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Spotting a good setup (buying a car)

 
Old 06-21-2018, 07:38 AM
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Default Spotting a good setup (buying a car)

Hey guys

Long time reader, first time poster 😉
So ill be looking for an mx5 na soon, 90% a turbo, and i was wandering how i can tell if its been done well.

Theres a couple for sale at the moment but all running different power figures for some reason. So whem i check them out id like to be able to ask detailed questions as to why.

I have a basic understanding of how turbos work but not experienced enough to understand the nitty gritty of why certain parts and brands work the way they do.

What im asking is, what are the basics parts which dictate whether the turbo system is reliable, safe, has potential for more power and delivers good power.

Also, thanks for reading and i hope to be on here plenty more!
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Old 06-21-2018, 08:01 AM
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There are a few different things you'll want to pay attention to when you're looking to buy a turbo car. The reason the cars you're looking at are making different power could be a ton of different reasons. Maybe the owner has the boost turned down lower to be more conservative, maybe they're running boost bandaids and can't turn it up any higher. You need to ask what kind of ECU the car is running. No boosted car should really be running the factory ECU. You want to buy one that's running megasquirt or some other standalone and they should be able to tell you all about the tune, or that they got it done professionally at a reputable shop. With dyno sheets. You want to look for quality parts under the hood, garrett or BW turbos, a manifold by flyin' miata, kraken, MKTurbo. What kind of clutch does the car have, have they done motor work, etc. Anything ebay and you walk the other direction. Really the best thing you can do is spend some good time reading through the website and look at other peoples successful builds, see what they're doing and see where people have failed miserably. Do not buy someone else's ebay junk project. Read. Read. Read.
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Old 06-21-2018, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Max Farrell View Post
Hey guys

Long time reader, first time poster 😉
So ill be looking for an mx5 na soon, 90% a turbo, and i was wandering how i can tell if its been done well.

Theres a couple for sale at the moment but all running different power figures for some reason. So whem i check them out id like to be able to ask detailed questions as to why.

I have a basic understanding of how turbos work but not experienced enough to understand the nitty gritty of why certain parts and brands work the way they do.

What im asking is, what are the basics parts which dictate whether the turbo system is reliable, safe, has potential for more power and delivers good power.

Also, thanks for reading and i hope to be on here plenty more!
Me thinks you have not read much at all.

You aren't going to get much help from a post like this, because you show that you have done zero homework.

Go read some build threads and come back with a list of parts you think you like, and tell us why. Then you will get help.

Not trying to be a dick here, but the question you asked cant be answered in three pages. You need to learn this stuff, ESPECIALLY if you are buying someone else turbo project. Maybe you could post pictures of some of the engine compartments and we could critique, but this would not guarantee any final outcome of the vehicle in question.
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Old 06-21-2018, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by ryansmoneypit View Post
Me thinks you have not read much at all.

You aren't going to get much help from a post like this, because you show that you have done zero homework.

Go read some build threads and come back with a list of parts you think you like, and tell us why. Then you will get help.

Not trying to be a dick here, but the question you asked cant be answered in three pages. You need to learn this stuff, ESPECIALLY if you are buying someone else turbo project. Maybe you could post pictures of some of the engine compartments and we could critique, but this would not guarantee any final outcome of the vehicle in question.
What i meant by that was more to do with specific parts. For example, i know that ebay manifolds are rubbish. There are many great manifolds out there so how do i spot a good one if it doesnt have "big name quality branding on it"

of course i will be doing a whole heap more reading and research
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Old 06-21-2018, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by festersays View Post
There are a few different things you'll want to pay attention to when you're looking to buy a turbo car. The reason the cars you're looking at are making different power could be a ton of different reasons. Maybe the owner has the boost turned down lower to be more conservative, maybe they're running boost bandaids and can't turn it up any higher. You need to ask what kind of ECU the car is running. No boosted car should really be running the factory ECU. You want to buy one that's running megasquirt or some other standalone and they should be able to tell you all about the tune, or that they got it done professionally at a reputable shop. With dyno sheets. You want to look for quality parts under the hood, garrett or BW turbos, a manifold by flyin' miata, kraken, MKTurbo. What kind of clutch does the car have, have they done motor work, etc. Anything ebay and you walk the other direction. Really the best thing you can do is spend some good time reading through the website and look at other peoples successful builds, see what they're doing and see where people have failed miserably. Do not buy someone else's ebay junk project. Read. Read. Read.
All sounds good. Thanks for the info! Ill be doing a lot of reading to try get to know more. Its a little overwhelming just how many parts and combinations there are
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Old 06-21-2018, 09:17 AM
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Well, where are you located? brands change some what depending if you are USA, EU, Australia etc...

