Fireindc's attempt to build a decent miata. (the search for more torque).
Hey guys, my name is Nate. I've been on this forum for basically all of my adult life, and I've had this car for just as long. I'm 24 now, but joined the site when I was 18 or so. Anyways this car has been through a few stages of performance. Let me start from the beginning. I'm going to skip through quickly the first years, as frankly I'm embarrassed of what my car was, but here you can see my progression at least. This first post will go through a quick progression of the car until it's up to date where it is now - then I will update it as I progress through my current build.
*note that I had various shitty minimum wage jobs until mid 2011. I now do IT and level 1 sysadministration for a web hosting company.
First, in late 2007 or early 2008 I decided to put a Greddy turbo kit on my 1990 miata. This was my first car, it has 150k on it or so, and I just started to get into cars for reasons other than transportation. Trying to keep it quick here, so basic progression went something like..
Terrible first attempt at boost. May your engine bays never look like this, please, for the love of god.
Got mad tyte wheels (hey, I was 18)
Surprisingly overpowered the stock clutch with my horrible band-aid setup. Installed an ACT XT organic disc clutch in a gravel driveway on jackstands. (At least I did something right).
Made the car run.. okay on the bandaids. Was about as fast as a stock g35 and my buddies h22a hatch. Still was basically fail-aids though.
Went with MSPNP ms1 ecu (was 2008 and this was the hot ****.. don't hate.)
Got some mad tyte coilovers. Ground control, decent item still. Shocks I used are trash, kyb agx - however its still SO much better than the blown stock ****.
Installed said suspension setup. Put the car too low like a ricer.
Redid the IC piping, added ebay FMIC, MSPNP, AEM wbo2, 550cc rx7 injectors, cleaned up the bay, added IAT for ms, etc at some point in time. Tuned the car.. somewhat. (aka horribly, still SO Much better than bandaids)
We must be somewhere mid 2009 by now, can't remember. Whatever. OH, also at some point i ditched the terrible stock greddy downpipe for a mazda racing 2.5" downpipe that I bought from vashthestampeed. Cannot remember when the hell that was.
This leaves me somewhere in 2010, at this point the miata had developed some massive oil leaks due to my lack of preventative maintenance... and I basically didn't touch it for a year and a half or so. Neglected she sat..
The rest of 2010 was spent saving money for my new Buell project (still had a shittay job, bought a buell with a blown motor.. among other things). Come spring 2011 went full force on the Buell. Put a low mileage motor into it, rebuilt all suspension, etc.
Winter of 2011 I decided to tackle the car. I finally had a decent job and time/money for the miata again. Over the winter I decided to fix all the bullshit and enjoy it. I ended up pulling the 1.6, did a timing belt/water pump, front/rear main seal, oil pan seal, properly drilled/tapped the oil pan, installed a GV lip, added COPS, raised the car to a more reasonable ride height for handling.
I also added a rollbar, 1.8 brakes, a new trans from a 97 with 50k miles, and a torsen swap with 50k miles I scored on craigslist. Again no pics for these gems, but you can imagine them.
This is where I lack pictures. I have a few of it when it's back together, but none of the engine pull, cleaning, work, etc. It's funny because out of the life of the car, this is what I'm most proud of so far. I turned the shitheap into a decent little setup.
Took a trip to CO for pikes peak 2012. Hung out with matthewsdesigns. This trip was about 6 hours to drive.
The car parked down about a 2 mile dirt road. Stayed at a camp site and went up to pikes peak the next morning to watch the madness.
Went to a semi-local dyno day. Trip was about 3 hours, not bad. Waiting in line to dyno.
Results of my diy tune (thanks to the forum, braineack (timing map help), and tunerstudio with VEAL.) These numbers are CORRECTED. Car dynoed at 5500 ft elevation. Uncorrected numbers were a little over 200whp.
Last videos I have of the old setup.
Walk around, here you can get an idea of where the car is at. This is the only images i have of how the engine bay looked before pulling it. It was actually nice and clean for once.
