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Old 05-26-2016, 09:02 PM   #1
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Default $500 deposit on 2000 Miata. What do you think?

Hello. My name is Dick and I live in Portland Oregon. I currently daily drive a 1970 Landcruiser FJ55 with a Chevy 350, Solar power and a roof top tent. I love it but it gets 12 mpg and is not the best around town ride.
Decided I wanted to own my first turbo car. I was torn between some type of mazdaspeed (6 or Miata) and a early 2000s Subaru. I looked at a ton of Subarus and they were all beat to hell and over priced while being sold by a shady dirt bags. I looked at half a dozen of different types. I did a little research on the Mazdaspeed Miata and seems most guys are not super impressed by them. Finally I went and checked out a FI 2000 Miata. Here is the description from the ad.

2000 Mazda Miata 34,xxx Miles

Under The Hood:
-1.8 DOHC 16 Valve 4 Cylinder
-Carrillo MOLY Chrome Connecting Rods
-TIAL Waste Gate
-3" Downpipe
-Garrett Ball Bearing Turbo 450HP Rating
-AVO Turbo Kit with Flyin' Miata 4 Injector
-Manifold w/link Piggyback ECU
-HKS Blow Off Valve
-Flyin Miata Exhaust
-K&N Cold Air Intake
Transmission:
-ACT Extreme Clutch
-4:10 Clutch Type Limited Slip

Suspension/Brakes:
-Flyin' Miata Springs and Adjustable Sway Bars
-KYB Shocks
-Brembo Slotted Discs

Exterior:
-16" Motegi MR7 Wheels
-205/45/16 Extensa HP Tires
-High-Vis Aftermarket headlights
-Boot and Bra Included
-Mazda Appearance Package 1
-AC Blows Cold
-Power Windows/Mirrors
-Stock CD Head Unit

Interior:
-Suede Leather Bride Racing Seats
-Wood Race Stearing Wheel
-Aftermarket Short Shift
-Heavy Chrome Roll Bars

Perfect for a track car or being the King of Miatas. Buyer Beware, this is a modified car, but why else would you be looking at this posting anyway? All papers and registration up to date. This car WILL pass DEQ smog testing. Very responsive and will perform just as good as it looks and sounds! This car was used primarily as a track car and spent most of its life as a garage queen, hence the low miles and good condition. Clean title, no accidents.


One of the things that appealed to me is that it passed Smog and has current tags. I have read that is an issue with a lot of these conversions and most of the Subarus up here won't pass.

The test drive - Started up nice. Felt tight and not too beat up. A few scratches and dings here and there but nothing terrible. The story the younger guy that showed it gave me was that it was bought 10 years ago off the original owner that did all the mods in Washington and they had used it as weekend race car in Hawaii. They had different wheels on it they had already sold before they shipped it back to the mainland. I didn't get a BS vibe about any of it. All the mods looked like they were installed well and a long time ago. Nothing had a recent look. There was also a complete Nitrous set up still sans bottle on the car that has been disabled and obviously not used by the current owners. His mom was out of town until Sunday and she had the title and all the receipts in a binder from the original build and the maintenance they had done by the shop.

I drove it around some turns and did a few pulls. The gauge had it boosting to 6 PSI so it either has a leak or has a conservative tune (I am betting that is it). Tracked well and the brakes were strong. Still has a 5 speed and it shifted nice along with the clutch that had no slip. It was quick but not put you on your *** fast. Had a gauge that had a light that moved around tracking fuel condition. I have no idea how to read it. Idled fine just a little under 1,000 and never ran crappy or stalled. When I parked it It there was a slight smell of oil when I popped the hood again but it wasn't scary bad. It did not have a turbo timer so I let it idle down.

They were asking $7,000 and I offered $6,000 which he was fine with. Left a $500 deposit until his mom came back. I told him as long as the title and receipts checked out I would take it.

What do you guys think? I am committed at $6,000 but I can back out if there is something shady in the receipts. Overall the car felt good and well done. Is there anything I should look specifically in the receipts? I obviously do not know a lot about the tuning side of this. If anything that is where I will need to read up. He was not able to tell me what ECU it had I did not know here to look. I can ad pics if anyone wants to see it.

