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Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/9/17 4:54 p.m.

There are five lugs on the hub, but only four bolts holding the hub to the upright. Guess which ones the ducts use?

https://www.flyinmiata.com/upgraded-nc-front-hubs.html

SteveDallas
SteveDallas New Reader
1/9/17 8:29 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner:

Oh gawd. Where is the face palm smilie? And I just installed these yesterday. I blame years of drenching what few brain cells I was born with in beer.

SteveDallas
SteveDallas New Reader
1/10/17 8:01 a.m.

The idea that this car might pass itself off as a common Miata is looking less and less likely. So much for the sleeper concept.

I set the initial ride height last night, and it goes to Cobb Tuning for its track alignment and maybe a slight fender roll Thursday morning. I borrowed ride height and alignment settings from 949 Racing as kind of a hybrid between their dual duty and full track setups. We'll see if it yields happy tires, or if it needs a bit of fine-tuning.

The initial ride height is set at 4.75" all around, with a full tank of gas, 170lbs of ballast in the driver's seat, and the spare tire in the trunk. When I get to the track, unload the trunk, and start to burn through fuel, I will net some positive rake after a couple of sessions. I calculate that to be up to 1/4", depending on fuel level. I know all the reasons why a lower center of gravity is better, but I have to drive this car to and from the track, so I am choosing to start higher and go lower if/as needed. My RX-8 is 4" at the pinch welds [a necessity to get as much -camber as possible without resorting to offset bushings], and that is difficult to live with around town.

Alignment settings will be as close to the following as possible:

FRONT

Camber: -3.5

Caster: ~4.0

Total Toe: 0.0

REAR

Camber: -3.0

Total Toe: 0.0625"

Once I finish making changes that affect weight, I will have it corner balanced.

Sadly, the weather forecasts for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are rain, rain, and more rain, so I likely will not be able to explore what the car can do very much. More than likely, I will be taking it with street brakes and tires. If it dries out a little bit, that can be OK. At least I can then check these changes against the baseline I set last month. You are only supposed to change one thing at a time anyway, right?

Also, since Partsmageddon did not go as planned due to backorders and otherwise missing items, I am not able to complete the upgrade of any of the other systems (namely brakes) anyway.

SteveDallas
SteveDallas New Reader
1/18/17 3:58 p.m.

Track Day Non-Report

The forecast was for morning rain and a high of 61F. So, I decided to risk it and took her out with track brakes and wheels. Whichever god(s) hate(s) me changed the weather to a full day of dense fog, mist, and a steady ambient temperature of 37F.

I. Used. My. Fog. Lights!

As you can imagine, I did not learn a great deal about the car at the track. I'll get that part over with and focus on what I learned on the way there and back.

The track was cold, wet, and slick. There was some grip to be had on the wet line, but not enough to put any heat into the tires. From what I could tell, the car is fairly neutral--sitting at a good starting place, anyway. There was some understeer and some oversteer, but not a terrible amount of either, and it was all mostly predictable and manageable. That's all I really know at this point. Maybe next month will be better, and I will finally be able to see what she can do.

The 2 hour drive each way to and from the track taught me plenty. What follows is a street-only review of the FM Fox suspension in its environment of previously discussed suspension changes.

I now have roughly 900 miles on the suspension. Most of that has been spent tooling around soccer-mom-hell-suburbia where I live, and it has been mostly smooth sailing. My home surroundings feature mostly new pavement, as my city has tripled in size in only 10 years. Very strictly enforced construction code has guaranteed high quality results. With the rebound set to the recommended setting in the manual (16 clicks from firm), the car has a stiffer, sportier feel than it did on the stock suspension, but is rarely harsh or objectionable. The occasional raised seam or piece of broken pavement will make sure you feel it, but it isn't bad enough to be concerning.

Things were different on the way to the track. Once I had ventured to the treacherous actual-hell of North Dallas pavement, a painful narrative began in my shaken and battered brain.

