Triumph Sports Cars

engine swaps and other performance upgrades, plus "factory" V8s (Stag and TR8)

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ainadude
Jeff Nicolay
Indian Wells, Calif.
(19 posts)

Registered:
03/31/2012 11:23PM

Main British Car:
1976 Triumph Spitfire 1993 Mazda Miata (1.8 liter/5spd)

Mrs. Peel needs your help -- anyone use a MegaSquirt setup? (long but hopefully entertaining)
Posted by: ainadude
Date: April 10, 2018 08:44PM

Cheers!

I know a number of members here have successfully transplanted a Miata 1.6 or 1.8l engine into a Spitfire or GT6. To those who've been down this road, I'm wondering if anyone has gone the Megasquirt route rather than using the stock Miata engine management components. Reason I'm asking is, I had a mechanic talk me into a swap for Mrs. Peel (more than seven years ago now) -- after he insisted it'd be a straightforward project ... that turned out to be anything but.

First, some background: My mechanic, Graham, did a spectacular job of packaging the engine and transmission -- cutting and relocating a frame member and cutting into the firewall (and then bracing it) to maintain clearance under the hood. He then tweaked the linkage to maintain the stock shifter position, which had been one of my conditions for green-lighting the job in the first place.

However, his installation of the stock Miata CPU and associated relays, fine wires, etc. fell far short of this standard. He ended up tacking the Miata relay box onto the outboard side of my passenger footwell behind the carpet piece (which he sort of "melted" to fit around the relays and such, so it doesn't fit anymore) and then sort of "hid" the stock ECU under the parcel-shelf carpet behind the passenger seat. Dunno if he ran out of ideas and just got lazy, but the placement is frankly pretty shoddy.

For what it's worth, Graham complained that the wiring was complex because he had to work around the lack of a sensor or two, and something about the oil-pressure sender. Don't know if that's the case or if he was blowing smoke ...

Anyway, now I'm wondering if a Megasquirt setup might be a simpler and more elegant solution to engine management. I'm not looking for extra power or anything like that; I'm just hoping to replace what I have with a cleaner, simpler and more compact setup under the hood. I'm a fair hand at troubleshooting basic British electrical systems but have no experience peeling apart ribbons and locating and splicing Intel-age wires.

More to the point, Mrs. Peel has never run very well since I threw in the towel and reclaimed her from Graham a couple of years ago (he was going a month or more between answering phone calls at that point). Fast forward to today, I'm in the final stages of rehabilitating the inside of the fuel tank (which I'll grant may have been responsible for the rough-running in the first place) and am looking to finally get a once-again reliable Mrs. Peel back on the road prior to undertaking a (second) cosmetic refurb.

Appreciate any and all input from those who may have been down this road.

Sorry if I've gone a bit long -- thanks to all who've made it this far.

BTW: I'm running a 1.8l from a '94 Miata.


Moderator
Curtis Jacobson
Portland Oregon
(4370 posts)

Registered:
10/12/2007 02:16AM

Main British Car:
71 MGBGT, Buick 215

authors avatar
Re: Mrs. Peel needs your help -- anyone use a MegaSquirt setup? (long but hopefully entertaining)
Posted by: Moderator
Date: April 11, 2018 02:48AM

I'm entertained!

Megasquirt comes in many different flavors. I only have personal experience with "MS3-Pro", which is a relatively expensive and full-featured flavor. Since installing MS3-Pro I've enjoyed easy starts and smooth, reliable perfomance in 46 different U.S. states plus Washington DC and Ontario Canada. I wanted to learn a lot about the workings of EFI, including tuning. Check. (Still learning.) My build is shown here.

One of Megasquirt's big advantages is its helpful user community. You can get technical support in the "Drivetrain" section of BritishV8 and also especially at msextra.com


Mañana
Steve Wten
Toronto Canada
(17 posts)

Registered:
02/28/2015 01:35AM

Main British Car:
1978 Triumph Spitfire 1991 Miata 1.6

authors avatar
Re: Mrs. Peel needs your help -- anyone use a MegaSquirt setup? (long but hopefully entertaining)
Posted by: Mañana
Date: April 11, 2018 12:55PM

Hey Jeff.

