Mani-fold on to your hats!

The process of putting together a turbo manifold was a lot more stressful to me than any other part of the car to date- besides the header before it.

The need to visualize and start to piece together weld elbows and straight piping isn’t something that I would consider a strength of mine. More of the opposite. I approached it the same way as I do many things in life. Identify the starting point, then the destination and finally connect the dots.

I started by bolting on the head flange which was easy because it was a quality piece and didn’t require me to crush the pipe into an oval. Then I mounted the merge collector on the turbo and slid in a piece of metal bar stock between them so I could mount it to the chassis with clamps. With the start and end identified it was simply about filling in the gaps

I started with the hardest runner first and tacked pieces together. It actually went along easier than I expected as I would tack and slice elbows until it went where I wanted. Occasionally an elbow was sacrificed but at $5 a piece it was a small cost of less than $15 to have a well fitting manifold.

At the end of the day it took far more money to build the manifold than I expected. Here is a quick run down of why mine was expensive:

  • Head Flange-$60
  • Merge collector with flange-$80.
  • 12 weld els-$70 (only used 9).
  • Straight stainless tube 12” long- $8.
  • Filler metal in 308L and 309L-$30.
  • Dual port argon regulator $130.
  • Argon $60 for 120 cu ft (used a good bit because of back purging

The parts were not that expensive but the 3 hours of fabrication to mock it up and 16 hours for welding it was more than I expected. This is probably a startup and learning cost of I had to state a reason. If I had the tools it would have been cheaper (I had the TIG welder..but this was largely it’s first use). A friend that is a solid fabricator (professional) said he would do it for $800. That’s a pretty good deal in my eyes.

Up next is to evaluate if polishing will work or if I should coat it followed by the down pipe and wastegate output into the exhaust. While I hate the fact the turbo is outside the chassis- there just were no other choices.

Welds were flatter than expected. I struggled to get the ridges and dimes look I expected but penetration was good
A reverse rotation turbo would have been better but the space is there if I find myself needing to replace this one.

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!

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!

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.

Clutch Parts needed to make a braided Line

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

Flywheel pilot bearing hell!

My personal opinion is that Fidanza shouldn’t be allowed to sell parts with sick half assed support . To get a party they recommended I would have to go to Europe or China but online the part is harder to find than a uniform.

I bought a piece of bronze on what and stayed to machine my own. The dimensions were simple. 16mmID 28mmOD and 26mm in length. It took about an hour to make.

Overall it will get the job done and be fine. That said I am no where near the phase of recommending a fidanza product. Especially after the need for custom bolts!

http://www.exportedafrican.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/img_8470.mov

Turbocharger Arrived

Turbocharger Arrived this week and I quickly mounted it in a mock up fashion.  Finding the size nuts and bolts for it is proving it be a royal pain in the ass.

It is a used unit from a junk yard off a stock motor which should be good enough for mock ups and to get things rolling.  The air exit pipe actually fits in a good spot. Hopefully it will stay within the body lines.

 

Missing the factory heat shield but  can make one fairly easily.  If anyone knows the nut size or part number for the turbo please let me know. 

The turbo came with 1 oil pipe but  the other is missing and will need to be bought.

The turbo mounts further out then I would like but hopefully it will work.

Water lines need to be made/purchased. Unfortunately without using the stock radiator and coolant tank it may be another custom effort

Engine Preparation

This weekend I started cleaning the engine (Brake clean is the $hit!) with the intention of mounting the flywheel and trans in the near future.  There are some cheap engine stands on amazon for $40 but I don’t feel they would bolt up easily. I will probably start to build and frame up something that will offset the engine and make transmission attachment plausible.


For the transmission I added a bar at the back with 2 casters. That makes it easy to pick up the one side of the engine and slide it around.

Car is in the background. I do feel the intake manifold will need to be replaced with something custom to prevent the large side bulge.

I could use some help. If someone knows the connector that I could replace the clutch line with I would appreciate it.  The factory line was cut and this was the connector that is left (It goes into the clutch slave cylinder). Ideally I want this piece to a -4an fitting to connect to my Wilwood master cylinder.

LTG Motor Mounts

To get the motor off of the pallet I wanted to build a “skate” to hold the engine and trans. My goal is to add wheels to the engine and the trans and have an assembly  that can move around and probably running.

This is the passenger side of the engine that a mount needs to connect towards

 This is the drivers side of the engine. This is what I suspect the mounting plates will look like. 

I tried to mount the paper version on a piece of steel and trace it out. My goal was then to cut it out with the plasma cutter. Unfortunately 25 amps was not enough and the breaker would trip at that point.  A 4.5″ angle grinder did a good job and soon after I bought a bunch of flap disks with the intent of getting them to being really smooth and pretty. Next up I need to measure and cut spacers as the plates will not bolt flush to the engine block.

More to come..