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Old 01-12-2015, 04:33 AM   #1
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Default Turbo before or after track?

Hey guys, first time poster here... I'm the new owner of a used FM Voodoo II kit that is currently sitting in a pile of parts in my garage. Come springtime, I'll be buying all the required parts to get it running with a Megasquirt in the 200-220 whp range, complete with inconel studs, locking hardware, and a coolant reroute and radiator to make it track safe.

However, here's my conundrum: At the end of May, I'm going to a three day HPDE event called Gridlife at Gingerman Raceway. This is going to be the first track event that I have driven at. That said, my plan for the spring was to:

- Get a Megasquirt in March
- Learn to tune the car N/A
- Take it to the track and learn how to drive it while it's still slow
- Throw the turbo on and get tuning after that.

Lately though, I've been thinking that since the car is 99% daily driver and I'm only going to be seeing one or two track events each year, it might be worth it to get the megasquirt sooner and just throw the turbo on as soon as I feel confident in my abilities with tuning. I know the "correct" decision here is to be patient and wait until I've got some experience with the car on a track, but I was wondering if anyone here had their first track experience in a turbo miata or thinks it would be too much power for a first-timer to handle. On one hand, I feel like it would be more fun to really try to push the car while its slow, but on the other, I know it's my first HPDE so either way I'm not going to be able to push the car to its limits. It will be prepped for the track appropriately either way.

I appreciate your input everyone. Thanks!

Last edited by Minty; 01-12-2015 at 04:54 AM.
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Old 01-12-2015, 07:36 AM   #2
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Here's my input! Track it without the turbo, with the stock ECU.

Because you'll do your tuning yourself and you're beginning with tuning too, don't risk blowing up your engine. Simply change brake oil with track ready oil, brake pads with track ready pads and go as is. You'll have plenty of fun! I had
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Old 01-12-2015, 10:07 AM   #3
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After! I have my first HPDE coming up this year and I'll be wiring the wastegate open so it's as close to NA as possible. Agreed it would be fun, but you won't have to worry as much about overheating your brakes or your motor on a day of much learning. I figure I'll probably only learn bad habits with the extra speed.

If you get a solid tune down, MS on the track might be preferable for you.
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Old 01-12-2015, 10:26 AM   #4
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If your goal is to learn to drive well, start with NA. I've been doing this for seven years now and am just now starting to look at some sort of FI.

One reason is reliability. In that seven years, I've missed one session due to car issues, and that was due to me hitting a cone that broke my crank position sensor off. I doubt anyone that has gone FI can make that claim.

Another is that you simply don't need the power to learn to drive. It's actually a hindrance. Learning to use power should come after learning to use the rest of the car.

Also, it's fun to run down Porsches, Corvettes, etc with 126HP.

robert
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Old 01-12-2015, 10:29 AM   #5
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Gah! I was going to be at gridlife but sadly it's the same weekend my best friend is getting married. I went last year and it was a lot of fun. I plan on attending the Gridlife at autobahn later on, but I'm gonna miss the big first event. :(

Otherwise I was gonna say I could help you out trackside if you ran into problems with the megasquirt.

Are you local-ish to IL? There's a few of us whom are squirted who could help you out getting things up and running before May. I would keep it N/A for now though. Gingerman is a fun/easy track.
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Old 01-12-2015, 11:13 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minty View Post
Hey guys, first time poster here... I'm the new owner of a used FM Voodoo II kit that is currently sitting in a pile of parts in my garage. Come springtime, I'll be buying all the required parts to get it running with a Megasquirt in the 200-220 whp range, complete with inconel studs, locking hardware, and a coolant reroute and radiator to make it track safe.

However, here's my conundrum: At the end of May, I'm going to a three day HPDE event called Gridlife at Gingerman Raceway. This is going to be the first track event that I have driven at. That said, my plan for the spring was to:

- Get a Megasquirt in March
- Learn to tune the car N/A
- Take it to the track and learn how to drive it while it's still slow
- Throw the turbo on and get tuning after that.

