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bigmackloud
bigmackloud New Reader
9/17/13 9:30 p.m.

So as I continue researching a future track day/weekend toy, I keep coming back to the mazdaspeed miata. But everytime I read a thread about using it as a track car, people say skip it and buy a NA or NB and use a flying miata turbo kit. I get it that the stock turbo isn't as good as the FM unit but with the little enchilada kit the msm is good for 200rwhp. (Which takes care of the intake boot problem as well).

I've read people say the brakes suck, but aren't they the sport brakes (the largest offered on a miata)? Maybe add some brake ducts, ss lines, and some track pads?

And stock they have bilsteins and some extra chassis bracing, correct?

I hear the turbo manifold studs can stretch, but there's a stud kit for that, $140. Looks labor intensive though.

So for example, there's an 04 msm for sale semi-local. Got some basic mods, asking $8500. Figure another $2k for a roll bar, brake ducts, pads, lines, and the begi ecu reflash.

Here's a clip from the ad.

"Miles: 77k Maintenance: new breaks, tie rods, new tires on both sets of wheels, all fluid and plugs just changed. Timing belt, water pump just changed. E break just serviced

Flyin Miata FMIC, CAI, exhaust, BOV

Car lowered on H&R race springs

Wheels: rota slipstreams 15x7 and chrome no name 15x6.5

AEM air fuel guage, boost guage, momo shift knob

Interior very clean. Only shift wear on driver seat.

Exterior is 7/10. Paint looks great except for a few chips ftom driving. A few small body dents, nothing too noticeable just letting you know."

Just trying to decide if there's a drawback to the msm I'm missing. I've been watching hard for a s2k but there hard to come buy for sub-$10k without a stupid amount of miles.

{edit - spazzed and posted before I was finished typing}

Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
9/17/13 9:37 p.m.

The Little Enchilada is cool, but you're still left with the worst part of the car. The ecu.

The brakes are good though. Pads, lines, and good fluid should be fine.

The stock Bilsteins in good shape seem to handle pretty decent spring rates.

The gearing sucks bad with stock ecu. Sucks slightly less with an aftermarket ecu and higher rpm limit.

bigmackloud
bigmackloud New Reader
9/17/13 9:39 p.m.

Ps, and I feel like a newb asking this, but is there a forum search button I'm missing somewhere?

Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
9/17/13 9:39 p.m.

I wouldn't suggest the reflash, either. Theres been some incidents with it and some very unprofessional interactions concerning them. And the value of it sucks. Youre in Megasquirt territory with that money.

Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
9/17/13 9:39 p.m.

Search via google, the built in search function is broken.

bigmackloud
bigmackloud New Reader
9/17/13 9:41 p.m.

Can you expound more on the ecu problems (that wouldn't be fixed with the begi reflash)? {edit, you beat me to it}

Fwiw, my "home" track for hpde days would be VIR.

mazdeuce
mazdeuce SuperDork
9/17/13 9:41 p.m.

From a friend who owns one - gearing. He loves everything else about the car. Hates the gearing. Hates it so much he seldom drives it. Not competitive in autocross because of the gearing and sucks on the highway because of the gearing. Just thinking about the gearing pisses him off.

bmw88rider
bmw88rider GRM+ Memberand Reader
9/17/13 9:43 p.m.

Well, Here is the problems I had with the car and why it only stayed in my garage for 6 months before I was sick of it.

  1. The 4.1 rear end ratio and the 6 speed was great with the NA version but the turbo, It really needed to be the 3.636 rear end that the aussies got. Too much shifting and first gear was useless. Oh and for self preservation, Mazda lowered the redline from the NA versions.
  2. The engine management was horrid. I wanted so much just to rip it out and start again but it would then fail emissions since I needed the ODB II signal.
  3. So many factory small issues. The intake tube would balloon, the BOV would leak, the shifting was a little bulky compared to the 5 speed, the factory wheels liked to bend.
  4. The Bilstiens are ok. Nothing great. I liked my Koni's on my NA better

You buy a factory tuner car expecting not to have to have to do a ton to it but there is a minimum of 4K you have to put into the car just to get it "right" which brings you to almost 13-14K range. For that much, you can build a very well tuned NB with a proper turbo setup.

kabel
kabel Dork
9/17/13 9:46 p.m.

prone to overheating as well on track

Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
9/17/13 9:54 p.m.

