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Old 07-02-2012, 03:15 PM   #1
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Default Finished my 1st race, now time to sort out car

I have a new car online this year, a 2004 MSM. Thanks to this forum, I have been able to speed up the learning curve on several items, especially with regards to engine reliability. The engine ran three days of wheel to wheel racing without any reliability issues.

Still I wasn't able to engage racing as hard/assertive as I would like.
I do have some equipment and set-up difficulties to work out in many area's before I feel that I can "race the car hard" wheel to wheel and still maintain good control.

So far, my problems are:
1) engine management:
-a little rich over all. AFR's 10.5-11 under boost; 14 at mid throttle.
-a little trouble with the transition to light boost when feathering the throttle at mid corner; it bucks/surges lightly... but enough to unsettle the tires, which causes you to take the corner slower than optimal.
-the power is slightly off after 8 or so hot laps.

I am using 450 cc injectors and a re-flashed ECU. I can send it back to torque chip for new programming if I can articulate to them what it needs. I have a boost gauge, an egt, a wideband in the car. No data logger.

2) Brakes:
-spongey and inconsistent feeling with hard braking/ no confidence.
-the car lifts + wobbles under hard braking.
I am using Hawk blues front/back, front ducts, Motul fluid and rubber (yes rubber) lines. I am using the OEM ABS with the OEM electronic proportioning. The msm uses the slightly larger "sport brake rotors/calipers".

I have never run with ABS before, but I don't like the way it feels. I just can't get a feel for when lock-up is going to occur. The result is early braking and loss of confidence in traffic.

I think that the wobble in the brake zone is the suspension stretching and toeing out.

3) Shifting: Shifting this six speed is really hard to get it right. I've got to use 2-6. It seems that I'm never in the right gear. when I try to skip a gear (6-4) in the braking zone I will occasionally get it wrong and hit 2nd! I installed the stiffer motor mounts. Fluids are regular parts store grade. I do have trouble with the new ACT clutch; it seems that the disc is thicker than OEM and this makes the pedal release point too close to the floor. Perhaps I am not fully releasing the clutch when slicking off the gears?

Thank you all for your help in getting me sorted out. Craig ITE/SPM # 11

Last edited by gtred; 07-02-2012 at 03:56 PM.
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Old 07-02-2012, 03:27 PM   #2
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Off the top you need-
Trackspeed Wilwood BBK with good pads
MS
3.6 gears
A good radiator (Again, order from TSE with the brakes)
A good Intercooler

That'll get you started in the right direction.... Hopefully the pro's will chime in
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Old 07-02-2012, 03:29 PM   #3
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1. If you can use a standalone, do so. Doesn't the MSM have weird little quirks like bucks and surges on a regular basis, even in street cars?

2. Are you allowed to upgrade the brakes? Since you've already got Sport rears and a Sport master/booster, the only thing you need to change is the fronts. I would also add a prop valve even though you don't have one from the factory - the OEM proportioning doesn't kick in until you're on the ABS which is part of the reason why you are torching the front brakes.

The best Miata brakes in the world are on cars with an NB sport master/booster, Wilwood prop valve, TSE 11.75s in front, and Sport or 1.8+MTuned rears. Bleed with a Motive pressure bleeder for the best results. Theseus and Rover both have this exact combo. Rock-hard pedal, every time, without fail, no excuses.

And get the rubber lines off the car ASAP. I've seen them fail and the results are not pretty.

3. It takes practice but it is a better gearbox than the 5-speed. Stop using 2nd (it's too short to be of any use anywhere) and just shift it slow and practice. I wasn't sure about it when I switched either, but I can shift a 6-speed faster than I can shift a 5-speed now.
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Old 07-02-2012, 03:39 PM   #4
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If you're still on the stock intercooler, I've heard they heatsoak very quickly. There are a lot of inexpensive intercooler options that will help eliminate that power loss.
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Old 07-02-2012, 04:06 PM   #5
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I was going to suggest an Amsoil fluid swap in your transmission too. Rule out any of those funky shifts that may not be your fault.

SS lines is definitely cheap insurance, and might get rid of some of the sponginess if/when they're real hot.

What's your suspension setup? Diving around on stock springs might cause some of the "lifting" you describe under braking. It's certainly not confidence inspiring.

Disable your ABS, problem solved. I think you can just pull the fuse?
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Old 07-02-2012, 05:38 PM   #6
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wow! thanks for your quick responses.

chpmsnsws6: Yes taller gears would help me. I'm finding several places on the track that I'm having to make a quick 5-6 upshift because I'm bumping on the limiter (I've set it to 7400).

