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Old 09-29-2010, 02:11 PM   #1
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Default Just picked up a turbo Miata, got some questions!

First off, let me say that I hope I'm posting this in the right spot, if not, please let me know. The rollbar had a 'MiataTurbo.net' sticker it, so I decided to check this site out.

I just picked up a 1996 turbo Miata, and let me tell you, its a blast. I previously had a modded Ford Focus, it was my baby. But after driving this thing, I had to pick it up (especially for the price of $4,000). The power is great, and getting used to the whole RWD thing is a ton of fun. I'm in the Appleton, WI area, so if anyone is around, feel free to say hi. I don't see too many Miatas around here. Anyway, here is the mods, followed with some pics and then a few questions:

Bell Engineering Ceramic Coated Cast Iron Manifold
Bell Engineering Stainless Steel Divorced Wastegate Downpipe
Garrett GT2554 @ ~10-12psi
AVO Front Mount Intercooler (26x8x3)
AEM Fuel Ignition Controller tuned at Beyond Redline
Bell Engineering Adjustable Fuel Pressure Regulator
AutoMeter A-Pillar gauge pod
Stewart Warner Boost Gauge
AEM UEGO Air/Fuel meter
305cc Green Top Injectors
Voodoo III Manual Boost Controller
OBX Catback Exhaust
ACT Heavy Duty Clutch
Adjustable Coilovers (I think eBay, not sure)
Front springs are 450lb and the rears are 350lb
KYB ABX 8-way adjustable shocks
Boss Frog Clearview 6 point Roll Bar
Flyin' Miata Frame Rail Reinforcement Kit
Hella E-Code H4 Headlights
Vented Headlight Lids (which I kinda want to get rid of)
Smoked Clear Corners
Kosei K1's

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Now for the questions:
  • How much power can this motor handle without being torn down?
  • How durable is this motor?
  • What else would I have to upgrade to up the boost? To maybe 15psi? I've been told just the injectors and a tune.
  • Anything you would change about the turbo setup?
  • Any mods you guys would recommend I do? Just kinda lookin' to be pointed in the right direction.
  • Any preventative maintenance I should look into? Common problems with this year or model? I know my Focus had it's quirks.
  • Sometimes in between shifts on a hard run, it seems to hesitate. And it smells like it's running rich. Is that something I should worry about or just the tune? Also, when I'm slowing down and put it in neutral to coast, it dips below idle and the car shuts off sometimes. It starts right back up no problem, but I'd like to fix this.


I know I wrote a ton, and there will probably be more later on. I'm totally new to these cars and motors, and if anything I'm here to learn. I'm not new to cars, thats for sure, I just would like to be pointed in the right direction. Sorry about all the questions, it's just how I am

Last edited by _spyder; 09-29-2010 at 02:37 PM.
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Old 09-29-2010, 02:30 PM   #2
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*This space for sale for incoming epic thread*
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Old 09-29-2010, 02:51 PM   #3
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I'm fairly new too... But off the top of my head...
the OBX Catback Exhaust doesn't flow the best and should be upgraded (check out the site sponsors and they'll show you the way)

I'd also keep the vented healight lid (at least one of them near the air filter)

That being said, I can't see any pics of the car on my computer and this might be useless info.
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Old 09-29-2010, 02:59 PM   #4
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You're not going to get a whole lot more out of that turbo... and if you do the transmission will be the next weak link. You oughta read up on coolant reroutes.
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Old 09-29-2010, 03:05 PM   #5
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you need proper engine management first!
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Old 09-29-2010, 03:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WonTon View Post
you need proper engine management first!
This
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Old 09-29-2010, 03:11 PM   #7
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yup, worry bout that first. then all the other ****!
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Old 09-29-2010, 03:12 PM   #8
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Car looks like a clean straight example, so kudos there. You have an interesting mix of premium and discount parts that went into its build though. Still, for what you paid for the car, I'd say you did well for value for money.

