Adding the throttle body recently kick-started the progress of getting this thing back together but it also exposed a problem. The old steering shafts was pointed right where the alternator needed to live. I looked at several other alternator options but at the end of the day it made more sense to move the steering shafts than buy a different throttle body and find a way to make the alternator work.
Here was the old setup. The alternator lives right behind it.
The solution was actually easier than I expected. Woodward- the makers of the steering rack- had a variety of universal joints available and on the shelf. Some money was given to them and in return some shiny pieces arrived a few days later.
What is the plan? I expected to use 2 new universal joints to allow for some movement downwards and away from the engine. The results look promising and I manage to maintain my collapsible steering column setup!
Up next- transmission mounts!
It’s been slow and I have been looking to rent some space to use at night to further development of the car and get it ready before 2020.
After the engine was installed I decided I need to mock up drive belts and systems and get the steering sorted out. The next piece of the pie is the exhaust. Having built a header for U bends before I decided that I would like to avoid that again. The solution- a turbo manifold!
The hunt for a turbo was no simple task. Learning about mappings and what characteristics are important took up several hours in the evenings.
I decided on a Garrett G25-660 turbo. After lots of research I was price shopping and about to pull the trigger and an eBay price alert went off. Long story short- I was able to get a GT3076R dual ball bearing unit for $700 that was new in the box. It won’t have the same low end but it should fine given the ball bearings.
Next step is to order a kit to build the rams horn turbo manifold!
It took a while but I snuck a half day into working on the car with my dad. While I thought it was 3 hours of work it actually took 6.
First thing was to pull the k20a3 and remove the transmission and adapter plate.
Up next was moving those parts to the K20z3 and bolting them all back together.
From there we worked out what needed to be changed and we we removed and replaced a tube in the chassis. We also removed the old motor mounting plate and cut a new piece. After 5-10 minutes of welding we started to position the engine.
After measuring and cutting several tubes we had the left side mounted. Next we leveled the engine to 0.6 degrees and started on the driver side. They came out quite well
The final step was to check hood clearance. I didn’t expect it to fit but was nicely surprised. 3 mm to spare!
There week be some challenges with the steering and alternator but those are for a different day!
Ground clearance is a nice and acceptable 4″
Up next is the transmission mounts!
From the moment I bought the engine it has fought me every step of the way. It seems the “Honda mechanic” that I bought it from was either a fantastic liar or had a love affair with red locktite.
I first realized it when I broke a 3/8″ extension trying to remove a flywheel bolt. I then brought out the impact wrench and it did absolutely nothing. A trip to the Chinese took store and coming home with an impact wrench that can make 800ft lbs of torque. The results? Nothing! Didn’t move it at all! Even tried heating the bolt to break the locktite but nothing changed.
Thankfully I have an amazing coworker that has the 1200lb version of the torque wrench. First thing it did was split the 12 point socket into 2. A trip to the orange store and $4 later I had a new 12 point 17mm socket. Given the first one slightly damaged the bolt head I decided to face off the new socket so it would have more grip and less of the rounded approach that makes sockets easier to get on to the bolt.
Unfortunately the bolt head on 2 of them bolts was too damaged. What happens next? Out came the welder! It took 3 attempts with the mig welder but adding a 3/4″ bolt did the trick finally. Most likely the heat of welding broke down any remaining locktite.
Up next I will put the engine back on the engine stand and verify the bottom end is good. And then we can start adding parts. The collection of “go fast parts” is growing!
I’ve been watching the internet for an I-vtec motor and seem to find every idiot in town. Eventually I found someone that had a K20Z3 engine with medium miles. It was a good option and should fit well. At 7 am I pulled it out of my truck and drained the oil. All in all it looks like it’s up to the task!
I don’t have an intake manifold. If anyone has one that would fit please let me know. I’m going to try a standard Honda one first before going the skunk2 route.
