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Old 04-28-2012, 01:06 PM   #1
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Default Budget limitations------ built engine swap or turbo first?

Hey guys I am in first year uni and am currently working on a casual basis as I am putting my studies first!

I am projecting with my savings that I will have 20,000 dollars at the end of my degree which I will give myself a very Miata oriented graduation gift.

At the moment in Victoria, Australia where I reside the going price for a 1989 1.8l Miata is around 8,000-10,000 dollars.

Should I endeavour for an built engine swap first or turbo installation with the remainder of my budget?

I have non existent mechanical knowledge so dependence on mechanic will have to be taken into consideration.

I ultimately do wish for my future Miata to have around 300 rwhp, question being which pathway is the least painless and efficient.

Cheers.

Last edited by Tyreshredder; 04-28-2012 at 01:19 PM. Reason: use of "engine swap" too vague as intention was to declare a built engine swap rather than intimate a v8 swap
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Old 04-28-2012, 01:25 PM   #2
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You've still got an awful lot to learn about cars and the basics of making power, and until you gain that understanding I would suggest that you focus on finding a car that makes 300rwhp from the factory. Instead of endeavoring for an engine swap or twin turbo installation, I highly suggest that you read some books on the subject for "knowledge", and browse through user build threads on the subject for "experience". Also, if you can take a "shop mechanics" elective class, or find a casual job that deals with cars (fast lube shop), it will do worlds of good for your understanding.
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Old 04-28-2012, 01:25 PM   #3
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You've still got an awful lot to learn about cars and the basics of making power, and until you gain that understanding I would suggest that you focus on finding a car that makes 300rwhp from the factory. Instead of endeavoring for an engine swap or twin turbo installation, I highly suggest that you read some books on the subject for "knowledge", and browse through user build threads on the subject for "experience". Also, if you can take a "shop mechanics" elective class, or find a casual job that deals with cars (fast lube shop), it will do worlds of good for your understanding.
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Old 04-28-2012, 02:09 PM   #4
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Hey fooger thanks for the info. Are there any specific books that will be more beneficial than others. I appreciate the tips and about the 300hp figure it's a long term goal rather than a mad dash towards that figure.
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Old 04-28-2012, 02:31 PM   #5
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300HP is a Miata is very expensive, and more than a little crazy. Ever ridden in a stock Miata? Now you want to nearly tripple the HP? Goals of 225-250 are much more realistic from a reliability and drivabilty standpoint.
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Old 04-28-2012, 02:41 PM   #6
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The best book in the world for learning about mechanic stuff is a hayne's manual. Unfortunately, it's pretty useless without also buying the required lab supplies (i.e. a car and tools)
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Old 04-28-2012, 03:33 PM   #7
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@Roger: to achieve 225-250 horsepower range will I have to have a built engine or just a sufficient turbo with the requisite upgrades to the cooling, exhaust and whatnot.

@Jeff: Duly noted! Just making a big check list and building a good foundation before proceeding in investing in anything.

Once again thanks for you input guys : )
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Old 04-28-2012, 03:52 PM   #8
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225-250 is the generally accepted range that you can use the stock block, trans and diff without grenading them, provided you treat them well. That means limiting hard launches, proper fluids, etc.

That range of HP is easily achieved. You need to do some reading. Check out the sticky thread here: https://www.miataturbo.net/useful-saved-posts-8/diy-faq-all-your-answers-one-big-post-10821/ The very first step in building a fast car is to take care of the basics. Fuel filter, plugs, wires, brakes etc. No sense in trying to build a car that isn't up to snuff.
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Old 04-29-2012, 11:47 AM   #9
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What is your intended use for the car? Are you going to do track days, drag racing, and/or just cruise around on the street?

I would leave the engine alone and focus on suspension/brakes/tires/etc along with getting some seat time first but that advise could change based on your plans.
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