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MichaelYount
MichaelYount HalfDork
5/9/19 8:38 a.m.

Good luck with lost vacuum hunt -- I truly hope you're able to find something relatively easy to fix or change.

My experience with the Ford Motorsport cams (E, B) is direct.  I was never able to achieve more than 11" of vacuum with the E -- and that was with aftermarket heads/intake/exhaust that were a better "match" to the cam's valve events.  Furthermore, I had to up the idle to about 1050 rpm to get it UP to 11".   Spent a lot of time on this with Buddy Rawls -- custom cam guru down in Huntsville, AL.  The E cam was never "meant to make torque down low".  In fact, what the E cam really needs to perk up the bottom end (and that's a relative 'perk up') is about 2 more points of static compression ratio -- get it up around 11:1 or 11.5:1 and it really wakes up.  The irony here is that to take any advantage of what the E brings to the table, you have to get up above the stock HO cam torque and HP peaks (HP peak at 4600 on the efi/HO motors).  The stock E7 valve springs begin to give up the ghost around 5000 rpm -- valve float usually prevents achieving enough revs to get to the place where the E starts to show significant gains over the stock cam.  My E combo was absolutely dead below 2500 rpm.  I had the valve springs to manage higher rpm.  But the fact is, about 95% of driving time on the street is below 3000 rpm, where this cam with my set up was abysmal.  

 

I lasted about 2 weeks with the E, and then had Buddy design/grind me a custom that worked fabulously.  Nice sturdy idle at 800 rpm, 19" of vacuum, and more torque/HP all across the rev range than the HO cam.  Was down about 10 HP on the E cam at peak - but produced an increase of 60 lb-ft from about 1200 rpm to 2500 rpm compared to the E.  Torque peaks were similar, but 800 rpm lower with the custom.  Night and day difference.  Fabulous drivability.  Fuel mileage went from 10 mpg around town to 18.  From 20 mpg on the highway to 27 mpg.

 

I sold the E used -- someone snapped it up quickly.  The running joke was that there is just one E cam.  People use it, are unhappy and sell it.  Rinse and repeat.  It appears that you have it now.  (tongue in cheek)

 

Again - good luck with fix....I know you and your bride want it up and running well!

 

EDIT - if you don't find anything else that might be contributing -- you might try installing the E advanced 4-6 degrees.  With most set ups, that shifts the torque and power curves a bit lower in the rpm band.  But you may want to check piston to valve clearance before you do (should be checked with that cam anyway).  When you advance it, you'll gain a bit of exhaust valve clearance, but lose some on the intake side.  And, if serious about more bottom end, the stock HO will be light years better than the E, and the Explorer cam will be even better than that on the bottom.  Of course, top end power will decline sooner along with it.

NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
5/9/19 8:49 a.m.

In reply to MichaelYount :

That is interesting and might speak to the problem. Your vacuum situation sounds a lot like what I am seeing.

If it gets opened up far enough to advance the E cam, I would get something different.

TVR Scott
TVR Scott HalfDork
5/9/19 8:59 a.m.

Can you add a vacuum pump?  My EcoBoost has one for the turbo wastegate and the brake booster.

Sort of a different creature, but maybe similar solution?

MichaelYount
MichaelYount HalfDork
5/9/19 9:06 a.m.

Vacuum pump will help with running vacuum accessories; won't do a thing for drivability/fuel mileage.

MichaelYount
MichaelYount HalfDork
5/9/19 9:08 a.m.
NOHOME said:

In reply to MichaelYount :

 

If it gets opened up far enough to advance the E cam, I would get something different.

That would be my counsel to you.  The HO cam is, in my opinion, perfect for your application.  If you wanted something that will actually be an improvement all over the tach compared to the HO, look at Comp Cams XE258 -- valve events/lift quite similar to where we ended up with my custom.  

 

Fresh from this experience -- when people ask if I replaced the cam in the LS3 in the car now (for an easy 50-75HP pick up at peak) my answer is --- NO.  I want my 650 rpm idle so quiet you can barely hear anything under the hood; 21" of vacuum; 20 mpg around town.  Thank you very much - I'll keep the stock Corvette cam.

