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Old 09-22-2011, 03:16 PM   #1
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Default Help a new guy out with a decision.

Hey guys, VW/Audi guy in the house. Don't flame, but I'm in the Miata market. My cousin had an 94 Miata last year that I got to zip around in for a week while he took my DD for a vacation and I absolutely fell in love. So here I am a year later in the market to purchase, and start a nice build thread.

Went a few other forums but some of them were kinda inactive, and without personalities. I sorta need some guidance from you guys on a decision. I know I'm gonna go NA (90 - 97 from what I've read) but trying to get as much bang for my buck as possible in the end. So what are the advantages/disadvantages of going for the 1.8L generation versus the 1.6L generation? (aside from the obvious motor size). Are there any true differences in the car's design that aren't obvious?

My personal goal at the moment is to get a good one that's in as good of condition (exterior and motor) as possible. I'll be changing a lot of parts in the coming months, but the last thing I want to do is body work. It sucks *****. So I'm finding a **** ton of 90-93's on the market but barely any 94-97's. I don't know which direction I should go, or if I should just suck screw it and pick up the best priced one in the best condition.

I'd appreciate any info man!
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Old 09-22-2011, 03:23 PM   #2
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Welcome, mreakus!
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Old 09-22-2011, 03:23 PM   #3
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Beefier diff housing/axles/driveshaft, bigger brakes, extra bracing are a few...
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Old 09-22-2011, 03:27 PM   #4
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Welcome!
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Old 09-22-2011, 03:51 PM   #5
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welcome to MT! what is your price limit for a miata?
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Old 09-22-2011, 04:29 PM   #6
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I'm looking at spending around 5 grand, preferably less. Trying to find an unmodified, as stock as possible Miata as I can.

Thanks for all the welcomes guys!
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Old 09-22-2011, 06:12 PM   #7
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Welcome.

$5K can do a decent NA build. Find a 1.8L, preferably 94-95 (bigger diff and breaks, pre OBDII) for about $2K in good shape and unmodified. A lot of them out there will at least have decent suspension.

$3K is a pretty good budget for a MS, WBO2, clutch, injectors, and a pieced together kit.
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Old 09-22-2011, 06:19 PM   #8
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Actually, I have $5K for the Miata itself - not for the build. The amount for the build is pretty much whatever I feel like budgeting monthly for work. I'll be doing mods every month, probably starting with suspension/brakes etc. Motor will be started in February I'd assume. I'm the type of person who likes to prepare for power, rather than power than beef up the rest.
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Old 09-22-2011, 06:27 PM   #9
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In that case I've seen NBs, the '99s and '00s with the better flowing heads, for under $4K around here.
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Old 09-22-2011, 06:28 PM   #10
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Welcome. I'll vote for a 1.8 as well, and even though I've got a 1.6 I'd go with a later NA if I had to do it over again. Beefier stock parts as mentioned, but also wider choices for exhaust manifolds.

But if a deal on a 1.6 pops up (like it did for me) you aren't really that far behind the 8ball and you can certainly build a solid car with it as a starting point.
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Old 09-23-2011, 12:26 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gospeed81 View Post
In that case I've seen NBs, the '99s and '00s with the better flowing heads, for under $4K around here.
So you're saying it's better to get an NB for FI than an NA in the long run?
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Old 09-23-2011, 01:50 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mreakus View Post
So you're saying it's better to get an NB for FI than an NA in the long run?
Depends on your goals.

Do you ever plan on building the motor and finding the extents of the stock Mazda trannies and diffs? If not, then you can easily get into rod-bending (limits of stock internals) with ANY of the motors. Some will just make more power with less boost, and more torque all around.
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Old 09-23-2011, 01:53 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gospeed81 View Post
Depends on your goals.

Do you ever plan on building the motor and finding the extents of the stock Mazda trannies and diffs? If not, then you can easily get into rod-bending (limits of stock internals) with ANY of the motors. Some will just make more power with less boost, and more torque all around.
I suppose I should be more clear with my goals. I'm not an avid auto-xer and I honestly plan on building the car for some weekend fun but keeping it relatively reliable. If I need to build it from the ground up, that won't be a problem.
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Old 09-23-2011, 01:59 AM   #14
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In that case it's all about how nice of a finished product you want.

I could make 250whp with half your budget (car included)...but it wouldn't be pretty.

From there you're just paying for more torque down low, and a nicer chassis, unless you plan on breaking that 250whp mark. Everything on the Miata (1.8L) is made to handle up to that point...and pretty much EVERYTHING starts to break after that.

A 250hp Miata (or 220hp for that matter) is an insane amount of fun.



My advice:

-Keep it simple.

-Spend half your budget on suspension.

-Cheap NA canvas + MegaSquirt = modernmovingart

-????

-PROFIT
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Old 09-23-2011, 09:55 AM   #15
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The 94-97 vs 99-00 thing is more your personal taste for the body design itself. Yes, the 99-00 head is better and a common upgrade to the 94-97 but if going forced induction you can get around that unless trying to wring everything possible out of it.

Personally I'd never go with a 90-93 as you are looking at a $700 upgrade to swap in the Torsen rear from a 94+ anyway. By the time you do that you will be in 94-97 money anyway and still have the extra displacement, plus wider availability of turbo parts.
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