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Old 07-07-2010, 11:28 PM   #1
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Default 90 FE-dohc (FE3) Turbo

I figured now was a good time to put together a build since I should be working on this project again- soon! Most of this info is scattered throughout mt.net in many posts/threads, and probably in greater detail than you'll find here.

After countless years of racing Miatas with barely more than stock power, I decided to park my supercharged 1.6 daily driver and put it under the knife. I wanted proper power- something over 300whp, Mazda four cylinder and relatively inexpensive. Another Miata owner convinced me to go with the FE3 a proving it would fit on his car and detailing the virtues of the engine. I'd originally planned to stick an eaton blower on the FE, but after lurking here changed to turbo as it just like the easier option with more power available for the future.



The swap and turbo setup have proved quite reliable for a street car. I've lost two turbos- the first was a rebuilt chinacharger and the second had a turbine wheel tear up. Outside of that it's had countless consecutive boosted beatings (as in the vid) for tuning and trying out various adjustments.



Here's an example of the current power:


Current street tune with relatively steady boost - 14.5-16psi (15@peak tq).


A friend convinced me Mazda's FE-dohc (aka FE3) was the route to reliable boosted power. It's much like a BP on steroids- everything is bigger- it's Mazda's big block four cylinder. And it's in line with cheap as the import version can be had for $500, while the domestic Kia version (used in the sportage) can be had for less than half that by a good shopper. Rather than go into any more detail, I'll link up Solomiata.com's FE3 Detailed info and Build page.

The bigger size comes at a price in the form of another 40+lbs. sitting on the front wheels. But I'm ok with that compromise in the interest of cheap and disrupting the 50/50 weight balance in my street car. Side-by-side BP vs. FE3 shot.


And a connecting rod comparison.


It's probably the easiest non-Miata engine swap going. Here's my basic to-do list for putting the FE3 into the Miata:


Adapter plates make mounting the engine simple. Nothing genius here- just designed so that the plate is bolted to the block and then the stock Miata motor mount is used as if it were bolting up to a B block. Nuts for the Miata mount are tack welded to the back side of the plate. The spare mounting hole in the upper right is for the turbo/downpipe support arm.

Drawing for intake side adapter
Drawing for exhaust side adapter

I shortened a Kia Sportage mild steel oil pan with some small kickouts to get just over 4 qts of capacity.
Drawing for Sportage pan mods


The Miata and Mazda FE3 (fwd) stock intake manifolds had a convergence point at the runners that made using the 1.6 top and FE bottom feasible. So a simple cut across both at the convergence point and a hired TIG welder had the job done. Though a simple solution, I suspect the miniature plenum is choking the boosted 2.0L.


Turbo Manifold
Yes, I'm using a legendary SSAutochrome 1.8 mild stainless steel thin wall tubular exhaust manifold. Though the FE is significantly taller than the BP, the length (front/back) is very close. And the port spacing is even closer. The SSA header was heavily ported at the flange to make enough of a transition on the outer ports to work (used loosely) with FE3. Flange holes were then redrilled or modified to fit the FE3 bolt pattern. I fab'd up a brace (lower mount point mentioned above in the adapter plate post/photo) to help manage the load and vibrations that seem to cause failures in this manifold and it's worked so far.



Exhaust port orientation IS close between the BP (somebody's header top) and FE (OE cast mani bottom):


The turbo purchase was a rebuilt chinese turbo (AR50/57trim, AR48/Stage3) advertised as a rebuilt garrett, but actually only had a garrett turbine housing on it. After a few miles of boost it all came to an end with some horrific scraping noises from the compressor. It's hard to diagnose the cause but the shaft was quite bent. Next turbo was a used (very low hours) hybrid that suffered some turbine wheel damage. I never did find anything in the exhaust (post turbo, pre-cat), the turbo or the manifold, leaving this an unsolved mystery. Chewed up turbine blade:


Here's my fix so I could drive the car between turbos:

The FE3 NA reminded me a lot of the SC on the 1.6 at 2-5k. Lower it felt torque-ier, but over 5k I'm guessing the turbine housing choked it.