 

NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
5/9/19 10:02 a.m.

On the more positive side of things the rear deck is closed-off. Did a lot of waffling between bolting and welding to secure the floor to the Miata chassis structure. Ended up going with the bolted on option.

 

The finish is ruberized undercoating. The idea was some minor amount of noise supresion over just paint. Two tubes of seam sealer and 72 flange bolts to marry the two.  Not the nicest finish but when the spray gun gives up in the middle of the job, you do what you have to do with what you have. Going to get a thin rubber matt and carpet glued over the top. Note that there is a trapdoor for access to fuel pump if that ever needs servicing.

MichaelYount
MichaelYount HalfDork
5/9/19 11:11 a.m.

I like the 'bolt in access' option much better than having to cut out welds.  Should it ever come to that.

NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
5/9/19 11:16 a.m.

Vacuum reading last time I filmed. Cold start condition.

Probably a testament to the FITECH that it keeps the engine running as well as it does with this little vacuum.

 

MichaelYount
MichaelYount HalfDork
5/9/19 4:35 p.m.

Of course, raising the rpm at idle should help with vacuum a bit.  But given what you want out of this one -- I'd think you'd enjoy a bunch more umph on the bottom.

NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
5/10/19 7:40 a.m.

Bit closer...Radio, HVAC and console in and working.

NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
5/10/19 9:36 a.m.

To give an idea of the remaining punch list before the car is "Done".

Items in bold are what remains before I can start driving

 

To do ( must do) before roadworthy

  1. Pressure test the AOD/TV cable
  2. Alignment
  3. Safety
  4. Plates Tag

Interior Work:

  1. Radio fix
  2. Dash and console reassembly
  3. Stalk control hood
  4. Tighten steering wheel
  5. Battery box/hold-down
  6. Speedometer cable
  7. Dead-pedal install
  8. Bulkhead carpet finish
  9. B post /seatbelt plastic covers
  10. Deck carpet
  11. Dye rear sidepanels
  12. Front kick panels
  13. Headliner
  14. C post panels
  15. Speakers B post
  16. Whatever other trim needed

 

Chassis/Engine

  1. Weld mounts to mufflers
  2. Water leak at thermostat
  3. Low vacuum; exhaust?
  4. Air filter
  5. Battery cable tie-down at rear
  6. Shifter cable rubs drive shaft
  7. Shifter cable close to exhaust
  8. E-brake adjustment
  9. Heat shield brake line PS by header
  10. Wheels on

 

Body

  1. Block-off plate for clutch mc on firewall
  2. Rear window
  3. Side windows
  4. Final chrome trim
  5. Rear hatch seal
  6. Bonnet  installed ( still no latch plan)
  7. Windshield squirter

Electrical

  1. Front turn indicators ( on way from Trollheim)
  2. Fuel gauge  adjust
  3. Tuck wiring
  4. Wiper relays to change polarity
  5. Oil pressure gauge
  6. Tach calibration
  7. Rear plate lights
  8. Figure out light wiring to shifter quadrant.
  9. Figure out dome light wiring; front and rear.
  10. Install dome lights

 

  1.  

E36 M3 to buy

  1. AC drier
  2. Piece of aluminium Miata AC tube
  3. Plate lights rear
  4. Door handle interior
  5. Carpet dye
  6. Oil pressure sender if Ford one does not work
  7. Carpet for rear deck
  8. Lug Nuts

 

 

 

Systems to nut-and bolt

 

  1. DS suspension and steering front
  2. Do a light test to find any holes from outside to inside cabin and grommet as needed
  3. Rack mounts
  4. Steering wheel
  5. PS suspension and steering front
  6. DS rear suspension
  7. PS rear suspension
  8. Engine mounts
  9. Trans mounts
  10.  bell housing
  11. Driveshaft bolts
  12. Exhaust bolts
  13. Radiator bolts
  14. Rad hose clamps
  15. Door hinge bolts A and B post
  16. Hub bolts front
  17. Hub bolts rear
  18. Fuel tank bolts
  19. Seat bolts
  20. Dash mount bolts ( one still missing)
  21. Headlight aim
  22. Headlight chrome ring screw
  23. Tail-light screws for lenses and attach to car
  24. Tire pressure
  25. Chrome trim fasteners
  26. Fuel sender and pump bolts
  27. Wheels
  28. Rear sway bar bolts
  29. Front sway bar bolts
  30. Differential mount to cradle bolts
  31. Rear bumper bolts
  32. Front bumper bolts
  33. Console
  34. Shark-gills on side
  35. Fuel filler door
  36. Anything else I see or think of.
NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
5/13/19 9:44 a.m.

