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Thread: 1.6 to 1.8 Miata Conversion Motor Swap Thread.

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    6,000 rpm - mere mortals would shift Demon I Am's Avatar
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    1.6 to 1.8 Miata Conversion Motor Swap Thread.

    So there is a lot of this info available in the internet about this swap, but a lot of it is not very useful. While doing my own 1.8 swap, I found a load of dead links, and "Search noob!" posts that were not too useful. Much of the "good stuff" started looking good, and then end incompletely. I wonder if we can piece together a valuable resource for people who wish to do this in the future. An "idiot's guide" so to speak. Please feel free to contribute pics or experiences as relevant.

    I have a friend who is beginning to accumulate parts for this swap, and came up with a pretty comprehensive list to help him. My swap was using a NA8 (94-97) motor, which is the easiest of the swaps. I do not have info on things needed for the NB motor swaps, but hopefully they can be added to the thread by other users.

    Parts needed:

    1.8 motor
    1.8 mounts (optional, but yours are probably old and floppy)
    1.8 exhaust manifold (or header and cat/test pipe. You will either need the EGR pipe, or to buy an EGR block off kit. this kit should have a cap and a plate. You can probably make the plate yourself for cheap, while you have the exhaust mani off of the car. The cap size is supposedly a m22x1.5, but this has not been trustfully verified. BEGI and Flyin Miata offer both pieces for $15 each).
    1.8 intake manifold
    1.8 injectors-(if you get used injectors, you can clean them and buy injector rebuild kits from www.injector-rehab.com for cheap. Be sure to order an extra single rebuild kit, in case you break something. There is a special method to doing it right.)
    1.8 fuel rail
    1.8 timing belt/WP kit
    ----should have Timing belt, Idle pulley, tension pulley, VC gasket, water pump & gasket, cam seals (2), crank seal, water neck o-ring)
    1.6 CAS o-ring
    FM Swap Kit:
    ----EGR plate, throttle cable bracket, coil bracket, motor mount cups, throttle body adapter, electrical parts needed to extend your CAS wiring. *You may be able to save money by buying your motor mount cups from the net, or a local scrapper. You probably have wire and butt connectors (or solder/gun) and electrical tape to lengthen the CAS wiring*
    1.8 Coolant Hoses (or reuse 1.6, if they are fresh, but plan on at least replacing the heater core hoses. They are easier to slice and remove, than to keep intact. The heater core pipes that they mate to are soft copper and crush easily. You may have to make some custom water lines (the small diameter ones), if you do not replace them all.)
    1.8 Front main seal, rear main seal
    Transmission seals (should be 3 of them, optional, but you might as well, while you are in there),
    Exhaust gaskets (3) (motor to header/mani; Manifold to the DP; and DP to Cat. If you go with a header, you can skip the second one)
    Intake Gaskets- 1.8 Intake to motor & 1.6 throttle body,
    1.6 alternator belt- the one that comes with the kit is a 1.8 ribbed, you are transferring the 1.6 wp pulley and need the v-belt.
    Main Crank Bolt- (optional, but supposedly they stretch)
    Clutch, Flywheel, Pilot Bearing, Throw Out Bearing, Clutch Tool (Optional, but if yours is old, this is the best time to do it)
    Clutch line -this is optional, but I highly recommend switching to a long length ss braided line. It makes slave cylinder swaps so much friendlier
    1.8 Spark Plugs
    1.6 Plug wires (optional)
    Thermostat and gasket (t-stat is optional, but might as well. Gasket will be needed regardless)
    Transmission fluid- 2qt GL4 75w90 - (do not forget that you will need some in the shifter turrett after re-installation of the transmission)
    Diff fluid - 2qt GL5 75w90 (Optional)
    Motor oil
    Oil Filter
    Anti-freeze/distilled water
    Black RTV sealant
    Locktite blue and red
    Zip ties
    Vacuum line caps
    (large variety pack)
    Worm hose clamps Variety of sizes (replace those dangerous and often-failing spring clamps while everything is out of the car, you will thank me later)
    Sandwich bags, sharpie marker, masking tape (if you are forgetful, labeling your connections, bolts, brackets is quite helpful.
    Brake Cleaner, PB B'laster, Simple-green (optional but will make life easier)
    Gloves-It can be a dirty job
    Last edited by Demon I Am; 04-23-2013 at 06:54 PM.

