Targa Miata
August 23, 2013 - Time for a big upgrade.
When the car was converted to V8 power, it got a modified L33 engine. The L33 is a 5.3L truck engine with an aluminum block, but really the only things that stayed were the block, crank and rods. This is the recipe for the V8RSpec race series engines. It's a good track engine with a powerband that just keeps delivering more and more up to about 375hp at the rear wheels - but it's never had the bottom end torque I wanted. This is particularly a problem on the rally stage, where you don't always know exactly what a corner exit is going to look like. Driving the car back-to-back with my 5.7 LS1-powered MGB on the street really showed me what I was missing. So I've been eying the newer, larger LS3 engines for a while. I think I'm the only person who's ever felt the car was lacking for torque, though!

A few weeks ago, I got a call from a friend who had an LS3 for sale. It's a crate LS376/480, the same 480 hp engine that we use for a lot of conversions at Flyin' Miata. It had been installed and run just long enough to seat the rings before being pulled. He offered it to me at a killer price, so I jumped on it.
So the Targa Miata is going to get a makeover. Along with the new engine, I'll drop in the matching wiring and controller. No more modified 2002 Firebird parts, I'll be running a GM Performance Parts wiring harness, PCM and fusebox. This will, amongst other things, take the main relay out. Yes, that main relay.
I've got a few other changes planned, but this is the big one. It's going to be fun. Good thing I upgraded those axles.
entry 1091 - tags: engine, power, LS3, L33
March 27, 2014 - Dyno time!
Was all that engine swap work worthwhile? Short version: yes. The car spun the rollers at 466 hp and 432 lb-ft. Even better, it was making 300 ft-lb at 1700 rpm and more than 400 from 2900 to 6100. That's one healthy little car.
Here's the dyno run - the whine is from the tires on the rollers.

In other words, yes. It was well worth the work. The old 5.3 made decent power, but didn't have that massive amount of torque. On the road, it's just ridiculously eager, ready to rip forward at any moment. The 6.2 with the ASA cam has the same light feel as the old high compression 2.0 that I used to run, but with approximately three times as much power.
Wow, that puts it in perspective. Nearly three times as much power as the 2008 Targa Newfoundland spec.
entry 1120 - tags: dyno, ls3, 6.2
August 13, 2014 - An interesting upgrade.
I'm seeing a bit of oil in the intake from the PCV system, and came across this factory part for the Camaro ZL1. It's an oil separator, designed to pull oil out of the air being recirculated. Installation is easy, it just replaces the filler cap.

Well, it would be easy on a giant Camaro. It wasn't even close to fitting under the hood. After a bit of head scratching, I tried swapping the valve covers around and it tucks in nicely by the firewall. Let's hear it for symmetrical heads! We'll see how this works out.
entry 1127 - tags: engine, ls3