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Old 09-13-2016, 11:26 PM   #1
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Default Lazy Californian Starting to De-Noob

Hi all,

Things are starting to get under way with my miata so I figured now is as good a time as ever to de-noob and introduce myself.

My name is Dan, I'm located in the East Bay area of the San Francisco Bay Area, and I recently acquired a 1999 Highlight Silver Miata in the base trim. I've always wanted a project car and never had the means until now.

I knew before I started looking for a miata that I would be adding forced induction of some kind, so I purposefully sought out a deal on a non-running Miata. I also needed one between 1990-1999, which i ended up finding in the form of the afore mentioned 1999 Miata with 93k miles on the chassis and a rod knock. I quickly pulled the engine and set out educating myself on what I needed to do to build a reliable turbo Miata with plenty of headroom for future power.

General Power Goals: 225rwhp+ with headroom for more power
Budget: TBD, most components already purchased.

Now, regarding the laziness: I currently live in California and plan on staying here for the foreseeable future due to my industry, but because of that, I'm stuck with backwards smog laws and ridiculous requirements. I knew the status quo of FI in California is to return to stock once every two years, and that there are very few CARB EO'd FI options, but because of a combination of both my laziness and paranoia, I wanted to makes sure I had a CARB sticker somewhere in my engine bay. Thus that left me with 3 options: 1) Take a gamble with BEGi 2) Go with FFS and their e-cooooool solution 3) Wait on the Rotrex CARB kit that is releasing Tomorrow™.
The Rotrex not being available now didn't match my timeline, and while the FFS system is good enough for making 200hp, I don't know what my end goal of power is, and I wanted to make sure I could get there in the future. Because of this I ended up choosing a BEGi S3 Carb kit. I know its not the wisest choice given BEGi's track record, but I really am adamant about having that CARB sticker somewhere in my engine bay.

While I'm waiting the x+1 months for the kit to get here, I'm focusing on building the car up to support the FI in a reliable way. Currently that involves having the engine built with Forged Honda Rods and Pistons (Long Rods), as well as building up a MS3X for the ECU. (I know it's not CARB approved, but I don't trust the band-aids to give me the flexibility I want, nor the headroom, and building a MS3X with a DIY BOB makes the switch painless). There's a lot more supporting mods going into the car before the FI arrives (seeing that I'll likely have plenty of time), but I suppose those details are best saved for a future build thread.

In the meantime, I'm keen on surrounding myself with those more knowledgable in this subject than I am so that I can learn from their experiences, as well as hopefully meeting up with some like-minded individuals in the area. (yes, yes, I know. If I was learning from experience, I wouldn't have ordered a BEGi kit, but rather done DIY, but again... CARB sticker.)

Thanks for the wealth of information you already have contributed to this site that I've already been able to learn so much from!

-Dan

TL; DR

Car:
1999 Base Miata

Engine:
BP-4W with Forged Honda Rods and Pistons (Long Rods)

FI:
BEGi S3 CARB Kit on order (Stubborn about having CARB sticker)

Supporting Mods (to be installed before S3 arrives):
MS3x + DIY BOB
Upgrade Fuel Pump, injectors, fuel lines
Clutch + Flywheel
more T.B.D.

Last edited by Djwade; 09-14-2016 at 09:24 AM. Reason: Punctuation, Repeated Words
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Old 09-14-2016, 10:55 AM   #2
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sonofthehill is local to you and has a turbo 99. He can give you info on dealing with CARB.
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Old 09-14-2016, 04:33 PM   #3
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Awesome. Glad to hear there's active posters in my neck of the woods that have already dealt with CARB.
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Old 09-14-2016, 04:37 PM   #4
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The real question is: do they REALLY have a CARB kit and is it REALLY still valid?

Because this is news to me, after many years and dozens of threads of us really doing the homework on this.

Are they for sure going to give you a valid CARB compliant kit? I mean, it doesn't even matter since you just want the sticker, but do they even provide that anymore?