I wonder if I could improve this by using my OEM 17" wheels and a 225-40-17 Hoosier? It would be a bit taller than the 225-45-15 nitto's that I've currently got on it.

Savington: I acknowledge the standalone as the best option. I am hoping that chiptorque can get this one right, and I should give them a chance to try before I give any complaints; I knew that there would be some R&D work. My problem is not knowing how to articulate the problem, or get them the data that they need to make the correct changes. Any ideas on a way to data log the basics? Is there something that will plug into the obdII port + add on my wideband and manifold pressure/vacuum?

Brakes. On a race car, I know that for many things there is no grey area: it's either right or it's wrong. The equipment you've suggested is the right way.

pdexta: I forgot to list that I've upgraded my intercooler. Could the power loss be caused by the ECU pulling out timing when it sees high intake man temps? If so, could I modify the ecu or modify the IAT sensor to slightly raise the threshold of timing retard?

Curly: Fluid, Yes. I will try this first. Redline has always made a great product.

Suspension: Yes! This is what I'll likely be doing next. I'm temporarily running on a set of street sprung (400/250) HD Bilsteins. I am definately hitting the stops hard on the transitions (T5-6 and T10-11 @ PIR). It doesn't ruin your day, but you need to pause to wait for the car to catch up to the tires... predictable, but not so fast!

I did try to pull my ABS fuse. It turns out that my car also has electric proportioning which is part of the ABS system. It didn't work out so well.

For clarification: My "work in progress" is a 2004 MSM. Stock internals. Upgraded intake/intercooler. BEIG Garrett 2860/cast manifold/inconel/sg downpipe. BEGI ecu reflash ("conservative tune, 7400 soft cut, 7500 hard cut)/Denso 450cc injectors/ boost level 10-11#/ 100 octane low lead. Rx7 Oil cooler. AWR motor mounts. ACT lightened flywheel/ACT PP/ ACT organic disc sprung hub. Suspension is a worn street set-up: Eibach front/rear bars. Bilstein HD/coilover bodies/400#f/250#r. -2.2 front/-2.5 rear (maxed)/0 toe f/ -1/16r. Nitto 225-45-15 set to 40# hot. Hawk Blue pads, Motul fluid, Trackspeed front ducts.

Everything else is OEM. Q is: what to tackle next/first?
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Old 07-02-2012, 05:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtred View Post
Curly: Fluid, Yes. I will try this first. Redline has always made a great product.
No god dammit!

AMSOIL

Don't change your wheels and tires, unless you have some heavy 15s. You have great tire selection for cheap, 17s will definitely hurt that, and they'll be a heavier setup. That's not how you should change gearing.

Quote:
2004 MSM good

Stock internals good (enough)

Upgraded intake/intercooler great

BEIG Garrett 2860/cast manifold/inconel/sg downpipe good (enough)

BEGI ecu reflash ("conservative tune, 7400 soft cut, 7500 hard cut) boo! MS

Denso 450cc injectors great

boost level 10-11# great, especially with your injectors

100 octane low lead great

Rx7 Oil cooler great

AWR motor mounts are these semi-solid like derlin mounts? If so, boo! That's unneeded stress on...everything

ACT lightened flywheel/ACT PP/ ACT organic disc sprung hub great

Eibach front/rear bars boo! See Emilio's SB package thread for a "goal"

Bilstein HD/coilover bodies/400#f/250#r meh. stiffer springs would be good, rebuilt shocks+springs would be great

-2.2 front/-2.5 rear (maxed)/0 toe f/ -1/16r don't know enough about alignment to help, check out all our alignment threads

Nitto 225-45-15 set to 40# tires-great, pressure-ask someone who knows more.

Hawk Blue pads meh. Take a look at the more aggressive pads perhaps.

Motul fluid great

Trackspeed front ducts great
Keep the "greats", think about the "goods" and change the "boos".
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Old 07-02-2012, 05:58 PM   #8
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Thank you.

