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TR6 with Miata engine

Time to get blogging again! Sometimes just get so busy(family, holidays, other cars to fix) there’s little time to blog! Though I’m still working on the project, the engine has been installed for a while and it does run;) But there is still about a year or so remaining in getting my project on the road!

Now, why a Miata engine? Why not? lolΒ  Most people which do a transplant go for as much Horsepower as possible. The Miata 1.8 is plenty for me and I believe is an attractive engine once cleaned up.

The question in the beginning, will a 1.8 Miata engine fit along with its transmission? Another question comes to mind at that precise moment, “what am I getting myself into!” ha ha





I’m so fortunate to have a fella nearby which not only sells Miata parts, he races them! He’s located in Sealy, TX. about a 30 minute drive from our home. His name is Austin Snader of Snader racing. I am so pleased to know him and he’s been a wealth of information on everything Miata! Something about a guy in a racing suit!;)

So, a while back, I contacted him and told him my idea of installing a Miata engine in my TR6~ he listened wholeheartedly and thought it would be a ‘fun’ engine transplant, so, a day or so later went to his shop. He loaded a very used 1.8/trans onto my trailer for me to use as a mock-up. It’s the one in the picture above. Using my Gantry crane, I could easily put the engine/trans where I think it should go.






Backing up a little bit, or a lotta bit! lol This is the original engine~ poor little thing! I still have it; not sure what I’m going to do with it. It ran when I had it (ran poorly), I came to find out it has zip compression in #5 cylinder. This will be another blog~ so nothing here, move along;)





Anyhoot, at this point still test fitting, playing. Notice the cast iron exhaust manifold~ what was not going to work, plus it was quite ugly! The TR6 radiator is just mounted there, to use it or not to! Notice the frame is finished and will be on its own blog;)






Jumping ahead in time, quite a bit actually, note the earlier model exhaust manifold with a newly welded in bung relocated 02 sensor. A much better looking system. At this point, I had replaced the clutch, timing belt, modified the valve cover to expose the timing belt. Oh, let’s not forget the wiring system~ again, another blog;)






Engine supports:

It is most important to me to maintain the integrity of the frame, not cut/weld any of it! I want it to be in good condition should later on someone may want to restore it to its original state. So I used the original engine supports and fabricated brackets to mount the engine.

Keep in mind, this is not the engine which will be used. A doaner car will be in the near future. πŸ˜‰





The doaner car is a 98 Miata which took a left front hit, however what I needed was still all intact, including the radiator.Β  I’m actually behind the car speaking with its previous owner. We rented a car dolly for the short trip back home. I would eventually strip the entire wiring harness from it~ gag.






I wasn’t intimidated by the job at hand in removing the engine/ trans~ just needed to mark all hoses, lines with tabs knowing what goes where later on down the road. If any intimidation were to exist, it would lie in the wiring:(







Here, just evacuating the AC system in preparation to breaking the AC lines.







Attached to an engine stand, I was able to get with it, cleaning, replacing old with new parts. The engine has right at 149k miles. Sounds like a lot, but not by Miata owners standards.






As for the valve cover, I found a place called Vaporblasting from Restocycle.com.Β  I sent the valve cover and upper half of the intake plenum and had them both ‘treated’.




After several months or so, finally dropped the painted body onto its refurbished home~ πŸ˜‰





Just plain pretty!





The original location for the TR6 battery would go right behind the engine~ my battery will be in the trunk like a Miata.





The cover that I had fabricated a while back which cover the battery area, I may or may not use. This is an older picture; test fitting only to remove it all again; which happens often. Put it together, take it apart, put it together, take it apart, etc. πŸ˜‰





I must have AC! πŸ˜‰ This will be another blog, but at a quick glance, the new Sanden compressor fits nicely only after a great deal of thinking and fabricating;) This was fitting the AC hoses, not yet crimped here.






Winds up pretty much being a Miata with a TR6 body. Note the original Miata radiator and fans assembly;) The original air intake system had to go!






Another cold air intake: just needs a little more TLC;)

I’m keeping this blog short, there is just too much to write about and I wouldn’t want to bore my readers with the details~ there’s a great deal of work which has gone on, challenges, problem solving, remedies, etc. However, if a reader should have any questions, I’m an email away;)

IΒ  promise to get more out on this particular blog~ now that the holidays are over, I can make better progress with the project and bloggin! So, stay with me!!

dne’ of Classic cars and tools!

8 Responses so far.

  1. Jay says:

    Great choice. I was wondering how it was going. Thanks for the update.

    • admin says:

      Hey Jay, thanks for hanging in there with me! I have so much blogging to catch up on, it could be a full time job! lol
      dne’ πŸ˜‰

  2. Rob says:

    I really like what you’re doing to your
    tr-6… looking really great!! 😎

  3. Don Cornellier says:

    I too have been wondering what you had been up. Of course I have been following you ever since you got the 57′ Bel Air. πŸ™

    • admin says:

      Don, you get brownie points, since my ’57!!!! OH how I miss my ’57:( Don, that was indeed a fine automobile; sob:(! Don, so happy to see you’re hanging in here with me!! I was just working on another blog about air conditioning, but it’s going to take a while to put together~ like a good writer putting together a mystery novel!
      Thank you Don!!! πŸ˜‰

  4. Arne says:

    Amazing job!
    Why the (beautifully) exposed T-belt?

    • admin says:

      Hi Arne! Thank you for the nice response! and Good question! This is done quite often in the Miata realm of things. I just wanted something different looking than just a plain Jane valve cover. The high performance Cam belt is a pretty blue and stands out~ should make for good conversation at car meets! Also, inspection of the belt can be at a glance! Think about the other belts, they aren’t encased? So why shouldn’t the cam belt be exposed? πŸ˜‰ If for some reason, it creates too much dirt, or causes oily residue on my hood, I can have another valve cover on hand to replace it~ a 20 minute task. So I’d be able to change the look of my engine compartment just by switching valve covers~ sweet!
      Thanks Arne for following me and asking questions and the positive remark;)
      dne’ πŸ˜‰