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white_cross

Street class shocks for miata?

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Hey guys/gals I picked up a rust free 1991 miata yesterday and it is completely stock so I intend to keep it that way. My budget including purchase for the car is $3000-$3400 So far I am at $1700 which includes purchase and trailer rental/gas to haul the car home. The car will need a new top which I have lined up for a good deal. There are a couple other things needed for safety. But my question for now is what shocks are suggested to run in street class for an affordable price. I may just run new rear ones of what ever is oem for now but I am still curious on what others have run in street class. The fronts seem ok but the rears need replacing so in terms of budget I may just replace the rears for now with oem equivalent.

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Koni Sports (yellows) are the easy button. Shop around for a deal as pricing can vary. I ran them from Stock and eventually put Ground Control coilovers sleeves on them with 2.5" race springs. 

Bonus tip: Ignore any advice from Miata.net unless it's in the Race section. 

Shocks make a HUGE difference in a stock Miata. Also get new Mazda bumpstops while you're in there as they've improved them over the years. The updated Mazda bumpstops are Street-class legal. They're more progressive than the original hard rubber ones, so they make the car easier to drive. 

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With the 1.6, you will want to look into the crank pulley issues and do the fix if it hasn't been done. 

You may want to scour Miata.net and other racing forums (even for spec Miata) 

The difficult part will be sourcing 14" race tires or finding 15x5.5" wheels. 

Tires will probably be the 195/50/15 re71r's. 

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Koni yellows like Corey said. They are pretty good, adjustable, and don't make the car ride terribly. Can be set to soft for a stock-ish ride or turned up to stiff for quick transitions and good feedback. Also new bumpstops is a good idea but you can also get aftermarket ones that fit well on the Konis and are supposedly better (they come in 3 colours - soft/med/stiff).

Some other advice from my Miata build days:

Wheels/Tires: Like any car, better tires is the best bang for your buck. Stock wheels are pretty light so you're fine there. Don't bother spending $$$$ on pimp wheels yet. Get a second set of used stock wheels (should be under $500 for a set) if you want to have dedicated race set and a second set for the street. Tires are cheap in those sizes and the car is light, so it's easy on tires, so your tire budget is like half or maybe a quarter of most other cars. Awesome! (I went from spending $1000-1200 each year on the Subaru to $~600 for almost 2 full years on the Miata!)

Brake pads: you'll want some crap pads (OEM is fine) up front and something more aggressive on the rear axle. Miatas lock up the right front tire under braking. You want as much rear bias as possible. E.g. HPS front and HP+ rear. Brade pads are cheap, so are rotors. Might as well refresh them.

Alignment: Front: Max out the camber but make it even on both sides. Then max out the caster without decreasing the camber, and make it even. Add a bit of toe out (1/16 to 1/8”) in the front. Rear: Camber the same as the front or slightly less. Zero toe or just a touch of toe in. You might want to just buy a new set of eccentric adjuster bolts so when you do a new alignment you can torque them down good and not worry about them slipping.

FSB: 1-1/8” (1.125”) front sway bar from Racing Beat and 949 end links. The 1.6L (NA1) chassis mounts are a bit further back so the bars for that chassis have slightly shorter arms, although apparently you can make an NA2 bar work. You will probably want the "blocks and bolts" mod as well, it adds strength to the sway bar chassis mounts and is Street class legal. It will stop the sway bar from ripping out the chassis mounts.

 

Other maintenance tips - not totally necessary, but stuff I had written down - Word on the street is that motor mounts are usually torn, even if they don’t look it. Only way to know for sure is to take 'em out and by then you might as well replace them. Install new plugs and wires. Esp wires, seem to make a difference (so they say). Most racecar guys they say replace them every 2 years. This car is more susceptible to deterioration of its wires, I assume due to the heat they absorb by sitting on the valve cover.

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Oh yeah, the plug wires... When they start going bad the car stumbles at lower RPM. I remember mine going bad real quick so I had to keep the car above 4k for the drive home. Boy racer commuter! 

Overall, the least expensive car I've ever owned. Smiles/buck ratio is large. :)

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Thanks guys This info is much appreciated. The car won't be ready for the 8th, though I wish it would be. I am hope to order most of my needed parts this week.

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If you order thru the us then consider emailing stranoparts too. Sam Strano is an autoxr and matches the best prices. 

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Beau: is this the blocks and bolts mod you are referring to? http://www.racingbeat.com/Miata-1990-2005/Sway-Bars/54123.html?id=4jtGIqfa I am guessing you only need to order a pair of them for the front?

