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Old 02-15-2016, 07:42 PM   #41
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Works for me as I have not yet settled on which engine and years. Now that I have retired the $$ will be important. Currently looking a mid 2000s Cadillac CTS V6 with AISIN 6 speeds. Can be had for ~$2300. They appear to have the same form-fit as the LFX. Now checking into the availability of ECUs, harnesses seem not to hard to get.
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Old 02-18-2016, 05:16 AM   #42
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Cooling System

Plumbing the LFX is a bit backwards from the miata. The LFX is reverse-flow - cold coolant enters the back of the engine, through the thermostat housing & heater core pipes, block, and exits the water pump on the front of the engine to the upper radiator hose. The back of the engine gets pretty busy with a thermostat housing right up against the firewall, along with the lower radiator and heater core hoses. The LFX also uses an expansion tank system vs the miata's recovery tank - the best description of both systems along with their advantages I found was Pirate4x4.Com - The largest off roading and 4x4 website in the world. . We'll get to that here in a moment.



This is how much space you'll have to work with at the back of the firewall. It's tight. And you have to worry about how the hoses are going to lay on top of each other. After a lot of hmmming and huhing, seeing how the V8 guys do it, and grabbing a 5/8ths tubing bender off ebay, test fitting the a/c evaporator core to see how much room there is between it and the firewall.. we drilled some holes.



If I had to do it over again, I don't know if drilling the outlets staggered top to bottom really made much advantage - but I might stack the holes on the outboard side. Using 45 degree adapters like v8roadsters kit (which wasn't available at the time) would have made coming off the firewall a bit easier as it's a bit recessed and tubenuts / flares like to have a direct shot onto the fitting, and it's very tricky to bend aluminum tubing without a lot of clearance. The firewall isn't very flat except for this area. I swear before I went this route I had seen a 90 degree bulkhead reducing fitting for -10 to -12, but I must have imagined it.

We tried using a HF knockout punch Knockout Punch Kit 10 Pc for the hole but.. the tool broke. So we ended up using a hole saw. The firewall was a bit thin for the bulkhead fitting so we shimmed it up with 2 washers on both sides. A -12 and -10 AN 90 degree bulkhead fitting and a straight -12 to -10 reducer on the inside (not pictured in this version).

It took a lot of wrangling getting the tube to meet up with the heater box. To make the bend around the back of the heater box we had to trim some of the plastic off. We used a tubing cutter to trim the heater core hardpipe off at the straightest part.



To make a hose barb I found this trick - once again another cheap HF tool - 9-1/2" Wire Crimping Tool - Cut off the end and grinded it a bit thinner to fit inside the 5/8ths tubing.





The trick with the crimper-as-beader is to go slowly and make multiple passes around the tube. Practice on a piece of scrap first.

If you've installed an M-Tuned reroute, the silicone hose that comes with it is from Vibrant and you can order it in 3 foot sections from summit. It's pretty quality, so we used that to join the heater core up to the tube and gates powergrip thermoplastic clamps. As you'll see, I'm a pretty large fan of these - they give a wide band to compress and don't dig into the hose. With the tubes so close I ended up using a single clamp on both sides.



The stock Camaro heater core tube is.. large and stupid. It exits and shoots up the side of the engine close to where the stock lower radiator hose pipe would go.



Knowing that the LFX engine is used in a lot of transverse mounted engines I figured there might be a chance of finding a heater tube that would shoot straight back - and after a few hours looking through parts catalogs I found the PN 12644554 from a cadillac CTS.



Bingo. One pipe is 5/8ths, the other is 3/4ths (-10 and -12). More vibrant hose and powergrip clamps - and we have something that looks like what V8Roadsters sells.




This corner? It gets busy. Fuel, coolant, A/C, electrical. Vibrant hose is good stuff but some extra protection is good. We split a piece of fuel line tubing and slid it over the edge and a piece of split loom over the hose for chafing.



Inlet pipe

The stock Camaro pipe goes outside of the exhaust and exits above the alternator, which means you have to shoot it across the engine to the lower radiator hose on the drivers side if you're using anything that resembles a miata radiator. In the NA it'll interfere with the A/C hardpipe and sits above the frame rail. The NB's engine bay is slightly wider and longer and accommodates the pipe a bit easier.



