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  • 99 5 spd auto x/daily build

    Hey Guys,


    Long time watcher, first time poster. Joined the forum a while back, have an Evo X as a daily, but a friend who had two Miatas, one for tracking, one for dailying. Watching him and his cars punch way above their weight class on our bi-annual Tail of the Dragon run, plus the urge to have something new to tinker on (the Evo is pushed as far as it can be and be "reliable" for dailying) convinced me I needed a Miata.


    I found the perfect one for my goals in Iowa: white, 99 5 spd with only 44k miles on the clock, and no rust to speak of. Flew from Atlanta with a buddy, and road tripped it back in one day.







    The previous owner had done some temporary wheel/taillight painting to "see if he liked it," so I knew that had to go first thing while I waited on picking up some real wheels, along with the gold package.







    Also started removing unnecessary stuff from the engine bay. The goal is to lighten the car without going too nuts, hopefully just enough to offset the addition of a rollbar and chassis stiffening.





    That week I went ahead and got the car dynoed in order to get a baseline.





    That evening, tuned up the whole thing: every fluid on the car except brake fluid, replaced spark plugs, air filter, radiator (with less used stocker), replaced spark plug wires. Additionally, got a free nb2 header, so I threw that on.


    Shortly thereafter, I had everything left from the 60k tuneup done by @dooey and a BP5A cam dropped in it, because why not. While he was in there, @dooey discovered my timing belt was off by 1, my cam position sensor was busted (which I found out in a previous dyno not posted here), and my new NGK wires had not been hit with a hammer... I figured with the addition of the header, cam, the tune ups, and all those fixes, I was in for some nice gains so I headed back to the dyno.

    To say I was disappointed is the understatement of the year. I hadn't been that disappointed since i realized I had to choose between Clinton and Trump.





    Below is an overlay of my best runs with airbox open from the baseline, and after mods, as well as an overlay of my best runs with airbox closed day 1, and after mods. Essentially no difference. Something doesn't add up here. Uncorrected numbers say 9 whp gain, but it was also August in Georgia and 17 degrees warmer when I did the first runs vs. the last.








    Any thoughts? I knew not to expect much from an n/a build, though this makes me want to spend 0 more money on na mods if the two biggest bang for the buck ones did nothing...[/QUOTE]


    TL, DR: new guy with slow Miata, happy to be here, generally frustrated with head scratching lack of gains after modding.

  • #2
    Horrible. You should cut your losses and sell it to me.

    It’s difficult and expensive to get power out of an n/a Miata. Your numbers look about right though. I do have a question; were both sessions done on the same dyno? Also, how much power do you want?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by kung fu jesus View Post
      Horrible. You should cut your losses and sell it to me.

      It’s difficult and expensive to get power out of an n/a Miata. Your numbers look about right though. I do have a question; were both sessions done on the same dyno? Also, how much power do you want?
      They were on the same dyno, doing my best to limit variance.

      Man, plan is full bolt ons, tune, cam, and maybe some light head work. Per Emilio and everyone else who seem to just quote Emilio, that is supposedly 140-160 whp worthy. Not really looking to set the world on fire, I have my Evo for when I want to go "fast." Really just want to enjoy a fun, reliable na car that handles well, and is faster than stock. More money will be spent on suspension, wheels, tires, rollbar, chassis, seats, etc.

      Comment


      • #4
        Ok, I wasn’t sure how far down the rabbit hole you wanted to go. Since you brought up Emilio, I would suggest looking at what the SuperMiata guys are doing. You can emulate a lot of that, but you are also looking at an ECU, square top manifold, uncorking the exhaust, and a few other things.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Nazarite View Post
          They were on the same dyno, doing my best to limit variance.

          Man, plan is full bolt ons, tune, cam, and maybe some light head work. Per Emilio and everyone else who seem to just quote Emilio, that is supposedly 140-160 whp worthy. Not really looking to set the world on fire, I have my Evo for when I want to go "fast." Really just want to enjoy a fun, reliable na car that handles well, and is faster than stock. More money will be spent on suspension, wheels, tires, rollbar, chassis, seats, etc.
          sounds like an obtainable goal but once you also do cam/headwork/tune you probably could could have already have most the money to go FI, always teh highest hp for $$ ratio you can get
          Last edited by Shwing; 10-25-2017, 04:55 PM.
          1997 mx-5

          Comment


          • #6
            I’m going to throw this out there unsolicited. I’ve turbo’d and supercharged the same Miata, but I went back to n/a because it’s a lot more reliable for what I do with it (a lot of track time). The car is a different animal above 220 hp when the power starts to compromise the mechanical grip. It is pretty fun, but also a bit of a headache. I rebuilt my engine a little hotter, but running n/a I can grab it by the scruff of the neck, beat on it all day at a track, and not have to worry about anything (maybe check the oil 1 or 2x). Over the years, the most satisfying modifications have been handling and chassis mods. Take it for what it’s worth, but if I ever did go back to f/i, about 180-200hp would be my target.

