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Old 01-28-2012, 03:38 AM   #1
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Default Help me build my car

Hopefully this is the right subforum for this. If not, feel free to move it or flame the living ---- out of me.

Last year, I did a bunch of track days with my moderately built '06 STI. I realized that I needed a cheaper car for the track to learn with, and after much consideration, decided on a miata and sold the STI.

Today, I picked up a '95 M edition with 140k miles. 100% rust free southern car.



My plan is to build a super fun track day/hpde car (i have no plans to build a competitive car in any specific class, just for fun).

Car currently is up to date on all maintenance. Only mods are a jackson racing header and FM butterfly brace.

These are the parts that I tentatively plan to put on the car. I dont want to go too nuts just yet, but I like to buy quality the first time.

-- Miatacage cage + hardtop
-- seats (either sparco evo2 or kirkleys, havent decided yet) + harnesses
-- Xida clubsports
-- RB front bar
-- 6ul's. Havent decided between 15x8 and x9.
-- Full poly bushing kit


Here's the kicker. I had planned to keep the car NA for this summer to learn the fine points of driving a miata, but an interesting deal came up. There's a guy locally with a turbo miata ('95 as well) that is going to LS swap it. He is parting out the entire drivetrain, but is very poor at his marketing so there hasnt been any interest in 9 months. Also, he doesnt have a garage until summer to work on the car so he cant actually remove the parts. For ~$2500, I can get this entire setup (its in a running/driving car right now) that I remove for him.

Complete Begi S1 Turbo Kit w/ Garret 2554 Turbo and coolant reroute.
Megasquirt that has some glitches so it needs to be rebuilt/replaced.
FM Boost Gauge + Innovate LC-1
CX Racing Radiator & fans
RX-8 Injectors
Brand new FM clutch, not sure if level 1 or 2 with SS line.
Motor and Trans with 100k miles on them. 10k of which were turbo'ed.

I wanted to eventually go with a vband kit, but this price has me second guessing myself. I havent researched these kits extensively as I wasn't planning on buying one. Are they as reliable for a 200-220hp track setup as a vband setup? I apologize ahead of time for this being a question that is taboo.
My other concern with this kit is that is almost 2 years old. Did begi make a lot of changes in the kit in the past 2 years?

Buying the turbo kit eats away a noticeable chunk of my "budget" with parts that I dont "need". I think this is a great deal though. Is there something I can get cheaper/lesser quality in a different area that I wouldn't necessarily notice the performance difference as a non-competitive driver? I know the xidas are probably what people are going to say, but I have done a lot of research and really like these.
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Old 01-28-2012, 06:07 AM   #2
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First of all: Smart move to go for a cheaper car to learn on and smart move again to pick the ever excellent Miata. Good man.

On the turbo kit, IMO don't. Sorry if that is not what you want to hear, but remember: there is always another deal out there / car to buy / car being parted out etc. Learn to drive you car N/A first, before you turn up the power. A Miata that is well set up and modified reasonably can be fast enought to put many much more expensive and powerful cars to shame. Learn that first, then go for HP.

And on a side note: either push the bushings to the next build / upgrade or set aside plenty of time for them. The install is pretty straight forward, but for me as well as several others there has been problems with binding which absolutly ruins the handling of your car. The solution is to spend a weekend with a lathe (english?) and machine the metal sleeves a few 0,Xmm to fit better (as in "bind less"). Zerk/grease-fittings are also a beautiful thing to add as you have everything apart.

Have fun!
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Old 01-28-2012, 06:10 AM   #3
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]
And on a side note: either push the bushings to the next build / upgrade or set aside plenty of time for them. The install is pretty straight forward, but for me as well as several others there has been problems with binding which absolutly ruins the handling of your car. The solution is to spend a weekend with a lathe (english?) and machine the metal sleeves a few 0,Xmm to fit better (as in "bind less"). Zerk/grease-fittings are also a beautiful thing to add as you have everything apart.

