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Old 03-01-2014, 05:40 PM   #1
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Default Critique my Mod Path for 200whp

Hey guys, my name is Will, I bought my first miata (MY 1990) in November and need your help laying out my mod path.

Usage:
  • daily driver. I have a backup car, but I prefer not to use it.
  • occasional track day (once/month). I'm not looking to be competitive. I just want to enjoy the car, get "decent" times, and drive home from the track with the car in one piece.

Goals/Requirements:
  • 200 whp on 91
  • 230 whp on e85
  • broad powerband
  • well-rounded
  • stock driveability (AC, cold start, etc.)
  • MUST BE RELIABLE

Below is a list of mods that I plan to purchase. The mods are grouped into steps. Each step will be executed all at once, which means every item in each step will be purchased and installed (nearly) simultaneously. If you think anything should be added, deleted, or rearranged, please let me know. Simple replacement maintenance items (timing belt, spark plugs, etc.) have been omitted. Oh, and the mods listed in blue are what I've already bought.

Step 1: essentials
  • 1.6 long nose crank
  • roll bar
  • helmet
  • bucket seat
  • aluminum undertray
  • steering wheel, hub

Step 2: handling, brakes
  • coilovers (ST suspensions)
  • 15x8 wheels
  • 205/50 tires
  • pads, rotors, fluid
  • sway bars (what are good front/rear diameters to start out with?)
  • FM butterfly brace

Step 3: pre-turbo mods
  • Megasquirt 3
  • Toyota COPS
  • variable TPS
  • injectors
  • coolant reroute
  • wideband

Step 4: drivetrain
  • 3.9 torsen conversion
  • upgraded clutch

Step 5: TURBO!
  • T3 churbo
  • FM or BEGI cast iron manifold
  • inconel studs
  • DIY downpipe
  • ebay intercooler, DIY piping
  • aluminum radiator
  • lines, fittings, etc.

Anything I should change? For example, should I opt for 15x9s and 225s? Any handling mods I should add? Sway bars? Bushings? Let me know! And thanks!

Last edited by wred; 03-02-2014 at 07:07 PM.
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Old 03-01-2014, 05:49 PM   #2
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A few things, first off take my advice with a grain of salt im a noob. But im a well read miataturbo noob, which makes me an expert in most forums =P. Seeing as you want a ebay cast iron manifold im guessing you have a 1.6.

Move upgraded clutch to before you install the turbo it wont last and its pointless to put it off.
Second, why do you want an ebay turbo/manifold. Even if its cast it wont hold up for more than a year or two at most with a track day every month. This of course depends on how hard you beat on it. (the manifold not your....) Seriously just do a used FM/Begi manifold combo with a used sr20 turbo that you can rebuild.

Third IDK wtf St Suspensions is but if your serious about tracking every single month then get Xida's from 949.

Fourth Make sure you have searched this forum can be brutal to the noobs

Edit* omfg i had a dumb. You need the inconel turbo studs from Trackspeed engineering to keep your **** from falling apart.
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Old 03-01-2014, 06:03 PM   #3
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Iconel studs won't help you when the manifold itself falls apart.
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Old 03-01-2014, 06:15 PM   #4
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Forgot about inconel studs. Added that to the list.

At first I was hesitant about the ebay manifold, but I haven't heard of any first-hand reports of failures. The only reviews I've read were positive. Am I missing something here? I don't mind forking out another $200 for a BEGI cast manifold if the ebay one is junk, but I don't see any reason to think that.

If I get a BEGI manifold I'll need a t25 churbo instead. Is the one BEGI sells the only tried and proven option?

ST suspensions is owned by KW. The coilovers they offer are supposed to be a galvanized-steel-bodied-or-something version of the KW v1. A basic setup, fixed dampening.
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Old 03-01-2014, 06:20 PM   #5
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I've heard the sr20 turbo is a terrible match for the 1.6. Apparently the turbine housing is too big? Or is there another version I've missed?
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Old 03-01-2014, 06:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dieselmiata View Post
Iconel studs won't help you when the manifold itself falls apart.
I thought the ebay cast B6 T3 manifold was supposed to be pretty decent.
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Old 03-01-2014, 06:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Full_Tilt_Boogie View Post
I thought the ebay cast B6 T3 manifold was supposed to be pretty decent.
It is as long as you don't track the car hard.