I put a 1.6 into my Spit a bunch of years ago and without increasing power, to me, it was a no-brainer to keep all the Mazda stuff. It was included with the donor and works great.

You can have a look at my build here....
[stevew10.wixsite.com]

Electrical diagram is at the bottom of this page....
[stevew10.wixsite.com]
Your 1.8 isn't all that different so I think that my schematic will help.

Also, Dave over on GRM is doing a 1.8 and I think Megasquirt as well.
[grassrootsmotorsports.com]

Good luck whichever way you go.

Steve


mildo04
doug milligan

(36 posts)

Registered:
07/26/2010 08:17AM

Main British Car:
1978 Triumph Spitfire Mazda 1.6 liter

Re: Mrs. Peel needs your help -- anyone use a MegaSquirt setup? (long but hopefully entertaining)
Posted by: mildo04
Date: April 11, 2018 12:57PM

Jeff,
sorry to hear of the ongoing issues with Mrs Peel-I remember us going back and forth when I did my swap. While the megasquirt will give you some advantages in fine tuning the engine based on your desires, I don't think it will solve the underlying problem which is placement of the various components of the wiring system. when using a trimmed down Miata harness you are semi restricted with the wire run length on where you can mount items (like the fuse box or battery). That won't change with the megasquirt. the standard ECU should run fine in that car-I had mine running extremely well once I sorted out some initial bugs, grounds, bad splices, etc.

The best option would be to build a custom harness from scratch-but that would have been more work than I cared to do at the time. if you can find a wiring guru locally-it might be worth having them spend a day ensuring the current wiring is solid. All it takes is one bad ground or dodgy splice to make the car run terribly...trust me-been there, done that.

BTW-I moved on from the Spit to a V6 TR7 that I am enjoying very much~

doug


ainadude
Jeff Nicolay
Indian Wells, Calif.
(19 posts)

Registered:
03/31/2012 11:23PM

Main British Car:
1976 Triumph Spitfire 1993 Mazda Miata (1.8 liter/5spd)

Re: Mrs. Peel needs your help -- anyone use a MegaSquirt setup? (long but hopefully entertaining)
Posted by: ainadude
Date: April 11, 2018 01:41PM

Curtis, Steve and Doug -- thanks for the posts. I had been hoping an MS setup might be a simple (albeit a bit pricey) fix, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

Curtis: Love your MGBGT -- can I assume you've checked out the LE50 being built in the UK? Meanwhile, I look forward to checking out your build -- I've always been a fan of MGBs, especially the GTs.

Steve: Beautiful Spit -- looks much like mine (used to), but you're running what looks like much more serious rubber. Very nice! Meanwhile, thanks for the links -- I'll check them out once I have my tank fully sorted.

Doug: Yes, remember your posts and was hoping you were still haunting these boards and would chime in. Had noticed you'd jumped ship to a TR7 some time ago. How's that going? My cousin in San Diego picked one up a few years ago -- he hasn't mentioned it in a while so I wondering if he's run into some problems. :-P

Meanwhile, where did you mount the ECU and how much of the fuse/relay setup did you end up with?

As for Mrs. Peel, she's in a bit of a sorry state. After I wrested her from Graham and shipped her back to Honolulu, I've hardly driven her as I've had to have her towed a couple of times when she stalled for no apparent reason (I'm very much hoping the problem was bad gas stemming from a rusty tank). Meanwhile, since I live in a sailboat here and she's parked in the marina lot 60 feet from the ocean -- not to mention all the time she spent (sort of) under a tarp at Graham's -- her once lovely carmine red paint has suffered. (Surprisingly, very little rust has cropped up.) To add insult to injury, the finish on the koa dash has cracked and needs to be redone, and apart from the seat vinyl the rest of the interior needs to be freshened, as well.

