Potential of an MX-3



  • Guys,

    At the end of this year I'm hopefully going to be in a position whereby I can either upgrade my 3 into a "crazy car" or just buy something different that has crazy as standard. Obviously, the easiest way would be to buy something different, but like many of you know, once you've worked on your 3, they're pretty hard to get rid of. Either way, my plan would be to end up with a car that's pushing 300bhp. :P

    Firstly, knowing that a) the MX-3 is a fwd car, and b) any conversion to rwd/awd would be a nightmare, is it a viable option to plant that many horses onto the driving wheels for this car? I've seen other people saying they're hitting 320bhp, but I don't know their specific setup.

    So, I was hoping to pick at the vast knowledge and experience out there and find out what you guys think. All experiences and hints gratefully welcome! :D

    Cheers.



  • **Chassis-wise, there's no problem. It's a unibody and will take most levels of insanity you can throw at it. But FWD won't take more than 220lbft crank without some compromise or major-league trickery. If you're going for a drag car, that's not a problem, but if you want a driveable road car, it is. Sure, you'd have 300hp on tap to overtake, but any time you want to set off from rest, you'll be in a world of hurt.

    For road, keep it to a 200lbft peak (power is irrelevant) as a ballpark if you're keeping it FWD. Alternatively, get a Mondeo V6 lump, a couple of turbos and stick it longitudinally in the boot. Yes, it'll fit.**



  • Cheers Famine. I'm looking for a driveable track-day car, something that looks "normal" but has raging fury under the bonnet…especially when it comes to those Scooby boys who think they own the road! :lol:

    I've not heard of the "Mondeo" conversion, but it sounds interesting... :) Any snaps you can show off?



  • @c7fdbb00bd=kp81:

    Cheers Famine. I'm looking for a driveable track-day car, something that looks "normal" but has raging fury under the bonnet…especially when it comes to those Scooby boys who think they own the road! :lol:

    I've not heard of the "Mondeo" conversion, but it sounds interesting... :) Any snaps you can show off?

    **Heh, no. It was merely a mind-wank :D

    Essentially, you're not going to beat a Scooby from a standing start in a FWD… anything. Once you get to the kind of power needed - or at least power-to-weight - traction will come and bite you in the ass. But you can happily shovel 400hp through it and, once you're off the line, the Scooby is toast. So on the one hand, it genuinely doesn't matter how much power you put in, because off the line the Scooby will win - on the other hand, if you sacrifice the start you can beat anything. And on track, you only start the once...

    But you won't like a 400hp FWD car on the road.**



  • @a6f038bab1=Famine:

    Heh, no. It was merely a mind-wank :D

    1. Love it!

    I think it may be finding the happy medium between having a power-house on the track and a daily driver (until such time I get a truck and a trailer and tow it to the track), however am I right in thinking a FWD car doesn't offer the same scope of power increase than a RWD does? I think I may need to look elsewhere… :(



  • **I like FWD - but look at the trouble Ford went to (or look at the trouble Renault went to, then Ford borrowed and gave a fancy name to) to get just 300hp down (well… 350lbft - it's the torque that matters). Their budget was huge and I'm not even certain they made any money on it. AND it doesn't really do the job properly on road anyway, but it will at least give an STi a run for its money.

    Compare to Vauxhall who just didn't bother and put 260hp out front. They may as well have fitted casters in place of the back wheels.

    Of course half the problem with FWD is that any acceleration shifts weight away from the drive wheels, which reduces mechanical grip. The more you accelerate, the more this effect happens and the more you have to spend to limit it - and the more power is required for less result. A 200hp (crank) MX-3 vs. a 200hp (crank) MX-5 would be… well, pretty damn close - about as close as stock vs. stock. A 300hp MX-3 vs. a 300hp MX-5 would be over by the time the MX-3 got traction.

    So yes, if you want gobs of power, RWD is your friend. But a 220hp MX-3 would be pretty sprightly - you'd be looking at about 6s to 60mph and a 14s quarter which isn't Scooby-beating, but they'll probably be less smug about it afterwards than before :D**



  • Cheers Famine…you've made it easy enough for even a noob like me to understand :lol:

    So, with that said, what would be the preferably upgrade route to the said holy grail of horse-power? I've heard the KLDE is a better engine to turbo but wouldn't you be starting off at 40bhp less than a standard ZE though? I've also been looking at s/s headers and turbo kits (http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/93-97-ford-probe-mazda-mx-6-v6-t3t4-turbo-charger-kit-_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQhashZitem1e5c10d5d8QQitemZ130393626072QQptZMotorsQ5fCarQ5fTruckQ5fPartsQ5fAccessories) but do you know if these are any good, or just eBay rubbish?