Avoid any turbo car that is running a stock ECU with a rising rate fuel pressure regulator, or any other electric devices in addition to the stock ecu.
You want a car that is preferably on Megasquirt stand alone ecu.
Avoid cars that have rust. miatas are notorious for rusting if used in the winter in salt areas.

Some good brand names to look for in manifolds:
FM, Begi, MKTurbo, Trackspeed, Kraken, AVO. ARTech
Most common good turbos you will see on used Miatas are:
Garrett T25, 2554, 2560, 2860, 2871. avoid anything larger.
Mitsubishi TD04 13t 16t turbos are also good, but less common setups here in USA, more so in EU.

But really you need to do a lot more research on this site. if you just buy a turbo miata with a standalone ecu, you will have a hard time and a steep learning curve to make any adjustments or repairs.

You can also post links to the cars you are looking at and we can generally say if the setup is decent or junk.
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Old 06-21-2018, 09:19 AM
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For any heavily modified car, I would consider it a collection of parts that you have to go through with an extra car included.
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Old 06-21-2018, 09:29 AM
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I agree with x25. Also, 80% of the job is the ECU and tune. The rest is just parts, nuts and bolts, and a lot of troubleshooting.

Some Ebay manifolds arenít crap.

Itís easier to tell a bad setup than a good one. FMUís and powercards, lack of intercooling, bullshit injectors, that kind of stuff.
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Old 06-21-2018, 12:56 PM
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Don't buy anything older than a 94 unless the engine, rear differential, and axles are swapped in from a 1.8 car. Changing them yourself will add thousands to the project.

Don't buy anything with a stock ecu. It will cost $1000 to add it and possibly more to unfuck the engine and then more to add proper injectors and wideband.

Don't buy anything with powercards.

Don't buy anything with a slammed stance. It's been treated badly.

Don't buy a turbo car without doing a compression test with less than 15% variation between cylinders.

If there are claims of forged rods and pistons but no records of purchase or machine shop work don't count on it.

If the owner claims over 400hp on a 1.6 don't let him near your middle school daughter.

If the owner has a build thread on this or another forum, it is a good insight into how the car owner operates.

Lastly, post examples of cars you like for us to pick them apart.
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Old 06-21-2018, 12:59 PM
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If the owner claims over 400hp on a 1.6 don't let him near your middle school daughter.
it's over 500. get it right

also add:
if owner only posts on ClubRoadsterRicer or the Miata facebook page, this is a really big red flag

if at any point the owner mentions drifting, this is a big red flag
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Old 06-21-2018, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by sixshooter View Post
If the owner claims over 400hp on a 1.6 don't let him near your middle school daughter.
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Old 06-22-2018, 01:07 PM
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Buy mine

or on a serious note, really ask for a reason to selling. I've thought about selling mine for the lone reason of the maintenance it needs at the time being. And price 99% of the time reflects condition. If its 1500$ and is running and driving on a turbo chances are you're in it another 4k by the time its registered and has tags. Everyone else hit it on the nose about ecu, manifold, turbo, and receipts. Fixing other peoples mistakes is 100 fold harder than breaking and fixing your own ****.
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Old 06-22-2018, 01:11 PM
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Oh yeah he should definitely buy your terribly spooling setup after we told you repeatedly how sucky it will be
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Old 06-22-2018, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by 18psi View Post
Oh yeah he should definitely buy your terribly spooling setup after we told you repeatedly how sucky it will be
Hey now, but I can sleep at night knowing my turbo wont blow tomorrow. I have some spool data I have to dissect to post for you guys to laugh at.
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Old 06-24-2018, 04:49 PM
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I think there are plenty of us who donít post here, but do post on local forums. Which Iíll take this opportunity to get one more post closer to being able to sell stuff on this forum, because it sucks when I want to sell my decent parts off, but canít.

i would recommend doing your own build with a kit. Most times you just buy someoneís problems.
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