Been picking away at the nut and bolt list and finding it both worth while and making good progress.

 

But with every step forward, there is inevitably one backward step. I had to go uncross the exhaust system from the done list of the nut and bolt check: The exhaust system as it exist today:

There was some weird E36 M3 going on with this crossover such that there was a 140 degree temp drop from one side to the other. ( upstream to downstream, not side to side)  Having now personally verified that the e-cam does not have low vacuum in other applications, I  suspect that this crossover forms a blockage. So  more conventional H pipe structure will be spliced in.

But the interior is looking better. Radio sorted, toombstone in place, seats done and dash with console pretty much done.

 

 

MichaelYount
MichaelYount HalfDork
5/14/19 7:24 a.m.

"Having now personally verified that the e-cam does not have low vacuum in SOME other applications..."

Fixed that for you.  (grin)

 

I think your exhaust system mod will help flow under high flow conditions (w.o.t. at higher rpm with a load) - it's worth doing for that condition.  At idle, somewhere on the order of 1/10th-1/15th the amount of exh flow that occurs at peak power is what the system has to deal with - absolutely minimal flow.  I'm doubtful that even that funky "x" pipe is causing any significant obstruction at idle -- which is where the low vacuum condition is.  But, the beauty of tackling it this way is that we'll find out!

EDIT -- some good info in here if you (anyone following along) take the time to read through -- not terribly long.  Contributions by a reputable custom cam modeler/designer AND an engineer with Ford who was frustrated with the E cam --- not because it's a bad cam, but because it was a bad choice for his combo/needs.  https://forums.corral.net/forums/5-0-5-8-engine-tech/392038-camshaft-give-take.html

NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
5/16/19 10:36 a.m.

Finished the new exhaust crossover. It is now a simple H configuration and other than the fun of doing exhaust work on the ground under the car, no real drama. The car does sound different

Mucked with the IAC as it was not where it should have been adjustment-wise. The Fitech does not come with anything that could be described as a "User Manual". The philosophy seems to be to let you muck with it and figure it out if need be by asking random people questions. At a minimum, a glossary of terms to explain the menu options in the handheld controller would be useful. That said, it is all online for the asking sorta if you know how to sort through the chaff.


IAC steps were at 227 when I first looked. Supposed to be 3-7. Found the diagnosis and adjustment method on line and off we went. The end result is that the hissing noise through the IAC orifice is much less and the vacuum signal is around -13 inches and climbs with rpm, so I can live with that.


Also mucked with the timing a bit.

The engine does not exactly "purr" at idle, there is still some hunting that I do not understand nor do I know if it is something that will get better with the "learning" that the Fitech is supposed to do. Certainly drivable and that is the plan.

At this point, since carburetors are not a mystery to me, I am tempted to say that a Holley Street Avenger carb would have been a much easier and more cost effective induction for at least an equivalent result. Time will tell if that feeling persist.

A final observation on the Fitech is the wiring harness. Not only is their execution not tidy, but it is done so that it is difficult to make it look tidy, leaving an exposed bundle of wires randomly draped on the intake manifold. It could have been a single master connector for everything.

Need to get the rear glass in and I can both wash the thing and go for a drive. First stop should be an alignment shop. That should be a fun conversation trying to  explain the car. Maybe worth learning how to do a string alignment.

 

Pete

NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
5/16/19 10:44 a.m.

In reply to MichaelYount :

Read that thread, or at lest a lot of it. What I get is that for the average non-fluid dynamics trained mechanical engineer, with the right fluid dynamics analysis software to model the engine,  cam selection is a lot like picking numbers for the powerball...