At this point I opted to go with a new turbo. But because my downpipe was based on an OE Mercedes t3 turbine and internal wastegate housing (looks a lot like the standard 5 bolt, but it's not! ) and I was not prepared to rebuild all of that (time nor cash) I opted to get the new Garrett w/o a turbine housing at a righteous price. Though I had to go to a larger 60AR 50trim compressor housing. Now the fun begins. I get the Merc turbine housing off the car and promptly attempt to insert the new Garrett assembly into it. To my surprise it would almost seat, but just short of fully seating the turbine blades would hit the housing bore walls. WTF?! So I took my old chewed up turbine (assembly) and stuck it in the turbine housing. DOH! I'd been running a Stage 2 (smaller) turbine in a Stage 3 housing... sort of. The Merc housing came OE as a Stage 1 (typical small OE size) and when the eBay dood built this turbo, he apparently overbored the Merc housing to fit the turbine wheel he had- which I suspect was a Stage 3 with some wear on the blade ends. So I had an almost-Stage-3-housing. I ended up having the housing honed to remove enough in the bore to fit the true Stage3 wheel on the new turbo. Yay. Lesson learned- measure once, install once.

Not so great for efficiency- Stage2 wheel in an almost Stage3 bore:


New Stage3 wheel touching housing:


Scratch marks in housing where the new blades touched:


Spool was little bit better on the top end, probably making up from the larger AR compressor with the proper turbine fit.
Installed turbo at idle and quick revs:


Older Mazda trucks used an F block four cylinder models with the small series transmission and provide a simple bolt-up transmission solution. Just bolt the B2xxx front section to the Miata's mid section and you're done. I'm using the B2XXXX clutch fork with a Miata slave that has the piston rod extended to work with fork position. I'm using a first gen 626 rwd flywheel with a 1.8 Miata clutch disk from clutchnet (sprung copper/ceramic) and what I believe is an ACT Xtreme PP that is rebranded by the local clutch shop. The rest is the standard 1.8 driveline upgrade for the 90-93.

F transmission front section being pulled from the first Miata 5 spd with my SST I've been easy on the transmissions, but they just won't last with this much torque. I've only got two more left, so driveline upgrades are moving up the list.


Looking into the backside of the F front section


Baby gears and shafts


Robust Clutchnet disc


I started out with a smaller intercooler core, then upgraded after seeing a large rise in intake air temps after a few dyno day pulls. Current eBay bar-and-plate intercooler core measures 3" thick by 17" wide by 12" high and fits in front of the a/c condenser flush to the exhaust side of the mouth with some manipulating of the a/c drier. In the beginning I was very concerned about keeping my IC pipes short thinking that it would reduce lag and keep heat down. The hot side pipe was run through the fender for an immediate exit from the engine bay and down to the IC.

Original small intercooler vs. the eBay large upgrade below. The eBay fails at a proper entry/exit with it's very shallow end tanks, steep transitions and bottom entry/exit. Again- compromising for simplicity, cost and application; yet still getting a big reduction in intake air temps.

Intercooler pipe hot-side routing


That route did require some more intricate bends in the pipe that runs over the tire in the fender to prevent rubbing- but it worked. The biggest drawback is that with a 2-1/2" pipe and top mount turbo (and engine swap) there's little room left for a good intake arrangement. Surely one reason to go with the down-out-and-around hot side routing you see on most turbo Miatas.

The cold side was going to utilize an approach I used on a prior race car for an intake. That used a narrow radiator to open up a direct path to the mouth of the car. But with a/c it required making some adjustments to the a/c condenser brackets to get the condenser flushed to the exhaust side of the engine bay to open up the space.
Condenser flushed up against the exhaust side frame rail and IC elbow poking out:


A Griffin racing radiator was narrowed to allow for the IC pipe to pass through and covered with a sheet metal fan shrouding. This rad eventually sprung a leak and those low profile chinese fans were junked. One of them died early on and I doubt either ever pulled the advertised cfm. IMO there are some cheap fans out there that are worth the dough, but they've usually got an American co. name on them.