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Old 05-26-2016, 09:17 PM   #2
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It has a link ecu.
That's a good price for a finished turbo car generally, but we need pics.
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Old 05-26-2016, 09:19 PM   #3
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The add is still up. I will edit in the pics when it goes down if that is cool.


http://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/cto/5589810436.html
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Old 05-26-2016, 09:23 PM   #4
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If this works out my current plan is to go through the car and get all the maintenance done. I am also betting the turbo equipment is getting pretty worn so I plan on having to refurbish most of it. I will hit up some of the cosmetic stuff. It has some scratches that need some love and the windshield top seal is coming off. I am considering fender flares and wider wheels.
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Old 05-26-2016, 09:25 PM   #5
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I would personally stay away from modded cars, since modding the car is half the fun and you don't know what kind of shortcuts were taken.
I find a lot people tend to sell cars when they are about to blow up.
Have someone drive behind you when to take it for a spin and look for smoke. Additionally, do a compression test if you can.

Good luck!
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Old 05-26-2016, 09:29 PM   #6
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Lose the red velvet and nitrous system, add an intercooler, and replace the link with a megasquirt, and you've got a decent car.
With an NB, you can fit decently wide wheels without resorting to flares, provided they have the correct offset.
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Old 05-26-2016, 09:30 PM   #7
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We're also going to need picks of that landcruiser and any cats that choose to keep your company.
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Old 05-26-2016, 09:34 PM   #8
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It's not just "a link", it's a Link piggyback. Basically this leaves the stock ECU in place controlling the stock injectors and adds a Link ECU controlling four additional injectors which are installed in the intake runners. Look at the photos and you can see the second fuel rail. The Link piggyback has the ability to drive those four injectors with a 5x16 table of MAP vs RPM, can retard the timing (by intercepting the stock ECU's control signals) using a similar table, and can drive (I hesitate to use the word 'control') a boost control solenoid.

You'll find many scathing reviews of them here on mt.net. I owned one for 6 years, and while it's not as bad as it's often made out to be, it's totally unsuited to the monster turbo on that car. It works pretty well with a low-boost 2554 or 2560 making up to somewhere in the range of 200-220 rwhp, and offers OEM idle, cold start, alternator control, etc with very minimal tuning required. There are several major downsides if you want to make big power: it has no wideband capability, it must be tuned conservatively both in timing and in fuel because the things it can control are deltas from what the stock ECU is doing which are somewhat unpredictable, and if you exceed somewhere in the range of 240 rwhp the stock MAF sensor goes out of range and the OEM ECU starts throwing a hissy fit.

A couple other thoughts: the mounting tabs on the aux fuel rail have a tendency to break under vibration, which can result in fuel spraying everywhere. Also, the AVO manifolds have a bit of a reputation for cracking, so I'd inspect the one on this car carefully before buying it.

Edit: looking at the pic, I see that there's no stock MAF installed. I have no idea how this car runs, the Link piggyback isn't capable of running it by itself, and the stock ECU won't even start without the MAF.

--Ian
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Old 05-26-2016, 09:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monk View Post
We're also going to need picks of that landcruiser and any cats that choose to keep your company.
Cats? It has a rear locker, winch, and a fridge as well.

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0 deposit on 2000 Miata. What do you think?-80-img_6939_3fdb31faab565ed9f638f20918687b34142c42c9.jpg   0 deposit on 2000 Miata. What do you think?-80-img_6307_e958d73a3fa8f4dbb043a5700f3c81c41c0a93ae.jpg  
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Old 05-26-2016, 09:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codrus View Post
It's not just "a link", it's a Link piggyback. Basically this leaves the stock ECU in place controlling the stock injectors and adds a Link ECU controlling four additional injectors which are installed in the intake runners. Look at the photos and you can see the second fuel rail. The Link piggyback has the ability to drive those four injectors with a 5x16 table of MAP vs RPM, can retard the timing (by intercepting the stock ECU's control signals) using a similar table, and can drive (I hesitate to use the word 'control') a boost control solenoid.

You'll find many scathing reviews of them here on mt.net. I owned one for 6 years, and while it's not as bad as it's often made out to be, it's totally unsuited to the monster turbo on that car. It works pretty well with a low-boost 2554 or 2560 making up to somewhere in the range of 200-220 rwhp, and offers OEM idle, cold start, alternator control, etc with very minimal tuning required. There are several major downsides if you want to make big power: it has no wideband capability, it must be tuned conservatively both in timing and in fuel because the things it can control are deltas from what the stock ECU is doing which are somewhat unpredictable, and if you exceed somewhere in the range of 240 rwhp the stock MAF sensor goes out of range and the OEM ECU starts throwing a hissy fit.

