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Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/21/12 5:05 p.m.

Here's what the air intake looks like from ground level.

Detail shot. We install a larger master cylinder for the clutch to work with the T56 hydraulics happily. Also, since the bleed screw for the T56 slave cylinder is inside the bellhousing, we add an extension hose to it so we can bleed from the engine bay. That's it with the red cap. And no, we hadn't filled either the brakes or the clutch when I took this picture.

ptmeyer84 New Reader
9/21/12 10:47 p.m.

Wow! That intake really looks like it could suck up small children.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/1/12 7:01 p.m.

I have been neglecting. But only the thread, the car is getting attention.

Rolling stock. 15x9 TR Motorsport wheels with 225/45-15 Hankook RS3 tires. This is the point where 1) onlookers usually exclaim at the lack of manliness of the rubber 2) say the car will be uncontrollable 3) and are unable to come up with anything better. The rear end in these cars really does a good job of distributing the power, and you've got a lot more traction that you think. Case in point: during the Targa, I found that as long as I got the car rolling without breaking the tires free, I could use full throttle in first gear. In the wet. One of our team said I was launching as hard as the Scoobys were. Anyhow, Miatas can't swallow a wider tire because wider means taller, and that means having to sacrifice other things such as suspension travel. So 225/45-15 it is.

We've had the car out for a first drive. The first drive is pretty underwhelming, it involves breaking in the new rear end and seating the rings. Lots of driving in figure eights in the parking lot, for one thing. But there were no major problems, no leaks, just a few rattles to track down. And (foreshadowing) an odd whirr from the engine.

Which leads us to where we are now.

We spent a bunch of time trying to track down the whirr. We disconnected all the accessories and checked inside the bellhousing. We talked to our contact at GMPP in Michigan. But it was deep in the engine. So we drove down to our local Chevy dealership (bringing along a twin to the car, because we were dropping it off elsewhere) to see what they thought. This kinda emptied out the dealership and service bays for a while as 960 hp stuffed into two Miatas will do, but eventually the noise was diagnosed as a bad cam bearing.

We only use new crate engines from GMPP in our builds. And we buy them from the local Chevy dealer because they're good to us. It's not unusual for them to bring us a pile of different parts so we can try them on a car and pick the one that's best suited to our application. This is how we chose the starter we use, for example. Also, since they can use the GM freight service, we don't pay shipping so our costs are right in line with the big discount online outlets. And here's another good reason. After the Chevy dealership identified the problem, they contacted GMPP with our case number. The end result is a new warranty engine on the truck right now, which should be here in the next few days.

The crate engines are straight off the production line if we use the 430 hp version. The hotter 480 hp version found here has a hot cam installed as well as a few supporting modifications. Did the bearings get nicked when the new cam was going in? Dunno. But the engine is covered under a two-year warranty, and GM is standing behind it. So the car's being torn down again to get a new powerplant shortly. This isn't as big a deal as you'd think, and we're really impressed with the way GM and Ed Bozarth Chevrolet have treated us during this. Mazda would have been a lot harder to deal with.

JoeTR6 Reader
10/2/12 10:25 p.m.

If the motor in my MazdaSpeed ever dies, I'll seriously consider this swap. Damn, that looks nice.

CLNSC3 HalfDork
10/3/12 7:05 a.m.

I want one...bad!

HiTempguy SuperDork
10/3/12 11:31 a.m.

Someday, it's either a Z06 vette, a v8 swapped miata, or a lsx swapped awd porch. Each one has it's ups and downs, but man, the miata seems so full of win...

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/3/12 11:32 a.m.

The V8 Miata is a poor choice if you don't like attention.

Ian F
Ian F PowerDork
10/8/12 6:32 p.m.
HiTempguy wrote: Someday, it's either a Z06 vette, a v8 swapped miata, or a lsx swapped awd porch. Each one has it's ups and downs, but man, the miata seems so full of win...

Watch the Targa Newfoundland dvd and ask yourself this again.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/8/12 6:41 p.m.

Update on this little beast - the bad engine is out and the replacement is getting dressed to go back in. We're almost done. There was more metal than there should have been in the sump of the bad, so that's confirmation that we're doing the right thing.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/30/12 5:25 p.m.

Back from the dead. We put the new engine in and proceeded to drive the car. We found a few small things - a power steering fitting that was weeping a little bit, a touch of interference between the steering column and a header - and sorted them out. Now it's all done and ready to hand over to the new owner.

This one turned out well. I've been driving it the past few days and it's going to make the new owner really, really happy. I might have maybe taken the long way home from work last night, and that big punch of torque is really addictive. As you expect.

Here's a nice touch from Kyle - these relays needed to be relocated. So he found a factory bracket that's used in the O2 sensor wiring on the 1996 model and repurposed it.

Since we're snooping around underhood, here's a look at the ECU wiring and AC lines.

We put a brass plate with the owner's name underhood. It's a custom-built car, we know it's special to the owner.

Washing the car before delivery. That's a pretty compact package for 480 flywheel hp.

And now, gratuitous pictures of the end result.

crazycanadian New Reader
10/30/12 10:42 p.m.

Are you guys hiring.. haha.. I miss having a job working on fun projects like that... It looks like you guys did a great job with the attention to detail...

sobe_death HalfDork
10/31/12 5:10 a.m.

Seriously. If you need an engineer, I'm willing to ditch Germany and head to Grand Junction ASAP.

Grtechguy UltimaDork
10/31/12 7:09 a.m.

Michigan Plate? pray tell? where in Michigan will I be able to see this beast?

scardeal Dork
10/31/12 10:26 a.m.
Grtechguy wrote: Michigan Plate? pray tell? where in Michigan will I be able to see this beast?

I was thinking the same thing...

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/31/12 10:41 a.m.

The owner is here now to pick the car up. He's all happy for some reason. His other car? A Prius.

If he wants to go public with this thing, I'll let him make that decision. The owner lives outside any major population centers in the eastern-most part of the state.

sobe, drop us a line.

There's a new build starting now, and we're getting back to work on the NC...

singleslammer GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
10/31/12 2:11 p.m.

Mmm... V8 NC, I will take one with the face lift nose and the prht, please.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/31/12 2:12 p.m.

That's exactly what we're building. Let me know if you want to buy it when we're done...

z31maniac PowerDork
10/31/12 4:09 p.m.

OOOhhhhh, wish I had the kind of cash for that.

singleslammer GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
10/31/12 4:21 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner:

I would love to! Except I am married and a property owner. That pretty much takes ALL of my cash. Also, I think that spending the kind of money you would want, and rightfully so, would be a little outside my range.

psteav HalfDork
11/1/12 12:10 p.m.
singleslammer wrote: Mmm... V8 NC, I will take one with the face lift nose and the prht, please.

I've seen your wife, you did really well for somebody who's apparently blind.

singleslammer GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
11/5/12 3:39 p.m.

In reply to psteav:

I know this is late but... Shut you mouth Fool!

jmc14 New Reader
11/5/12 9:02 p.m.

Very impressive. The workmanship looks top notch.

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