LS1Tech Exclusive: Stok_Ish: Jeff Kay’s 1987 Mazda B2000
Who knew taking a Mazda and stuffing in a V8 with twin-turbos would be so fun and handle this well?
The Mazda B2000 is a surprisingly great truck from the Japanese builder, yet few equate it to a suitable candidate for LS swaps. Jeff Kay is no stranger to this truck and to cars that can handle well on a road course. That’s why he picked it over the typical S10. Of course, when you add a pair of turbos to a 4.8-liter V8, you can improve a lot of things.
As mentioned, this wasn’t Jeff’s first B2000. He owned a four-cylinder B2000 for track days previously. So when a friend approached him to do a truck project, he knew that the B2000 was the one. Eventually, that friend saw how much work Jeff was putting into it. The friend let Jeff own it outright since he had already spent the most money and time with it. From there, things took off.
Big power, little truck
Under the hood resides a 2006 version of the LR4, a 4.8-liter iron block used in 1999 to 2006 Chevrolet and GMC trucks and vans. Later years saw the most power with 285-horsepower out of the box, but of course, Jeff wanted more. He replaced the standard heads with a set of LS2 heads fitted with ARP studs. To help the engine breathe, he installed an LS9 camshaft with BTR valve springs and retainers to move the valves. An LS2 intake manifold is fed by a matching throttle body with its TAC module. A TRP X-Link makes it open to full, 100 percent throttle on demand.
That is a good thing since he’s added a pair of Turbonetics 60-1 turbos to forward-facing exhaust manifolds. The twin 44-millimeter wastegates control the turbos’ boost level while a 50-millimeter blow-off valve keeps compressor surge in check when the throttle closes. Jeff made the custom boost and vacuum lines from stainless steel tubing for maximum heat protection. K&N Filters attach right to the turbo inlets and both stick out where the headlights used to be.
The E85 is fed to the engine from a 32-gallon fuel cell. Inside the cell, a Holley fuel pump transfers to a Radium Engineering surge tank with a pair of Walbro 450 pumps. From there, a Radium fuel pressure regulator controls flow with boost referencing before being sent to the 80-lb/hr Siemens fuel injectors. To make sure proper fueling is done by the ethanol content, a GM Flex Fuel sensor sends to the New Era Performance tuned ECU.
While the fuel cell is in the bed, everyone first notices the old Honda lawnmower and weedwacker. Both are bolted very securely so that you can move the back of the truck by trying to lift the mower out. Why are they both there? Jeff added them just for fun as it was done as a dare, mostly, before Holley LS Fest West. The implements confused the event’s track inspector at first. However, when Jeff got him to try removing both, he figured out these lawn tools weren’t falling out anytime soon.
Jeff prefers to row his own gears and uses a GM F-Body T56 six-speed. This was used behind a LT-engine, but he
converted it to LS use by changing out the input shaft and front plate. A McLeod RXT Twin Disc Clutch is controlled by a Wilwood one-inch master cylinder that feeds hydraulic pressure to the McLeod Hydraulic Throw Out Bearing assembly. The transmission transfers torque to the Wenco build custom driveshaft and a Ford 9-Inch rear end. That rear has a 3.55:1 gear attached to a Detroit Locker that spins the axle shafts with a set of 15×10 D-Slot wheels with Mickey Thompson ET Street SS tires in 295/55R15.
The matching front 15×8 D-Slot wheels with Mastercraft 235/60R15s hide B2000 calipers upgraded with a set of Porterfield R45 pads. Steering comes from a 1995 Mustang power steering rack with custom tie rods and power assist from a Toyota MR2 Electric Power Steering Pump. To keep that steering fluid cool, a Derale power steering cooler sits between the pump and rack.
The front and rear suspension remain stock, but KYB adjustable shocks provide damping. Jeff lowered its stance by cranking down the torsion bars and adding lowering blocks to the rear end. Custom links at the rear end also prevent the axle binding when he engages the Summit Racing Roll Control front line lock that’s tied inline with the stock master cylinder.
Inside, a custom dashboard works its way around an SMP Fabworks built rollcage. A pair of Mitsubishi Evolution 8 Recaro seats holds Jeff and passenger with a pair of Summit five-point cam-lock harnesses. The Sparco steering wheel attaches to the Sweet Manufacturing collapsible steering column and quick disconnect hub. To control the wastegates, a Turbosmart E-Boost Street digital boost controller is in reach on the dashboard.
The gauges are SPEK Pro Gauges, like those used in NASCAR up until the digital dash took over. Jeff also gets information from a seven-inch ASUS Android tablet with the Torque App installed and a Bluetooth adapter going to the ECU. A Joe’s Racing switch panel turns on all the electronics to start this customized and powerful truck.
When it comes to trucks, many people won’t consider them performance vehicles. And when it comes to Japanese trucks, even less so. However, an LS swap is a quick cure for the low-power blues these trucks suffer.If you want something that’s going to blow the doors off most anything you see, you may want to give this truck some time for inspiration in your next build. The look of shock from the guy you just beat will give you instant satisfaction.