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  • True Costs of a Turbo Miata

    When it comes to planning a turbo build, people often underestimate the total cost of their build - particularly for a car that will be used on the track. I've built the template below to help those considering a turbo build. There are three different build types - 1) Street, 2) Track - Must Haves, and 3) Track - Nice to Haves. Within each of those there are two build routes - 1) Used parts, 2) New parts.

    Everyone's build and goals will differ, so this is not meant to be a precision exercise. I imagine most people's builds will consist of some used parts and some new parts, so that will impact cost as well.

    Note that this assumes that you do all of the labor yourself and does not budget for shipping and tax.

    Does anybody see anything that is waaaaaay off in the numbers below? Sorry the formatting of the chart kind of sucks.



    Street Turbo Miata Track Turbo Miata -
    Must Haves
    Track Turbo Miata -
    Nice to Haves
    Item New Used New Used New Used
    Car
    Miata $3,000 $3,000
    Hardtop $850 $850
    Turbo Kit
    Turbo Kit -
    including engine management, intercooler, injectors, etc
    $5,295 $2,400
    2.5" or 3" Exhaust $472 $300
    Fuel Pump $86 $50
    Trackspeed Engineering 10mm Inconel Studs $155 $155
    Hard oil drain line $90 $90
    Braided turbo water lines $50 $50
    Heat wrap $50 $50
    Suspension
    Coilovers $1,000 $500 $500 $500
    Swaybar (Racing Beat 1.25") $150 $125
    Swaybar End Links (Racing Beat) $65 $50
    Suspension Bushings (Energy Suspension) $269 $269
    Drivetrain
    Performance Clutch (ACT, FM) $395 $250
    949 Racing Braided Clutch Line $32 $32
    Magnecore Ignition Wires $79 $79
    Wheels and Tires
    Upgraded wheels (15x8 or 9) $600 $400
    Performance Tires $450 $250
    Brakes
    Upgraded brake pads $125 $125
    Big Brake Kit - Front $1,150 $600
    Brake Duct Kit (Trackspeed) $189 $189
    Cooling
    Koyo 55mm Radiator $339 $225
    Flyin Miata Oil Cooler $354 $354
    Coolant Reroute (BEGI) $249 $249
    Safety
    Racing Seats $600 $400
    Hard Dog Hard Core Double Diagonal Rollbar $495 $350
    G Force Harnesses $300 $150
    Halon Fire Extinguisher $200 $200
    Gauges
    WBO2 $210 $125
    Autometer Oil Pressure Gauge 5727 $70 $40
    Autometer Oil Temperature Gauge 5747 $55 $40
    Autometer Coolant Temperature Gauge 5731 $76 $40
    Mocal sandwich plate adapter $63 $40
    Body/ Interior
    Extraction Hood $350 $200
    Frame rails $159 $100
    Performance steering wheel (Momo/ Sparco) $220 $125
    Blueprinted and balanced hubs $197 $197
    ARP Wheel Studs $104 $104
    Tow hooks $26 $26
    Lightweight battery $125 $50
    Totals Street Turbo Miata Track Turbo Miata -
    Must Haves
    Track Turbo Miata -
    Nice to Haves
    * New Used New Used New Used
    * $12,083 $7,736 $16,255 $11,269 $18,975 $13,329
    sigpic

  • #2
    It's a good starting point to give folks an idea.

    I suppose it depends on how much you track it, but an extractor hood might get moved to have to have.

    A nice to have in the drivetrain is the ol' lightened flywheel. There's also the whole list of engine internals that could go into "nice to have". Over building a motor for a track day car isn't a bad idea.
    Originally posted by Beastinthebushes
    Do lots and lots of reading and research. Lots of vendors sell suspension, not just FM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Nice post.. why is a hard top a have to have?

      Comment


      • #4
        On the hard top, you'll be aerodynamically limited without one, and many tracks won't let you drive without both a rollbar and hardtop in place.