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    Benbrg (07-07-2014),psulja (09-25-2013)

  3. #2
    6,000 rpm - mere mortals would shift Demon I Am's Avatar
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    Tools Needed for Miata engine swap 1.6L to 1.8L

    2 sets of Metric Sockets (deep and shallow well) 8mm-19, 23, and 24)
    Ratchets and Extensions
    Battery Powered Impact Ratchet (or air ratchet)- Optional- makes tedious work so much easier/faster
    Screwdrivers- Varitey of heads and sizes
    Torque wrench
    Crescent wrench -Large one
    Hook picks for pulling out old seals.
    Ratcheting wrenches- Standard ones will work, but why work harder than you need to?
    BFH- big fucking hammer- Not always needed, but is often a life saver
    Cheater Pipe, or bar. Sometimes those undercarraige bolts need extra leverage.
    Wire Striper and Crimper
    Needle Nose Pliers- I like to have a few sizes of these.
    Line wrench 8mm- If you are replacing the clutch line.
    Spring Clamp Ratcheting Tool- These are a lifesaver. I almost took someone out using a pair of regular pliers! Here is a pic of what I am referring http://www.egamaster.com/models/4128...AL_PLIER-1.png
    Razor Knife-Cutting hoses and stuff. Do yourself a favor and carry a fresh blade or 2.
    Hose Removal Pliers-Optional, but handy for grabbing and twisting coolant lines. http://www.stockwiseauto.com/images/temp/KDT-82107.jpg
    Flyin Miata Pully Removal Tool
    Flyin Miata Front/rear seal installers-optional, but are good at what they do.
    O2 sensor removal socket- You'll transfer this over from your 1.6
    Fluid Pump- For filling the tranny and diff
    Flashlights- Depending on your situation, you may be working in some low-light areas.
    Fender protectors -- As suggested by JLBMX5-- If you are like him, and have fresh paint, you don't want , tools, oil, *and grease effing up a beautiful exterior.


    Big Tools
    Engine Hoist
    Engine Leveler- Very important if you don't have a lot of hands to help you.
    Chain and hooks- If you do not use a leveler
    Car Lift--If you are lucky
    Jack- Jack stands (4)--If you are not as lucky.
    Engine stand- not completely needed, but a back saver if you are refurbishing an engine prior to install. You'll need something to rest the engine on and move it around. You could get by with one of those furniture dollies (http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/pro...affd0f_300.jpg), but it's not optimal.
    Friends- This job can be super quick if you have a few extra hands. At minimum, you want someone to help you with the actual engine removal and drop-in. 1 person to move the hoist, while the other guides the motor in. Aligning the motor mounts is a royal PITA without a few people.

    If you have anything else to add to the lists, or anything that makes the job easier, feel free to let me know and I'll add it.
    Last edited by Demon I Am; 03-12-2013 at 04:42 PM.

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    Ninja Messiah kung fu jesus's Avatar
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    awesome. can't wait to see how this write up turns out!

  6. #4
    5,000 rpm - there be torque here! psulja's Avatar
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    This looks like it could be a pretty good thread. Being in the middle of the swap myself (should be done next week) I'll post up anything I come across.

    That is also a very extensive list which pretty much covers all the details, great post.

    I'm doing a few different things with my swap just because I'm planning for boost at the same time, so while I have the engine out I'm doing a coolant reroute, drilling and welding a bung for oil drain on the pan, and going with the FM1 clutch with a stock 1.8 flywheel.