Ow! Ouch! Damn! Ow! Make it stop! Did my tail bone just puncture the seat pan?! I can't feel my toes! Do I have the diabeetus?! I think my neck just snapped! Why am I staring at my lap?! Would someone pop my left eyeball back in my noggin for me?! I didn't need that disc anyway! Was that the sound of my bladder popping?! Why do I know what pancreas tastes like?! Ow! Ouch! For the love of Zeus, make it stop!

^ Massive hyperbole thataway.

After about an hour of that, I stopped and set the rebound 3 clicks lower. Or, at least I think it was 3 clicks. The double vision and numbness in my fingers made it hard to tell for sure. That helped a tremendous amount.

At the track, I left the rebound there, since it was such a lousy day.

The drive home was much better. At the lower rebound setting, the car had a little more bounce than I would prefer, but it was no longer jarring (perhaps 1 click the other way would be perfect). Larger imperfections in the road made themselves known, but the drive was tolerable in a few areas and enjoyable in most others. All-in-all, I would say FM and Fox did an admirable job of designing and building a competent dual duty setup--at least from the street side. They are not Ohlins good on the street, but they are plenty good if set correctly. The fetching Mrs. Dallas would approve.

I am not one of those who believes any spring rate can be made super comfy if mythical valving is applied. I have driven on dozens of setups, and I have never experienced actual defiance of the laws of physics. From a street perspective, I am satisfied with the choice of 550/375 springs for this Miata. Track performance remains to be seen...

dcamp2
dcamp2 New Reader
1/19/17 8:52 a.m.

Nice review on the shocks. I had a similar experience on my car- I went from FM v-maxx with 450?/300? spring rates- which were fine on the street and a little soft on track to xida's with 800/500 springs and the car felt like it was going to break in half driving around on our really bad roads in Colorado Springs.

Damper adjustments can only do so much.

SteveDallas
SteveDallas New Reader
1/20/17 8:53 p.m.

So, you are saying you are not a member of the cult of Xida?

I'm sure Xidas are the bomb. To read a certain forum, it is sacrilege to not use them on a track car.

Great things can be done with good valving. FCM does good things with valving. Ohlins does better things. Xida is likely in that same camp. These Fox shocks are pretty dang good on the street. But 800lbs has to be hard to smooth out over rough pavement, and I would like to go there only if I must.

According to my calculations, the 550/375 combination I bought should be able to handle tires in the NT01 range and below, which is all I need. In fact, the 460/280 springs I have on my Ohlins do just fine with NT01s on the heavier RX-8.

Anyway, this thread is up to date with where the car sits now. Next to do are finish out the brakes with new lines and ducts, then have a look at an oil cooler solution, coolant re-route solution, gauges to measure those results, seats, and harnesses. It never ends. Good thing I like this stuff.

SteveDallas
SteveDallas New Reader
1/24/17 8:43 a.m.

That last update was from this past Saturday, so the thread is up to date with where the car sits now.

To Do List

1. Brake ducting
2. Use wire ties for something
3. Brake lines
4. Oil cooler before spring
5. Coolant re-route before spring
6. Remove pesky little coolant lines
7. Make environmentalists cry
8. Radiator sealing and ducting before summer
9. Oil and water temp gauges before summer
10. Seats and harnesses
11. Clutch
12. Learn to drive
13. ECU?
14. Match spec Miata record
15. Turbo!

I have several thoughts coursing through the few remaining neurons in my beer-addled brain. Therefore, I am going to write a few posts exploring a few things. Feel free to respond with your thoughts or point and laugh at my general stoopidity.

SteveDallas
SteveDallas New Reader
1/24/17 9:16 a.m.

Oil Cooler Location Ponderings

My number 1 priority for this car right now is reliability on the track.

