Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter)
Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter) Dork
8/10/21 5:16 p.m.

Let me explain what I'm researching.

I have an 86 Mazda B2000 that I really like. I rebuilt the engine completely a few years ago. It has a Weber 32/36 and a header, brand new cylinder head, machined block with overbore. To sum it up, I built it right.

But, I want a bit more power and fuel injection. 

I do not want to hassle with going down the rabbit hole of megasquirt or some other aftermarket EFI system. 

A lot of early Mazda truck guys do a Kia Sportage FE3 swap, and I may still go that route.

But, having owned a 1.8 Miata a few years ago, I am also considering doing a Miata drivetrain swap. But, I don't know if the OEM Mazda electronics and harness lend themselves well to a swap. So I'm hoping to find someone who has swapped an NA drivetrain into something else. I've done a few GM drivetrain swaps and they very much lend themselves to fitment into an earlier, non electronic vehicle. But I don't know much about the Mazda engine control stuff. Dropping the engine is is reportedly a bolt in to my truck so the nuts and bolts aren't hard. So I'm just wondering if I can carefully remove a Miata drivetrain and drop it where it doesn't belong with relative ease. I can handle setting up a high pressure fuel system. I can set up a cooling system. Exhaust is no problem. I can do wiring easily. I can groom the harness and mount the components. But I don't want to hack the software to hassle with anti theft or whatever. Is this feasible ?

KyAllroad
KyAllroad UltimaDork
8/10/21 5:27 p.m.

Cute truck!

I'm not sure a 1.8 Miata mill is gonna motivate it any better than what's in it now.  Unless you also throw a turbo at it in which case you'll be wanting a standalone anyway.   And paying a professional $500 to tune the MS is gonna be one of your lesser expenses at that point.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
8/10/21 5:32 p.m.

As long as you stick with something before 2001 there's no anti-theft in the computer.  NB2s had it, to make a stock ECU from one of those work in a transplant people usually take the stock key and lock/chip receiver unit, stick the key in it, plug it into the harness, and wedge it up under the dash somewhere.

NA/NB Miatas do not really have a separate engine wiring harness, so you're going to have to thin it out a lot to delete stuff you don't care about.

As mentioned though, I don't know that a stock Miata motor is what I would want in a pickup, even a light one.

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/10/21 5:34 p.m.

1995 or older will make your life easier, then you don't have to worry about the ECU freaking out about missing emissions parts. Anti-theft showed up in 2001 and you can get around that if you have the immobilizer unit, the key and antenna and the matching ECU.  But I'd go pre-1996.

It's not quite as easy as a GM, where the engine control harness is almost completely standalone. Mazda didn't separate the harnesses in the same way, so you have to unwrap everything (so sticky) and take it apart. But once that's done, it's quite possible. Life is much easier if you have access to a legit factory wiring harness.

Slippery
Slippery UberDork
8/10/21 5:43 p.m.

Can't wait for the build. Cousin_Eddie's builds are always fun and very well done!

FieroReinke
FieroReinke New Reader
8/10/21 7:23 p.m.

Lo ost 7 builders use miata donors Ll the time which is what you are doing just instead of building the whole car your dropping the drivetrain into another car.  My locost 7 uses a 96 Maita donor and stock ecu.  Its works just fine but I did carry over the emissions stuff.  

Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter)
Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter) Dork
8/10/21 7:41 p.m.

First, thank everyone for their answers. I'll go back and re-read them all several times to make sure I absorbed all of the details.

I'm surprised at the responses telling me it isn't enough power. A 1.8 Miata is what 135 horsepower ? My B2000 is 85. That's roughly a 50 horsepower increase and a very significant jump in my eyes. Plus I get fuel injection and way better ignition. I can't see anything lacking. I'm chasing distributor issues on my current engine (parts are scarce), so I'd welcome something a decade more modern. 

@Slippery, I have a pretty long build thread on the truck here on this board somewhere. In the end, viewership (is that a word) dwindled because I took it from mini-truck 80s fantastic to old man parts hauler. I raised it up a couple of inches from when it was at its lowest and I put tall plush tires on it. 

Obligatory picture of it currently parked behind the fire station where I am at work...

I'm getting old. I have kids in college. I own two houses. I just need a handy little pickup to haul stuff and get me to work reliably so the current iteration of the truck works for me. It's not cool though, I get that. But it goes 80 miles per hour with ease now and the CD player never skips anymore now that I have the tall tires on it. Last month I hauled an entire LS engine and transmission swap drivetrain in  the bed it so the modest lowering is way better than when I had it hammered on the ground. It just flat works for pickup stuff now. 

