DIY

The ULTIMATE Guide to DIY Turbo Miata Setups

February 13, 2019
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There is so much information out there about Miata turbo setups, and that amount has probably tripled in the last 5 years. This is great for people just jumping into the turbo scene, since we now have more options than ever! But it can also be daunting trying to figure out what parts to buy, so here’s a little guide to help everyone out. To start off here’s a little worksheet with all the things I talked about in the video to help break it down visually with extra notes: [DIY Turbo Notes] and a worksheet to help you plan out your turbo build: [Build Worksheet – PDF]  |  [Build Worksheet – XLS] Below you’ll find links to everything in the video AND MORE! Good luck with all of your turbo builds!

Hotsides (Manifold, Turbo, Downpipe, Lines)

The heart of any turbo setup. Important things to note here are that manifolds and downpipes are matched to each other. A Flyin’ Miata downpipe might not work with an MK Turbo manifold, so it’s always best to buy them as a pair, unless you want to do a custom downpipe! Also, when choosing a turbo, keep in mind that there might not be a manifold/downpipe combo that fits it, so before you set your sights on that turbo from a 300ZX for a “killer deal”, you should find in your research that it uses an obscure 4-bolt downpipe unlike the common 5-bolt varieties that the common downpipe will fit. Know your flanges, and come up with a plan before buying 1 piece at a time. Here are some options:

Used Mazdaspeed Setup – Your best bet to find this is in the MiataTurbo Classifieds

Ebay Setup [1.6L] [1.8L]- These come in a few flavors, here is one variety.

CX Racing [1.6L] [1.8L]

Bell Tuning – [Many Options]

MK Turbo [1.6L] [1.8L NA] [1.8L NB] – Note that this kit includes a FULL 3″ exhaust system!

G19 Engineering [1.6L] [1.8L NA] [1.8L NB]- Based in the UK

Kraken [Many Options] – Based in Bulgaria

Revent [Many Options] – Based in Slovakia (Not discussed in video, but another great option)

LucaCarMods [Manifold] [Downpipe] – Based in TheNetherlands (Not featured in the video but a great option and fellow YouTuber)

Flyin’ Miata [1.6L] [1.8L NA] [1.8L NB] [Lines] – Tried and true, one of the biggest names in the business.

Fab 9 Tuning [1.8L] – Contrary to the video these kits are now internally gated unless custom ordered. Which means .64 A/R EFR’s can be used for faster spool!

Trackspeed Engineering [1.8L] – The mac daddy of bulletproof, max performance turbo setups.

Complete Kits (Kind of)

Ah full turbo kits. There are really only a few full turbo kits and a couple of partial kits out there right now, probably because most people prefer to do at least a partial DIY setup. Nonetheless, here are your options!

Flyin’ Miata [1.6L] [1.8L NA] [1.8L NB] – Can be configured to be complete with everything you need except for an ECU, I always recommend the Megasquirt MS2PnP.

MK Turbo [1.6L] [1.8L NA] [1.8L NB] – This kit includes an MS3 and a full 3″ exhaust system, another great option for a complete kit. Just add a clutch!

Revent [Multiple Setups] – Revent actually offers super complete kits, including a cast manifold and the popular ME221 ECU

BOFI Racing [Multiple Setups] – Vendor in the UK that sells Kraken and DaveFab, and also offers pretty complete turbo setups.

CX Racing “Kit” [1.6L] [1.8L] – Although you do need to add quite a few things to get your Miata boosted (ECU, injectors, wideband, clutch), it’s another viable option. Proceed with caution as the manifold and downpipe quality is suspect.

Ebay “Kit” [1.6L] [1.8L] – All your horsepower are belong to us. Very low quality parts, but some people love the adventure. Note these kits also need quite a few additional parts to become functional.

