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Old 10-08-2009, 11:23 PM   #1
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Default New Motor is Not So New, What now?

I thought I finally had this thing running. After having this car about a year and a half, and only driving it for about 3 months total, I've hit another hurdle.

I bought a 94 1.8 motor off a guy who said he just got out of spec miata and was selling his spare eng. Said it he pulled it from a wrecked car with aprox 60K on it. I bought it and it sat in my garage for about 8 months. I just finished installing it in my 90 with the intention to put all the turbo stuff I've been collecting on it.

Well the motor doesn't seem to be as fresh as he stated, perhaps it sat to long, IDK. We freshened it up a bit, new oil/water pumps, seals, reroute. Never removed the head though. After about 200 miles, and no significant event, I started geting white smoke on start up and heavy throttle. It ate up 2 quarts of mobile 1 in less than a hundred miles, no leaks. So I did a compresion check and got (1)105 (2)110 (3)120 (4)125 dry, and (1)110 (2)125 (3)125 (4)130 wet, add about 25psi because this was at 7000ft. Still pretty bad though.

Next I borrowed my friends HF leakdown tester (it's pretty worthless BTW, the 2nd guage maxes out at about 25-30 psi, and it was next to impossible to get it to seal) I wasn't able to get a true leak down test with it, but what I was able to do, was pressurize the cylinder and listen/feel for air escaping. All four gave me air escaping from the Oil fill opening on the valve cover, and a couple gave me a little out the tail pipe. Radiator never bubbled.

So I think I got a crappy engine, what to do now? I have 95% of everything needed to turbo it. I don't have enough money to do a true build, so thats out for now. Should I go junkyard/JDM like 18psi, slap the turbo on it and hope for the best, while collecting parts for a proper motor? Or sell the turbo stuff (hopefully I could get around 2k) and build an 01/99 NA kinda like emilio's OGK?

JDM/junkyard seems like a coin toss, some guys have had good luck, others no.

What do ya think?
I posted this on miata.net also, interested in comparing the awnsers.
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Old 10-09-2009, 12:38 AM   #2
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It's a pain but I say a rebuild kit with a professionally refreshed an rebuilt block and head. I say it'll be a pain because you may need/want to do it all over again for better rods/pistons. You've done a lot with the oil and water pump, now do the rings and new seals&guided in the head.

M.net answer: more chrome vent rings.
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Old 10-09-2009, 12:41 AM   #3
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this is why I drop $1k to build a motor before I buy a mystery motor.
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Old 10-09-2009, 12:45 AM   #4
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To be fair, you might as well take your chances with a 1.8 if you're starting with a 90-93. We don't have a 1.8 available to drop $1k into unless we hit the junk yard.
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Old 10-09-2009, 01:17 AM   #5
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I could drop a $1000 into this motor. I've been reading 18psi's thread, and it seem that one thing leads to another and all of a sudden your at 3k. That I don't have.

What can I do for a grand?
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Old 10-09-2009, 02:02 AM   #6
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well first things first get a real leak down done if you are lucky a rehone rering and new hg is all you need should be 500 bucks or less depending on who does your work, ie you= cheaper. If not and the head is fubar or you need pistons then you will exceed the 1k mark, and it would be best to get something else a know runner out of a wrecked car etc. hope this helps gl man
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Old 10-09-2009, 09:50 AM   #7
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As much as I hate having to suggest it, the least costly solution in cases like this is usually to buy another junkyard engine, trying specifically to find one that is relatively clean-looking, but in a car that's been wrecked preferably having been hit on the side. When you buy an engine out of a wreck, you at least know that the engine isn't the reason that they scrapped the car.

Even if you do nothing but open up the current motor and replace the rings, and you do all the labor yourself, the amount of money spent on gaskets, seals, etc just to put it back together will likely come close to (or exceed) the cost of a junker engine, especially an NA.

On the other hand, if you genuinely don't mind spending a little bread, you can put together a rather nice new motor for yourself. I don't know about $1k, but $1500 - $2000 will definitely get you into forged rods and pistons territory, even factoring in the machine work, assuming that the head & block are straight, the crank is clean, and you don't have to do anything other than bore out the holes and maybe polish the crank journals.