    Something I don't see covered is PS & AC. My engine came without any brackets for either of those, but I'm assuming you just transfer over the mounting brackets from your 1.6 (will have to confirm that they fit).

    And just a question, but why are you transferring the waterpump pully from the 1.6? I didn't see this covered anywhere in my searching before the swap so am kind of confused by that.

    I'll probably post up more as I come across it in the next week.
    Paul | IG- @psulja
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  7. #5
    6,000 rpm - mere mortals would shift Demon I Am's Avatar
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    Since I kept the 1.6 alternator, I swapped the pulley from the WP and crank pulley. You can do this if the engine has a long-nose. They run on a V-belt, and not a ribbed belt. Short nose engines must transfer over a 1994-1997 alternator and bracket

    My car was not equipped with power steering, so I transferred over my idle pulley and bracket. The AC bracket mounted the same.

  8. #6
    5,000 rpm - there be torque here! psulja's Avatar
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    Okay, that makes sense. I was transferring over the alternator anyways since it came with my engine so I didn't need to change the waterpump pulley.

    That's kind of what I figured with the AC bracket and PS bracket. I will likely be deleting both my PS and AC anyways, I was just bringing it up for other people that may be doing the swap.
    Paul | IG- @psulja
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    1991 Mariner Blue - Built 1.8 swap, EFR, Fab9Tuning, Tii drivetrain

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    Ninja Messiah kung fu jesus's Avatar
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    Short nose crank pulley won't transfer over, I don't believe. If not, you would either have to use a long nose alt or swap over an alternator pulley.

  10. #8
    4,000 rpm - entering the fun zone wannafbody's Avatar
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    Options, use the 1.6 electronics and AFM or upgrade to Megasquirt.
    Option 2, buy a car with the swap already done

  11. #9
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power JLBMX5's Avatar
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    Tony its me James. Thanks for making this page and soon we will be doing this swap to my car. I hope you are able to get another saturday off to help me out with my swap. This weekend I am doing my coilovers. Brakes. And mudguards install. I will then make an introduction post and show some pics of my miata.

  12. #10
    6,000 rpm - mere mortals would shift Demon I Am's Avatar
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    Obviously there are a lot of ways to go about doing this. You can buy a used 1.8 from a part-out/junk yard, Depending on mileage, condition, and other items received. I bought a 1995 motor with 110k, compression test of 180-188 in all cylinders, Intake/exhaust manifolds, motor mount cups, injectors, fuel rail, alternator bracket, and water neck for $580. If you opt to swap in a 99+ engine, the cost could more than double.
    Your other option would be to buy a motor that has been rebuilt, or beefed up. Obviously these are more expensive , but you are basically buying a zero miles engine, usually with a warranty. This route also means that you may not need to buy many of the seals,gaskets, timing belt kit, etc, that you would when "refreshing" an old engine.

    In my case, I picked up my used engine, and took it to a car wash. It was rather filthy. I gave it a good bath in degreaser and scrubbed it down to an acceptable condition. I did plug the intake/exhaust holes beforehand. I knew that the engine would have months before being installed, so I was not too worried about trapped water. Working clean makes any job easier.

    Over the months, I collected as many of the parts as I deemed necessary to get the job done. I picked up the timing belt kit, FM parts, seals, gaskets, etc. I sent out my valve cover and IM for powder coating. Had I thought more of it, I would have sent out the water neck, and assorted bracketry, but oh well, this is not a show car. If you leave the valve cover off, make sure to plug the spark plug holes and cam shafts, just to keep debris/critters out.

    I purchased an engine stand from someone on Craigslist for $50, and bought the correct sized bolts/washers to mount the engine. I also bought a large drip tray to go under the motor. I was working inside, and wanted to not destroy the carpet. Once I had the engine mounted, I set to work. Remove the oil drain plug and set a catch pan on top of the drip tray. Leave it off for days, to drain what you can out of it.