I know several people that wanted to do this only to find out it's all bogus, none of the CARB begi kits are actually a thing anymore for NB+

PS: I have a legit FFS Carb sticker somewhere, if you want just the sticker and forego the pain and failure to come that is BEGi, PM me
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Old 09-15-2016, 02:25 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by 18psi View Post
The real question is: do they REALLY have a CARB kit and is it REALLY still valid?

Are they for sure going to give you a valid CARB compliant kit? I mean, it doesn't even matter since you just want the sticker, but do they even provide that anymore?

I know several people that wanted to do this only to find out it's all bogus, none of the CARB begi kits are actually a thing anymore for NB+

PS: I have a legit FFS Carb sticker somewhere, if you want just the sticker and forego the pain and failure to come that is BEGi, PM me
It's not "technically" CARB compliant, as many of the past threads have indicated, notably due to the downpipe. I went into this purchase aware of that, and I made my concerns well known to BEGi. They claim that the downpipes eliminating the pre-cat is still "OK" due to the vague description of the #EO. It definitely doesn't sound like a well founded defense, but I will find out very quickly once it's installed. If it doesn't pass smog, then I'll either get them to make it right, or reverse a bit and go for a TSE set up. I could probably deal with the returning to stock once every 2 years. At that point, I'd definitely be interested in said CARB sticker just so I have something to point to in the rare (nonexistent) event I get pulled over. But alas, I'm paranoid.

Best,

Dan
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Old 09-15-2016, 03:16 AM   #6
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I acquiesce. I should have assumed that if it was a good option more people would actually do it. Talked to a smog tech friend of mine and they said they'd be able to see my car is a California deliver vehicle, and there's no way it will pass smog. I'm starting the process of cancelling my order and starting to look into DIY and other Prefabbed options.

Now I just need to decide if I'm going to go EFR or not...

Thanks for the input already!

-Dan
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Old 09-15-2016, 01:16 PM   #7
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Yep, as i suspected, they were willing to lie to you just to sell you the kit knowing full well there's no way it would pass smog in California
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Old 09-15-2016, 02:05 PM   #8
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sonofthehill get your *** in here and tell him how you deal with CARB.
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Old 09-15-2016, 02:12 PM   #9
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It's really not a bad swap. If you have all good stuff currently, just bag your cats and sensors.
Message me, we can chat later, I have to leave for work in a few minutes.
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Old 09-15-2016, 02:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonofthehill View Post
It's really not a bad swap. If you have all good stuff currently, just bag your cats and sensors.
Message me, we can chat later, I have to leave for work in a few minutes.
Go take him for a ride and get him hooked on boost.
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Old 09-15-2016, 08:20 PM   #11
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Message me and meet on the Marin side of the 580 I will be happy to take you for a ride. We can go tonight after traffic if you want.
The hardest part of the swap is loosening all the rusted bolts on the stock exhaust the first time.
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Old 09-15-2016, 08:25 PM   #12
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Oh yeah I forgot to mention, the first ride is free. Heh heh heh...
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Old 09-15-2016, 08:35 PM   #13
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They did have a legit CARB kit once, sold as an FM2. It used a special manifold that mounted the turbo further forwards, an 8-inch long downpipe that you bolted the factory pre-cat into, and a piggyback Link computer that controlled 4 additional injectors and would retard the spark. I owned one and it worked OK at low 200s rwhp, but the pre-cat really hurt spool, and the lack of precision in the fuel & timing meant you needed a lot of safety margin. They don't make the manifolds or the downpipes for it any more, though.

--Ian
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Old 09-15-2016, 08:56 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Djwade View Post
as well as building up a MS3X for the ECU. (I know it's not CARB approved, but I don't trust the band-aids to give me the flexibility I want, nor the headroom, and building a MS3X with a DIY BOB makes the switch painless)
Dude, this is some of the biggest PITA ****. Have you crawled under your dash and swapped ECU's before?
The injector swap is messy too, some small amount of fuel will spill for sure and with a 99 the top of the intake manifold needs to come off. Other than that I use AN fittings for my oil, and v-bands for my exhaust, as supplied in Lars' kit.
The exhaust swap and capping the oil lines is pretty easy, especially after the original **** has been removed once.
If you are going that far, might as well swap the exhaust too.
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Old 09-15-2016, 09:03 PM   #15
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The only other option I can think of, and I only mention it because I want someone to figure out how to do it.
Would be to run some sort of alternative fuel such as propane(LNG), methane(CNG) or perhaps e100. Then maybe get a smog referee to make your car exempt somehow, maybe you could even get diamond lane stickers.
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Old 09-16-2016, 02:58 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by sonofthehill View Post
Message me and meet on the Marin side of the 580 I will be happy to take you for a ride. We can go tonight after traffic if you want.
The hardest part of the swap is loosening all the rusted bolts on the stock exhaust the first time.
Sorry I didn't get back to you, but if a crazy day at work. I'll be pretty busy this weekend but I'll definitely hit you up soon for that one free ride.