OP. Stop eating *** and read Underdog's build thread. Use Braineack's old turbo.
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Old 03-01-2014, 06:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wred View Post
At first I was hesitant about the ebay manifold, but I haven't heard of any first-hand reports of failures. The only reviews I've read were positive. Am I missing something here? I don't mind forking out another $200 for a BEGI cast manifold if the ebay one is junk, but I don't see any reason to think that.


they work if you don't track the car.
it might crack if you do
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Old 03-01-2014, 07:01 PM   #9
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Thanks. That's enough to convince me. Guess I'll be dropping in a BEGI manifold. Doing research on t25 options now.
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Old 03-01-2014, 07:15 PM   #10
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Might as well swap steps 4 and 5. I'm not sure you'd really need COPS.
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Old 03-01-2014, 09:33 PM   #11
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I'd say clutch is a must if you intend to turbo the 1.6 at all, I dont think my 1.6 with a 14b was anywhere near 200 and it destroyed a clutch with general driving. I'd move it up a bit on the list, that way it can be nice and broke in as well.
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Old 03-02-2014, 12:07 PM   #12
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I agree that if "1.6l long nose" means you're swapping in a different, fresher motor (which since it's a '90/short nose is probably the case), that would be the time to install the clutch kit.

If you're doing a coolant reroute along with a few other things, you could consider moving the engine swap to further down on the list where the MS3 and other bits are. It'll give you the chance to install the clutch kit and parts of the reroute on the back of the head while they're more easily accessed.

The rollbar, bucket seat, etc. really don't have much to do with an engine swap, and since you said everything in each step will be installed simultaneously.....I'd move the FM butterfly brace up to the first group since you already have it, and move the engine swap down. You'll probably have the seats and console out for the roll bar install, since it gives you more room to move around. With the seats out, you're just a carpet pull away from getting access to install the butterfly brace.
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Old 03-02-2014, 12:26 PM   #13
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Definitely get some sways, that was the biggest improvement I've felt suspension wise.

And as other have said, move 949's 1.6 clutch higher up on the list.

The t25 is a GREAT match on the 1.6. Great spool and capable (albeit barely) of 200hp. If you do go that route, fine a genuine Garrett off an sr20 and rebuild it following the directions here with a gopopshop.com rebuild kit. There was one for sale recently for $100. Might still be there.

As for the manifold, that cracked one is genesplicer's. He raped the **** out of it for two seasons of racing iirc, and it finally cracked. Id be perfectly comfortable using it for daily driving and a first turbo setup. With inconel of course.

If you decide not to however, I'd instead use FM's DIY package. They've got a great manifold and better shipping times than begi.
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Old 03-02-2014, 01:06 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sharkythesharkdogg View Post
I agree that if "1.6l long nose" means you're swapping in a different, fresher motor (which since it's a '90/short nose is probably the case), that would be the time to install the clutch kit.
If you're swapping the motor, why on earth would you put another 1.6 in there? Is it required by class rules or something?

--Ian
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Old 03-02-2014, 02:29 PM   #15
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Check out the build thread for my Silver car. Uber-reliable (have more than 30K turbo'd and go to the track several times a month). I'm really happy with it.

Specific thoughts on your list:

Quote:
Originally Posted by wred View Post
Step 1: essentials
  • 1.6 long nose crank
  • roll bar
  • helmet
  • bucket seat
  • aluminum underpanel
  • steering wheel, hub
What's an aluminum underpanel? If you're talking about an undertray, keep in mind that the stock undertray does a great sealing job and they cost ~$60 from Mazda. Make sure any replacement seals the radiator as well or better.

Just because you have a LNC, don't be lulled into a state of complacency on keeping tabs on the crank bolt. LNC can suffer the same issue. Use Loktite there and carefully torque it.

