Our Miata Needs a New Engine

David S.
Update by David S. Wallens to the Mazda Miata project car
May 17, 2017

Things didn’t go so well during our Daytona outing with the ChumpCar World Series presented by RVA Graphics & Wraps: Less than 10 laps in, a coolant line ruptured, leading to an overheated engine.

The final diagnosis? That engine is toast. Yay, us.

We looked at our possible solutions. We could find another used engine, but the newest one out there is now 20 years old. Yes, we could throw one under the hood and call it done. And then will it again blow 10 laps in? Once you figure in all of the other expenses to race–like transportation, lodging, food and everyone’s time–it seemed like a risky proposition.

So we’re building a new engine. And by “new” we pretty much mean a stock rebuild. The car is now down at Treasure Coast Miata. They specialize in used Miata parts as well as Miata race prep. They also offer rebuilt cylinder heads and short blocks, allowing us to start with clean assemblies fitted with fresh bits.

More to come on the engine rebuild once we get started.

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View comments on the GRM forums
fidelity101 SuperDork
5/17/17 2:09 p.m.

All these engines keep blowing? time for a wankel swap!!!

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/17/17 2:12 p.m.
fidelity101 wrote: All these engines keep blowing? time for a wankel swap!!!

With a turbo!

fidelity101 SuperDork
5/17/17 2:18 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens:

lets just take this one step at a time...

accordionfolder HalfDork
5/17/17 2:19 p.m.
David S. Wallens wrote:
fidelity101 wrote: All these engines keep blowing? time for a wankel swap!!!
With a turbo!

I'm no professional - but as far as I'm aware that's considered the industry standard for reliability. You should consider Twin turbos - this roughly doubles the reliability of any one car.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/17/17 2:27 p.m.

Do I hear "quad turbos?"

Rodan Reader
5/17/17 2:35 p.m.

1.8 NB2 VVT swap...

JeffHarbert GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
5/17/17 2:37 p.m.

Needs more MZR.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/17/17 2:41 p.m.

Really, the plan is to get it back together. The car was fast (and reliable) at Lemons. Then we had some issues. If we can get back to our 193 horsepower at the wheels with fresh stuff and no leaks, then we should be golden. The major plan: run a ton of laps and have some fun.

True, though, MZR would be fun. Next time.

noddaz SuperDork
5/17/17 8:14 p.m.

Coulda had a V8... (Still could...)

Sagewind New Reader
5/17/17 10:45 p.m.

Rotary + turbo... awesome! What could possibly go wrong? Besides, I hear it's been done before.

wvumtnbkr UltraDork
5/18/17 12:50 p.m.

Rotaries are actually incredibly durable in this type of racing. We ran the same engine for several years with only minimal issues.

We even ran a turbo rotary for awhile and put it on the podium.

Jerry UltraDork
5/18/17 12:54 p.m.

Sell this one...buy the one you promoted on Flyin'Miata...profit! Well, sorta.

JimMurphy New Reader
6/6/17 2:16 p.m.

There is a water pressure loss warning device on the internet that is cheap insurance because a pressure drop happens well before the temperature goes up. HTH, Jim

aircooled MegaDork
6/6/17 4:15 p.m.
David S. Wallens wrote: Do I hear "quad turbos?"

Well, that's just silly.

A 3 rotor and 3 turbos though...

Scargod New Reader
6/20/17 7:12 p.m.

And people complain about Subaru engines! Just like some of the knocks on Subie motors, a burst hose is no reflection on the engine.

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