Again I looked at kit bashing from another GM car. Technical drawings are okay for an idea but I found that you can hunt for a PN on ebay or a pulled engine can give you a better idea. This is how I discovered the 2014 CTS pipe - PN 12635783. It hugs the block, goes underneath the exhaust, and exits below the alternator. Originally I accidentally ordered a 2013 CTS pipe which is camaro-like.

Here are the pipes for comparison - from top to bottom - Camaro, 2013 CTS, 2014 CTS.


The CTS pipe fixes the A/C hardline problem - but introduces its own. The stock routing points the pipe right at the swaybar. So, out comes the blue wrench -



We passed the part through the bandsaw a few times, trimming unnecessary wiring loom holders and bits that would make it more difficult to wrestle into place.



We flipped and shortened the bottom pipe bracket so it would meet with the alternator bracket.



Oh - real quick - I should mention this before anyone puts their engine in. YOU WILL NEED TO MODIFY THE ALTERNATOR TOP STUD TO A BOLT. While we were playing around with the lower radiator hose we removed the alternator - turns out, the top stud is too long to remove with the frame rail in the way. I was able to double nut it out most of the way then trim the excess threads with a cutoff disc and unthreaded it the rest of the way with pliers.




Expansion tank


This is the expansion tank in V8Roadsters NB car.

The tank needs to be the highest point in the cooling system. We used some clear vinyl tubing and made a water level to verify our steam port tube (on the top of the tank) was higher than the steam port on the water pump outlet.

We didn't have that much space to put the tank mounted on the firewall. So after looking it for a bit, we moved the tank forward and rotated it 90 degrees by bending some flat stock and reusing threaded bolt holes in the engine bay. We also cut pretty radically into the fusebox tower so we could keep the area just forward of the A/C lines free. The brackets we made were pretty floppy (compared to the firewall) and might shift when filled with coolant, so we put a stand underneath to bear the weight and covered it with high density foam from a yoga mat to prevent chafing.



Here you can see the 3/4in return line we modified in the CTS lower radiator hose.



And here's the tank mounted and the 3/4in Vibrant hose plugged into the return line. Should be able to route the A/C lines around the hose no problem.

The expansion tank is GM PN 22829367 - since its fairly small and short we used the same one. It'll need a 15psi cap PN 15075118 as well. My main complaint with this bottle is the two plastic tabs at the back aren't completely flat, so we had to shim them to fit on our bracketry. The top nipple runs to the water pump outlet (steam port) and is 3/8ths. The bottom is 3/4 and runs into the lower radiator pipe. Once you figure out where your bottle will sit - it's time to modify your pipe.

We snagged Summit Racing PN CTR-20-883 3/8ths steel bung and FSS-84780 3/8ths npt to 3/4 nipple. While the pipe is 1.25in, the tank shouldn't see hardly any flow, and we figured a larger bung would me more cutting and radiusing than necessary. (Originally we ordered a 1/2in NPT bung - we would have had to radius half of it to make it sit flush on the pipe) The bung was welded to the pipe, then we drilled a hole through the pipe and finally attached with plenty of loctite 567 sealant. With the tank and bracketry in place, we could finally see what space we had left over to mount the ECU and ECU fusebox, and cut the 3/4in vibrant hose to size.
Attached Thumbnails
The Portabull LFX Build-img_20150421_195220.jpg   The Portabull LFX Build-img_20151007_203230.jpg   The Portabull LFX Build-img_20151007_203222.jpg   The Portabull LFX Build-img_20160212_175816.jpg   The Portabull LFX Build-img_7152.jpg  

The Portabull LFX Build-1205306a08-004.jpg   The Portabull LFX Build-img_7394.jpg   The Portabull LFX Build-img_7244.jpg   The Portabull LFX Build-img_7262.jpg   The Portabull LFX Build-img_7205.jpg  