            I have a good friend, an ex-pat in Japan, who makes 170hp n/a on a conservative tune for his NB1, but it’s a custom-built engine to the tune of around $20k. 200 would be doable on that engine at the expense of a bit of longevity.

            Comment


            • #7
              Adding my $0.02 as someone else that wants to stay fully NA for multiple reasons:
              Don't expect to much. I did 125/116 with an intake and ISR exhaust. After adding headers/timing bump/MSM cam I'm HOPING for 135HP... which is juuust enough to pull on a completely stock miata. That's basicly ~$1000 for a 20HP gain.
              The fun in theses cars is not the straight line power. They are momentum cars and benefit when driven as such. I got far more enjoyment out of improving the driver, suspension, and tires then I did out of any of my power mods(OK that's a lie, I loved the exhaust, but you know what I meant).
              Also like KFJ mentioned, staying low on power provides for an incredibly reliable car. I drive mine to the track(2hrs each way), hammer on it for hours, then drive it home, and then drive it to work/school the next day with very few concerns. And you really don't even need tons of power to keep up. Even on RA with its loooong back straight, I'll still outrun any challenger/camaro/mustang as long as I have the esses to pull away in. It's a very rewarding feeling to know your not faster because you can plant the right foot, but because you can choose the better line and keep your speed.

              Clean car! I hope she does you well. Good call on getting rid of the barney wheels :lol:
              Last edited by wingman703; 10-25-2017, 11:26 PM.
              '00 Black NB, Track/Street car.
              It seems like the most powerful weapon in the universe is speed. Move something fast enough and it will obliterate anything

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by kung fu jesus View Post
                Ok, I wasn’t sure how far down the rabbit hole you wanted to go. Since you brought up Emilio, I would suggest looking at what the SuperMiata guys are doing. You can emulate a lot of that, but you are also looking at an ECU, square top manifold, uncorking the exhaust, and a few other things.
                Seen that, won't do squaretop because it won't be track only and I'd rather have what few mid range torques I have. But otherwise, pretty much following that.

                Originally posted by Shwing View Post
                sounds like an obtainable goal but once you also do cam/headwork/tune you probably could could have already have most the money to go FI, always teh highest hp for $$ ratio you can get
                I know, I know, but I already have a turbo car in my life, prefer to keep this one n/a, mainly for the reasons kung fu jesus states below:

                Originally posted by kung fu jesus View Post
                I’m going to throw this out there unsolicited. I’ve turbo’d and supercharged the same Miata, but I went back to n/a because it’s a lot more reliable for what I do with it (a lot of track time). The car is a different animal above 220 hp when the power starts to compromise the mechanical grip. It is pretty fun, but also a bit of a headache. I rebuilt my engine a little hotter, but running n/a I can grab it by the scruff of the neck, beat on it all day at a track, and not have to worry about anything (maybe check the oil 1 or 2x). Over the years, the most satisfying modifications have been handling and chassis mods. Take it for what it’s worth, but if I ever did go back to f/i, about 180-200hp would be my target.
                Basically my thoughts. Reliability over power on a car that won't ever be that powerful, unless I want to swap in an LSx.

                Originally posted by wingman703 View Post
                Adding my $0.02 as someone else that wants to stay fully NA for multiple reasons:
                Don't expect to much. I did 125/116 with an intake and ISR exhaust. After adding headers/timing bump/MSM cam I'm HOPING for 135HP... which is juuust enough to pull on a completely stock miata. That's basicly ~$1000 for a 20HP gain.
                The fun in theses cars is not the straight line power. They are momentum cars and benefit when driven as such. I got far more enjoyment out of improving the driver, suspension, and tires then I did out of any of my power mods(OK that's a lie, I loved the exhaust, but you know what I meant).
                Also like KFJ mentioned, staying low on power provides for an incredibly reliable car. I drive mine to the track(2hrs each way), hammer on it for hours, then drive it home, and then drive it to work/school the next day with very few concerns. And you really don't even need tons of power to keep up. Even on RA with its loooong back straight, I'll still outrun any challenger/camaro/mustang as long as I have the esses to pull away in. It's a very rewarding feeling to know your not faster because you can plant the right foot, but because you can choose the better line and keep your speed.

                Clean car! I hope she does you well. Good call on getting rid of the barney wheels :lol:
                Thanks for the feedback, already exactly what I considered! So far I'm into the car for $234 performance wise, the cost of the cam, got a free nb2 header. I bought the car just to tinker with, will pick up as many used bolt ons as I can, and majority of money will be spent on suspenion, wheels, tires, chassis, seats, rollbar, etc.