Lately though, I've been thinking that since the car is 99% daily driver and I'm only going to be seeing one or two track events each year, it might be worth it to get the megasquirt sooner and just throw the turbo on as soon as I feel confident in my abilities with tuning. I know the "correct" decision here is to be patient and wait until I've got some experience with the car on a track, but I was wondering if anyone here had their first track experience in a turbo miata or thinks it would be too much power for a first-timer to handle. On one hand, I feel like it would be more fun to really try to push the car while its slow, but on the other, I know it's my first HPDE so either way I'm not going to be able to push the car to its limits. It will be prepped for the track appropriately either way.

I appreciate your input everyone. Thanks!
I suggest you get some nice brake pads and skip out on the turbo (put the megasquirt on before the track event if you really want. you might be able to squeeze out a few ponies with a decent tune that way).

What makes the miata really good to learn on is the balance and lack of power. The lack of power really helps you learn the steering/turning.
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Old 01-12-2015, 11:27 AM   #7
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Don't try to learn to drive and learn to tune at the same time! Drive it stock with fresh brake fluid and enjoy the experience. It takes way more time to tune than you think and you don't want to mess with your track time because you have a car that won't run quite right.
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Old 01-12-2015, 11:56 AM   #8
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If this really is your daily I honestly would not turbo and track the car.

Daily driver + turbo + track ... (you can only choose two)

Just my opinion. not a rule. But either way turbo after your confidant in your driving ability at the track and your car's reliability in an NA state.
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Old 01-12-2015, 03:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalardan View Post
Here's my input! Track it without the turbo, with the stock ECU.
Quote:
Originally Posted by robertcope View Post
If your goal is to learn to drive well, start with NA. I've been doing this for seven years now and am just now starting to look at some sort of FI.
Seems like this is the general consensus, and I don't disagree. Good to hear your opinions. I'll still probably start tuning with the MS in March, but I'll probably throw the stock ecu back in for the event, just to be on the safe side.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazduh View Post
Are you local-ish to IL? There's a few of us whom are squirted who could help you out getting things up and running before May. I would keep it N/A for now though. Gingerman is a fun/easy track.
Yep, I'm currently going to college at NIU but I live in the suburbs near Aurora and Naperville when I'm on breaks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seefo View Post
I suggest you get some nice brake pads and skip out on the turbo (put the megasquirt on before the track event if you really want. you might be able to squeeze out a few ponies with a decent tune that way).

What makes the miata really good to learn on is the balance and lack of power. The lack of power really helps you learn the steering/turning.
Yeah, like I said the car will be prepped either way. I have coilovers and chassis bracing, I'll be running 15x8's with 205 width Direzza Z2's and I'm getting the supermiata stage 1 brakes in spring. Still deciding if I want to compromise and run the AX6's year round or spend the extra money to get the 1521 for street pads and XP8's for track and autocross. XP8's are pretty expensive on their own, so we'll see.

Again, thanks for the replies everyone! Good to hear from you all. The turbo will be waiting for later in the summer.
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Old 01-12-2015, 03:25 PM   #10
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I think you should look at the XP10s for track use. Nobody's really ever complained that they went for the brakes and got what they asked for, plenty of people have had pucker moments when they cooked their brakes.
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Old 01-12-2015, 03:34 PM   #11
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It's unlikely that someone at the track for their first time will need XP10s. But I could be wrong.
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Old 01-12-2015, 04:05 PM   #12
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Yeah, it's unlikely, but noobs in Miatas who are quick can make Hawk HP+ pads (800F) melt. The XP8s are good to 1250F; however, I'm getting my first experience in Carbotech land this year.
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Old 01-12-2015, 05:21 PM   #13
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There are four people in the Western Chicago Suburbs that run megasquirt just off the top of my head.
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Old 01-12-2015, 06:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunning Kruger Affect View Post
I think you should look at the XP10s for track use. Nobody's really ever complained that they went for the brakes and got what they asked for, plenty of people have had pucker moments when they cooked their brakes.
I don't suggest XP10s on 205 extreme summers unless you like to lock up your brakes a lot.
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Old 01-12-2015, 07:37 PM   #15
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Yes, stock car to track. And you still might break something and not finish the weekend.

