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Old 02-27-2015, 02:13 PM   #1
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Default My gameplan so far - your advice?

So i'll try to give as much back story as i can, while avoiding a massive wall of text.

Basically for the past few months my Fiance and i have been doing HPDE weekends in our mustangs, her in a 2014 V6 and me in a 2013 5.0. This was fine for a while, but the consumables just got to be ridiculous, $1000+ sets of tires, $500 for front rotors and pads, all of these things for both cars and we quickly realized it wasn't sustainable. We're trying to save for a house and a wedding as well, so we figured if we wanted to keep doing this, we had to find a way to do it on a budget.

For that reason, i sold my 5.0 (i've had 2 450-500 whp cars, i figured a fun little convertible would be a nice change of pace) and picked me up a 2001 miata. The game plan here was to either make this one a shared "racecar" between us, or leave it as my daily and pick up another miata to use on the weekends.

I think i have a winning game plan here, and mind you, i've only had the miata about a month and have thus only been on these forums about as long. I remember clearly reading the intro post: "you can build a podium car without ever posting a single thread to this forum," and i believe it, the knowledge base here is HUGE. I basically am just needing help assessing the ... plausibility of my current plan if you will. I'm the kind of person to dive head first into a project and research, but sometimes i'll admit i get a little over my head.

Here's basically the (very) rough gameplan so far:

I'll keep the 2001 as my daily, but its looking like it wont be the track car for a few reasons, Namely the difficulty in tuning. I've decided against a turbo because this car will see double duty between my Finance and I, and I just feel that is asking a lot of the car on a stock motor, and we wont be able to build this motor AND boost it for quite some time ... Aside from that, if we wanted to put a baller 2.0L high compression motor, or boost it, or even just tune the damn thing, it needs a standalone to be done properly, which poses difficulties with inspection since the OBD-2 wont work.

The options are: If it was boosted, just put the stock computer, injectors, MAF back in once a year, limp it to the shop, get inspected, and call it a day. Inconvenient, but effective. Same thing if the car was just tuned using the stand alone, just go back to factory computer and do that. The high compression motor however, would likely not run on the factory electronics, would throw all sorts of trouble codes, and would likely fail inspection.

This got me thinking ... why not just pick up a pre OBD-II NA miata? Inspection is basically just visual at that point, aside from the tailpipe sniffer, so i could do whatever the hell i wanted really and still be street legal. For that reason, back to the high compression motor i mentioned earlier... I have a feeling the stock 1.6 is pretty lackluster .. hell, the VVT 1.8 in my 01 is fairly underwhelming. For that reason, i think the current game plan is to:

-buy an OBD-I NA car in decent shape
-Get it track ready, fluids, brakes, seats, roll bar ...
-pull the 1.6 and set it aside, and drop in an NA2 (or whatever the terminology is) 1.8L to use for the meantime
-slowly build the 1.6L on the side into the above mentioned high compression 2.0L, Similar to 949 racing's whammy engines.

The goal would be about 160-170 whp from an all motor application, although i care more about midrange than top end, so those numbers may change as i talk to people and do more research. All motor should easily provide the power we want in a light weight NA, and should be able to handle double duty sessions each day without a problem. I'm aware the NB apparently has a much better chassis, but i figured i'll just take it one step at a time right now. When she gets into the same run group as me (the reason we are able to share a car now is i am one group ahead) we very well may have to put both on track.


A few key notes to consider:
1. I am capable of tuning the car myself
2. i have not taken my miata on track yet, so my horsepower goals could very well be unrealistic, i'm just used to a certain level of ... oopmh from my 5.0.
3. I want this car to remain easily street legal. I dont want to deal with under the table inspections, or having to tow it to a track.
4. The point is to kind of be doing this on a budget ... obviously the cheapest route would be to just leave the stock motor in there and call it a day, but ... i have a feeling i would like more power, and i would like to do it right, so ... you see the struggle.

Again, sorry for the massive wall of text. I'm doing all the research i can, but just appreciate a few pointers to keep heading in the right direction. Thanks guys.
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Old 02-27-2015, 02:33 PM   #2
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Read every thread Emilio has made in this section. Follow his guide on how to build a fun NA track miata.
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Old 02-27-2015, 02:39 PM   #3
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Haha i've read several of his threads, those are what have actually got my gears turning so much. Its just hard because there are so many options, that just trying to find the "best" (a subjective term i know) is what makes it difficult. Luckily in Houston there are a ton of OEM and spare parts floating around, and i've read 949s articles on basically piecing together the best OEM pieces, but again ... it just gets to the point where i feel like if i am spending money on an engine, i may as well get the most out of it.
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Old 02-27-2015, 02:44 PM   #4
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Built NA VVT motor, MS3X, Xidas, 15x9 6UL. That is basically combo to awesomeness.
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Old 02-27-2015, 02:54 PM   #5
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Quote:
-pull the 1.6 and set it aside, and drop in an NA2 (or whatever the terminology is) 1.8L to use for the meantime
-slowly build the 1.6L on the side into the above mentioned high compression 2.0L, Similar to 949 racing's whammy engines.
First of all, start off with 1.8 car (NA8 chasis 94-97). Theses have larger brake rotors, big drive shafts and axels, and some chassis stiffening bits). Find one with a torsen LSD to begin with.

