29 April 2015

Shift damn you!

I got a new shift knob from Mike at Moto-East. He told me I had to have it, and while i wasn't dissatisfied with my existing VooDoo Magnum knob, on his reccomendation I picked it up.

What I didn't quite realize was that what I was purchasing was a block of stainless steel billet that was artfully sculpted into a lovely palm friendly shape but would also work just fine if a riot broke out and I needed a quick skull basher.  

The diameter of the ball is larger as well, which I quite like given that I have big meat pattys, but my wife agrees that the knob feels different than we're used to, but quite nice.

The scale tells the tale of the beef 
This is my old knob
and here is the new

what the scale doesn't tell you is how that weight makes the shifter slide into gear . It really increased the quality of the shifts. This knob make the trans feel more refined. It's pretty weird, but I am sold on it. This Race Eng Slammer shift knob has found a permanent home in the Meany.

15 December 2014

Time is a constant

2014 was a year of much driving and little wrenching for me and the Blue Meany. I did some suspension tweaks to the car but absolutely no performance or tune changes! I say this with great excitement because over the years it seems as though I'd spent equal parts tuning and twaeking as driving. While it's fun to tinker, it's more fun to shred.

 I've been using my DashDaq to measure baseline performance and changes, and decided to see if my engine was holding up to the ~13psi and a nice full season that included 260 or so autox runs, one track day, lots of parking lot shenanigans and roadway showdowns.

In the below picture you can see a pair of 60-100 runs from Sept 2013, and a pair from Oct 2014.

As you can see, there was no degredation in performance over the course of the year, so while my car may not feel as fast as it once did because I've gotten used to it, it's still running just as well as ever. 

14 December 2014

The right car at the wrong time

"Lets just take the NC"I say to the wife. "we need a couple things"

I'm very lucky to have such an easy going partner...

02 September 2013

Strange times

A customer brought me his car recently to do a check up on the supercharger I installed a couple years ago. This car has never been as fast as other similar cars and I decided that we were going to get to the bottom of it.

 First we did a baseline performance run. Mike at Moto-East prepared a tune that had worked well in a similar car a which had produced a 60-100 run of about 8.5 seconds. I did this test on our "sick" car and got a time of 20sec. EEEK. something is clearly wrong here.

After checking all the usual possibilities, I realized I'd have to open up the motor and check physical cam timing.

With a dial indicator dropped into cylinder 1, I rotated the motor to a true Top Dead Center.

I was both dismayed and relieved to find that the cam timing was off by about 5deg.  Dismayed because this engine has never been opened up or had any major service to the best of the owners knowledge and it's hard to imagine the factory boning this so badly.  Relieved because finally we had something to point to as the cause of our poor performance.

Next we checked that the crank pulley was indexed properly with the crank. Once again, muffed. It was off by probably 10deg.

here's what it should look like

Time to fix this mess. Here are the specialty tools you'll need.

With the timing now corrected, we took the car out for a 60-100 time. Mind you we changed only the cam and crank timing. Didn't touch the tune. Immediately we laid down a 8.9 second time. Yes, thats an 11 second handicap this car had due to bad mechanical timing. It ran fine, gave no indication that things were wrong except it "felt" slow. 

We have yet to final tune the car, but I think the customer is going to be pretty happy with the fix :)

Click here for the forum post

05 April 2013

18 October 2012

A New Dawn in Tuning

Over the years I have flashed an NC MX-5 probably 200 times. This would include my car (the Blue Meany) as well as numerous customer cars that have gone forced induction and had me do the installation. 

The tuning part of the installation has always been the part that I have dreaded the most. It is amazing how time consuming driving, logging, emailing the log along with driving impressions, downloading a new tune, loading it onto the interface box, flashing the ECU and repeating the process at least a half dozen times (usually it takes at least a dozen times) can be.

What made the above process most frustrating was that when the customer picked up the car I was never really happy with how the car ran. It always seemed to be an interim tune that the customer could drive safely but if they wanted refinement (and power) they'd have to spend more time on the tune themselves. That day has ended now my friends.

I recently sold and installed my previously loved Cosworth supercharger. I did not include the Sniper interface box as I was still using it to dial in my new Begi turbo setup, so the customer had to source the tuning on his own. He chose to go with TDR and the EcuTek interface.

Once the SC was installed I emailed Jay at TDR the relevant ECU dump info and he had a tune ready for me in a jiffy and said that he'd be standing by ready to make revisions. I flashed the ECU and got my DashDaq setup and ready for a few days of the "normal" tuning process. Once the car was warmed up and I confirmed that the car and SC were not leaking any vital fluids I took the car out for an easy shake down run. Immediately I noticed that the cars ignition was missing and shortly the car threw a CEL confirming what I was feeling. I called Jay and let him know what I found and that I'd be taking the car back to the shop to fix the plague of the 06 NC, a broken #3 coil wire. Jay said he'd be standing by. I repaired the broken wire and quickly got back to logging amidst the corn fields of West Michigan. 