Everything I read about tracking Miatas points to this car being brutal to its oil. I can relate to that. My RX-8 is absolutely brutal to oil. Thankfully, it came from the factory with 2 medium-sized thermostated oil coolers sitting in their own ducted pods right behind the front bumper. The Miata needs something similar to help it out.

Even though it would violate the rule of heat exchangers, the obvious place to mount one is in front of the AC condenser. That location presents 2 potential problems: any future intercooler will need that space, and I may need to block air flow to the oil cooler in the winter.

Another possibility is to use one of the fog light holes to duct air to one corner behind the front bumper, but those are tentatively reserved for brake ducts.

The craziest possibility is to omit the AC fan and mount a large oil cooler behind the radiator, using the fan's attachment points. That follows the rule of heat exchangers, but eliminates an important fan that I may really miss in the summer. Or is that fan important?

According to the cooling system schematic, the cooling fan is controlled by the ECU. The AC fan comes on when the AC switch is on. To find out what the cooling fan does when the AC switch is on, I experimented with it in the driveway. It turns out, the cooling fan initially comes on any time the AC button is pressed, turns off after a few minutes, then cycles with the compressor and comes on when the upper threshold temp (205F ?) is reached. The AC fan runs continuously. That gives me an idea.

I could omit the AC fan and wire a switch to manually turn on the cooling fan. The AC fan should only be missed when sitting in traffic, at which time, I could flip the cooling fan switch to force air through the condenser, to help with AC performance. I may lose a little bit of comfort in those conditions, but I think the car's AC would behave similarly to my truck, which is tolerable when standing still, and quite good when moving.

Thoughts? Am I missing something?

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/24/17 10:08 a.m.

As for your ride quality, we should be able to do better than what you're describing. Drop me an email with your settings. I have my own DD Fox car being used for testing right now, I'll duplicate your setup and see what I can do. The Ohlins do feel nice on city streets, but they tend to lose the plot when you press on. I've never been impressed with FCM's work. Xidas always feel like track shocks being used on the street. The Fox should be better than your description.

Manually controlled cooling fans are a bad idea. At some point, that switch will not get flipped. Also, the AC fan comes on when it does for a reason - I'm not an AC guy, but I'm sure someone will jump in here. If you're looking for fan control for an oil cooler, piggyback off one of the existing fans. Or, if you're planning to go turbo, get yourself a good ECU and use it to control the extra fan.

dcamp2
dcamp2 New Reader
1/24/17 12:09 p.m.
SteveDallas wrote: So, you are saying you are not a member of the cult of Xida? I'm sure Xidas are the bomb. To read a certain forum, it is sacrilege to not use them on a track car. Great things can be done with good valving. FCM does good things with valving. Ohlins does better things. Xida is likely in that same camp. These Fox shocks are pretty dang good on the street. But 800lbs has to be hard to smooth out over rough pavement, and I would like to go there only if I must. According to my calculations, the 550/375 combination I bought should be able to handle tires in the NT01 range and below, which is all I need. In fact, the 460/280 springs I have on my Ohlins do just fine with NT01s on the heavier RX-8. Anyway, this thread is up to date with where the car sits now. Next to do are finish out the brakes with new lines and ducts, then have a look at an oil cooler solution, coolant re-route solution, gauges to measure those results, seats, and harnesses. It never ends. Good thing I like this stuff.

Yeah- my Xida's were good and lap times dropped, but the car was borderline un-driveable around town. I don't care what you do with valving- 800/500 lbs springs under a 2400 lb car will ride like crap on the street. It's all a compromise.

For your cooling problems- might as well yank the A/C and get a cool-shirt... I just lived without an A/C (even in southern California desert) and mounted the oil cooler on the fan mounts behind the radiator.

