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My 2 cents on power adders: turbo, supercharger, and V8 engine swap

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miata supercharger

MX-5 with V8
Turbo miata


I think the turbo is the cheapest and the most fun. To do it right, you will need about $2k, the most expensive part will be the ECU, at around half the budget. That's what I'm doing, I will have settings of 6 and 8 psi for daily driving and for competition respectively. Though, the turbo will always have a lag, which is mostly annoying on road courses because you can only estimate when it will hit. This can be problematic, especially while coming out of a corner. It may hit at the wrong moment, causing you to lose traction at the rear wheels and spin off. So, watch out for that.

Comment from the reader:
"Turbos do lag, but just at the lower RPMs. On a road course, this is more manageable than you'd think, since by the time you're at a track day you ought to be used to your car by then. You'll know when to expect the boost to "hit".

A turbo is a bit more complicated piping wise - you'll need to hook up cooling, oil, and all air ducts.

A supercharger is a bit more expensive and much harder to install if you do it all yourself (The plug and play kits are much easier). Beside the piping and belt, it can be difficult to find a place for it. The supercharger can be placed on the "hot" side (over the header), but that heat soaks the unit, or on the "cold" side (replaces the intake manifold), which adds complexity. Superchargers are known for not having lag like turbos, they supply a linear torque curve instead.

The good part about both of those over an engine swap is; they're cheaper, there's no cutting of the frame, and my favorite is that it can be done in steps, so the car's downtime is lessened.

I tackle it on weekends. One weekend I changed the ECU, then I took out the MAF sensor. Next I upped the injectors to 315cc units and installed a fuel rail with fuel supplied from both sides, and fuel pressure gauge. Next I installed a fuel pressure regulator, then had my piping built, and lastly I slapped on a turbo and downpipe.

With a V8, you need serious downtime and around $10K or more, but you can make more power. I've heard about 2 options: Ford 302 from Monster Miata (less expensive option), and now LS1 from Flyin Miata (more expensive option).



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