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Old 03-13-2013, 03:17 PM   #1
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Question Existential angst: AKA Turbo NA or N/A NB?

So, I like to wallow in paralysis by analysis. I'm pretty well convinced that I will continue to do more track days moving forward, so I am working on the added expense of a tow vehicle and trailer. I've gotten that info covered from threads here, like this one.

Previously, I got some awesome feedback on building up my 1994 into a Serious Business turbo trackday car. Rods, pistons, 6-speed, AF/ART/TSE turbo kit, LSD, etc.

Lately, I've been oggling Emilio's 95R SuperMiata Street Project on a weekly basis.


This has me wondering about a potential crossroads:

(1) Continuing to build my open-diff '94. That leads to:
A) Deciding on a simple ARTech ~200 whp setup with the stock '94 engine and 5-speed
B) Going all-in and doing rods, pistons and 6-speed to support an EFR setup that can run lower boost but handle big boy boost for "some day"
C) Looking at a VVT and 6-speed swap and aiming for ~140 Dynojet WHP. This would probably be the most mechanically reliable setup, but almost as much cost and effort as 1a and 1b for a lot less power.

(2) Ditching my current car and doing a "street" version of the "Rental" build model: a 2001+ car with factory VVT, 6-speed and Torsen (ideally, a Sport). I/H/E/flat-top IM and ECU should get to that power level as I understand it. No reroute = bonus cost saving.


#2 has the higher entry cost, but far less modifications. It would be slower than the "Rentals" because of the additional weight, although I'm not sure how much a 2001-2005 NB weighs with minor weight reduction and basic trackday prep (rollbar, seats, etc). Should have excellent mechanical reliability due to low power and being mostly stock.


For all the #1s, the big thing to keep in mind in my case is that, while I have some moderate mechanical ability, I have zero desire and almost zero time to work on the car, so I am paying a shop to do something like a VVT-swap into the NA (and really, most stuff).


Meanwhile, if I got rid of my NA, I'd end up losing a significant amount on sunk costs because I couldn't be bothered to part the car out.

Last edited by Scrappy Jack; 03-13-2013 at 05:43 PM. Reason: Added link for trailer discussion thread
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Old 03-13-2013, 03:41 PM   #2
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If you don't want to wrench on it, 1C.
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Old 03-13-2013, 03:49 PM   #3
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I would go option two for the track. It will be so reliable and you will just get to enjoy beating on it without too many headaches because stuff keeps breaking from all the stress/heat.
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Old 03-13-2013, 03:51 PM   #4
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I would have said #2 for the best low-wrench option, including ongoing maintenance (you'll always have to explain how the '94 is not stock, etc., etc.).

Is your '94 running?
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Old 03-13-2013, 04:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hornetball View Post
I would have said #2 for the best low-wrench option, including ongoing maintenance (you'll always have to explain how the '94 is not stock, etc., etc.).

Is your '94 running?
My car is running. I don't have a "build thread" because it's not really built and I was waiting for the turbo.

'94 base model with about 118k miles on factory components. Stock power-wise, down to factory exhaust and paper air filter. Quick run down of current components:
  • 2250 pounds with half tank of fuel, hardtop, no driver.
  • HDHCDD roll bar
  • TEIN Basics, corner-weighted with driver
  • RB tubular front ARB
  • No rear ARB
  • 15x8" 6ULs with 205/50-15 Kumho XS
  • Carbotech AX6 pads on Centric rotors, RBF-600 fluid, braided lines, TSE prawns and hoses
  • Sparco Rev seats w/Sparco 6-pt camlock harnesses

I have no idea of actual power output, but mechanically, the car just recently drove about 4.5 hours from Florida to Roebling and lapped for two (slow, cool/rainy) days.

