K20 Power now bolted in!

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!

This engine is fighting me every step of the way!

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!

Let’s try a Honda Engine!

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!

Out with the old… in with the new..

The work to remove the motor and transmission was fairly straight forward 

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!

Here is a video of the walk around

The disassembly begins….

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..)

 

Here is a short video on the overview : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IajZ-zl0AzY

 

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!

Here was a video of the harness he made- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jGzw7sIMFI

I suspect I will need to wire in headlights, tail lights and turn signals as well. The goal there is to keep them all as minimal as possible

Subscribe if you wish to follow along. The YouTube video channel as well as this webpage should both see a few updates in the coming weeks!

Last show of 2018

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?

I now pronounce you engine and transmission…

What started and has been a major headache is behind me. I landed up buying factory bolts and intended to have Fidanza drill the holes bigger.

 

Soon after I received them I thought it might be easier to cut the bolt heads down in the lathe. Thanks to Cawley racing we were able to shrink them down and re blue them. Success!

After the install I started on the clutch and pressure plate. With a clutch alignment tool we were quickly in business again.

Up next I man handled the transmission on to the engine and bolted things together. Even the starter motor aligned so it was a good day

Up Next is the engine wiring. All parts are sent to the harness maker and hopefully I’ll have good news soon and be ready to drop this into the chassis!

The Fidanza Fiasco continues…

What started as a promising morning didn’t end very well. I pulled the motor mounts off of the engine and welded on the needed offset pieces. Things were going very well! (note the metal braces going forward is to prevent the engine from rocking)

Using the”custom bolts” needed for the flywheel I managed to get all 8 in place and hand tight. I’ll admit I don’t love that there is no locating pin on the flywheel because it allows all of the rotational torque to be transmitted through the bolts to the transmission.

This is what the bolt looks like. It’s an m11 -which isn’t something you can easily find and definitely not something Chevrolet dealers usually stock.

 

After hand tightening the bolts I grabbed the torque wrench and set to 20ft lbs I wanted to get everything started and check alignment.

The first bolt achieved 20lb fts but the next 2 appeared to strip out. At this point I stopped and removed all 8 bolts and inspected the damage.

Even though the bolts appear hardened they lost their threads quite easily. The crank was inspected and it is fine.

While not ideal I’ll give a few vendors a call on Monday and try sort it out. Unfortunately m11 is a very uncommon size so this won’t be easy

The “Ecu” wheels appear to be coming offf…

I placed an order in early May for a pcm wiring harness and flashed pcm. The company was Swap Specialties and Performance. ( http://swapspecialties.com ) Initially they told me 4 weeks turn around. As of this day it’s been roughly 13 weeks  and they don’t answer their phone consistently (4 times in probably 40 calls) and when they have they told me “it’s being buttoned up and will go out Thursday”- but nothing has ever appeared. Then the story changed to “that person doesn’t work here anymore” but the line about it shipping on Thursday continues.

I finally filed a paypal case against them and not surprisingly they did not even reply to that. Thankfully Paypal was able to recover my money. ($730+). Their conduct was very poor and the multiple lies were not appreciated!

If nothing else I hope my frustration saves someone else the hassle. I will admit I don’t know what I will do next- this is a big setback.

Finishing up the front of the engine

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.