Project NB Update – MegaSquirt Prep

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So I figure I’ll do something different this time and actually finish a project. My plan for Project NB Miata has always been to put a turbo on it. The first real step down that road is standalone.

There are a variety of stop-gap and bandaid type ways to run a turbo on a Miata without standalone, but honestly you should just save yourself the headache and go with a standalone from the beginning, so that’s what I’m doing.

The preferred standalone for the Miata is current the MegaSquirt ECU. It has by far the most community support, and that’s super important for standalone. Things go much better if you can build on an existing knowledge base.

All of this is to say, I ordered a MegaSquirt ECU. Specifically I ordered the MS3 Basic built by MSLabs and sold by BOFI Racing.

Since these ECUs have to be built before they’re shipped, that gives me a lead time of a couple of weeks. I figure it would be prudent to order all the stuff I’m going to need to go with it. It’s a plug and play solution, so it’s not much of a list, but there are a few things you’re gonna want. First and foremost is a Wideband O2. It’s a requirement for standalone. You will be tuning by and large based on Air/Fuel ratio, so you need something to measure AFR. That would be a Wideband. There are a few to choose from and they’re mostly very similar in price and performance, but I decided to go with the AEM X Series. It has CAN output, and the MS3 Basic has CAN input, this means I can wire it directly to the ECU and not have to deal with offsets or anything, the gauge and the ECU will always see exactly the same data.

Next up is a boost gauge. The MegaSquirt includes boost control, so I see no compelling reason to buy an expensive boost gauge with built-in boost control. I decided to just go with an old trusty AutoMeter Ultralight. I’ve had them before, I had one in my Grand National. It’s a simple ass gauge with a vacuum line connected to it to measure pressure. It’s pretty much just to fill the extra hole in the gauge pod I ordered, but I’ll get to that in a second.

In my experience you don’t really have much chance to look at the boost gauge anyway when you’re actually making boost. I might change my mind in the future, but I think this is an acceptable setup and I’m cheap, so I’m gonna try and go cheap (but not like cheap, lol).

Finally, I needed a place to put these. I have basically no good options honestly. Good-Win Racing carries these DIN plates to mount gauges above/below the radio, but I have a double DIN CarPlay head unit, so I don’t have an extra DIN slot to mount them in. Lot of people put them in the AC vents, but it’s too damn hot in Memphis to block my AC vents. I finally settled on an A pillar gauge pod, also from Good-Win. It’s honestly not my ideal gauge setup, but I can’t think of anything better right now, so I’m going with it. The A pillar panel from Good-Win totally replaces the stock A pillar trim, so if I change my mind later and want to go with a different setup, it’s easily reversible. I figure this will at least get me started.

That should be pretty much all I need to get the MegaSquirt installed and start working on my base tune. After that I’ll start buying turbo parts, likely ForceFlow injectors first, then decide on turbo parts. I’m currently leaning toward a Kraken setup with a GT2560R, but that may change by the time I get there.

That about wraps up my planning, I guess it’s time to wait on parts. When I do get everything in I’ll document the install and tuning extensively, so I’ll actually have some car building content which will be pretty cool.