As far as the exhaust, I actually have everything out of the car. I pulled the Exhaust, engine and transmission, and the engine is currently at the shop being machined and tolerance for the rebuild, so i guess I already have the hardest part out of the way, eh?
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Old 09-16-2016, 03:05 AM   #17
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Well at this point after a ton of digging, I've basically said to hell with the idea of the BEGi kit and I'm going to go for a TSE kit and just revert back to stock every 2nd year. It's actually not that much more expensive to run the TSE kit and it's so much better. And while, yes, the ECU isn't the easiest thing to get at, its a hell of a lot easier to run a PnP-esque solution rather than another method. Unless there's another way to run MegaSquirt thats easier to switch out than PnP that I'm not aware of.

And while this is a big change from the stance I held just a day or so ago, that's the whole point of de-noobing, right? Getting your naive opinion kicked in the *** and learning the proper way to do things. The way I understand it, the proper way to do things in California is to avoid BEGi since their kit isn't even CARB legal anymore, as 18psi points out, and going with a much better kit like Trackspeed's, or MK Turbo's if on a budget, then revert to stock every 2 years. I have the distinct advantage that my car is currently reg'd as non-op, so I'll smog the car with a brand spankin' new engine right before the turbo install and have a full 2 years.

Last edited by Djwade; 09-16-2016 at 03:08 AM. Reason: clarification
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Old 09-16-2016, 03:55 AM   #18
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MS is the easiest.
Look forward to meeting you when you have a chance. I think the TSE kit is probably the best thing currently available. MK Turbo is very nice but I hear there is currently a backorder.
All the cool custom **** takes a while to get 'cause we all want it.
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Old 09-16-2016, 11:07 AM   #19
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Quote:
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MS is the easiest.
Look forward to meeting you when you have a chance. I think the TSE kit is probably the best thing currently available. MK Turbo is very nice but I hear there is currently a backorder.
All the cool custom **** takes a while to get 'cause we all want it.
TSE setup is absolutely better then mine in almost every way, except for cost. The turbo alone costs as much as my whole setup is shipped. That being said if you are building a motor you are better off going TSE then with MKTurbo. If you are planning on staying with a stock motor then mine works decently. That being said, I have a TSE setup sitting in my garage to one day go on one of my cars.
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Old 09-16-2016, 11:46 AM   #20
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TSE setup is absolutely better then mine in almost every way, except for cost. The turbo alone costs as much as my whole setup is shipped. That being said if you are building a motor you are better off going TSE then with MKTurbo. If you are planning on staying with a stock motor then mine works decently. That being said, I have a TSE setup sitting in my garage to one day go on one of my cars.
I'm having the motor built as we speak (write?). Forged Honda Long Rods and Pistons with 8.6:1 CR and ACL Race Bearings. I wanted a bullet-proof set up, and I'm planning on upping the boost slowly in stages so I don't push more power than I'm used to handling too fast. I'll be starting a build thread eventually detailing it some more, but I'm planning on a few "phases" with supporting mods as required for the power goal. Initially it will be small, somewhere in the neighborhood of ~180rwhp, before upping it to ~225rwhp until I get a 6 speed, after which I plan on ending around 300-325 rwhp. From what I've been able to read, Andrew's kit is the best kit to buy for those long term power goals, and I would hate to buy a kit, only to replace it a few months down the line, especially if the BW EFR 6258 performance is really as amazing as everyone is saying.
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