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Old 01-27-2011, 03:18 AM   #1
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Default Am I crazy or am I on the right path?

I have decided to post this since I think you guys are the best qualified to both understand my goals and give me a bit of a reality check to see if I am on the right path.

The goal/vision for the car:
I am trying to build the perfect backroads bomber and daily driver that I can. The car needs to be comfortable enough to take my GF and I on the highway for hours without needing earplugs or chiropractors. That said, I drive the living **** out of the car on nice twisty backroads. I tend to really like corners with mid-corner speeds around 30-80mph. I do not race my car and I do live in CA so I have to deal with CARB. I like neutral handling with a slight tendency to oversteer at lower speeds and mild understeer at higher speeds (since I can safely bleed speed in an emergency without swapping ends). I value precision and finesse over brute speed and grip.

What I have done:

Suspension:
I have a set of 375/275 FCM coilovers which have consistently amazed me. I replaced my OE bushings with Energy Suspension ones which helped alot with crisp turn in and steering corrections. I have depowered my steering rack and the pinion shaft is welded. I love the feedback but there is a touch of slop so I am considering putting in a custom (flaming river perhaps) steering rack at some point. I am running with the FM 1" bar up front and no rear bar. I have Racing Beat endlinks but I plan to upgrade to 949 units. I put in the FM butterfly.

Drivetrain:
I wore out my original 1.8 so I put in a used (82,xxx miles and good compression/leakdown) motor. I had lots of hot lifter tick so I put in the FM oil cooler which helped a lot. I tried Mobil 1 10-30, 5-30, 15-50, and 0-40, but they all ticked a bit too. I tried Joe Gibbs 15-50 hot rod oil and that was pretty good. I replaced all of the lifter and that helped too. I finally switched to 0-50 Eneos and I have not had lifter tick since. I change my oil filter about every 1500 miles and my oil every 3000 since this seems to help. Other than that the engine is stock. I tried MTL in the gearbox but it thinned out way too much when I went out to play. I switched to straight MT90 and have been impressed (its a little thick for the first 5 minutes so I double clutch my downshifts). I put in a fresh stock clutch a while back and its holding up quite well. I replaced my old exhaust system with a stock setup and put in a magnaflow cat when my OEM one died.

Brakes:
I have the stock calipers (lubed every 3 months or so) and stock rotors. I put in SS lines which helped noticeably with pedal feel. I have tried Hawk HP+, Carbotech XP8s, and Porterfield R4S pads. I like the R4S since they provide extremely even brake torque across a wide range of temps (0-800 degrees ish).

Misc:
I dynamatted the trunk, the parcel shelf, the floorpan, the transmission tunnel, and the area behind the seats. I have a Robbins canvas/plastic window top. I put in Katzkins and a butt warmer. I have a Robbins tonneau.

Future Plans:
I think I have the suspension nailed down so I am moving on to power and brakes. I tend to overheat the brakes in about 20-30 minutes of hard driving so clearly I need better brakes. I am thinking that a proper BBK is the best solution, but I don't know what wheels I can fit such a kit under. I am looking for a fairly narrow 15" wheel so that it won't increase steering effort too much. I think an adjustable portioning valve will be a good idea too.

In regards to power... It really sucks having to work hard to pass a Prius on a country road. I don't need too much power. I just want enough to pass uphill with some authority. I think that means I need about 160-180 at the wheels with torque to match. I know that the stock engine can easily handle that level of power without needing new rods and that the rear end (7" torsen) and gearbox are more than comfortable at that power level.

The conundrum:
How do I make 160-180 RWHP so that the torque comes on around 2-2.5k RPM? I would prefer to do an NA build, but it seems that these motors really don't make usable NA power without turning into peaky little bastards. I am leaning towards a low or moderate boost supercharger set up since I can't stand lag. Of course, if there is a way to eliminate lag and have boost down at 2500 RPM with a turbo I would love to know about it. I am thinking about an MP62 kit, but I don't know which would best meet my needs.

I plan to get my cooling system up to snuff before I do any boost for obvious reasons. I am thinking that the Mtuned reroute and an FM radiator/shrouding would be a good idea.

So my list of upgrades in rough order of installation goes:
-Wheels
-Reroute
-Radiator/shrouding
-BBK
-Blower?

Conclusion:
Am I crazy or does this seem like a sane plan? Can you guys think of any ways to do this better? I realize this is a stupidly long post, but I am really looking for some complex advice and planning help for the next few years of uprgrades.

