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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
There was a single show in 2018 left on the Calendar and foolishly I thought I would give it the royal treatment. I pulled many pieces off of the car, polished it with high speed buffers and turned my hands and face into a filthy mess.
Unfortunately the idea to wax the sheetmetal afterwards was a mistake. It left streaks and dulled the image. In future I wont be waxing the car… actually I have decided to wrap it after getting its new engine.
Surprisingly the trailer fenders really respond well to being polished. They shined like crazy! Who would have thought that a Galvanized boat trailer fender could look so good?