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P71
P71 SuperDork
1/28/10 7:41 p.m.

OK, I saved some "real" money and have an actual (non-Challenge) budget to work with on a Miata for the misses and I to autocross/track day/enjoy. I'm looking at a 93 (1.6, no LSD) with a hardtop for around $4K. It seems to be in reasonably nice shape and is a "B" package car (PW, power steering, cruise, A/C) which makes Audra like it a lot more than the base we looked at previously.

Is that a smart move or should I hold out for a 94+ 1.8/Torsen?

I like that it already has a matching hardtop and cloth seats. I'm moving from a N/A 12A so even a 1.6 is "powerful" to me and it's likely to be an STS/STR car (so header, cat-back, torsen, springs/shocks/swaybars are all in it's future). I called Mazda to run the VIN (WAY cool service BTW, makes me want to buy all Mazdas from now on) and they confirmed the options and lack of the viscous.

Advice? Much appreciated!

By the way... my RX-7 still hasn't sold. It has 3 days before I strip it and sell the shiny bits. $1250 now or forever hold your peace...

Capt Slow
Capt Slow HalfDork
1/28/10 8:36 p.m.

4k seemed grossly expensive at first but then I noticed it had a hard top. If its in good condion its probably a reasonable deal. It would serve nicely as an STS car.

It will be interesting to see if the 1.8 Torsen cars can be competive in STR. If you end up in one I would suggest running it in a stock class first.

I cant believe you havent sold the seven. It kinda makes me sad. I wish I had room for another "Toy" car...

P71
P71 SuperDork
1/28/10 9:14 p.m.

Well it's under $4K, it's "retail", and it has a hardtop. Supposedly never been in an accident either. It also already has aftermarket 15" wheels. I intend to use it in STR (swap in a Torsen, better cat allowances, and wider tires) and prove that lighter is better.

I've had tons of interest, but no dollars...

wheelsmithy
wheelsmithy New Reader
1/29/10 7:22 a.m.

I still see '90 model soft tops for that kinda $ around here. Its basically all in the condition. Factor in a paint job, and any decent mita gets to be in this range. All that said, hold out for a 1.8 torsen. Buy the car you want instead of building it. Please note, I can give this advice, but not take it. I'd buy the 1.6 hardtop.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim HalfDork
1/29/10 7:32 a.m.

I can't comment on the price (Miatas are way cheaper over here) but with older Miatas you're probably better off buying on condition. If it's really nice, get it, swap in the Torsen and the bigger 1.8 brakes. Job's a good 'un.

mw
mw Reader
1/29/10 8:26 a.m.

Figure a torsen swap will cost you most of $1000. I would personally be searching for an abs equipped car. That is the one thing I would really like as it can save so much money on tires. It's also very hard to swap into another car.

P71
P71 SuperDork
1/29/10 8:27 a.m.

This car is an ABS car.

And the no dollars comment was about my 7

Clay
Clay Reader
1/29/10 8:30 a.m.

I agree with buying on condition. I have owned 4 of them and the nicest one was the highest mileage at 165k miles (White 93 seen in my avatar). It was a one owner SoCal car that was always garaged and babied. The owner took a pic of me driving off in it and everything. I had it 5 years and up to 215k miles and it only needed oil, brakes, and a rear plastic window replacement. Bought it for $2750, sold it for $2000 to an ecstatic new owner. Replaced it with a 96 for the lower miles - 145k, Torsen, 1.8, etc for my turbo project, but I still miss the 93.

I have no idea on classing and competitiveness.

ZOO
ZOO Dork
1/29/10 10:01 a.m.

The Torsen swap isn't too hard, or really that expensive. A hardtop and no Torsen is the kind of comprimise you might need to make; and the trade-off is probably worth it. Later cars may have a Torsen, but no hardtop.

I didn't get a hardtop until late this year -- and I love having it at our disposal (my wife has a Miata, too). In the worst case scenario, you could sell the hardtop to fund the Torsen. Be aware, though, that comments suggesting the hardtop will bring you $1000 should likely be taken with a grain of salt. I paid $300 for mine, and routinely see them advertised in Canada for $600 to $800.

I love the 1.6 -- just remember to wind it out to redline in order to take full advantag of the power.

Junkyard_Dog
Junkyard_Dog HalfDork
1/29/10 10:33 a.m.
mw wrote: Figure a torsen swap will cost you most of $1000. I would personally be searching for an abs equipped car. That is the one thing I would really like as it can save so much money on tires. It's also very hard to swap into another car.

Did mine for under $500. The key is looking places the spec. guys don't.

Keith
Keith SuperDork
1/29/10 10:45 a.m.

It's probably wise to budget $1000 for a Torsen swap. There are always stories, but the junkyards do talk and the $500 Torsen is the exception rather than the rule. It's easier and less expensive to get your hands on a viscous LSD and stub axles, as they're not in high demand. They do work better than the internets would have you believe, they were just never designed to have a high bias ratio.

I have found hardtops to be cheaper in Canada as well, I suspect they were a more popular option there. Hardtops are really nice on Miatas. In fact, Janel's Miata has hers installed pretty much all the time. I think I'm going to pull the soft top out of it again.

The only thing I'd recommend is to try driving a 1.8 car. See how you like it. The gearing is a touch higher (4.1 rear instead of 4.3), the engine is a hair less eager to rev and the dash design looks like it melted a bit. Shades of grey, but at least you'll know.

Rusnak_322
Rusnak_322 Reader
1/29/10 11:20 a.m.

It just seems SO much easier to buy a Torsen equipped car and search out a deal on a hard top then it would be to buy a car with a hard top and swap in the Torsen yourself.

