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Titus
Titus New Reader
5/11/15 5:10 p.m.

Sorry for the lack of updates lately. Progress has been made slowly, but not as much as I would have liked. I was sick for over a week, and we have been hit with constant thunderstorms here in Texas and I don't like hanging out in a Metal building when it's storming.

My friend made it back out with the needed painting supplies. Here it is after the primer and first coat of color was down.

And here it is after the second coat of color and the clear went down.

Titus
Titus New Reader
5/11/15 5:12 p.m.

After the paint had cured for a few days, I decided to try to install the front subframe. As I had mentioned before, I had pre-assembled the suspension on the subframe a few weeks earlier. I don't recommend this, as it adds a lot of weight and makes it much more difficult to maneuver. When I first tried the install it, I was sick, and didn't have any help. With much cursing, I managed to get it in place and get 6 of the 8 bolts on, but I couldn't get the far back 2 bolts in and it appeared to me that the sub-frame was out of spec. I contacted Minitec, and they checked the jig and a few of the other recently completed subframes and said they couldn't see any cause for the issue. Frustrated and sick, I let it sit for about a week. Once I was feeling better, I removed all of the suspension from it to make it easier to maneuver and tried again. It bolted right up. I then re-installed the suspension and got to put it back on it's wheels for the first time in a while.

Titus
Titus New Reader
5/11/15 5:16 p.m.

Next I wanted to test fit the engine in the car. With the help of a friend, we got the engine bolted in. It will come out again later for some other work, but it felt good to see it in the car.

The next thing I wanted to do was bolt the transmission in and hook up the PPF, so I could see the final positioning of the engine to test clearances. The kit calls for the re-use of the Mazda transmission alignment dowels. Mine have spent the last 23+ years stuck in the 1.6l Miata engine and seemed to be happy where they were. I tried my best to get them out without damaging them, but they are now completely mangled and still in the old engine. I have a new pair on order.

Double_A
Double_A
5/22/15 8:49 p.m.

I just picked up a J35 engine, and am considering doing this engine swap. The mechanicals don't bother me, but I am wondering how the electrical all works. Does the AEM and Honda Harness play nice with the Mazda chassis harness to allow all the electronics to still function in the car, ie. tach, speedo, cruise......? Is it as simple as making a jumper harness to "re-pin" the Mazda chassis harness to the Honda AEM ECU?? Any insight, or details about this would be appreciated.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/22/15 9:13 p.m.

Speedo is easy, it's mechanical.

Tach is probably going to read wrong by a factor of 1.5, but it shouldn't be hard to build a little electronic box to change the frequency.

(Edit) http://www.rockymountainwesty.com/mobile/Product.aspx?id=40166
DIY also very possible without resorting to Arduino.

Cruise should work okay, it takes the speed from the back of the speedo and it pulls on the pedal.

Oil pressure, you'll probably want to adapt the factory Miata sender to the Honda block. Same with the water temp sender (single wire one from the back of the head)

Lost_Viking
Lost_Viking None
5/23/15 9:58 p.m.

Amazing build! Keep up the great work!

Double_A
Double_A New Reader
5/26/15 5:54 a.m.

Keith, thanks for the input. I haven't torn into the car yet, and guess I am used to the new stuff where everything is running through an ECU of some sort.

Anybody have a source for picking up a "Good" set of service manuals for the Miata??

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/26/15 9:02 a.m.

Best ones are factory manuals, no longer available new. eBay!

mightymike
mightymike Reader
6/23/15 5:27 p.m.

Titus-we need an update!

Fr3AkAzOiD
Fr3AkAzOiD Reader
6/28/15 9:02 p.m.

Ditto

Titus
Titus New Reader
9/10/15 10:27 p.m.

OK... Sorry guys. As you may have guessed, I took much of the summer off from the project. Between business trips, vacation, doing stuff with the kid and wife, and the fact that a metal shop in Texas spends most of the summer north of 120*, I had very little interest in the car. Now that school has started back up and cooler weather is on the horizon, I have started to get back in to the swing of things. I have several new pictures and progress reports to post so i will try to make several updates over the next few days. I have also taken every 3rd Friday off through the end of the year, so hopefully we can expect to see regular progress.

