Finally got to one of the finish lines… After many pieces coming together we made some big progress.
First was the valve cover. I did not need to replace the black unit I had before but I did need to weld to -10AN bungs on the cover for routing to the catch can. I went with white because it is the easiest to see dirt/oil etc. The 2 ports route forward and empty into a tank at the front.
Body work was rather simple. I was able to get keep the sides open to vent out a lot of heat.
Long term I would probably place several pieces here to allow air to exit better. It is nice to be able to get to the jacking port so easily.
Everything under hood looks good and tucks nicely. The turbo guard is hopefully up to the job. If not we will have to get creative.
With the hood on- You can see the turbo but generally it looks fairly clean and sleek.
After much work we have a dashboard in place! By changing the engine I needed to change the gauge cluster. Unfortunately there were some large holes from the Mazda unit and so I opted to replace it with a sheet of aluminum.
Taking a marker and creating some grid lines I was able to work out spacing and placement
New cluster uses the same Trailtech Speedo and Rev Counter. We have 2 new lights for a Check Engine light and one for low oil pressure. 2 Gauges are for boost pressure and the wideband O2 sensor.
I am pretty happy with the results. If I find it to be too bright I will just wrap it with vinyl. I will say that after using the K Pro mobile app I would be happier with a tablet in the middle… That day may be coming sooner than I thought.. Their performance is good and pricing is low!
Stefanie was nice enough to buy me the tig welder I had been drooling over. I had a Lincoln Precision Tig 180 amp transformer machine before and I knew there were a few things I wanted to do differently. I was looking for an AC/DC machine but one that was inverter based and had a smaller footprint. The answer- The Primeweld 225. The support you read about online is second to none and under $900 was not bad either. The unit is always backordered but they seem to get units shipped fairly quickly,
It sat on an inverted bucket until my wife fixed my next problem. I had been searching for a cart and never found any I liked. I wanted it to sit on the side of the garage and not take up a big amount of space. So what happened? While moving a piece of furniture inside a marble shelf broke and the wine rack became less useful. I offered to take it and added wheels to it.
It allowed me to have my plasma cutter on it as well and space to store things. Ultimately it was a great move. I am a big fan of both the cart and the welder. The next project was storing the 5 or 6 different tig rods I had collected. I had some fancy commercial tubes but needed more and was not willing to spend $30 a piece. Following an online video I found the PVC Idea.
Essentially it is a PVC tube cut into a 2 ft and a 1 ft piece. Caps on both end and a coupler in the middle- but only glued on one side. To get maximum style points I used my plotter and cut names for each tube. So far this has been fantastic! I am a fan!
Originally I thought the intercooler would be a quick and cheap project I could simply throw money at.. I was wrong. The sizes I could find were either too small or too large. The issue of exits being incorrectly placed was not a major issue.. So what was?
I wanted the intercooler to be placed in front of the radiator but also not block any more surface area with end tanks than needed. The solution? I turned to CAD- Cardboard aided design! I used the dimensions of a Garrett intercooler core and worked out how big I could make the end tanks to fit.
The CAD model was perfect and I was able to remove the pieces and lay them out in some 1.8″ 5052 Alumunium. After some cutting and tacking we had a pretty great looking intercooler! I fired up the Primeweld 225 and went to town. Things were going very well!
Until the pressure test… After several attempts to find the leak I kept on chasing an area between the core and the end tank. I would grind it down and reweld it a few times. Eventually I got frustrated and took it to a radiator repair place and they verified what I couldn’t believe- the core was leaking but in an area that would require the end tanks cut off and welded. After talking to the company I bought the core from they told me that Garrett was not being helpful and “they were truly sorry.” I won’t buy anything from Garrett again and had to cut off the tank, fix the core and then weld it again. Visually it doesn’t look as good as it did originally and I am going to hold a grudge on this one!
The end result should work well. The end tanks do not block the radiator and it appears to work well. One more project in the books!