I ended up swapping out the damaged griffin radiator with a PRC dual core, double pass, cross flow unit laid out for a Ford circle track car. I found this rad in the hybrid (v8) Zcars forum where it was showing great success. The width was perfect for maintaining the cold side IC routing too. The $220 price tag, including the spec'd size inlet/outlet bungs, was the real bonus.

Cold side IC pipe passing by the PRC rad.


Top view showing crossover from coolant "reroute" that runs under the intake manifold from the rear of the head.


First setup for the smaller intercooler (shorter) allowing space for the oil cooler on top:


Current PRC radiator in place with all other exchangers, hung on purpose built cradle via the OE mounts.


The mouth shrouding was enlarged to increase the capacity for exchanger exposure. A true Spal 16" fan was added along with an upgraded circuit. No doubt that it pulls (if not exceeds) the advertised 2700cfm. Though it was a mistake going with this fan for a couple of reasons. The straight blades are so loud that it literally startles other drivers at the stop light if their window is down. And the motor is rated at a running 21amps which means startup is even higher. It's a massive startup load, even for my upgraded alternator. The car just doesn't need this much fan. No doubt a 1900cfm fan would work fine.


Last edited by m2cupcar; 07-08-2010 at 12:26 AM.
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Old 07-07-2010, 11:58 PM   #2
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Current oil cooler is a tiny TruCool from racerpartswholesale (seen above behind the front bumper structure). I figured this would be a good way to supplement the oil capacity and provide some cooling beyond the stock cooler setup. Originally the oil cooler sat above the first smaller intercooler, but was moved to the front as pictured when the new intercooler was installed. Mounting with the feed/drain on the bottom works fine too as it holds it's oil until a line is disconnected. After all this work I was still seeing what I considered high oil temps for what I was demanding from the car. I'd get ~275f with a severe beating on the street in the Atlanta summer heat, but it would never get much higher. I tried adding a scoop to improved flow with only a minor change.




Still chasing what I believed to be high oil temps, I thought maybe the smaller oil cooler line ports in my Hayden sandwich plate might be causing a restriction, so I forked over the dough for real Mocal (pictured below) with the larger ports and more complex tstat. The difference between the two for warm up and running oil temps was negligible.


I decided to sacrifice my direct route coldside intercooler pipe routing and use that space for a larger oil cooler that would get direct exposure to oncoming air.
Rerouted coldside IC piping- typically seen on most turbo Miatas (looking up):


After lots of research, I found that a 70/80s Mercedes 123 diesel oilcooler would fit the space and was a quality unit. I landed one in an eBay auction for <$50 delivered and set about for fitting. Unfortunately I failed to considered the filler neck on the rad when measuring and that put a block on the new oil cooler install. Not unsurmountable, but just more work. Either I'll move the filler, or pick up a single pass rad that puts the entry on the intake side and the filler on the exhaust side.



Against recommendations, I never tested my oil temp gauge/sender to verify my oil temps during all this effort to bring the temps down. After failing to get the Merc cooler in place, I decided to put my gauge to the test. When the hot plate of water containing my autometer sender began to boil, the external digital thermometer showed 212f and the autometer gauge in the car showed ~265f. DOH!
Miataturbo oil cooler thread.

With the top mount turbo and the internal wastegate, I was faced with either a steep drop and return on my downpipe to make clearance in the available space OR section out part of the shelf near the steering column (like the V8 guys do). I opted to go with the cut to allow for a nice smooth exit and transition to the rest of the exhaust.


Schedule 40 gas elbows off the internal wastegate housing are used for durability, heat retention and it makes a good place to put the manifold support brace- something I considered mandatory for the SSAutochrome header. I used 3" 3-bolt flanges throughout because they were available through JCWhitney for $3/pair - dirt cheap for flanges. I used a short section of 2-1/2" gas pipe off the WG housing flange to step up the 3". Since the pipe was so thick, I put a good taper on the cuts and did two passes with the 110v MIG for good penetration. The brace as it's pictured below has changed. The small square tubing actually snapped in two so I sectioned it and welded in a solid rod at the mid point- with the square tube sleeving the rod on both ends. That provided the strength needed to resist load, control vibration and still have enough flex to contend with an expansion/contraction.


