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Old 11-22-2008, 04:38 PM   #1
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Thumbs up Newb looking into a miata...

Hi there,

While I am no stranger to performance work (Have built up a few cars), I AM new to 4 cyl cars. Only thing I have ever owned that was an Inline 4 is my current daily driver (a.k.a. motorcycle). I am looking at getting rid of my current vehicle and picking up some kind of "project" car. something that I can tweak on and still have a blast doing so.

a quick background of what I have done. I have only owned Fords (minus the 2 wheelers I have owned). All of them were at least a V-6. I have taken a 1994 thunderbird that ran a 16.4 stock, and turned it into a 13.1 sleeper. built the engine at home and rebuilt the tranny...so I am no stranger to cars.

main question I have for you guys...What year Miata would be the best to slap a turbo on with minimal engine work needed? I will go forged, just not right away.

Ok, enough rambling...Here is a pic or two of my rides...

2002 F-150 Lighting




And my daily rider............
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Old 11-22-2008, 04:46 PM   #2
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Ideally the 94 is the best year in my opinion. 94 year has the 1.8l, bigger brakes, more chasis stiffening, and its not OBDII. Stock internals will hold 15 PSI but not for that long. If I were you, I would search on the forums for a while and see what you really want.
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Old 11-22-2008, 04:51 PM   #3
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Hello and welcome to the forum. Great pictures.
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Old 11-22-2008, 04:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bond View Post
Ideally the 94 is the best year in my opinion. 94 year has the 1.8l, bigger brakes, more chasis stiffening, and its not OBDII. Stock internals will hold 15 PSI but not for that long. If I were you, I would search on the forums for a while and see what you really want.
Yea, I have been searching/lurking for a few days now...Just decided to join up and see what the consensus would be before I start looking to buy. I'd be happy with a low 13 second miata...Not looking to break records...I have an 11 second bike, so I get my speed thrills from that
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Old 11-22-2008, 05:29 PM   #5
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The first year of the Miata was '89 or '90 depending on whether you're a purist dork or not.
90-93, 1.6litre OBD1, 6" ring gear, 4.3final drive, small brakes.
94-95, 1.8litre OBD1, 7" ring gear, 4.3 or 4.1 final drive, bigger brakes
96-97, OBD2,
no 98
99-00, better flowing head, VICS intake
'01-05, back to old head, but now VVT.

Mazdaspeed Miata for 04-05 made about 145whp, better supsension

There were a ****-ton of "special editions" along the way, sport package, R package, Shinsen, STO, BRG, B&T... the list goes on.

The best year from a performance standpoint is the 94-95... still light, but with bigger parts, "R" package if you can find one, OBD1 which makes tuning easier for those needing to maintain compliance.

For your first Miata, find a 94-95 that came with a Torsen and already has some suspension mods, tires/wheels/ rollbar, brake upgrades, etc... Buy a Megasquirt PnP and a Bell/FM/ETD manifold. Get a Garrett GT series turbo used (GT2554r or GT2560 are the favorites around here), and have a local shop fab you up a downpipe and 3" exhaust. Get a universal intercooler kit from Ebay and a pick-your-favorite-sound knockoff blowoff valve. Buy some RX7 550cc high-impedence injectors, an ACT HD clutch. Oh Yah, and don't forget the Voodoo ****.

Before you start, do a full round of preventative maintenance, fluid flush, timing belt if needed, Seafoam, compression/leakdown test...

READ THE FAQ in the DIY section.
Go to Miata.net and read through the GARAGE and FAQ on the main page.
Look through the USEFUL SAVED POSTS forum on this forum.

If this is your first venture into turbocharging, get Corky Bells book, MAXIMUM BOOST. It looks like you've got blowers covered, but turbocharging can be a different animal.

And like a typical NOOB, you forgot to tell us where you live. If it's Alaska, cool, but still put your location in your profile and put SOMETHING in your signature.
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Old 11-22-2008, 05:46 PM   #6
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Fixed it all I came to NC from Alaska. "Kodiak kid" was my gamer tag back before xbox came out...so I just kept it...made sense since I lived on Kodiak Island

Anyway, very informative post...Thanks for that. Sooner or later I'll be looking for my next toy. Not sure if I'll piece a kit together, or buy one flat out...but I will definitely be using the "search" button before I post any stupid questions! I run a small local forum...and belong to several others...so I know the rulez
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Old 11-22-2008, 05:46 PM   #7
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welcome to the madness......
great intro thread....
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Old 11-22-2008, 06:52 PM   #8
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Bet it's nice not living on that shithole island anymore. (I'm from Tok)
Welcome.
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Old 11-22-2008, 07:34 PM   #9
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Welcome to the forum man, great intro thread!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kodiak kid View Post
I have taken a 1994 thunderbird that ran a 16.4 stock, and turned it into a 13.1 sleeper.
You're going to like the Miata, then. Many people have taken cars that run, what, 16-17 second stock quarter-mile times and are now knocking on 11s with stock internals.
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Old 11-22-2008, 07:53 PM   #10
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I like your ford. That's bitchin. 94's are the best overall miata bang for buck. 99's are the best overall NB's if you want the 99+ body. (99-05's are all NB's Pre 99's are NA's).
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Old 11-22-2008, 10:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjernigan View Post
Bet it's nice not living on that shithole island anymore. (I'm from Tok)
Welcome.
I actually Miss it up there:( The 4-wheeling was AWESOME

Quote:
Originally Posted by kotomile View Post
Welcome to the forum man, great intro thread!