From the beginning I knew I wanted to turbocharge the 7. I started looking online and bought all the pieces from Ace Race Parts and started cutting, chopping and grinding to get a manifold together. Initially I had the manifold pictured but landed up replacing it with one that accepted round tubes directly.
Above shows where we started but the finished manifold is seen below.
I got some great tips from my friend Jim and should have used a bigger cup. Lesson for next time! I did backpurge the manifold and the inside loops perfect! You can see the wastegate flange off the side. It isn’t optimal but they are oversized to do what they can about the gases.
Pictured is the GT3076 Garrett turbo charger. It wouldn’t fit inside the body work very well so I opted to put it outside the bodywork.
The Precision 46mm gate was picked to keep tabs on the gases. I considered the ebay generics which are substantially cheaper but opted to “buy once and cry once”after the intake manifold situation.
Thanks to Jim I got my welds to look much better. Flexible bellows were installed on the downpipe and the wastegate tube that merged back into it.
Above is the finished exhaust. The muffler tip was cut back further but all in all it sounds great and looks great in person. Up next the intake piping and intercooler work
After lots of fighting with the intake manifold I decided to stop being cheap and throw money at the problem. What was the problem you say ?
Pardon the dirty alternator..
So the Skunk 2 intake manifold was never designed to be flipped for a RWD configuration. It has the modular design but the flipping is better suited to a K24 than a K20 because of the shorter deck height by 1″.
The intake manifold was a disaster from day 1! It requires that you cut the water pump housing to make it fit and then use spacers/washers to tension the alternator. After hacking up the housing I found that I was still likely to hit the alternator. The solution? I tried to buy the spacer that makes a B series throttle body work on the K series intake. I never attempted to install it and landed up selling it and the intake and ordering the Kmiata intake manifold and throttle body. It was backordered but worth the wait. I did follow the recommended guidance and bought the misalignment spacers due to the flanges not being parallel.
The manifold had the water passage built in which was a nice change and something I didn’t need to buy another part. Generally the fitment is good, the IAC did need a new part (from ebay) but that fitted nicely. All in all it was something I should have done from the beginning.
I removed the body panels on the front,the scuttle, nose, hood, side panel, dashboard etc and then removed the exhaust exposing the engine.
Up next- we pulled the engine (Drain all of the fluids before ever pulling an engine..) and made a big mess. Shockingly it came out quite easily.
On the left- The ecotec engine. On the right- The Miata engine. (note the miata engine is on a pallet which lifts the height. The transmission on the ecotec is about 2″ shorter so the shifting location isn’t idea.
Anyone want a miata engine? I have a deal 🙂 94 Miata with about 80k on it.
Side by side View. Ecotec in the front.
New engine in.. Kinda! I had to cut out some trans tunnel bars. The engine is a bit wider and taller. Taller was expected. Wider not as much. There will need to be some modifications made to get this to work.. The fight isnt over!
After many months of collecting parts I believe I am finally in a position to start pulling the car apart in preparation for the engine swap. For those who haven’t seen or heard- I will be removing the Miata Engine and replacing it with a 2.0 GM Ecotec engine (with Turbocharger and direct injection..)
I will admit- I had a large amount of anxiety (and still do..) about pulling apart a car that was driving and running quite well. Especially not knowing if this new engine would fit or how many modifications are needed.
Starting with the seats, then the transmission tunnel, Radiator, scuttle and some sheet metal I started to pull off the covers and find things to remove- There certainly is no shortage.
The radiator was long overdue for a flushing, the seats had crap under them from 2010 and the questions continue. I also made the decision to remove the installed Halon Fire system and replace it with a single hand held unit in future. There are a few pounds I feel we can save!
Looking at all the wiring and I certainly think there is a good 40 or 50lbs of wiring that will be coming out of the already trimmed down harness
Mitch from Swap Time recently did a video about the harness. It is set to arrive on Wednesday of this week. Following that I will probably try find an hour or 2 to pull the engine this weekend and see if the new one fits!