The second section of downpipe is mild steel (item at top of photo is the revised cold side IC pipe that passes through the fender) with a flex section after the transition under the car. This section has two O2 bungs in it- one for dyno tuning and the other for a NB02 fed to a gauge. It also has plenty of space in it for an external WG pipe entry - if that day ever comes. Pictured below with the hotside IC pipe.


Next comes the biggest piece running from the down pipe to the diff. This originally included a 400 cell ceramic cat and no name 18" glasspack resonator- installed with the louvres facing the exhaust (proper) for max noise kill. There's an O2 bung right after the first flange, pre-cat for the wideband sensor, giving it a preferred vertical position.


Pre-project the car had a cut-out in the bumper for an off-center to the driver side exhaust exit. This was actually a by-product of getting rear ended and rather than spend the insurance dough on a new skin, I used it for racing and tried out the near-center exit. One thing I learned is that turning the muffler longitudinally definitely increases the exhaust noise in a can-type muffler. I continued with this exhaust routing into the project - with an effort towards making a tail pipe swap simply a matter of three bolts and two hangers as seen below. I started with a flowmaster type, chamber muffler that bolted right in place of the straight pipe piece below. That was later replaced by a cheap turbo style muffler called a Raptor. It improved spool dramatically over the flowmaster because apparently the chamber mufflers are designed to manage noise via exhaust pulses and that design apparently kills turbo spool. At least that's what I read and confirmed after the change. Here's the spool difference, no other changes:
Cheap 3" turbo style muff offset/center exit:
onset = 1480
3psi = 2780
6psi = 3350
9psi = 3790
12psi = 4170
Chambered "flowmaster style" muffler:
onset = 1820
3psi = 2910
6psi = 3550
9psi = 3920
12psi = 4410


My efforts to reduce exhaust back pressure continued with a cat replacement after reading on several boost forums where spool improvements were seen after replacing either OE or high cell count ceramic based cats with a lower cell count metal based cat. And just as important these cars were still passing emissions- a requirement here. So I located a 200 cell metal cat and swap that in place of the 400 cell ceramic. Spool changes as follows:
400 cell ceramic
onset - 1800
3 - 2800
6 - 3500
9 - 3750
12 - 4050
15 - 4400
200 cell metal
onset - 1700
3 - 2725
6 - 3300
9 - 3700
12 - 4000
15 - 4250
200 cell metal cat vs. the 400 cell ceramic


The new metal cat had zero transition into the core, so I chopped off the entry/exit pipes and then flared the adjacent pipes to attach.

Miataturbo metal core cat install thread.

As the Raptor muffler aged, it grew louder and I was sure it was the final remaining restriction in my exhaust. I was convinced that Magnaflows straight through design mufflers would be the answer to greater flow and noise reduction, so I set about cramming the biggest 3" Magnaflow I could fit under the rear in a stock orientation. In the end I got it to fit, exit through the stock cutout and got substantially reduced noise and improved spool.

Spool with the turbo-style Raptor muffler, fourth gear pull:
RPM Boost(psi)
1800 onset
2500 2
3000 4
3550 8
3750 10
4000 12
4200 15
4400 18.7
Fourth gear pull with the new magnaflow 12578 @ similar ambient:
RPM Boost(psi)
2500 2
3000 4.8
3550 10
3750 12.6
4000 16


At this point I'm satisfied with the exhaust and don't envision any changes except for the addition of an external wastegate and plumbing- if that day ever comes.

The muffler journey: chambered (flowmaster type), turbo style (Cherry Bomb Raptor) and the straight thru Magnaflow.


