cause I know people who know people's cell phone numbers.

It's NOT the Motus engine. Katech and Motus have gone their separate ways. This is a different engine than what is in the Motus.

This engine is est. 6-12 months away from being ready to ship with more definite pricing.

Estimated price at the moment ~$15k. They do have engines there if you really want one and in customers stuff already but they are small production things with small production pricing. They are trying to find various applications/customers who will buy some in quantity, which will allow them to lower the cost on everything and get the price (much?) lower than that $15k. That's what they are working on in the next 6-12 months. There's some probable leads in some surprising applications.

It's a generic bellhousing, simple adapter plate need to bolt it to whatever. Fancy independent trumpets for race stuff or a traditional plenum intake recommended for non race stuff.

Besides the cam bearings, there's no LS parts on it. Hydraulic valvetrain.

I want to see some Jesel stuff in there and the RPMs taken to the moon.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:50 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by 18psi View Post
On a serious note: only the f/i version makes impressive power/torque, all of which would easily be achieved by a bone stock ls, or a honda engine, or even a miata engine.

Which begs the (probably) obvious question: is low weight and compactness what makes you guys lust after something like this?
And the fact that it would sound glorious. But mostly because its small and light enough that you could cram it really far back in the engine bay and end up with a rear weight bias rather than a front or 50/50. A 15k engine + a 10k sequential gearbox in a miata or miata based kit car would be glorious to drive I just wish the R engine didnt make peak power at redline and you could rev it past 9500 rpm.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:57 AM   #9
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Possibly but I think the Motus motorcycle was going to retail for like 15K
Motus' site has them starting at $30975
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Old 01-24-2013, 11:08 AM   #10
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And the fact that it would sound glorious. But mostly because its small and light enough that you could cram it really far back in the engine bay and end up with a rear weight bias rather than a front or 50/50. A 15k engine + a 10k sequential gearbox in a miata or miata based kit car would be glorious to drive I just wish the R engine didnt make peak power at redline and you could rev it past 9500 rpm.
It would also make the motor pretty easy to work on. you could sit in the engine bay with it.
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Old 01-24-2013, 11:20 AM   #11
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Motus' site has them starting at $30975
I stand corrected.
Thanks for finding all that info on the engine Tim.
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Old 01-24-2013, 12:39 PM   #12
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This thread seems kind of silly to me.

If you want a lightweight engine that turns eleventy billion RPM with a sequential gearbox for a kit-car, buy a wrecked Hayabusa.

If you want a 300 HP engine for a stock-bodied Miata with a sequential gearbox, build up a stock engine and then call Hewland and pay them a silly amount of money to adapt one of their units to the Miata.

If you want enough torque to move mountains, and clearly have money to blow, just mail your car to FM along with a check for $25k.


Aisde from being somewhat unique, I'm not sure why this engine would be desirable in a Miata.
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:39 PM   #13
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1.) Come on, Joe. The fact that there are options already doesn't mean there aren't better ones.


2.) The Motus engine would be fairly well suited to a Miata if the gearbox is strong enough, I.E. stronger than a Hayabusa gearbox. They don't have reverse, though, which would kind of suck in a street car.


I have nothing to add about this mysterious engine that Katech built without a market for. Seems like a strange business decision, unless it's just the Motus engine with the Motus badges taken off and a bellhousing flange added.
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Old 01-24-2013, 02:20 PM   #14
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1.) Come on, Joe. The fact that there are options already doesn't mean there aren't better ones.
don't get me wrong- I'm always open to the possibility of better / faster / cheaper. That's pretty much what we're all about.

I just can't quite wrap my head around how a 4 cyl engine that costs ~$15,000 in raw form (plus accessories, mounts, electrics, transmission adapter, etc) is a significant improvement in any meaningful way over either boosting the **** out of a BP engine or transplanting a mass-produced V8 drivetrain into the car.

Both of these options are cheaper, both are potentially faster.


With ideas like this, we sometimes look at them and say "wow, that's totally new and revolutionary!"

Except that the V-4 engine isn't.

