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Considering Intake & Exhaust vs saving for a turbo on Miata

edited April 2013 in Tech
Greetings forum,

I'm considering adding an intake and/or exhaust to my stock Miata engine but am unsure if I'll really get any kind of performance boost. If all the results are going to be is an increased engine growl, I'd prefer to save my money up for a turbo down the line (like 3 years from now).

Anyone have direct experience with before and after for intake and exhaust? Just wondering if it's worth the investment.

I am considering a K&N Typhoon intake which a lot of people seem to use in their Miatas. However, the reviews are kind of all over the place in terms of performance gains.

"It gives it a nice deep growl and definitely adds performance. I would recommend this to anyone with any car."

"Don't expect much performance gain though!"

"I just installed it, sounds nice and gives me a little more power"

"The throttle response is much sharper than before, and the car accelerates noticeably quicker with the throttle down. "

Thanks for reading!


  • An intake and exhaust will add enough to make it worth it. Its a toss up. I have used ebay parts and I have used expensive parts. I loved the way may ebay cat back sounded on both my Maxima and my G35, intakes as well. Having said that, the parts have a tendency to not last as long. However, if you truely want to turbo your car down the road, most of those parts will have to replaced anyway. I dont often recommend ebay parts, but in this case I think you should be ok. You could probably pick up an intake, header and exhaust kit for under $500 bucks.
  • I'm thinking this might be best moved into the "tech" section since it's not a current project underway. Mods can do this I assume? :)
  • Ben is right. There will be a change in "feel" above everything else. The throttle response will increase and may increase some top end HP. Also may reduce your low end torque, it really depends on the engine. Every engine is different in how it reacts to increasing its breathing (both in and out). I would say you should build your own exhaust and intake. It would be a piece of cake to fabricate the intake piping and attach the MAF to that and building exhaust is easy enough, just time consuming. Bet you could put together both for under $200 and that's with aluminuzed and muffler and mild for the intake. If you lived in the area, I would say for a small fee either I or one of the guys could do this for you.

    I also feel that you will want to really sit back and ask yourself: What do I want out of my car?

    If your goal is a fast, angry street machine and bakes tires everywhere and is a riot to drive then I say boost the fucker but if you want to get into carving corners, especially on a course, I say stay away from turbos. Not only will adding forced induction make your car jump up in Race Classes but it will also cause a domino effect of necessary modifications. If you add say 100hp to the engine then you will need a better clutch. It also may mean your engine's internal parts may need to be replaced for forged pieces (I don't know Mazdas for shit so I could be wrong). If you boost it I'm sure you would need stronger head studs to keep up with increased cylinder pressure and so on. There are an awful lot of variables when it comes to adding forced induction to a naturally aspirated engine. Now if you choose to stick with simple bolt ons it shouldnt effect what Race Class your car would fall in at events and it will still be a blast to drive because it's a Miata. My best advice to you is research until your head spins then research a ton more. Learn your car and what it best responds to and decide what you want out of it.
  • Topic has been moved.

    Feel free to ask any questions like this man, there is a lot of knowledge on this little board, everything ranging from building small block Chevys to rally cars and well beyond.
  • Knowing that you will not be the only one riding in said car I would shy away from the exhaust build. As much as I love the sound of my tibby-roo-roo, It can be a bit droning for some people and make driving it with some passengers a bit embarrassing. On the other hand an intake of some sort I say is a fun way to go. Usually a few added power pluses, depending on what sort of intake and I like the subtle slight whistle sound. As advantageous as a cold air intake (CAI) is, be careful not to have it too low in your car such that flooded out roads will cause you to replace your engine. Bleh. A short ram intake is another good option. Also that option can easily be fabbed up with $20 worth of parts if your going a cheap route.

    With any modifications though, you must understand you are changing a generally tested tried and true setup from the manufacturer and as jake mentioned about a domino effect of upgrades, sometimes even little upgrades can cause undue problems. For instance the air sensor (MAF) in my CAI has been known to be finicky sometimes and will occasionally throw a code. Not a big deal really, just something to know.

    Not trying to scare you away from wrenching on a car, but just understand that once you start down the path, it can have some headaches here and there. All in all though, the point is to have fun and overcome obstacles. Enjoy the car however you wish to enjoy it. Also as I am around we can try and do whatever you want to do broskizie.
  • Spend your money on tires/suspension first.
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