To start things off, I will post about the one time I actually spent a little time in the shop: It took a few months, but I finally got my valve covers back from the powder coater. They are done is 15% gloss black, which is the same as what the Harddog rollbar comes in and what I did my door handles in. I got them installed with new gaskets, and while I was there I installed new OEM spec NGK PZFR6E11 spark plugs (expensive buggers) and reinstalled the coils.

More posts to come.

Titus
Titus New Reader
9/11/15 4:26 p.m.

ECU and Wiring.

I believe I explained early on that I was going to run a stock ECU with the immobilizer removed and I was going to pay a company to modify the harness and add circuitry to trick the ECU in to thinking the AT was there (to keep it out of limp mode). I have been watching a few other builds take this route over the last 4 months. While they have been successful, there are issues I am less than pleased with. Some are having to add an APEXI piggyback unit to get fuel and VTEC engagement adjusted, and they are not able to reach the 7k rev limit that is stock to my engine. The formula is evolving and improving, but will take more time before it is to my liking. While watching and waiting, I noticed a vendor put the PnP AEM Series II on sale, so I jumped out of the stock ECU boat.

Here is the brand spanking new AEM Series II 30-6051 I purchased, along with the AEM 30-4110 wideband I picked up to go along with it.

While the AEM plugs right in to the harness for my engine, there is still a lot of unused wires and plugs in it, and there are outside connections to the Chassis that need to be made. I could still pay one of a few companies to modify the harness to deal with this stuff, but I choose not to for 3 reasons:
1) There is no trick circuitry needed... If you can trace wires, read a wiring diagram, and solder a little, it can be done on your own.
2) Doing the work myself forces me to learn how it all works and allows me to build out a spreadsheet that identifies everything there, what it is for, and where it goes to. This will be important if I ever need to troubleshoot an issue in the future. 3) The purchase of the AEM was a big chunk of money that wasn't planned in my initial build, so modifying the harness myself saves money in another area of the budget to get my net increase down under $600.

The first thing I did was to start a spreadsheet with a tab for each ECU plug. I listed out all of the pins for the given plug, and then I utilized the AEM manual and a factory Acura manual to identified the wire color, the use of the pin in stock form, if the AEM uses it, and if so then how it uses it. From there, I traced every wire that the AEM uses from ECU pin to plug and labeled the plug. Next, I traced any wires to labeled plugs that had not come from the ECU (mostly grounds and power from chassis). This information was noted for future use in connecting the harness to the chassis.

Once I was confident in my understanding of the wiring and what was and wasn't needed, I started removing everything that was not used. This is what was removed:

Next up was working on the connections to the chassis. I considered using the Honda chassis plugs, but had issues sourcing new matching halves. In the end, I decided to purchase several sets of new waterproof 8 pin connectors. I took the 8 remaining wires off of the old Honda chassis pugs and got them setup on a new plug.

Soldering is fun!

All wired up.

The next item on the list is the A plug into the ECU. This plug is not from engine harness... it comes from the Honda dash harness. Given I didn't have that, I sourced a new one along with some new pins.

Next up will be soldering wires to the new pins, plugging them into the A connector where needed, and then running them out to a second new 8 pin connector for chassis connections.

Also on the list is adding the wires to the harness for the Miata temperature and oil pressure sensors that I am adapting to the engine for use of the Miata gauges. After that, I need to continue pouring over the Miata wiring diagrams to make final decisions on where all of the chassis connection wires need to go so I can wire in the chassis side plugs that will connect to the engine harness. Does your head hurt? Mine does.

badfrogg
badfrogg New Reader
9/11/15 7:53 p.m.

Titus, Awesome build! I think the Honda J motor is a real untapped resource.

I just want to caution you on soldering those joints. It looks like in the picture it will be okay since the solder is behind the second strain relief. But... soldering a flexible wire to a solid pin can be a point of failure from vibration. The solder joint can crack. I'm sure you've noticed that the factory harness is crimped everywhere. You may want to consider getting the crimp tool for those connector pins.

m_walker26
m_walker26 Reader
9/12/15 6:50 a.m.

I agree. It's an awesome build. Good to see you back on it. Texas heat can be brutal!