Pistons & Rings (Supertech)
Rods (M-tuned)
Main, Rod & Thrust bearings (Actually, I'd be willing to re-use thrust bearings if endplay is good)
Gasket sets (upper & lower)
The usual suspects (timing belt kit, water pump, thermostat, etc)
A little elbow grease (pull the valves and lap them, clean everything, etc)
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Old 10-09-2009, 10:17 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dstn2bdoa View Post
What can I do for a grand?
Bore, hone, balance, wear parts, valvejob, and assembly for $1300 on my motor. Spend another $800 on rods and pistons and you can probably put down 400whp safely.
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Old 10-09-2009, 03:24 PM   #9
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As much as I hate having to suggest it, the least costly solution in cases like this is usually to buy another junkyard engine, trying specifically to find one that is relatively clean-looking, but in a car that's been wrecked preferably having been hit on the side. When you buy an engine out of a wreck, you at least know that the engine isn't the reason that they scrapped the car.
Local junkyards have several offerings, even one off an automatic. All for about $500. They say they are "run tested" they jack them up run them for 15 min, pull them and call it good.

I WANT a bad *** engine, I really do. I just happen to have a hot wife that needs to be taken care of, two young boys that need to be played with. A fixer upper house we are working on, a 96 F250 to pull the 5th wheel, her 06 Xterra, my 87 and 88 toyota runner (4x4 project) and pickup, Oh and the Miata. All need my time and money. That was depresing, I need to sell some ****.

So what I'm thinking is, get the junker, and hope it lasts long enough to build the 94 right. I'm kinda handy in the garage, all the stuff I did myself or with a friends help, but building a motor scares me, espicially if it involves expensive forged parts. I'm at work, I'll check back in a bit to see what ya'll think.

Last edited by dstn2bdoa; 10-09-2009 at 06:16 PM.
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Old 10-09-2009, 03:41 PM   #10
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Pics of wife, or thread ends.
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Old 10-09-2009, 04:34 PM   #11
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I bought a JDM 1.6 for $580 shipped. It should be drivable tomorrow in time to go drag racing. Then I am building my noisy "old motor" (35K miles) over time. I would have gone 1.8 but I wanted to build my motor for sentimental reasons. And I like beating trans ams with a 1.6 liter engine. I will let you know how the JDM engine does this weekend.
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Old 10-09-2009, 06:11 PM   #12
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Pics of wife, or thread ends.
My meet and greet thread has a pic.
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Old 10-09-2009, 06:13 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by rotaryjunky View Post
I bought a JDM 1.6 for $580 shipped. It should be drivable tomorrow in time to go drag racing. Then I am building my noisy "old motor" (35K miles) over time. I would have gone 1.8 but I wanted to build my motor for sentimental reasons. And I like beating trans ams with a 1.6 liter engine. I will let you know how the JDM engine does this weekend.
I'm looking forward to hearing how it goes.
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Old 10-09-2009, 06:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dstn2bdoa View Post
My meet and greet thread has a pic.
no it doesn't


On the motors...this is why I stick with the 1.6L...so cheap and easy to replace.

My current motor had good compression and has been turbo'd for over 10K miles...running strong. I found it on CL for $250 and talked the guy down to $150 as well as some $50 daisies with tires.

The fact that they had put an LS1 into the car may have helped this deal.
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Old 10-09-2009, 06:54 PM   #15
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no it doesn't
https://www.miataturbo.net/forum/t25539/

Post 14, it's the only one that is still there. Anyone know why the pix are gone? They are still up on our photobucket.
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Old 10-10-2009, 01:55 AM   #16
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Name:  CIMG3880_0001.jpg
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I think his wife is on the left lol

dst you prob put them in another folder or organized the photobucket diff changing the url.
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Old 10-10-2009, 04:02 AM   #17
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Thanks, thats probably what happened.

I just got seriously sidetracked by urbansoots FS thread. I may sell my kit to get his motor.
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Old 10-13-2009, 11:50 AM   #18
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My ebay engine is running great, I just haven't got the coolant system bled enough to beat on it yet. But is sounds great and seems smooth. I'm very happy with it but like I said, I need to give it a good beating first. And its JDM, YO!
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Old 10-13-2009, 11:52 AM   #19
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ericjapanengines off ebay, I think. And I was very persistent about the crank.
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Old 10-18-2009, 02:26 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dstn2bdoa View Post
I WANT a bad *** engine, I really do. I just happen to have a hot wife that needs to be played with, two young boys that need to be taken care of. A fixer upper house we are working on, a 96 F250 to pull the 5th wheel, her 06 Xterra, my 87 and 88 toyota runner (4x4 project) and pickup, Oh and the Miata. All need my time and money. That was depresing, I need to sell some ****.
fixed
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