My initial concerns:
You're running a bandaid setup with the F/IC and the FPR and small injectors. I would investigate what size injectors the F/IC can handle and choose something quite a bit larger. 460cc or 550cc are popular sizes on here with the Megasquirt croud.

The generally agreed upon safe output for an internally stock BP is around 250 whp.

As for the rich smell, are you running a catalytic convertor? Do you have the AEM UEGO hooked up? What do your AFRs look like when idling, cruising, WOT, etc.
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Old 09-29-2010, 03:28 PM   #9
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Damn... That's a beautiful car for the money. I just paid $3600 for my bone stock '97 with bald tires and a bad rear window

Well done.

Can't help you much with your questions as I am new here as well; just wanted to give you props on the purchase.
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Old 09-29-2010, 03:51 PM   #10
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your doing 2 things right off the bat, grate heat shield and pick of the car on track for your first post gives you newb first class and less first post trolling.

for 4k that was saw stolen, owner had more money then brains, or sold your soul.
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Old 09-29-2010, 04:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turbofan View Post
Damn... That's a beautiful car for the money. I just paid $3600 for my bone stock '97 with bald tires and a bad rear window
it was posted here for a while, should have used available resources.


Quote:
  1. How much power can this motor handle without being torn down?
  2. How durable is this motor?
  3. What else would I have to upgrade to up the boost? To maybe 15psi? I've been told just the injectors and a tune.
  4. Anything you would change about the turbo setup?
  5. Any mods you guys would recommend I do? Just kinda lookin' to be pointed in the right direction.
  6. Any preventative maintenance I should look into? Common problems with this year or model? I know my Focus had it's quirks.
  7. Sometimes in between shifts on a hard run, it seems to hesitate. And it smells like it's running rich. Is that something I should worry about or just the tune? Also, when I'm slowing down and put it in neutral to coast, it dips below idle and the car shuts off sometimes. It starts right back up no problem, but I'd like to fix this.
  1. this gets covered about once a day. no more than 220-250rwtq.
  2. durable.
  3. https://www.miataturbo.net/useful-saved-posts-8/diy-faq-all-your-answers-one-big-post-10821/
  4. https://www.miataturbo.net/showthread.php?t=10821
  5. https://www.miataturbo.net/showthread.php?t=10821
  6. https://www.miataturbo.net/showthread.php?t=10821
  7. https://www.miataturbo.net/showthread.php?t=10821
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Old 09-29-2010, 04:03 PM   #12
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Dang, this car's getting around I built it from stock a few years ago, and am responsible for most of the parts (including the rollbar sticker) except the new ECU. Lemme know if you have any specific questions about the car!
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Old 09-29-2010, 04:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spyder3423 View Post
first off, let me say that i hope i'm posting this in the right spot, if not, please let me know. The rollbar had a 'miataturbo.net' sticker it, so i decided to check this site out.



Bell engineering ceramic coated cast iron manifold
bell engineering stainless steel divorced wastegate downpipe
garrett gt2554 @ ~10-12psi
avo front mount intercooler (26x8x3)
aem fuel ignition controller tuned at beyond redline
bell engineering adjustable fuel pressure regulator
autometer a-pillar gauge pod
stewart warner boost gauge
aem uego air/fuel meter
305cc green top injectors
voodoo iii manual boost controller
obx catback exhaust
act heavy duty clutch
adjustable coilovers (i think ebay, not sure)
front springs are 450lb and the rears are 350lb
kyb abx 8-way adjustable shocks
boss frog clearview 6 point roll bar
flyin' miata frame rail reinforcement kit
hella e-code h4 headlights
vented headlight lids (which i kinda want to get rid of)
smoked clear corners
kosei k1's



