Bomb-proof hubs for our endurance race Miata? Yes, please.

Tom
Update by Tom Suddard to the Mazda Miata project car
Mar 19, 2024 | Mazda, Miata, Mazda Miata, MiataHubs.com, Wheel Hub

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Nobody likes it when the wheels fall off their race car. And sadly, the wheels on our V6-powered Miata wanted to come loose.

We had already taken a step to fix this, as we had ditched our Miata’s stock fragile front hubs for a redesigned aftermarket setup featuring user-serviceable tapered roller bearings.

In theory, it was the perfect solution: The new hubs …

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Comments
Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
11/3/23 11:34 a.m.

Seems like an upgrade worth every penny.

No one wants to be that guy that flags a session because their wheel came loose.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/3/23 11:42 a.m.

Hopefully you'll be paying enough attention that it doesn't go that far :) The first year I was a mechanic on a Thunderhill 25 team, we went through a lot of hubs. The team didn't quite understand how badly they'd get beaten up. I think we might have lost one wheel, but it's been more than a decade and I forget what happened exactly at 1am. 

There are few upgraded hubs available on the market. A budget option is to go to a blueprinted stock unit. That's what we used the second year at Thunderhill, and none of the four cars on our team had a hub failure. There are also modified E30 hubs from Brofab, and Mazda Competition offers an tapered bearing option as well. Two of those choices are available from my favorite Miata vendor :)

NickD
NickD MegaDork
11/3/23 11:48 a.m.

I did this on an aftermarket replacement hub at an autocross. Ripped the face of it apart at the top of 2nd gear in a slalom. That was.....thrilling.

Noddaz
Noddaz GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
11/3/23 11:51 a.m.

In reply to NickD :

That is down right scary.

Should I be concerned on a stock street only Miata?  Or just inspect at brake jobs.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/3/23 11:58 a.m.

The usual concern with Miata front hubs is bearing failure, not so much flange failure. That's why a few of the upgrade options like the Miatahubs run tapered bearings.

But there are a bunch of aftermarket stock replacement hubs with slightly different castings, some of which have proven to be insufficient to the task as they have built-in stress risers. I've seen more rear wheel drive flange failures myself, including one on my own car.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
11/3/23 12:08 p.m.

Yeah, I'll second what Keith said. OEM hubs are usually fine as far as flanges go, but the bearings don't last very long. But some of the cheap aftermarket replacements can explode like that. That's one reason I replaced every hub on my 350Z with new replacements from the dealer when I had the suspension apart--at 200,000 miles, I wanted to make sure I wasn't racing on the cheapest stuff the previous owner bought at the parts store.

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
11/3/23 12:51 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

The usual concern with Miata front hubs is bearing failure, not so much flange failure. That's why a few of the upgrade options like the Miatahubs run tapered bearings.

But there are a bunch of aftermarket stock replacement hubs with slightly different castings, some of which have proven to be insufficient to the task as they have built-in stress risers. I've seen more rear wheel drive flange failures myself, including one on my own car.

Also didn't help that this is a 250whp car on 245-width Super 200TW tires that gets autocrossed heavily. I may have been exceeding the design expectations just a little bit. I had chewed through a bunch of the bearings and usually just put a set of hubs in the front. That was the first, and only time, that it ever did that. Of course, I had just installed Wilwood calipers on the front and it ground the rotor into one of the brand-new calipers. Fortunately another autocrosser had a spare bearing on hand and we put a wheel bearing in this thing in like 15 minutes and didn't even miss a run.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
11/3/23 1:26 p.m.

I don't remember the brand FM used to sell, but 10 years ago with my NA, we killed both fancy front hubs in one track day (I was sharing the car with a friend so we it went through like 13 sessions in one day).

Jesse Ransom
Jesse Ransom GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
11/3/23 2:54 p.m.

What was going on with the loosening hubs? Settling or sinking races? Crazy wear of actual bearing surfaces?

I'm having trouble getting my head around an excess-clearance failure mode that can be even temporarily resolved by adjustment...

fullbeans
fullbeans New Reader
11/3/23 3:09 p.m.

These hubs are great! Within a handful of races, they paid for themselves.

Racing in Champcar, we were losing at least one hub, usually multiple every race. We tried all the vendors for the stock hubs and it didn't  make a difference. All bearing failures.

Haven't had a single failure since we got the MiataHubs hubs. A few races after getting them, I realized how much less stress I felt during the race. Before, I was always waiting for the hub failure, had to be ready to change it at any minute. All that went away.

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