How To Turbo a MX-5 Miata: The Complete Build List

Want to turbo your Mazda MX5 Miata on a budget? This article will show you the exact setup that I used! This is the complete build list for 2Broke2Boosted, my budget turbo Miata build that I featured on my YouTube channel, CashedOutCars. This list contains ALL the main parts I used as well as where to buy them. Keep in mind that you will need all of these components to reliably turbo your car regardless of budget, so this is a great starting point for any build!

Turbo Miata, Miata Turbo, MX5 Turbo, Mazda Miata

ECU

The ECU is the brains of 2Broke2Boosted. This is how you will reliably and consistently control your car's fueling and ignition timing. I went with a Speeduino based SpeedyEFI kit for this, which comes complete with an Intake Air Temp (IAT) sensor, Throttle Position Sensor (TPS) and the harnesses to hook it up. This kit is $390 new, from SpeedyEFI’s site. Lots of people go with the more expensive Megasquirt line of ECUs, however the SpeedyEFI unit does the exact same thing for a fraction of the price.

Wideband o2 Sensor and Controller

A wideband o2 sensor is a critical component of a DIY turbo build that allows you to monitor your engine’s air to fuel ratios (AFRs). This way you can monitor your car and ensure you're running safe. This sensor also will communicate with the ECU to allow you to tune your setup to its full potential. For my build I picked the AEM Electronics 30-0300 X-Series wideband for this. It cost me $165 on Amazon when I bought it, but prices slightly vary. Even if you have to pay a bit more, this is a GREAT sensor and controller.

Turbo

Plan out your turbo, manifold and downpipe out together, since they all must match up to each other. You need a turbo that’ll match your manifold's bolt pattern. For me this meant finding a T3 flanged turbo, since the manifold I picked was made for that flange size. I went with the smallest one I could find on eBay to promote fast spool and usable power. This cost me $140, but required an additional wastegate kit that was $40. Both were from eBay. Remember, since most eBay parts are based on higher end turbos (Garrett and Borg Warner, most of the time), if your cheap part fails or if you want to upgrade you can always install the name brand turbo down the line.
 
Turbo Miata, eBay Turbo Miata, Miata MX5 Turbo

Turbo Manifold

Turbo manifolds come in all shapes, sizes, and prices for Miatas. I chose the cheapest one that’s known to be reliable, the eBay cast manifold. My car is a 1.6L, and this manifold is tried and true for this motor. These are on and off of eBay, so you may have to find one 2nd hand, but it’s a good option, especially for the price. They’re often listed on eBay for between $125 and $150. I'd highly recommend cast manifolds over tubular ones for a turbo setup, especially a budget one. They're less prone to cracking and are generally more reliable.

Downpipe

Your downpipe runs from your turbo to the rest of your exhaust. I made a custom downpipe for 2Broke2Boosted. Since I did this myself, this saved big money. I used the V-band flange that came with the internal wastegate kit, 2.5” mild steel exhaust, and an o2 sensor bung. This cost a total of $28, and I used the rest of the pipe to build a complete exhaust. The pipe was bought locally, and the bung from Amazon. If you're piecing together a kit with a lesser used manifold it likely will be nearly impossible to find a premade downpipe that will work. If you go with a tried and true setup from a name brand it'll likely come as a package.

Oil Lines

Oil lines are what feed your turbo oil and keep it running smoothly.I picked a universal T3 oil feed and drain kit, once again from eBay. This came with everything I needed for my oil drain, and one fitting that I used for my feed. It cost $28, but required me to buy an additional AN-4 90 fitting, as well as an additional AN-10 to NPT fitting, which cost an extra $10 or so.

Intercooler

Intercoolers cool the hot, compressed intake air that's coming out of your turbo. Colder air, more oxygen, more power. I picked an intercooler that isn’t the most traditional for Miatas. The one I picked is conveniently sized to have an inlet and outlet go between two pre-existing holes in the Miata’s front end, though they required slight filing. This was purchased through eBay for $90. I made a mount out of some scrap steel bars I had. You can buy a universal intercooler kit to save money, or a premade one that'll be proven to work, but will cost more.

Turbo Miata, Miata Intercooler, Over Radiator Intercooler Piping

Intercooler piping

I pieced together an intercooler piping kit for 2Broke2Boosted. This consisted of 2x 2 to 2.5” straight couplers, 3x 2 to 2.5” 90 degree couplers, and 1x 2” 90 degree coupler. Note that this set up is for a blow off valve that sits on a 2.5” piece of pipe. These cost me around $50 on eBay, plus $16 worth of 2” aluminum pipe from Summit Racing.

Blow off valve

Though relatively unnecessary for lower boost levels, I opted to run a blow off valve for extra safety and for the noise. I picked a HKS knock off valve from ebay, which was $40. It sounds good, works good so far, and gives blow off noise that most turbo enthusiasts love.

Injectors

Depending on your target boost levels, you might need to upgrade your fuel injectors to deliver enough fuel to the engine. I bought used RX8 injectors out of a junkyard car. This cost $65. Though not the newest technology, they’re a plug and play injector that can handle about as much power as a stock Miata engine can, and they’re a great budget choice.
 
Summary

This covers ALL the main components that you'll need to turbo your car. This is a tried and true list that I'm running on my car.  Click here for a spreadsheet covering the build if you'd prefer to work off that. Note that you can interchange your own parts without too much trouble, and this parts list is designed to be easily upgradable as parts break or if you want to spend more on a certain part. Don't forget to watch my build series on YouTube if you haven't already. It'll teach you everything you need to know to safely and reliably turbo your Mazda MX5 Miata. Happy boosting!

Note: Most links are affiliate links which help support this website and the CashedOutCars YouTube channel through commission, at no extra cost to you!

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