    I followed the directions for a timing belt change. These can be found all over the internet, and it is a very straight forward job with the motor out of the car. Double/triple/quadruple check your timing, belt slack, and torque values now. It will not be this easy ever again! Reinstall the timing cover, if you are going that route. You will be re-using your crank pulley and water pump pulley from the 1.6.
    Timing Belt job references:
    http://revlimiter.net/blog/2009/09/n...g-belt-change/
    http://www.miata.net/garage/timingbelt.html



    I pulled the little wire brackets, old coolant hoses, crappy vacuum caps, etc off. Any bits that I could get clean, I tried to do. I installed a new magnetic drain plug for the oil, the new spark plugs, new thermostat, the valve cover, and the intake manifold. I did not install the intake support arm, as many people have reported it as an unneeded part. Note, if you do something like paint or powder coat your valve cover, do not install it fully! you will want to leave it off during the motor install. The chains and hooks might scratch it up, as well as the about of tools and items being installed. I ended up using a folded t-shirt to cover the v.c. during the install, and came out mostly unscathed. With the intake on the motor, you can go ahead and install the FM throttle body adapter and throttle cable bracket. The adapter was a bit intimidating, but if you go slow and steady, tapping the holes will be a cakewalk.

    I also took this down time to clean the 1.8 injectors and rebuild them. I stripped off all the orings and gaskets, and the pintle caps, and soaked them in acetone for a few days. I bought a set of rebuild parts from injector-rehab.com. Be sure to order an extra set or 2 to cover yourself in case you crack a pintle, or lose a o-ring. Injector-Rehab has good prices of cleaning and flowtesting injectors, if you are unsure of what you have. I just did a cleaning at home, by soaking. I know the motor these came out of was running at the time of being pulled.

    How to install Pintle caps:
    Get a 1/4" drive 10mm socket, or whatever size fits your pintle cap snugly. Put a small pot of water on the stove with the drive side down, and turn the heat on high. right before the water gets to boil, put your new pintle cap onto the end of your injector as snugly as you can without forcing it. Push the cap side into the socket, and let it sit there for a few minutes, warming up the plastic. After 10 sec or so, push down on the injector, and you should feel it slide into the cap. Take it out, and make sure that the cap is all the way seated, then do the other 3. If you try doing this without heating the plastic, it WILL crack.

    Once these were cleaned and rebuilt, I put them on the fuel rail. I did paint the fuel rail with some black truck bedliner (taping off the line connections and injector holes), just to freshen things up.

    From this point, I was mostly done with preliminary stuff.
    Last edited by Demon I Am; 03-12-2013 at 04:58 PM.

  13. #11
    6,000 rpm - mere mortals would shift Demon I Am's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JLBMX5 View Post
    Tony its me James. Thanks for making this page and soon we will be doing this swap to my car. I hope you are able to get another saturday off to help me out with my swap. This weekend I am doing my coilovers. Brakes. And mudguards install. I will then make an introduction post and show some pics of my miata.
    James, I look forward to helping you get this knocked out.

  14. #12
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power JLBMX5's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Demon I Am View Post
    James, I look forward to helping you get this knocked out.
    I sure hope so because the money im using to do motor swap was gonna purchase my exhaust and my rollbar.

  15. #13
    6,000 rpm - mere mortals would shift Demon I Am's Avatar
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    meh, that part can always come later

  16. #14
    2,000 rpm - light wheelspin, no bog here! roy obanion's Avatar
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    Thanks for the write-up. Not sure if I will ever tackle this job or not, I'd say it is highly unlikely in my current car.

  17. #15
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power JLBMX5's Avatar
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    OK the motor I am purchasing will not have alternator. Will not have power steering. Will not have ac. My 1.6 has all three and I want to keep all three. Will my brackets and accessories transfer right over. I'm going from a 1993 1.6 to a 1994 1.8. If I need to buy brackets I need to start looking g so it does not hit me by surprise.

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