I did my usual first tune type driving, setting the trims then gradually loading the car up more until KR showed up or AFRs got lean. However this time I found my self getting farther and farther from my shop. The car was not knocking and AFRs were near ideal. I began pushing the car harder, giving the brakes a real workout as I'd quickly decel from inappropriate speeds then back up again with grin inducing quickness all the while keeping an eye on the data logger. All systems were within spec and the car was amazingly quick. Could it be possible that this car is tuned perfectly on the first tune? Well, not quite perfect as AFRs were 11.1 from 5k on but otherwise this tune was perfect. Driveability was exemplary, AFRs were completely stable and predictable, power was what I'd expect at 10psi with a stock exhaust, and there was absolutely zero KR anywhere. I had to lug the motor to prove to myself that the knock sensor was still working. 

After a long and delightful drive I called Jay to thank him for making my life as an installer easier and to commend him on the quality of this tune. Jay told me that he was sending a tune to get those 11.1 AFRs a bit leaner, which it did, and now after 2 tunes this car is ready to deliver to the customer. I am fully confident in the stability and safety of this tune and am amazed at the power we are getting out of a comparatively mild setup. It's just a total blast to drive. 

I am still flabbergasted that the first tune was as good as or better than any tune I have ever experienced on any NC, regardless of the time put in to refine it. The day we have all been longing for where we can add boost to our cars and with little effort get it tuned with stable, predictable AFRs, no KR, stock like smoothness, and obscene acceleration is finally here. 

I wrote this post for a thread on Miata.net

14 August 2012

Rattle be gone!

While I've been tuning the turbo, excessively rich tunes have made for some serious backfires.These backfires have caused the baffles inside of the resonator on my exhaust to expand and become loose and rattle like my muffler is full of bolts.
I replaced both resonators once this year but they too have become a little too rhythmic. I decided to repair the loose baffles by cutting slots around the pipe and welding the baffles to the resonator housing, eliminating the rattles. The results....now I only hear the mean sounds of the Meany

03 August 2012

DashDaq XL Data logger

I recently got a new data logger...now you say "but wait, surely you already had a data logger?" and you are right. I have had a Dash Dyno for years; however, just as every owner of the Dash Dyno has said to themselves "there has to be a better way" I decided to find that better way.

After some looking around I decided to order a DashDaq XL by Drew Technologies. The unit arrived, I plugged in the OBDII cable and with just a couple button presses I was set up and ready to monitor and log my cars data. It is incredibly simple to do most things..no reading of the manual or asking a buddy to help you figure it out.

In operation, once you have set up the parameters for the first time, using the Daq is as simple as pressing the one physical button on the unit. You can power on (actually awaken) the unit before or after starting the car and it instantly goes to the last screen you were on. Ready to log, just press the "log" button on the screen and it will automatically name the file to the next in the sequence (ie: log_005) and start recording. It is all so simple compared to other units.

As for the logging...this is where the unit hits the NOS and just blows the competition away.
the bullet points:

  • outputs to a .csv (excel) or LogWorks file format. Easily viewed and sorted using Excel or the free Logworks software by Innovative Motorsports.
  • audio and visual alams can be set easily on any data parameter
  • has "global log parameters" where it will log up to 16 parameters anytime you are logging, regardless of what is displayed on the screen....This is perhaps the best feature of the Daq.
  • can log up to 32 parameters!
  • very fast sample rate..logging 11 parameters I get a sample rate of 42 sets of data per second!!
  • records in the past- I have see it record back 23seconds before I hit the log button. Consider driving along, your car does something weird, then you hit the "log" button and you just recorded what happend 10 seconds before you hit the button!!!

The DashDaq also reads and clears CEL codes, providing the definition of the code in the code summary (ie: P0301 misfire detected in cylinder 1). The one shortcoming that I have found w the Daq is that it doesn't  provide a Freeze Frame data capture when a CEL is thrown.

There are a few other things that the Daq does, from allowing custom screen theme design to performance meters..these are things I have yet to delve into but for me are just icing on the cake.

Watch this video to see the DashDaq XL in use

If you'd like me to email you my configuration files so that you can just copy them to an SD card and skip configuring the Daq let me know.

The unit is not cheaply built, nor is it cheap. It retails for $550 and in my case I wanted to monitor Knock Retard (KR) which is a parameter that is only included in a vehicle specific expansion for another $100. For me, the extra cheddar spent on the Daq is nothing compared to aggravation and lost time spent with inferior units.
I wish someone would have told me years ago about the DashDaq.

