Slow Car Fast
December 10, 2008 - The intake is here!
The ruler test shows that it doesn't really fit under the hood - but the hood isn't flat. Still, I'm hoping to get the engine a bit further down and back. I really need to borrow a transmission to try it for clearance. I think what I'll end up doing will be to strip the interior, cut out most of the tunnel and then rebuild to clear the trans.
entry 102 - tags: engine, fitment
December 10, 2008 - And here's what is going inside.
I walked into the shop at work and found this behemoth sitting on the floor. I have to say, it's very handy doing this swap at home while there are two LS3 Miatas being built at work as well as a completed LS1 Miata that's undergoing constant development. That's the drivetrain from the LS1 car, removed to get new heads and a cam.
It's a pretty close match to what I'm going to use. The subframe is the tubular version of a Miata subframe, with the same control arms and steering rack. It looks as if my engine positioning will be a bit further back than this one, which helps a bit for rack clearance, oil pan clearance and weight distribution.
It sure makes the transmission look huge!
entry 104 - tags: engine, subframe, transmission, fitment
January 3, 2009 - With the frame rails out of the way, we did an engine test fit.
It's the first time I've dropped the engine in with a throttle body. And this is pretty much the correct location for it. I just need to check my driveshaft angle and I think it'll move back approximately an inch, but everything works well. The shifter comes out in the stock position and most of the engine is behind the wheel line - marked here with blue tape.
entry 128 - tags: engine, fitment
January 3, 2009 - Here's a view of the engine height.
At my planned ride height, I'll have about 5" of air under the bottom of the pan. It's only going to protrude about 3/4" below the stock frame rails. More importantly, I'll also have it nicely protected. And you can't see it in this picture, but the hood is on and latched!
It'll fit without body modifications!
entry 129 - tags: engine, fitment
February 1, 2009 - Here's the transmission sitting in the correct location.
Correct in two dimensions, anyhow. I pulled the bellhousing off because it's much easier to bolt that part to the engine for clearance testing.
Some quick tape measure work tells me that the T56 should fit much, much better than I'd feared. I haven't lifted it up into the car yet (I need to work out a stable way to support it while being able to lift and move it around), but it appears that it should fit into the stock tunnel as if the car was shrinkwrapped around it. Amazing. There's even a crossmember that I think is in the perfect place to support the rear.
entry 164 - tags: transmission, fitment
February 2, 2009 - Time to get out the sawzall, let's get the engine fitted.
This is the passenger's side footwell. This big handy dent is almost perfect. In fact, on initial test-fitting, this side of the car appears to have been factory modified for my needs.
entry 166 - tags: firewall, fitment
February 2, 2009 - The driver's side is not as good.
Notice how much further the footwell extends inboard from the frame rail. But all of this space is useless - the gas pedal visible in the cut is at full throttle. So, I shall reclaim this space from the interior for the engine.
entry 167 - tags: firewall, fitment
February 2, 2009 - After a bit of finagling, the transmission is in place.
Sort of. It's sitting about 1" to 1.5" too low and pressed up against the top of the transmission tunnel. Some more surgery may be required - but the fact that I'm this close without making any modifications is astounding. There's one doodad just below the shifter (pardon the technical terminology) that will require a small hammered dent in the tunnel to allow the shifter to be centered in the hole.
However, a test fit of the hood with the engine in place tells me that I'm either going to have to modify the hood or lower the engine. I've been testing the fit with the oil pan level with the frame rails, 5" off the ground. Possibly more, actually, when I review my notes. They show the rails at 5.75" high, although I think that was with the original wheel size. Regardless, I have lots of clearance. I'm tempted to drop the whole thing by 1" to improve clearances everywhere. I'd put a crossmember in front of the pan to protect it. A quick check with a tape measure shows 4" of clearance on one of the Miatas in the garage, so 4" is certainly streetable.
entry 169 - tags: fitment, transmission
February 2, 2009 - Here's the current shifter location.
It's offset slightly to one side due to the aforementioned doodad but the longitudinal placement is pretty much perfect.
entry 170 - tags: transmission, fitment
February 6, 2009 - It's in!
The entire drivetrain is in place. There are jacks and clamps and various cheating involved, but I've found my final location. The engine is down not quite an inch from where I had it before, mostly to accommodate the transmission and tunnel. The problem I had with the hood not closing before? It was the hood prop hitting the top of one of my new suspension towers - you can see how it's been cut down on the right side compared to the left. But still, it makes for a better location.
entry 171 - tags: fitment
February 6, 2009 - And here's the final shifter location.
Looks perfect. You can see the square hole I had to cut in the top of the transmission tunnel to make space for the trans - the tunnel has a low point while the transmission does not. Sorry, make that the tunnel had a low point...
The "doodad" I mentioned before is a reverse lockout solenoid. Above 5 mph, the solenoid prevents you from hitting reverse. There's some logic to that, but it's a hassle for me. It could easily be removed completely but given the tight shift pattern of a T56, that's not the most intelligent solution.
On Elvis, we pulled the solenoid out and tweaked the spring tension in the lockout. This negated the need to run wires to the solenoid, but it still left things a bit on the bulky side for me. I'm going to see if I can manage to design a replacement that fits flush to the side of the transmission. It looks plausible.
entry 172 - tags: transmission, fitment, reverse
February 8, 2009 - A view of the driver's side motor mount.