The Portabull LFX Build-img_7184.jpg   The Portabull LFX Build-img_7371.jpg   The Portabull LFX Build-img_7376.jpg   The Portabull LFX Build-img_6787.jpg   The Portabull LFX Build-img_7338.jpg  

The Portabull LFX Build-img_7310.jpg   The Portabull LFX Build-img_7315.jpg   The Portabull LFX Build-img_7380.jpg   The Portabull LFX Build-img_7391.jpg   The Portabull LFX Build-img_20160225_124726.jpg  


Last edited by gooflophaze; 02-26-2016 at 04:43 AM.
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Old 02-18-2016, 05:16 AM   #43
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Upper radiator hose

This was a pita. The NA is a few inches shorter than the NB in the engine bay, and I was fairly confident that we didn't need to do any of the v8 tricks to move the radiator and condenser core forward. I was wrong - partly because I was using a thinner stock Miata radiator to mock up our space. But at this point in the build, it felt like a huge PITA to remove the mounting brackets and modify the core support. I had purchase a miataturbo budget favorite, the cxracing/godspeed bigass aluminum radiator for when this was originally going to be a supercharger rebuild. Once it was in it became apparent it was going to be a tight fit even with the slim radiator fans, considering the hose would need to make an immediate 90 degree turn. We managed to get a few more millimeters by slotting the holes on the upper radiator mounts and pushing the radiator forward.



Once again - I looked for a few hours on GM parts websites to try and find something to kitbash. The water pump outlet from the new twin-turbo LF3 engine looked promising - it exited towards the upper radiator pipe in the stock miata position, was short, and at $120 one of the more expensive GM parts we acquired (the counter parts guy wasn't too happy - we originally ordered the wrong PN and got a equinox pump outlet). I really wanted this part to fit because it would have saved a lot of headache.




But it doesn't. We briefly considered modifying the intake manifold - but that extrusion below the throttle body inlet works as a lint trap for oil and debris. After some measuring and thinking, we finally had to discard the LF3 outlet (and get our $120 back from the increasingly curmudgeonly parts counter guy).

We'd have to modify the camaro outlet. Good news - this part is only $30, so no biggy if you screw it up. Bad news - it's cast aluminum, and we don't have a tig rig. I thought that maybe I could cut off the pipe, dremel a ring around the outside of the pipe and stick a piece of welding wire around it, then JB weld the ring in place. But after some thinking I decided I didn't know how JB weld would react to all the heat cycles coolant would see. And I swear I took pictures of this but I can't find them.

Alumiweld is basically a no-flux aluminum brazing rod that you can find in your home depot welding section. Normally you can use it with a propane/MAPP torch - if your part is small enough. The biggest problem with aluminum (for alumiweld) is getting enough heat and keeping enough heat into the part to allow the rod to melt on the work piece. I've used it before on small stuff and it works alright - it's a bit tricky since it flows more like solder than a weld puddle. To keep heat in the piece we put it into a metal bucket and covered all of it except the tip in playground sand. With the ridge cut in the piece, a piece of aluminum welding rod around it, and a MAPP torch, I filled in the gap. It was beautiful. Except below the ring the alumiweld had failed to wick, so it was only sitting on the top.

When in doubt, use a bigger hammer. The oxy acetylene torch managed to melt the alumiweld and through the welding rod ring. So my nice round hose barb turned into a pourous kronenburg POS. Long story short - I added a lot more filler rod, it took 3 times as long as my first try, looked like crappy stick welds. But it's fairly functional once it was hit with a file.



A lot of work for just a 1 inch shorter pipe and hose barb. Gotta learn how to TIG.

Radiator Hose

I snagged 2x 1.25 hose couplers off ebay. The pipe coming off of the water pump is 1 1/2. Gates 23551 is the stock upper rad hose from a camaro, it steps down to 1.25, coupled to a miata lower radiator hose (Dayco 70989).

We did end up trimming that radiator fan support stud down.



For the lower we used another coupler and another Dayco 70989 with a upper? radiator hose from a CTS(?) Dayco 70949. More powergrip clamps and.. well.. hope the whole system doesn't leak. We ziptied another piece of radiator hose to protect against chafing where it's close (just barely) touching the radiator fan shroud mount.



