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Call me crazy, but... :)

1702 Views 19 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  luminaeus
I've got my MX-6, been stripping it out, all the while thinking about how I'm going to boost the performance. I could do a KLZE swap which is borderline illegal, and really only net 40hp at the crank, which with no additional torque almost doesn't even matter.

Then, while surfing around on Youtube, I came across a video for the Monster Miata. I've seen it before, basically they put a 5.0 Ford Mustang V8 in a Miata, and believe it or not everything hooks up rather simply and it goes vroom in a very spirited fashion.

It's also totally legal in California. The rules are: Engine must be same year or newer than your vehicle, must not exceed your emissions 'bracket', and must have all factory spec emissions equipment installed. Or, if the factory spec equipment isn't going to fit, you can use CARB legal aftermarket parts for that powertrain.

Now, the most straightforward way to do a RWD conversion is to take a FWD engine and plop it on the rear axle.

As I recall, the Nissan Maxima has a pretty decent 3.5L engine... :) About 250hp and 250 lb-ft of torque, should give the MX-6 almost the same power-to-weight ratio as the Lotus Elise.

I understand this isn't exactly an easy project and will require some serious welding & fabrication, but it really shouldn't cost all that much. I can get a rear-ended salvage title Maxima for a couple grand, not really much more than I'd pay for a KLZE & trans.
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Well then, to start off with... Would you have the tools to do the custom work yourself? An area to work on such a project?

And, about your "conversion", plopping it on the rear axel... What exactly do you mean by this? Got me a bit confused about this. You're talking about making the Mx-6 RWD, or taking a RWD engine and making it FWD?

However, I will say, if you wanna do it, do it. If you've got the money, and the know how, do it.

However, if you don't, and don't have some decent help, ie, friends, then I wouldn't attempt it. It's your 6, do as you wish.
that'd one hell of a cool swap if you can make it work!!!! def. need a donor vehicle though for all the extras
Most cars are front-engine front-wheel-drive. The engine is mounted sideways, sits directly on the transmission, which sits between the wheels. It's difficult to convert this to a front-engine rear-wheel-drive setup because you have to turn the engine 90 degrees and all I can say is good luck with the rest of the powertrain :)

Or, you can do a rear-engine rear-wheel-drive layout, which is basically a FWD layout in reverse. In my case, I'll be taking the Maxima engine and hooking it up to the rear wheels in the MX-6 as if those were the front wheels in the Maxima.

It's relatively simple since you're using all the engine mounts from the Maxima. You just take that frame apart and weld it in to the back end of the MX-6, making sure everything is lined up real good :)

I won't be starting this project for a while, at least not until next year, I'm going to wait until I move off Edwards AFB and get a house/apartment with a garage. Until then, I can do all my research and planning.

Aside from the 3.5 liter Maxima engine, are there any other strong, reliable, clean engines I should consider using? It has to be from a FWD car with either a manual transmission or an automatic with tapshift.
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So, you're talking of creating a mid engine, rear wheel drive MX-6? Have fun with that, but as someone stated there isn't enough room to run a driveshaft from the front to the back wheels, so perhaps it could be the only way.

But if we're throwing motors out there...

20/26B or LS1 or anything of the such? :jump:
There wouldn't be any driveshaft, the transmission would be right between the two rear wheels. Imagine taking the body off, spinning it 180 degrees, and putting it back on.

The LS1 wouldn't work since that's a front-mounted rear-wheel-drive engine, unless there was a FWD application I don't know of. Was it used in the Impala/Monte Carlo SS? Even so, I think that'd be way too big and I'd be pushing my limits on the emissions.
I was joking around about the engines, but I'm still asking, you're talking about making the 6 a mid engine, rear wheel drive car, right?

As if it's current set up were at the rear. Correct?
The conversion will be rear engine, or RR. Rear-engine, rear-wheel drive layout - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

To do a mid-engine rear-wheel-drive, or MR, would require a lot more fabrication, and it would also make the engine really, really hard to access. Rear mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

With the RR layout most of the engine could be seen by popping the trunk. It will also create a backwards weight distribution of probably 45/55 where more weight is on the back wheels. Good for drag, and... interesting in the twisties. I'll have to be pretty creative with where I put stuff to even out the weight.
I don't really see the trunk having enough room though. I think it'd still need a more forward position to allow for room. It'd also give it a bit more central weight distribution versus rear engine, which would be a lot better in the twisties as far as I know than 45/55 or anything shifted rearward.

Sure, it'd be harder to access, but I think would fit a lot better as well. Of course, it'd only be a two seater then, haha.

Edit - Oh, any thoughts on where the air is gonna be coming from? Side, or a top air dam, or something more creative?
Double edit - Also, gas tank, and other such features?
Cool idea. Anything can be done. Perhaps you should look at other mid engine cars and see how they do these.
My friend has the same model Maxima that I would be harvesting the engine from. The old ones really aren't that big of a vehicle.

The rear end of the MX-6 will hold more than you think when you figure I'll be cutting the floor out. More room than in the front engine bay, actually.