I would say getting old sucks, but old man shoes are pretty comfortable if you can get over your vanity.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
8/10/21 9:20 p.m.

I would say it's more the torque curve than the total power.  Much as Honda fans like to describe BPs as "truck motors", they really aren't.  It's not a motor you really want to drive below 3000 RPM, and that's not what I'd consider ideal for a small pickup.

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/10/21 9:54 p.m.

A set of cams from a Protege or Sephia might help there. The Miata and the Escort GT were the only performance versions. Everything else was tuned more for tork. 

ZOO (Forum Supporter)
ZOO (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
8/11/21 6:28 a.m.

That's a great little truck . . . I'd really love something like that, too.  But I have zero space left and only a little bit of goodwill left from my neightbours.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
8/11/21 8:31 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:

A set of cams from a Protege or Sephia might help there. The Miata and the Escort GT were the only performance versions. Everything else was tuned more for tork. 

Will a stock ECU swallow that much of a cam change and run properly?

maschinenbau
maschinenbau UltraDork
8/11/21 10:03 a.m.
Slippery said:

Can't wait for the build. Cousin_Eddie's builds are always fun and very well done!

I'm just here for Cousin Eddie content. I'll watch you build anything!

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/11/21 10:14 a.m.

Maybe? I haven't tried. Long term trims can handle a reasonable range of variance like about a 10% injector upsize, and we're not talking about massive changes. 

Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter)
Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter) Dork
8/11/21 11:36 a.m.

Don't expect too much on the Mazda soon. I'm buried up in a different engine conversion right now. I'm still a few months away from full completion on that project. Then it will be Mazda time.

I just got the transmission back today (picture of Mazda truck doing Mazda truck things).

Slippery
Slippery UberDork
8/11/21 8:07 p.m.

In reply to Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter) :

I stalk your IG so I knew about the current ls swap project wink. Those vcovers look great!

mblommel
mblommel Dork
8/11/21 8:32 p.m.

Does the FE3 bolt to the existing B2000 transmission?

slowbird
slowbird UltraDork
8/11/21 10:38 p.m.

F2T might fit the bill. Lots of torque.  For, you know, truck stuff. And burnouts. devil

Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter)
Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter) Dork
8/12/21 6:22 a.m.
mblommel said:

Does the FE3 bolt to the existing B2000 transmission?

Yes. But there is a kludge involved.

The trans bolts directly in place no problem. But the FE3 uses a crankshaft position sensor mounted in the bellhousing. So you have to measure carefully the truck bellhousing and bore a hole in the proper place and then affix the CPS into the hole somehow. The common method is JB Weld or the like. Not my style. I'm still kicking that around as to how I'd best handle that issue. Honestly, after three major knee surgeries, I wouldn't be opposed to just swapping an entire FE3 engine and a Kia automatic transmission into the thing.

The FE3 is quite a bit taller and requires cutting the bracing on the underside of the hood too. Another thing I'm not pleased about. But after that it's a true bolt in onto the truck mounts and then I could go about handling the fun details of an EFI swap. 

Who knows, I may just buy an entire Kia Sportage donor vehicle and swap the engine and trans into my truck. Of course my dumb ass would take a running and driving donor and spend time and money doing all of the "while I'm here" stuff to the drivetrain before installing it and another project would drag out and get expensive (see the LS drivetrain in the post above. That truck perfectly drove 100 miles home before we pulled the drivetrain and yet, here I am, spending time and quite a bit of money on stuff that arguably isn't necessary). 

therieldeal
therieldeal Reader
8/12/21 7:23 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:

A set of cams from a Protege or Sephia might help there. The Miata and the Escort GT were the only performance versions. Everything else was tuned more for tork. 

In my experience on the FWD side of things, all of the n/a BP powered cars with HLA cams have exactly the same cams, which are the same as the NA8 cams.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/12/21 8:29 a.m.

Solid lifter cams and HLA cams are designed differently because of the way the lifters work. So they're not going to be the same across those two. I'll bet a Mazda parts fiche check would confirm.

 

But you may very be right about the cams with the same lifter types. The 1.6 had a special variant for the Miata called the B6-ZE, but it looks like the ZE special sauce got poured over all of the BPs.

One note: it adds a little complexity, but using a VVT motor might be worthwhile for the midrange. You can run one on the 1994-95 wiring harness and ECU with a standalone VVT controller.

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