    Cheers again.



  • @6a32c1581e=kp81:

    So, with that said, what would be the preferably upgrade route to the said holy grail of horse-power? I've heard the KLDE is a better engine to turbo but wouldn't you be starting off at 40bhp less than a standard ZE though?

    **Well, it's about how and where you make your power. Strap on 40hp worth of turbo to a DE - you know it'll take the power, because the ZE is the same block and head - and you have the same power as a ZE, but probably more torque. But you only have the same peak power and the same peak torque. The naturally aspirated (NA) ZE makes nearly peak torque from 2500-6000rpm or thereabouts - a force-inducted DE would make peak torque at about 4000rpm, and all at once.

    So on the one hand, the DE is a better engine to turbo because you know it'll take 40hp extra out of the factory - you can always put a bigger turbo on a DE than you can on a ZE. On the other, NA is usually better for tractable, daily driven power because the torque doesn't all turn up at once. I'd wager the ZE would be a nicer road car, the DE-T would be a quicker track car and the DE-T would probably be marginally better on fuel in a scientific test.

    If you're not especially bothered about road use, or have a particular reason to make lots of power without increasing displacement, or just like the "Psssht!" noise, turbo all the way. On the road, NA is probably a better bet. Of course, there's always a third way… supercharging. :D If I was going for more power without increasing displacement and had an eye on the track, I'd be going for a Lysholm screw, end of story.

    (there's also a fourth way - twincharging. Use a small screw [like the BINI's Eaton] to drive a much, much bigger turbo. This is phenomenally complicated and, until recently, the fevered dreams of an idiot from the 1980s [Lancia and Nissan both produced a twincharged car] - but VW have started using twincharging as a great way of making power with impressive fuel economy)**

    @6a32c1581e=kp81:

    I've also been looking at s/s headers and turbo kits (http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/93-97-ford-probe-mazda-mx-6-v6-t3t4-turbo-charger-kit-_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQhashZitem1e5c10d5d8QQitemZ130393626072QQptZMotorsQ5fCarQ5fTruckQ5fPartsQ5fAccessories) but do you know if these are any good, or just eBay rubbish?

    Cheers again.

    Stainless is stainless. If it's welded right, the right size and the right grade, there's not a lot to go wrong. I recall the downpipe isn't quite the right length for the MX-3, but you can lop the cat off and have the mid and rear sections built by a local stainless-wrangler like Powerflow.



  • Thanks again for the simplistic description of what does what…this has really been quite enlightening! :o

    I hadn't thought about supercharging, mostly down to there not being much info out there on the procedure, but my main focus would be on the track so perhaps that's something I need to research into a little further. I do like the "psshht" of a good turbo though...oh the choices! :oops:

    So to summarise, if I were planning on tracking my car, I'd slap in a ZE and supercharge that...is that correct? If so, that sounds meaty...I like!! 8)



  • **That'd be entertaining, if nothing else :D Superchargers are awesome.

    Incidentally, if you love superchargers, this PDF is the best thing on the internet to date. But it's properly complex :D To interpret, blue is screw speed, pink is screw efficiency (increases as screw speed increases) and green is power required to run the charger.

    Ultimately, power is power is power (though in fact it isn't - power doesn't really exist, it's just torque at speed). However you make 250hp peak - NA, supercharged, turbocharged, nitrous, VTEC, whatever - you'll make 250hp peak. You only really have other considerations if power isn't the only goal. Best way to make useable road power is a big, lazy NA engine - but you can make just the same power from a smaller one with force induction. Won't be as useable, but if it doesn't matter, who cares?

    Quick comparo - my brother has an Impreza and an Atom. They make, as near as dammit, the same kind of power only one is a turbo and one is VTEC NA. He'd been driving the Impreza for a couple of weeks and decided to take the Atom to work instead. Hopped in, went to reverse it out of the garage and nearly put it through the house opposite. They make the same power, but it arrives when you press your foot down in the Atom - in the Impreza you have to wait for the turbo to kick in (though weight is also a factor here!). He'd anticipated lag that wasn't there :lol:**



  • @dd1e2919af:

    …Hopped in, went to reverse it out of the garage and nearly put it through the house opposite...