NOW, the car ran AWESOME, had no oil leaks at all, was tuned pretty well, and all the jenky bullshit was fixed. What did i decide to do? Pull the motor and go with a 99 1.8l swap of course
Basically the car was plenty fast at 200whp or so, I mean it could be faster - but that can be said about anything. This was built as a summer DD and canyon carving toy, and it had more than enough power for both. What it was lacking, as you can plainly see in the dyno graph above, is torque.
The plan for this build is 99 BP + sr20 t25 = 220-240whp and gobs of torque.
I found a 99 motor with 140k on it on a local forum for a steal. The guy told me I could have the motor for dirt cheap ($250) if I came to him and pulled it myself (the guy is currently building a ls1 monster). I drove 3 hours, drove the donor car which ran fantastic (I could IMMEDIATELY see the torque benefits of the 99 BP over my 1.6), promptly compression tested it (good even results here, no surprise considering how it ran, and yanked the motor/trans.
Here's the donor and my ugly backside.
About 2 hours later..
The motor sat in my garage for most of the winter, and I've been slowly working on it. This is the motor after doing a thorough cleaning, installing a new timing belt, water pump, front/rear main seals, cam seals, VC gasket, etc. In this picture you can also see my newly acquired BEGI manifold. I was very impressed with the build quality of this thing, it's their newer style that separates cyl 1 2 and 3 4 and the porting on it actually looks pretty damn smooth for a cast mani.
I've also since acquired:
-OEM sr20 t25. Was on my brothers s14 before we upgraded. Spooled GREAT and made nice power, so excited to get this on my BP! Keep in mind this was a free part, and I DO have plans for a bigger turbo/more boost down the road. Something like a 2560 would be perfect for my end goal (250whp 250ft lbs or so at my altitude (7k feet).
-DW800 injectors. A bit overkill but these should be a HUGE upgrade from my EV1 style rx7 550s. I also want to run e85 for fun, as well as track days, etc. These give me overhead.
-BEGI coolant reroute. Going with the escalade hose and kia housing.
-BEGI oil feed kit. Tees of the oil pressure sender.
-I will be using my MSPNP (ms1) computer. I don't see the need to upgrade for my mild goals.
Thanks Landrew! I love my miata, for better or for worse. It's the perfect car for me, it's a keeper for life. I have plans to paint it this summer as well and rewnew it back to its previous glory. Glad to hear you are sticking with the car even after 2 years of downtime.
New Mexico is cleaner than regular Mexico. Haha, NM is a state in the US, I live in northern NM. Colorado is about a 40 min trip north, so just think CO Rockies.
I'm a snowboarder, it's my favorite thing to do in life. That is why I live here. We are the best "unknown" ski town around, no lift lines and tons of pow. Think this:
Do you also habitat in an Igloo like we all do up here?
Sorry, I new that NM was a US state it just looked so odd with snow all over your car. Altitude changes everything. I lived in Colorado Springs and Denver for a while and loved it their. I even got to go inside Cheyenne Mtn. (NORAD) back in 1994, now that's just a faded memory.
I went from Road bikes in Canada to Mountain bikes when I lived in CO, how can you not with the trails out there. Now I can't go back. I even raced XC when I got back to Canada. Oh to be fit again. Living where I do I'm all for Global Warming.
Made a bit more progress on the BP. Ended up installing my BEGI oil feed line. It looks like I will be routing it around the back of the block instead of around the front like they recommended (wtf, why around the front?!)
Also got my coolant reroute in. I did things a little differently, i placed the temp sensor pointing straight up since i don't have the coilpack in the way (COPS). It looks like the harness should reach the sensor in this location without extending the wires.
I also finally got this SON OF A BITCH turbo clocked. This thing was a serious pain in my ***. I had to cut off one of the bolt heads in the end, but I got it figured out. Lots of PB blaster, lots of heat, lots of hammering. I re assembled it with new bolts from Gpopshop, so stoked to have that finished. This isn't its final positioning by any means, I honestly have NO IDEA which way I'm going to clock it until it's in the bay. Any suggestions? I have the 90 degree oem sr20 elbow, not the straight one.
