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Old 09-12-2011, 09:51 AM   #1
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Default Beelzeboss's cheap turbo build


my MX-5 is a 1993 with A/C and P/S, done 215,000 km's. It's currently stock apart from an NB8A front brake upgrade which I did last week.

I've been thinking of doing something to get a bit more power for a while now. I was initially against turbo, having owned an R33 Skyline GTS-T which had pretty bad lag and a very high boost threshold, and I was going to go supercharged. I then drove a mates WRX and it was completely different, much better to drive. So I decided to give turbo another go. If I don't like it I should be able to sell the whole turbo setup for more than what it cost me.

I had a TD04L from a 2008 Subaru WRX leftover from a previous project so I knocked up a simple log manifold yesterday (completely DIY, including the head and turbo flanges). Here's the current progress:

I'm not aiming for any spectacular power, I think I'll be happy with whatever the stock wastegate pressure gives me (7 psi at the turbo, maybe 5.5 at the manifold?)
I also have an Adaptronic E420C ECU, Innovate LC-1 and an intercooler ready to go in once I have the exhaust side finished.
Currently have about $1300 total in the project.

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Last edited by beelzeboss; 09-12-2011 at 07:33 PM. Reason: pics disappeared...
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Old 09-12-2011, 10:14 AM   #2
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lol @ screen name
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Old 10-18-2011, 06:12 AM   #3
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Big update. I finished the wiring for the adaptronic and LC-1. I put the gauge in the air vent, but the boost gauge I have is slightly too big to fit :( I also bought some 550cc RX-7 injectors. Unfortunately they turned out not to be the plug'n'play ones but the Adaptronic can control them anyway.

Then I had to put the turbo oil return in the sump. I didn't have the tap required and I really don't like the idea of tapping the oil pan while it's on the car, so off with the sump.

I made a steel fitting which is threaded to go on the inside of the sump.

My turbo oil line arrived a few weeks ago, I finally got to install it

I had this intercooler which I bought for another on-going project, but it fit so perfectly in the MX-5 that it's staying. I haven't done the bottom mounts yet, I think I'll attach it to where the tow hooks are.
Slightly overkill for the power I'm chasing

I installed my yellow speed racing dynamic pro sport coilovers

I managed to break a few studs in the exhaust near the catalytic convertor, so today I started making a full 2.5" stainless exhaust.

Here's the free muffler I picked up from the scrap bin of the local exhaust place. It's a "Max Racing" brand which looks to be a pretty good JDM brand (

2.5" 316 stainless tubing for the exhaust.

^There's also some 2" stainless I bought from a scrap metal yard to do the intercooler piping (I'm not good at welding aluminium). I bought a 200 cpsi metal substrate catalytic convertor on ebay. Who knows how well it filters the gasses, I'll be running E85 for the emissions testing.

So today I spent all day cutting, adjusting, and tacking together my new stainless exhaust. I was having trouble getting the muffler at a decent angle out the standard exhaust location, and then it hit me. Center exit exhaust! First I had to cut the bumper, after using a laser and careful measuring to find the centre of the car.

And here's the (almost) finished product.

Lobster back bends much cheaper than mandrel bends and good welding practice. They don't flow that much worse than mandrels and are certainly better than crush bent pipe.

New exhaust vs stupidly modified stock exhaust

Let me know what you think. Next up is to make the downpipe as soon as a few parts arrive, then intercooler piping and finally TEST DRIVE!

I just worked out the total cost of this 2.5" turbo back exhaust It's less than $250. Not bad for a 316 stainless system, I thought
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Old 10-18-2011, 09:19 AM   #4
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Good job man. I like the exhaust. Just dont like the can too much.
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Old 10-18-2011, 09:49 AM   #5
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Looks good.

Pssssst!! Did you know that everything is backwards on your car?

I predict that when you car is excavated by archeologists in 5027, your oil return bung will still be intact and leak-free.

BTW, I'm using a combination MAP/AFR gauge on my car. Details in my build thread. It's all digital, but works great and saves space.
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