You want to build a 1.8L engine to get anywhere near 2.0L. Don't spend any money building the 1.6.

The 99-00 heads with a square top intake manifold have been known to make more power than the 94-97 heads. Or if you want to mess with VVT and have an ECU that can run it use an 01+

I'd focus on getting the suspension brake and tires all sorted out before putting any money into the power. The 949 Big grip kit seems to be the way to go in that category.

SuperMiata BGK
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Old 02-27-2015, 03:05 PM   #6
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I have gone pretty far down the path that you describe. I've been thinking lately that if I were building a track miata again from scratch, I'd buy a 94 or 95 model (or 96-97 if you don't have to worry about emissions and can megasquirt it) and go the Jackson Racing Rotrex route. It's a big chunk of money up front but it gets you more power than a $10k NA build without even having to remove the valve cover. And when you blow it up, the supercharger is unharmed and you throw in a junkyard long block for less money than a set of valve springs and chinese rods.
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Old 02-27-2015, 03:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyotani View Post
First of all, start off with 1.8 car (NA8 chasis 94-97). Theses have larger brake rotors, big drive shafts and axels, and some chassis stiffening bits). Find one with a torsen LSD to begin with.

You want to build a 1.8L engine to get anywhere near 2.0L. Don't spend any money building the 1.6.

The 99-00 heads with a square top intake manifold have been known to make more power than the 94-97 heads. Or if you want to mess with VVT and have an ECU that can run it use an 01+

I'd focus on getting the suspension brake and tires all sorted out before putting any money into the power. The 949 Big grip kit seems to be the way to go in that category.

SuperMiata BGK
AHH, for some reason i was thinking the 1.8L started in 96, and thats when the cars became OBD-II. Knowing i can just snag a 94-95 makes things a bit easier. The suspension and brakes will be sorted, and those are also the easier part of this project, the power part was the only piece i was still struggling with, and luckily there've already been some very helpful tips in this thread.


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Originally Posted by jpreston View Post
I have gone pretty far down the path that you describe. I've been thinking lately that if I were building a track miata again from scratch, I'd buy a 94 or 95 model (or 96-97 if you don't have to worry about emissions and can megasquirt it) and go the Jackson Racing Rotrex route. It's a big chunk of money up front but it gets you more power than a $10k NA build without even having to remove the valve cover. And when you blow it up, the supercharger is unharmed and you throw in a junkyard long block for less money than a set of valve springs and chinese rods.
Yeah ... i'm just back to this car seeing double duty ... 4 sessions a day of basically 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off, 20 minutes on, 20 off... i feel that the heat from that kind of driving will not only take its toll on the engine, but the car as a whole, and eventually the blower itself. I just feel that a strong all motor application may be easier and more reliable in the long haul. Were this car only getting driven by one person per weekend, i would be more inclined to agree with you and had actually looked at the rotrex quite a bit. The linear powerband is appealing for the track. I've driven and tuned several turbo cars, and its tricky to get them to behave like an all motor car and avoid that "torque swell," especially when the miatas only run like 6-8 psi ... not a lot of wiggle room.
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Old 02-27-2015, 03:49 PM   #8
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I don't see why the 2001 can't see track time even if it needs to be OBD-II compliant for inspections. You just never turbo it and all you should need to do is replace the ecu, exhaust, and intake for inspections. An MS3x would be completely plug and play without having to change wiring or anything permanent so returning to stock should be an absolute breeze.

Put all the real money mods in the suspension, tires, and brakes which won't have any impact on your inspections. The car will be deadnuts reliable for double duty and power will not be the limiting factor for better laptimes for a long long time.
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Old 02-27-2015, 04:21 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Voltwings View Post
AHH, for some reason i was thinking the 1.8L started in 96, and thats when the cars became OBD-II. Knowing i can just snag a 94-95 makes things a bit easier. The suspension and brakes will be sorted, and those are also the easier part of this project, the power part was the only piece i was still struggling with, and luckily there've already been some very helpful tips in this thread.