Final exhaust setup at idle and quick revs:
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Old 07-08-2010, 12:08 AM   #3
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In the spirit of keeping things cheap, I've managed to attain a fairly stable boost curve using the OE Mercedes internal wastegate housing that came with my first turbo. Though stable boost didn't come without some tweaking and electronic boost control. The first issue I came across was poor spool up as boost would rise (with rpm). This is common when running higher boost on an a low boost actuator, and with some cheaper actuators that might open at higher boost but have a weak internal spring. The latter being my case, I followed some examples of helper-springs used to assist the actuator's return spring in holding the WG flapper shut until near target boost. The spring is looped around the flapper arm and then anchored at the actuator bracket with a threaded eye bolt for adjustment. After several runs the spring was tuned well enough to produce a significant improvement in spool up. Basically I increased tension until I was hitting and maintaining target. Too much tension and boost will continue to rise since the flapper cannot open far enough to bleed off boost.


After enjoying a year or so of rock solid boost, my eBay actuator gave up.

A friend gave me an FM actuator- replaced in his kit by a new unit from FM as they deemed it not fit. Apparently the actuator was making acceptable boost control difficult, and I assume that issue is from the spread of action. It starts moving at 4 psi and is fully extended around 14 psi. It is a quality built piece outside of that. I ended up having to fab a new actuator bracket for it since the head is much larger than my prior piece, and it would not fit between the compressor housing and the cylinder head. The plan is to use both a manual boost controller and the Link's electronic boost control to reign in the large spread and take advantage of the actuator's strength.


And of course a video of the actuator working


The 18ga. sheet metal cover off my old hvac unit made for a nice heat shield to keep paint on the hood and shield the brake reservoir. It bolts to one of the 10mm threaded holes on the frame rail and then over on a stud at the ext wg port cap.

Last edited by m2cupcar; 07-08-2010 at 09:49 AM.
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Old 07-08-2010, 12:16 AM   #4
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I opted to shim the subframe like the v8 swap guys have done with the OE subframe to give enough hood clearance for the timing belt and the hybrid intake manifold. I've seen a timing belt at high rpm and figured it would rub with anything less than 3/8" clearance. Photos below of a hail ridden hood I used for test fitting. Once the subframe was shimmed ~1/4" I had to cut some of the bracing from the hood to clear the manifold and make enough from for timing belt slap at high rpm.


Had to chop and plug the two vacuum ports at the front of the 1.6 plenum.


The FE3's block/head sits about 3/4" ahead of BP and then a/c pulley front even further than the stock Miata arrangement. I moved the stock sway bar mounts forward 1-1/2" which was a little much as it gave excessive clearance for the a/c pulley and ate up too much radiator fan clearance. The plan is to build some proper mounts with added strength that sit back 1/2" from these.


Adding anything but mild boost to an engine that comes NA from the factory is going to overwhelm the crankcase venting system. Vent systems for turbocharged cars need to manage excessive pressure from blow-by under boost.

First I created a catch can from some PVC pieces and brass elbows to manage oil mist from the stock vent port. But oil was also seeping from around the cam cover gasket after hard boosting. So I pulled the factory vent port to find that the inner diameter was much smaller than it appeared on the outside. I overbored the inside, but was still having oil seepage, so I installed second vent on the cam cover and modified the cam cover vent chamber covers. The oil seepage at the cam cover gasket stopped but the mod to the chamber covers was allowing to much oil to pass and wind up in the catch can. I then swapped back to the alternate cam cover with dual ports and untouched chamber covers. That stopped the oil passing to the can but still sufficiently vented the cc pressure.
Current Kia cam cover with stock vent chamber covers and dual vent tubes:


PVC catch can installation and construction. For proper emissions, that filter port would be routed back to the intake pre-turbo as seen in the diagram. Clear tube at base is for draining.


It's not uncommon to find a check valve in the PVC line as an added measure to stop boost from entering the cam cover, though I am not using one.


Second OE port added to the intake side of the cam cover. There's a flange cast into the cover that keeps oil splash from entering the port.


Tiny OE vent port (inset: white circle) was overbored to outermost sleeved.


Modified chamber cover vs. OE


Lengthy Miataturbo thread discussing crankcase pressure, catchcans and valves
Another (older) Miataturbo crankcase pressure thread.