You'll probably find that you'll need engine mounts. Use the Mazdaspeeds. Also, do your clutch when you swap the engine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wred View Post
Step 2: handling, brakes
  • coilovers (ST suspensions)
  • 15x8 wheels
  • 205/50 tires
  • pads, rotors, fluid
  • FM butterfly brace
Those butterfly braces are kind of heavy and are a pain to fit on the 90-93s because of exhaust clearance. They also make doing maintenance on the bottom of the car a pain. Definitely do the frame rail reinforcements though. They do a good job of protecting the car when you go off track.

If you want real stiffening, look into door bars.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wred View Post
Step 3: pre-turbo mods
  • Megasquirt 3
  • Toyota COPS
  • variable TPS
  • injectors
  • coolant reroute
  • wideband
I'd put the Torsen into this list. You've done your homework.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wred View Post
Step 4: TURBO!
  • T3 churbo
  • ebay cast iron manifold
  • inconel studs
  • DIY downpipe
  • DIY intercooler, piping
  • aluminum radiator
  • lines, fittings, etc.
Do invest in a known-good exhaust manifold. BEGI or FM. I've got a Greddy with relief cuts and have no complaints.

You'll definitely want at least a 2.5" exhaust and, if you can get away with it, a test pipe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wred View Post
Anything I should change? For example, should I opt for 15x9s and 225s? Any handling mods I should add? Sway bars? Bushings? Let me know! And thanks!
Add an RB front sway bar with a brace kit. 949 end links. I'd stay with rubber bushings on a DD.
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Old 03-02-2014, 07:25 PM   #16
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Thanks for all the replies!

I should've mentioned this earlier, but aside for the butterfly brace, everything I already have (the items in blue) is already installed. So yeah, the long nose crank is already in there. The last owner replaced the engine, for whatever reason, with one from a 93. Which is why I'm not dropping in a 1.8.

Steps 4 and 5 have been flipped.

Quote:
Originally Posted by curly View Post
Definitely get some sways, that was the biggest improvement I've felt suspension wise.
Sway bars have been added, but what diameters are a good start? The ones I have now are 22mm front, 19mm rear. Is that stock?

Quote:
Originally Posted by curly View Post
The t25 is a GREAT match on the 1.6. Great spool and capable (albeit barely) of 200hp. If you do go that route, fine a genuine Garrett off an sr20 and rebuild it following the directions here with a gopopshop.com rebuild kit. There was one for sale recently for $100. Might still be there.
It seems Braineack is very well respected on here and in this post he says otherwise. Am I missing something here? I admit I know absolutely nothing about Nissans, so maybe there are different versions in duscussion? Here is a list of stock turbos that I found on the 240 forums. When you say "sr20 t25," which of these are you referring to?
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Old 03-02-2014, 07:29 PM   #17
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Hornetball, you brought up a lot of good points but I'll have to respond to them later.
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Old 03-03-2014, 12:31 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wred View Post
Thanks for all the replies!

So yeah, the long nose crank is already in there. The last owner replaced the engine, for whatever reason, with one from a 93. Which is why I'm not dropping in a 1.8.

I would think strongly about spending any money on parts that are not compatible between a 1.6 and a 1.8. Anything you can do to a 1.6 you can do to a 1.8, but those 200ccs of displacement will always make the 1.8 faster. The more money you spend now on parts that don't swap, the harder it'll be to upgrade later, when you realize you want those 200ccs and the better-flowing NB heads.

--Ian
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Old 03-03-2014, 11:32 AM   #19
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To be specific, the part that doesn't swap is the exhaust manifold. Usually, the downpipe and hot-side intercooler piping won't swap either because the exhaust manifold locates the turbo.
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Old 03-03-2014, 01:37 PM   #20
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I agree on the thing about spending money on the one-six. Only invest baller money on stuff that can be shared between 1.6 and 1.8. (injectors, megasquirt, exhaust)

You see 1.6 parts for sale from time for time on here. If you see BEGI or FM cast manifolds for sale for a 1.6 drop the cash. If you have any intention of upgrading later i'd even be willing to go greddy if you can get it (with downpipe) for a reasonable price. They might be fine but they have weird downpipe routing and the older manifolds tend to crack. YMMV.

I am torn on your power goals though. Part of me feels like you shouldn't need e85 to hit 230hp if you have a turbo that will support it. But then, I don't know 1.6's at all.
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