In an interesting twist it looks like we may be considering a Honda engine. After looking for small footprint and low heat options the Honda K series engines came to the top. After reading about using it with an S2000 transmission it appeared to have legs.
Hours of research highlighted that the S2000 transmission wasn’t a great choice for big power I somehow landed on a website- kmiata.com. These guys make adapter plates that allow the Honda motor to bolt to a Miata transmission. If I had not sold mine previously I might have had the swap up and running a while ago.
Given the option of a BMW Getrag 260 gearbox I decided to try find one. That was no way task! Luckily eBay helped and I found one about 20 miles away. After a good cleaning it looks pretty good! It will be a while before we understand its condition but it appears to have 5 forward gears and 1 reverse.
After that I managed to get a K20a3 motor to use as a mock up and potentially to use until I find a k20a2. The motor fits quite well and I’m optimistic it will work. Here is a picture of it just dropped into place and held by a 2×4
After having the engine and the transmission I needed to buy the adapter plate to marry them together. After the Ecotec problem I decided to stay as basic as possible until its weld ready. I bought just the plate and bolts and 3 days later they arrived.
I pulled the motor out and gave it a good degreasing and the blew it off with compressed air. Then out came the adapter plate.
The quality is impeccable and my hopes of being able to “spend my way” to completion is still alive!
One small hiccup is that the a3 engine has a different head (the inferior one..) and so it had a fitment problem. Nothing a grinder couldn’t fix.
Time was running out and I had to go shower but that wouldn’t happen before bolting the two together with a minimal amount of bolts. Until next time this is my view when going to work:
Hoping to have the next update and some good news in about a week’s time!
My apologies for taking so long since the last post..a lot has happened but almost nothing automotive! After having a son most of my time has shifted to family time with occasional hours looking at my project. The sad reality is that swapping the LTG into the chassis would be more work than I expect to have time for right now. As a result I have decided to sell the ecotec. I would love to put it in an car that needs less work but time and space is the limiting factor.
I would love to sell it all as a single package.
That would include:
6 speed manual transmission
Custom stand alone ecu harness
And the fuel pump assembly. If interested shoot me a message!
To finish the front of the motor I needed to find a way to tension the belt due to the fact I wont have an AC compressor.
To start I went to NAPA to get an Idler and a belt. I wanted to mount the tensioner high up since my engine often sits below the frame rail.
Pulley came from NAPA. It is grooved and part number 409703
This wasn’t the first belt I bought. I think the factory part was 1940mm. I went to 1740mm to get a good fit.
Napa Part number 050685- It is a 5 Rib 1740mm belt.
This shows the belt route and the rough placement I was considering. Note my tensioner is smaller than the factory AC Pulley.
Bracket created using the 2 front bolt holes. It is a solid fit so I didnt feel like I needed to move further back and triangulate. Note the location is higher than an AC.
This is the side view. It was essentially 2 pieces at right angles with a brace to stop deflection.
This is a close up view of the bracket. I painted it while hot so the paint bubbled. I like the look.
The end result is fairly good. I am happy and things appear to be tracking well and cleanly. I might add a nut to the back of the bolt. Right now I have tapped the steel plate (3/8″ thick) so I think it is good enough.
If you own a Camaro or ATS chances are you have the same transmission I am using. The one piece I will be using is the stock throw out bearing. Unfortunately The clutch hose I received was cut and my car actually has a steel braided AN line today. I plan to simply unscrew the -4 fitting that attaches to the miata slave cylinder and thread this piece on. That should be all that is needed to operate the hydraulic clutch for the LTG.
Part Number 139160 from Summit Racing
The turbo finally made its way to its permanent home. I removed the manifold to check for obstructions. All clear!
There is a ton of potential in good manifold. One day I might put it on a mill and clean up the ports to their potential.
Some of the pipes needed arrived. The GM packaging is by far some of the best!
All ready to go now. Just need a few more nuts for the turbo to manifold