So hi guys and maybe a few gals??, I'm new to the forums. I wanted to share a little bit about, and introduce myself. I've been a long time internet forum user, especially when it comes to learning about a certain make or model of car. I've been a long time member / lurker of TurboD16.com which is an engine specific message board for Honda drivers, namely the D16 which is the SOHC 1.6 motor found in Civics.
Currently I drive a 98 Civic EX with a 5 speed manual transmission. It's stock due to a change of heart. I had been planning to build the motor with a fresh and beefed bottom end, redo the cylinder head w/ cams, springs, retainers and a porting job, and then boost it and rev to the moon (hoping for somewhere in the 10k RPM vicinity, depending on how the head flowed). Well, then I met the Miata.
I've always been attracted to a woman with brains, due to my fancy for intricacy and detail. I guess this is why I grew to love the Honda so much. The motors in them are about as reliable as you can find, great performers, inexpensive to dress up with all the goodies, and most importantly easy to work on. This is probably why I decided to trick out my Civic. Eagle rods, Vitara pistons (the Suzuki Grand Vitara piston is perfect for boosting SOHC civics -- same 75mm diameter, or u can opt for 75.5mm diameter for a slight bore) and they effectively lower the compression from about 9:1 to about 7.5-8:1. You boost junkies will know that low compression is great for some high MAPs. I had it all planned out, manifold, turbo, ECU, injectors, new clutch, etc. It was going to be my baby.
Then one day I was thinking to myself how nice it would be to have a Corvette, since I'm naturally an American muscle car fan at heart. The only problem is I'm 21 years old, I don't make a terribly large sum of money since I'm still in college (and with this economy who does?) and it's just naturally out of the question. And then it hit me. Like a 2100 pound front engine, rear wheel drive, perfectly balanced car would (fortunately I rolled right up the hood and landed in the nice cushy convertible top, yet ANOTHER benefit over my Honda!) So I guess you could call the Miata my mistress. The car I wouldn't want to tell my Civic about... fortunately I'm still in my planning stages and the Civic has been put on the back burner, so I don't have to let her know just yet...
The main reason why I joined this forum is because I don't like going into anything in the dark, so I've been doing lots of lurking. Learning about the little details that I could tell all of you guys about my Honda. The M6 is good to about 350-400RWHP where as the M5 will start going at about 300RWHP, much like the optimally geared tranny for a turbo Civic would be the one found in an EX (like mine), the same one found in the Si model. I've been reading up on ECUs and which work the best, the suspension setups people have gone with and how the car reacts with them installed. Turbo setups, etc.
With that in mind, I will most likely start asking lots of questions. As a frequent forum user I know that most forum rules are generally the same - SEARCH FIRST. Obviously I will do my best to do so, but some questions that I have, for example, how many bolts hold the main caps in place in the 1.8 liter motors, are slightly complicated to search for. Although now that I think about it I could search "main caps," so I'll go do that now. (but this doesn't count because it's not a question forum it's my intro!)
Anyway, I will be hoping to trade my Civic come spring time for a Miata of equal value. I will be doing the car (in my opinion) properly -- wheels tires brakes and suspension first, followed by a cage, and finally building the motor for some BOOOOOOST! My goal is to follow the same basic setup as I was planning on for the Civic. Here's a short list of goals, and the things I have not yet found all the info I need to make a good decision.
Wheels & tires: I saw some 15 inch wheels that everone has and I'm joining the band wagon because they look great. It might be called like ADP6 or somthing. I dunno. That isn't important now.
Brakes: At minimum some heavy duty street pads, if not race pads and SS lines. At maximum I could see myself getting a set of wilwoods or something similar for stopping power. If you plan to get into the 300 HP range u needa stop pretty well, right?? haha
Suspension: NO idea! This will be mostly a street car, perhaps some auto-x. Let's say for conservative reasons it will be 85% street driven, 15% auto-x, so I am not looking for an extremely race oriented setup.
Cage: duh. Something that will keep my ***, and the rest of me, from being cramsmooshed. Driving the Civic I feel like a shopping cart could do me in under bad circumstances... moving to an even smaller car. Yeah. Time to get a cage! haha
Motor: probably eagle rods and some inexpensive low compression pistons. The car will be professionally tuned as soon as it's boosted, so I'm not worried about spending 800 on a set of Wiseco's.
Cylinder head: stock? I really want to modify the head. My reason being in my Honda, and driving friends, I have decided that revving to 9 or 10k RPMs is damn near audible heaven, and if you have a head that flows, and doesn't drop off in power past 8k or so, you're golden for a boosted car. So since the head will be pulled anyway I've considered having it ported and worked over at a shop.
Manifold: probably a ram horn, although I have no real objections to log mani. They're obviously cheaper and I am not made of money. I'm willing to sacrifice a few top end ponies to save a few benjamins and get a bit of extra low-end grunt.
Turbo: In the Civic I was planning for one of two turbos: Garrett 57 trim .63ar turbo, or a GT2860rs, commonly known as the "disco potato" in the Civic world. I figured since I will be upgrading from the 1.6 to the 1.8 liter motor, I may as well go slightly bigger in turbo, so I am considering a 2871 instead of the 2860. I have yet to decide. Based on my 300hp goal the 60 should do, but should I ever want to pump in some race gas the extra bit of size could make a huge difference to me.
ECU: NO idea on this yet. In Honda's there were a few good ECU systems. We had our choice of Chrome, Hondata, eCtune, or we could go with FMU systems (which were not recommended, and I'm not considering) so I have yet to decide what ECU I will use for the Miata.
Tranny: This will stay the 5 speed until it goes kaboom. Then I"ll figure something out. lol
Anyway, I plan on doing all of this work, minus machine work and dyno tuning, in the garage at home. It will be my first engine build, but please trust me when I say I'm plenty capable of doing this. I'm a pretty smart cookie, I follow directions very well, and I figure if I take tons of pictures of my progress with the car, I'm sure I will get all the help I need from you helpful folks here! Once again, this project won't be starting until spring, but hopefully you guys can give me a few pointers between now and then that can help me make up my mind on the direction I want to take modifications, and the little things that one may not consider at first glance or thought.
So this is pleeennty long enough as is, and it's 6am here in Chicago, which is where I'm from. I'm going to finish this up and hopefully I'll log in and have some responses. As a lurker I haven't really noticed how active this forum is, but I do like the knowledge that's going around, and some of you guys have some pretty funny senses of humor, too, so I'm sure I'll have someone rip on me already for the eye bleeder!! haha anyway, thanks guys!! I'm sure you'll see me around.