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Old 01-31-2013, 05:02 PM   #1
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Default Where not to skimp?

So this is a post for all you diy'ers who if you had the chance to do it all again ,would change something. I am not talking about spending 3 times as much money on everything and having the most absurd build, I am just talking about little parts i.e. maybe the cheap bov you got ended up costing you more time/money in the long run. Whatever it is, I am looking for the things that you guys would choose to do differently.
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Old 01-31-2013, 05:18 PM   #2
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Things I wish I did:
- Should have got LS2 truck coils right away instead of dicking with COPs
- Should have got MS3X from the start instead of MS2
- Should have overpaid for the chassis and got an *immaculate* one, instead of one that's just alright
- Should have not bought nickel 6uls because the finish sucks
- Should have bought SuperMiata damper when I had the cash

Everything else, no regrets
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Old 01-31-2013, 05:31 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soviet View Post
- Should have got MS3X from the start instead of MS2
- Should have overpaid for the chassis and got an *immaculate* one, instead of one that's just alright
That sucks, I just got my MS2... it should be more than capable for me though.

And I double agree with your second point. I've learned my lesson on buying the cheapest chassis/car available. Buying the nicest car to start with will always be worth it in the long run.

As for me and my DIY turbo set up:

- Should have done a coolant reroute from the start (could have avoided melting a piston)
- Should have got the best ECU I could afford (doing that this time)

Other than that no real regrets, my set-up was super ghetto (think VAG bov jb-welded to Aluminum intercooler piping) but it worked well and was cheap.
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Old 01-31-2013, 05:32 PM   #4
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In general, buying 'cheap' parts increases risk of extra agony.

I would typically recommend buying something that is well-designed and from a reputable company. 'Cheap' parts can be more likely to fail, give excessive NVH, etc.

My experience with 'cheap' stuff;
- Cheap downpipe - weld cracked at the turbo flange twice
- Cheap exhaust - EXTREMELY loud
- Cheap high pressure fuel pump - stopped building enough pressure
- Cheap motor mounts - broke

The vendors were good for the downpipe and HPFP failures, so I got replacements/repairs for free. I lived with the exhaust (kind of liked it, kind of not) and replaced the motor mounts with 'better' ones.

Sometimes cheap parts can be good, but the cheap route hasn't worked for me. Nothing really burned me cost-wise, but it was still a PITA to remove/replace/etc. things, plus stuff like exhaust fumes in the cabin and avoiding WOT because the engine will lean out from not enough fuel.
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Old 01-31-2013, 05:37 PM   #5
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90-93.
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Old 01-31-2013, 05:38 PM   #6
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Engine Management. Just do it right the first time and be done with it.
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Old 01-31-2013, 05:41 PM   #7
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not waiting for soviet to build something awesome first and copying it.
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Old 01-31-2013, 05:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Braineack View Post
90-93.
This. If I could do it all over and start with a pristine, Torsen'ed '94+ . . . .
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hornetball View Post
This. If I could do it all over and start with a pristine, Torsen'ed '94+ . . . .
Every single person that ever wanted an NA should consider this.

I've seen people doing V8 swaps on haggard Miatas because the motor was shot. Why would you ever spend $10,000 in parts and hundreds of hours building something in a less-than-perfect chassis? Spend $4-5K instead of $1-2K if you are dropping that amount of coin into it. Same could be said for turbo cars to a slightly lesser extent.
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:10 PM   #10
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Who wants to buy my LSX coils?
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:22 PM   #11
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I got some things right.

Best ECU I could get (MS3x), not cheapest. But I recommend not building it yourself unless you are into that sort of thing.
ATI damper.
FIC injectors.
Ebay radiator for $100, same as every other aluminum radiator but 1/3 the price. Side by side comparison all of the pieces and angles are the same, most of the same companies will have 5 brands for sale at different prices.



The things I have had problems with are:

-Buying a kit for another model year and trying to adapt. Would have been faster and cheaper to just start with what I wanted.

-Not replacing every seal/o-ring/waterpump when I had the chance. It always seems to start with this looks fine, and end with I don't have time to run all over to buy what I need.

-Don't buy a used exhaust with a "brand new cat". It is always garbage.

-Trying to be CARB/emissions legal. F-it just take it all off every 2 years. Gives you a chance to fix stuff anyways. I believe in running a catalytic converter but the rules are a joke.
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:29 PM   #12
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should have bought a full BE oil pump instead of just gears

lucky you, they no longer sell "just the gears"
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:44 PM   #13
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I wouldn't have bought $3,300 worth of relatively unproven F/I solution or assumed that the manufacturer would continue to respect and support its customers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3rdCarMX5 View Post
-Trying to be CARB/emissions legal. F-it just take it all off every 2 years. Gives you a chance to fix stuff anyways. I believe in running a catalytic converter but the rules are a joke.
This. x 10,000
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:10 PM   #14
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I bought the best chassis I could find with only 46k, so I did that right. Im only the second owner, it was garage kept its whole life so its in great shape. Its an 04 Mazdaspeed and it came with FM downpipe, exhaust, and intake so its already at nearly 200 whp. The problem is... THE ECU SUCKS! Whatever you do, do not buy a Mazdaspeed unless you have money to immediately upgrade the ECU because it runs like complete **** at random and I'm beginning to hate the car. Im 3 months away from paying it off and then I can look into fixing the ECU problems but I'd be lying if I haven't been trying to figure out how to sell it for what I paid. Mazdaspeeds are the best chassis you can get and are pretty damn cheap but if you get one buy an MS at the same time.
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:22 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Braineack View Post
90-93.
dude, 90-93 is best
- qualifies for historic tags in some states
- dat dash
- dat bumper sticker
- dat smurf blue/brg

I would skip 94-97 and just get an NB.

Oh yeah,
- SERIOUSLY regret not getting a car with ABS
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:23 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hustler View Post
Who wants to buy my LSX coils?
I'll give you $40 for the coils, make a bracket/harness, buy the wires and sell the kit for $300!
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:24 AM   #17
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I'd buy a car with perfect body and paint or just write a check to have a pro fix it. Don't do the body work and paint prep yourself unless your time is absolutely worthless.
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Old 02-01-2013, 11:53 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soviet View Post
- dat bumper sticker
You're right, forgot all about the sticker.

I'm going to go order one right now from Rosenthal. Seriously, that old Mazda logo was cool.
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Old 02-04-2013, 02:55 AM   #19
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i should have realized my powergoals first and then bought the car instead of wasting money on a mazdaspeed miata. and really throwing everything but the stock body kit out. dont get me wrong I love the car and the paint. and the little aesthetic bits. but really shoot past 230. and you are better off buying a 6speed NB for almost half the price.. and using the saved money on a real turbo kit.

OBD1 car would have been alot easier. but really all I have to do is just pop in a 5psi spring in the ewg.. stock ecu is just a wire swap. and reinstall the stock injectors. but then again having a car newer they dont look under my car or even pop the hood... so thats a blessing.

as much money as i have into it I should have waited for used parts instead of spending 4x as much on new parts.
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Old 02-04-2013, 03:45 AM   #20
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OP, do you mean where not to skimp in terms of a turbo build or in the car in general?
Car in general:
Roll bar
Tires
Suspension
Brakes
I'd also start with a '94+ that has a torsen and a nice body with good paint too. And a six speed can't hurt.

If you mean where not to skimp on the turbo build, I'd say make sure you go with a standalone ECU if you can (this assumes you live outside California), stay away from bandaids.
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