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Old 08-04-2011, 11:40 AM   #1
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Default Winter driving turbo miatas....

Hey guys...

I have come to a place where i think that i need to only have one car.

I am thinking that i would like to take on daily driving my NA even though its rediculously modified and currently doesnt run... but it should.

My question for the people that live in the north that actually get snow is: how do turbo miatas work in the snow and winter conditions?

The turbo is pretty big on my car so it shouldnt be too bad... i could even get a smaller wastegate spring to help with traction...3psi or something lame. My car is setup with a VVT engine on AEM EMS with a 2871R 0.86... 3,636 rear with OSG LSD and stance coilovers. I would be getting winter tires.

Thanks,

Matt
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Old 08-04-2011, 11:57 AM   #2
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Even with a non-turbo NA, taking off from a stop was ridiculous. Plus if there's more than an inch or two on the road, you're gonna be plowing it with your bumper.

If I were you I'd just get a winter beater, something for maybe 700 bucks that runs and is front wheel drive.
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Old 08-04-2011, 12:07 PM   #3
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already have that. i cant have two cars.
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Old 08-04-2011, 02:08 PM   #4
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Raise your coilovers all the way up or put stuck suspension on and run studded tires....**** the law.
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Old 08-04-2011, 02:23 PM   #5
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Thanks Doppel.

i have stock shocks still... but not the springs. i think i should be able to find those pretty easy though.
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Old 08-04-2011, 02:25 PM   #6
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Changing suspension is way too much work, just raise it up, take off the lip, install snowplow, profit.
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Old 08-04-2011, 02:41 PM   #7
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Yeah...but Stance coils dont't exactly get very high when adjust all the way up. Stuck dampening and springs would probably work better anyway. If the stock stuff is already assembled, then swapping won't be as bad since no disassembly/reassembly/spring compressing time is needed.
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Old 08-04-2011, 02:50 PM   #8
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That was my 92 on 13inch rally tires. With stock suspension I was a little to low to actually use the front ones. If you could raise your car up you could do something similar.
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Old 08-04-2011, 03:44 PM   #9
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how was driving it in the snow?

would turbo powa make it totally unusable?
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Old 08-04-2011, 04:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shlammed View Post
how was driving it in the snow?

would turbo powa make it totally unusable?
With just the rear tires on the miata did much better in the snow then my Integra with all seasons. If you stay out of boost I don't see a problem with it. I know I did one winter DDing the turbo car on all seasons and I made it through the NoVA winter. Although we did not have snow down all year.
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Old 08-04-2011, 05:08 PM   #11
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I drove two winters near Green Bay, WI in my miata when it was stock w/open lsd and 185/14/50 all seasons. If you drive like a boss, it'll be fine. I never got stuck and had to drive almost every day between two jobs and school. Did another winter turbo with rx-7 lsd. It was cake.

Just remember your basic snow driving principles (brake early, keep momentum up through nasty stuff, plan ahead, etc.) and you'll be fine. There was one night I made it 10 miles in a nasty blizzard with 5-6" of snow already on the road when I started with an open diff. Took forever but I made it home in one piece. Mostly I enjoyed keeping it sideways all the time.
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:36 PM   #12
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I daily drove my turbo '94 (GT28RS) on Flex's at 12/12.5" through 2 winters here. 175/65R14 studded snows made it go anywhere I wanted to. I was out in the big blizzard of '10 until I started to high center and drifts were coming over the hood. With the right tires you will drive right by 4wd vehicles with shitty tires throwing some nice rooster tails laughing all the way.
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Old 08-04-2011, 11:31 PM   #13
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Ive never driving my Miata in anything more then a light frosting, but on any other car real snow tires make a huge difference.
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Old 08-04-2011, 11:57 PM   #14
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I brought my car home in Dec '08 and the drive sucked bad. I used to dd a bpt 323 and it would spin winter tires at highway speeds, in 5th with 1/4 throttle if there was ice.

That said my B3000 isn't too great but it never has issues with getting hung up.

IDK if they are still sold but my wife's car has dunlop graspic ds3's and they make driving on ice like driving in the rain. As far as boost goes what about disconnecting the wastegate arm or is it ewg?
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Old 08-05-2011, 12:21 AM   #15
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I DD mine in the winter. It's extremely capable.
Some principles:
Instead of 2 cars, you will need 2 sets of tires - preferrably each having its own set of wheels...I would not drive in the snow in the Miata without snow tires if I could help it.

