shim shim shim shim shim shim shim shim shim shim
top1 Home top3 top4 shim
top   top top
  Montecarlo Scorpion Rally 037 top
shim shim shim shim shim shim
Site Sponsors
shim shim

Fitting A Two-Liter Engine To A Lancia Scorpion

The Lancia Scorpion was much maligned for being under powered. Many people have successfully fitted different Lancia engines to this car. Such transplants have come from cars such as the Thema Turbo and Beta Volumex. In this page, Ray McNairy lists the stages he went through fitting a normal Beta 2 liter engine.


"These comments are from my experience and those of others and are provided for information only. No guarantee or warrantee for accuracy or responsibility is given or implied."

General Comments

Why a two-liter? Power plus it's a bolt in. The car was originally supplied in Europe with 120hp, 2L engines. The US got the 1.8L as the 2L was not yet smogged. The extra 200cc came from increasing the 1.8L's stroke while leaving the bore at 84mm. Re-build costs are the same for both. 1.8L heads fit and give approx .3 to .4 higher compression ratio to a given piston due to the 1.8L's smaller chamber: Keppleman thinks it gives a whole point. Costs are 1989/90 costs.


The five main differences between the 1.8 and 2L are block-higher deck- crankshaft, rods, cam belt cover and cam belt. Pistons are interchangable as are the flywheel, seals, aux. shaft, all bearings, crank pulley, oil pump and pan. Crank thrust shims are on the center main in the 1.8 and rear main for the Beta 2L, same shim. The 1.8L Scorp. oil pump gasket is the same as the 2L not the 1.8L FIAT. 2L Beta blocks require cutting off the drivers CV joint mount boss approx .83" and some grinding for front motor mount clearance while some 2L 124/131 blocks fit as is.

Check that the front motor mount plate has the correct mount holes when using a FIAT block. The oil filter blocks are interchangeable and you should use the one that fits your accessories.

All late starters fit if you drill out the center bolt hole for the scorp. alignment bushing.

Use the scorp. water pump as it is unique. Beta pumps fit but have a thinner impeller. There is no real tricks to re-building a twin cam but i will include some hints that helped me. Get a good manual that has all the timing and torque info.

The factory tech. manual reversed the torque spec. For rod cap bolts; it should read 47 nm (35 ft-lb) not 74. Use a torque wrench on everything. Some bolts, cam towers, are really close to stripping out if over torqued plus the cam cover and pan gaskets will extrude if they are too tight.

Use an engine stand, they are cheap and really give you the flexibility necessary to work on the lump.

Use a FIAT 2l gasket set for either the 1.8 or 2L engines. I use a hi-temp silastic sealant on all paper gaskets. Remove the fuel pump cam from the aux. shaft and plug the oil hole. Ask your machinist for advice about how to plug this hole; I used a allen head set screw plus peening. Timing the aux. shaft is no longer required.

Use a moly based assy. lube on every bearing surface and dynamic oil seal. Check all bearing tolerances with plasti-gage when dry and torqued down. Checking with plasti-gage requires two assemblies but now is the time to find a problem. Do not rotate a dry crank. Hot tanking the block will degrade the aux shaft bearings but fitted bearings are available, well worth the replacement effort. Check the block deck in case it needs to be milled. Line boring the mains is usually not required but check anyway. I install everything, including pan and head except the cam belt, rotate the engine stand and use a level on the oil pan to get the correct engine angle then fill the thing with oil and spin the aux shaft with a 1/2" drill motor. This fills the oil filter and all the oil galleries and allows you to calibrate the Beta dip stick.

Now install the cam belt and anything else you forgot and your ready to drop it in. Remember the intake and exhaust cam gears are not interchangable for the correct cam timing, timing holes are toward the engine center line from the drive dowels. The cam end play is adjusted by the end plate gaskets, use the right thickness or the cams will bind with expensive results. Costs are about $1k(1990)for a complete re-build, including clutch.

Head labor for a three angle job including milling is about $80 for the bare head. Whoever does it needs to measure the valve height before and after as you might not be able to adjust the tappets if it isn't done right.

Block labor, including boring, balancing, piston pin assy, re-building the rod big ends and re-finishing the flywheel has run $250-$300 depending on what needs to be done. Consumable parts are not bad with hi-comp pistons being the highest cost. Buy pistons that come with rings and pins/keepers.

