Monday, April 25, 2011

Raceland Header fitment for Miata

Last Friday we dropped the 1.8 Protege engine into the Miata. Which since we were ahead of the game the owner stopped by on the weekend to check out the progress. While he was in the shop we thought it would be a cool motivation to test fit the Raceland header he'd picked up for the project. what seem to be an easy fit turned out to be anything but. We have used Raceland products before and even installed a Raceland header on a 1.6 Miata in the summer. That install was easy if uneventful. It was also used in considering the use of a Raceland header on this project.
I would like to state anyone that has not read the previous posts, we are installing a 1.8 transverse Protege engine in a 1.6 Miata... things are not always what the seem.

So here will be a few things to consider and some key points to making this painless.You should remove the valve cover to give extra clearance for the header to drop down in between the chassis and the trans. It is very tight to make it fit. We were considering disconnecting the steering shaft to slide the header in but it was well rusted up. so we loosen up the three transmission bolts to allow the trans to float up and down. Then the nut and washer were removed from the driver's side engine mount. At this point a jack with blocks of wood just big enough to fit on the oil pan was rolled under to jack the engine up enough to spread the distance of the space between the steering shaft, chassis and bell housing.
One it was fitted in and the bolts were snugged up, the header was hitting the corner side of the floorpan/firewall. This was going to cause problems of all sorts. So two choices are this; dish the pipe in or dish the floor in. Our header is stainless and it would be doubtful that we'd do enough to make the difference. On an added point, dishing in the floor pan helps with the installation. We used an air hammer with a one inch head. it fits in easy. work it on the sharp edge; a little at a time and go slow. Once the sharp edge is pushed in it becomes easier to push more metal in. Though it might be possible to do this on your back with a regular hammer... the air hammer really is your best friend.The undercoating will be damaged, make sure you coat it with something. We had a small can of rust bullet kicking around perfect, and then a quick spray with some black spray paint finished it off.At this point it is a good idea to do your trans fluid if its a manual. the fill will be right behind the header in the future so now would be a really good time with no header in the way. After that is done make sure to tighten up the driver's side engine mount; support the transmission and tighten up the trans support and replace the valve cover gasket. Give a once over to your bolts and your mostly done. One other note is that the O2 sensor is father down the header than a stock header. What we will do with this as we've done with the other Raceland header was extend the harness side of the O2 sensor. Take the time, solder a section of wire into it to give extra length leaving the factory O2 connector in place. Use shrink wrap tubing to seal it up; you don't want corrosion getting in there and changing the resistance.

Friday, April 22, 2011

budget Miata racer has heart

I thought today might be a good day to get the Miata into the bay and begin the prep to install the 1.8 engine for this Monday. After looking at that engine sitting on the cart for a few weeks its now got me motivated to hearing it twist again. So into the depth I go.... A few chores needed to be done before it can be installed and then we can get started.The first simple thing is to replace the speedo cable while the engine is out, the easiest time to access it. It pulls out with ease.... too easy, damn. The drive spline is 'missing' and I have a hunch its in the speedo head unit. After a bit of a dash pulling contest I find the remains in the speedo; good thing I gave it a check now. I'm going to leave the dash as it is that way when the battery is installed we can do a bulb check.Next was to install the new clutch slave and braided hose, this does away with the old rubber line and just neatens up the whole install. Every thing goes easy which is a nice change from the speedo!Time to pull over the cart and get started. -
Slow going to get the fit right, a few runs under with a creeper to push the rear part of the trans up and then down; pop- its in, sweet! I'm psyched, the hard heavy part is done!Loosely installed the trans bolts so it the final engine mount can be installed.When the bolts are in we can now install the last engine mount.Yea! We have the 1.8 installed!- now to start hooking bits and stuff up, getting it wired, making up coolant hoses and well, it should be easy right?Spent a hour more adding the A/C and P/S back on the engine and I'm gonna call it a day. Got alot more done than expected which is a good thing. It'll be great to feel what this beast goes like!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

BMW Boxer oil pan cooler

here are a few pictures of a aftermarket BMW boxer engine oilpan/cooler. I,ve always found these to look slick, they might even work too. pretty simple and straight forward looking to make; a hollowed out block of aluminum. Machine it to take three aluminum tubes and TIG them into place. Leave room between the tubes to fit the sump pickup. You'll need to make an extension for the sump as well; it'll be the same depth as the cooler will be. Extras pan gaskets plus two sump gaskets and longer sump bolts are needed.
When putting this one on I found it to be a bit of three hands operation. you can use two or three bolts to hold the cooler up as the sump and sump extension is fitted then when the sump is where and how it should be, remove the extra bolts; add the bottom pan gasket (you did add the upper gasket first?) and finally the oil pan.
Gotta make one of these for the hotrod project.

Budget racer Miata, so close...

Haven't got much done on the Miata project yet this week. The transmission was mounted on Friday, no big deal. However, the starter and engine mount are posing some curious monkey business. The starter has a support bracket that attaches to the engine mount; here's the bits: 1.8 engine mount, 1.8 engine, 1.6 trans, 1.6 starter and finally 1.6 starter to engine mount bracket. The 1.6 starter is slightly shorter than the starter used on the transverse 1.8 but other than that everybody 'looks' happy except for the misfit bracket. Guess we'll slot, drop and mod it to work. Would like to start dropping this engine back into the Miata this coming weekend.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

raceland header for the miata

Needed some motivation after putting more of the brackets on after removing it from the engine stand. We'll be installing a Raceland Header when all is done. Couldn't help myself, had to see what it looked like in place.