The intercooler saga appears to be behind me. Garrett intercoolers are not guaranteed to be air tight – this was an interesting fact to me and honestly a reason I’ll probably switch camps for future turbo needs.
The intercooler is mounted to the radiator. The radiator is mounted to the car.
I decided to go with AN fittings and lines for the coolant systems. I blocked off the radiator neck and have installed one in the back of the motor. The line setup was very simple. I may need to add a vent on the top of the radiator to eliminate air pockets.
Some new parts were ordered to get things finished up- some exhaust bends, intercooler hose clamps etc. With some luck I’ll even be able to get to the drive shaft area and measure for one soon!
One other change was ditching the water pump housing that I previously cut off the tensioner bracket. I went back to the ep3 pulley and tensioner and a 50.5” belt. The fitment was perfect and being an oem solution I feel like it’s one less thing to worry about now! Phew
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:
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.
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..
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!
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!
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?