Yeah ... i'm just back to this car seeing double duty ... 4 sessions a day of basically 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off, 20 minutes on, 20 off... i feel that the heat from that kind of driving will not only take its toll on the engine, but the car as a whole, and eventually the blower itself. I just feel that a strong all motor application may be easier and more reliable in the long haul. Were this car only getting driven by one person per weekend, i would be more inclined to agree with you and had actually looked at the rotrex quite a bit. The linear powerband is appealing for the track. I've driven and tuned several turbo cars, and its tricky to get them to behave like an all motor car and avoid that "torque swell," especially when the miatas only run like 6-8 psi ... not a lot of wiggle room.
I've gone down the NA track car route. I beat the hell out of my car. 10-15 weekends a year. I do plenty of weekends sharing the car with my dad or others and the car will do 10 sessions a day 20 on 20 off etc etc the entire weekend without missing a beat. You can look at my build thread for some back ground info... basically it's a 99 w/vvt, ms labs ms3 basic, 147whp, 949 xida's etc etc.

Your HP goals are quite high for an NA build. You'll be 6-8k deep on an NA motor that can take that sort of beating and make the power you want.

If this were my car and i wanted to make the power you want to make, with the reliability you want... I'd do the most basic motor build on a 1.8L with a 99 head or 01+ vvt head. Forged rods minimum. Double valve springs if you feel like going at the head, if not... fug it. Then spend money on cooling, oil cooler and rotrex and treat the motor as a consumable.

I should add that I have to pass smog every two years. I just put the stock ecu back on and Maf and run the car down for testing. It passes smog and runs just fine on the stock ecu.
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Old 02-27-2015, 04:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan_G View Post
I don't see why the 2001 can't see track time even if it needs to be OBD-II compliant for inspections. You just never turbo it and all you should need to do is replace the ecu, exhaust, and intake for inspections. An MS3x would be completely plug and play without having to change wiring or anything permanent so returning to stock should be an absolute breeze.

Put all the real money mods in the suspension, tires, and brakes which won't have any impact on your inspections. The car will be deadnuts reliable for double duty and power will not be the limiting factor for better laptimes for a long long time.
truth. That's what i've done with my car. And no offense to your mustang but there is only 1-2 tracks i go to a year where (ACS and Big Willow) I'm not typically blowing past boss 302 mustangs over and over.
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Old 02-27-2015, 04:33 PM   #11
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I don't see why the 2001 can't see track time even if it needs to be OBD-II compliant for inspections. You just never turbo it and all you should need to do is replace the ecu, exhaust, and intake for inspections. An MS3x would be completely plug and play without having to change wiring or anything permanent so returning to stock should be an absolute breeze.

Put all the real money mods in the suspension, tires, and brakes which won't have any impact on your inspections. The car will be deadnuts reliable for double duty and power will not be the limiting factor for better laptimes for a long long time.

Well i wasn't opposed to putting the 2001 on track, i was just thinking about the ease of adding power in the future. The part i highlighted caught my attention though, so i looked up some lap times for one of our local tracks i like.

Heres a 1.6L miata driven like a Baus by an instructor:

Heres a C6 Z06 not driven the best, but still turning almost the same lap times as the above miata ^^.

Really puts things in perspective, granted ... i'm still far from Baus status. I feel like a damn girl trying to decide what dress to wear ... i've "decided" on something no less than 20 times now haha.

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Originally Posted by EErockMiata View Post
truth. That's what i've done with my car. And no offense to your mustang but there is only 1-2 tracks i go to a year where (ACS and Big Willow) I'm not typically blowing past boss 302 mustangs over and over.
I've blown the doors off my fair share of Miatas none taken. I've blown past Gt500s, bosses, corvettes, porches ... and gotten my *** handed to me by integras, BR-zs, a damn mini ... and ok, maybe a few miatas haha. The mustang is a very capable car, but honestly what it is more than anything is intimidating. Its a big, heavy, powerful car ... that costs a lot of money if i go off track and wreck. I'll admit i always held back because i was worried about spinning, or going off track and crashing. It will be nice with a miata to be able to just drive ***** out and not really have to worry.
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Old 02-27-2015, 04:48 PM   #12
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I've blown the doors off my fair share of Miatas none taken. I've blown past Gt500s, bosses, corvettes, porches ... and gotten my *** handed to me by integras, BR-zs, a damn mini ... and ok, maybe a few miatas haha. The mustang is a very capable car, but honestly what it is more than anything is intimidating. Its a big, heavy, powerful car ... that costs a lot of money if i go off track and wreck. I'll admit i always held back because i was worried about spinning, or going off track and crashing. It will be nice with a miata to be able to just drive ***** out and not really have to worry.
my dad is a camaro/vette guy. I hear ya. I love flying out to his side of the country and hammering down the straight aways at Road America at 150mph. However other than that I even found his old z06 not quite as fun to drive as my miata. He has even come around to agree with me.