SteveDallas
SteveDallas New Reader
1/24/17 2:04 p.m.
Keith Tanner wrote: As for your ride quality, we should be able to do better than what you're describing. Drop me an email with your settings. I have my own DD Fox car being used for testing right now, I'll duplicate your setup and see what I can do. The Ohlins do feel nice on city streets, but they tend to lose the plot when you press on. I've never been impressed with FCM's work. Xidas always feel like track shocks being used on the street. The Fox should be better than your description. Manually controlled cooling fans are a bad idea. At some point, that switch will not get flipped. Also, the AC fan comes on when it does for a reason - I'm not an AC guy, but I'm sure someone will jump in here. If you're looking for fan control for an oil cooler, piggyback off one of the existing fans. Or, if you're planning to go turbo, get yourself a good ECU and use it to control the extra fan.

I hope you did not interpret my review as a bad one. I believe I ended it by saying something along the lines of: FM and Fox did an admirable job of making these spring rates comfortable on the street when set correctly--maybe not Ohlins good, but still quite good. (Ohlins sets a very high bar in that area, but leave me with plenty of head-scratchers in other areas). The rest of the narrative was meant to be tongue-in-cheek. And, those were some SERIOUSLY BAD roads.

On the AC, I think the worst that could happen is, the condenser could freeze up, should the car idle without a fan for a very long time, but that should be alleviated by the cooling fan at least cycling with the compressor if/when I forget to turn the fan on manually. What I'm talking about is tapping into the ground signal sent to the cooling fan relay. The switch would override the ECU to keep the fan on all the time when the ignition is on, but allow the ECU control of the fan to operate normally when the switch is off. I'm not an AC guy either, hence the question. Also, I have read about AC fans burning out and drivers not noticing for months or years without consequences beyond reduced AC performance when stopped. I dunno. I do know one thing: the AC will stay in. Driving 2 hours home from the track in Texas summer heat without AC is an absolute non-starter--no matter how much I would like to save the weight and use the space.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/24/17 2:05 p.m.

I'd still like to see if I can improve it. Just pop me an email with your ride height and your shock settings.

SteveDallas
SteveDallas New Reader
1/24/17 3:11 p.m.

To Turbo or Not To Turbo

This decision is a long way off. Once I get this car to the point of on-track reliability, I will learn to drive it until I beat the Spec Miata record at my home track. Only then will I add any serious power. But, I want to explore the dilemma incessantly for the next 12 or so months anyway.

Reliable Track Turbo?

In reading a certain forum that deals with turbo Miatas, I have found a recurring theme in the build threads: man installs turbo; man is exuberant about newfound power; man blows engine; man replaces engine and beefs up cooling; man blows engine; man replaces engine with purpose-built engine, further beefs up cooling, and turns down boost; man blows engine; man replaces engine, removes turbo, and maxes out N/A performance; man stops blowing engines; man sells turbo and associated bits in the classifieds using very creative language to hide his anguish.

That oft repeated experience has me questioning whether to turbo this thing at all. Perhaps I should max out what I can get by going N/A instead, use the money to join the track as a full member, and get all the seat time I can stand.

The Normally Aspirated Option

With well-done reliability mods I already have planned, I should be able to make an engine last at least 100 track hours in N/A operation. Let's analyze what I could get in terms of power and cost.

My RX-8 has a power (200 WHP) to weight (3065 lbs) ratio of 0.065. This Miata has a power (105 WHP) to weight (2443 lbs) ratio of 0.043. Assuming the weight does not change, I would need 158 WHP out of the Miata to match what the RX-8 already has. That simple calculation ignores the fact that the Miata does much better in the low to midrange torque part of the curve than the RX-8, and that is what I most need to improve.

In Miataland, it seems Mazda did a very good job of designing almost everything, therefore meaningful horsepower gains are expensive (man, is that familiar). From what I have read and learned from talking to other Miata folks, the following about sums it up (please correct any mistakes or omissions):

  1. Intake: 4 WHP ($210)
  2. Header: 5 WHP ($425)
  3. High flow cat: 2 WHP ($370)
  4. Rest of the exhaust: 4 WHP ($???)
  5. ECU plus tune: 10-15 WHP ($1200 - $1800)
  6. Other: ? WHP ($???)