You're going to like the Miata, then. Many people have taken cars that run, what, 16-17 second stock quarter-mile times and are now knocking on 11s with stock internals.
Thanks My brother had a 1990 miata that I drove a few times back when I was 18 (I'm 29 now)...it was like a street legal go kart...Which is why I want one now...cause I'm older and more able to make it what I want.


Quote:
Originally Posted by patsmx5 View Post
I like your ford. That's bitchin. 94's are the best overall miata bang for buck. 99's are the best overall NB's if you want the 99+ body. (99-05's are all NB's Pre 99's are NA's).
thanks! I love the truck too...Just time for something different and a little less expensive to modify Plus it'll be fun to have a little car that is fun to drive that DOESN'T weigh 4500lbs when EMPTY!


Thanks for the warm welcome everyone! Hopefully I can contribute some knowledge soon.
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Old 12-10-2008, 11:30 AM   #12
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love the truck
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Old 12-10-2008, 11:42 AM   #13
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Welcome, nice pic on the truck, and I REALLY like the 650Fs. Very overlooked bike, great for the real world, and muuuuch better looking than the Katana it replaced.

I am personally partial to the NAs, but mine is a '92, which means already starting with a 12.5% displacement handicap. The later NAs also had stronger rear ends to go with the 1.8L, but the 1.8L motor has a larger flywheel as well (something like 20% more surface area), meaning that with a performance clutch you can get more power before you have to worry about it.

I wouldn't discourage anyone from buying a 1.6L though.

1. They're hella cheap.

2. Replacement motors are hella cheap (everyone wants a 1.8L).

3. Can always swap in a 1.8L after you blow up the original.

4. Most of the other benefits (brakes, rear end) you can replace with equal or better equipment anyhow as you get over 200rwhp.

5. It's gonna be fun telling people you got 200some odd hp out of that small of a motor.

Either way it really depends on your goals, how you want to get there, and what you find.

You may wake up tomorrow and see a '93 for $2000, or you may find a neglible difference in price. As I scrounge up money for upgrades though, I often wish I already had a torsen diff, bigger brakes, and a 1.8L.

.02

Damon
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Old 12-10-2008, 09:25 PM   #14
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It all comes down to how extensive you drive, are your going to track the car, drag the car, or street the car.

The 1.8L car has better brake, larger displacement, and a better rearend.

The 1.6L for street stops way plenty enough. runs like a raped ape with boost. 1.8L upgrade is simple and cheap.
Everyone is starting to do the cheap VW 11 inch rotor upgrade anyway. So if your doing that. that cancels out factory brakes anyway.

But I just drag my miata. And everything is fine, I do plan on upgrading a 1.8L rearend with rx7 internals.

It all comes down to what you want. If you are upgrading everything. it doesn't matter.

Both 1.6 or 1.8L cars are capable of 13's.
1.8L has a bigger flywheel. But you will be buying a clutch anyway and my clutch will handle 307ft/lbs of torque or way over 400ft/lbs according to the disk. Very few people will ever put the money in to have that much power. Jezz you would probably pull 10's with over 400hp.

But if you want the best of both worlds and don't want to upgrade anything, or you are going to pay someone to upgrade just to 1.8L stuff, do the 1.8L. Better band for buck.

But if you don't mind wrench time and are going beyond factory anyway. 1.6L is great. My drivetrain is stock except for suspension.

Actually for what I do, the stock 1.6L stops way better than the gt mustangs I had, the car handles great.

The 1.6L is dead dependable, and around here are about $2000 + cheaper.

Between me and my brother, we have 3 FI miatas with stock maintrain. No problems yet. But I don't dump the clutch, or use slicks, or do no lift shifting. The 1.8L torsen will fail under that as well.

1.6L is way cheaper to get used parts for. Everyone wants to upgrade to the 1.8L motor. There is about 15hp difference between the 2. I'm still woundering if the swap is worth it.

I enjoy moderate wrench time, so I bought the cheaper and put the saved money into turbo. The stock car is fine for boost, both motors are safe for 250hp, after that the ringlands get weak. So you may pust 2 more psi to get the same 250hp.
A few have pushed the envelope, like Paul. 313hp out of a 1.8L at something like 14psi?? But he has custom made $$$$ parts. LOL The good stuff.

But if you are used to driving crazy in fords (like me). Even a stock miata is like a fine tuned race suspension. LOL Starter supension is cheap too.

I'll probably always stay with the 1.6L, I like the available cheap parts.

And if the rearend goes out. I'm going to swap in my extra rearend or upgrade the internals with junkyard rx7 diff guts. There is a local guy with cheap labor to do the swap.

GOOD Luck!
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Old 12-11-2008, 01:49 AM   #15
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I definitely agree parts for the 1.6 are way cheaper. hell, parts for an na are cheaper than nb by a lot imo...

but is the 1.8 better then the 1.6? IMO hell ******* yes. its not so much the peak power that's better: its the curve. I drove both and the choice is obvious for me.
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Old 12-12-2008, 08:37 PM   #16
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Best Miatas are 99-00... that's it!... better head flow and more suspension travel. Plus stiffer chassis.

good day...
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Old 12-12-2008, 08:42 PM   #17
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they are though, a little heavier..... I personally like the NA's better, my miata is gonna be another NA, but im gonna give it a NB (99-00) head. NO homo. lol
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