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Old 10-25-2012, 07:28 PM   #1
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Default The Black EFR miata

This is going to be a bit long winded but I think it should be an interesting read. I bought my first miata just over a year ago because I had to have a small fun car that would fit well with city life. The car was a 91 with an old BEGI aerotech turbo kit. I spent a year turning it into a reliable daily driver and loved it but had an itch for a faster car.



I began looking for a faster miata to buy and then sell the blue car. I got close on a couple but passed hoping to find a well sorted car. Enter the EFR car.

https://www.miataturbo.net/cars-sale...950-obo-67969/

I saw the listing on here and the car was local. Researched the EFR turbo and knew I had to check it out. Test drive went great, car was fast, and the owner was a good guy to deal with. I picked up the EFR car and sold the blue in the same week. I had seen a post from Mike Franke (MFSPSTurbo) of Southeast Power Systems (SPS)* and thought he would be a good contact to have. I sent an email and we discussed the likelihood of my turbo failing in a similar matter to other early units. We both agreed that this was unlikely and I thought I was set. It was noted that because my unit was an employee installed piece supplied for free by Borg Warner Turbo Systems (BWTS) no warrantee was implied.

I drove the car about three days and then things started to go downhill. It failed inspection for a depowered rack, B.S. but a minor issue. And then to greater distress I noticed that the car was making a slight noise before boost came on. At first I thought the CRV was leaking under vacuum so I decided to inspect turbo. I immediately noticed some shaft play, enough that the compressor wheel could be stopped by the compressor cover. I got a sickening feeling in my stomach and sent a distress email to Mike.

Mike quickly responded to my situation and right away offered to help by inspecting the turbo and establishing contact with BWTS. I shipped my turbo to Mike that weekend. The report back was not good. My turbine wheel had failed at the hub similar to other early production units. However the failure was not catastrophic because it had not completely broken through, this was the small bit of good news as I had an undamaged turbine housing ($$). Mike wanted to see what BWTS could do and in the meantime offered, if need be, to sell me a Super Core at a heavily discounted rate. They have these in stock by the way.

As we waited for BWTS to respond, Mike managed my expectations for their assistance. Because the unit was a prototype and given free of charge it would not be fair for this unit to carry the same responsibility as a production unit. On the other hand because of the intentions and limitations of a prototype it should have never made it to the hands of an “unknowing” consumer. In the end it was still a prototype and any support from BWTS was agreed to be beyond expectations.

As I eagerly awaited for a result, I was preparing to eat the cost and buy the super core just to get the car on the road. That day Mike called and said that BWTS systems was going to release a super core FREE of charge!! Additionally Mike and SPS reconditioned my turbo and upgraded SS hardware and brackets, also free of charge.

So in the end I could not be me more pleased with both Southwest Power Systems and Borg Warner Turbo Systems. Mike Franke was excellent throughout the process with his information, support and timeliness. I never felt I was going to be left out in the cold. BWTS clearly stands behind their products and went above and beyond for me even though they had no inherited responsibility. In light of the recent incident with COR Wheels I think it is great to see a company that “gets it”.

So after a month without a miata I cant wait to be back behind the wheel and hope to keep this thread updated. Hopefully with less words and more pictures.

-Roy

*edited to correct name
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Last edited by tincan; 10-27-2012 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 10-25-2012, 07:41 PM   #2
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well that's really cool of them.

and I'm glad that car got into good hands. always wondered if it sold or not
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Old 10-25-2012, 10:45 PM   #3
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Congrats on the car! I hope to run into you at one of the autocross events here in Maryland.

You just gave me another reason to get an EFR, (their customer service seems to be amazing!!)
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Old 10-25-2012, 11:42 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by BThomas220 View Post

You just gave me another reason to get an EFR, (their customer service seems to be amazing!!)
This right here gentlemen is why some companies grow and some fail. This act of kindness and responsibility to customer satisfaction will pay dividends.
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Old 10-27-2012, 05:53 PM   #5
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Sweet kitchen table shot



This thing looks awesome



Back up and running!!!

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Old 10-27-2012, 06:01 PM   #6
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Those blades are like artwork
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Old 10-29-2012, 04:19 PM   #7
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I need more EFR in my life.

Like 100% more

maybe even 200%
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Old 10-29-2012, 04:24 PM   #8
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Failed inspector for power steering? Seriously?
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Old 10-30-2012, 02:15 PM   #9
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Mike is awesome!

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Failed inspector for power steering? Seriously?
MD inspection is bullshit. It's only done at time of purchase by "Independent Mechanics". So the said mechanics attempt to rape you on any opportunity. They claimed same bullshit on my jeep (steering rack). This is the reason why I stick to 20 year old cars in MD... exempt from everything.
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Old 10-30-2012, 06:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soviet View Post
Mike is awesome!