Assuming I buy new and pay retail, I could bolt-on and tune-in up to an optimistic 30 WHP for between $2200 and $3000, depending on the ECU and exhaust. Obviously, the cost could be brought down by buying used and fabricating certain things myself. Getting into a reliable track turbo that is good for 180+ WHP probably costs $5000, including exhaust, for sake of comparison.

Except for the ECU, almost none of those bolt-on parts could be reused to build a turbo setup, so should I decide to go turbo in the future, they would be sold for a loss or applied to another future Miata.

It is possible to squeeze out a few more HP by flattening the head, removing the VCTS, etc. for minimal additional outlay.

Would 135 WHP for a power to weight ratio of 0.055 with better low to midrange torque than I have in the RX-8 be enough, considering the handling improvements I stand to gain from the added negative camber, etc? Maybe.

What am I missing in this stream of consciousness?

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/24/17 3:26 p.m.

You're missing two things.

  1. Members of a certain forum take pride in breaking things. Show some mechanical empathy and you can definitely have a reliable turbo track Miata. You just have to avoid the trap of having to "win" and just have fun. Hint: I don't usually have a track timer on my cars, but I have a grin on my face.

  2. You cannot add up the stickers 135 rwhp is the exception rather than the norm in my experience, but I've always had difficulty confirming naturally aspirated power claims. I once owned a turbo Miata and a naturally aspirated one that had similar peak power, but there was an extra 1 in the front of the price tag for the naturally aspirated one. Both saw track time. The naturally aspirated one saw a lot of track time, and tearing down the engine after about 6000 miles showed that it was time for bearings. The turbo one soldiered on until I swapped it out at 120k for a bigger one.

BTW, I was the organizer for a big R&T test that took place at Miatas at MRLS last fall. The writer wanted to experience the whole gamut of Miatas, and the community delivered. You could see in the modification lists what forums the various owners frequented, and I had marked a couple of cars in my mind as "will probably have to bail for mechanical issue" because of a characteristic collection of modifications, including one that had all the usual cool kid naturally aspirated mods. I was not disappointed. Attention to detail in setup and tuning is important and often takes a back seat to just following a shopping list.

dcamp2
dcamp2 New Reader
1/24/17 3:52 p.m.

Steve- I did exactly what you are trying to prevent:

-Track car reliably for a few years NA

-Install boost (rotrex in my case)

-Enjoy slaying all sorts of expensive cars at HPDE days

-Blow up 2 motors, get tired of burning money

-Sell car

If I was to do a boosted miata track car again my first purchase would be a trailer and tow rig.

It is amazingly fun when the car is running well and all the Porsche drivers come over in the paddock to see whats under the hood of your $4000 miata.

If you can easily get E85- it's supposed to gain a few WHP if you have the ability to tune for it (even N/A)

codrus
codrus GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/24/17 4:28 p.m.

E85 will add about 5-8% power in an NA car when tuned properly, because it's got a higher hydrogen to carbon ratio in the fuel than gasoline.

As for mt.net -- if you run a car hard at the track, you're going to break stuff. This is true of any car, the factory doesn't engineer them for that kind of use and so there are lots of things that are going to break. This is doubly true if you add substantial amounts of horsepower. One can either accept that stuff is going to break and fix it, or one can not drive the car as hard. Keith comes down on one side of this decision, whereas a certain member of mt.net who falls into the "transmission of the month club" is on the other. :) The phenomenon you see with folks turboing, blowing up, and then going NA is due to learning this the hard way.

When is that R&T article going to come out, anyway?

As for the oil cooler, most of the turbo cars you'll see on mt.net have deleted the AC, so deleting the AC fan in favor of an oil cooler is really not a big deal.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/24/17 5:02 p.m.