Have fun!
I haven't read this before. You would think that if it was a common issue, they would make the sleeves smaller. Should have ordered that lathe on new years day like i had planned!

Are there specific manufacturers that have this issue? I feel like I have seen more than one poly kit-- didnt really think there was anything to screw up in making bushings so I didnt read up on them.
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Old 01-28-2012, 10:28 AM   #4
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I have poly pushings and don't seem to experience this binding issue...

Anyways, No turbo experience. I would suggest learning without the extra power as one of the big things about the miata. You focus on learning the steering and braking, rather than adding accelerating to the mix and modulating that.

If you like the turbo setup, why not buy it now and set it aside until you are ready?
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Old 01-28-2012, 11:56 AM   #5
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You honestly need to do suspension first, better brake pads, stronger clutch, and stickier tires before making the car any more difficult to handle by adding speed/power. Just doing the suspension right will eat up a lot of the money you would have spent on the turbo parts from that guy, but will make you much faster on the track than doing the turbo parts instead of the suspension and other stuff, if that makes sense.
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Old 01-28-2012, 01:13 PM   #6
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I would stick with the first plan (get the 9's, don't forget brakes too) as that should be done before turbo anyways.

The package sounds like a decent deal. But it's a cart/horse thing..
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Old 01-28-2012, 02:43 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Track View Post

Anyways, No turbo experience. I would suggest learning without the extra power as one of the big things about the miata. You focus on learning the steering and braking, rather than adding accelerating to the mix and modulating that.

If you like the turbo setup, why not buy it now and set it aside until you are ready?
This was the main reason to switch to miatas. Theres nothing saying I cant keep the kit off of the car for now.

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Originally Posted by sixshooter View Post
You honestly need to do suspension first, better brake pads, stronger clutch, and stickier tires before making the car any more difficult to handle by adding speed/power. Just doing the suspension right will eat up a lot of the money you would have spent on the turbo parts from that guy, but will make you much faster on the track than doing the turbo parts instead of the suspension and other stuff, if that makes sense.
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I would stick with the first plan (get the 9's, don't forget brakes too) as that should be done before turbo anyways.

The package sounds like a decent deal. But it's a cart/horse thing..
This isnt necessarily a "one or the other" type deal. I do know that suspension is what makes you faster. I might just have to man up and change my setup to springs/shocks rather than xidas to save some money.

By brakes, you mean just good pads and the essentials right, not a big brake kit? I just figured that brakes were a given so I didnt include it.

Last edited by stuiephoto; 01-28-2012 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 01-28-2012, 02:52 PM   #8
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What is "struts"?
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Old 01-28-2012, 02:54 PM   #9
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What is "struts"?
Oh shush. Shocks. Im coming from years of subaru talk. :P
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Old 01-28-2012, 02:56 PM   #10
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I think the above plan looks good. +1 on brake and clutch upgrade. I wish I had started that way. Wider tires, bigger breaks, and the best suspension. It's a blast pushing "faster" cars through the turns.

I don't think the deal on that turbo setup is that good. I'd pass.

Here is my down the road thinking for you. Others may want to chime in about it being good/bad. You might want to build a high comp 99+ 1.8 NA motor to go in later. It will mate to current trans. Add an MS3X to squeak out the extra power with fuel and timing. The new Knock Detection looks promising. I think that a high compression turbo setup could be the way to go down the road. When it gets to the point that you are thinking about expensive head work to gain more power. That's when I'd go forced induction. High compression, small turbo (2554ish). My 2554 got me to 210HP on a 1.6.
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Old 01-28-2012, 03:05 PM   #11
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The 2554 will be responsive as hell, but it may not flow enough for the top end. If you've got a tight budget though, it's a decent place to start. You'll find arguments for both high and low compression.
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Old 01-28-2012, 03:25 PM   #12
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if its a track car, I don't think you will really care about the higher compression, most of your power will be coming from the turbo anyway, and if you are going for responsive, you should aim for early spool. plus a bump in max rpms and depending on the trans/rear end combo, you should be in turbo land all the time.