                My question was more along the lines of, why with bolting these two parts on, did I see 0 gains from what should have given me something... But thanks for re-affirming my plan!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Nazarite View Post
                  Seen that, won't do squaretop because it won't be track only and I'd rather have what few mid range torques I have. But otherwise, pretty much following that.



                  I know, I know, but I already have a turbo car in my life, prefer to keep this one n/a, mainly for the reasons kung fu jesus states below:



                  Basically my thoughts. Reliability over power on a car that won't ever be that powerful, unless I want to swap in an LSx.



                  Thanks for the feedback, already exactly what I considered! So far I'm into the car for $234 performance wise, the cost of the cam, got a free nb2 header. I bought the car just to tinker with, will pick up as many used bolt ons as I can, and majority of money will be spent on suspenion, wheels, tires, chassis, seats, rollbar, etc.

                  My question was more along the lines of, why with bolting these two parts on, did I see 0 gains from what should have given me something... But thanks for re-affirming my plan!
                  deff sounds like you have a solid plan then and should stick with it! one note I will say though is all the talk of reliability, that you can have a turbo car be extremely reliable as well, now granted my turbo maita experience is jaded as mines a msm so all factory reliability but it just shows it can be done. either way I think your power goal is right on and exactly where im hoping to end up at just over 200.

                  Really cant wait to see the build up of this one as it already looks great!
                  Last edited by Shwing; 10-26-2017, 12:06 PM.
                  1997 mx-5

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My wife's '99 was a Cali car. When we moved east, I swapped in an NB2 exhaust manifold and had a 2.25" midpipe and cat made at a muffler shop. Removing the pre-cat and opening up the midpipe uncorked the car noticeably, and her axle-back exhaust saaaaang at WOT. Perhaps not apples to apples, but I'm laying it out there anyways.

                    Regarding your gains, or lack thereof, you're not going to get a ton anyways so 9bhp difference is pretty decent for <$250. It could be a lot of reasons why the gains arent higher, but without datalogging, it's all just a stab in the dark; AFR, fuel filter, coils, etc. I like your plans, and I wouldn't waste a lot trying to add power, spend it on the chassis.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Also, if you want a larger, faster Miata-like experience, BFYB, get a C5 z06.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by kung fu jesus View Post
                        Also, if you want a larger, faster Miata-like experience, BFYB, get a C5 z06.
                        Haha! There it is. I think the next car will be a C6 Z06, once they drop into the mid 30s for low mileage ones. We'll see though. For now, just looking forward to years of fun with this.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          This is why I went ecotec. While my build is not completely representative of the value since I'm paying to have mine done. However one of the members of our Facebook group pulled off his swap for a total of 3500 and got 219whp. That did not include selling everything that came out of the car.

                          Mike from track minded performance has a pretty good formula for getting decent power from an NB 1.8.

                          Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by 91LudeSiT View Post
                            This is why I went ecotec. While my build is not completely representative of the value since I'm paying to have mine done. However one of the members of our Facebook group pulled off his swap for a total of 3500 and got 219whp. That did not include selling everything that came out of the car.

                            Mike from track minded performance has a pretty good formula for getting decent power from an NB 1.8.

                            Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
                            I would say that's a damn good price indeed for 220whp na Miata. those ecotec swaps look more and more attractive all the time, really interested to see how yours comes out
                            1997 mx-5

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by kung fu jesus View Post
                              My wife's '99 was a Cali car. When we moved east, I swapped in an NB2 exhaust manifold and had a 2.25" midpipe and cat made at a muffler shop. Removing the pre-cat and opening up the midpipe uncorked the car noticeably, and her axle-back exhaust saaaaang at WOT. Perhaps not apples to apples, but I'm laying it out there anyways.

                              Regarding your gains, or lack thereof, you're not going to get a ton anyways so 9bhp difference is pretty decent for <$250. It could be a lot of reasons why the gains arent higher, but without datalogging, it's all just a stab in the dark; AFR, fuel filter, coils, etc. I like your plans, and I wouldn't waste a lot trying to add power, spend it on the chassis.
                              Btw, you're in Roswell...which Miata are you if I see you around?

                              Originally posted by 91LudeSiT View Post
                              This is why I went ecotec. While my build is not completely representative of the value since I'm paying to have mine done. However one of the members of our Facebook group pulled off his swap for a total of 3500 and got 219whp. That did not include selling everything that came out of the car.

                              Mike from track minded performance has a pretty good formula for getting decent power from an NB 1.8.

                              Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
                              I was driving behind his MR2 the other day, him weaving in and out of traffic ha.

                              Comment

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