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Old 07-09-2013, 02:03 AM   #1
MattDzx3
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Miata drivetrain swap

I have been thinking about this for the last couple days and I'm sure that it has been discussed before but I haven't been able to find much about it so I hope that I'm not beating a dead horse here.

One of the major downsides of the all the rwd swaps that I have seen on here is the live rear axle, giving up the independent rear suspension seems like it would take away much of the handling ability that the focus is famous for. And while a V8 would be awesome the lightness and gas mileage of an I4 are more practical. So why not use the drive train from a miata? It has IRS, parts for first gens are dirt cheap, and the cars are almost the same width.

As far a I can find out there is no bell housing being made that will bolt up to a zetec and the miata transmission so that would be a major hurdle, but it seems to be a viable alternative to the V8/live axle rwd option. Thoughts?


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Old 07-09-2013, 04:58 PM   #2
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quad4rods makes bellhousings to mate a zetec or duratec to a T5- that'd probably be the easiest route http://quad4rods.com/

Then use the miata's rear suspension cradle and components. heres a pic of that mounted in a MGB:


have a driveshaft made to connect the T5 and the miata diff
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Old 07-09-2013, 05:02 PM   #3
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oh, and if you look to the pricier 3rd gen stuff you could do a miata duratec with a factory 5 or 6 speed manual behind it
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Old 07-09-2013, 10:36 PM   #4
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Using a third gen drive train with the duratec would defiantly be the easiest route, but it would be a whole lot easier and cheaper to find a junked first gen to pull parts from.
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Old 07-09-2013, 11:42 PM   #5
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Moved to "engine & trans. swap" - more info on these projects in this area for ya!
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Old 07-10-2013, 12:20 AM   #6
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that's kind of the problem... those parts are so expensive when a live axle could be had for a few beers.
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Old 07-10-2013, 12:49 AM   #7
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Thanks sailor I had forgotten about that section when made the thread
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Old 07-10-2013, 04:39 AM   #8
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dont miatas and rx-7s have the same rear end? if so i heard somewhere they cant hold much power stock. cant remember why. but you can find a wrecked FC rx-7 for dirt cheap if you just want the rear end.
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Old 07-10-2013, 12:46 PM   #9
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If I wanted to do this, I would try to find a Duratec Focus to start with, since there are already OEM RWD transmission solutions that will bolt right up to the stock engine that came with the car. I couldn't tell you whether the rearward NC Miata shifter location or forward Ranger shifter location would be more easily adapted to a Focus installation, but I can tell you that Ranger transmissions do seem to cost about half of a NC Miata transmission. The NC Miata transmission does of course have more (any) aftermarket support though too, where as even a lightweight flywheel for the Ranger transmission is still in the 'maybe' phase.

On the rear suspension, I would be surprised if any RWD standard IRS subframe fit easily into the existing free space under the rear a Focus while maintaining correct geometry at the desired ride height and also having the correct width...Chances are that at least a bit of cutting and welding will be involved. But where is the enjoyment in a project like this, if you didn't get to use the fun tools too?
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Old 07-10-2013, 10:45 PM   #10
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IIRC, Miata rear ends aren't very robust. People tend to have issues when above 300RWHP. This could also be attributed to just how they drive it too. A popular swap is to use the "FC" Rx-7 rear end as mentioned above.


I fail to see the "point" of converting to RWD if you have any intention other than drag racing. In which case, a solid axle rear end makes the most sense. 8.8 or 9" being most logical.

Solid axle cars shouldn't be doomed though. It's not hard to set one up to handle the twisties. Many solid axles cars (and trucks), can pull over 1G on a skid pad. It's kind of a misconception that IRS is needed to make a car handle. People often forget the added weight of an IRS.

In my eyes, the only "swaps" I'd consider for a Focus would be:

Drag Racing swap: Aluminum blocked Ford V8, pick a tranny, 9" rear end.
AWD Swap: Several AWD drivetrains to choose from.

The reason most folks don't do either of these swaps? They crunch the numbers and realize it's just cheaper and easier to buy a Mustang, a EVO/WRX, or build a kit car from scratch.

Junkyard parts and a budget usually leave you with headaches, busted knuckles and a junky ride. Not to mention to never recoup your loses.
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