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.
Well unfortunately some international folks felt that hacking this page would really change the world.. or their world. I will try to upload some of the old content but backups apparently were not good.
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!
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!
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!