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Old 11-10-2015, 02:31 PM   #1
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Hello!



I picked up a 1997 Miata that's in brilliant condition (all things considered) here not too long ago as a learning tool and a bit of a toy. 81k miles, and paint is in OK condition, but there wasn't any rust on the vehicle that I could find which blew my mind a bit.


Interior is in like new condition, no tears or damage to the leather, and the plastics on the dash were all like new.
Single owner Miata, the dude really loved his car. The car is mostly stock with Aftermarket "American Racing" wheels and a "Racing beat" exhaust kit that starts about half ways beneath the car. It sounds nice, but I'm not sure it affects performance at all......



I'm not well versed with the details of building a car at all, so I'm sure I'll make plenty of mistakes and make an idiot out of myself plenty of times. I've been lurking here for about six months, I'm sure it will be another 12 months before I touch the engine of the car, outside of maybe a cold air intake. Cars are also at the moment taking a bit of the backseat to my other hobby, cycling.




I'm looking to eventually get the car up to around 200 whp, while retaining a mostly stock look. Thanks for looking! I'll try to keep the cheeky scrub questions to a minimum.





1997 Miata


No panel rust on an 18 year old car? Whaaat?



Shitty image of the back of my car. Can't see the exhaust but whatever it's artsy.



And they said Miata's weren't practical.....
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New to Miatas, new to cars.-80-12032030_10152998798806568_7969149320277010502_n_183b1168541feeffdbc7b3e338154fb11f0c2dc9.jpg   New to Miatas, new to cars.-80-11216812_10153024288926568_8186059936496886498_n_b287f59810640cc277ad7b378e8624cd6e5873e4.jpg   New to Miatas, new to cars.-80-12141730_10152997329296568_8667888629111766907_n_f6cfc5150e449193a1f28bf8f819fc93d5848fc9.jpg   New to Miatas, new to cars.-80-12043081_10153001751381568_3379892770218480772_n_6f3b24f902ca4378e7dfe62be3f2894a4bb1e50a.jpg   New to Miatas, new to cars.-80-12063344_10153024288996568_2672223234581068364_n_13a933eb9eb30387e439b265955b39bd3d6e7936.jpg  

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Old 11-10-2015, 03:49 PM   #2
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Hello. For what reason 200whp?

Stock is pretty damn reliable.
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Old 11-10-2015, 04:07 PM   #3
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Hello. For what reason 200whp?

Stock is pretty damn reliable.
Hi!

The only complaint I have with the car, is that it's just a bit pokey. It's brilliantly quick around corners, but I keep wishing there was a bit more oomph.
200whp seems like it would be where the car becomes "fun", without being outrageous, but mostly it's an arbitrary number. I'd really like to car to be as reliable as it is currently, and if I can achieve 200whp and retain the reliability of the car I'd be stoked. At this point in time, getting into replacing parts to support anything more than that would get a bit iffy for my skill level. My eventual end goal for the vehicle is a clean looking roadster that's nice and quick, I'm not looking for a track monster. It looks like a supercharger is what I'm looking for, as I'm kinda liking the idea of a more even power band.

That's all down the road. Brakes, then suspension, then power, unless I get a killer deal in there somewhere.
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Old 11-10-2015, 04:32 PM   #4
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Hello. For what reason 200whp?

Stock is pretty damn reliable.
Oh and tires, I have no idea why this vehicle came with winter tires as it's never seen a winter before...
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Old 11-11-2015, 12:03 AM   #5
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I love seeing a newbie to the Miata community entering the way I did, via a clean, relatively unmolested NA.



And yet, pain, as I realize that the days of this are numbered. The earliest of the NAs is now older than my '71 Beetle was when I bought it.
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Old 11-11-2015, 02:41 AM   #6
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clean car, modest goals, good intro
welcome
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Old 11-11-2015, 06:12 AM   #7
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Thanks for joining, dickamusmaxamus!
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Old 11-11-2015, 09:52 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
I love seeing a newbie to the Miata community entering the way I did, via a clean, relatively unmolested NA.



