MX-5 Tuning - Miata Tuning
Mazda MX5 Tuning / Mazda Miata/MX5 MK1 1.6 Tuning Guide

StrikeEngine article - Mazda MX-5 Tuning / Miata Tuning Guide with information supplied by Paul Sheard Autos and Performance 5. The Mazda MX5 tuning guide is broken down into 3 stages. Stage1 up to ₤1000, Stage 2 up to ₤2500, Stage 3 up to ₤5000. The Mazda MX5 has been hailed by the motoring press as a revelation from the day it was launched. Although the car is relatively down on power the MX5 offers one of the most rewarding driving experiences regardless of price. And for those who like to have a big power motor, there are plenty of options available to get more power from the MX5.

see also:
Japanese Performance Magazine
Mazda Tuners
Mazda Body Kit
Japanese Performance Part Manufacturers - General
Turbo & Supercharger Manufacturers
Track Day Organisers



Mazda MX-5 / Miata Background

Even though the MX-5 is the most popular Japanese sports car on the planet it is more often than not overlooked by those drivers who are looking for a big horsepower car. On the surface this may seem natural, but delve a little deeper and you'll start to see the potential the MX-5 has not only for power upgrades but also for improving the already fantastic handling.

The first bonus is the engine, the B6-ZE, this is the same basic engine as found in the Mazda 323 GTX Turbo which means that's it more than suited to being boosted in the MX-5.

Mazda MX-5 / Miata MK1 1.6 Tuning Guide

Paul Sheard Autos

Mazda MX5 Tuning - Stage 1 - up to  ₤1000

Gaz adjustable dampers ( ₤500) are recommended as the first priority modification on the MX-5. This will make the handling much more responsive. This along with an alignment session ( ₤120) will ensure the car is handling in tip top condition. These cars are getting on a bit now so new bushes may be required with Powerflex bushes starting at ₤40.

The next step is to start preparing the car for future power upgrades, the first item should be a mandrel bent exhaust system such as that from Mongoose  ₤350. This includes a de-cat pipe which is legal on pre 1994 cars and fitting. Total Spent  ₤1170.

Mazda MX5 Tuning - Stage 2 - up to  ₤2500

At this stage of tuning TODA Camshafts have been found to work well  (₤700) with pulleys ( ₤200). Fitting is an extra ₤250 because the TODA cams require solid lifters. For these cams to work correctly the ignition and fuelling maps will need to be adjusted which requires the use of a GReddy e-Manage ( ₤350) with fitting and mapping being extra.

Mazda MX5 Tuning - Stage 3 - up to  ₤5000

Time to upgrade the stopping power with a set of front brakes of the later 1.8 model which have 30mm larger discs and bigger calipers, used these cost around  ₤200 for a set. At the rear the larger discs for the 1.8 bolt straight on as long as the caliper is fitted with a spacer bracket to accommodate the larger discs. While upgrading the braking system, using uprated discs is a worthwhile investment, Black Diamond discs work well ( ₤175) with the addition of stainless tell braided hoses from Goodridge  (₤85). Fitting of these brake parts comes in at ₤120.

For the ultimate performance, a turbo kit is the next port of call, Flyin' Miata turbo kits are well respected and cost from  ₤2500 -  ₤3500. The GReddy e-Manage is vital here and so is a decent boost controller. Power will be up to 190-220bhp.

220hp with suitably upgraded suspension and brakes will make for a decent tool for track days and fast road use.


Performance 5

Mazda MX5 Tuning - Stage 1 - up to  ₤1000

Suspension again is the first step with KYB AGX Dampers with Flyin' Miata springs being recommended,  ₤429 plus fitting. A suspension geometry check is also worthwhile at this stage and this should come in at around  ₤100.

For the brakes Axxis Ultimate have been found to be outstanding  (₤85) front and rear. Again Goodridge hoses are recommended as the standard rubber lines bulge under braking. If the discs are in good condition they can be left alone.

The chassis is a bit short on stiffness so a selection of stiffening bars from Flyin' Miata will make a big difference  (₤409 fitted).

Mazda MX5 Tuning - Stage 2 - up to  ₤2500

A turbo kit is the next recommended upgrade, the engine is very strong and can take 12-15 psi of boost with no problem, if its in good condition. Flyin' Miata make a great kit based around either a Garrett GT2554R or GT2560R turbo.  The GT2560R is the recommended option as people always want more power. The kit is controlled by a Flyin' Miata Voodoo piggyback ECU.  ₤2495 fitted.

Mazda MX5 Tuning - Stage 3 - up to  ₤5000

Again upgrading the previous turbo kit to Flyin' Miatas top of the line kit which includes Link ECU, intercooler, dump valve, 550cc injectors, and in car adjustable boost. The Link ECU is much more powerful. This kit is also MOT compliant. 235hp

A clutch is recommended with this power output with the 1.8 clutch being recommended but the SPEC Kevlar item which can withstand 300bhp and is only slightly stiffer than the standard clutch.

And to complete the job a full brake upgrade from the later 1.8 models with its larger discs and calipers.

Other MX-5 Tuning Specialists


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see also

Mazda Tuning Specialists