    I shouldn't really laugh…but I nearly spat my water all over my keyboard when I read that! :D

    Cheers for the PDF...it looks like something a 5 year old would draw up with a set of crayons! :P I've not been much into the science of speed/torque/traction/etc., (mostly due to it being pretty complicated) but all this is amazingly interesting and good to know.

    Not having ever owned, or indeed probably seen (or been aware of seeing) a Supercharged car, does the power come in like a turbo or is it "always on"?

    Let it be said Famine, you are one knowledgeable bloke!!



  • I'll have to see you soon Famine, I need info on supercharging mine :wink:

    You going to Yorkshire modified and performance this Sunday?



  • **Nah, I just like learning things I don't know, so that one day I can take over the world! Compared to a friend of mine whose kitchen and dining room are currently a Chevrolet Corvette spread over 300 square feet, I'm a proper r'tard.

    Superchargers deliver power in quite a similar way to turbos - the more the engine does, the more the charger adds - but with the key difference that they are on the second the engine is (well… turbos are too, sorta). They're belt driven, off the crank, so as soon as you put your foot down the supercharger is there with powahhhh - there's no momentary lapse of concentration from the engine while the charger winds up like a turbo.

    There's a downside (there always is). Because the supercharger runs off the crank, some of your engine's power is lost to turning it (turbos run off what is effectively waste product). At low engine/turbine speeds, the charger is quite inefficient, so you might lose something of the order of a raw 5-10hp way down low - though of course the charger is generating power so you might not see it on a braking dyno or even on the road (track? :D)

    As they say in the US, there's no replacement for displacement. Big power is best coming from a big, nasp engine. Running nitromethane. :D But I digress. Forced induction is the replacement for displacement - by flowing more air, you gain equivalency of more displacement, but there's always downsides. Superchargers have parasitic losses, turbos have lag, nitrous is an expensive dark art, VTEC is shite off-cam - but a big engine is damned heavy and takes up a crapload of space. It's always a case of compromise - there simply isn't enough room in an MX-3 to take an LS1 V8, but you can make the same 350hp from a ZE with a giant twat-off turbo. Yes, it'll arrive in a better way in the LS1, but you can make the same 350hp from a ZE with a giant twat-off turbo. I'd rather have the LS1 simply from a driveability (and noise) point of view, but it's never going to happen, so we have to compromise.

    If I was going for a big-power, track-focussed MX-3, I'd use the four-pot and start by swapping in a BPD 1.8 from the 323 GT-R - that's 210hp and 185lbft (beating the KL-ZE) from a stock engine before you work on it. Legend has it the B-series is good for 350hp before it starts getting expensive and silly. Small engine, big turbo, loadsa power all at once.

    If I wanted to drive it on the road as well, however, it'd be a KL with a screw. You could probably reach the same power levels with a big enough blower, relatively* cheaply. Bigger engine, supercharger, loadsa power spread about a bit better.

    If I only wanted to drive it on the road, it'd be a K8/KL with a screw. I wouldn't attempt to get near those power levels - in fact I'd set a power limit of 230hp (it's really the torque that matters, but if you know the power curve you can work out the torque curve easily, and with the same curve as stock, but higher, you're looking at about 210lbft which is safe for FWD). A screwed K8 would be less ideal, but it's another mind-wank :D Sensible engine, supercharger, enough power and evenly distributed.

    You could make a frankly hilarious engine with a bit of outside-the-box thinking too. Take a K8, bore out to 85.4mm, fit ZE pistons and crank… With a standalone ECU, you'd get near enough 200hp at 9,000rpm. But that'd be a lot of work and you'd need time, money and spare engines. Be a laugh though. Until it exploded.