TurnerX19
TurnerX19 HalfDork
5/16/19 11:44 a.m.

String alignment is super easy compared to all the other things you have done. No one who can build a car this way needs to pay an alignment shop. Only hard part is measuring caster, to do that accurately you need turning plates of some nature under the wheels. Several cheap DIY techniques have been detailed on other threads.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
5/16/19 12:05 p.m.

In reply to TurnerX19 :

Agreed. Even a hack like me managed to do a reasonably decent string alignment on my first attempt, although the car in question was a Spitfire which are about as simple as a car can get.

NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
5/16/19 2:20 p.m.

Is caster even adjustable on the Miata suspension?

 

Pete

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
5/16/19 2:37 p.m.

Yes. Through the lower control arm eccentrics just like camber

MichaelYount
MichaelYount HalfDork
5/16/19 3:17 p.m.
NOHOME said:

In reply to MichaelYount :

Read that thread, or at lest a lot of it. What I get is that for the average non-fluid dynamics trained mechanical engineer, with the right fluid dynamics analysis software to model the engine,  cam selection is a lot like picking numbers for the powerball...

LOL - well, Buddy is a "rocket scientist" - has a day job working for NASA in Huntsville, AL.  As with most things, the more you learn about it - the better; in this case the more you realize that most of the 'technicians' on the cam hotlines don't really have a clue how the things work.  

 

edit - was able to (finally) find what I was looking for - on your behalf as you begin to really sort the Voliata out.  Crane Cams actually designed and built the E303 for Ford Racing/Motorsport.  Back in the day (at least 10 years ago) you could buy the exact same camshaft directly from Crane - they called it PowerMax 2040.  It no longer shows up in their catalog.   .498" peak valve lift with 1.6 ratio rockers, 220/220 @ .050"; 282/282 @ .006" lift with a 110 LSA.   The valve events on the cam card were identical -- because it's the same cam.  Unlike the Ford Racing catalogs, Crane had a decent set of "recommendations" for each of their cams.  Since it's no longer in their catalog, that footnote is no longer showing up at Crane's site.  But I found it in a 15 year old post on corral.net --- every now and then, blind squirrel, acorn, etc.  Crane said about their cam -- Recommendations - better flowing intake, exhaust, heads, valve springs to match cam, minimum 3.55 gear and manual transmission.  The relatively narrow 110 lobe separation angle of the E cam allows for a fair amount of overlap -- this is what contributes to low(er) vacuum levels at idle and why Crane didn't recommend it with an automatic.  Much of that can be 'crutched' with a looser stall converter.  Doesn't mean, of course, that it won't work --- just that Crane didn't think it was the best idea.

 

Nonetheless -- sounds like your efi/TPS discovery helped things -- so I hope you're on the road (literally) to a solution!

mannydantyla
mannydantyla Reader
5/17/19 1:29 p.m.

I'm way behind on your build. You've been busy! Looking awesome!

As other's have said, you should be able to get the alignment good enough for street use with string, measure tape, digital level, etc. You can purchase these plates that you clamp to the wheels and helps get more accurate measurements, or you can do what I did and just use a 1x8 board. 

Mind you that after I've done this, getting a pro alignment is still the first thing on my to-do list. I think the real trick isn't in how to measure and how to turn the nuts and bolts, but how to properly do everything in the correct order so that adjusting one thing doesn't screw up the last thing. There's just so much adjustment with these Miatas, it's not like my old 4x4 truck with solid axles, lol. 

At least get the toe-in close enough, don't worry about the rest, and then drive it to an alignment shop and let them worry about the caster and camber. That's what I'm going to do. Money well spent if you ask me. 

MichaelYount
MichaelYount HalfDork
5/17/19 6:14 p.m.

I've done several alignments using a parallel-string to set toe and the angle finder on my smart phone to set camber and caster (along with some simple homemade tools so I have something flat to place the phone on).  On a live axle car it's fairly straightforward as the toe is set relative to the rear axle.  Since you have IRS, you'll have to use some part of the car to establish your longitudinal parallel line --- then set the rear and front toe relative to that.  LOTS of youtube videos showing how.  You'll learn a lot.  My problem is that I don't trust the average 22 year old running the alignment machine at the local tire shop....

NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
5/21/19 9:01 a.m.

And we have side windows!

I can't tel' you how much of a pain this is after having the big openings in the side to get stuff done in the back of the car. Couple of times I caught myself about to pass something through the aperture that no longer exist. For those of you that have not done it yet, roping in windows is a pretty no-brainer. I was intimidated for years and used to hire it out for what always amounted to about the cost of the window, but having done half a dozen now, it is pretty routine. Trim on the other hand, continues to be a royal pain.

 

 

On the list of game stoppers I have this little issue: The inner part of the window mount has gone missing somehow.  There should be two of the chrome do-hickeys as seen in the pic, the one on the right has gone somewhere to hide. I have a feeling this is not going to be easy to find.

 

Also need to find several of the hard plastic bushings that are used to anchor metal-glass on the hinge, support struts and latch mechanism.

This one prop support fitting has resisted all non-destructive efforts to remove. It has to come off in order to replace the plastic bushing as right now there is nothing between the metal and the glass. Neither the prospect of removing without damaging the glass or finding a replacement is making me feel comfy-cozy. It is like the closer I get to driving this thing the more it plays the "Unobtanium 1800ES card" to stymie my efforts. No matter, If it passes the safety inspection on Weds, it is going for a drive next weekend.

 

The list to finish is down to this: ( none being game stoppers except the one turn indicator that is still on the way from Trollheim or thereabouts.

To do ( must do) before roadworthy

  1. Pressure test the AOD/TV cable
  2. Alignment
  3. Safety
  4. Plates Tag

Interior Work:

  1. Glove compartment installed
  2. Stalk control hood
  3. Tighten steering wheel
  4. Battery box/hold-down
  5. Speedometer cable
  6. Dead-pedal install
  7. Rear Bulkhead carpet finish
  8. B post /seatbelt plastic covers
  9. Deck carpet
  10. Dye rear side panels
  11. Front kick panels
  12. Headliner
  13. C post panels
  14. Speakers B post
  15. Whatever other trim needed

 

Chassis/Engine

  1. Air filter
  2. Battery cable tie-down at rear
  3. Shifter cable rubs drive shaft
  4. Wheels on

 

Body

  1. Block-off plate for clutch mc on firewall
  2. Rear window
  3. Final chrome trim
  4. Rear hatch seal
  5. Bonnet  installed ( still no latch plan)
  6. Windshield squirter
  7. Shark gills need fastener
  8. Inside of shark gills tighten the tube

Electrical

  1. Front turn indicator
  2. Fuel gauge  adjust
  3. Tuck wiring
  4. Wiper relays to change polarity
  5. Oil pressure gauge
  6. Tach calibration
  7. Rear plate lights
  8. Figure out light wiring to shifter quadrant.
  9. Figure out dome light wiring; front and rear.
  10. Install dome lights might be looking at dash lights to tap into. This could suck.

 

  1.  

E36 M3 to buy

  1. AC drier
  2. Piece of aluminium Miata AC tube
  3. Plate lights rear
  4. Door handle interior
  5. Carpet dye
  6. Carpet for rear deck
  7. Lug Nuts

 

 

Pete

 

 

 

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
5/21/19 11:36 a.m.

Wow... great progress. 

When you do the headliner you'll be cursing yourself again about putting the side glass in.  On the plus side, the headliner is apparently much easier in the ES than in the coupe, despite being larger. Mostly because you have the nice big hatch opening to get it through and into the interior.

klb67
klb67 Reader
5/21/19 1:32 p.m.

I'd put a few pieces of tape across the newly installed windows to remind yourself they are there - it would suck to try to pass a hammer through the "opening" to the inside of the car and then remember the windows are there.   

I always loved/hated this phase of any build.  Panicked that I was going to chip new paint when installing a bumper.  Overjoyed to see polished chrome next to new paint.  Seeing the to-do list shrink by the day is awesome.

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