I just sold my hardtop for $500. It was in need of a paint job but otherwise in great shape. I had it listed locally in Cleveland OH and someone drove up from GA to buy it. I had no real local interest from my craigslist ad.

2002maniac
2002maniac Reader
1/29/10 12:05 p.m.

Why are the torsens $1000?

Is it just a supply/demand thing? Were they really that rare? I guess I've been spoiled by e30s and cheap LSDs.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim HalfDork
1/29/10 12:15 p.m.

They're fairly sought after as an upgrade they can take a lot more power than the 1.6 diffs, plus of course they don't wear like the viscous diffs.

Mind you, the going rate over here is GBP250 - so around $400.

asterisk
asterisk New Reader
1/29/10 12:47 p.m.

If you're talking about the white '93 with Konigs in PDX I'm guessing you can talk them down further, it's been on their lot for a while.

Keith
Keith SuperDork
1/29/10 12:53 p.m.

The Torsens come wrapped in the larger and stronger 7" ring gear, the viscous only came with the 6" setup that can be blown up with stock power if you're not a mechanically sensitive type. That's why most people upgrade.

I don't think the viscous units wear as much as people think. They've only got about a 40% torque split by design and require a bit of wheelspin to activate. That's just how they work.

Tim, we don't have MOT failures over here and we have Spec Miata. That combines to make the parts supply lower and demand higher Also, I'm pretty sure the UK got more NBs than the US did in the first place. The parts are more expensive than E30 parts because there simply aren't as many Miatas in the world.

I've heard of some cheap OBX torsens, but even if you want to run one of those in a 1.6 you'll need the differential carrier and housing, a ring and pinion, halfshafts and a driveshaft.

Capt Slow
Capt Slow HalfDork
1/29/10 1:21 p.m.

There may be a flood of torsens on the market now due to a rececent rule change in spec miata series. I know I had a co-worker who races spec miata try to pawn one off on me....(I already have a torsen in mine)

Keith
Keith SuperDork
1/29/10 2:09 p.m.

Really? What's the rule change?

I should really drag that spare Torsen out of the garage and install it in Janel's car. Someday

Capt Slow
Capt Slow HalfDork
1/29/10 2:18 p.m.

This is word of mouth from a co-worker friend but he said that some of the torsen are 4.1 and some are 4.3.

The rules change will allow racers that had the 4.1 torsen swap in the 4.3 torsen which is apparently peferable unless I have it backwords.

White_and_Nerdy
White_and_Nerdy Reader
1/29/10 2:18 p.m.

Keep in mind that if you want to run STS, you may NOT run a Torsen - only factory equipped viscous LSDs are allowed. That said, you MAY replace the open diff with a VLSD legally. It was a standalone option, so the car COULD have been delivered that way.

Torsens are better, but I think the VLSD gets a bad rap. When I went from open to VLSD in my 91 I noticed a nice difference. Far less one tire fire on the autocross course - if I get on the gas a bit early leaving a corner, rather than lighting up the inside rear tire the car accelerates and sometimes the tail will kick out a little.

I think the answer ultimately depends on what you want to do with the car. For STS, a 1.6 should do well. For CSP, get a lighter 90 and give it a 1.8 and Torsen. For SSM, go with a 1.8 and Torsen because there are far more power adding options for the 1.8, and you'll want the Torsen for the extra power.

Also also, remember that a B package comes with headrest speakers! Easy to install yourself, but I never appreciated them until I put a pair in mine, took it on the highway with the top down, and could actually still hear my music.

Keith
Keith SuperDork
1/29/10 2:40 p.m.
Capt Slow wrote: This is word of mouth from a co-worker friend but he said that some of the torsen are 4.1 and some are 4.3. The rules change will allow racers that had the 4.1 torsen swap in the 4.3 torsen which is apparently peferable unless I have it backwords.

He's right in that the 1.8 ring and pinion was supplied with both 4.1 (1994-97, 2004-05 6-speeds) and 4.3 (1999-05 5-speed). It also came with a 3.909 (1999-03 6-speeds). There may or may not be a Torsen inside

So it sounds as if the rear end ratio can be changed now. It won't necessarily pop a bunch of Torsens on to the market, but the easiest way to change the ring and pinion is to swap in a different diff that's already got the new gear set up.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim HalfDork
1/29/10 2:44 p.m.
Keith wrote: Tim, we don't have MOT failures over here and we have Spec Miata. That combines to make the parts supply lower and demand higher Also, I'm pretty sure the UK got more NBs than the US did in the first place. The parts are more expensive than E30 parts because there simply aren't as many Miatas in the world.

Well, we get a lot of grey import ones from Japan, so we probably have a higher density of Miatas per population. We've got a Miata (well, MX5) race series here but it's not as popular as Spec Miata. They're pretty big in the modifying scene here though. But overall, they tend to be a lot cheaper here than they are in the US anyway.

P71
P71 SuperDork
1/29/10 8:23 p.m.

I'm not dead-set on Torsen. I autocrossed last year with an open. Also, a VLSD or clutch-type would work for my purposes as well.

I've driven a 1.8. I like the 1.6 more as it seems more "eager" and willing to rev. Coming from an N/A RX-7 I have no problem keeping the tacho needle buried on an autocross course.

I am talking about the white 93 on CL (and AutoTrader and everywhere else). It's not on Konig's though, I think they are knock-offs. I'm aware that the car has been there awhile and I always negotiate

I'm leaving STS for STR. I like the idea of an "invited" class with a really diverse cross-section on street tires plus the wider mods (bigger tires, better cat, rear LSD) will make for a better HPDE car.

P71
P71 SuperDork
1/30/10 8:36 a.m.

Audra and I are going to go look at it in a few hours. I'll let y'all know what happens...

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim HalfDork
1/30/10 8:41 a.m.

Good luck!

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