Thanks everyone!
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Old 01-27-2011, 03:46 AM   #2
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For the power goals and response your looking for then i think SC would be your best bet. You also could do a greddy turbo kit as its carb approved but im not sure what the lag is like on that turbo.
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Old 01-27-2011, 04:02 AM   #3
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I have almost no lag on my MSM setup. 10psi at ~2700rpm and it makes somewhere around 190whp at peak.
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Old 01-27-2011, 04:29 AM   #4
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The Greddy has pretty minimal lag. When passing, I downshift and hold revs until oncoming traffic is clear, and there's almost zero lag between foot down and going forward. My Greddy kit isn't stock, though.

Sounds like the OP wants a CARB-legal 2554, if there is such a thing.
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Old 01-27-2011, 08:49 AM   #5
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Wow. I really appreciate a well-written post like that...so easy to read. I think I can add some useful information for ya. First, if you're cooking your brakes on the street you're either driving way to hard on the street, need to learn how to properly use the brakes or your brakes suck, but seeing that you're running the stock 1.8L brakes with R4S pads should be enough. What fluid are you running? Have you thought about a better fluid like ATE Super Blue? If a spec-Miata can run the stock brakes with an aggressive compound and sticky tires for hours on end, you shouldn't be having any problem on the street. You could upgrade to the 01-02 sport/03-05 incl. MSM brakes which are a fair bit larger (greater thermal capacity and quicker heat dissipation).

Oil- When I had my '96, I had lifter tick quite often. I found that Mobil1 helped a good bit, but running Rotella 20/50 was the cure. It seems some engines like different oils when it comes to reducing HLA noise, so it may or may not work for you. But given how cheap it is, it wouldn't hurt to try. By cheap, I mean price,. It's actually well documented that Rotella is a very high quality oil as it's meant for diesel trucks and the companies that own fleets of them constantly send oil off for analysis.

Power- After having had 2 M45 supercharged cars, a current FMII setup and a MSM in the garage as well, it's hard to recommend "the best" solution. They all have pros and cons and it ALWAYS turns into a huge debate....just go look at the power section on miata.net and you'll read no less than 100 debates on turbo vs s/c. I honestly thought for years that a turbo would be all peaky and have no "down low umph" and that superchargers were the way to go. In my opinion, I was very wrong. I have a 2560R and LOVE the power delivery. Don't get caught up in the idea that with a supercharger you will have all this crazy fast acceleration compared to a turbo...you'll find that when you have any kind of forced induction that you won't be trying to accelerate hard from 2,500 rpms...you'll still downshift when you want to get somewhere in a hurry. A MP62 and a 2554/2560R turbo will net you 200-210rwhp pretty easily with about the same power delivery...even with basuc piggybacks for tuning. I really can't comment on CARB legality and if you're willing to change out parts to pass inspection or if you want something that is CARB legal. While I don't have such strict ***** here in Atlanta, we have emissions and I have to register elsewhere because my car won't pass...though if I were to spend a half a day swapping parts around, I could pass emissions...but I'm lazy. If you're looking for a quick fix, a M45 kit will suffice and get you in the 150rwhp range in it's basic configuration (180-195rwhp with upgraded pulleys, bigger injectors and intercooled) and make the car feel pretty peppy. If you like the idea of a turbo, you can nab a Mazdaspeed OEM turbo/mani/downpipe for $600-$900 pretty easily, spend about another $400 for water lines, oil lines, intercooler and piggyback fuel control and you'll be good for 190-210rwhp. Since you're in the 94-97 range you can use an APEX-i SAFC which is worlds better than a Powercard and can control larger injectors in AND out of boost. I used one along with some RX-7 injectors on my 96 and made 192rwhp and still got 30mpg on the highway. But remember, this is just my opinion.

