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.
I know I have strengths and I know I have weaknesses. More often than not I tend to maneuver to highlight my strengths and minimize my exposure to weaknesses. Unfortunately 3D spatial design is a huge weakness
The process of making headers for the original motor was incredibly difficult and one I hated every second along the way. Now I had a box of bends and flanges and had to make the turbo manifold. The progress is slow and as of this post it is not complete.
Placement was difficult and unfortunately cannot fit in the bodywork. As a result of a frame piece I will land up hanging the entire turbo outside of the bodywork and as a result I’ll probably just skip that panel entirely.
The results should be positive. As the extra airflow will move heat away from the engine and avoid melting the soles of shoes.
Up next is to get 4 more right radius bends and attempt to connect the collector ports to the header flange. Wish me luck! I’ll need it!
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.
I bought several turbo chargers with the intention of matching one to the car. The consideration was not only size for power but also footprint for fitting under the hood. One problem I have had was an incredible amount of heat that builds up in the transmission tunnel and in the foot box.
Additionally I bought a 2004 Miata engine with VVTI and intended to have it bored and built for power.