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sick sick sick, and lovely at the same time, I LOVE the idea of an LS1 Miata! good luck on the project, I'd like to build one too, maybe next year. Nice looking shell too, are you going to cut the firewall any? You gonna make the mounts, torque-arm and any front subframe modifications yourself?
so, what are you gonna run for tires when you finally get some LS1 torque in there? you should widebody it to fit 265's out back... *Dr.Evil laugh* oh yes!
Thanks for your comments. To answer your questions; no cutting of the firewall was necessary but there are two small uni-body support projections sticking out of the firewall we did cut off. Small plates approx. twice the guage thickness are welded back in place.
Just like what you Firebird and Camaro guys do to lose front end weight and improve strength, we have a new chrome-moly, tubular K-member design (Ferguson Fabrication, where you saw pix) specifically for V8 Miatas with LS motors and Fords. Ferguson is a "Indy Car fabricator of the year", in the Indy-car "Hall of Fame", he worked on Breedlove's Spirit of America and has been on Jesse Jame's Monster Garage, the dude's really talented.
The new stand alone PCM and wiring harness came complete "Plug & Play" from Howard Performance (480 577-9413) in Arizona. Wired for diagnostics, the new high-flow Delphi MAF sensor Fan relays, fuel pump relays, fuse block, everything.
All the V8 Miata problems are SOLVED by these guys, you can buy just a K-member or any individual parts or, you can have Ferguson build your whole damn car. LS Motors, LS1, LS2, LS6 & LS7 come from Howard Performance as either "NEW" GM crate motors or low mileage "USED" packages with trannys, wiring harness, PCM, whatever your drivetrain needs. Howard's "Sick" LS motor package is a "NEW" LS2 GM crate motor stripped, built and blueprinted with the best of everything internals, twin-turboed using a Delphi MEFI IV ECM custom mapped to the engine making about 850 HP!!!!!!!!!
Anyway back to my Miata's specs, I run 215-40 ZR16 Kumhos all around (about 8.5 wide) and the overall finished car will weigh about 2190 Lbs.
Everything fits underhood, so it'll continue to be "dis-respected" as just another "girly-car" until I choose to drop the hammer. Weight balance is essentially the same as a stock Miata, so I'll still be able to turn inside Cobras, Porsches and Beemers, except NOW I'll be able to see them instantly shrink in my rear-view mirror.
The development of the K-frame, rear-end and a whole range of seriously upgraded sub components are being professionally accomplished by Ferguson Fabrication and Howard Performance here in Arizona.
The cost variables range from chosing to buy a few key individual components (do-it-yerself) to having Ferguson build a complete, "turn-key" LS V8 Miata. Sorry, but it's a little nebulous like asking how much does a High Performance Firebird cost. Howard Performance's motor packages range from New GM crate motors LS1, LS2, LS6 and LS7s with all accessories, PCM and wiring harnesses to used packages, mine is a 2000 LS1 & T-56.
Also in my case, another cost varible was, I made money by selling my original Miata engine and trans, header, dual exhaust, racing radiator, diff with Torsen LSD and some other suspension components I'm not using.
Anyway, I didn't mean to sound evasive here, but because of the facts a decent used Miata can be had for around $4000.00 and most V8 conversions have been backyard, week-end projects, weak at best the DIY approach is even more difficult to pin down. What level of form, fit and finish will satisfy you?
From what I've observed alot of guys choose Ford 5.0s and a cheaper T-5 trans due to budget constraints. I've never ever built any high-perf project car in my 35 years of doin' it, without spending way more than I ever thought I would each time and I'm still married and have been for 30 years too.
A good, low mileage LS1 / T-56 at average prices out there can easily cost what the entire used Miata cost is. Why would anyone install a drivetrain that costs more than the car? Guys do it every day, go figure.
As a point of reference, I have a friend with a 5.0 V8 Monster Miata and I simply chose what I consider to be a little safer, more professional approach to V8 conversion. My opinion.
Contact Mike at Ferguson Fabrication (480) 967-6160, he'll be glad to talk to you and answer questions, thanks again for your interest.
I really appreciate all you guys observations and questions about my V8 Miata project and a little background history might shed some light.
My first car was a 57 chevy and even though it soon had a 327 and a 4 speed, it shortly later wound up with a 396. I had a 64 GTO 389 tri-power. a 67 Vette, a 56 Chevy 392 Hemi/clutch flite and while in the Navy a C.O.P.O. 72 Nova SS 350 HP 350 4-speed, 4:11 posi rear.