Last edited by gtred; 07-02-2012 at 06:34 PM.
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Old 07-02-2012, 06:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Savington View Post
1. If you can use a standalone, do so. Doesn't the MSM have weird little quirks like bucks and surges on a regular basis, even in street cars?
True in my sister's car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Savington View Post
2. Are you allowed to upgrade the brakes? Since you've already got Sport rears and a Sport master/booster, the only thing you need to change is the fronts. I would also add a prop valve even though you don't have one from the factory - the OEM proportioning doesn't kick in until you're on the ABS which is part of the reason why you are torching the front brakes.
I run this set up and it the stuff dreams are made of. It doesn't matter which track, whcih corner, no matter what, the pad feels exactly the same every time. The brakes are so good that the only time I've ever felt a change in the pedal was when I took the pad down to the backing-plate. The sport brakes the threadstarter is on are awful to a degree I cannot put into words. I should also note that at 250whp I went from replacing:
Sport brakes
1-1.5 days on a set of pads, 4 days on rotors
Corrado set-up
pads every 3 days and rotors every 3 days
TSE BBK
pads lasting ~12 days and rotors going at least 14-days since I'm still on the first set.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Savington View Post
And get the rubber lines off the car ASAP. I've seen them fail and the results are not pretty.
This is a personal safety concern.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Savington View Post
3. It takes practice but it is a better gearbox than the 5-speed. Stop using 2nd (it's too short to be of any use anywhere) and just shift it slow and practice. I wasn't sure about it when I switched either, but I can shift a 6-speed faster than I can shift a 5-speed now.
I now prefer the 6-speed significantly too. I drive a 5-speed daily, 6-in my track car, and a 6 in my daily soon.
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Old 07-02-2012, 07:35 PM   #10
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949 Xida's for suspension would be my vote.

Do you know what your oil temps are? From what I've seen of others tracking MSM's they tend to run high. Might consider an oil cooler. Are you running a quality synthetic? I like Mobil1, several here run Rotella T6, others will chime in with their recommendations.
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Old 07-02-2012, 09:18 PM   #11
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Good luck fixing the stock ECU, it is ------- retarded. Tuning via UPS sounds even stupider. Buy a MS2 from Reverant instead. Probably cost about what you paid for Chip Torque to solder something into your ECU. Didn't think they were flashing the MSM yet, only n/a NBs?

Quote:
-a little trouble with the transition to light boost when feathering the throttle at mid corner; it bucks/surges lightly... but enough to unsettle the tires, which causes you to take the corner slower than optimal.
I've had the same issue on track with the stock ECU and never figured it out. I now blame VTCS. Easy enough to test on your next track day.
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Old 07-02-2012, 10:51 PM   #12
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I've had the same issue on track with the stock ECU and never figured it out. I now blame VTCS. Easy enough to test on your next track day.[/QUOTE]

Is that the tumbler system? I am getting a tumbler code... 2004 I think. Can I just disconnect or disable them in the closed position?

Thank you for your suggestion.
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Old 07-02-2012, 10:52 PM   #13
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Not many people complain about the hawks being squishy, I compare them more to pushing on a block of wood duct taped to the fire wall and the car slows down somehow. I would certainly bleed the brakes and switch to a better fluid, ATE super blue or Moutol 600. And you say it lifts up, only the back lifts up right? you need Grippier pads in the back, normally I would say shittier pads in the front but you track the car so you need good pads all around.
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Old 07-02-2012, 11:02 PM   #14
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The squishy pedal is from radial slop in the caliper, not the pad.
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Old 07-02-2012, 11:19 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtred View Post
Is that the tumbler system? I am getting a tumbler code... 2004 I think. Can I just disconnect or disable them in the closed position?

Thank you for your suggestion.
yes
unplug it
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Old 07-03-2012, 12:51 PM   #16
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The stock shifter is pretty good, but I did find that the Miataroadster shifter helped some with feel. I got the longer one and it put the shifter handle at a more natural location for me
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Old 07-03-2012, 01:46 PM   #17
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I'm no expert, but I think you run way too much tire pressure. Every Miata + NT-01 owner said somewhere around 31-34psi hot.
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Old 07-03-2012, 03:28 PM   #18
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gt, what cold pressures are producing 40psi hot?

edit: keep in mind there's no magical pressure to run. AFAIK, you need to read the tire wear, temps, etc, and adjust accordingly.
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Old 07-03-2012, 03:56 PM   #19
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gt, what cold pressures are producing 40psi hot?

edit: keep in mind there's no magical pressure to run. AFAIK, you need to read the tire wear, temps, etc, and adjust accordingly.
I agree but 31 psi has been great in every Miata on 225s that I've seen.
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Old 07-03-2012, 04:03 PM   #20
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Yeah, that's more or less where I always am, but a 9psi jump sounds like a lot between cold and hot, so I'm guessing he's a few psi higher.
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