Motorcycle makers have been building 'em for a while. The Yahama V-Max is probably the best known, though Honda has dabbled in them as well. Ford and Saab have built a couple of them, as did the Russian company ZAZ during the soviet era. During the 90s, there was some company building custom V4 engines for use in air-cooled VW applications, though I can't remember the name.

The reason they're not all that popular, frankly, is that they suck. You get all the added cost and complexity of a V engine in a displacement class which, aside from motorcycle and outboard engines, usually isn't all that space-constrained. And to top it off, they just don't run very smoothly. Even with a balance-shaft, V-4 engines are rough little buggers.


So, yeah. It's a neat re-take on a classic concept. But if it seems like I'm being a bit of a Gloomy Gus on this particular design, that's mostly because it's been tried (and failed at) many times over many decades. There are better solutions.
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Old 01-24-2013, 03:40 PM   #15
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Cool little motor. I kind of agree with joe, that it's not really feasible to shove one in a miata. However, this motor would an amazing thing in a one off tube chassis, single seater type car. Tiny, lightweight, go kart type handling, and absurdly light would be an extremely fun package.
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Old 01-24-2013, 03:48 PM   #16
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However, this motor would an amazing thing in a one off tube chassis, single seater type car. Tiny, lightweight, go kart type handling, and absurdly light would be an extremely fun package.
For such an application, I would, without question, use an inline-4 motorcycle engine. Massively cheaper, lighter weight, easy off-the-shelf parts availability, and a built-in sequential transmission to boot.
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Old 01-24-2013, 03:53 PM   #17
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Cool little motor. I kind of agree with joe, that it's not really feasible to shove one in a miata. However, this motor would an amazing thing in a one off tube chassis, single seater type car. Tiny, lightweight, go kart type handling, and absurdly light would be an extremely fun package.
or you could just stuff a busa (or one of the liter bikes) engines into it and make more power, rev higher, and cost 1/4 the price.

I'm with joe on this one but didn't want to be the one to start the "hate" cause people would cry about me being a hater like always lol
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Old 01-24-2013, 04:01 PM   #18
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For such an application, I would, without question, use an inline-4 motorcycle engine. Massively cheaper, lighter weight, easy off-the-shelf parts availability, and a built-in sequential transmission to boot.
Most definitively. It would make an amazing track day car to build a 1 seat sports racer with a 1000RR. Bullet proof cheap engine/tranny combo. You know why its a good idea? You can already buy cars like that for like 6 grand used.
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Old 01-24-2013, 04:06 PM   #19
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I'm with joe on this one but didn't want to be the one to start the "hate" cause people would cry about me being a hater like always lol
Why you gotta be hatin' bro?


Seriously, though. I do think it's cool that these folks have decided to build their own engine. I am envious of their skillz (and machine shop.)

And some of these insane custom engines actually meet with my personal seal of approval. Want a genuine F1-style engine for your atom-esque car? The double-hayabusa V8 is a fine (if expensive) solution which offers light weight and extremely high specific output in a nice, compact package.

But this specific design (the LS-inspired V4) seems to be the answer to a question which nobody is asking.

For "real" race applications, there are a number of mass-produced OEM engines which have been proven at the track, are readily available, and don't cost huge amounts of money to build.

For "fun" applications like the street cart or lightweight formula-style kit cars, modern inline-4 motorcycle engines have proven to be an excellent and cost-effective solution. There are a variety of companies building components to adapt them to automotive use, including inline reverse boxes (for front-engined cars) and reversing diffs (for mid-engined cars).

For full-bodied street cars, we have forced-induction solutions available for pretty much every make and model ever created, plus a variety of well-documented V8 swap options, some of which are even available in kit form.


I cannot think of any application in which a one-off V4 engine such as this would be superior in any way (cost, reliability, power, ease-of-installation, parts availability, etc) to one of the solutions mentioned above.
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Old 01-24-2013, 04:46 PM   #20
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But it would be cool. No it's not the most practical thing. But why does the Spyker C8 Laviolette exist? It's outperformed in almost ever measure by a base Corvette, yet it costs upwards of $300,000. And people buy them. Because they're different.

I agree that it's not an ideal motor for a Miata, or really an ideal motor for anything. But it's freaking cool, powerful, would have a neat sound and look, and is based on old-school tech that produces very modern performance. And it's cool.
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