    Nightstalker - Nope, bit busy this weekend. Also, I'm waaaaaay more a theory than practice guy. For a practice guy, you want to speak to the guy I brought to JNE. What he knows is almost as scary as what he can do. And how insane he is.**



  • some good info in this thread, nice to see!

    though you couldn't sensibly bore out a k8 to 84.5, the water jackets would be too thin and the cylinders would need relined, the cams would drop power off at 6/7k and oil pump would starve the engine, but the blowing up bit is right though :lol:

    Supercharger makes boost at idle… currently I've got a bailey BOV installed, it vents to atmosphere for the pshhhhhhh sound. So if I have the SC switched on its a constant hiss unless I'm accelerating. I recently got a turbosmart dualport, which has recirculation and to atmosphere, should be more liveable!

    The power comes in straight away, but develops of course too. With the antilag/launch control the boost can be right there instantly :) The LSD has seriously helped launches, no more one wheel spinning.

    I still reckon I'll end up turbo though...
    http://www.youtube.com/user/gldmmbrmx3#p/u/6/PBLzu8WJldw
    12.1 on a stock block, he's in the 11s now, 342whp.

    Here's a klze NA 323. 11.7, this thing is like a rocket off the line!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AACd9YZlh5E



  • @555e7abb79=Famine:

    Nightstalker - Nope, bit busy this weekend. Also, I'm waaaaaay more a theory than practice guy. For a practice guy, you want to speak to the guy I brought to JNE. What he knows is almost as scary as what he can do. And how insane he is.

    No probs buddy, I'm not sure if I'm going yet as the missus is doing the Redcar half marathon (plus I dunno IF I'll be able to get out of Redcar due to it?)..

    Yeah, he was verrrrry knowledgeable. Just need to find a super charger now (well, maybe not just now :roll: ).



  • @9ff6f7ce9c=Marco:

    some good info in this thread, nice to see!

    though you couldn't sensibly bore out a k8 to 84.5, the water jackets would be too thin and the cylinders would need relined, the cams would drop power off at 6/7k and oil pump would starve the engine, but the blowing up bit is right though :lol:

    I'm pretty sure the crank would shear long before any other issues occurred. :D



  • @af68d8f71c=nightstalker:

    I'll have to see you soon Famine, I need info on supercharging mine :wink:

    I've been doing a good bit of reading on supercharging the B6D powered '3 lately, the best thing I came across was this:

    http://www.mx5nutz.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=42329

    The engine in the 1.6 MX-5 is very similar to the 1.6 MX-3, apart from being longitudinally mounted in the '5 and some other stuff. That dude says it should be costing around £800.

    I sorta gave up on the idea of supercharging mine though when I looked into the BP swaps people do on mx-3.com, and the low money that seemingly decent BP-powered 323 GT's make. Lots of information on the swap availible and you are getting ~140bhp. (Lots more if you used the turbocharged 323 GTX/GTR engine). Will probably be the route I go down when I get a job/win the lottery.



  • @4b88f0c6b0=Marco:

    though you couldn't sensibly bore out a k8 to 84.5, the water jackets would be too thin and the cylinders would need relined

    You can rebore it to the 2.0litre spec safely, which is 3mm over at 78mm. I would think you could go 78.5 fairly easily, which is an oversize B-series 1.6 bore, if you could find a rod to suit. I think you might get away with 80mm or a little over, getting you a nice oversquare 2.1litre engine. This engine would not rev with the stock K8 cam, but it would be fairly peppy with KL cams…. might need the KL heads too to breathe properly.

    Finding the right piston (and rod) is always the issue here.

    Relining the K8 would not work, I've seen the siamese jacket design. The KL has a similar, but substantially meatier jacket. I think if you could find a piston to suit, a similar 3mm overbore would get you a nice 2.7 litres.

    A lot of companies will do custom pistons. If you're willing to experiment, machingin the crown of a overbore 1.6 piston would get you what you needed for a K8... but simply, when you can do the same to a KL engine, why would you do it?

    Hello, by the way. I'm the mad bloke.

    I've been looking at various technical bits of the lil' Mazda for Famine. I think there's plenty of upgrades out there, but I've noticed you have to work at them - nothing is simple.



  • Yes, he is. Certifiably so - but the line between utter madness and genius is quite a thin one :D



  • My friend has my old volvo s70 t5. It now has 330hp and nearlly 600nM of torque, and has had a Limited slip diff fitted. Its front wheel drive, and she loves it now with that diff, what a differnce. I think, an mx3 with big power and a LSD would be wicked.

    The mx-3 chassis is superb. I track mine a lot, and dispite only having 130hp, it shows some other machinery a thing or two..


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