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Old 09-16-2013, 09:01 PM   #1
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Ahoy!

After a number of years behind the wheel of an MG Midget, I got a bit tired of sacrificing to the Dark Lord, praying that my engine wouldn't explode, and keeping a full set of replacement everything in my trunk, for whenever a hose, belt, or wire decided to catch fire, leak, or otherwise self-destruct. Don't get me wrong, I love my MG, but needed a roadster that was both more reliable, and less likely to get me killed on the interstate.

Garaged the MG in Texas. Moved to Louisville, Kentucky. Started a PhD. Rode the bus for a year, while I looked into options. Decided on a Miata, for a few different reasons:

1.) Airbags and crumple zones, six forward gears, and a top speed over 85mph. I could've gone with the five-speed, sure, but personal preference was for six. Either way, I don't feel as likely to die on the freeway, or like I'm going to get blown off of the road by a slight breeze.

2.) Bulletproof, at least, compared to an MG. Large aftermarket support, especially compared to an MG. Can be worked on nearly anywhere, which is important because I don't have space to work on the car myself.

3.) If the top leaked, it would be a problem, not "par for the course."

I've owned my '05 for a little over a year, and just had the 60k "big one" maintenance job. Compression test was fine, so the block is in good shape. I had some extra money, so I threw the FM catalog at the suspension and brakes at the same time. Coilovers, sways, and the Wilwood (front) kit.

As far as power goals for the car, I want to feel a little more confident on some of the uphill freeway on-ramps, especially if I'm behind a driver who wants to do all of his/her acceleration after the ramp, and I need to get around them to not get eaten by an F-150 on mud tires. Also, it would be nice to have some "wiggle room" if I need to romp on the "oh sh*" pedal at 75, because two tractor-trailers want to merge together into my lane, while Biff in his F-150 races to plant those same mud tires squarely on my trunk lid.

... don't laugh - it's happened more than once.

Really, it could be years before I add go-fast parts to my Miata, or I may never do it at all. I want to know what I'm getting into, though, before I sink a fortune into the engine bay. That's why I'm here, and it's also why I went ahead (after reading the sticky) and bought Maximum Boost, which is en route as we speak.

Finally (yay!), my areas of expertise are far, far away from what will commonly show up here (political power theory, neighborhood equity, urban economic development... social science stuff), but I'll help if/when I can. As such, I'm mostly just here to read silently and learn something, even if doing so completely turns me off to ever boosting my car.

Let the hazing begin!
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Old 09-16-2013, 09:08 PM   #2
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Welcome

Solid intro post. All you're missing is the pictures.

I wouldn't buy a miata if I couldn't turbo it. True story - that's how much better it is.
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Old 09-16-2013, 09:10 PM   #3
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Decent intro. Would read again. Props for a proper first post.

Now, post some pics. Bonus points for pics of the MG as well.
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Old 09-16-2013, 09:34 PM   #4
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Pictures will come soon; probably within the week. There's a sticky on how to do that without being a tool, so that'll give me something to do while the book gets here.

Speaking of stickies, I've read through most of the more technical ones, but still feel a little lost. I'll have a beer, let it all sink in, and read them again. I'm sure more of it will make sense once that book arrives, so I'll read it, and then re-read the stickies until I'm comfortable with them.

I can probably build an MG Midget from scratch, from having to take it apart and replace things so many times, so I suspect that my problems stem from ignorance. A Miata is not an MG, though, and that knowledge isn't entirely applicable. At any rate, I'm not talking about routine maintenance or replacing a borked hose. Those are the kinds of questions I ask over at m.net, and I get my answers.

This is a different discussion, though, and while I'm sure I could get answers there, I searched for the questions that I have about FI, and nearly all of the search results indicate coming here to learn more. At this point, I don't even know enough to know how little I know, if that makes sense. I'll get there, maybe. Along the way, you'll laugh at me, I'll laugh at myself, and we'll go get a beer.

What I hope is that I learn things, even if I don't use them. While I'm absolutely certain that I could call up FM, order a kit, and be reasonably happy behind a veil of ignorance, I know that at some point, I'd want to know how all of it works, how the sensors interact with mechanical bits, and what that odd sound really means. Maybe one of the FM kits is exactly what I need, and maybe it's not. Common sense, combined with skimming these forums seems to suggest that the answer is complicated. I'll figure what I want to do, then you'll laugh at me, I'll laugh at myself, and then rethink the plan over a beer.

Indeed, I think I'll have a beer right now.
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Old 09-17-2013, 12:42 PM   #5
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Dr. Duck, congrats on signing up at the best site on the web!
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Old 09-17-2013, 12:48 PM   #6
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Welcome to the site.

Reading stickys are fun but you can get a real good idea by reading build threads.

I'm not saying follow exactly what someone does. But it will give you an idea of what people are doing and how they go about it.
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Old 09-17-2013, 11:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erat View Post
Welcome to the site.

Reading stickys are fun but you can get a real good idea by reading build threads.

I'm not saying follow exactly what someone does. But it will give you an idea of what people are doing and how they go about it.
That's a good idea - thanks!

Once I feel a (lot) more comfortable with what I'm reading, it looks like there are *tons* of threads out there, ranging from well-thought plans to pastic wrench ebay jobs. I really can't wait for that book to arrive - I want to run through it before I get too deep into some of the threads, so that I don't feel (as) stupid.
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Old 09-18-2013, 06:51 PM   #8
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Welcome to here. As a '69 Sprite owner (my second one), and a muscle car guy originally (also have a '68 GTO), I can sympathize with the bewilderment at the jargon and the technical aspects of how everything works. Been there. It just takes some time and immersion in the information. I agree that the build threads are a great place to study because you see both the triumphs and the failures of those who have gone before. I swore I was not going to let the technology pass me by and I was going to force myself to learn EFI and turbos.

Piecing everything together after much research has been far more rewarding than overspending on a kit and learning very little.
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Old 09-18-2013, 07:36 PM   #9
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+1 on reading build threads. I didn't even have the advantage of knowing how another car works when I joined. Reading the build threads, and the other threads that pop up when I hit 'new' even though I didn't understand any of them, was really helpful. Like anything, once you stick with it and do a bit of reading, you will start to pick up the pieces.

You've certainly picked the right platform, as the 6-speed is stronger than the 5-speed (though even the 5-speed is stronger than the stock rods), and it means you have a Torsen too. I got a '99 with neither and it looks like it will cost me upwards of $1200 to acquire both.
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Old 09-18-2013, 10:20 PM   #10
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Hey everyone - thanks again for the advice on build threads.

I should *finally* have some time for pictures tomorrow, as long as the weather holds out. In somewhat related news, Maximum Boost arrived in the mail today, so I can get started on that shortly.

[EDIT] Apologies for not posting as promised. Family business came up, so I'll be intermittent for a week or so. Hopefully I can get back to this next week, but I can't make any promises.

Last edited by Dr. Duck; 09-22-2013 at 12:58 AM.
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