I think you'll find that this car with 145ish whp and 2200lbs is way faster than it should be. You can easily make the jump up to 200whp at any point. But with 150 whp and a big money suspension and tire setup, you should be able to end up in the top 1/3 of lap times at most track events across the country.
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Old 02-27-2015, 07:47 PM   #13
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I fully support the idea of getting your suspension squared away before worrying about power. I still regret wasting $1000 on the FM Vmaxx Stage 2 package, when I should have just gottent the 949 BGK and been waaay happier. I hate the Vmaxx's.
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Old 02-27-2015, 07:57 PM   #14
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The suspension will be sorted, i fully support that as well . I picked up a set of MSM bilsteins locally for next to nothing and am researching the ebay sleeves and a set of decent springs to make the "budget coilover" set up. That should hold us over just fine until some Xidas come into the budget. The car is slightly loose as it sits (from some very scientific spirited back roads testing lol...) so i'm looking to add the 1.125" tubular front bar from 949 as well and see how it fits (car has 205/50/15 on 15x7 spec miata rims). I'm not a fan of suspension packages ... i like a one thing at a time approach so i can quantify the changes, though the entire kit may very well end up on the car ... it'll just be one piece at a time.

Brakes will also be covered, i've fabbed a few brake ducts for previous builds, and i still have the 3" hoses left over from my mustang ... shouldn't ever have to worry about this car on track, even seeing double duty.

The power part was really the only part i was struggling with, which is why i made this thread, though i do appreciate the input.
I'm currently reading through this thread though, and the links he posted (though i've read them before, cant ever read good info enough). Looks like i may need to suck it up and buy me a flat top manifold and an air intake. I'd been set on keeping the stock intake due to heatsoak (actually just picked up a spare OEM intake so i could use it as a template to build a cold air box behind the drivers side light) but it looks like 949 saw better results ditching it due to plastic retaining a high amount of heat, despite its slow heat soak.

http://forum.miata.net/vb/showthread.php?t=548760
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Old 02-27-2015, 08:12 PM   #15
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Click on EERock's name and go to the section "Find All posts started by EERock"

He sounded exactly like you... back in 2011.
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Old 02-27-2015, 08:24 PM   #16
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Haha, hopefully it doesnt take 4 years for me to see the light. I know the car can handle, and i know its a lot of fun... i also just "know" at the moment its underpowered, but like i said ... i'm used to being able to use 450 whp as a crutch haha. Hopefully looking to spend the summer prepping the (whichever we end up with) miata and hit the track again come fall, so i've got a few months to slowly start piecing a build together, which for now will consist of the bare necessities to get it on track: Roll bar, freshen up these original brakes, i'd really like some seats and harnesses, but like i said, bare essentials come first and we'll go from there.
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Old 02-27-2015, 08:54 PM   #17
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-one of the local guys tracks a 5.0 on Nittos/full susp/brakes/etc. were roughly same driving ability wise and within a second of each other lap time wise. I'm running 1990 1.6/turbo with approx. 200-250whp. HPDE and 20min W2W sessions.
-he's told me the exact same thing you said about the running costs. its bad. you'll be much happier in the consumables front.
-straight line, were about even. he starts edging away only AFTER 100mph. if I'm feeling particularly suicidal that day and running high boost 250whp, were basically the same everywhere straight line wise.
-I wouldn't throw away the 1.6 just yet. either engine is more than capable of breaking the 6 speed when turbocharged, and if its a track car, who cares whats happening under 4000rpm anyways. Ive spanked every 1.8 turbo and LSX miata up here so far with the little 1.6. but this is all if you're willing to turbo. if not, then yes, follow conventional wisdom and do 1.8.
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Old 02-27-2015, 09:03 PM   #18
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Emilio will tell you to build it up NA, get everything working well, and if the HP bug is still there, Jackson Racing rotrex.
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Old 02-27-2015, 09:08 PM   #19
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don't build the 1.6. not worth it.

if you are looking for track time, drive it stock or lightly modded.

I would do Brakes +Tires, then Suspension. I would also do an I/H/E at the same time you are doing the first 3, just because they will get you a bit more grunt, but don't require as much monies.

Otherwise, jpreston's suggestion is probably the best I think.
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Old 02-28-2015, 09:30 AM   #20
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Hey you already have a nice 01 with VVT engine. Put a megasquirt on it (140-145WHP) and have fun with it. Sure you'll need a roll bar and seats but you're almost ready.

Put some good rubbers like RC-1 so easily available in US right and have a blast. Buy a BGK from 949 racing later and some nice pads, and you'll be golden and will not miss your old car while smiling on the curbs !

Well that's a lot of fun to come ! welcome to it...

Build an engine if you wish after all that in your spare times.
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