Yes, race pads go with race tires. Race pads lock up street tires.

Yes, stock car on street tires makes you lose adhesion with the pavement more gradually and at a lower speed, making it much easier to regain control of the automobile without needing to repair the body of the car.
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Old 01-13-2015, 12:39 AM   #16
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I agree with all of the above.....on my 3rd motor now after a few MS mishaps and other issues....

Stock for the track day...

Stay away from turbo for awhile.....learn tuning first....it is very easy to make an expensive mistake when running boost.

Daily driver...I would discourage learning to tune on this car....especially with a turbo. Work with an experienced person if it is your daily....

Carbotech xp 8 and 10's are fine in our 5- 25 Deg Celsius weather BUT the comments about locking up street tyres on them are valid. Workable but you would need to be pretty careful.

All just suggestions from my perspective.....do what you feel comfortable with.
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Old 01-13-2015, 03:53 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by mx5-kiwi View Post
I agree with all of the above.....on my 3rd motor now after a few MS mishaps and other issues....

Stock for the track day...

Stay away from turbo for awhile.....learn tuning first....it is very easy to make an expensive mistake when running boost.

Daily driver...I would discourage learning to tune on this car....especially with a turbo. Work with an experienced person if it is your daily....

Carbotech xp 8 and 10's are fine in our 5- 25 Deg Celsius weather BUT the comments about locking up street tyres on them are valid. Workable but you would need to be pretty careful.

All just suggestions from my perspective.....do what you feel comfortable with.
For pads, I think I'm going to stick with the AX6. Carbotech says they can be used on the track for a light, low-powered car with an intermediate driver, so I think they'll work for me, unless someone REALLY thinks thats a bad idea. A couple of my friends were first-timers at gridlife last year, they used hawk hps and hp+ pads which have lower fade temps than the AX6 do and they never had any problems. When I'm more experienced and feel the need to use the brakes more, I'll buy a set of track only pads. I'm limiting myself to just gridlife for this summer anyway, so it would be a waste to buy a second set of pads and only use them once.

As for tuning, well, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little concerned about my abilities to tune the car for boost on my own. There's a lot of people here that talk up how easy the megasquirt is to tune, but I know there's always a risk involved. I've done my share of research over the years on tuning, so its not completely foreign to me, but obviously no amount of reading can substitute for real experience. All I can say for now is if the time comes for the turbo to be installed and I dont feel confident, maybe I'll just put up the money to have it pro-tuned and not worry.

A little off-topic here, but while I'm being perfectly honest, I'm still not totally sold on even putting the turbo on my car. The main reason I bought the kit was to help my friend get his own miata. We went halfsies on a turbo miata with a bad motor (turned out to just be a timing belt issue, we fixed it) and he got the car while I got the kit and some other goodies. I had been previously thinking about boosting in the future (what miata owner doesnt?) and the deal was too good to pass up for the both of us. I was torn between selling the kit or installing it on my car, until we fixed the motor. I got a chance to drive it before we removed the turbo and it blew me away. I would love to be able to drive a car like that every day.

So I guess that's what led up to the situation I'm in now, and I think the thought of having such a large investment sitting unused for so long has just got me antsy. I'll be patient and wait until this summer to make my final decision as far as that goes.
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Old 01-13-2015, 06:06 AM   #18
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Just my 2c based on what I did wrong (and still do wrong) ..........
Change all fluids.
Check pads and tyres and all other safety items.
In the beginning of learning to drive on a track that's all you need. Road tyres will go off as they get hot so you'll learn to drift and to control understeer and oversteer. Standard brakes won't slow you down much so you'll need to concentrate on lines and retaining speed.
If you want to spend more, consider more track time, some tuition, and maybe a rollbar.
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Old 01-13-2015, 09:22 AM   #19
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Quote:
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I don't suggest XP10s on 205 extreme summers unless you like to lock up your brakes a lot.
More torques.
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Old 01-13-2015, 11:15 AM   #20
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the norm here seems to be turbo before, then remove.
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