I am knowing for breaking more stuff than anyone else at FM, but it's not from abuse. I've torn apart more suspension parts, hubs, halfshafts, subframes and brakes than anyone. That's a reflection of the amount of time I spend on track and my power level. I don't think I've ever broken a turbo part or transmission. Transmissions are a crapshoot at a certain power level, but losing engines should be avoidable. Maybe you have to take an easy lap after a couple of hard ones to let temperatures stabilize. Maybe you short shift on the straight and concentrate on getting maximum corner entry speed instead.

This attitude is what I use when we're endurance racing and rallying. You only need to go fast enough to win. Going faster and breaking the car will not let you win Sometimes you've gotta go for maximum speed and the car should be capable of that, but overall you care for your equipment. This may not win an internet dick swinging contest, but it'll let you drive your car on to the trailer at the end of the day instead of pushing it. Especially at a track day which is just for fun. But this attitude is difficult to express in internet discussion forums.

The R&T article should be this week.

SteveDallas
SteveDallas New Reader
1/24/17 9:11 p.m.
Keith Tanner wrote: You're missing two things. 1. Members of a certain forum take pride in breaking things. Show some mechanical empathy and you can definitely have a reliable turbo track Miata. You just have to avoid the trap of having to "win" and just have fun. Hint: I don't usually have a track timer on my cars, but I have a grin on my face. 2. You cannot add up the stickers 135 rwhp is the exception rather than the norm in my experience, but I've always had difficulty confirming naturally aspirated power claims. I once owned a turbo Miata and a naturally aspirated one that had similar peak power, but there was an extra 1 in the front of the price tag for the naturally aspirated one. Both saw track time. The naturally aspirated one saw a lot of track time, and tearing down the engine after about 6000 miles showed that it was time for bearings. The turbo one soldiered on until I swapped it out at 120k for a bigger one. BTW, I was the organizer for a big R&T test that took place at Miatas at MRLS last fall. The writer wanted to experience the whole gamut of Miatas, and the community delivered. You could see in the modification lists what forums the various owners frequented, and I had marked a couple of cars in my mind as "will probably have to bail for mechanical issue" because of a characteristic collection of modifications, including one that had all the usual cool kid naturally aspirated mods. I was not disappointed. Attention to detail in setup and tuning is important and often takes a back seat to just following a shopping list.
  1. I'm not sure that blanket statement is quite fair. I'm thinking of one particular test pilot and engineer who went to great lengths to build both of his Miatas (one turbo and one N/A) for reliability, and has blown something like 6 engines between them. Of course, he lives 10 minutes from the track and puts in a lot of track hours, and he had some bad luck with machine shops. There are others in similar situations. I have also seen it at the track. Like most places, we have a ton of Miatas in the fray. Many of the supercharged cars are running without belts on their blowers for some reason. ;) I do run a lap timer (AIM Solo), because you can't improve it, if you don't measure it. The AIM software tells me everything I could ever want to know about my performance on every foot of the track. It is immensely helpful. I also drive to have fun. Some laps are for time, and some laps are for joy. A balanced approach, if you will.

  2. Yeah. I know. That's why I used the weasel word, "optimistically". I understand that it is a system, and some things will impact other things for better or worse, and in the middle sits an ECU trying to sort it all out for better or worse. I have long been skeptical of most bolt-ons and any associated claims. My RX-8, for example, only has reliability and handling mods. So, what is realistic from bolt-ons in your experience? Also, are you saying the turbo car is more reliable, because you don't have to push it as hard in terms of revving higher for longer? I'm trying to read between the lines here.