I maintained my suspension at the same ride height without issues - however, the car only works if the bottom of the body completely clears the snow. The car is not heavy enough to sink through an inch of snow and still be able to apply traction to the tires. If you live in an urban area with regular snow-plows, then you have nothing to worry about.

I suggest that the TORSEN is an absolute requirement for winter driving - others will argue - but a good driver knows instantly when his tires have broken traction with the road, and will easily maintain control. If you're a bad driver, you shouldn't be driving in the snow anyways. The TORSEN will prevent you from ever getting stuck because of a slipping tire. (The TORSEN by itself doesn't prevent a single slipping tire, but notch up 2 or 3 clicks on the handbrake if you get stuck, be easy with the throttle, and the diff will act like a locker - dont forget to release handbrake after you get unstuck) A clutch type diff can work in the winter too, and I wouldn't recommend a viscous.

(Anecdote: On a very frosty day, I was headed into work, and entering a cloverleaf highway interchange. About 2/3 of the way up, I had to stop because a minivan was in the ditch on the inside of the turn. A tow-truck was on the outside of the turn trying to winch the minivan back onto the road, and a police cruiser was on my side of the incident to stop traffic. I was the first car behind the cruiser. After a few moments, the cop backed cautiously toward my car, and managed to stop beside me before rolling down his window to chat. He asked me what the hell I was doing out in a tiny little RWD sports car. I told him a little about it, before asking him if they were fortunate enough to get snow tires in winter.
"No, the department wouldn't pay for that"
So eventually the tow truck gives up on winching the van out of the snow, because each attempt merely drags the tow truck across the slick ice back toward the minivan, while the minivan doesn't budge. The police officer then tries to pull up as easily as he can manage, and on 3 attempts, he only manages to slide the rear end toward the inside of the cloverleaf. He then shouts to me that he doesn't think I can make it up the ramp, but I'm welcome to give it a try, so I give him a big smile and a friendly wave before putting the car in gear and effortlessly driving the rest of the way up the cloverleaf and then to work.)

Remember that driving in snow is nothing more than inertia management and roadway observation - and when you're passing the Wranglers smashed up on the side of the road because they all thought that their 4WD Vehicles were invincible (and the luxury cars, because the drivers are often too damned retarded to know how to drive), just use that as reassurance to drive safely. I often feel like maybe I'm overconfident when I'm driving the miata and passing 4WD SUVs and Giant pickup trucks on the freeway with a pretty significant speed differential - and I'm in the much less used and often snow covered left lane.

(And it's true, probably 80+ % of the cars I see on the side of the road smashed into the median wall are either luxury vehicles or 4WD SUVs - quite often Jeeps)

I also have a Mitsubishi Montero Sport RWD with an additional set of wheels/snow tires. The open differential makes me want to cry in the winter a lot, as even with snow tires it gets stuck more than I would like to admit. It also feels much less stable/confidence inspiring, and my preference is to drive the Miata. I will usually only drive the Montero if the snow in my driveway is going to keep me from getting the Miata out.

Don't be worried about boosting.
A: Your right foot should be a very effective boost controller.
B: You won't generally be accelerating to RPMs beyond boost threshold anyhow - if the road is covered in snow, I'm shifting at/before 2500 RPM.

Bottom line - The Miata is relatively safe and very confidence inspring in the snow - as long as you have 4 snow tires.
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Old 08-05-2011, 12:51 AM   #16
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Get thin snow tires, thick tires act like plows.
See WRC car for proof:
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Old 08-05-2011, 04:19 AM   #17
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With snow tires my car is like a tractor in the snow. My car is at 12.25f and 12.5r ride height. It will plow if it gets too deep of course but you'd need some serious ride height to get through serious snow. It will power up snowy/icy hills without skipping a beat.

As a year round daily, its been a blast. I've never been stuck in the snow.

I have nokian snow tires on steel wheels fyi. I let some air out of course. Traction is awesome. It was tough but passable with all seasons. My Integra on all seasons sucks so much butt in the snow that I just leave it at home.

Oh, by the way the turbo will be pretty much meaningless in the snow. I was never able to build more than 2 or 3 psi at high RPMs in the snow. There just isn't enough traction to build up the kind of load needed to spool a turbo unless you're really trying to.
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Old 08-05-2011, 07:07 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gearhead_318 View Post
Get thin snow tires, thick tires act like plows.
See WRC car for proof:
Valid point

My miata drive-it-like-you-stole-it-in-the-snow tires are 185s

The montero still-have-to-be-cautious-in-the-snow tires are 245s
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