Time For My Build Thread!
Boosting on a Budget: Greddy Kit Done *Right*
A few things before we get started... I am a 19 year old college student from Saint Louis, Mo. I currently attend Truman State University studying Marketing, Finance, and Economics. I've recently been scratching the surface of electrical engineering- fun stuff! I plan on this being a build thread/blog post/marketing experiment hybrid all wrapped into one.
, let's get to the fun part!
I purchased my bone stock 1990 1.6 Miata with just over 137K on the clock for $1,400 in late April of 2013 after a four month long bartering adventure via Craigslist. Essentially, I turned a crappy old ping pong table into my beautiful roadster that I have today; But that story is for a different thread...
Here we are about to make our 8 hour journey home. I bought the car from farmland Kentucky which is where it spent its whole life (Minimal rust issues- Woo!) I had to make it back home in time to get some rest before school the next day. Couldn't miss out on AP Chemistry now could we?!
After almost two years of maintenance, fitting some basic performance parts (intake, full exhaust, suspension), I decided that it was time for boost. I had been toying around with the idea for almost a year at this point and finally pulled the trigger on the first purchase.
I would recommend reading this book before buying anything. It's extremely informative and a good read.
I had done research on engine management for a while and knew that if I was going to do this then I should do it the right way and go with a full standalone unit. Don't go around this, it's worth it.
You will appreciate how expandable and tune-able standalone units are over piggybacks and band-aids later. Trust me.
I got a sweet deal on a MS2 DIYPNP from a guy online who made it for a customer of his who backed out. Picked it up for $525 shipped. Looking back on this now, I kind of wish that I would have assembled my own board because, you know, pride in craftsmanship. Maybe some day.
Loading the appropriate firmware onto my board and staring in awe of Tuner Studio and its many features.
Buy the registered version of both Tuner Studio and Mega Log Viewer. They're worth it.
Pro Tip 2:
These DB-9 connectors are finicky with BAUD rates and such. Buy the USB to DB-9 connector from http://http://www.diyautotune.com/
to guarantee solid communication between your ECU and computer.
I was on a vacation with my dad in California to tear up the ocean-side sand dunes on some 4 wheelers. I did a quick Craigslist search just for the hell of it and actually found a solid deal that I just had to jump on. I bought a Greddy TD04H turbocharger, Greddy cast iron manifold, Greddy downpipie, universal JDM Sport intercooler kit, and oil supply line for $465 from a kid who didn't have enough patience to DIY-turbo himself.
Everyone that runs these Greddy cast manifolds seemed to like the idea of making relief cuts in them so I went ahead and got the angle grinder out and made some on mine as well. I probably should have used a band saw, but the angle grinder worked okay.
Making the relief cuts in the manifold
I removed the turbo from the manifold in order to clock the compressor housing and give it a good cleaning while I was at it- Mineral spirits worked well for me. I gave the manifold and exhaust housing a few coats of high temperature flat black paint.
I also installed my adjustable wastegate actuator. Don't forget the cotter pin!
It will come off from the wastegate flapper door and you will burn your finger frantically trying to get it back on some night while you're taking some datalogs.
I went with the 7.35 pound spring option from Kinugawa for $105. It has a great finish and is an all-around solid product.
After the long MLK weekend, it was time for me to go back to school for about two more months. I took this time away from the car to do some more research on the forums in attempt to figure out some intercooler routing ideas and (try to) start learning about tuning...
I have only recently found some success with this.
Spring Break came soon enough and I got some more solid work done on the car. I removed all of my old exhaust and some of my intake parts.
For first timers- PB Blaster is your friend!
I also had to rotate my wastegate actuator so I could run a cleaner reference line to the compressor housing. I also removed the air conditioning and power steering (de-powered the rack) to ease the task of routing IC piping. And for some mad power gains/weight reduction.
Removing the AC:
This job is pretty straight forward. Unbolt the compressor from the block, unbolt the condenser from the car, and remove all of the AC lines and hoses in the engine bay. You can also remove the evaporator box that is behind the glove compartment and install a crossover tube for a totally complete AC removal. I just uninstalled all of the components in the engine bay, however, and have not had any problems.
Removing the PS:
I estimated a weight reduction of around 40 pounds by getting rid of all of this junk. Notice the Greddy downpipe in the junk pile.
There are a few ways to do this. The *best* way to do this would be to buy a manual steering rack and completely replace the power steering unit that you have in your car. I just chose to de-power my steering rack. There are a few ways to do this as well... The *best* way to do this would be to follow the write up by Fyin' Miata here: https://www.flyinmiata.com/tech/depower.php
. This method entails totally disassembling the steering rack and removing all of the seals inside.