I got in on a Fidanza FE3 adjustable cam gear group buy with a bunch of Mx6 guys (the FE3 is a bolt-in for the F2 Mx6) and picked up the pair for $180 delivered. Adjustable cam gears are mandatory for dialing out the overlap on boosted cars running cams design for normal aspiration. I just touched on the adjustments at my last dyno day. Alas a dyno day is not the place to tune cams but I did get to see the theory applied and made a miniscule gain. I plan to resume cam tuning as it is just waiting to be revealed.


Not that I had any overheating issues or things melting under the hood, BUT it bothered me that my giant 16" Spal fan was coming on before the car ever came to a stop at a traffic light. Granted this was on the hottest southern days, but I could see the temp rise as soon as the car began to slow. Lifting the hood after a good boost beating left no doubt that there was a tremendous amount of heat trapped in the engine bay. Based on other examples, the most simple solution would be an extractor. But I was limited on space due to the engine swap and that most extractors (especially Miata specific) drop down too soon for the FE3's front end. After lots of eBay browsing for "scoops" I decided to fork over the cash for a Mini Cooper scoop and rotate it for the opposite purpose- extracting. The change was dramatic both at speed, roll and stopped. Same ambient temps with similar boosted runs and I could now roll up to a stop light and sit for nearly 60 seconds before the fan came on. The fan's efficiency improved dramatically, bringing temps down at least twice as quick and there was noticeable drop in intake air, coolant and oil temps.
Template with some paper board:


Painters tape to protect the paint, hole cut with jig saw and fine tooth metal blade:


Installed- the opening sits just a couple of inches behind the face of the rad. That keeps the outer flange off the Miata's hood bulge.


Cooper Scooper extractor build thread on Miataturbo.
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Old 07-08-2010, 12:18 AM   #5
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I bought the car in '96 and the following year did an LE interior swap. At the time I had a working (and sponsor arrangement for racing) with BrainStorm Products. They were considering offering interior kits and I volunteered my car as the test bed. BrainStorm's owner received the LE door panels from a Mazda dealer at a heavy discount because the sill panels were black. The carpet and seat covers were third party, the rest Mazda (including a red boot/top cover). AFAIK I was the first to do this swap. I also added some red gauge faces, polished vent rings, polished shift ****, polished eBrake handle, red leather eBrake cover and a radio surround that includes three gauges: oil temp, egt and afr.


Nothing fancy for suspension. Bilstein R shocks all around. 300# springs front, 250# springs rear on eBay coil over sleeves. I know a few that have successfully tracked/raced on these sleeves and the general consensus was that most of the failures are splits on the collar, and that is due to a loose fit. Naturally the sleeves are snug on the fronts and loose on the rear. So the inner lip that should seat snuggly on the shocks perch ring doesn't. That winds up biasing load to one side and resulting ultimately in the split. I'm using the Bilstein OE ring/perch for the rears until I either find a larger perch ring/clip or machine something. Rear sway is stock and the front is a giant hollow bar that I found in the garage- unsure where it came from or what it is. I used an energy universal swaybar mount kit from autozone which included the poly bushings and anchors. I also added the ISC upper "caps" to add for more rear travel after driving a race Miata with them. They work well for cheap and the increase in noise was insignificant IMO.


Since I was using the Link ecu, I needed to go with the CAS for a trigger signal. Fortunately the FE3 cam drives the distributor in the same manner as the Miata's CAS. So I took the physical distributor housing and drive assembly then replaced the trigger wheel, sensor and cap with the Miata pieces. Yes- they fit together that easily. And look just like a Miata CAS on the outside. What's key is to reorient the Miata trigger wheel so that it is position the same in relation to the cam as it is on the Miata's exhaust cam. This is because the slot in the FE3 exhaust cam is not in the same position - it's timed differently. I just did some clipped on the trigger wheels center bore so I could rotate to the correct point, then dropped in a "key" (clipping of metal) to hold it in place and covered with a small bit of epoxy while torquing down the center bolt. Also need to take note of the key-to-cam-to-CAS adjustment for your base timing on the Miata so you have a reasonable location on the install to get the engine started. I didn't do that and made a wrong assumption when trying to set my base timing with a timing light. I couldn't get the light to trigger while cranking and figured I would just rotate the engine manually to trip the light. What I didn't realize is that actual timing is not fired by the ecu until the engine has a made a couple of rotations. The ecu needs to see the cam rotate first to find TDC, then continues with ignition timing set to start the engine. So what I was seeing was way out of phase. That set me off on several tangents of trouble shooting that wasted a lot of time. If I'd listened to my buddy and just hooked the timing light up to an external power source the problem would have been obvious. DOH!