MD inspection is bullshit. It's only done at time of purchase by "Independent Mechanics". So the said mechanics attempt to rape you on any opportunity. They claimed same bullshit on my jeep (steering rack). This is the reason why I stick to 20 year old cars in MD... exempt from everything.
I have some ways to deal with MD inspection.
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Old 10-30-2012, 07:26 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Faeflora View Post
I have some ways to deal with MD inspection.
I am very interested in knowing more about this! PM if you can share

And soviet pretty much hit the nail on the head. They could not grasp the concept of a depowered rack. They also wanted to fail me for my rollbar
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:08 PM   #12
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So because I ran into the turbo problem in my first week of ownership I have had little time to address the cars other issues. Prepare for another novel.

The Issues:

1.) The tune needs some driveability work and the closed loop boost control does not hold boost well. The problem is I have a LINK ecu. So I have to spend $100 for tuning software and before I do that I need to figure out how to source a nonexistent ribbon to serial adapter. Bummer.

2. The car does not come up to operating temperature. Not a major problem until the recent cold weather. This caused the car to stall right after I merged onto the highway at 6:30 am. It was a scary situation with no shoulder and cars barreling down on me. At least this was an easy fix. New thermostat, the old one wouldn’t seat properly so it constantly leaked. A good lesson in the importance of engine operating temperature.

3.) And the final major problem. Intermittent no start and by intermittent I mean completely random. I believe all car problems have a root cause that can be found by establishing the indicating factors. This problem did not.

The symptoms: Random no start. Car would crank and crank, try to fire and the die, repeat until the battery wore down. Eventually I found that if it was in this condition I could jump it right away and it would start successfully. The car would start successfully 6 times in a row, then not work one time and then be back to working again. This would happen after sitting for 8 hours or 10 mins but it typically started ok.

The weekend I installed the turbo I did basic voltage checks and trouble shot the whole fuel system and found nothing wrong. I also could not get the problem to reoccur while I had the car in the garage. Went away for work for 2 weeks and then spent all last week trying to fix the problem.

Took the car to advanced autoparts; battery, starter, alternator all test fine. Car would not repeatedly fail so I began to carry a multimeter with me at all times. When it reoccurred and I had the meter I recorded a cranking voltage of 10.2V, low but not terrible. It would be 10.6-10.8V when the car started successfully. I replaced the main ground wire, start successfully, and then the problem came back 3 starts latter.

I was starting to pull my hair out and decided to call Flyinmiata to talk about the LINK ecu. When I tell tech help I have a LINK he asks “are you the original owner or second hand?”, not a good start. I explain the situation he suggests the ecu may not be seeing enough voltage while cranking. Then gives me a speech about profitability of the company and if I have any more questions he will have to CHARGE me for tech help. I get off the phone and pull out the credit card. Results:


Thanks DIYAutoTune you guys are awsome to deal with!

So this past weekend I must get the problem fixed. Im studying schematics and ripping the whole car apart ohming wires and looking for a bad ground.



I then notice the ribbon cable for the LINK keypad has a tiny ding in it (about the size of a pen tip). I remove the keypad and the car starts! I plug it back in and it wont start. Finally!!!! When I inspected the ecu early it appeared to have all the smoke still in it and now same situation with the keypad. So I don’t know what the deal is but Im finally pretty confident I have the problem.

Now I get to move forward with my MS3X build. Flyinmiata “you’re dead to me” I cant wait to get rid of this ecu.
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:24 AM   #13
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good choice on ms
please continue to post up lots of info when you get it all up and running with the efr

btw i hope that's a built motor - i couldn't quite tell from the fs thread
if not i give it about 2 hard pulls on factory rods....
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:51 AM   #14
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It's hard to blame Flyin Miata for not wanting to support an old *** ECU for what might be the 10th customer. I've had techs from other companies not even talk to me about the symptoms before I pulled out my credit card.

Good call on the MS though, you'll be much happier there.
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:15 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkcambria View Post
It's hard to blame Flyin Miata for not wanting to support an old *** ECU for what might be the 10th customer. I've had techs from other companies not even talk to me about the symptoms before I pulled out my credit card.

Good call on the MS though, you'll be much happier there.

quoted for truth. The LINK was a limited finicky POS to start, maybe blame them for bringing it to market, but it was one of the first ECUs for the boosted miata crew; it paved the way.

Great choice on the MS3x.
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:29 AM   #16
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Im surprised they talked to him at all about it. Its one thing when its a few month old second hand ecu, its another when its 10 year old second hand ecu.

MS3x is def FTW. We need more EFR glory plots on this site.
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:35 AM   #17
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FM will alays support their products, doesn't matter who the owner is, but that might help them understand howthey need to dela with you as a user.

But what can they do for a busted *** ECU thats 10 years old and no longer produced and always had an issue with the shitty ribbon?
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:43 AM   #18
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my turbo looks like a snail shell now... lol
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