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rough '93 LE turned el-cheapo DIY turbo project

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  • rough '93 LE turned el-cheapo DIY turbo project

    I can never remember to have a camera with me, and am always too lay to go get one when I'm working on stuff. With that in mind, this journal might stink, but oh well.

    When I bought my car, it has been sitting for a year or so. The glove box had been removed due to cracking, droopy eyeball vents had been removed and lost, the steering column cover was MIA, seats dried and cracked, it was filthy and covered in parking lot dings, terribly oxidied paint, the front air dam was missing and the front bumper was cracked due to an altercation with some retread on the freeway.

    Fortunately, the PO had saved most of what he removed, and found them for me. He didn't care much about aesthetics, but he did maintain the car pretty well. Plus, he had recently had a Fidanza lightweight flywheel put in at the same time as replacing the clutch with a MAX-5 unit, reportedly capable of handling ~220 lb-ft torque.

    After the initial clean-up, here is what $1500 will buy you.
    Last edited by Atlanta93LE; 01-12-2009, 06:59 AM.
    93LE | 9psi | 16g turbo | MSPNP w/ IAT, EBC, vTPS, HR10g | 11"x12"x3" core FMIC
    R-pkg Bilsteins | 300f/220r 2.5" springs | FCM sleeves/perches/mounts/bumps | frame rail reinf.
    4.10 Torsen | 2¼" Maganflow cat & ebay exhaust | Mishimoto rad

  • #2
    accumulating parts

    I had the car in Houston for a year, and moved to the Atlanta area. It didn't take long to decide to turbo the car. I started accumulating parts in late 2006, insistent that this would be done cheap. I didn't want to put more into the car than I paid, which severely limited the budget.

    I nabbed this manifold/DP combination for $250 shipped from a guy that had it custom made by Tony of GReddy downpipe fame. The bottom-mount manifold is very solid and strong, and sets the turbo low so the downpipe has fewer bends. It is a 3" bellmouth DP transitioning to 2.5" at the end. They are flanged for a DSM turbo.

    The injectors, AFR, and Pierburg fuel pump shown were collected uber-cheap for an initial band-aid setup, but were sold off (for a profit) when MSPNP came out. I got in on the introductory buy of the MSPNP MM9093, which is probably the best decision I made concerning this car, despite being a huge splurge. Awesome piece!

    The turbo sitting there is a small 16g that I overpaid for. More later.
    93LE | 9psi | 16g turbo | MSPNP w/ IAT, EBC, vTPS, HR10g | 11"x12"x3" core FMIC
    R-pkg Bilsteins | 300f/220r 2.5" springs | FCM sleeves/perches/mounts/bumps | frame rail reinf.
    4.10 Torsen | 2¼" Maganflow cat & ebay exhaust | Mishimoto rad

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    • #3
      the turbo story

      The small, filthy 16g I bought, pictured above, for $200 shipped. It was the cheapest I could find at the time, and was described very differently than it arrived. Good thing I took housings off during cleaning, because the turbine wheel was trashed. Take a look at the picture. Garbage. Fortunately, the seller agreed to refund the majority of the purchase (not total refund, as he let me keep the parts).

      I liked the idea of a 16g, but knew that the 14b turbo was plentiful and cheaper. I grabbed up a practically free 14b needing rebuilding (~$25 shipped) and decided to combine the parts (16g compressor wheel and housing on a 14b turbine side). I also managed to find a gpopshop rebuild kit for half off from somebody who ended up not needing it. In the end, it looked like I would have a 16g for cheaper than the original 16g I had purchased, and freshly rebuilt. I guess things have a way of working out :biggrin:

      A buddy from mt.net then started selling off parts he didn't use during his build, and happened to have a DSM turbo he wasn't going to use. It was in good shape and looked like a 16g from pictures. As I was in no rush, I let him know I'd buy it for cheap if he couldn't sell for his asking price. Fortunately, it didn't sell, and I got it for the bargain-basement price of $50. :clap:

      Turns out the "new" 16g was in GREAT shape! I still have the busted 16g, 14b, and rebuild kit waiting in case I need another turbo. In fact, having three turbine housings was great: I think I ended up using the 14b housing, as it had the smallest/fewest of the typical/inevitable cracking.
      93LE | 9psi | 16g turbo | MSPNP w/ IAT, EBC, vTPS, HR10g | 11"x12"x3" core FMIC
      R-pkg Bilsteins | 300f/220r 2.5" springs | FCM sleeves/perches/mounts/bumps | frame rail reinf.
      4.10 Torsen | 2¼" Maganflow cat & ebay exhaust | Mishimoto rad

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      • #4
        wideband deal

        From the beginning, I had convinced myself that the Innovate LC-1 was the way to go in terms of affordable wideband O2 sensors. Well, patience paid off again. Somebody was selling an unused Oz DIY Wideband unit, also known as the TechEdge WB-O2 ver. 1.0, for dirt cheap (I think ~$50).