now for the questions:
  • how much power can this motor handle without being torn down?
  • If you know how to tune, 270rwhp I guess. I've been at 290ish and am starting to smell oil burning on hi rpm/hi vacuum. This is assuming you're running a GT2560R, not the 2554.
    Quote:
  • how durable is this motor?
  • it is durable if your tune is good
    Quote:
  • what else would i have to upgrade to up the boost? To maybe 15psi? I've been told just the injectors and a tune.
  • I would get rid of the AEM FI/C and the BEGI FPR and get a stand alone, even at the boost you are at now. And get injectors.
    Quote:
  • anything you would change about the turbo setup?
  • just the electronics/injectors/fuelpump. My stock fuel pump was garbage after 92xxx miles when I bought my car.
    Quote:
  • any mods you guys would recommend i do? Just kinda lookin' to be pointed in the right direction.
  • coolant reroute if you're feeling ambitious
    Quote:
  • any preventative maintenance i should look into? Common problems with this year or model? I know my focus had it's quirks.
  • usual stuff...typical tune up things, timing belt, run good oil, etc.
    Quote:
  • sometimes in between shifts on a hard run, it seems to hesitate. And it smells like it's running rich. Is that something i should worry about or just the tune? Also, when i'm slowing down and put it in neutral to coast, it dips below idle and the car shuts off sometimes. It starts right back up no problem, but i'd like to fix this.
get rid of the aem and begi stuff, learn to tune a megasquirt or another standalone. If you must keep bandaids for emissions or whatnot, then you're more screwed you should have bought an OEB1 car.
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Old 09-29-2010, 04:09 PM   #14
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what he said! ^^^^ or go throught the headache im goin through by doin a chassis swap for OBDI!
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Old 09-29-2010, 04:23 PM   #15
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BTW- the PO was touge4life..... car can be seen in the FS section on here. You know, for anyone looking for information about what the PO had on here.
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Old 09-29-2010, 09:39 PM   #16
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Wow, thanks for the warm welcome everyone. All the responses are great!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Preluding View Post
I'm fairly new too... But off the top of my head...
the OBX Catback Exhaust doesn't flow the best and should be upgraded (check out the site sponsors and they'll show you the way)

I'd also keep the vented healight lid (at least one of them near the air filter)

That being said, I can't see any pics of the car on my computer and this might be useless info.
I actually am very satisfied with the sound of the OBX exhaust. Nice and mellow, but sounds perfect under throttle. I do want to find out what size it is though, then I might look into upgrading. And I'll be selling the vented headlight lids because my air filter is actually behind the firewall. I know you can't see the pics, so that is why I'm telling you lol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ianferrell View Post
You're not going to get a whole lot more out of that turbo... and if you do the transmission will be the next weak link. You oughta read up on coolant reroutes.
I was hoping to run about 15psi and be good there, but it is obvious I'm going to have to change some things before I do that. I'll also look into the coolant hoses, I've heard a little about it. I've got a lot ahead of me to learn...

Quote:
Originally Posted by WonTon View Post
you need proper engine management first!
This is the subject I know least about, I've never dealt with software or tuning or anything like this. I'm so confused with all of it, how it works and how to install what. But I'm reading what I can to figure things out. For now I will just keep everything the way it is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trent View Post
Car looks like a clean straight example, so kudos there. You have an interesting mix of premium and discount parts that went into its build though. Still, for what you paid for the car, I'd say you did well for value for money.

My initial concerns:
You're running a bandaid setup with the F/IC and the FPR and small injectors. I would investigate what size injectors the F/IC can handle and choose something quite a bit larger. 460cc or 550cc are popular sizes on here with the Megasquirt croud.

The generally agreed upon safe output for an internally stock BP is around 250 whp.

As for the rich smell, are you running a catalytic convertor? Do you have the AEM UEGO hooked up? What do your AFRs look like when idling, cruising, WOT, etc.
I believe the previous owner told me that I could put in 450cc injectors. I'm guessing if I just threw in those injectors, I would need to mess with something else to make it run right. This is the biggest issue I struggle with because I'm so unfamiliar with it. I've never dealt with injectors, or any of this piggyback stuff. It's so confusing to me. So until I understand what the hell all this means, I was just going to leave everything motor-wise as it is.