Titus
Titus New Reader
9/12/15 12:29 p.m.
badfrogg wrote: Titus, Awesome build! I think the Honda J motor is a real untapped resource. I just want to caution you on soldering those joints. It looks like in the picture it will be okay since the solder is behind the second strain relief. But... soldering a flexible wire to a solid pin can be a point of failure from vibration. The solder joint can crack. I'm sure you've noticed that the factory harness is crimped everywhere. You may want to consider getting the crimp tool for those connector pins.

Interesting... I really had no idea how to get a crimp like OEM so went with soldering as it is in my comfort zone. Is there a particular crimp tool you can recommend for the job that won't break the bank?

badfrogg
badfrogg New Reader
9/12/15 4:16 p.m.
Titus wrote: Interesting... I really had no idea how to get a crimp like OEM so went with soldering as it is in my comfort zone. Is there a particular crimp tool you can recommend for the job that won't break the bank?

Do you know what the brand and type of connectors those are? you can find many types of them here http://www.waytekwire.com/products/1444/Crimpers/

Titus
Titus New Reader
9/12/15 5:40 p.m.
badfrogg wrote:
Titus wrote: Interesting... I really had no idea how to get a crimp like OEM so went with soldering as it is in my comfort zone. Is there a particular crimp tool you can recommend for the job that won't break the bank?
Do you know what the brand and type of connectors those are? you can find many types of them here http://www.waytekwire.com/products/1444/Crimpers/

No name that I can tell. These are them: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NQB9XJ4

badfrogg
badfrogg New Reader
9/12/15 9:24 p.m.

Well, looks like a chines No-Name. Looks very similar to Delphi stuff. You could search eBay for "Delphi Crimp Tool" and take a chance with some universal tool that can do Metripack, Weatherpack or GT150 series Delphi multi pin connectors. Maybe a Molex Open Barrel type crimp tool. It will be a crap-shoot though.

But...

I think you will be okay with your soldering. with the watertight grommet in place it should keep the wire from flexing and breaking the solder joint. Its just good to keep in the back of your mind that soldering does have some weaknesses.

bluej
bluej GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
9/12/15 10:27 p.m.

Titus, you can get a generic ratcheting crimper and then just the jaws for weatherpack connectors. Might be cheaper to order as a set, can't remember. Either way, this connectors are slightly different than weather/metripack, but the crimper will still work.

Titus
Titus New Reader
9/15/15 9:33 p.m.

Well I have a crimper on order... add it to the list of parts I hope to have arrive soon.

justdave
justdave New Reader
9/16/15 7:26 a.m.

The Honda terminals are double crimped . One crimps into the insulation and the other into the bare wire. The crimps form a rounded M . Honda also has terminal repair kits that come with terminals , connector grommets, crimping tool , and terminal pin removal tools. I have no idea of the cost as they are intended for dealer use and there was more than one as time went on but it may be something worth looking into.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/16/15 9:20 a.m.

Sounds like a fairly typical open barrel terminal then. Even if the size isn't 100% perfect, you'll be able to do a good job with one of these.

You can buy an open barrel crimper for about $20, or you can get a ratcheting set with replaceable jaws and be ready for anything. A good crimper saves SO much time and pain you won't believe it.

http://www.amazon.com/Tool-Aid-18920-Ratcheting-Terminal/dp/B0002STTTI

justdave
justdave New Reader
9/16/15 12:09 p.m.

I have a set of Blackhawk, Klein, and Snap-On that all do fine and crimp the proper way. The ones Keith has shown will do the job and roll the ends in and not just smash them flat . The Snap-On set I have are smaller and work very well in tight spaces.

Titus
Titus New Reader
9/16/15 3:01 p.m.

I ended up ordering this yesterday: http://eclipsetools.com/products/crimper-ratcheted-open-barrel-terminals/

Ratcheting, comes with the die I think I need for this application, has a few dozen other dies available for it if I want to upgrade it later, and was only $35 shipped. Should be here tomorrow.

badfrogg
badfrogg New Reader
9/16/15 3:53 p.m.

Titus, I've had the idea for year about making a J motor RWD. Back than i couldn't find a single example of anyone else doing it. Now I've seen this kit and I've seen some S2000s done one off.

Two concerns are the starter location and the gearing. I suppose the gearing can be fixed with a taller rear end and/or taller tires. (a good reason for going to 16x8 / 225/50s)

So what do you think about the starter? does it become the lowest point on the engine. Do you think it could be moved to the top or side. i know the tunnel would need to be cleared but other than that?

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