Greetings. I'm a 43 year old with a wife and two young kids living just south of Pittsburgh. I've been a shade tree mechanic for 25 years, but have no experience with forced induction.
I've been the owner of a 2000 Miata since October 2012. It was more or less a basket case (from years of abject neglect) when I bought it on Craigslist for $1,800. The kid I bought it from said that he overheated it and it needed a head gasket. After poking around for a while I decided he was right, and took off the head and had a valve job done on it, as well as a .010 shave. I cleaned the intake manifold, put in a new pcv, replaced all the coolant hoses and changed the brake fluid.
This past fall, I concluded that it was really necessary to rebuild the bottom end of the motor (fairly low compression, black crap in the intake and exhaust which I am assuming was caused by significant blowby), which I did myself. This was my first rebuild, and went very smoothly, although I did it about one hour at a time here and there, over about 3 months, after the kids went to bed. I used Mazda 01+ 83.5mm pistons with the block bored, replaced the clutch with an OEM and all the commonly replaced seals, and replaced the transmission gear oil with Motorcraft manual synthetic.
Other mods to date include an 01+ exhaust manifold, an MSM exhaust (with an added pre-cat O2 bung), a Torsen LSD, V-Maxx coils, 16x7 Rota RB's, and a HDHCSD.
My other car currently is a 1998 BMW 540i sport 6spd. that I've had for 8 years, and for which I handle 95% of the repairs. I really like it, but I don't like how much it weighs. I also seem to have reached the end with the mods I wanted to make to it. It was the weight, though, that led me to the Miata. That and the fact that with the Miata, I feel like I can drive the hell out of it, really beat it if I want to, and can fix anything that might go wrong with it - both from a cost and mechanical aptitude perspective. I am planning to dip my feet into autocross with the car this season.
I love this little car, but it needs more thrust. To me, its the only thing that is lacking. I am seriously leaning toward turbocharging it, with a present goal of 190 - 200 rwhp.
Toward that end, at present, I think the next big step for me is to install a standalone ECU and learn how to exploit it while still normally aspirated; I'm leaning toward the MS3 Basic from Reverant. I am not planning on going to a VVT head at this point, just some safe boost to get me a reasonable amount of power.
This turbo project may take a couple years, and will occur in fits and starts, but I am looking forward to the journey.
Okay - One picture - I hope it's not too big - doing it through photobucket.
It's on FM V-Maxx classic coils with 17mm spacers. New blue roof. Had the badges removed after getting rear ended recently. It's ready for warmer weather. Fuba antenna base from a u-pull-it junkyard with a cheap stubby antenna from fleabay.
In the process of reading Corky Bell's Maximum Boost. Planning on getting a wideband O2 sensor w/ gauge soon. I prefer the look of an analog gauge, but can't decide if I'd be better off with a digital.
Just depends on what you prefer. A digital gauge is much more precise whereas an analog gauge can be read out of the corner of your eye. You won't be able to tell the difference between 10.2 and 10.5 on an analog gauge as easy, but you won't have to look directly at it either. Which do you prefer?
For me, I like the AEM UEGO wideband. Digital readout, and the light that moves and changes color. Analog at a glance, digital precision when you're looking at the numbers.
Very nice car. Im surprised i havent seen that one around. lol
I notice every miata down here. haha
I live just south of pittsburgh as well.
Good idea with the MS3. Get that first and learn all you can about it on your car while its naturally aspirated. It will make the transition to turbo SOOOOOO much easier for you.
Welcome to the site!