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Old 09-06-2011, 11:32 PM   #1
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Default The Quality Build for a Cheapskate (aka the Lurker's Build)

OK, so here is the deal. I want a turbo Miata, I want it to be made with quality parts, I want to do it on the cheap. I want all three: Cheap. Reliable. Fast. (Not "pick 2").

The main problem: I have too many hobbies/interestes to drop the coin for a pre-fab kit in one chunk and I hate credit card debt so no "paying it off." (Not to mention I work in the non-profit sector).

This all started when my friend had me drive his 2554 powered NA. I was perfectly happy with my STS prepped Miata until then. Now, I feel the need for power.

So, what to do? Lurk and wait and be patient for the right used parts. I've already done this once with my suspension. I lurked here, Miata.net, CR, and in the local Craigslist and ended up with what I believe to be a quality suspension for very cheap through lurking, waiting, and some trading: Re-valved Bilsteins, Ground Controls, FM mounts, FCM Bumps etc.... That should give you a general idea on what I am shooting for here: Quality, Solid, able to get the job done. No flash, just purposeful.

I have another goal too. I want to document what it costs. I have read and heard "You can DIY a set up for cheap!" I have no doubt of this but I think it would be helpful to document just how cheaply it can be done. I'm gonna document each piece I buy and keep track of cost. This is partly because I am curious to know the total cost is but I am guessing there are other's out there like me who want to know some real numbers and real life examples.

Power will hopefully be right at 200 WHP with a Garrett 2554 as the turbo. I want quick spool and a good power-band so this seems like the best bet for me. I picked 200 WHP as the goal because, from my understanding, it is not a difficult level to reach and keeps the reliability in check. I'm thinking something similar to an intercooled BEGi S clone. Like I said, nothing fancy, just getting the job done. I've read the DIY FAQ and plan to do alot of research and hopefully avoid the newb pitfalls

The turbo may be the only part I buy new. We'll see.... The idea is to buy used or build/fab/DIY whenever possible to keep costs low. One good thing about the terrible winters here in MN is that it give me 6 months a year when I can't drive the car, so there is time for projects while not taking away from time I could be driving it. That said, this is going to be a sloooooooooooow build so this may be pretty boring to some. Like I said, way too many hobbies, social life and future down payment on a house to do this fast.

So, off we go! Here is the beast that will be getting the treatment:








Also, any advice along the way is welcome! This place has more communal knowledge about this that I could ever fully take in! (If you have a killer part I need and want to skip the classifieds, feel free to let me know as well )

And the first part in the build:

DIY MS1 (Used): $200



This came from a 96 so I will need to either buy or build a new harness/connector for my 91.

Total spent so far: $200
Attached Thumbnails
The Quality Build for a Cheapskate (aka the Lurker's Build)-6122117173_e7e86efb57_b.jpg   The Quality Build for a Cheapskate (aka the Lurker's Build)-6122119285_e1d556218f_b.jpg   The Quality Build for a Cheapskate (aka the Lurker's Build)-6122661418_878b4a397a_b.jpg   The Quality Build for a Cheapskate (aka the Lurker's Build)-6122128625_f83e35bd55_b.jpg  

Last edited by Adam777; 09-07-2011 at 12:08 PM.
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Old 09-07-2011, 01:04 AM   #2
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Now that is some clean paint. It's good to see someone who has realistic goals and a plan to obtain them.
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Old 09-07-2011, 02:30 AM   #3
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That might be the most glossy Mariner I've ever seen. Great looking car you've got there.

You can definitely do this on a budget, and do it reliably. I approached mine the same way...wait and poach :-) I could make a list and add prices, but I'd prefer to just estimate that I've got about $1700 into my entire turbo setup. Hover over the classified, beg/borrow/steal what you can, do the work yourself so you know how it all goes together, and you'll be as close to cheap/fast/reliable as possible.
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Old 09-07-2011, 12:13 PM   #4
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Thanks for the compliments and encouragement. This will also be a challenge for me because when I start projects, I generally get impatient and buy everything right away to finish.

Is there a list anywhere like the FM V8 build list?
http://flyinmiata.com/V8/costs.php

Probably not since there can be so much variation in set up from car to car. I'd love to have a spreadsheet or something so I can keep track of what I have and what I need so I can get everything together for the build before I start bolting stuff on. I may create one as a rough guide (i.e. no part numbers, but part names/descriptions) so those after can have a checklist of sorts. Unless it already exists...
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Old 09-07-2011, 12:27 PM   #5
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There is no spreadsheet. Just browse through the build section and you'll see many lists though. Make sure you take note of the build threads that are FINISHED and that are SUCCESSFULL though. There are people on here doing **** on a budget that have such horrible setups it makes me wanna cry. So half assed and just ghetto rigged and pathetic. Anyone can start a build thread, not many successfully finish one with good end result.

Good luck
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Old 09-07-2011, 12:31 PM   #6
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Yeah, that is what I have been doing and haven't seen anything. That is why I want to create one. I know I am no expert, so I hope the wise minds here can help keep me on track if I stray off course and I will end up with something good. I really do NOT want to end up with a ghetto set up, I know that for sure.

If some sort of basic checklist comes out of it, all the better, but I really want a solid set up first and foremost.
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Old 09-07-2011, 03:27 PM   #7
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VERY clean car - I'll be keeping my eye on this one. Search for the build thread by user "underdog" (if you can't find it, his website is here). He did a very clean, budget 1.6 build that garnered a few fans, myself among them.
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Old 09-07-2011, 03:42 PM   #8
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I think it's going to be difficult to come up with a list as specific as that one on FMs site, down to butt connectors and tiny **** like that. Think in larger scale, and the little stuff will be obvious when you get to that point.

I have a parts/price list from my build, but it's tailored to the way I build mine (incidentally the same direction that underdog went). If you'd like to see it PM me your email address and I'll send it over. It covers the big stuff, mostly hardware, but I guess could be helpful in an overview sense if you've never had or built a turbo car. There are definitely things missing from it that I ended up buying later.

Reading a bunch of build threads is definitely the way I started, and then figured out what I needed for my own car from there even though I had been driving turbo cars for a decade. Every platform is different.

Last edited by matthewdesigns; 09-07-2011 at 04:01 PM.
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Old 09-07-2011, 04:51 PM   #9
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Yeah, this will be my first turbo, but I'm interested to learn. I figure that there will always be a trip to the parts store or to order something. Having a list of the big stuff would be nice. I'll PM you for that.
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