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Old 10-09-2016, 04:05 PM   #1
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Default NB1 Build: NA to FI (not what you think!)

Hey,

I've been reading on here for a bit and I'm VERY VERY VERY FAR AWAY from even considering an FI build so this isn't about that. Promise.

My 2000 is the first car I've bought to tear into. I'm in grad school and I found that learning to wrench and building something was pretty great for stress relief when time allowed so I sold my motorcycle and bought a miata to work on for fun. It isn't my DD so down time isn't the worst thing in the universe. One of the first take aways that I've had from reading here is that you should learn to use an MS3 before you even contemplate an FI setup, so that's going to happen at some point. The biggest question I have is about what things I should look into and learn about that can be done to an NA car that will still have a benefit for a boosted car.

So far this is what I have planned:
-RB header. I know this will need to be replaced when going FI but I found a used one and selling it shouldn't be that hard when I need a turbo manifold.
-BP5A cam (should help even when boosted right?)
-Squaretop: This will probably go in around when I get an MS3. If I use this with the stock ECU, I'll run pretty lean right?
-Wideband O2. The RB header I bought has a second O2 sensor slot, so I'm considering getting wideband just to monitor things and have it ready for when I get a megasquirt.
-Looking for a used exhaust knowing that I'll probably need to replace it for the turbo setup. Unless I can find something that works decently for both.

Anything else I should consider to make a more fun NA car that will still translate well to the FI world? I'm not looking for spoon feeding here. I'm just looking for more topics I should start reading/researching about. Learning about this is half the fun for me but I'm new enough to this that I don't really know what to pay attention too. I don't want to shave the head because the lower compression is decent for FI. I could look into the VVT head, but I'm not sure that's the best use of my time/money though it does help with the mid range. What about oversized valves or a 3-5 angle job? Or is that completely unnecessary?

Forgot to mention that my car is a base model, so a torsen will also be considered if/when I start up the FI setup. I just don't think it's really needed until that point. I'm still on the hunt for one so if I find one for a good price I might grab it.

Looking forward to seeing some of the topics/things you knowledgeable folks direct me to so I can put together a good winter reading list!

Last edited by ridethecliche; 10-09-2016 at 04:32 PM.
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Old 10-09-2016, 06:01 PM   #2
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Your NA build plan is very solid. You can make your own intake and consider a Skunk2 throttle body to port match with the squaretop. However, look up on this forum on how to bulletproof them. Do those things and don't worry about the head stuff. You bought a Miata. You need a good suspension and a working differential. Getting a Torsen shouldn't be a maybe, unless you just love less grip in all performance situations.
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Old 10-09-2016, 06:30 PM   #3
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I tuned my MS on bigger injectors before boosting too, makes the transition easier.

Also you probably want a torsen sooner rather than later
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Old 10-09-2016, 07:00 PM   #4
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Thanks for the recs re: injectors etc with the MS3 pre FI. I think I've read lots of recs for forceflow injectors so that's likely the route I'll take. I was waiting on the torsen because I figured that I wasn't going to blow the open diff on NA power anytime soon. I'm trying to see if I can get a few friends to help swapping the torsen piece so I don't have to pay the premium for the pumpkin since the 00 base open differential already has the 4.3 ratio, though I feel like getting a 4.1 wouldn't be a bad idea to reduce higher speed revs even if it's at the expense of a little acceleration. I'll think about it. I've seen tomei LSD's pop up on ebay as well and I have a friend in japan that can help send me parts. He's a car enthusiast as well, so he's been pushing me to spend more and get something more solid from the get go just like the folks here usually recommend.

Is the squaretop a stupid idea with the stock ECU? I've seen so much conflicting info regarding how much mid range one gives up and whether or not you can gain that back with an MS3 relative to just running the USDM intake mani. This is going to be mostly a street car, but I do enjoy revving the **** out of the engine because I can do that without getting arrested and it's fun. I feel like rb header and bp5a cam should help make the midrange tq loss more reasonable?