Costs of cams, inline Beta dist plus machine work required for fit up and Beta intake cam tower is not included. On the bench, when adjusting valves, always use a spacer on each end of the head as one valve is always open and you do not want to bend them. Special tools are available and a real help when adjusting valves or toruqeing the flywheel and crank pully.

I suggest finding a good machinist who is interested in some form of racing as they usually know all the little tolerance tricks. Tell them exactly what you want to end up with then discuss reality. Use new bearings, gaskets, seals and pistons. Do not use a 2L head from a carb car as, i'm told, the intake runners are very restricted from being smogged. Stock 1.8L, European 2L heads or FI heads are the best choice and fit. FI heads do not have the air pump nozzles. While the engine is out, replace the tranny seal and throwout bearing. Additionaally, i adapted a 28/36DCD carb and an aftermarket aircleaner, everything clears.

What i did to my 80 Beta 2L block is the following: bore @ 84.4 using 8.9/1 pistons, 1.8L head which gives approx 10/1-keppleman-compression ratio, ring gaps alternate at 180 degrees front to back, 40/80 cams with larger abarth [.5Mm] valves and Volumex head bolts. The valve springs are new stockers, just cuzz. I removed the forge lines from the rods, stress relieved and re-built them. Aftermarket steel cam and aux drive gears, Beta intake cam tower with an 81 Beta inductive inline distributor and FIAT FI ignition module. I had all the rotating parts including chutch pressure plate flywheel assy, crank pully, and rod/piston assemblies balanced for or at 8000 rpm. The crank journals were micro-polished and the interior block casting marks were ground down for stress relief. Everything was boiled or carb tanked and most aluminum was bead blasted.

The rod/main bearings are stock fiat. The pan and oil pump are stock. The 2L Montecarlo pan has the same part number as the 1.8L scorp but if the pan bolts are too tight the rod bolts will hit the original scorp. pan tray. I did all the dis-assembly and assembly to save money including setting valve clearance at .017. I prefer gasket sets with the head gasket having built in silastic sealing areas. I used the 1.8L oil block, machined for a bosch 65 amp alternator located where the air conditioning compressor was, a cut off [ps&ac drives] beta crank pully and a Beta water pump pully for correct accessory rpm. Currently, i have about 60k mi on it and love it, it was well worth it plus everything fit with no modifications to the body.

The car has lots of cruise low end for hills plus it's fun time when i open the DCD secondary and the r's let the cams work. The car acts almost like an American V-8, granted, a small smogged one. The next step is to install the dual 40DCNFs that are sitting on the shelf. I can use 89 octane unleaded due to the 40/80's overlap. I drive the car 80 easy mi/day and am getting 28 mpg. By changing carb jets, i can get more than 30 mpg.

No heat problems even with long 70-75 mph runs on a 100 deg. day. The engine runs at 190 water and 220/230 max. oil temp degrees with 50 psi oil pressure at 3000rpm. In the summer I change to 20/50 wt. oil as my area low is in the 60's. I ran a non detergent 30w oil for the first 500 mi. to seat the rings, seemed to work as it has used less than 1/2 pt in 1200 mi. and after 50k mi the thing uses (leaks) less than a qt. in 5k mi. I'm running a set of bosch WR5DPs as the WR6 plugs were running a little too hot; white with a slight run on. The motor mounts were used but seem to be holding up. The old 1.8 didn't run that bad but had low or top end torque depending on the cams. The 2L is the only way to enjoy both without some form of blower and a lot cheaper.

he 65 amp Bosch barva alternator lets me see the gages when the halogens are on and required no new wiring. A Beta belt tension bracket is required as is a short spacer which can be built up from washers and a different belt [beta?]. Re-locating the alternator and distributor really opens up the area around the carb['s] plus you can now change the oil filter from the top without removing the belly pan. I located the ignition module on the bracket that mounted the air pump valves and removed the old coil and the voltage regulator plus taped up the now unused rotor input wiring. The FIAT ignition does drive the tack.

Downside to all of this; 2Ls do not like to rev as high as the 1.8L, it sounds strained at about 250 rpm less; no big deal for the way I use the car.

Comments on changing oil and the filter

I change mine at no more than 5000 mi. max. Using Castrol 10/40, or 20/50 and a Fram ph-7. When i looked at the 1.8Ls bore after 70+ k mi i could still see the 600 grit hone marks and there was minimal bore taper on the thrust side plus the engine interior was minus the usual varnish buildup. Like the Fram ad says "pay me now or pay me later."

Originally written - 1995-11-02

shim shim

Last updated: 2000-12-10