Broke and Boosted vs 2Broke2Boosted: Budget Turbo Miata Build Comparison
TheCarPassionChannel’s Broke and Boosted is an extremely well known turbo build in the Miata community and beyond. Greg Peter’s videos are extremely helpful and informative, and have helped TONS of people turbo their Miatas over the years, with myself included. Broke and Boosted is 5 years old at this point, though, and new go-fast products have come out since then, meaning you can get more for your money than a “Broke and Boosted” style build. The Broke and Boosted series has had a lot of influence on my own budget turbo build, which cost me $1,050, coming in very close to Broke and Boosted’s budget. This is why I built 2Broke2Boosted, my own version of a budget turbo MX5 Miata, that has far more potential for the money than the original "Broke and Boosted".
This article will highlight the differences between the two builds, and will shed light on new, inexpensive parts that allows for safe, easy turbocharging for cheap. This article is not meant to discredit the original Broke and Boosted build. Greg Peters with TheCarPassionChannel produces some of my favorite videos on YouTube, but technology evolves, and in 2020 and beyond, there’s better ways to turbo a car cheap, safely, and reliably, for around or just over $1000. This article will show you just that, as well as compare and contrast the two builds.
First, let me start off with the similarities between the two builds. To start, both of our cars are 1.6L Miatas. I’ll go more in depth on why I turbo’d a 1.6L vs a 1.8L, but it basically comes down to one thing. My car already had a 1.6L in it and I didn’t feel like buying another car or swapping in a 1.8L. I think the same can be said for the original Broke and Boosted build.
With that out of the way, let’s get into the similarities between the two turbo setups. Our turbo manifolds are the same. We both used the very inexpensive, yet durable, cast, ebay T3 manifold. This is a great budget option that, when available, is the best bang for your buck that you can get for a 1.6L Miata. There’s also 1.8L cast manifolds available if that’s what you’re working with. Also, both builds used a cheap eBay oil line kit, which comes with generic oil line parts. This does the job fine, and worked well for both builds.
Beyond that, our builds start to vary. I stuck with the T3 flange on the
eBay manifold, rather than modifying it like Greg did. I did this
because you can buy small T3 flanged turbos. Remember, T3 is just the
flange size, not the turbo size, and it DOES NOT necessarily relate to
turbo characteristics. I went with the smallest eBay turbo I can buy
with a T3 flange, but you can get even smaller turbos if you source one
off an old Saab 900 or turbo Volvo. If you do that you’ll have the
Garrett name on a T3 turbo, that is sized very similarly to the T2
flange turbos often used on Miatas. Regardless of which path you take,
sticking with the original flange pattern meant less modification for
your manifold, and an easier, more “Bolt on” application.
As for intercooling, I went with a non-traditional, over the radiator style intercooler, where as Broke and Boosted used a traditional front mount, side feed intercooler. Sure, mine isn't huge, but packaging wise it’s pretty awesome. You can easily keep AC and power steering with this style intercooler, and you have flashy intercooler piping easily visible under your hood. It does require hood modification though, and is a bit of work. Both setups are effective, and this one comes down to personal preference. Also, rather than buying a generic intercooler piping kit, I pieced together the exact couplers and pipe I needed, which saved a decent amount of money. If you're on an absolute budget you don't absolutely need an intercooler, but that's a discussion for another time.
Before we get into the biggest major difference that sets 2Broke2Boosted apart from Broke and Boosted, let’s go over our downpipe and exhaust setups. We both had custom downpipes made. When you go budget with pieced together parts, there isn’t necessarily a down pipe that will bolt directly on. I made a custom downpipe out of mild steel exhaust pipe, since it is dirt cheap and with a bit of fabrication work you can have something very functional for hardly any money. I used the rest of this pipe to create a full exhaust whereas Broke and Boosted used the rest of the stock exhaust. My total exhaust cost was around $50. We'll see how my welds hold up.
Now, we need to talk about fueling and ignition timing. THIS is where the major difference between the two builds is. Back in 2015, the major name in the budget Miata standalone ECU market was Megasquirt. But for a plug and play unit, even now, they run $800+ for anything worth using. Because of that, to stay on a budget Broke and Boosted used a fuel management unit to increase fueling with higher boost levels, and used an o2 signal modifier. This is basically tricking the stock ECU into sort of working for boost. At very low levels of boost this can be okay, but anything more than that and you really don’t have enough control to safely make good power. Also, this requires retarding ignition OUTSIDE of boost, meaning your car gets slower outside of boost.
For 2Broke2Boosted, I used something that wasn’t well developed in 2015, and that is a Speeduino based ECU, specifically a SpeedyEFI PNP kit. This kit runs $390, brand new shipped with all the sensors and wiring harnesses you need to run it. It allows for complete control of your fueling and ignition timing, meaning you can dial in EVERY aspect of your car that you’d need for a turbo setup. It also comes ready to use fun features like launch control, flat foot shifting, and more. A SpeedyEFI is basically a budget megasquirt that’s constantly being improved, that’s even tuned using the same software. This is A LOT of tuning power for not a lot of money that will allow you to get your budget setup up and running very safely, and will allow you to continue throwing boost at your car safely, since you have full control of your timing and fueling. If you watched the original Broke and Boosted series to the end, you’ll note that Greg eventually went to a Megasquirt, since the original setup was very limiting. My recommendation is start with a SpeedyEFI and don’t look back.
And so guys, that wraps up the major differences between Broke and Boosted and my 2Broke2Boosted series. If you want to see the COMPLETE 2Broke2Boosted series on YouTube, be sure to subscribe to my channel and watch the series, it’ll be tremendously helpful if you plan on doing a budget turbo build. I’d like to personally thank Greg Peters of theCarPassionChannel for all the great content, it’s helped me tons along the way with the 2Broke2Boosted build, and inspired me to find the alternatives that I chose to use on my project. To see more Miata content, subscribe to my channel AND TheCarPassionChannel, and I hope you stick around for the next one. Happy boosting!