Alot depends on where the Maxima engine sits, too. I notice in many FWD cars the engine is actually in front of the wheels a bit, so in this case the bulk of the engine might be beneath the rear window. Hey maybe I'll be able to see the top of the engine out the back window that would be sweet :)

I'm waiting for King6 to get on here and offer his advice since he's done so much work with the 2nd gen frame.
just my 2 cents im sure it could be done. mind you youll need to compleatly lock up the front stearing, if it's off a hair and i mean a hair youll never going to go down the road straight. Another issure is going to be the geomatry (sp?) its going to be all out of whack. no this would be a ideal setup for drag racing or going in a straight line with all that planting the tires but if you go around the corner i would bet something mean and ugly would happen and probly lose control. porche and the chevy corvair for exaple. when the tire pressure is dead nuts on for the front and back they handle great, But if its off or when you drive it on the edge expecialy wile cornering things will go ary and in a hurry.

i will wish you good luck with this prodject as any thing is possable with enough money and time
Forgive my ignorance, but wont it be easier to just get a Mustang?

What you are talking about is so difficult, dangerous etc. You say dropping a KLZE in is "borderline illegal" - how is this more legal?

The Miata is (i think) rear-wheel drive anyway.

Besides, little things to consider before trying this out is to perhaps get a degree in mechanical engineering, quantum physics and the like.

IMHO - this is a pipe-dream. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.

PS - Also holding my breath to see what K6 thinks. I have an idea that he may not agree with you...
I've helped a friend convert his second gen z24 to a rwd car, it's not easy. If you venture into this (I highly recommend you don't), you really need to think about mounting everything on a chassis. DO NOT trust and older unibody frame to hold the weight and torsion effect of the motor. Do it safely if you must, source a chassis frame that is a similar wheel base to the car and go from there. We actually used an S10 chassis because the wheel base was dead on, we only had to shave about 8" off the rear because it was too long. All in all, it was a very cool project putting in a 350 in a cavalier, but really really not worth it.

I can't stress enough that if you do this, do it right. Keep your safety, and the safety of others on the road in mind.
There's no torsion effect if the motor is mounted east/west on the back axle. It's as chassis twisting as the FWD setup we already have, ie, no twist at all.

The chassis twist comes when you're using a north/south engine in the front of the car connected to a drive shaft that hooks up to the rear axles. That's why I'm using a transverse engine. I'll also weld in a partial roll cage where the new firewall will be, should take care of any stiffness worries as well as keep me from getting totally crushed if (when) I ever roll the stupid thing :)

Of course it would be easier to just get a RWD car. That's not the point. I like the way the MX-6 looks and I want to convert it to a proper sports-car layout. It's low, long, and has great visibility which is a problem with most fancy sports cars. Plus, you can imagine how absolutely hilarious it would be to go to a car show and watch people's reactions when you pop the hood and that mean sounding V6 is nowhere to be seen :)

The biggest concern is the weight distribution. It would be heavier in the rear and lighter in the front, which could pose problems in turns if the different is big enough. This of course can be greatly mitigated with careful suspension tuning, relocating some stuff, or in the worst case scenario I could just add some dead weight up front like fabricating a new trunk out of heavy materials.

Expensive? Well, it's either this or buy an Evo. I know it's the better car, I don't care, I didn't build it. I have an insatiable desire to build a fast car, because I know I can.

Potential for improvement: The Maxima engine is far more receptive to turbos from what I read than the KLZE ever was. Nissan has versions of the same engine that are twin-turboed. It's the only engine that's been on some magazine's 'top 10 engines' list every year since it was made. It's already 255hp and 250ish pounds of torque stock. I think I've gotten my point across.

And then when I'm done I'll find some way of making a shiny chrome RX-6 badge.
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Yeah, I over looked that you said you wanted a rear mounted motor... Kudos to you if you pull it off, I wouldn't take on something like that though... Hell, I'm finding it a pita to cram 2 turbos under the hood of my z24... :jump:
To be perfectly honest, if you're serious about doing this (many people have talked about it but I don't think it's been done yet), it would be much easier to do in a Probe. Just think, there's a lot of open room in the back since it's a hatch, and you get to see the engine through the glass. A firewall would be a lot easier to weld in too.
If anything keeps me from doing this is going to be just that. There's no easy way to get to the engine, especially since if it's mounted transversely it will be right up next to the back seats under the window.

I could try to do a true mid-mount layout with the engine placed north-south on the rear seats with a short drive shaft to the rear wheels. The torsion forces could be pretty well held down with a partial roll cage. But then I'm pulling parts from an already RWD car which would be totally pointless. Well, a mid-mount is better than front-mount RWD, but not by enough to justify all that effort.

Anyway, I'm sure there's some way to do the rear engine RWD conversion and still be able to get relatively easy access to the engine. Might take some body work; I was going to repaint anyways.

Any ideas? I'm thinking pull the rear glass out and change the seals, add some latches, so you can just pop it out like a hard-top or t-top. Then switch the hinges around in the trunk so it opens backwards. That might work...
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Perhaps something similar to how some true race-built cars are, with a body that's easily removable? Or at least, the back half? Just removing it all altogether would be a lot easier to work on that if it's still there, just opening a different way...

And for grocery getting, you could use the front as a trunk, haha.
If this would even be remotely road legal, which I bet it wouldn't.
If this would even be remotely road legal, which I bet it wouldn't.
That's the silly thing about laws. There are all sorts of safety requirements that the manufacturer has to adhere to but almost nothing pertaining to modifications by the owner. Besides the general stuff, seat-belts, lights, signals, there really aren't any laws against cutting up and mutilating your car's frame.

I have a new idea which deserves it's own thread, significantly more practical.
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