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Existential angst: AKA Turbo NA or N/A NB?-untitled-7654_zps6840958a.jpg  

Last edited by Scrappy Jack; 03-13-2013 at 04:24 PM. Reason: Added picture
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Old 03-13-2013, 04:26 PM   #6
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I'm not insane, I'm not bummed out
I got no one to blame, nothing to change
I got no evil to fight

One thing's for sure, I'm all outta angst
Society don't bother me
And there's something wrong with that

So I'm off to Pakistan, learn the laws of Islam
Fundamentalism, forget that rock 'n' roll
No cigarette, no drink, in fact
It's difficult to think about getting laid
When you don't even get to see her face
I'm not insane

I'm not insane, I'm not liquored up
I got nothing to do, nothing to lose
I got no place to call home

One thing's for sure, I'm all outta angst
Society don't bother me,
There's something wrong with that

Next stop Mongolia
Don't get to golf or **** or bowl with ya
Throw out that handicap
No stepping out, till spring, in fact it's
Difficult to sing when it's 20 below
And that's during the day
I'm not insane
I'm not insane
I'm not insane
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Old 03-13-2013, 04:33 PM   #7
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I've been struggling with a similar dilemma Scrappy. I want to have a turbo car, and I want a track car, but I don't want a turbo track car because that's expensive, but I also don't want 2 cars.

What I will probably end up doing after I go turbo is just run a very light wastegate (<5psi) or just wiring the wastegate open for track days. Hopefully that will help me have some fun while I save up for a BBK, an oil cooler, coolant reroute (though I will probably do this when I swap in my soon-to-be-built engine since that seems like it would be much easier), 6-speed, etc.

Though part of my reasons for doing this are to learn to work on the car, so I plan on doing it all myself. If I had to pay someone else to do it, I would probably go with one of the NA options.
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Old 03-13-2013, 04:50 PM   #8
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I'd say 1C + built VVT engine if you weren't paying someone to do the swap. The money you pay a mechanice would get china rods, forged slugs and some headwork.
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Old 03-13-2013, 05:08 PM   #9
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Anyone who runs (ran) their cars hard at the track is now running VVT, 6-er, Xidas, and pulling the wool daily.
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:05 PM   #10
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That's a nice car!

I wonder how different #2 would really be from what you have now without further mods? More power and torque offset by more weight. Brakes and suspension always see the weight. ???

Like Brain said, could be worse.
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:13 PM   #11
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BTW, I have 6 cars and a tractor. That's my solution to existential angst. Add a car to address my perceived need. The end result is existential angst trying to keep everything running!

Doing pretty well right now. Only the Fury isn't running and that's my doing (doing some cosmetics in the engine bay -- some would say hangar deck).
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Savington View Post
If you don't want to wrench on it, 1C.
I was initially suprised to hear you say 1c vs 2. Then, I started putting some numbers together. Just using Treasure Coast Miata's price list for ease of access (and because I could theoretically drive there to pick everything up)...

$990 VVT longblock
$800 6-speed gearbox
$600 4.10 Torsen rear diff
$2390

I have no idea what the shop I use would book to pull the old gear and swap the new gear in, but 10 hours at $100/hour is a grand. They are very reasonable and very competent, but not Miata specialists by any stretch. There is a more "Miata specific" shop around that I could check with as well, but they are more of a Spec Miata crew.


With the NB2, I'd have to deal with installing the rollbar, swapping the seats, harnesses, steering wheel, etc over. Not to mention the hassle of finding the specific color and combination I would want, basic maintenance which has all been done on my NA8, etc.

I'd need the header ($450), EUDM intake manifold ($450), ECU ($1200+), etc regardless of whether the engine was in an NA8 or NB2 chassis*.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hustler View Post
Anyone who runs (ran) their cars hard at the track is now running VVT, 6-er, Xidas, and pulling the wool daily.
Which is probably an excellent point. The short answer is most likely, "go drive your car as-is until you are within XX seconds of SM lap records, then figure out your next step."







