Figured I should finally contribute something useful and document my path down a road named Bad Idea Lane
. I've come really close to selling my '04 MSM in the last year with plans of buying a pre-OBD2 car and making it an EFR track beast. The final decision has been made and despite all common wisdom my first turbo car, my first Miata, is staying mine and will see continued improvements to make it more track friendly, fun and reliable. A little history lesson to start things off. I have a tendancy to ramble and jump around a bit.
Having paid off my 2000 Focus ZX3 some months prior there was an wad of cash increasingly burning a hole in my pocket. Long and boring story short, I picked up my 2004 Titanium Gray MSM in February, 2005 with plans to DD it year round.
It looked something like this, sans upgraded intercooler and an air blocking grill.
October 2005 rolled around and I'd racked up 14k miles. Between a 75 mile round trip commute and weekend trips the miles just stacked on. So I picked up a beater 1989 Buck Century wagon. Thing was a tank and it took me everywhere including some less traveled uhh fields and forests without complaint. At some point it started leaking transmission fluid. $700 later it still did (hooray for shitty repair shops) and then the A/C went out. It trundled on with a now shorter commute every day without complaint allowing the time to make the Miata better.
Early 2006 this box arrived. Sadly, FM is a bunch of cheap bastards and the beer was not included.
After consuming more beer the engine bay now had some shiny bits. The shiny bits, not the beer, had a nice side effect of making it more fun and faster.
At some point I was talked into bring this home with me. He was much smaller at the time, and described as a short-haired cat by the agency.
Great cat, except for his insistence that furniture was his personal litter box and sadly is no longer a household member.
At some point another box showed up with the TB inlet and BOV replacement. Later that year, or maybe 2007 the FM downpipe was installed and I was pretty happy with the car. It had an O2 mod installed and that helped smooth the power ever so slightly. Gotta admit I did enjoy the ECU kicking in at 5500rpm, made for a fun street car at least.
Then I discovered Autox. Thought it was fun to drive really fast for 4 minutes and stand on asphalt in the hot sun for 3 hours. I don't do it anymore, but I do believe it was time and money well spent - it helped me learn car control in a safe environment with little risk. It also got my to buy a set of decent wheels. Ran some used V710s for a while, they didn't magically fix my bad habits unfortunately.
I ran with SCCA for a few years, constantly complaining about classing - I really
despise how SCCA classes autox. At some point Corksport took some money and in return they gave me a 3" exhaust and it was installed. Even still, autox gave me a thrill that couldn't be had anywhere else.
And then SilverMiataRacer on m-s.com talked up the Miatas@Hallett event and how much fun it was. So I signed up. Now I was highly intimidated going into this, terrified of the rumble stops and what they would do to my car, spinning out on every other corner, or running off track and breaking something. Well I got over it.
Yes, my very first track day was without a rollbar. And yes, that's one of the main reasons I went. Lots of the fast local autox guys always talked how you could only drive 9/10ths on a track but 10/10ths on a parking lot filled with cones and therefor autox is more fun. Well I far more enjoy driving 6-9/10ths with some occasional 11/10ths thrown in for over an hour vs 4 minutes. They are ******* liars. Holy **** is a trackday fun. After my first session I knew a rollbar was next. Luckily for me, that night at the banquet I won a gift certificate for Hard Dog. Tom is a great guy, not only does he sponsor track events, but he's super helpful on the phone. So of course it was installed and of course I went back to Miatas@Hallett the following year.
Up next was the suspension. After a ride in FM's Igor I was easily convinced to part with $600 for a set of VMaxxxxxxxxxxx. Couldn't quite cough up the cash for Xidas yet, but for the price I'm still happy with the decision. Besides, my new-ish DD - Forester XT - decided it needed a new air pump not a week after FM shipped a box my way.
I never did weigh the stock pieces.
By now I was really ******* sick of the stock MSM ECU. That ******* piece of **** really made track driving difficult and busy. Then I met hustler and learned the virtues of MS. Some months later a package from Greece showed up and I learned the joys of tuning. MS is awesome. To celebrate, I installed an Ultrashield seat and went back to Miatas@Hallett.
Aaand discovered the front pad taper that many talk about. One week before another track event. Fortunately, there is a fix and it was in my hands a couple days later.
That about wraps up 2012. Some haphazzard ducting and an FM oil cooler kept things mostly in check all year, but there was a lot to be done before 2013 starts up. To be continued...