In other news, I'd like to sell mine.

amg_rx7
amg_rx7 Dork
9/17/13 10:14 p.m.

I had one for 6 months. Bought it new. Cool car but the things that bothered me were: - Gearing - between the short rear end ratio and the 6 speed box and the low 6500 redline, you wind up shifting A LOT. It gets annoying after a while. - The 6 speed just didn't shift as smoothly as the 5 speed. - The engine had a really narrow power band with most of the oomph running out around 5.5 - 6k and then a redline of 6.5k. It just wasn't fun to rev.

The interior was the best of the NA and NB series as were the brakes. the paint choices were quite pretty. That Velocity Red was hot.. The Racing Hart wheels were pretty too.

It might be a lot better with the FM stuff but stock it was a bit annoying - to me. YMMV.

I think I'd rather have an S2000 or an NC

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/17/13 10:18 p.m.

Pretty good bang for the buck, actually. Pick one up, throw on a Little Enchilada, swap the 6-speed for a 5-speed to fix the shifting and gearing problems, then swap out the wheels for some nice 15". You can sell the stock trans and wheels and make a profit on the latter two. The Little Enchilada will improve the powerband problems by improving turbo spool fairly dramatically.

Voila, a decent package with an okay power/weight ratio without a lot of hassle. It's not the ultimate Miata, sure. It's got some foibles. But it's easy to live with, the intake tube and BOV problems are sorted as part of the Enchilada and it's a well-trodden path. Based on what I've seen, I don't think a Megasquirted car would have any less "character", it would just be different.

I haven't found a reflash I'd be willing to recommend.

Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
9/17/13 10:40 p.m.

The advantage with the megasquirt is that you'd be able to easily tune out the factory ecu's tendency to go dangerously lean and detonate under boost. I don't think it's necessarily going to transform the way the powerband feels compared to a lucky Little Enchilada owner, but it will certainly be safe if tuned well.

These stock ecu cars scare me. Especially for track work, I'd want direct control.

Not trying to discount what you're saying. If I were to start over with a stock one (I wouldn't) I'd immediately start with the Little Enchilada and figure out what ecu to run, or just go with an fm2 kit and fix it all at once.

OP, seriously, buy mine. I couldn't take $8500 though. It's got all the issues addressed, however.

carbon
carbon Reader
9/17/13 11:01 p.m.

That kind of money buys a 2zzge/c60 swapped mr-spyder, just sayin.

mtn
mtn UltimaDork
9/17/13 11:11 p.m.

I have a 10AE. 99, 6 speed. My biggest problem with the speed would be the transmission. Sure, Keith just outlined a perfect setup... but I'd rather just start with a 5 speed and install a turbo.

That said, while I do not see a Mazdaspeed Miata in my future, I would not be surprised if one ended up in my garage.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/18/13 12:09 a.m.

The "dangerously lean" behavior of the stock ECU doesn't seem to cause any problems, though. Unless you know something I don't about MSM engine failures. It's actually quite surprising how lean some factory tunes run under boost. Mazda built some decent fail-safes into the MSM to protect owners from themselves, that nicely judged boost cut when the car runs out of injector has saved a lot of engines. Bypassing that is dumb.

Adding a turbo to a non-MSM certainly gets you a nice package, and likely more power. But if you want the easy button, the MSM "LE" is easy and will pass an emissions test. Plus the interior/exterior package is pretty darn nice, which is why the MSM is the victim of choice for our V8 customers.

I've recommended the same setup to a few of my friends, it's the right choice for a lot of people. People who want a car, not a project. Even the dealer wouldn't be scared to work on it - and for some folks, that's important.

kanaric
kanaric Reader
9/18/13 1:59 a.m.
carbon wrote: That kind of money buys a 2zzge/c60 swapped mr-spyder, just sayin.