I can't confirm it, but I've read that the F2 (626/MX6) and G6 (B2600) distributors are usable for this mod. I wouldn't be surprised if the other B series trucks are similar.

Even though I went off on some tangents, one was not totally futile. I discovered why you don't want to totally seal up your CAS - the moisture inside needs to escape.


Hybrid CAS installed. You can see the physical differences in the drive to the Miata CAS. I removed all the OE adjustment lock points on the from the distributor since they weren't oriented for the Link ecu. I think made my own piece to lock the CAS in place at a base of 10*.
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Old 07-08-2010, 12:20 AM   #6
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You know you're having a stroke of good luck when everyone in your family narrowly avoids getting crushed by a very large tree. The cars, garage and houses were less fortunate. This will gives a good idea of the load the Miata took. And after we got that big piece of the back of the car it stood up, fired up and drove.



Not the best quality, but it made a recent jaunt up the street (somebody else driving).


I've gotten everything pulled from the interior except the dash at this point. But the interior pull revealed some good shots of the crush on that corner.

Compressed rocker


First view I got of my Miata:


Wouldn't be fair to make this post w/o showing the rest of the car devastation. Everybody was at my place for spring break and leaving that morning. Parents were parked in the path of the tree and left 50 minutes before it fell. I took the kids to school about 40 minutes before the fall and then parked back home about 20 minutes prior. My sister and her husband loaded up their truck about 5 minutes before the fall. He changed his mind about setting up the GPS and decided to come back inside 3-4 minutes before the fall. Fortunately I couldn't find my glasses so I wasn't too quick to get back out to the truck to see them off.

Last car I was in:



Bro-in-law's truck- note the crushed exhaust tip on the right:


You never realize how big these trees are until they're laying down.

Yeah my car was crushed, but luckily I had the foresight to pull into the garage (vs. backing in) and that saved the engine/driveline. Just needed to find another chassis to move the goodies over too. A very generous friend gave me his stagnate project Miata for the cost of fuel and trailer rental. Thanks Steve. Typical 20 year old miata, not nearly as bad as some nor as good as others. It did have a blown engine, needed paint and cleaning among a lot debugging from sitting for over 4 years. I knew the prior-prior owner and this car was fairly heavily tracked most it's life, crashed twice and repaired both times. But I'm OK with that, that's why I build/play with Miatas, I'm OK with starting over.


First task was finding a 1.6 engine to get it to pass emissions and make it drivable. I picked up a $200 engine that had been sitting for 4+ yrs also- and that wound up causing some stuck oil rings. It was healthy with nearly perfect compression. So after countless seafoam cylinder soakings, it only smokes a small bit at startup on the coldest of days, and not very long. Passed emissions with flying colors too.

I plan to do all the FE3 and interior swapping when I've got a garage. There's a quite few changes I want to make while the engine is out. And work I need to do on the new car. I did get the car painted so my wife wasn't embarrassed to drive it. That's an 04 Toyota Rav4 silver/charcoal.

Last edited by m2cupcar; 07-08-2010 at 09:43 AM.
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Old 07-08-2010, 12:23 AM   #7
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Prior to mother nature's fury, I was in the process of working up a sheetmetal intake manifold. After watching several turbo Miatas on mt.net see large gains after moving to a larger manifold, I was convinced that I needed to do the same. One gain showed a 30whp increase with a new manifold (much larger plenum) and larger throttle body. I'm currently running a 1.6 Miata plenum, so I'd technically have a deficit with just the stock 2.0L.