24 July 2012

Yeah, she's a badass

My wife driving at an AutoX at Tire Rack this past weekend. Any chick that can handle 13psi and 6 puck clutch deserves the respect of all. Good on ya Jess!

09 July 2012

Battery relocated

Had to put the battery in the trunk. I made some brackets and used 2ga welding cable and a circuit breaker from DelCity. I like the results.

06 July 2012

Lets Chill Out

here is a pic of of the intercooler for the 2860 setup I'm running

04 March 2012

The Resurection

After saving my pennies, it's time to get the Blue Meany going again for 2012. Heres some of the goodies

2009+ NC motor

AWR 70 duro Motor mounts

FM hidden trailer hitch

14 July 2011

this was pretty cool

Went to Gingerman Raceway for a mid-week test n tune and look what we saw..

AutoWeek was there doing a shoot of some sexy stuff....yes that is an LFA hiding back behind the GT2RS..(drool)
Thanks Mac for the conversation!

16 April 2011

how to correct the timing on your NC w forged crank?

Setting the timing with the motor in the car isnt all that bad depending on your idea of bad. Off the top of my head..here's the process:
-remove battery and tray
-remove airbox and ECU
-remove nose of car and under tray
-unbolt swaybar brackets and let swaybar lower a bit
-remove trans (optional, but makes tightening easier/possible)
-remove plug on side of block and install crank stop pin
-rotate crank CW till it stops on crank stop
-install flywheel vise to lock the crank down at TDC
-loosen crank pulley bolt
-rotate pulley so that alignment hole is at 6 o'clock and insert alignment bolt (M6x1.0 30mm)
-remove valve cover
-using a big wrench rotate cams so that the #1 cyl lobes are at 1:30 (EX) and 10:30(IN) and slots on back of cams are horizontal
-insert a ~9" lenth of barstock into the slots in the cams to hold their position. (i'll update this w the thickness later)
-tighten the main crank bolt to 100Nm + 90deg (or more??) Use the 3 stage method
-reasemble car


I did a little un-scientific testing to see if there is a difference w tightening the main pulley bolt in one stage or in 3 stages as proscribed by ARP.
I tightened the bolt to spec, 100Nm + 90deg. I then loosened it and noted the force it took to loosen.
Then with a different bolt, I did the following:
- 100Nm >loosen
-100Nm + 45deg >loosen
-100Nm + 90deg >loosen and observe force

there was definately a difference between the 1 stage and 3 stage force it took to loosen the bolt. While this is un-scientific and I have no empirical evidence, I am certain that it took more effort to loosen the latter method.

What I will do the next time: 
-Start with a new bolt (actually I did this last time, this is just a reminder)
-apply a liberal amount of Loctite high strength
-torque using the 3 stage method
-my final rotation value will be more than 90deg...maybe 135deg or so..that is TBD right now while I look into it a little more.

The main pulley sees much higher loads with the blower than the factory intended, and short of installing a load assist (keyway) I think more torque is the ticket (to a point)

Incedentally, when I fixed my timing I saw boost levels drop. How much i cant be sure as I also went from a 3.0 pully to a 2.8, bit w the 3" the car made ~12psi and w the corrected cam timing and 2.8 pulley i saw 11psi! Talk about breathing better.... 


heres a price list of various associated parts from MazdaMotorsports.

new long block $3100
loaded head (no cams) $1100
09' valve springs $3.79 each
Valves IN $9.95ea EX $10.29ea
Engine gasket kit $150
09' pistons $72ea
09' ring set $57 set


It's not looking good....

Click here to see the rest.

Going to take it to the machine shop next week to see what they think


My car looks like this way too often

06 April 2011

Oh boy....this is getting old

So , I autoxd my car this weekend. Man was it strong. Need to dyno it still but what a huge difference. I placed 3rd overall. Not too shabby w my 235 Starspecs. 
Monday, after a 600mile weekend, on a datalogging run my crank pulley decided go it's own way. The crank pulley bolt loosened up and my cam timing was gone. so here is what the car looks like now.

I have not determined yet if there was any valve to piston contact, though I dont think so as everything looks ok from the top and the motor spins freely. Also I never heard a bang, crunch or otherwise. Hoping (though that is probably too soft a word) that I will just need to put a new pulley bolt in and retime the thing.

The weird thing is that I tightened the main bolt down to spec. 100Nm and then 90deg. Not sure what happened. I talked w Cosworth to see if they had any tips and they said that they use loctite on the bolt but still tighten the bolt to factory spec as I did. Ugghh

28 March 2011

DSC Initialization

Someone asked for more information from a previous post The Blue Meany: Read this if you have an MX-5 w DSC
here is the rest of that procedure from the service manual