Yes I would definitely take one of these. Later on you can add a supercharger as well and really destroy a MSM.

z31maniac
z31maniac UltimaDork
9/18/13 7:19 a.m.

If you really want a track toy, I'd skip the MSM all together.

Pick up a clean 03-05 Miata (You get the Sport brakes and VVT engine) and use the money you save NOT buying the MSM to get it track worthy with lines/pads/brakes, roll bar/seats/harnesses, tires and maybe some suspension.

Later on an intake/header/exhaust + MegaSquirt and you'll be in the 145whp range.

If later on you want turbo power (be prepared for lots of money to keep it reliable if you beat the snot out of it), call up Keith and order a big box of goodies.

Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
9/18/13 8:19 a.m.
Keith Tanner wrote: The "dangerously lean" behavior of the stock ECU doesn't seem to cause any problems, though. Unless you know something I don't about MSM engine failures. It's actually quite surprising how lean some factory tunes run under boost. Mazda built some decent fail-safes into the MSM to protect owners from themselves, that nicely judged boost cut when the car runs out of injector has saved a lot of engines. Bypassing that is dumb. Adding a turbo to a non-MSM certainly gets you a nice package, and likely more power. But if you want the easy button, the MSM "LE" is easy and will pass an emissions test. Plus the interior/exterior package is pretty darn nice, which is why the MSM is the victim of choice for our V8 customers. I've recommended the same setup to a few of my friends, it's the right choice for a lot of people. People who want a car, not a project. Even the dealer wouldn't be scared to work on it - and for some folks, that's important.

You're right, it doesn't really tend to pop the motor, but it's really the bulk of the cause of the lumpy strange powerband. Starts to spool, makes some power, goes lean, freaks out/detonates/pulls timing, comes back on.

I just really don't like seeing 14s AFRs under boost.

The emissions and dealer-friendly-ness comments are a very good point and something i tend to overlook when recommending anything. Sometimes i wish i wouldn't overlook them when shopping for myself.

Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
9/18/13 8:20 a.m.
kanaric wrote:
carbon wrote: That kind of money buys a 2zzge/c60 swapped mr-spyder, just sayin.
Yes I would definitely take one of these. Later on you can add a supercharger as well and really destroy a MSM.

It'll be substantially faster than the MSM even without the supercharger.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve UltimaDork
9/18/13 8:21 a.m.

There's nothing wrong with a Mazdaspeed Miata. Perhaps other options are better for certain uses, but there's nothing WRONG with it!

yamaha
yamaha PowerDork
9/18/13 10:12 a.m.
pinchvalve wrote: There's nothing wrong with a Mazdaspeed Protege. Perhaps other options are better for certain uses, but there's nothing WRONG with it!

For even more lulz in this thread, FTFY

Xceler8x
Xceler8x UltraDork
9/18/13 10:40 a.m.
z31maniac wrote: If you really want a track toy, I'd skip the MSM all together. Pick up a clean 03-05 Miata (You get the Sport brakes and VVT engine) and use the money you save NOT buying the MSM to get it track worthy with lines/pads/brakes, roll bar/seats/harnesses, tires and maybe some suspension. Later on an intake/header/exhaust + MegaSquirt and you'll be in the 145whp range. If later on you want turbo power (be prepared for lots of money to keep it reliable if you beat the snot out of it), call up Keith and order a big box of goodies.

Z31Maniac has it down. I'd go the same route.

Get the 03-05 and drive it like your stole it. If you get the more horsepower bug then call up Flyin Miata and be ready to spend the cash. Don't cheap out. I'm serious. Spend the dough at Flyin Miata.

If you street drive your turbo Miata you can cheap out quite a bit. If you track the car you'll need all the parts of the highest quality to maintain reliability to something close to a stock Miata.

bigmackloud
bigmackloud New Reader
9/18/13 10:50 a.m.

Hmm, so it boils down to the gearing and the ECU. The rest can be fixed relatively simply. That's a shame, seems like a deal breaker.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/18/13 11:27 a.m.

Gearing's easy - swap in the 5-speed, as I said. That's as hard as changing a clutch, and you'll probably make money on the deal. We did it with ours.

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