Targa Miata
June 29, 2011 - Good news!
The engine computer is back from being reflashed, and it's working far, far better than before. Many more horses now live under the hood. It's not yet perfect, but it's now running in closed loop and with long term trim so it'll get better. Best yet, I can now get in to the computer to tune it. So we're well on the way.
I also discovered an advantage to flexible air dams. There's a piece of road nearby that was torn up for construction and hasn't been repaved. There's a slight drop down to the gravel/dirt level. Well, when I (purposefully) took this at a high rate of knots, the air dam bottomed out and became a snowplow. A truly impressive cloud of debris was raised. Back in the garage, there's no damage to the dam and a few screws that have pulled out. I was going to replace those with bolts anyhow, so no harm done. And yes, I do need to lift the car up. I'm pushing it right now to find out where the weak areas are.
entry 865 - tags: power, V8, air dam, aero
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
September 11, 2013 - Want to know what the difference between the standard 430 hp LS3 and the 525 hp version is?
You're looking at it. That's an ASA cam from GM Performance Parts along with the appropriate valve springs. We have a car at Flyin' Miata right now with this cam, and it's ridiculously fun. Not just the obvious power, but the throttle response. It's one rorty engine, entertaining in a way that the other versions aren't.
So, while my new engine is out of the car, dropping these parts in was a bit of a no-brainer.
entry 1094 - tags: power, engine, ps3