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Old 04-13-2011, 02:08 PM   #1
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Default I'm Hugh - Came from turbo Nissans, just getting started on my Miata

Hello to everyone!

I've owned my 99 Miata auto since 2004, but my wife has been driving it the whole time. I was driving a 73 Datsun 240Z with an SR20DET swap.

I bought my wife a new Honda Fit so we would have one practical car in the house. (two two-seaters is a pain sometimes) I then sold my 240z. I decided to drive the Miata for a short time while looking for another sports car... and then realized I had a pretty cool one I already own.

...If it was only a stick... and had some *****.

So the project begins:

I'm in the process of replacing the front subframe and left lower control arm/bushing because my wife ran over a median strip with it before I bought her the fit. (part of the reason she got a new car)

The wheels are Final Speed 15x7's with Yokohama S-Drive 205 50 15 tires. The suspension is Eibach springs on stock blown struts.

Otherwise, it's stock.

I'm scouring the interwebs to learn all I can about the transmission swap. That is happening soon. I've already started compiling the parts needed, but still looking for some important ones (ECU, Harness, Tranny)
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Old 04-13-2011, 02:14 PM   #2
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Welcome. 5sp swap isn't complicated, and boost will re-define the fun factor of the car completely.
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Old 04-13-2011, 02:46 PM   #3
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Welcome. Just get rid of the auto and put a 5psd in. And like 18psi said, get big turbo.
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Old 04-13-2011, 03:14 PM   #4
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Yes get big turbo. I am putting a 63mm turbo on it is the new trend
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Old 04-13-2011, 06:05 PM   #5
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Haha, thanks for the tips. I'm not going big turbo on this. Little turbo, pretty sure.

I've got lots of experience with fast turbo cars, breaking parts, etc... and that just not my aim with this car. What I do want is a fun to drive around town car. Will it ever see the track? Maybe sometime when I've got more free time... but I'm a small business owner and I'm married to that and a woman who takes up the rest of my time. I need reliability and fun without breaking the bank.

If I double the stock output of this Miata, I'll be happy. (for a while, anyway)

I may just go with a BEGI kit for smog legality purposes here in Cali. Seems like the smart thing to do.
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Old 04-13-2011, 08:03 PM   #6
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Welcome. I also started as a Nissan fanatic with a few SR20DET powered 240's.
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Old 04-13-2011, 08:39 PM   #7
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socal ftw !
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Old 04-14-2011, 01:06 AM   #8
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Welcome Hugh! There are a few of us on here with SR20 backgrounds as well.
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:44 AM   #9
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Cool. I've always driven Nissans while my wife has driven the Miatas. It's always been a good car to have to borrow or drive on road trips.

The automatic just seems to always be in the wrong gear for my liking. It's like it was just an afterthought for this car.
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Old 04-16-2011, 10:54 PM   #10
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Welcome to the forum! Looks like youve been doing some reading so far but I would make a few suggestions. First off you'll definately love a 5spd, whole different car. Since you will have to replace the ecu (i think you do right? havn't done it myself) I would suggest going to a stand alone after market ecu when you do the tranny swap. You will need engine management if you plan on making any type of power, you mentioned doubling the horsepower. Thats around 200 rwp. I don't know exact figures, that may be "possible" with bandaids but that would be the maximum you could ever make. Not to mention you would probabbly end up spending more on the bandaid setup than you would just going to a megasquirt setup. The megasquirt is very popular on this forum, it can be had for around $350 for the ms2, sensors and harness plugs and wiring but you have to do it all yourself. I myself went with a diypnp for my 00 miata, its $450 plus an IAT sensor ($20 I think?) but most of the stuff is setup already, just solder in the resistors using the instructions, if you can solder its about as hard as a lego kit. Also your harness will plug directly into the box, you don't have to build a harness. Here is an instruction guide on how to make one for your exact car. Also with either one you will have to get a wideband 02 sensor, ussually around $150.

You will still have to modifiy the harness for the 5spd as you would before but shouldn't be that hard. As far as the turbo project goes just do alot of reading and decide if you want to buy a kit or put one together yourself. If you do the research it won't be too hard to purchase a used manifold/downpipe setup. Thats the most important part of the setup, after that turbos, injectors, intercooler setups, and the other stuff are pretty easy to come by to fit your needs, just make sure the turbo fits the manifold/dp. You'll just have to do the research, Begi and flyin miata make excellent kits though that take out the guess work. Also, when you do the transmission swap, save your self the headache and get a clutch that will hold up to your power goals. Its really not that much more for a decent clutch over an oe one.

To sum this up I would suggest upgrading in about this order:
1. Shocks
2. ECU
3. Tranny/clutch
4. Turbo setup (not at the same time as ecu/tranny though, get those up and running first)

This forum has a massive amount of information and the people here will help you with any question you could have... but nobody will spoon feed you anything. Search first, if you can't find it using the search box googling it usually works best. Just type in "site:miataturbo.net 5spd swap" or whatever it is your looking for. Good luck
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Old 04-17-2011, 12:42 PM   #11
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Hey, thanks for the tips.

My previous two cars have run on a full standalone fuel/ignition setup that I installed and tuned myself. I used the Electromotive Tec3 and had to wire in the full pigtail engine harness. The first one was my 180sx in Japan, so it was still street legal without the stock ECU. The second was my 1973 240z back here in California, which is pre-smog... no problems there. That's the project I just sold.

I prefer my car to be mostly street legal because it will be driven on the street a thousand times more than it will see a track. That said - I have to look to CARB (California Air Resources Board) Exempt kits. I've been looking hard at BEGI.

In California when you pull the emissions systems and run a standalone, etc... You're one pull-over away from a trip to the state referee. That means you have to make your car legal before you get there, or you're screwed. I know several people this happened to while running SR20's in their 240sx's. (one big reason why I went with the pre-smog 240z and then put the same motor in)

I am sort of following your list - but I was planning to skip the struts for now until I figure out what to buy. I really need to get the 5-speed in this thing soon. I've obtained everything except the tranny, clutch, and flywheel.

All the searching I've done and people I've spoken to are pushing me toward the 5-speed vs the 6-speed. So the money saved there will help me get to a diff or struts sooner, as well.

I was planning to get it running with the stick, get the ECU needed for the smog legal turbo kit, and start tuning NA for a while. (that should be a new experience for someone who has only tuned turbo cars) Once I'm 100% sure I want to keep the car, I'll go for the turbo kit.
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