        It came with the NTK L1H1 sensor, unused.


        Unfortunately, ben91 nabbed it just before I could. Being the nice guy that he is, he sold it to me, and even welded a bung onto my DP for it using his new-fangled welding skillz. Thanks again!
        93LE | 9psi | 16g turbo | MSPNP w/ IAT, EBC, vTPS, HR10g | 11"x12"x3" core FMIC
        R-pkg Bilsteins | 300f/220r 2.5" springs | FCM sleeves/perches/mounts/bumps | frame rail reinf.
        4.10 Torsen | 2¼" Maganflow cat & ebay exhaust | Mishimoto rad

        Comment


        • #5
          Some serious bargains. I can't believe you managed to find a car like that for $1500 as it is, I swear Miata prices are higher nowadays.

          Comment


          • #6
            time to start installing

            The Miata isn't my only car, so I was able to have it down for extended periods of time. Finding large chunks of time to work on the car is impossible sometimes.

            Here are a couple pics test-fitting the turbo, mani, and DP. It fits pretty tight, but brilliantly allows keeping the AC. It could be made to work with PS, but the compressor inlet and intake path were interrupted by a damn PS hardline piece. Bye-bye power steering! (My rack had started leaking a bit anyway...)
            93LE | 9psi | 16g turbo | MSPNP w/ IAT, EBC, vTPS, HR10g | 11"x12"x3" core FMIC
            R-pkg Bilsteins | 300f/220r 2.5" springs | FCM sleeves/perches/mounts/bumps | frame rail reinf.
            4.10 Torsen | 2¼" Maganflow cat & ebay exhaust | Mishimoto rad

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by MX5ATLanta.com View Post
              Some serious bargains. I can't believe you managed to find a car like that for $1500 as it is, I swear Miata prices are higher nowadays.
              :lol: Nobody seemed to think $1500 was a steal when I drove it home. It looked REALLY bad. The wife (gf at the time) got to learn all about clay bars, rubbing compound, polish, cleaner, and wax one weekend, all while assisting in a bikini :biggrin:
              93LE | 9psi | 16g turbo | MSPNP w/ IAT, EBC, vTPS, HR10g | 11"x12"x3" core FMIC
              R-pkg Bilsteins | 300f/220r 2.5" springs | FCM sleeves/perches/mounts/bumps | frame rail reinf.
              4.10 Torsen | 2¼" Maganflow cat & ebay exhaust | Mishimoto rad

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Atlanta93LE View Post
                The wife (gf at the time) got to learn all about clay bars, rubbing compound, polish, cleaner, and wax one weekend, all while assisting in a bikini :biggrin:
                Pics or ban! :D

                I have some pictures from the alignment meet. I'll post them if you'd like.

                Originally posted by miata5620
                Eric's Garage ... You buy all the parts I tell you to and you will have a killer car... If you want other parts used your car will suck and it will cost you more...

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                • #9
                  x2
                  Jenn got a picture or 2 from that meet too.
                  I never realized just how little $$ went into that car Ben :D

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                  • #10
                    Feel free to post any pictures you may have, seeing as I certainly don't have many ;)

                    I'll continue the 'journal' posts later, and make you envious of some more deals
                    93LE | 9psi | 16g turbo | MSPNP w/ IAT, EBC, vTPS, HR10g | 11"x12"x3" core FMIC
                    R-pkg Bilsteins | 300f/220r 2.5" springs | FCM sleeves/perches/mounts/bumps | frame rail reinf.
                    4.10 Torsen | 2¼" Maganflow cat & ebay exhaust | Mishimoto rad

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The budget NA turbo build....hmmm...a rather familiar concept to me. :)
                      Good job.
                      sigpic

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