I've also been on the lookout for used billies or such. I've read meh things about the koni sports, even though there is a set of them locally for not too much. Braineack kinda talked me into saving up for illuminas on FM springs instead of wasting money on the koni's or even the billies, but if I get a set of used billies at a reasonable price, I might end up grabbing them for now and sell them when I need something better.

Part of my reason for building up NA first is because if I run out of time or money, I can have a car that will be pretty fun on the street for not a stupid amount of money if done right.

As an aside, I will be doing the TB, WP, seals, and valve shims sometime in the near future as well.

Just wanted to say that I really appreciate the input so far and add that my garage smells like PB blaster and that my header bolts are loose and I managed not to set my car on fire when using a torch to heat them up a bit. I consider that a pretty huge win.
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Old 10-09-2016, 08:56 PM   #5
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Skip the flat top manifold for now. Put that $400-500 towards a MS and injectors.
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Old 10-09-2016, 10:31 PM   #6
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Skip the flat top manifold for now. Put that $400-500 towards a MS and injectors.
Found a source for 300 shipped to my door, which is why I was even considering it. The 500-700 they go for isn't worth it to me.

The BP5A cam was 130 shipped to my door. I wouldn't have paid 250 for it.

Your point still stands. What's your reasoning for it though? More utility and importance in the grand scheme of things?
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Old 10-10-2016, 01:03 AM   #7
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I would tend to agree with Shuiend. If the priority is to learn how to tune your car and all that, adding maybe 5 more whp with a squaretop would be better spent on the MS and injectors, initially. I would do the bare minimum necessary, parts wise, to get it going and you learning how to tune the car. Put on the RB header, maybe a used exhaust, and get an MS first. If you eventually plan for lots more power then you will know how to adjust for bigger injectors then.

Also, you have the better of the two OEM intake manifolds, the VICS instead of the VTCS, because your car is an 00, so just keep it for now.

I also happen to have nearly every part you are wanting, lol. I have the best differential you can get, a squaretop, brand new Illuminas and FM springs, etc...

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Old 10-10-2016, 09:21 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by ridethecliche View Post
Found a source for 300 shipped to my door, which is why I was even considering it. The 500-700 they go for isn't worth it to me.

The BP5A cam was 130 shipped to my door. I wouldn't have paid 250 for it.

Your point still stands. What's your reasoning for it though? More utility and importance in the grand scheme of things?
For $300 shipped its not a bad deal. Above that it gets into the point of a marginal gain with not a marginal cost. I don't think for the majority of people the cost is worth the benefits over just a VICS manifold. I would much rather spend the $400-450 on other go fast parts then the intake manifold. Now saying all that I own a flat top and have it on my NA build car. It was the last piece I bought for the car, and mostly bought it because it was cheap and I had spare money at the time.
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Old 10-10-2016, 12:45 PM   #9
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For $300 shipped its not a bad deal. Above that it gets into the point of a marginal gain with not a marginal cost. I don't think for the majority of people the cost is worth the benefits over just a VICS manifold. I would much rather spend the $400-450 on other go fast parts then the intake manifold. Now saying all that I own a flat top and have it on my NA build car. It was the last piece I bought for the car, and mostly bought it because it was cheap and I had spare money at the time.
The squaretop is useless without the MS3 right? That's what I don't have a clear answer on either. Does it just cripple performance on the street with a stock ecu or is it actually lean and potentially bad for the engine.

I didn't know the NB1 VICS was that close to it in terms of performance. I was going by this post/dyno. Though it's possible that the VICS tune wasn't great?





MX-5 Miata Forum - View Single Post - [NB] Non US Market Intake and Exhaust Manifold Swaps

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Old 10-10-2016, 06:12 PM   #10
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I also happen to have nearly every part you are wanting, lol. I have the best differential you can get, a squaretop, brand new Illuminas and FM springs, etc...
Haha you have them as in you're sellingg them or you have them waiting to go in.
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Old 10-10-2016, 06:46 PM   #11
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Buy my brand new Flow Force injectors
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Old 10-10-2016, 07:25 PM   #12
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Haha you have them as in you're sellingg them or you have them waiting to go in.
Selling them.