"What I may have done differently".

Heater core - In the dash - silicone hose to tubing for the 90 degree bends. Each pipe took about 4 hours apiece, including two that were ultimate failures. It took a lot of patience and a lot of luck to get the hoses that close to the heater core. Not pictured: We also insulated the tubes with a neoprene wrap, the same that you get for your hot water heater lines.
Lower coolant pipe - Tweaked the lower pipe a little more aggressively towards the driver side.
Water pump outlet - JB weld. It's not that difficult to pull the pipe off - just 6 bolts for the intake manifold and 2 bolts for the pump outlet. If it did eventually leak, it'd be easy to step up to the alumiweld solution / find someone to tig up a hose barb.
Expansion Tank - instead of shimming the bolt holes, might attempt to bend the plastic flat with a heat gun.

Last edited by gooflophaze; 02-26-2016 at 04:45 AM.
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Old 02-18-2016, 09:04 AM   #44
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Would V8R's kit have worked? They route soft hoses around the back of firewall that are already bent to bulkhead fittings.













Attached Thumbnails
The Portabull LFX Build-80-lfx_heater_hose_1_8d4154803ec1938681c4c1b73c3b6615ef87e69f.jpg   The Portabull LFX Build-80-lfx_heater_hose_2_8d47e7f6438899b88d55b72d408d4d9411201c4f.jpg   The Portabull LFX Build-80-lfx_heater_hose_3_52b0d75fbf60c4b809cca17776f1a1895003662b.jpg   The Portabull LFX Build-80-lfx_heater_hose_5_91bf7bb2bb9bedcba146a31161c4247f19f0eb5c.jpg   The Portabull LFX Build-80-lfx_heater_hose_6_de628f29630dc30429809813f2d5c29cd55f8501.jpg  

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Old 02-18-2016, 11:06 AM   #45
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Some good news, I just received confirmation from the Cadillac owners page,that the CTS, Holden, GM LY/LLT/LFX 3.0-3.6 blocks all used the same fundamental casting to simplify the manufacturing process globally, so trans, oil pans etc problems should all be interchangeable. You would of course run into minor accessory points and have to use the ones from that make. If all of this rings true, this makes obtaining engines very easy, and affordable.
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Old 02-18-2016, 02:36 PM   #46
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On V8R's kit on the NA: Maybe? I don't believe their exit point would have been possible on the NA. The NB has a little bit more room behind the engine, but the hoses may have been long enough to stretch across.

And yeah, the LFX engine is just another version of the high function engine which is the LLT, LFX, LF3 and LF4. I was offered a nearly free LFX from a CTS that had blown a headgasket when I started this project, but the number of things I'd need to fix (headgasket) and check (bearings), plus hunting down all the camaro accesories and brackets.. its easier to start with a Camaro.
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Old 02-18-2016, 03:25 PM   #47
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Yep. or in my case a CTS with the trans. the trans is only somewhat harder to get. the really hard one is the ECU cuz Cadillac in their wisdom can only crosscheck at the counter if you have the VIN..Good luck in a yard in getting a complete car. Since the V6 is the future (just ask Ford)I will look forward to getting a more complete look as people like yourself will know what works (interchange) and what will not. Like can you bolt up a Camaro trans to the CTS, if yes what years and so on. The V8 guys all ready know. Regardless your work is to be commended.....I will get started in about two months is some rational or not fashion....V6s just sound better to me
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Old 02-18-2016, 03:30 PM   #48
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Look at lkqonline for a part (CTS or Camaro) - they have pictures of each donor/wreck and the VIN number posted. I would snag VIN's from there if I started getting grief on interchange parts.
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Old 02-18-2016, 03:49 PM   #49
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Good plan , I'll keep checking in on them. In my area of Florida (will be moving back to Colorado) the CTS goes rather quickly for $800-1800, have only seen two Camaros. So that site will be very useful...Thanks
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Old 02-18-2016, 07:07 PM   #50
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How much less work would you have had to do if you just spent $400 on a custom rad with the ins and outs in the same place?
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Old 02-18-2016, 08:06 PM   #51
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I don't think it would have saved that much - the pipe for the upper would still need to be shortened and the hose would have needed to be a very short S. The lower pipe still needs to be bent a bit to clear the sway bar.. though I guess it could have been cut shorter and that might have given it a better route at the expense of a hose barb. If the custom radiator could fit underneath the top core support and deleted the radiator cap.. eh, maybe.