* To borrow a line from Hustler, regardless of whether it represents a good track car value, I feel like I would occassionally still have spastic fits of "OMFG SOMEONE KILL ME OH MY GOD WHY DID i SPEND THIS MUCH MONEY ON A MIATA LOLOL."
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:49 PM   #13
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I have a 91 with a 99 1.8 swap. The car has enough power to be fun on the track. Slapping on a Rotrex is always a moderate hp gain option.
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Old 03-13-2013, 08:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrappy Jack View Post
With the NB2, I'd have to deal with installing the rollbar, swapping the seats, harnesses, steering wheel, etc over. Not to mention the hassle of finding the specific color and combination I would want, basic maintenance which has all been done on my NA8, etc.
I was even thinking more along the lines of all the suspension bits you're going to have to re-purchase and swap over. Putting a $3000 drivetrain into your NA is usually going to be cheaper than selling your NA, buying a $6000 NB, and then dumping a bunch of money into it to bring it up to the safety/suspension level your NA was at.

Even if the money were close, it's easier to justify writing off a $2000 NA chassis with $10k in parts bolted to it, vs. a $6k+ NB with $6k in parts bolted to it. Same car, same cost, but the NA becomes more disposable. Think of the car as the basket in which all of your goodies reside, and it suddenly becomes much less worrisome.
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Old 03-13-2013, 08:30 PM   #15
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Now that I understand your goals better, I'm changing my vote: 1C.

It's a lighter car too. Should perform better with the later running gear.
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:26 PM   #16
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I'd go with swapping a 1.8L keep your car reliable. I'd rather be driving than wrenching.
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:32 PM   #17
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Based on what you've said, Scrappy, 1c all the way - and you can always go mad turbos later.
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Old 03-13-2013, 11:20 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrappy Jack View Post
Which is probably an excellent point. The short answer is most likely, "go drive your car as-is until you are within XX seconds of SM lap records, then figure out your next step."
I disagree because I don't like driving cars that suck. I have the somewhat unique perspective of tracking an epic turbo Miata hard as hell and driving it home for years and years. With hindsight on my side, I'm am following the right path that gives me an opportunity for driver development (thanks, Emilio) and cutting some nasty times in a car that is shockingly fast in it's current form (sort of current). Get a properly set-up car consistent with 949 and TSE's formula because it works and makes a great car. Then, you have a platform to work on driving, reliably. OEM VVT engine, MS3, damper, t-body, 6-speed, fancy diff, and Xidas makes for the most fun car I've ever driven, and I've driven a ton of different cars. It's cheap enough and the penalties are benign enough that you can push it really, really hard without major consequence. Some of us drive hard enough and close enough to the limit that tracking a 250whp Miata without a cage is unwise and horrifying.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrappy Jack View Post
* To borrow a line from Hustler, regardless of whether it represents a good track car value, I feel like I would occassionally still have spastic fits of "OMFG SOMEONE KILL ME OH MY GOD WHY DID i SPEND THIS MUCH MONEY ON A MIATA LOLOL."
I never once questioned the amount of money I spent on the car. The last year was hell on Earth but I've learned from it. 2011 was an awesome year in my car, I wish I could have had some proper driving examples previously, but that came, eventually.
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Old 03-13-2013, 11:22 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Savington View Post
Even if the money were close, it's easier to justify writing off a $2000 NA chassis with $10k in parts bolted to it, vs. a $6k+ NB with $6k in parts bolted to it. Same car, same cost, but the NA becomes more disposable. Think of the car as the basket in which all of your goodies reside, and it suddenly becomes much less worrisome.
Yep. I think you're much more likely to not get hurt rolling or walling a 150whp car, a 250whp car is a lot more likely to see the wall or roof and you will probably get hurt. **** can still go wrong in a 150whp car, but I like entering turn 1 at TWS at 110-125mph, 150mph entry is unpleasant.
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Old 03-13-2013, 11:25 PM   #20
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Quote:
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i like catching, pitching is too hard because i'm a huge baby.
ftfy
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