And I'm unsure about the catalytic converter, I believe there is one on here, but I will check. I haven't really paid attention to the AFRs at idle or while I'm cruising, but I do know that at WOT when I'm in boost they go between 10-11.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Braineack View Post
Wow, that thread seems to cover ALOT. I'll keep reading it, alot of it is just nonsense to me, very confusing. But I'm doing my best to figure things out. That "o2 clamp" seems to be right on with what I am experiencing, but all the pics and links don't work anymore. So I'm not sure how to to that "o2 clamp fix". I'll do so more research.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SamS View Post
Dang, this car's getting around I built it from stock a few years ago, and am responsible for most of the parts (including the rollbar sticker) except the new ECU. Lemme know if you have any specific questions about the car!
Wow, nice to run into you. I'll be sure to add you as a friend on here or something so I know how to contact you if I need to. Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboTim View Post
If you know how to tune, 270rwhp I guess. I've been at 290ish and am starting to smell oil burning on hi rpm/hi vacuum. This is assuming you're running a GT2560R, not the 2554.

it is durable if your tune is good

I would get rid of the AEM FI/C and the BEGI FPR and get a stand alone, even at the boost you are at now. And get injectors.

just the electronics/injectors/fuelpump. My stock fuel pump was garbage after 92xxx miles when I bought my car.

coolant reroute if you're feeling ambitious
usual stuff...typical tune up things, timing belt, run good oil, etc.

get rid of the aem and begi stuff, learn to tune a megasquirt or another standalone. If you must keep bandaids for emissions or whatnot, then you're more screwed you should have bought an OEB1 car.
I'd like to get rid of the AEM FI/C and the BEGI FPR and get a stand alone, but that's all jibberish to me right now. And with things running just fine the way they are right now, I don't want to spend a bunch of money and switching stuff up. I don't really understand any of this (which I'm sure I've made more than clear already), so later down the line I will probably start to mess with this, after I'm satisfied with the way the car looks.

I'll be looking into the coolant reroute thing, but right now it isn't at the top of my list. I believe the timing belt and water pump were replaced ~100k. What type of oil do you guys recommend to run? Right now he's been running Royal Purple through it consistently at every 3k. And I don't have to worry about emissions, so that's a good thing!
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Old 09-29-2010, 09:50 PM   #17
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OBX exhaust is 60mm (like 2-3/8"), decent but bigger would be better. I did love how it sounded though. I had a Magnaflow "high flow" cat on it that I replaced in a pinch but it's the tiny stock size so a bigger cat would definitely help if it's still on there.

I installed a Walbro 190HP fuel pump in the car.

I ran Royal Purple 10W-30 while I had it.
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Old 09-29-2010, 10:42 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamS View Post
OBX exhaust is 60mm (like 2-3/8"), decent but bigger would be better. I did love how it sounded though. I had a Magnaflow "high flow" cat on it that I replaced in a pinch but it's the tiny stock size so a bigger cat would definitely help if it's still on there.

I installed a Walbro 190HP fuel pump in the car.

I ran Royal Purple 10W-30 while I had it.
Sounds good, I appreciate the reply to the thread. I'm very happy to hear that the fuel pump has been upgraded. And I'll be running that same Royal Purple through it, I know that's what the previous owner ran as well.

And right now I am planning on keeping the OBX exhaust, unless I find a great deal on something bigger. I'm not quite sure what you mean when you say "a bigger cat would definitely help if it's still on there". I'm used to running no cats on my previous cars lol.
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Old 09-30-2010, 02:50 AM   #19
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There is a stock size cat on there, like 1-7/8" or something tiny, it's a bottleneck in the system. A 2.5" cat would help power and quicker spool, or just get a test pipe and deal with the check engine light.
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Old 09-30-2010, 02:30 PM   #20
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I think I'm going to try out a test pipe next summer. Hopefully it isn't too loud. I'll probably space the O2 sensor out too so it doesn't throw a code.
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