Moving the radiator support mounts forward from the get go would have been the easiest solution. Aside from the water pump outlet and intake manifold, there's tons of space between the radiator and engine block (compared to V8 swaps).

The best solution would probably be to cut the water pump outlet pipe at a 45, twist it to make a 90, and point it at the radiator.

Last edited by gooflophaze; 02-19-2016 at 02:48 AM.
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Old 02-19-2016, 08:55 AM   #52
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So my research has produces CBM Performance out in California that make a stand alone harness for the LLT/LY7 V6 derivative's with foot pedal, relays and MAF. Do any of you know of them, and is this a good way to go for a NB?
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Old 02-19-2016, 11:48 AM   #53
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Quote:
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So my research has produces CBM Performance out in California that make a stand alone harness for the LLT/LY7 V6 derivative's with foot pedal, relays and MAF. Do any of you know of them, and is this a good way to go for a NB?
I called them a few months ago and they did not have one at that time but even if they did they seem to want $1500 for a harness...no thanks!
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Old 02-19-2016, 12:29 PM   #54
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Yikes, I'll re-call them and talk with Bret..That is WAY too much.....Got to be another way.
Just finished talking with Shaun (Tech lead) with Tuned ECU/ pedal/ harness/o2/MAF is $2300.. and can only be used on 2010-12 engines.


Got to find a more cost efficient way........will continue to search and ask questions.

Last edited by Miles; 02-19-2016 at 12:57 PM. Reason: additional inputs
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Old 02-19-2016, 01:25 PM   #55
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I would advise you to sit tight for an update from Gooflophaze on the wiring. I am just about to start on the wiring as well so with any luck between the two of us we will be able to help others out with a simple wiring process for these swaps. The hardest part is the ECU but V8R already has a pretty cost effective solution for that.

I think if there is anything that makes the wiring in a Miata tough is the fact that Japan liked to change wire colors like they changed their underware. It sounds like Gooflophaze plans to create a completely new integrated chassis and engine harness and I plan to have a simplified chassis harness that is completely separate from the engine. Between the two others should be able to pick and choose how they want to wire their cars and know what will and will not work.

For now download this .zip file and start studying the pin out for the e39. This will help things make sense when we all jump in the weeds.
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File Type: zip 2013 LFX V6 CAMARO RevF.zip (17.2 KB, 26 views)
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Old 02-19-2016, 01:28 PM   #56
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You are going to be a HERO to a lot of people.........don't forget the for fee "how-to manual" !!
Thanks
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Old 02-19-2016, 02:19 PM   #57
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You are going to be a HERO to a lot of people.........don't forget the for fee "how-to manual" !!
Thanks
No the real heros are carnut and Gooflophaze with the LFX swaps. Gooflophaze here in this thread is providing the special little details that make the job manageable for most people. We are lucky to have someone like him that is not only willing to share his knowledge but able to write it in a way that it can be understood.
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Old 02-19-2016, 03:22 PM   #58
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Roger that!! Especially for me who is not that electrically inclines, all else I'am good with.
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Old 02-23-2016, 05:03 PM   #59
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Just a heads up that if you are using a 2013 or newer LFX.

If you are using a V8R power steering kit the AN adaper that goes into the LFX power steering pump will be about 1/4" too long. You will need to take a bit off the end so that the adapter will sit flush on the washer.
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Old 02-23-2016, 05:39 PM   #60
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Thanks for the tip. My V8 does not have power, but this one would be more street, and needed when my Bride drives it.


Also up a few photos, My V8 Miata was a track car, so
I was not concerned with the routing of the lines in/out of heater core etc much, but I am sure glad to see your approach..Most helpful to me!!
Thanks

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