SteveDallas
SteveDallas New Reader
1/24/17 9:36 p.m.
codrus wrote: E85 will add about 5-8% power in an NA car when tuned properly, because it's got a higher hydrogen to carbon ratio in the fuel than gasoline. As for mt.net -- if you run a car hard at the track, you're going to break stuff. This is true of any car, the factory doesn't engineer them for that kind of use and so there are lots of things that are going to break. This is doubly true if you add substantial amounts of horsepower. One can either accept that stuff is going to break and fix it, or one can not drive the car as hard. Keith comes down on one side of this decision, whereas a certain member of mt.net who falls into the "transmission of the month club" is on the other. :) The phenomenon you see with folks turboing, blowing up, and then going NA is due to learning this the hard way. When is that R&T article going to come out, anyway? As for the oil cooler, most of the turbo cars you'll see on mt.net have deleted the AC, so deleting the AC fan in favor of an oil cooler is really not a big deal.

I'm the luckiest track rat on the planet. So far, I have put >120 track hours on my RX-8 and have never broken anything. I know it will happen sooner or later and am fine with that. I see it all around me every track day. But, I would obviously like to keep it to a minimum. The more up-time I have, the more I can be driving rather than fixing. As much as I like wrenching, I like driving a hell of a lot more.

The oil cooler question exists, because I will be keeping the AC, because summer in Texas brutally hot and humid, and I am too lazy to trailer my car. Another possibility is to mount a small, efficient pusher fan high in front of the condenser to take the place of the AC fan. There would be some obstruction, but it could still work.

Should I get any more serious than HPDE again, there will be a hard core Miata handling that duty, and the equation will be much different. This car will be kept mostly intact and relatively enjoyable.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/24/17 10:00 p.m.

My naturally aspirated track car was very reliable, but suffered very rapid wear. I think the problem was RPM, I was winding it waaay out. I don't think I would have seen 10k miles on the engine. The turbo car never suffered a failure other than a overheating problem from a bad 15 year old radiator cap. I think that was the turbo car, it actually might have been the N/A one. Either way, easy to diagnose and fix. No long term effects, just some spilled coolant.

The simplest way take a load off the cooling system on a turbo car on the track is to shift at 6500 instead of 7000. You've got the torque to make it work, and you can still concentrate on making your driving better with that constraint. That and airflow across the rad, I'm a big believer in hood louvers although I don't have any on my own car.

If I were building a stock engined naturally aspirated car, I'd do all the usual bolt-ons but I'd spend a lot of time making sure the ECU was properly tuned and had good failsafes in it. Mid 120's would be a reasonable expectation. E85 is great in a bunch of ways including cooling, but be prepared to inject a lot of it.

codrus
codrus GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/24/17 10:26 p.m.

As far as naturally aspirated builds go, I'm somewhat skeptical of "power recipes". I know one guy who went all-out, high-compression brand-name motor (not FM), cams, EU intake manifold, VVT, E85, etc, and he topped out at about 160 at the wheels. I wouldn't be surprised if he had more money in that motor than I had in both of my turbo motors put together. It's not that I don't believe people who've got dyno charts showing 200 rwhp naturally aspirated, but I think there's a lot more subtlety to it than simply bolting a bunch of parts together. Making that power with a turbo is easy by comparison.

So yeah, I've had two built motors for my turbo car. The first died after a throttle body screw broke and the screw head went through the motor, trashing the pistons, cylinder walls, and the turbine. That's an example of the kind of random failures you get with lots of track driving, that throttle body had 95K miles on it, with 60-ish track days and around 500 autocross runs.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/24/17 10:43 p.m.

Yes, naturally aspirated power is all about chasing 1 hp at a time. You can't do the serious numbers without lots of attention to detail. A National level CSP driver who usually stops by our shop on a regular basis spent hours on the dyno testing different lengths of pre-TB piping to find just the right one.

We don't spend a lot of time chasing N/A power at FM, I think the highest we've seen on our dyno was 185-ish at the wheels. I have my suspicions that particular dyno used to underreport low power numbers and overreport high ones, because the low power motors always overperformed on the track.

SteveDallas
SteveDallas New Reader
1/26/17 7:43 a.m.