Most of that will have to wait as I'll be (regretfully) leaving the islands and moving back to my place in Indian Wells, CA, in early June, at which point I plan to spend much of the summer restoring her. (One thing I love about LBCs is how easy it is to prep them for paint -- an hour or two of pulling trim, lenses, etc. and very little masking is needed for a clean respray.) Will post pics of my progress here once I'm back in the Golden State.

Thanks again, guys -- had forgotten how helpful this board can be :-)


mildo04
doug milligan

(36 posts)

Registered:
07/26/2010 08:17AM

Main British Car:
1978 Triumph Spitfire Mazda 1.6 liter

Re: Mrs. Peel needs your help -- anyone use a MegaSquirt setup? (long but hopefully entertaining)
Posted by: mildo04
Date: April 11, 2018 02:07PM

Jeff,
The Miata fuse box ended up in the Spit's original battery box. The battery I relocated to the trunk (where it is in a Miata). the ECU I mounted on the inside firewall of the passenger side. I build a hinged cover over it to protect it. I rarely had anyone in that seat anyway.....
The TR7 is pretty cool...the swap had been done when I got it-but the car was in need of a lot of TLC-some minor bodywork, new carb (4 barrel Holley baby!), water pump, hoses, alternator, etc..but the TR7 engine bay is surprisingly roomy and easy to get to everything. Oh I put a minor scoop on the hood to fit the air cleaner.....you know I can't resist a scoop~!
With new seat covers it looks pretty awesome-I just need an alignment this week as I noticed it is WAY off. Runs great though!
Good luck with Mrs Peel and your pending move-keep us up to date on the restoration (again) and we'll keep helping if we can!

d


ainadude
Jeff Nicolay
Indian Wells, Calif.
(19 posts)

Registered:
03/31/2012 11:23PM

Main British Car:
1976 Triumph Spitfire 1993 Mazda Miata (1.8 liter/5spd)

Re: Mrs. Peel needs your help -- anyone use a MegaSquirt setup? (long but hopefully entertaining)
Posted by: ainadude
Date: April 11, 2018 03:56PM

Thanks Doug -- post a link if you have pictures somewhere. I'd like to take a look ...



BlownMGB-V8
Jim Blackwood
9406 Gunpowder Rd., Florence, KY 41042
(5602 posts)

Registered:
10/23/2007 12:59PM

Main British Car:
1971 MGB Blown,Injected,Intercooled Buick 340/AA80E/JagIRS

authors avatar
Re: Mrs. Peel needs your help -- anyone use a MegaSquirt setup? (long but hopefully entertaining)
Posted by: BlownMGB-V8
Date: April 11, 2018 09:03PM

Did you check the MS website to see if they offered a wiring harness specifically for the Miata? I seem to recall some sort of Miata related hardware. Maybe they could help.

Jim


Mañana
Steve Wten
Toronto Canada
(17 posts)

Registered:
02/28/2015 01:35AM

Main British Car:
1978 Triumph Spitfire 1991 Miata 1.6

authors avatar
Re: Mrs. Peel needs your help -- anyone use a MegaSquirt setup? (long but hopefully entertaining)
Posted by: Mañana
Date: April 12, 2018 10:58AM

Jeff, if you check out my site you'll see where and how I mounted my Relay Box, ECU, Circuit Opening Relay, and Diagnostic Port, all inside the car.

I didn't have to splice in any wires except for the fuel pump (and most I didn't even shorten in case I changed my mind on component location). Started first time and everything worked including back-up lights! :)


waterbucket
Philip Waterman
England
(64 posts)

Registered:
07/30/2011 01:08PM

Main British Car:
1978 MGB GT

Re: Mrs. Peel needs your help -- anyone use a MegaSquirt setup? (long but hopefully entertaining)
Posted by: waterbucket
Date: April 12, 2018 02:54PM

Jeff
In the UK it is quite commonplace to use Megasquirt on a MX5, the following company offers plug and play for 1.6 and 1.8 engines up until 2005. Prices range from £500 (minus 16.6% for exports outside the EU)upwards depending on which year car. I have no affiliation to the company.
[www.extraefi.co.uk]


ALV
Al Vandergoot
Sidney, British Columbia Canada
(38 posts)