        On car selection, I think a few points should be considered. First the 90-93 cars with 1.6 engine have fewer options for kits, FM and Bell both have them covered though. I think the no electronics kit from FM at $3000 paired with RC550 injectors and the DIY second gen PNP at $825 with MAP sensor, would be hard to beat new at about $4200. Certainly you can find used kits around $1800 but these rarely include the replacement ecu and injectors, so I'd say used at $2400 you're doing very well.

        The sweet spot in terms of kits has always been the 94-95 cars. They're the last of the OBD I cars, so it's still legal to drive them on the road with replacement ecu. I tried swapping out ecu's at smog time in my 99', and after two weeks driving my ecu was still unready for testing! On top of that, the 1,8 engine of 94-95 has a handy oil supply on the side of the block. I'm all for swapping newer engines into older cars, (my 91' sports an MSM engine), but unless you live where testing isn't required, I'd leave the turbos off OBD II daily drivers.

        If you have a 1.6 car, I'd advise swapping in the bigger brakes off the rear of a 1.8 car at the very least, besides swapping pads. The brake bias is forward on all Miatas but worst at 73% on the 1.6 brakes. At that point the rears are along for the ride. Swap in the bigger ones and splurge on a brake bias proportioning valve. You'll stop faster than most of the guys who just bought big brake kits for the front!

        if you're seriously considering a turbo car, consider buying a new to you Miata that might be better suited. Lots of used Miatas come with roll bars, or nice suspension upgrades that add little to their value as used cars. You may able to purchase a car that's a lot closer to track ready for your current car's sale price. If you can find one with recently replaced timing belt and water pump, all the better.
        Red '91, MSM longblock/BEGI-FM hybrid turbo w/2871r/3"Enthuza/Hydra2.7/700cc/Ohlins/
        RacingBrake11"BBK/SS HDDD/Nakamae everything/KGWorks/Zoom/We're done!

        Comment


        • #5
          The 1.8 cars are 60/40 brake bias, just check the knee point chart in Keith's book.

          On my 1.6 street car I used just the prop valve from a 1.8, which was cheap from your friendly neighborhood metalman. With stock rotors and Hawk HPS pads I can lock up my 205 dunlops, so the braking is more than adequate. For a track car I understand you need more thermal mass.

          The only other thing I think I'd like to try is using the higher output boosters from a later car, my fear is I'd be more likely to lock up the brakes sooner. Has anybody put the ABS system from an NB into an early NA?

          This obsession with the 1.6 brakes not being any good needs to die.

          I love how you put this in perspective Nick! I've been getting real tired of hearing all the young ones think they are going to build a 400HP race car on a minimum wage budget.
          Last edited by 91LudeSiT; 01-07-2015, 09:19 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            My 1.6 turbo car would fade HP+ in the mountains with the stock brake setup. A 1.8 swap made a world of difference in pedal feel and fade resistance. 1.6 brakes are adequate for some level of power, but not 2200lbs and 200+ whp turbo territory. I don't know where the line draws, and I'm not going to advocate running blues or blacks on a street car.
            DIYAutoTune.com

            | 10AE-T | BEGi S4 | GT2560r | Enthuza | 6UL | MS3Pro PNP|
            | 2001 Track Rat | Enthuza | Jenvey | MS3Pro PNP | Exocet in Progress|
            | 1992 323 | Wrong-wheel-drive Miata Endurance Racecar|

            Comment


            • #7
              I bet a lot of that has to do with driving style. With the stock power level, and my confidence level, I can't push my brakes beyond their capacity.

              Comment


              • #8
                List looks pretty right on for the shinsen I got from Sean. Falls right into that track category.
                sigpic

                Comment


                • #9
                  Great post Nick! Definitely gives a good perspective on how easily it all adds up and where to aim for budget goals.

