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.

Pushing hard to get it over the line

While summer appears to be winding down as do the number of days that I’m willing to drive the car. It’s a double edged sword because the garage is still hot as hell but a fan helps.

So what has been going on? A lot of wiring,a lot of waiting for parts and time bending body panels. I decided to remake the firewall as the old one had a large hole from the factory miata fuse box. The new one is plain with minimal holes and several bc opponents mounted from the back side.

The wiring harnesses are all net new (minus the engine harness) and we’re made using txl wire and concentric twisting. My initial expectation was that it was hype but the results were true my magic! It is far more flexible than I ever expected. For connectors I went with deutch connectors besides for the fuel pump and fan (their connectors for 10GA was $$$)

The PDM install was next and I was able to get it mounted with space for the Hondata ecu. Wiring is a bit hectic but it should be fine and contained under the scuttle. One project that remains is an aluminum plate for the front of the dashboard to mount the wide and sensor and gauge cluster. With 2 rails for wiring management I am hopeful it will be easy to remove and install the scuttle without much fuss. As seems to be typical I have a whole host of ring terminals but none that are the right wire size or loop size..

Everyone out of the pool!

Good progress over the last few days. I took 2 days of work and spent half with the car and half with the kids.

It took about 10 minutes to yank the engine and transmission. Simply remove the 2 motor mount bolts and 2 holding the transmission and out it came.

After that I took the engine and trans apart and replaced the rear main seal on the engine and loctited the adapter plate to the motor.

Also removed the water pump housing and cut the top off of it to allow the intake manifold to spin around. some Hondabond and that went perfectly back in place.

One thing I wasn’t happy about was the performance of the POR15 paint. It seems to have bubbled everywhere the to cost wasn’t applied. The wire cup on an angle grinder and an hour later the metal was all ready to be repainted. I still had 2 small cans of por in silver and painted and top coated everything I could see.

On the transmission front we were not having a great day. The replacement pivot I got was the wrong size so it had to get machined down. The clutch alignment tool was built for a larger transmission input shaft so I tried to machine it down. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough material and I machines right thru it.

After searching for replacement tools for an e30 bmw only 1 place had it and it wasn’t cheap. I eventually decided to just make a new one. Using a piece of aluminum I cut a new center on the lathe. Worked like a champ!

Unfortunately there were 2 failures that I couldn’t fix without buying new parts. The transmission input seal folded slightly and I don’t trust it and the transmission shifter seal had the same fate. Ordered 2 replacements from rock auto just in case.

Final piece for the weekend was getting the clutch bolted in. Looks good although I was expecting a self adjusting version.

Hopefully the new seals arrive this week and I can reunite the 2 halves and get them back in the chassis. Feels like progress and might get it running this year optimistically!

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!

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

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.