So I am a longish time lurker who has recently seen the post count rocket to the 70 range, so I figured I would make the formal introduction.
My name is Ted, I live in the Boulder Colorado area. I purchased my '91 Mariner from a young man who was getting ready to go off to college. As such, I didn't beat him up on price and just paid what he was asking, which was probably around a grand too much ($4500). The car had ~110k miles with a nearly stock JRSC, an A6 intercooler, permanent roll bar, and not much else. Oh, it also had a super cool "because racecar" sticker on it. Honestly, I bought the car on a whim. I was not a Miata enthusiast, but I did know that they are pretty decent platforms to work with. In high-school I had a 1975 Datsun 280z (hence the name). I loved that car, and held on to it well beyond the point of recovery. I finally parted with it (like a band-aid) after it sat in garage for 7 years. This Miata is the first FI vehicle I have ever worked with.
My background is electronics. I primarily studied Field and Wave Theory in college, but was hired into a practical EE position by one of the professors at the University. There I gained a significant amount of experience with baseband electronics, boutique shop manufacturing, machining, and other fundamental elements of the concept to production skill set needed for a one-stop shop. I moved from there to a leading edge tech sensor element and system development company. I really enjoyed that job, but the wife and I became pregnant, and the paycheck wasn't where I wanted it to be to raise a family. I moved into the corporate world, now working for a large medical device company. I currently serve as the Tiger team lead on the systems team of a product development group. My main responsibility is to architect complex systems, and solve the tough technical problems that cross disciplinary boundaries. It is a good job, but I no longer have much of a design and innovation outlet ... This is the primary reason for the Miata.
My approach with the car isn't destination based. The project time-line is indefinite, and while I don't have excess amounts of cash to spend, I do not have a fixed budget. The primary purpose of the car is provide an outlet for me to be innovative, creative, and otherwise technically intrigued while making real-world realizable progress. As such, my plans don't really fit the typical mold around here.
The ultimate goal is a relatively high hp street build (between 300 and 400hp). I had originally planned on making it a street/track build, but I think some of my plans will make the car not suitable for reliable track operation. I will probably make it to some track days, but if I decide I want more I will probably go spec. I don't ~need~ this car, so having it out of commission or on the fritz is not a big deal for me.
As the car sits, it is an absolute joy to drive. As a systems engineer, I am approaching the build from a peripheral/support direction first, and will finish with the major power upgrade. That being said, it is not a dog, I would estimate ~160-170hp at 6000ft, which with the altitude is pretty good for a JRSC. I have not had it on the dyno, I would not be surprised to see it go outside of this range in either direction. I do believe that this is probably one of the most advanced M45 based builds out there. In short, it is an unthrottled solution with dynamic bypass control. I have experimented with multiple configurations, and find this to be the best so far. The suspension, brakes, instrumentation, stiffening, and most of the fuel system are sorted at this point. The engine management is also fairly sorted in prototype form, but I will probably transition from MS2 to MS3 here before too long, and need to design and fabricate some custom PCBA's to finish it up.
I AM building a compound set-up based on the GTX2867 and OA2076. Plans change, but this is the current plan. I know this doesn't result in the most simple power, or best HP per PSI, or something that I would feel comfortable getting more than 100 miles from the house, but it is what I want, so back off (/ROS).
I source elements of the design as they become available. I have the 1.8 builder longblock, the internals (Carillo A, Wiseco 8.5s, BE street/strip, ARP HW, race bearings), the head stuffs (BP4W, full ST catalog, ex-intake, adjustable cams), the SC, the turbo, Begi divided cast with DP, half of the charge cooling solution (uber FMIC for the SC), FM stage II clutch, ID850s (e85), ATI damper, and a bunch of other stuff I am forgetting I would imagine. The next engine phase is to build the flow bench I have designed and work the BP4W up. I did my 1.6 with good results (full set of Miata Neway's), and have 2 other practice heads to work with before cutting on the '99. I need to upgrade the cooling system (cowling, crossflow, Oil cooler) and design/implement the turbo charge cooler and piping. I also still need to go full 3" on the exhaust. Like many others, my build progress occurs during the winter months, so hopefully I can get a lot of this finished in the next wheels-up season.
I now have an extensive library (Tanner, MacInnes, Bell, Vizard, Warner, Curless, Banish, Baechtel, Hammill, ...) and have read most of them cover-to-cover, some of them multiple times.
Now for some pics ...
Miata near Leadville Colorado
First upgrade season progress (2012-2013)
, dynamat, exhaust ... feet wet
Second upgrade season progress (2013-2014)
, AEM FIC-6, custom electronics, intercooler and piping, headwork
Learned how to MIG weld aluminium
Lower tier electronics
. Built in o-scope, USB port expander, PC charger
- J&S safegaurd
Top tier - complete main harness breakout, bunch of power system control stuff, gauge light dimming adapter, relays (hold on to your butts)
A note on the FIC:
I ran the FIC for quite a while. I wrote several thousand lines of code in Octave, and pretty much developed my own auto-tuner for the thing. It actually worked very well, but I found myself building custom bits left and right in order to band-aid deficiencies. A buddy of mine gave me an MSPNP2 to use (he wanted me to learn how to use it so I could help him with his car), so I made the switch. You know what they say about hindsight ...
(5-angle, deshroud, PandP, springs, oversize intake, new HLAs) - screwed up the squish a bit, but this thing flows well
Third upgrade season progress (2014-2015)
, suspension, NA2 subframe swap, LSD, brakes, stiffening (frog arms, full butterfly), finally got the clutch figured out (FM S2)
Engine Bay today:
Super long intro post. Sorry about that.
oh, and Rocky (Grey Tabby) and Nugget (Orange Tabby)