Disregard any comments about a Greddy kit as they're for 1.6L engines and won't fit your 1.8L....those people have no reading comprehension because they clearly missed that you have a 1.8L.
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Old 01-27-2011, 08:57 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppelgänger View Post
Disregard any comments about a Greddy kit as they're for 1.6L engines and won't fit your 1.8L....those people have no reading comprehension because they clearly missed that you have a 1.8L.
M-tuned sells a manifold to make the greddy kit to work on the 1.8l and also people sell greddy kits here that they made to work on the 1.8l.
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:18 AM   #7
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As an annendum for the MSM setup. I got my mani/turbo/o2 housing for $300 off the MSM forums. My stock 00' downpipe attached to the MSM o2 housing so all I needed were oil/coolant and charge pipes. IMO it's the easiest way to gain power for the money.
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:20 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by saedrin View Post
As an annendum for the MSM setup. I got my mani/turbo/o2 housing for $300 off the MSM forums. My stock 00' downpipe attached to the MSM o2 housing so all I needed were oil/coolant and charge pipes. IMO it's the easiest way to gain power for the money.
The question with the MSM setup is will it be carb legal??
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:23 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miatamike203 View Post
M-tuned sells a manifold to make the greddy kit to work on the 1.8l and also people sell greddy kits here that they made to work on the 1.8l.
So that would be a modified Greddy kit. Not quite the same as "get a greddy kit" as you have to obtain it and then buy a $450 manifold for a 1.8L? I am, however, thinking of a new Greddy kit....not one that has been modified for a 1.8L. But I'd stand corrected that someone could be sellign a used Greddy kit that has been upgraded to 1.8L fitment. You know that it's common knowledge that Greddy and 1.6L go together...not very common to find them on 1.8L.
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:29 AM   #10
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My comment still stands. Based on threads we've had, we've determined a Greddy is equivalent in size to "just a shade" smaller than a 2560. You hit the nail on the head, though, DoppleDropBadgerTopDrifterGanger, the "lag" one reads about on m.net is highly exaggerated IMO.
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:30 AM   #11
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Yes mike or find someone who is selling the greddy kit with the manifold needed to run it on the 1.8l. In the end it would be cheaper then a supercharger.
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:33 AM   #12
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Depends on the s/c. I've seen many JRSC M45 kits in the $500-$800 range....not as much demand for them now with all the "cheap" turbo kits out there. MP62s aren't nearly as cheap. I can't honestly say I've looked for 1.8L turbo kits lately. When I was looking at turbo kits a few years ago, I was never aware/saw a modified Greddy 1.8L kit...though HKS/Trust used to sell a 1.8L specific kit that was similar in price and performance to the 1.6L Greddy kit. R*Speed used to sell them. I can't say that I research who has what turbo kit these days as much...I really need to keep up with the market though.
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:35 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kotomile View Post
the "lag" one reads about on m.net is highly exaggerated IMO.
LAWL

My EVOIII 16g was the best turbo i had on my miata. I would be driving down the highway 1/10 throttle and be at 10psi and as soon as i floored it i would be at 20psi. Also if you want to talk about lag you run the turbo i had before i sold my car HTA3076R with the .82A/R tial back housing.

Put it this way when i had my 16G on 5psi, i made my 2 friends look stupid. At the time one had a full bolt on stock turbo srt4 and the other was a stock evo9. They tried to pass me on the high way but never could.

Makes me want to sell the rotary miata and build a new NA with a twin scroll EVO turbo.
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:38 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by miatamike203 View Post
The question with the MSM setup is will it be carb legal??
Maybe if he said he 'swapped' an engine from an MSM into his car or something.. I'm not up to date on smog-**** laws though.
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:42 AM   #15
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Nor am i but from what i have been told any engine mod you do to the car has to have a carb sticker and papers or they wont pass you.

Last edited by miatamike203; 01-27-2011 at 10:10 AM.
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Old 01-27-2011, 07:32 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saedrin View Post
I have almost no lag on my MSM setup. 10psi at ~2700rpm and it makes somewhere around 190whp at peak.
That sounds really promising, unfortunately I doubt I can do that because of the CARB rules out here. Thanks for the input though, perhaps I really shouldn't write off turbocharging quite yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kotomile View Post
The Greddy has pretty minimal lag. When passing, I downshift and hold revs until oncoming traffic is clear, and there's almost zero lag between foot down and going forward. My Greddy kit isn't stock, though.

Sounds like the OP wants a CARB-legal 2554, if there is such a thing.
If I am remembering what I have read correctly, the 2554 is a fairly small unit with a surprisingly good efficiency map so it might actually be just about perfect for my needs. Again, any ideas on where I can get a CARB 2554 kit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by miatamike203 View Post
The question with the MSM setup is will it be carb legal??
That;s the bugger of the whole thing isn't it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by miatamike203 View Post
Nor am i but from what i have been told any engine mod you do to the car has to have a carb sticker and papers or they wont pass you.
Yup. Basically everything from the snorkel to the catalytic converter must be stock or have a CARB sticker. It kinda puts a serious damper on things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppelgänger View Post
Wow. I really appreciate a well-written post like that...so easy to read. I think I can add some useful information for ya. First, if you're cooking your brakes on the street you're either driving way to hard on the street, need to learn how to properly use the brakes or your brakes suck, but seeing that you're running the stock 1.8L brakes with R4S pads should be enough. What fluid are you running? Have you thought about a better fluid like ATE Super Blue? If a spec-Miata can run the stock brakes with an aggressive compound and sticky tires for hours on end, you shouldn't be having any problem on the street. You could upgrade to the 01-02 sport/03-05 incl. MSM brakes which are a fair bit larger (greater thermal capacity and quicker heat dissipation).
Thank you, I tried to explain what I wanted to achieve instead of simply asking an annoying series of technical questions. You folks seem to know a whole lot more about the details than I do so I figured I would ask for your suggestions.

