Project Turbo Miata: Engine Number 4

Update by Tom Suddard to the Mazda Miata project car
Feb 11, 2018

Photos by Wayne Presley

What doesn’t hold air and needs to be replaced? Our Miata’s engine. After failing a leak-down test in our last update, it was time for our turbocharged endurance racing Miata to get yet another new engine. Why not rebuild ours again? Long story short: Time. We already had a spare engine sitting in the corner of Very Cool Parts’ shop, and it’s way quicker to install a good used engine than it is to rebuild an old one.

So, out with the old and in with the new. We, meaning Wayne Presley, our workaholic crew chief, swapped our clutch, injectors, turbo oil drain fitting, and accessories over to the new engine. We also changed the water pump and timing belt, because we really, REALLY don’t want to throw away another weekend’s worth of gas, hotels, and entry fees because our car blew up again. Just like that, our Miata was back up and running.

Keeping it running, though, that seemed to be the hard part for our race effort. We exploded the car at Daytona thanks to a busted coolant line. To fix that problem, we upgraded to better lines and added a real temperature gauge. Then, at Sebring, we exploded the car because the radiator clogged. To fix that issue, we decided to go for the nuclear option: Call Flyin’ Miata and order one of their crossflow radiators. It’s not just another aftermarket aluminum radiator. Yes, it’s bigger and thicker, but rather than flowing coolant from the top to the bottom, it routes it across the radiator, from left to right. Why? That means the coolant spends more time in the radiator without slowing flow, which translates to more heat transferring from the engine to the air.

Why put a $429 radiator in a car that isn’t worth much more? The alternatives weren’t much cheaper. We looked online, and didn’t find much for sale under $300 that we’d be willing to gamble the price of food, gas, hotels, tires, and entry fees on. Like we said, we REALLY don’t want to blow up our car in the first hour of our next race.

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View comments on the GRM forums
Robbie GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
2/14/18 9:48 a.m.

So, officially more engines than the Camry project yet?cheeky

NickD UltraDork
2/14/18 10:09 a.m.
Robbie said:

So, officially more engines than the Camry project yet?cheeky

It's up there with the Rotsun for most number of engines blown uo

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