I've drag raced and built cars my whole life and lost interest in drag racing and due to friends intros, road racing (sportscars on tracks) is what interests me now, enjoying retirement. Of the hundreds of high performance cars I've built and owned the most fun ones were generally the ODD ones;
Hi-po 289 Ford, in 73 240Z, an All Aluminum 327 in a Porsche 911 Turbo Carrera, another 260Z Chevy 350 and a 67 427SC Cobra, 383 Chevy and others. The common element is ridiculous power in a small, nimble car I guess.
The challenge to me has always been to make em work in every respect.
Ferguson tells me he learned in his Indycar experiences you can learn to drive anything, but it doesn't mean it's set-up right. Anybody can make a car fast in a straight line, but it's really fun to try to make a project car work competitively in every respect.
How many cars of any make or model can do it all, and oh, be reliable too?
As to the 215 tire/traction question. It took me 2 years of track days and suspension work to get this Miata neutral with a small bit of oversteer to make turn-in as crisp as I like it. Now, the weight balance with LS1 and trans will still be almost identical but I'll have to totally learn all the new net effects from gear selection, trail-braking, throttle steer all the new dynamics, but I know one new thing, it will be outrageous fun, having all the torque and horsepower to drive through a 4 wheel drift to a positive conclusion like the 4 cylinder Miata never could.
That sounds great that your fabbing up a crossmember that requires little to no cutting to get a LS1 into a miata. Could you post up pics of the crossmember setup , I would love to see it in the car . Any idea what he would charge just for a crossmember? I have 2 LS1 FD Rx7's and my dad is seriously considering doing one of these LS1 miatas.
The new K-member design is not completed yet, the pictures you see with the engine in the car are the combo on a mock-up cart beneath the car.
It's a complete bolt-in front sub-frame replacement that carries the control arms, shocks & springs, motor mounts and steering rack. Go to a website like AJE or just type K-member into your search engine and you'll see various companies; Powder coated, Chrome-Moly tubular K-members, mainly for Camaros, Firebirds and Mustangs. That's basically what the finished product will look like, and Ferguson will sell you just a K-member if that's what you want, all the way up to helping or actually building your entire car if you want too. They'll help you on any level, they're really great guys.
wow very interesting, I think there is a market for the Kmembers alone as there are a lot of guys looking to put an LS1 into a Miata, I chose an RX7 because the swap was well documented and the mounts were readily available.
I would think an aftermarket RX7 nonturbo clutchpack diff might be able to hold power levels of a stock LS1 if you dont run tires bigger than 225 out back but thats just a guess. its a shock load that would kill it in one try, but for budget conscious guys like myself, the LS1 Miata is looking more and more feasible now that you've mentioned a possible Kmember to buy that drops right in... hopefully it wont be ridiculously expensive, I understand its a custom part made by a very professional shop, dont take any offense.
I think you'll have your hands full trying to put power down on those skinny little tires unless you are excellent at partial throttle acceleration... but it depends on suspension and tire choices as well... I think FlyinMiata has a widebody setup you can look into but anyway that thing is gonna be SO MUCH FUN!
Ha, I went to look at a used Miata over the weekend, kinda pricey but you are right that you can recoup a lot of costs by selling the 4banger drivetrain and rear end to any of the Spec Miata racers.
Looking good! I thought about the Miata before starting my LS1/93' RX7 project. At the time though, I believe there was only one LS powered 2nd gen Miata completed and it was all one off. Had a proven "kit" been offered, I probably would have jumped on it. I love a Miata though, they can be made to handle like no other. I've had two, a 99' 10AE and a 92' Monster Miata (302/T5). Made a number of "passes" through Deals Gap at speeds I would probably not approach with anything else I have owned/driven. very confidence inspiring.
Refreshing to see first class work you guys, any LS Generation III engine aught to be proud to be residing in cars like these. I always tease my buddy Bill and his Monster Miata because we're great friends we have to wage the age old war between Ford and Chevy!!!!!!!
Gotta love it, what's more sick than Ford & Chevy V8 Miata Wars?
Man is Ryan's Blue Stocker M2 Miata gorgeous or what!!!!