Yeah, it's close to the steering column. I might be able to make it work with some artfully curled tubes - or I'm wondering if I can use the extra pair of bosses on the block and support this side of the engine a bit further back.
I did what is hopefully the final cutting of the tunnel today and welded the frame rails in fully. It's not easy welding 1/8" steel to thin floorboards from below without burning through. It's not pretty work, but it'll hold.
entry 173 - tags: mounts, fitment
March 29, 2009 - There haven't been any updates for the past month, I know.
That's because I've been working on other things - the Targa Miata went to Laguna Seca for a two-day track event and my editor feels I should be working on my new book instead of hacking up an old MG. So I've been concentrating on that.
I did pick up a new set of motor mounts, though. They'll give me a little more clearance for the steering column. Not a lot, but hopefully enough. I'm also getting concerned about clearance between the alternator and the steering rack pinion. I know there are a number of accessory mounting options for the LS engines (thank you Car Craft for a well-timed article there) but I'd prefer to maintain the Camaro setup because, well, I have one.
In other news, there's a Austin Healey Sprite in the garage right now. I've been tasked with making the freshly built 1275 engine run. Part of my payment for that is an MGB GT body. Hopefully it'll provide a few useful bits and pieces to help restore Janel's.
So, there's not going to be much work on the MG for a little while yet. I really need to be working on that book!
entry 175 - tags: mounts, fitment
December 31, 2009 - Here's why I knew I needed to fit the real engine instead of just my plastic one.
The pulleys and water lines and accessories make things more complex. And it became apparent pretty quickly that I needed to open up the front of the engine bay a bit more. Time to chop a bit more off the car!
entry 241 - tags: engine, destruction, first fitment
December 31, 2009 - Voila!
A minute with Mr. Sawzall and the offending parts are removed. I have some structure to put back in to ensure the bumpers don't fall off the car, but the engine slipped in to place.
I also had to open up the hole in the interior for the shifter. It's in the perfect place, but the Hurst shifter on our T56 is a bit larger in diameter than the hole.
entry 242 - tags: engine, destruction, first fitment
December 31, 2009 - And voila!
The engine is installed. Not for the final time, as I'm going to have to pull it to finish welding up the frame and some other bits. There's also a cross piece in the transmission tunnel that wants to be just a little bit smaller - I've cut it once, but not quite enough. That will let the whole drivetrain level out.
It's a tight fit in spots. The distance between the oil pan and the steering rack is minuscule. The transmission tunnel is shrink-wrapped around the trans. And I'm really not sure how to fit the exhaust - even coming out the fender wells is going to be tight, I'll have to make sure there's enough clearance for the tires. The oil filler looks like it's making a bit of contact with one of the stiffening ribs in the hood. But these problems can be overcome!
But there it is - a complete LS1/T56 in a 1972 MGB.
entry 244 - tags: fitment, first fitment, engine, transmission, destruction
January 1, 2010 - I spent a bunch of time today simply crawling around the car, figuring out what needs to be done.
The short version: lots.
By doing a bit of reworking to the heater box above the transmission tunnel, I think I can pull the drivetrain back by another .75". That will give me a bit more room on the steering crossmember and move the shift lever back to the back of the factory hole instead of in the center. I can deal with where the engine is now but I'd prefer just a little bit more room at the front.
While the engine is out so I can cut the heater box, I'll fully weld and reinforce the front frame so it can deal with the load of the engine. That's going to be a bit of a tough call, but I think I can do it.
This is a very tight fit overall. The exhaust routing will definitely be through the fender wells, and I'll have to make sure it doesn't interfere with the tires. The accessories all fit nicely, that's a bonus. I'm trying to figure out how large a radiator I can stuff in here, and how the fans will fit. Brake hydraulics will be a big challenge if I want to keep power assist.
So much to do.
entry 245 - tags: fitment, first fitment, space
November 11, 2010 - The T56 transmission has a lockout on reverse.
It's triggered by the ECU, and locks out reverse anytime you're above 5 mph. Pretty smart - I've driven cars with the same lockout triggered by the brake lights, and that works fairly well until you try to downshift from 6th to 5th while braking, and get reverse instead.
The problem is that the solenoid is pretty big. It wouldn't fit in the transmission tunnel. Instead of modifying the tunnel, I decided to leave the solenoid off and then build an access panel in the side of the tunnel so it can be installed once the transmission is in situ. I also need to put a small bulge in the panel to clear the solenoid, but not too big. I'm almost done that now.
entry 444 - tags: reverse, transmission, fitment
November 13, 2010 - The access panel for the reverse solenoid lock-out is in place.
It sure doesn't look pretty, especially in shiny black paint trying to make the welds look a boogery as possible, but it does the job. The idea was to 1) make it removable for future transmission removal or solenoid access and 2) add a bulge to allow the solenoid to clear the tunnel. It'll be covered by carpet eventually so it'll never be seen again, and I sealed the gap around the edges. So, not an easy thing to remove. But it can be removed.
The solenoid seems to be working. The spring inside certainly adds to the effort of hitting reverse, and as far as I can tell it's locking out reverse completely above 5 mph. I'll test it further once I'm on the road.
entry 449 - tags: reverse, transmission, fitment