Turns out that the eclipse port spacing isn't too far off the FE3. So I started watching for used aftermarket manis and got lucky. Picked up a Magnus manifold for $125 delivered. The runners converge with the stock FE3, so I'd plan to just cut each at the convergence point and weld up. But after looking at both of them I decided that a cleaner and more efficient approach would be to chop the OE mani down near the flange and cut the magnus piece up near the plenum. Then add in my own runners from aluminum tubing. In the end it would probably the same amount of work since there's no fiddling with lining up the cuts and it will be easier to deal with transition from the cast OE to the new runners. This was the same approach taken by braineack on mt.net and it worked well. At this point I've got the pieces cut, but won't resume the project until I get the new car running.

Eclipse etc. Magnus sheet metal manifold:


Some photoshop planning- similar to putting the stock 1.6 top section on the FE3 bottom:

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Old 07-08-2010, 12:27 AM   #8
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so does this mean your ready to start this agian?
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Old 07-08-2010, 12:29 AM   #9
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Very close. Wrapping up the garage build, then unpack, test fit six speed to F block and start tearing apart the crusher.
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Old 07-08-2010, 12:30 AM   #10
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did you get a 6 speed or do you still want me to bring mine up to check out fitment?
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Old 07-08-2010, 12:32 AM   #11
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Nope, didn't get one. I've got two TII transmissions and won't buy a six speed unless I see it fit.
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Old 07-08-2010, 12:33 AM   #12
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im still down to bring mine up!
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Old 07-08-2010, 12:38 AM   #13
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Wow, glad to see all this info in one place. Impressive build. Kind of makes you wonder why Mazda didn't stick the 2.0 liter in there in the first place.
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Old 07-08-2010, 01:03 AM   #14
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I've always loved this swap. You are definitely in the running for my new hero. That's messed up everything got trashed but great no one got hurt. You can replace everything except your loved ones.
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Old 07-08-2010, 10:15 AM   #15
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Thanks for posting this all in one place, you are obviously very talented and take a thoughtful approach to everything you do. I had seen some of your previous builds ($50 hood extractor) but hadn't seen the complete story on your car. I tell ya, as I read through it, I was devastated when I came to the tree accident.

Good luck with your build, I can't wait to see it all come together again.
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Old 07-08-2010, 11:23 AM   #16
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My friend did the first FE3 swap that I know of about 10 years ago. He was putting down close to 400 at the rear wheels with a leaking headgasket and some other issues.

I cant remember which one it was but either supra pistons or rods fit right in.
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Old 07-08-2010, 11:32 AM   #17
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Awesome and sad at the same time.
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Old 07-08-2010, 11:34 AM   #18
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Pics of the new garage?
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Old 07-08-2010, 12:02 PM   #19
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wow, insane.
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Old 07-08-2010, 03:12 PM   #20
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Biggest struggle for me at this point is how much stuff I screw with while the engine is out. I must fix the oil pan seal at a minimum. If I went ahead and did the sheet metal manifold, then I wouldn't need the shims. Or if I did some work on the subframe "cross-over" I could lower the engine, skip the sheet metal manifold for now and not have to shim. That would be less expensive since I could do all the work. If I do a new radiator with the filler on the other side I could put the Merc oil cooler in this time around too. And I could sell the current rad with the hanger for a Miata. I also need to do an engine bay paint job since the new chassis has a color change from red- now's the time. I really need to make a list (post) and sort out exactly what I'm going to do in the first phase of the swap-over. It's tempting to change a lot of things now, but I'd really like to pick up where I left off so I can track each change with at least a dyno result. For example I never really got to do a full dyno session with the adjustable cam gears.

Pitlab- I think Dyrna Rockets actually had the FE3 mounted in the engine bay before Danny, but Danny was the first one to get it running (inspired to it by Dyrna).

Here's some garage pics- it's actually being painted right now. Just need some stairs at the back door in order to get the Ok to move in.



Shot of the old slab and the new (red line).
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