                  Originally posted by oldgrayfrog View Post
                  but unless you live where testing isn't required, I'd leave the turbos off OBD II daily drivers.
                  Or just leave a standalone ECU out of the equation. I'm going on almost a year daily driving the '99 with the FM Voodoo and I'm completely satisfied with it. Other than a non-turbo related issue (alternator wiring) the car has run flawlessly. I have not felt the need or want to turn up the boost, 7-8psi w/ the GT2560R is more than enough fun for the street and still maintains a high level of reliability.

                  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...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Makes me want to go through the list to see what it would cost me since I already have a lot of upgrades!
                    sigpic

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Yet another reason why the engine swaps look like a viable option. They may be expensive but at least the entire drivetrain was designed for the power levels.

                      What power levels are associated with each build? There are other parts that might need to be considered based off those goals, correct?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        There is a good bit of over thinking and over kill in this thread.
                        One can have a LOT of fun with a 150-220 whp FI MX5 for fairly little $ and still have a great reliability. Obviously wear is increased with power but driving style has much to do with that as well. Track cars that are beat to the edge of death are another matter, but a budget street driven forced induction Miata that provides fun and reliability isnt an over costly thing, and is wayyyyyyyyyyyyy cheaper and easier than any stupid motor swap.
                        The problem is that many get bitten by the hp bug in search of ever higher numbers and when trapped by that mentality the costs and aggravation ever increase. The best money is spent on setting up your car to run well and be reliable, not putting down a specific dyno number or keeping up with all the hp fags & asshats on miataturdbo. I have seen (and owned) FI'd cars that had 170-220 whp run 100k with virtually no real issues. JRSC 1.6's can run virtually forever....UNLESS one starts adding all the crap. Keep it simple. Keep it simple. Keep it simple. Follow those three rules and there is much fun to be had. Break them and chase hp numbers and both your wallet and reliability will go out the window.
                        sigpic

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by scareyourpassenger View Post
                          Yet another reason why the engine swaps look like a viable option. They may be expensive but at least the entire drivetrain was designed for the power levels.

                          What power levels are associated with each build? There are other parts that might need to be considered based off those goals, correct?
                          When you look at the total cost, an engine swap may be in the same general price range as a higher end turbo set up. But a turbo can be installed and upgraded over time, allowing you to spread the cost over months or years as you upgrade. When you do a swap, the car is down and the money all has to be spent before you drive again. The time commitment and level of fabrication is also a magnitude higher with a swap. Turbos are easy.
                          DIYAutoTune.com

                          | 10AE-T | BEGi S4 | GT2560r | Enthuza | 6UL | MS3Pro PNP|
                          | 2001 Track Rat | Enthuza | Jenvey | MS3Pro PNP | Exocet in Progress|
                          | 1992 323 | Wrong-wheel-drive Miata Endurance Racecar|

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            True there are pros and cons either way. I have my fair share of missed track days and downtime from forced induction and I evaluated that during my decision process.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by RotorNutFD3S View Post
                              Or just leave a standalone ECU out of the equation. I'm going on almost a year daily driving the '99 with the FM Voodoo and I'm completely satisfied with it. Other than a non-turbo related issue (alternator wiring) the car has run flawlessly. I have not felt the need or want to turn up the boost, 7-8psi w/ the GT2560R is more than enough fun for the street and still maintains a high level of reliability.
                              I'll second this along with Kurt's thinking about street driven cars. At just shy of 200 whp, there are viable NB options w/ OBDII emissions. I ran a Link Piggy Back ECU and had a great experience (still have it for sale!). A bit more power and boost than the Voodoo at 10-11 PSI. Things got expensive when I pushed past that point. It was the difference between a $3,500 - $4,000 turbo build and starting to look a lot more like Nick's list.
                              sigpic
                              Current: 1994 Merlot (Turbo) Sold: Red '02 Turbo | 2010 - 2015 ~~~ 987 Boxster | 2012-2014 ~~~ Z4 ///M Roadster | 2015 - 2015 ~~~ Z4 3.0i (18k miles!)| 2018-2018 ~~~ 2006 Miata (Laci) | one track day ~~~ Exocet (Turbo!) | 2015-2019

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