I went the super DIY route with mine and just removed the PS pulley from the block, removed the reservoir and its lines, and then looped the lines inlet and outlet lines from the rack itself. When doing it this way, it is important to bring your steering wheel to full lock, both ways a few times with the lines disconnected to drain the rack from most of its fluid. You still want some fluid within the rack, though, to keep the inside of itself lubricated.
Here is how I looped my lines.
We also started started on fabbing up a custom downpipe because there is absolutely no way that I was going to run the garbage that Greddy called a downpipe. I decided on going with a 2.5" turbo-back setup. I'd recommend going with a 3" setup, though. I will be upgrading to 3" next time I run out of other things to work on.
First mock up the manifold and turbo. Looks pretty good! Err... I removed the AC and PS after I took this pic.
Sorta getting an idea of how the car will look with an intercooler
Met some pretty cool people and made some good friends during the build process, too, so that was pretty awesome.
Finished downpipe! We had to add an inch of pipe between the exhaust housing flange and where we began the curve downward in order to have room for the bottom bolt on the flange.
Off to school again... I took this time away from my car to order some of the parts that I have been holding off on buying that include the following:
- T-bolt clamps- $30
- Mishimoto couplers- $100
- Glowshift boost gauge- $35
- NGK 4644 (BKR7E) spark plugs- $9
- RX-7 460cc Red Top fuel injectors- $50
- Hallman Pro manual boost controller- $35
- Innovate MTX-L wideband O2 sensor- $165
- New gaskets for both sides of the turbo- $15
- Greddy RS-Style blow off valve and flange pipe- $50
- 3mm and 4mm Silicone boost/vac/reference lines- $30
- Oil return line and oil pan bit/tap/fitting from BEGI- $35 (I sold the bit and tap for the $28 I paid for them)
Here's a shot of my MBC installed. Make sure you hook up the reference lines correctly or you'll have a bad time.
It's fairly common to experience "boost sag" which is basically when you start losing boost after you start holding max boost. (Ex: Your wastegate is set at 7 psi. You build up to 7 psi and hold off on shifting for a few seconds. You begin to loost boost pressure). This can be remedied by routing the compressor housing reference line to the cold side of the intercooler. There's reason behind this that is detailed in another thread. Mine is functioning properly for now, however, so I will address that if/when it becomes an issue. Joe's thread on here explains this in greater detail: Boost sag? No, you don't need EBC.
I also re-routed my crankcase filter elsewhere with the use of a factory tube and hose in order to gain clearance for the wastegate. I'll be upgrading to an oil catch-can setup soon.
My next long weekend came at the beginning of April and this is when I felt that I made some real progress. We finished fabbing up the rest of the exhaust. I currently have a 2.5" catless turbo-back setup that's dumped at the differential. I'm still thinking about exhaust exit ideas... Classy or JDM? Hmm.
I even tested the waters with welding myself! I ended up having my buddy go back over the hangar weld because I didn't trust my weld to hold up... Again, maybe some day
More exhaust work...
Finished exhaust setup! I currently have it dumped at the diff but will be fabbing up a fun exit pipe soon.
I took some time to straighten out the fins on the intercooler the best I could. I also cleaned it out with acetone by rubber banding Target bags on inlet and outlet and swished it around and then flushed it out.
Acetone works really well because it evaporates very quickly- Just try not to get too much of it on you!
Repeat the process until nothing but clear liquid is coming out.
The cleaned intercooler and some custom brackets to hold it in place
Mocking up up the intercooler and piping actually turned out to be a bit more of a chore than I originally anticipated it to be. But after a few long nights and some creativity, I finally got it all mocked up with the help of some friends.
The intercooler stays in place all by itself. "Look Mom, no jack stands!" Brief install of the bumper cover to see what she'll look like when this is all over with
And with that long weekend over with, I had to push through one more month of University. I didn't have too much time to worry about much of the turbo build because I had my sister's wedding coming up so I was busy trying to get all of my final projects, papers, and presentations finished up.
Finals were coming the week after so I had to have a clean slate for my studying, late nights, and unhealthy amounts of energy drinks and junk food.
Some pictures from the wedding rehearsal- My girlfriend, sister, and new brother-in law: Just a fraction of the great support team I have!
The end of the first week in May marked the end of my first year of college. I survived. I even found time to make some new friends, have some great experiences, and earn some solid grades.
(continued in next post)