Anyways, yes the squaretop is NOT appropriate with a stock ECU. Just get an MS3 and learn to t00n. The go-fast parts can come later.
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Old 10-11-2016, 02:52 PM   #13
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Sounds good to me.

So the new plan is:

-Install RB exhaust manifold and BP5A Cam.
-Do TB/WP/Seals etc.
-Keep an eye out for a cheap exhaust or say eff it and don't bother.
-Don't waste money on silly go fast parts on stock ecu and save up and buy a megasquirt (probably around the winter)
-Get car idling and driving decently on megasquirt.
-Suspension/roll bar.

What then? Torsen? Bigger injectors? Squaretop? Or just start saving up for a turbo setup? Would the coolant reroute be necessary around then as well or is it good to do that earlier? I'm not opposed to doing it, but it looks like it's going to be 300 bucks or so and that's a bit tough to stomach. Then again, engine go boom is also tough to stomach. Regardless, I'll have plenty of time to read etc because I'm in no rush to do this and school is going to consume my life for the next two years. I'd rather have a fun reliable NA miata for that duration instead of a headachey turbo system because I had to rush things. Not my style.
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Old 10-11-2016, 04:02 PM   #14
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After you get the MS installed. Do injectors, then clutch, then turbo. I would much rather put money towards a turbo setup then towards a flat top. I also would not bother getting any sort of exhaust after then RB header. It will be money that is better put towards a turbo setup.
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Old 10-11-2016, 07:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ridethecliche View Post
Sounds good to me.

So the new plan is:

-Install RB exhaust manifold and BP5A Cam.
-Do TB/WP/Seals etc.
-Keep an eye out for a cheap exhaust or say eff it and don't bother.
-Don't waste money on silly go fast parts on stock ecu and save up and buy a megasquirt (probably around the winter)
-Get car idling and driving decently on megasquirt.
-Suspension/roll bar.

What then? Torsen? Bigger injectors? Squaretop? Or just start saving up for a turbo setup? Would the coolant reroute be necessary around then as well or is it good to do that earlier? I'm not opposed to doing it, but it looks like it's going to be 300 bucks or so and that's a bit tough to stomach. Then again, engine go boom is also tough to stomach. Regardless, I'll have plenty of time to read etc because I'm in no rush to do this and school is going to consume my life for the next two years. I'd rather have a fun reliable NA miata for that duration instead of a headachey turbo system because I had to rush things. Not my style.
If you plan to eventually go turbo, then don't bother with the cam. Just get an ECU, wideband, and install them all at the same time with your RB header. Bring all your maintenance up to date at the same time. Then decide on what suspension set-up you want and install it with a Torsen. When all this is done, you will know how to tune a car, it will be ready for another 50k miles, and you can have fun in the corners. Then, if you get the money and time, you can start in with the clutch, injectors, and turbo kit to take everything to the next level.
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Old 10-11-2016, 08:37 PM   #16
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Why are folks suggesting avoiding the BP5A cam? Is it bad for turbo applications? I already have it waiting to go in.

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Originally Posted by Chilicharger665 View Post
If you plan to eventually go turbo, then don't bother with the cam. Just get an ECU, wideband, and install them all at the same time with your RB header. Bring all your maintenance up to date at the same time. Then decide on what suspension set-up you want and install it with a Torsen. When all this is done, you will know how to tune a car, it will be ready for another 50k miles, and you can have fun in the corners. Then, if you get the money and time, you can start in with the clutch, injectors, and turbo kit to take everything to the next level.
Solid advice. Unfortunately, I don't think I can do it all at once like you're saying. I'm a bit hesitant to tackle the TB/WP job myself and I'm on a friend's schedule for it sadly. I also have to do it all in bits and pieces and the car is probably going to be off the road for the winter. Might make more sense to just do that in the early spring so it doesn't just sit after the work is done. If it doesn't make a difference, then I'll see when I can fit it in.

