Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
11/7/19 12:19 p.m.

We’ll spare you the long introduction and start with a simple truism: Car enthusiasts always want more power. The problem? The days of seeing a 20% horsepower increase from a simple intake and exhaust change seem to be behind us, as modern cars come better and better optimized from the factory thanks to ever-increasing fuel economy and consumer demands.

These days, adding a cat-back exhaust is just as likely to give you a headache as it is to free up horsepower. Face it, unless your car came from the factory sporting a turbo, it’s tough to quickly and cheaply make big power gains. Fortunately, there’s another avenue: engine swaps.

They’re nothing new, and you’re surely thinking about the last 400-horsepower LS swap you saw. This isn’t a story about those kinds of projects.

It’s about a different phenomenon, one brought about by a limitless well of online knowledge and Lego-like parts interchangeability. We’re talking about barely detectable bolt-in swaps that increase displacement without requiring special wiring, custom mounts, or a healthy payoff at your local safety inspection station. Case in point: Good-Win Racing’s 2.5-liter-swapped NC-chassis Miatas.

What’s the big deal? Here’s the elevator pitch: Find the engine in any salvage yard, bolt it in over the course of a weekend, then pick up 30 horsepower and a ton of mid-range torque without adding any noticeable weight or losing any factory drivability or creature comforts. In short, it’s a 20% horsepower increase for less than the cost of a new set of tires.

It sounded too good to be true, so we booked a flight to San Diego so we could see it with our own eyes. Our plan: We were going to engine-swap an NC Miata in less than 24 hours.

Read the rest of the story

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
11/7/19 1:21 p.m.

A few weeks ago, just before the challenge, I took a peek on CoPart to see if there were dead engine'd NC's for cheap.  There were.

So an obvious class for some challenge is the 2.x NC swap class- keep the set up reasonably equal- perhaps someone can suggest a cheap spring/shock combo.

T.J.
T.J. MegaDork
11/7/19 1:42 p.m.

I still haven't come to terms with the looks of the NCs. The other three generations I really like, but NCs just do not appeal to me in any way.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UltimaDork
11/7/19 2:42 p.m.
alfadriver said:

A few weeks ago, just before the challenge, I took a peek on CoPart to see if there were dead engine'd NC's for cheap.  There were.

So an obvious class for some challenge is the 2.x NC swap class- keep the set up reasonably equal- perhaps someone can suggest a cheap spring/shock combo.

I like this idea.

CyberEric
CyberEric HalfDork
11/9/19 3:29 p.m.

Very cool write-up, thank you.

So a 2.5 MZR is capable of 196 hp, with a header, cams, and intake? I'm surprised, and excited.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
11/9/19 5:17 p.m.

Do look for a second opinion on NC dyno runs, there are some optimistic claims that get thrown around. 

rdcyclist
rdcyclist Reader
11/12/19 11:02 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

Do look for a second opinion on NC dyno runs, there are some optimistic claims that get thrown around. 

Please enlighten us, Keith. I would expect a 2.5l sixteen valve four banger to be capable of 200hp at the wheels especially with another 2 grand thrown at it. The performance at the autocross seems to substantiate the claims.

The swap does seem remarkably easy and offer pretty incredible bang for the buck.

The questions I have are:

1. What Fords have these 200 buck engines?

2. What class was the 2.5 Miata put in for the autocross?

3. What would've made the car 1.5 seconds faster? Slicks? That seems reasonable but, My God, that would've put it at TTD by over a second! And on a fairly long course it would be a remarkable achievement.

4. How does this compare with the other popular swaps: Honda/Acura K24 and the GM EcoTec?

KyAllroad (Jeremy)
KyAllroad (Jeremy) UltimaDork
11/12/19 11:27 p.m.

In reply to rdcyclist :   For autocross purposes it sends you to SSM so PAX has become your enemy if you swap the motor.

It has better torque and digs out of the hole well but it's a very low revving motor that on a slightly larger course means you have to shift to 3rd a lot.

The engine is out of the Ford Contour.  Cheap (according to my friend who is doing one) but not $200 cheap.

If you want a track car build, it seems like a good idea.  If you're gonna boost it and go full bananas SSM, it might be a decent way to go.  But just swapping in a 2.5 and hoping to destroy your local autocross.......it isn't that easy.

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
11/12/19 11:48 p.m.

My bad, it’s the ND claims that have been a little enthusiastic. 

The 2.5 is about as easy as swaps get. It’s the same engine, just a little taller. There aren’t any Honda or Ecotec swaps for the NC platform, so it’s not a great comparison. About the only options for the NC as LS engines, potentially a Renesis and, umm.  Still, those are all more complex jobs. About the only thing that might be similar is the 1.8 swap for the NA. 

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
11/13/19 6:27 a.m.
KyAllroad (Jeremy) said:

In reply to rdcyclist :  The engine is out of the Ford FUSION.  Cheap (according to my friend who is doing one) but not $200 cheap.

 

 

FYP.  No idea if you can find Fusions that cheap, but I have found the Miatas that cheap on Copart.

to rdcyclist- Cams may deliver 200hp, but this version of the engine was not intended to make that much NA hp, so it would probably take some more work.  IF there was ever going to be an update of this motor, it would make 200hp.  The fact that the engine update only exists in the minds of some very thoughtful engineers makes me sad.

AnthonyGS
AnthonyGS Dork
11/13/19 10:07 a.m.

Easiest way....  sell Miata and buy V8 Mustang or Camaro.  You instantly double displacement or more......  so easy.

 

 

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
11/13/19 11:10 a.m.

In reply to AnthonyGS :

Except you end up with a large car that some of us hate.  I'll run a 180hp 2.5l Miata all day long over driving any pony car.  Yuk.

AnthonyGS
AnthonyGS Dork
11/13/19 11:33 a.m.
alfadriver said:

In reply to AnthonyGS :

Except you end up with a large car that some of us hate.  I'll run a 180hp 2.5l Miata all day long over driving any pony car.  Yuk.

Always a tradeoff and I understand your argument but the title is easy replacement for miata displacement.  Nothing is as easy as the trade in.

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