DIY Component Options

DIY is really the best way to go when you’re turbocharging your Miata. There are so many parts to choose from, so hopefully this will point you in the right direction. Also know this – when I built my original 1.6L turbo setup, I was daily driving my car. It was never down for more than 8 hours during the whole process! A brief rundown: Installed a wideband, this can be done on the stock ECU. Installed Megasquirt, started learning the ropes of tuning with a completely stock engine. You have to have a wideband to run MS. Next up: injector swap, and redo the fuel map (real easy since you’ve been practicing already, here’s a video on how to change them and configure your Megasquirt). Now things are getting fun, time to mount up that intercoo… ahem… interFOOLER and get all of your interfooler piping installed. You can delete your AFM or MAF at this time since you’re on MS. (If you haven’t already). You can drill your oil pan, install the fitting, and throw a cap on it at any point too. Once all that is done you’re ready to unbolt your stock header and bolt the turbo into place. Hook up your oil and water lines, and you’re boosted. Not only that, you never had any downtime! The base ignition map is plenty safe to drive the car in boost, you’ll just have to tweak the fuel map (VE Table) again. Now don’t forget things are going to want to melt and come loose a little easier, so inspect everything often! That’s boosting a Miata in a nutshell, now onto the parts selection.

Manifold / Downpipe / Turbo Lines – See Above

Turbocharger – For a stock engine with a turbo I couldn’t recommend a better turbo than the Garrett GT2554R or the GT2560R. Both offer the same fast-spooling turbine wheel and housing, and a maximum power output of about 270whp and 300whp, respectfully. I wouldn’t recommend any larger Garrett (GT2860RS, GT2871R, GT3071R, etc) for a stock engine because lag is increased exponentially and you can’t really utilize the turbo’s potential safely on the top end. The one exception is the GTX2860R, especially if you’re planning on building your engine in the future. Respectable spool-up with a mean 400++whp potential. Although, I do believe the EFR6258 is better option than the GTX2860R in the 400whp category. The EFR6758 will spool nearly as fast as the 6258 but has an extra 60-80whp on the top end. Another popular choice is to start out with a Chinese T25/T28 or an SR20 T25 (Plenty can be found on the MiataTurbo and Zilvia Classifieds) because the flanges are identical to the GT2554R and GT2560R. This means you can get your turbo system set up and easily upgrade later without having to change your manifold or downpipe. Another great turbo that I barely touched on in the video is the TD04 frame turbos. They aren’t very popular in the U.S. but they are the turbo of choice in the U.K. for Miatas. They’ve got very similar performance to the small T25/GT25 Garrett turbos in both spool up and top end power. One of the OG’s Quinn Kizis of GQM Garage Show rocked this turbo on his red 1.6L Miata making 254whp/238wtq.

IntercoolerEbay, CX Racing, Mishimoto, Flyin Miata (Kit), Fab9, and Trackspeed are all great options, with increased price comes increased quality.

Intercooler PipingCX Racing (Fitted Kit) [Note that if you do not run the CX manifold setup, this kit might require modification to fit correctly], Ebay (Cut/Fit Yourself), SiliconeIntakes (Custom order any pieces you need) – I have personally used SI and they have fast shipping, quality couplers/clamps, and you can return what you don’t use!

WidebandInnovate MTX-L, AEM Uego. I have had 3 MTX-L’s, a couple bugs here and there but I like them. Also see: How To Install A Wideband

Fuel InjectorsRX8 Yellows – I ran these in my 1.6 build at 220+whp with the stock fuel pump, absolutely great option. They fit into the stock fuel rail and use stock Miata plugs. There are a lot of fakes on Ebay though selling for like $30 a set, don’t be fooled! Same with the RX7 injectors, they are direct fit. The RX7 injectors are bigger so they support a little more power but have an older design that does not spray as well as the RX8 units. Unless you’re doing a budget build well above 220whp, the RX8’s are a better option. Five-O Motorsports 750cc’s are what I ran in my 1.6 build and made 295whp on E85 with a 340LPH pump. Injector Dynamics 1000 cc’s are what I run in my current build, the 1050X are the upgraded version. There are other options like DeatschwerksKA Injection,  and FlowForce. I haven’t personally run them but there are a lot of Miatas using them with excellent results.

ECU – Although it has some quirks and people who run Haltechs aren’t fans, the Megasquirt is undoubtedly the most widely used ECU in turbo Miatas. Because of this, it has massive community support, especially on the MiataTurbo and MSExtra forums. I’ve run 2 of them in my cars (MS2 and MSPro) and would buy again. You’ve got quite a few options depending on the year of your car, and if you want to build one yourself or buy a Plug-N-Play version: DIYAutoTune Also see: How to Install Megasquirt

Clutch – Alright you’ve got a lot of different options here. So many options I recommend you check out an entire article I dedicated to the topic of Choosing a Clutch For Your Miata. Also see: How To Install A Miata Clutch

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