And yet, pain, as I realize that the days of this are numbered. The earliest of the NAs is now older than my '71 Beetle was when I bought it.
You're making us feel young now grandpa
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Old 11-11-2015, 11:46 AM   #9
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I love seeing a newbie to the Miata community entering the way I did, via a clean, relatively unmolested NA.
I think I made my intentions pretty clear, but no worries here in terms of car molestation. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the slammed crazy track monster Miata's that you see every now and then, and someday if I buy a rattier Miata it may happen just for ***** and giggles, but when I talked to the previous owner it was clear how much he loved the car for what it was, and kept it super clean because he loved it so much. That's most of the reason I want to keep this car clean. I'll try and take some better pictures of the paint damage, but there are spots where the paint was ruined so that the body of the car was saved. If I ever do get the car resprayed, it would be in the original color which is that gorgeous green, but looks blue when it's in the shade. All the mods I do to the car will be to exemplify it's positive traits, while keeping the spirit of the car in tact.

The mod list is pretty short, lower it just a bit, boost the HP a bit, little things here and there, but I was lucky I got to start out with such a clean example of an 18 year old car. I have the previous owner to thank for that for sure.
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Old 11-11-2015, 11:47 AM   #10
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clean car, modest goals, good intro
welcome
Thanks!
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Old 11-11-2015, 12:32 PM   #11
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https://www.tirerack.com/wheels/Whee...7&autoModClar=

Found the wheels. Pretty light for what they are. I like the look, so I think they're going to stay.

Power Pulse Sport Exhaust System for 96-97 Miata - Racing Beat

That's the exhaust. Looks good, sounds good, not sure it does anything for performance. It'll stay unless I decide to swap the exhaust for a full kit. Doesn't drone too terribly which is nice.
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Old 11-11-2015, 12:38 PM   #12
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Thats very heavy for a 14x6.

There are 15x11's lighter than that.
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Old 11-11-2015, 01:04 PM   #13
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Thats very heavy for a 14x6.

There are 15x11's lighter than that.
Hahaha ok I was comparing wheels on tirefinder and they were lighter than the others that I was looking at. Is my green showing yet?
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Old 11-11-2015, 01:38 PM   #14
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As a general rule, I wouldn't buy wheels from TireRack. Yes, I know they're a forum sponsor and I'm probably breaking IB policy here, but while I adore their tire selection, there just aren't a hell of a lot of wheels that work really well on the Miata, and most of the ones they carry are not optimal in terms of weight.

Basically, there are two wheel vendors I trust.

949 Racing only sells one wheel, and it's one that the owner, Emilio, designed himself. I know Emilio pretty well IRL, and he's a smart guy who combined actual track experience with a functional level of engineering knowledge. Like choosing the correct sticker to slap on your window, the 6UL wheel is one of those things that automatically adds +5HP and +2 street cred when installed on the car.


Goodwin Racing is a reseller, and while not everything they stock is great, if it is great then they do stock it. Like Emilio, Brian Goodwin is a good dude, and also a racer.



Be wary of the 14" wheel. There's nothing inherently wrong with it, but the selection of good tires in 14" gets worse and worse every year. It's gotten to the point where 15" tires are starting to not be made in certain compounds as well, though in general, something in the vicinity of 15x7 is still kind of a sweet-spot for a stockish Miata.




Just out of curiosity, how many cats do you own?
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Old 11-11-2015, 04:53 PM   #15
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FYI Kosei K4R is sold on tirerack, comes in 15x8 and is very light (12.1lbs) and reasonably priced.


You end up saving a not insignificant amount of money when buying tires and wheels mounted and balanced for free.
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Old 11-11-2015, 05:27 PM   #16
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FYI Kosei K4R is sold on tirerack, comes in 15x8 and is very light (12.1lbs) and reasonably priced.
This is true.