I believe this is the article:

19 Miatas in 1 Weekend

There is no direct reference to FM Fox coilovers, so I don't know which car is sporting them. The article is generally complimentary of FM suspensions throughout, however. OF course, this is what I have to come to expect from automotive "journalism" these days: keep all the vendors (advertisers) happy. In any case, the article is neat, but very light on specifics across the board.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/26/17 10:56 a.m.

I know the specs of all those cars if you want to know. If you had full specs on 19 cars it would be a book. The two V8 cars and the ND were on Fox. The NB was on either Konis or Tokicos with FM springs IIRC.

Generally, if Sam didn't like something, he didn't name it. FM does not advertise with R&T, that article is truly his reactions to what he drove. We spent a lot of time talking suspension, it turns out that his philosophy and mine mesh very well. FM didn't have anything to do with the article directly, I did because I'm also an organizer of the event and thus had the contacts needed to put it together. Implying that we bought the article is insulting.

SteveDallas
SteveDallas New Reader
1/26/17 2:06 p.m.
Keith Tanner wrote: I know the specs of all those cars if you want to know. If you had full specs on 19 cars it would be a book. The two V8 cars and the ND were on Fox. The NB was on either Konis or Tokicos with FM springs IIRC. Generally, if Sam didn't like something, he didn't name it. FM does not advertise with R&T, that article is truly his reactions to what he drove. We spent a lot of time talking suspension, it turns out that his philosophy and mine mesh very well. FM didn't have anything to do with the article directly, I did because I'm also an organizer of the event and thus had the contacts needed to put it together. Implying that we bought the article is insulting.

Wow. I definitely need to address this.

It was not my intention to imply that you or FM bought the article. On the contrary, I like you, and I like FM's products, and I don't believe you guys would willfully engage in such activities. My comment was directed 100% at the integrity of the current state of editorial magazines in general (but not specific authors).

Here is a little context for my in-artfully worded comment. I come at this from a certain jaded perspective. I have owned a company that manufacturers boutique guitar amplifiers for almost 20 years. In that time, I have witnessed a disturbing evolution in periodical journalism:

In the 2000s

  1. If I did not buy advertising, a magazine felt free to praise or criticize my products as needed to prove a point about whatever product they were reviewing
  2. If I did buy advertising, a magazine felt free to give an honest opinion of my products, pointing out both the strong and weak points with relative fairness

In the 2010s

  1. If I did not buy advertising, a magazine would mostly ignore (but never criticize) my products, to avoid losing a potential future advertiser
  2. If I did buy advertising, a magazine would either loudly praise my products or damn them with faint praise, but there would be praise

The Present

  1. If I do not buy advertising, a magazine will occasionally include my products, with commentary generally on the positive side of the spectrum, in the hopes that it will motivate me to buy advertising in the future
  2. If I do buy advertising, a magazine will praise my products effusively and without reservation every single time
  3. A magazine may praise things they really like, but will never condemn anything, no matter how bad it is, because every manufacturer and vendor is a potential advertiser

It is a strange type of pay-to-play or don't-pay-to-play that has to be navigated, whether a vendor wants to be involved in the game or not.

In my experience, you have to learn to read between the lines, when determining the takeaways from this type of article or review. The worst they will do anymore is damn by omission. They have learned where their bread is buttered, and they will not upset any potential advertisers.

The best you will get is criticism of a non-entity for the sake of fair-and-balanced appearances, such as, "This particular combination of used Koni Yellow shocks from a wrecked car, with cut Eibach springs, plus coilover sleeves from eBay, did not impress this author in the slalom." Who could be offended by that? Not Koni, not Eibach, and not eBay. But, the author (or his editor) was critical of something. Box checked.

So, yes, I have learned a healthy skepticism of the motivations of magazine editors, which causes this type of article to inform me very little. I need to see quantifiable and verifiable data, before I can get past my cynicism to make such an article meaningful.

I absolutely did not mean to insult you or FM, and I apologize for doing so.

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