Anyways, take it from Sixshooter (who is following this philosophy), become a fast driver before you get a fast car. I would personally take whatever budget for the turbo and put it towards track events. When you get upset that you can't catch the Porsches in your DE group, then start working the turbo.

Last edited by Seefo; 01-28-2012 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 01-28-2012, 03:40 PM   #13
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I think im going to try and buy the motor, trans for spares and also pick up the rad and fans, and clutch.

The whole point of buying a miata was to learn how to drive the right way, and not rely on power/boost to cover up my mistakes. I have to stop looking at "deals" that arent on my build roadmap. I would rather have extra money on top of my budget than run out of money.

Spend my money. Xidas or billstein/sleeves? I have done my research here and I know that I want the xidas. The question is, do i deserve them. I know the answer to that is no.
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Old 01-28-2012, 03:52 PM   #14
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Xidas! Why wouldn't you deserve them? A better setup suspension will close the gap between the average driver and a professional. Not saying you would close the gap completely, but it would make it smaller.

Get the 9s! You won't regret it.

Safety equipment, seats, 6-point harness, roll-bar/cage, etc.
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Old 01-28-2012, 04:14 PM   #15
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Xidas! Why wouldn't you deserve them? A better setup suspension will close the gap between the average driver and a professional. Not saying you would close the gap completely, but it would make it smaller.

Get the 9s! You won't regret it.

Safety equipment, seats, 6-point harness, roll-bar/cage, etc.
Im worried that I will be way overspending based on my driving level. I dont know if i will be able to justify 2200 dollar coils for a hpde car, when i could potentially get 85% of their performance for half of the cost and spend that $1200 on track time and tires. More reading to do!
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Old 01-28-2012, 04:57 PM   #16
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By brakes I meant just pads that won't fade so easily as stock for now (like the Hawk HP+). And once you get the suspension and tires to carry more speed in the corners you will end up with more speed at the end of the straights because you will be entering the straights faster. But you probably won't need a big brake kit until you double your stock HP.

But first, as was mentioned above, you will need a legal rollbar to even get on the track, and a good pair of seats and a set of 5 or 6 pt. harnesses should go with that. The stock clutch is weak even at stock HP. The radiator will be insufficient for the track (Mishimoto 52mm here) especially if you plan to end up with more HP in the future.


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The whole point of buying a miata was to learn how to drive the right way, and not rely on power/boost to cover up my mistakes.
That is the single smartest thing I've heard a noob say lately. I cant tell you how many people I have run down like dogs in the corners because they brake, turn in, and apex in the wrong places and then they walk away from me on the straights but still think they are better drivers. Horsepower covers a multitude of sins. And most of those guys will never learn the best line or how to really hold a car with it dancing at the edge of adhesion. Or they won't know how to hold onto it when forced to push it. They will always be beaten by guys who bothered to learn.

Good for you for learning that early on. Most guys want a faster car when they already can't control the one they've got.
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Old 01-28-2012, 05:13 PM   #17
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By brakes I meant just pads that won't fade so easily as stock for now (like the Hawk HP+). And once you get the suspension and tires to carry more speed in the corners you will end up with more speed at the end of the straights because you will be entering the straights faster. But you probably won't need a big brake kit until you double your stock HP.

But first, as was mentioned above, you will need a legal rollbar to even get on the track, and a good pair of seats and a set of 5 or 6 pt. harnesses should go with that. The stock clutch is weak even at stock HP. The radiator will be insufficient for the track (Mishimoto 52mm here) especially if you plan to end up with more HP in the future.


That is the single smartest thing I've heard a noob say lately. I cant tell you how many people I have run down like dogs in the corners because they brake, turn in, and apex in the wrong places and then they walk away from me on the straights but still think they are better drivers. Horsepower covers a multitude of sins. And most of those guys will never learn the best line or how to really hold a car with it dancing at the edge of adhesion. Or they won't know how to hold onto it when forced to push it. They will always be beaten by guys who bothered to learn.