--Ian

So it sounds like I need to redo the injection system and controller along with adding an intercooler. I am not really looking for huge HP. 200 at the wheels and drivability is fine by me. Passing smog will always be a priority. Perhaps I should leave this set up alone and move to a smaller turbo for faster spool up?
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Old 05-26-2016, 09:44 PM   #11
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If you want 200 at the wheels, do yourself a favor and get a 2554 instead of the monstrosity on that car. It'll spool up a thousand RPM sooner.

--Ian
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Old 05-26-2016, 09:47 PM   #12
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If that's all you want, pass on that car and low ball this guy:
1999 Mazda Miata and matching hardtop
Buy a flyin Miata kit and have a much nicer car in the end.
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Old 05-26-2016, 09:47 PM   #13
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I'd suggest looking for another car. If you buy this one and replace the ECU and turbo, you're left with what? A manifold that's prone to cracking, a downpipe that probably doesn't fit the 2554, and an intercooler of unknown parentage. Buy an unmodified car for a few thousand less and look for turbo parts on the mt.net classifieds.

--Ian
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Old 05-26-2016, 09:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codrus View Post
If you want 200 at the wheels, do yourself a favor and get a 2554 instead of the monstrosity on that car. It'll spool up a thousand RPM sooner.

--Ian

Makes sense. I know with bigger power comes bigger wallet and broken parts. I would think I can sell this turbo or trade someone? I will start searching info on the 2554.

I just want quick. When I want fast I just ride this.
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Old 05-26-2016, 09:49 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codrus View Post
I'd suggest looking for another car. If you buy this one and replace the ECU and turbo, you're left with what? A manifold that's prone to cracking, a downpipe that probably doesn't fit the 2554, and an intercooler of unknown parentage. Buy an unmodified car for a few thousand less and look for turbo parts on the mt.net classifieds.

--Ian
Even if the receipts for the bottom end on the engine work check out?
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Old 05-26-2016, 09:53 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farpolemiddle View Post
Even if the receipts for the bottom end on the engine work check out?
Yes. At best that system is outdated.
You don't need a built engine for your goals anyway.
Buy something that hasnt been abused, like the one I posted above and go from there.
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Old 05-26-2016, 10:36 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monk View Post
Yes. At best that system is outdated.
You don't need a built engine for your goals anyway.
Buy something that hasnt been abused, like the one I posted above and go from there.

I get what you guys are putting down and it makes sense. Would this car and its set up make more sense if I kept the existing turbo and upgraded the electronics/Intercooler and went for bigger hp? This car just felt tighter and overall less beat up compared to the other 2 Miatas I have driven and much much better than the Subies. Don't think I am not taking your opinions to heart.
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Old 05-26-2016, 11:21 PM   #18
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If you're going to go for bigger power, you're going to want to upgrade to a 6 speed.
If you add that cost to the price of better electronics and whatnot, you're still going to be better off if you start with a nice NB and ad a flyin Miata kit.
It's built to last, and you can upgrade as you go.
Personally, if I were to do everything again, it would go like this:
1. Buy a nice NB
2. Buy megasquirt and tune
3. drive the **** out if and learn how to be a good driver
4. Upgrade suspension and wheels and redo step 3
5. Buy flyin Miata kit (or the new trackspeed kit) and enjoy breaking bits of my car
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Old 05-26-2016, 11:52 PM   #19
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Edit: looking at the pic, I see that there's no stock MAF installed. I have no idea how this car runs, the Link piggyback isn't capable of running it by itself, and the stock ECU won't even start without the MAF.

--Ian[/QUOTE]


This has me a little confused then. I am going to have to dig into it. It literally idled and ran great. Not a huge amount of power but was quick. No CELs and passed smog. The little I know about engine management and how you describe this system it doesn't make sense.
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Old 05-27-2016, 12:01 PM   #20
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To me, the value there is in a clean (if you're into the interior anyway) very low mileage NB1. Almost all the mods done are contrary to what would be recommended around here.Wheels, suspension, clutch, engine management, turbo setup would all be done differently if starting from scratch.Basically everything Monk has said so far is right, so listen to him. And that's a sweet landcruiser!
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