They just have a very low SNR, and shouldn't be counted on to give good advice to someone not well-versed in tire and wheel fitment on the Miata.
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Old 11-11-2015, 05:42 PM   #17
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Thanks for the heads up on the 14" wheel, that's something I was definitely not aware of. I was thinking of replacing the wheels anyways, as they look too narrow for my taste from the rear. I'm loving those Kosei K4R's, the price isn't bad and the width looks much better than what I'm rocking currently. I wish they had a bit more chrome as I think it would match the door handles a bit better. Definitely something I'll consider.

Along with the wheels probably going, I'm thinking that suspension is going to be one of the first things to go. As I mentioned in my original post, I'm not looking to slam this car to the ground, but I would like the ride to be a bit lower. Ideally, I'm looking for a stock experience, just lower... if that's a real thing...

I see a lot of contradicting info posted here about putting lowering springs on stock shocks, which is a bummer seeing that the Tein lowering springs for the Miata appear to a pretty cheap first mod. I'm not sure I want to go full coilovers, because I want to retain ride quality, but I definitely don't want to buy springs if I'm going to destroy my shocks.

I'm definitely open to recommendations in that department.

I see a lot of talk about the megasquirt ECU system for a replacement ECU, being a computer guy this might be the part I'm most excited about. I'm starting to dick around with a script that would automatically log my rides, and upload them to one of my home servers when I get with range of my home's wifi so I can view them from my desktop.

There isn't too much point in touching on power, as that's down the road unless something falls in my lap, but I'm thinking that a supercharger would be more satisfying in a little car, as there's more power across the the rev range. That's all I really know about it at the moment, and if I'm paying retail it will be a year of learning before I even consider pulling the trigger. Ideally (I'm finding that I'm saying that a lot) I'd like to have the aftermarket ECU in place for a decent period of time, so I can get a feel for what the car's numbers looks like stock, before I start dropping cash on the engine.

Oh and the top has to get replaced, because there's a tear in the window, and the zipper pull is broken, which makes it a real PITA to open and close. Thinking I'm going with a glass replacement for the window, that might happen pretty quick here cause those appear to be surprisingly cheap.

If anybody has suggestions for building a clean stockish looking Miata me please let me know. I definitely appreciate the effort you guys put into your posts, and the warm welcome I've received on this forum.
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Old 11-11-2015, 05:50 PM   #18
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I'm not sure I want to go full coilovers, because I want to retain ride quality, but I definitely don't want to buy springs if I'm going to destroy my shocks.
Miatas can seem a tad counterintuitive in this regard, but all else being equal, installing stiffer springs and dampers will actually improve ride quality, especially on an NA.

The reason is that Miatas don't have a lot of free suspension travel. On the stock suspension, you wind up spending a lot of time on the bump-stops, and stock 20 year old bumpstops are about as compliant as a liberal in a police investigation. As you lower the car even slightly, you wind up hitting the bump stops even harder and more frequently.

Stiffening the springs softens the ride. It does this by actually allowing the springs to do their job, and keep you off of the bump stops in the first place. As an added benefit, aftermarket coilover packages (the good ones, anyway) typically use shock bodies which are slightly shorter than stock (more free travel), bumpstops which are considerably shorter and more progressive than stock (more free travel and less-harsh engagement when you do hot the stop), and on the really good ones, upper mounts which provide even more free travel yet.

The worst thing you can do for ride quality is to lower the car without stiffening the springs and dampers to match. A well-built coilover package is capable of providing a lower static ride height, more suspension travel, better handling, AND a more comfortable ride on the street.
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Old 11-11-2015, 05:53 PM   #19
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Cutting springs is the best way to get lower. And you really don't loose any ride comfort at all. Just make sure to do it correctly.

Don't use a torch. Heat is a springs worst enemy. http://www.motoiq.com/MagazineArticl...a-hacksaw.aspx
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Old 11-11-2015, 08:14 PM   #20
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Haggard AF
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