Registered:
01/13/2013 09:49PM

Main British Car:
1971 Triumph TR6 Ford 2.3 turbo

Re: Mrs. Peel needs your help -- anyone use a MegaSquirt setup? (long but hopefully entertaining)
Posted by: ALV
Date: April 18, 2018 12:04PM

I used a Megasquirt 3 with my tr6 build and a 2.3 l svo motor. The harness was a custom harness from Ron Francis. That was specific for the motor i had. Im pretty sure they have a miata harness. I was able to mount the ecu and the fuse/ relay harness inder the dash while running the bulk of the harnesss inside the car behind the dash.. He ms3 was finicky until you get used to the interface and setting up. The trigger wheel set up for the ignition timing is critical if that is not working nothing will. Also one setting can make the difference between the engine starting or not..i was lucky i had someone with a similar set up already to help me out. Cheers and good luck.


ainadude
Jeff Nicolay
Indian Wells, Calif.
(19 posts)

Registered:
03/31/2012 11:23PM

Main British Car:
1976 Triumph Spitfire 1993 Mazda Miata (1.8 liter/5spd)

Re: Mrs. Peel needs your help -- anyone use a MegaSquirt setup? (long but hopefully entertaining)
Posted by: ainadude
Date: August 29, 2018 07:47PM

Hi guys .... hope all's well. Have relocated to the Palm Springs, CA area from Honolulu and am wondering if perhaps it is time to hand Mrs. Peel's keys to another enthusiast. Finally have her running smoothly and reliably, and would love to turn my attention to her cosmetic needs except for one problem: CALIFORNIA. I'm not sure if it's worth even trying to get her smogged and registered, given what folks are telling me. Apparently it wouldn't be as difficult if a) she was running an engine from a previously registered California car (the donor Miata was from Nevada); b) still had all the factory stickers on the engine and associated components (long gone); or c) was just a single model year older (alas, the Golden State imposes its will on everything 1976 and newer; '75 and earlier aren't subject to emissions testing and standards). Meanwhile, I get conflicting opinions with respect to "hot rods" or "custom" or "classic" cars.

So my question is: Anybody been through this with their LBC/modern engine project in California? My Hawaii registration is good through the end of September, so I need to decide now whether I should try to keep her (and ultimately re-restore her as a hobby vehicle) or cut my losses and find her a new owner in a more car-friendly environment.

Appreciate thoughts/opinions from those who've faced a similar decision ... thanks in advance.


mildo04
doug milligan

(36 posts)

Registered:
07/26/2010 08:17AM

Main British Car:
1978 Triumph Spitfire Mazda 1.6 liter

Re: Mrs. Peel needs your help -- anyone use a MegaSquirt setup? (long but hopefully entertaining)
Posted by: mildo04
Date: September 05, 2018 08:27AM

Hey Jeff,
Glad to hear you finally got Mrs Peel running well-it was a long time coming! I don't have a good answer to your question since I have never had to deal with the California emissions nonsense. it might be worth connecting with a local triumph or "classics" club to get their opinion-and help potentially. With all the work, time, patience and heartache you have endured with Mrs Peel I would think it would be worth the attempt to hang on to her.

let us know how it goes!

doug


ainadude
Jeff Nicolay
Indian Wells, Calif.
(19 posts)

Registered:
03/31/2012 11:23PM

Main British Car:
1976 Triumph Spitfire 1993 Mazda Miata (1.8 liter/5spd)

Re: Mrs. Peel needs your help -- anyone use a MegaSquirt setup? (long but hopefully entertaining)
Posted by: ainadude
Date: September 06, 2018 03:34PM

Thanks Doug ... she's really a joy to drive and I wish there was some way I could keep her but I don't think it's realistic. I don't have a garage or even a carport where I live and won't be able to properly maintain her. Meanwhile, the past eight years have not been kind to her. Her once lustrous paint is faded and she needs a full respray and a lot of cosmetic work on the interior, along with a dozen or so minor mechanical repairs that I'm not in a position to do. I just filled out the application for BringATrailer --- we'll see tomorrow or early next week if she meets their standards as a project car...


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