Already did an oil change and new spark plugs. The weird thing is that the spark plug wires (the ones that go into the engine from the coils) seem to pop up a bit after driving. I've noticed them sticking out a bit when I've opened the hood. The spark plugs aren't popping out or anything. Just the wire that leads to them. It's pretty strange. Plugs/Wires are NGK.
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Old 10-11-2016, 09:15 PM   #17
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Why are folks suggesting avoiding the BP5A cam? Is it bad for turbo applications? I already have it waiting to go in.



Solid advice. Unfortunately, I don't think I can do it all at once like you're saying. I'm a bit hesitant to tackle the TB/WP job myself and I'm on a friend's schedule for it sadly. I also have to do it all in bits and pieces and the car is probably going to be off the road for the winter. Might make more sense to just do that in the early spring so it doesn't just sit after the work is done. If it doesn't make a difference, then I'll see when I can fit it in.

Already did an oil change and new spark plugs. The weird thing is that the spark plug wires (the ones that go into the engine from the coils) seem to pop up a bit after driving. I've noticed them sticking out a bit when I've opened the hood. The spark plugs aren't popping out or anything. Just the wire that leads to them. It's pretty strange. Plugs/Wires are NGK.
The BP5A cam has more overlap than the stock cam in your engine IIRC, which is not good for turbo power.

What exactly are you saying you can't do at the same time? The install of the MS3, wideband, and header? If so, yes, you can install the header by itself and put the factory oxygen sensor in it and run it like that. However, the MS3 and wideband do have to go in at the same time.

If the car will be off the road for the winter, then definitely get all the maintenance done. Then any added parts from then on will be on a solid base.

When it comes to the stock wires and coils, I hate them. On my 2000, the coil went out 3 times and the OEM replacements are expensive. You can't do anything about it until you go MS3, but looks up LS coil replacements and the like. The 99-00 coils are VERY notorious for dying, so definitely plan on fixing that.
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Old 10-11-2016, 11:02 PM   #18
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The BP5A cam has more overlap than the stock cam in your engine IIRC, which is not good for turbo power.

What exactly are you saying you can't do at the same time? The install of the MS3, wideband, and header? If so, yes, you can install the header by itself and put the factory oxygen sensor in it and run it like that. However, the MS3 and wideband do have to go in at the same time.

If the car will be off the road for the winter, then definitely get all the maintenance done. Then any added parts from then on will be on a solid base.

When it comes to the stock wires and coils, I hate them. On my 2000, the coil went out 3 times and the OEM replacements are expensive. You can't do anything about it until you go MS3, but looks up LS coil replacements and the like. The 99-00 coils are VERY notorious for dying, so definitely plan on fixing that.
I'd read that the MSM did better with the NA miata cams than the MSM cams, so I guess that might make sense. I'm going to be staying NA for a while so might as well enjoy it for now.

I don't have the stock wires, only coils. I had the CAS die on me on a trip which led to a hefty $300 repair (ugh don't ask) for a simple task because I was new to miatas, but I had just changed out the plugs and wires for NGK blues. The issue I was having was the wire popping out of the engine where it connects to the spark plug. I haven't had any misfires, but I can definitely press plug wires back into the engine... It's pretty strange. I've read about the coils etc, so that's on my list as well. I hope the stocks last till that point!

Is there any point in changing the fuel filter as well? I was going to do the radiator as well because mine looks iffy. Thermostat too?
Definitely going to try to check compression when I'm in there. Car has 105k miles so I'm crossing my fingers that it's decent. Previous owner was a woman in her 40's that sounded horrified when I asked her if we could take it up to 6k on the test drive, so I think it was driven very delicately for most of its life!
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Old 10-12-2016, 03:30 PM   #19
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To install the new cam you need to remove the timing belt. At that point you might as well install a new timing belt and water pump.

Change the fuel filter if it has never been touched. They are cheap, and it is an easy job.
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Old 10-14-2016, 12:42 AM   #20
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To install the new cam you need to remove the timing belt. At that point you might as well install a new timing belt and water pump.

Change the fuel filter if it has never been touched. They are cheap, and it is an easy job.
Only reason I didn't want to do it at once was because I have to measure the clearances for shims when swapping cams, no?
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