Good for you for learning that early on. Most guys want a faster car when they already can't control the one they've got.
I was not at all a fan of HP+'es on my sti. I thought they were garbage compared to lets say, dtc-60's. The brakes were the weak point on the STI (heavy car even for brembo 4 pistons) so I am familiar with the stuff required. I still have plenty rbf-600 left over.

I am buying and installing a miatacage, so that takes care of your second point. I need to find someone with a kirkley locally to see if I like them. I love the pricepoint compared to the cost and fab work involved in installing a full size seat. Already have a helmet and HANS, need to get harnesses.

This clutch was replaced with an exedy clutch less than 10k miles ago, so it should be good for at least a little bit. I think im buying the radiator, clutch, and motor from that turbo kit mentioned in the initial post.

It took a lot of soul searching to get me to sell the STI. I absolutely loved that car, but I know I wasnt coming close to driving it to its potential. I spent about a month or so talking to a ton of people, and finally settled on the miata as my "learn the right way to drive" car. It sucks because the track thats closest to me, toronto motorsports park, doesnt really do instruction, so I am usually on my own for "learning". I switched to a miata to have a lower car/expendables cost so I could spend more on track days. I was burning about 7 gallons of fuel on a 20-25 minute session at nelson ledges in my STI.
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Old 01-28-2012, 06:34 PM   #18
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I was burning about 7 gallons of fuel on a 20-25 minute session at nelson ledges in my STI.


As for the brakes, I guess the point is stock pads won't cut it so run whatever you are comfortable with. Miatas weigh 1000lbs or so less so it won't take as much brakes, but our discs and pads are probably smaller.
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Old 01-28-2012, 06:55 PM   #19
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Where are you located? I see rain and you mentioned Miatacage. Any chance you're in the NW? I know there was a Miatacage kit on craigslist recently, dunno if you saw that.

As for turbo vs. N/A. I'd agree with most here, stay away from the turbo for a few years. And know that unless you buy a top of the line kit right off the bat with MS, inconel studs, ducting, TSE radiator, etc., you're going to have issues. I was away from the track for a year when I went turbo, and the next half dozen or so were plagued with over heating and tuning issues.

As for the kit itself, the BEGI S downpipe might give you issues on track, both Sav and Hustler ran them, both had issues IIRC. They fall apart in the middle and it's not exactly the best design in terms of flow, although cheap and great for a street car.
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Old 01-28-2012, 09:00 PM   #20
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Smart move stepping back from the STi to the Miata - they are such great cars for learning to drive and for learning to keep your momentum through corners..... which is where real speed is to be found. I started off in a 2005 911... but like you, I wanted to learn to really drive so bought a Spec miata race car.

Now HPDE's are great fun, but if you want to learnt to drive fast ....... you can't beat racing...... which is not cheap but represents better value for money for the progress made. When I started racing, I thought I was a pretty decent driver being signed off and allowed to drive alone in porsche club HPDEs. However over the course of a season racing Spec Miata against others in practically identical cars, I dropped 7s between the start of race school and the end of the season on the same track. The reason is other cars just pulled you along. Haven't got the ***** to be flat thru a corner?? well the F-er in front of you just did it, and the cars the same and I'll be f-ed if he's getting away from me..... and once you do it once, its easy and you do it every time. Do that every corner and badda bing, 7s faster, balancing the car on a knife edge through the corners .... and this is all with only 95hp in a spec 1.6 sealed engine.

So my advice is...... do your thing ..... but if you want to become a better driver, consider Spec miata racing. Its not cheap, but it is the cheapest form of racing around. Then, when you can drive and you stepb back up to a high power car, you will totally kill those with similar cars who brake too early, stumble throu the corner and rely on their power to accelerate away and cover their absolute lack of talent

PS DTC 60s rock

Last edited by SSMtobeturbo'd; 01-28-2012 at 09:04 PM. Reason: typos
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