Joe: I got lucky I have the long nose crank pulley. I found it when I did the timing belt on the weekend. I also was fortunate it seems that my car has the limited slip from factory.

It is looking like I will be taking the Miata autocrossing on sunday this weekend. I am on holidays this week and next so I have a bunch of time to work on the car! 

I would give some picture updates but photo bucket is giving me issues.

I have got a bunch of stuff done on the car: timing belt/tensioners, water pump, power steering pump, inner and outer tie rods and boots, coolant flush, seafoam in the intake and oil pan (engine ticking is gone) Cleaned up surface rust under battery primed and painted it, Pulled the interior out and cleaned it, fuel filter, air filter, new battery and fabricated a battery tie down, Used bicycle brake cables cut to length with wire crimps to fix broken window regulator, day time running lights, plugs wires, sealed up tail lights, fixed miata Hot foot issue using bubble wrap with foil on both sides (the roll of stuff you get at Rona) Worked like a charm the car is cool now

On my do do list:

-Trans fluid and diff fluid

-rear shocks tomorrow and new upper control arm bushings ( just ordered Oem KYB for now to keep in budget)

-Fix rad cradle from past accedent damage

-rain rail repair using pcv tubing

-new top is coming

-Rain test

-thermostat coolant leak

-Inner shift boot

-alignment (set up for street/autocross)

Beside a good polish that is it. Kind of a bit more involving that I pictured but I don't mind I enjoy working on a fun car.

 

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I have been researching alignment stuff and have found a couple of different ideas:

 

                Flyin Miata        Miata.net              IA                     Super Miata doubble duity     

Front:        

Caster:      5.0                  Maximum             Maximum              +3.5 ~ 4.0°

Camber:    -1.0                  -0.6 to -0.8           -1.5                        -2.5

Toe:            in 1/16”          1/16” per side     out 1/16”                Per side    0

Rear:

Camber:    -1.5                  -1.1                      -2                            -2.0

Toe:           in 1/16             1/16” per side      in 1/16” per side    + 1/8", .06"

 

Other notes:

"We have found that setting the front camber from -.2° to -.5 ° more than the rear provide best grip and lowest lap times."

 

        My thoughts on my set up (street tires with high tread ware of like 500 and oem shocks/sway bars:

Front:        

Caster:    Maximum 

Camber:    (-0.5 more than the rear) Not sure totally where I want it

Toe:        out: 1/16” (Skinny tires for autocross: 1/8” out to 1/4” out for autocross but wears tires rapidly according to the internet)

Rear:

Camber:    (-0.5 less than the front) Not sure totally where I want it.

Toe:        in 1/16” 

 

Any one have any critiques on my thoughts of alignment set up? I am kind of fuzzy on camber because it is all over the place where I look for recommendations

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4 hours ago, white_cross said:

Beau: is this the blocks and bolts mod you are referring to? http://www.racingbeat.com/Miata-1990-2005/Sway-Bars/54123.html?id=4jtGIqfa I am guessing you only need to order a pair of them for the front?

Yes that is correct. It might not be totally necessary nowadays, but in the old days with R-comps and guys running big front bar, more than one person had ripped out the flimsy chassis bracket. Can't hurt.

RE: alignment - you're on the right track. All those suggestions are beating around the bush a bit. Here's the gist of it.

Start with the front. Max out your front camber first. You should be able to get -1.0 to -1.5, roughly. You want to maximize both sides while keeping them even. Then you dial as much caster as possible without losing any camber. For toe, a little toe out will help the car rotate and turn in. I can't remember what I tried, but the more the better, to a point, and of course you'll start to have tire wear due to scrubbing if you go with too much. Maybe start with 1/16" toe out and then after you're comfortable with that you can easily add a bit more and feel the difference. 1/8" is quite a bit to start with, I probably wouldn't start there, although you might end up wanting to add some later. It's easy to that later. Anything more and you might worry about scrubbing tires even while driving in a straight line.

Now go to the rear. IIRC you can get more negative camber than what you did in the front, but you don't necessarily want to. So maybe see if you can get equal to the front or a bit less. E.g. if you know your front is -1.2 then try starting with rear at -1.0. A touch of toe in or zero toe is fine in the rear. Might want to start with zero toe. They say any amount of toe out in the rear is bad because the car becomes nervous and wants to spin. I never felt that. Other RWD cars can be really sensitive to rear toe, but I found the Miata to be really easy to catch, so don't worry about rear toe too much.

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