Regarding brakes. The catch is that the car often gets driven in the cold and the wet (down as low as 15 degrees, and as wet as Portland winters) so I am stuck with all season tires. I currently am using Bridgestone Potenza 960AS pole position tires because they seem to offer the best cold/wet performance out there in a maita friendly size. In fact the reason I haven't gotten a set of 6ULs yet is because I can't find any really good cold/wet tires in 205 or 195. As a result of my limited tire options, my peak breaking force is somewhat limited and since I don't have ABS I need brakes that are easy to modulate at relatively low brake torques. I tried XP8s, but without sticky tires they I found that I had lock up problems. If I could get XP8s or something like them with lower friction levels then I would run them and call it quits.

So in effect I don't think I can run a race level pad, so the other solution to brake fade is to increase thermal mass and heat rejection capacity. The best way to do this seems to be through installing larger and more effectively vaned rotors with larger calipers and pads. The extra stiffness of monobloc calipers is also quite enticing. So that is why I am thinking that I need a full on BBK. If you have any better ideas I am totally interested in not having to spend 1500-200 on brakes!

I already upgraded to ATE blue/200 and I flush it about every six months to a year. Hell, I go through pads every 15 thousand miles anyway. Furthermore, I don't overdrive my brakes as much as I used, I tend to only get on the throttle during corners and lift early to use compression braking before the next turn-in. As for driver education, I did 2 days of racing school at Watkins Glen and I intend to go back again in the next year or two.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppelgänger View Post
Oil- When I had my '96, I had lifter tick quite often. I found that Mobil1 helped a good bit, but running Rotella 20/50 was the cure. It seems some engines like different oils when it comes to reducing HLA noise, so it may or may not work for you. But given how cheap it is, it wouldn't hurt to try. By cheap, I mean price,. It's actually well documented that Rotella is a very high quality oil as it's meant for diesel trucks and the companies that own fleets of them constantly send oil off for analysis.
Good to know about Rotella, thanks for the advice. How does the 20-50 do on cold start ups (below freezing)? I think one of the reasons that I had such serious hot lifter tick (after hard driving my engine sounded like a dying diesel with 4 or 5 HLAs going indiscriminately mad) is that I make heavy use of compression braking. When I go play I normally don't drop below about 4500RPM for hours. This is probably related to my quest for a good thick gear oil. The oil cooler seemed to work wonders. Instead of making 25PSI oil pressure at 7k I now make 45-50PSI when hot with the 0-50. Thanks again for your advice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doppelgänger View Post
Power- After having had 2 M45 supercharged cars, a current FMII setup and a MSM in the garage as well, it's hard to recommend "the best" solution. They all have pros and cons and it ALWAYS turns into a huge debate....just go look at the power section on miata.net and you'll read no less than 100 debates on turbo vs s/c. I honestly thought for years that a turbo would be all peaky and have no "down low umph" and that superchargers were the way to go. In my opinion, I was very wrong. I have a 2560R and LOVE the power delivery. Don't get caught up in the idea that with a supercharger you will have all this crazy fast acceleration compared to a turbo...you'll find that when you have any kind of forced induction that you won't be trying to accelerate hard from 2,500 rpms...you'll still downshift when you want to get somewhere in a hurry. A MP62 and a 2554/2560R turbo will net you 200-210rwhp pretty easily with about the same power delivery...even with basuc piggybacks for tuning. I really can't comment on CARB legality and if you're willing to change out parts to pass inspection or if you want something that is CARB legal. While I don't have such strict ***** here in Atlanta, we have emissions and I have to register elsewhere because my car won't pass...though if I were to spend a half a day swapping parts around, I could pass emissions...but I'm lazy. If you're looking for a quick fix, a M45 kit will suffice and get you in the 150rwhp range in it's basic configuration (180-195rwhp with upgraded pulleys, bigger injectors and intercooled) and make the car feel pretty peppy. If you like the idea of a turbo, you can nab a Mazdaspeed OEM turbo/mani/downpipe for $600-$900 pretty easily, spend about another $400 for water lines, oil lines, intercooler and piggyback fuel control and you'll be good for 190-210rwhp. Since you're in the 94-97 range you can use an APEX-i SAFC which is worlds better than a Powercard and can control larger injectors in AND out of boost. I used one along with some RX-7 injectors on my 96 and made 192rwhp and still got 30mpg on the highway. But remember, this is just my opinion.
I saw some dynos posted on FM's site a while back that showed a comparison of the power delivery between an m45 and a 2554 (or was it a 2560?) and they were surprisingly similar. Perhaps with my modest power goals I can run a small enough turbo to reduce lag to negligible levels? I really wish I could test drive a turbo car and a supercharger car.