All it needs is an LS7, Yeah, the ZO6-MX5 "Blue Max"
After about a year into my project, with five months of down time.....not being able to work on it. I am right about 70% done with mine. I can not wait to get it running, driving, and tuned. There are a few others here that are driving there ls1 powered miata's. We all have gone different routes...and at times I wished I had done a Rx7 Gen II or III. I went alittle hard core on mine. I got the engine as far back as I could to help keep the weight balance closer to 50/50. I also got the engine as low as I could for better Cg. I have helped a friend install his Lt1 in to his 1990 turbo II Rx7, and was like damn...there is so much room. I would of been done and driving it by now. I have gone through everything in my miata.......... New Ls6 block,new crank,ported 98 vette heads,a tr224/224 cam 114, comp 918 with ti-retainers, Total seal pistion rings, arp rod bolts, ported T-body, roller master t-chain, new t-56 trans, 12.5lb. flywheel, Z06 clutch, 2002 F-body slave and throwout bearing for the trans., 99 formula driveshaft shortened to 28.5", T-bird 7.5 3.27:1 posi rear, Modded t-bird axles and mazda hubs, Rebushinged all a-arms with poly bushings, new lower ball joints, new outer tie rod ends, new springs and shocks, larger sway bars, made custom subframes...trans bracket....power plant frame mounts front and rear, modded K-member...still need to finish and weld up, wiring 80% done, have to make the headers...firewall....exhaust system, still trying to decide if I would like A/c or not, custom made gauge cluster, removed all wiring that I did not need....old pcm and SRS wiring.....went through all the brakes...even though they are stock...upgraded the pads, new clips, rotors and stainless steel brake lines, New tires and Rims, 225/40r16 ft and 245/45r16 rear, and still a ways to go........and alot of other things I still didn't list that are done. Should be a unique driving experience and one hell of a sleeper. www.ls1miata.net/gallery
This site has pics. of my project and the Rx7 Lt1 conversion going on. My buddy is probably a month or less away from getting it togther and running. We are both trying to take our time and do a professional install.
The rear-end I'm using is a Ford Thunderbird IRS 8.8 center section, with 3:73 Ford Racing ring & pinion and a new design Detroit Locker True-trac posi. This posi is NOT a Locker like Detroit's other products, it's a helical gear system like Torsen LSD only larger, stouter. It looks like a rip-off of GURUs diff they developed for the Australian V8 supercar series (750+HP) except instead of $1200.00 it's about $450.00. My axles are 28 spline 7.5 due to the smaller CVs clearing the shocks & springs. A new set of Miata hubs are broached to those shortened Ford axles. And ARP racing wheel studs are installed. New urethane bushings throughout, stainless brake lines, etc.
My car is almost item for item like Turbotacoma's project with the exception that mine was dropped 2" with 352 in/lb springs front and rear. The engine is set back to the firewall without any heavy cutting/mods. I'm not concerned because my cars's weight balance and CG is dramatically different than Turbotacoma's. I'm running 215-40 ZR16 Kumhos all around. I'm really lucky to have the time (I'm retired) to do this. I have spent about 10K over two years driving road racing courses setting up my car previously, based on that experience I need a little more front-end weight shift because I weigh 270 Lbs to maintain MY car's balance. Street driving, my car rides like **** it's super stiff and Sparco seats suck if you want to cruise somewhere comfortably for hours, but it corners like a Go-Kart.
It all depends on ultimately what you intend to do with your project car.
Anybody that is designing and building a LS V8 Miata project and wants to hammer it on roadracing courses, etc. will naturally have individual ideas as to what makes the optimum set-up work for them. IE How many different guys in this Forum have different opinions on what suspension, gears, tires work best on their Firebirds, Camaros, GTOs?
Awesome car. I can appreciate proper engineering and construction and I LOVE non-descript "sleeper" type cars. I built a 1973 Datsun pickup 'way back in 1975 with a 302 Ford/C4/8 inch combo that was well hidden and it was great fun on the street. I'm really surprised that my current car (the '35 Ford/LS-1) seems to entice all these meat-heads in Hondas and Mitsubishi's with 6 inch exhaust tips into wanting to "smack down the old car with whitewalls" at stoplights. They usually get a surprise ( insert here: I do not condone street racing of any kind).
__________________ 1935 Ford Sedan a "Route 66 veteran", LS1 5.7L, Edelbrock Victor JR intake, stock throttle body, B&M kitted 4L60E, 9" Ford, 3.70 gears with a four-bar setup, Moser axles, disc brakes on all corners. My car is truely a "hybrid", it burns gasoline AND rubber.