DW800s installed. Put fresh orings I bought from detchwerks with them. Wohoo, lots of fuel.
Here's the downpipe I'm running. Yes it's small (2.5"), but hey so is my whole exhaust, and the turbo I'm running isn't what you would call big either.
now, here's where i ran into a small issue - and would LOVE some advice
Everything I've read about doing the 1.6 > 1.8 swap indicated I would use my 1.6 alternator, but swap over the 1.8 pulley since one is a serpintine belt and the other is a V belt. I went to do this today, but ran into an issue. Take a look:
1.8(from a 99) on the left, 1.6 on the right.
As you can see the diameter is different on the shaft. It's also spaced differently, and the serpintine style pulley would not fit correctly on my 1.6 alternator. More detail:
And finally the two alternators next to each other before i pulled off the pulleys.
What am I missing here? Is there a certain year NA alternator i need in order to make this work? I KNOW i cannot use the NB alternator because the voltage on the NBs is regulated by the ECU, and the NAs aren't.
Great thread man. Glad to see you making some progress on the swap. On that oil feed routing, seems to me that it would be hotter between the block and firewall than around front, but how much hotter I have no idea. Probably not enough to matter.
Thanks for the insight guys. 94-97 alternator it is. At least I can sell my 99 and my 90 alternators, so not all is lost.
As for the oil feed, I'm all about function> form.. but going around the front really didn't seem like a great idea. I like my engine/bay as clean as possible, so I said FU to the directions and went my own way. Routing it around the front had way more issues too, such as it rubbing on the motor mount/oil sandwich plate. Glad to hear of others doing it that way as well. Around the back it looks much cleaner, and i really doubt the extra heat back there would be an issue.
Got a 94-97 alternator on its way. I just wanted to throw a small update of my plans to run this BP. This is for my own documentation, as well as you guys to call me out on anything that is way off.
I have my 90 car with a MSPNP ms1 ECU. The plan is to use the 99/00 BP4W.
- Swap over all sensors. This includes temp sensors, CAS sensor from my 90, etc.
- Mod my MSPNP to accept VTPS, run the 99/00 throttle body.
- It looks like I can use the IAC valve from the 99/00 car as well. I will have to change the frequency settings for that in my MS as it operates on a different frequency from my 90's (at least thats what I gather from what I've read.)
-Cap off all EGR bullshit
-94-97 alternator should pnp with both electrical and mechanical functions
-I'm going to use my 90 flywheel on a BP (yes, blasphemy). I have an ACT XT clutch with low mileage on it that is rated for 270 ft/lbs. If i blow this up i obviously will go back to a 1.8 flywheel and clutch setup. Perhaps i'll lose some rotating mass by going to the smaller flywheel? I guess that is a possible benefit.
- all said and done I will flash a 1.8 basemap on there, scale req fuel for my dw800's, enter the new IAC values, calibrate said TPS, and hopefully start the car.
That is a great idea brain, but not something I'm prepared to do right now. Mainly because of $$, but also because of time. I really don't see the benefits of doing it on my sub 250whp tiny turbo setup either.
That said, I do still have the sensors from the motor and could eventually do this. I'm sure I'd have to rewire a few things, and of course upgrade to ms2 or ms3. If I ever take the plunge into a built motor and big boy setup this will definitely be done, but for now I do not want to mess with any of that.. I just want the car to run with what I have.
What are the real world benefits I would see by going with the 99 sensors/seq fuel right now?
I see lots of people with your mindset: "better sensors and control are only needed for high hp applications"
This is not completely true. While in part you do need better control over higher power, the bottom line is that a more precisely controlled car will behave and drive much much better even at modest power levels.
I'm not saying you should do it NOW, but brain has a point: seq inj, cops, nb sensors, etc will make the car smoother, idle better, eat less fuel, and make better power. win win win