Regarding engine management, since I have to be CARB legal I will almost certainly be limited to piggy back systems, hence why I am planning on upgrading my cooling and doing a reroute. Since I won't be able to finely tune the fuel/spark I think it would be best to do as much legwork and prep work as possible to relieve as much tendency to knock as I can.

For the sake of argument and durability, image that I am building an endurance car since I tend to flog my car for hours on end. Given that, would it be a good idea to intercool the charge even at 160-180 RWHP? Also, I am limited to CA 91 octane gas if that matters.

Thanks again everyone for you prompt and helpful replies, I really appreciate them!
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Old 01-27-2011, 07:40 PM   #17
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That was my 94 with a 2554 on a Begi kit. Really I have beat just about every supercharger out there for low-end torque. If you call Begi that can make a kit that is CARBd approved.
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:00 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gaius49 View Post
The conundrum:
How do I make 160-180 RWHP so that the torque comes on around 2-2.5k RPM? Of course, if there is a way to eliminate lag and have boost down at 2500 RPM with a turbo I would love to know about it.
You buy this with the T25
https://www.miataturbo.net/miata-parts-sale-trade-5/fs-stainless-turbo-manifold-fm-downpipe-exhaust-gt2560-t25-54735/
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:01 PM   #19
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When does 949's rotrex become carb legal? I honestly can't see how your frying those pads on the street/canyon with those tires. I'm also trying to understand why you want to maximize wet traction on a car that see's canyon driving? I'm assuming this is where your going to fry brakes. In all reality you need to keep what you have, buy a set of wheels/RS3's/carotech10/8 for track days and hit an hpde. Once you hit the track the canyon carving you do will seem jaded.
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Old 01-27-2011, 10:37 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by jacob300zx View Post
When does 949's rotrex become carb legal? I honestly can't see how your frying those pads on the street/canyon with those tires. I'm also trying to understand why you want to maximize wet traction on a car that see's canyon driving? I'm assuming this is where your going to fry brakes. In all reality you need to keep what you have, buy a set of wheels/RS3's/carotech10/8 for track days and hit an hpde. Once you hit the track the canyon carving you do will seem jaded.
The Rotrex is a seriously appealing proposition. I keep hearing that it will be CARBed soon, but its been a while in the making.

Track:
I have tried taking a vette to Watkins Glen, but it just wasn't my kind of thing. After a few laps I started getting bored driving the same turns again and again. Its a great place to learn and practice different skills and techniques, but I just don't enjoy it. I know plenty of people who love track time and that's cool, it just isn't my thing.

Brakes/Tires:
I have been told that I can't be cooking my brakes on the street and I have been told that if I am its because I am a bad driver. Well, one time I got a bit carried away and when I pulled over for a break I noticed that all four corners were smoking. So I figure that, yes, I have cooked my brakes. As for bad driving... I have done a two day racing school and I was turning laps pretty damn close to my instructor so clearly I am a particularly bad driver. I have been told that I need to brake less and trust the suspension to get me through each corner. Well, I can plant the car nicely into a 4 wheel drift through most corners, so I don't think there is much extra grip lying around. The reason I keep using wet tires is that I often have to drive in lots of rain (winter in portland is rather wet). I have tried cars with great summer tires up here (Re 050A pole position, PS2, Star Specs) but they are rather scary when it gets cold (below freezing).

But I digress, the reason I started this thread was to ask for advice about FI power. I plan to put in a proper BBK and call it quits with the brakes.

Does anyone know when the Rotrex setup is supposed to become CARB certified? At the moment I am looking at FFS and Moss, I don't know who else makes CARB kits. I know FM doesn't and the Begi kits are just as expensive as a supercharger. If I could build my own turbo set up the cost would be lower, but I can't since I need to have CARB certification.

Thanks again everyone for your thoughts and advice.
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