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Author Topic: Difference Between SM and a FP Miata
RHarris Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Let's start with the Pros and Cons which includes some differences and then we will build upon that to list out the physical differences.

Pros

More Mazda Contingency
Easy to convert a SM to an entry level FP and then work on your program
Use of non-stock components
Built Motors/suspension dog ring tranny
Higher Horsepower
Shock /Control Arm package unlimited
Gear ratios unlimited
Slick Race Tires
Very consistent
Real Race Car look and feel
Racing a Spec Miata is a blast, racing a Spec Miata on steroids is a thrilling experience and you get to go really fast.
Used pro built FP Miata’s – Mid $20’s


Cons Cons

More expensive than SM
Overall Cost of Ownership is considerably higher
Cars need more maintenance and upkeep
Maybe just a tad more sensitive to component failure from higher corner speeds, vibration, higher RPM’s
Fiberglass body panels easier to break with contact
Motor refresh every 13 – 15 races weekends (FP)
More stress on entire drive train
Tires to buy/mount/balance is right at $1000 per set
Race Fuel $$ instead of POG
New Pro Built FP - $50K

--------------------
Rick Harris
F Production - A place for 1.6 Miata's

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2008 F Production National Champion

Mitch Reading Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Interesting, thanks Rick. In what parts of the country would we find the most FP competition... outside the runoffs?

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Drago Verified Driver Made Donation to Website Series Champ
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quote:
Originally posted by RHarris:
Pros

Use of non-stock components
built Motors/suspension dog ring tranny
Shock /Control Arm package unlimited
Gear ratios unlimited


Rick
Some of these can go in CON colum as well [Wink]

--------------------
Jim Drago
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springfielddyno Verified Driver
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I've discoverd I get to use my fire system much more often [Wink]

While I'm far from out of SM, I personally have an FP car now, and I'll help Rick answer questions here as well.. However, I haven't had to fight off the interviews with the SPEED cameras...

It's not a small jump... You need to enjoy working on the car or enjoy paying someone to work on it for you. If you have to make yourself work on the car, it's not for you...

--------------------
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Sam H.
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RHarris Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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quote:
Originally posted by Mitch Reading:
Interesting, thanks Rick. In what parts of the country would we find the most FP competition... outside the runoffs?

Good question. I can't tell you which one is the most competitive but here is the averages per division.

Based on the 2009 participation numbers, FP ranked 10th out of all SCCA National Classes.

Northeast - 4.1
Southeast - 4.7
Central - 9.8
Great Lakes-6.6
Midwest - 4.5
Southwest -3.5
Rocky Mountain - 2.75
North Pacific - 1.1
South Pacific - 1.1

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Rick Harris
F Production - A place for 1.6 Miata's

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jprather
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I'll second Sam's comment that it's not a small jump to production but a plus is that you can convert slowly. Sam did not do this but many have in converting their SM or IT Miata over to production racing. Another topic to touch on that Jim Drago mentioned is the pro's and con's between this change over. I've seen plenty of guys run a LOT of stock components and do very well. I have always run stock control arms with alternate bushings etc. Shocks are a big plus and the added horsepower and slick tires make production racing a real blast. The pole time in SM at the runoffs was around 12 seconds a lap slower than Rick Harris and Brian Linn ran in FP and 15 seconds slower than the front row of Miata's in EP. Is a production Miata fun? Yes it is!! This is a great forum to discuss what it takes to convert over plus I'm sure we'll hear lots of different opinions on the subject!

David Dewhurst
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One Miata F car that was in the southeast is now in the CenDiv. It did quite well at the Runoffs untill the throttle shaft broke. [yep]

As has been stated it's quite interesting how well the Miata suspension preforms with bushed OEM arms, adjustable shocks, adjustable bar & slicks.

--------------------
Have Fun [Wink]

David Dewhurst
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d mathias Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Why so many open cockpit Miatas in EP/FP. Weight savings? Tradition? Looks cool? Washes driver suit when raining? Easier to jump out when car erupts?

I would think a hard top would be an aero advantage.

-Denny

TillerTech
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Getting the stock windshield off the car is a huge aero advantage. The car I am just finishing weighs 1800 empty without trying to shave weight.

Also, I think now you can run a stock tank in Prod, this a big change from previous years.

John

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jprather
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Lower center of gravity, cooler cockpit temps, etc. all makes an open roadster fun. Yes, you can run a stock tank in prod now but I'd still be apt to run a fuel cell with a surge tank installed and put it in the passenger side of the car. Good to see you on here John!

Kyle Freiheit
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Wouldn't having the fuel cell in the passenger side mess with your cross weights and therefore your handling as the race went on(burning fuel)? More so than having it in the stock location or even the trunk?

Just thinking out loud.

Kyle

RHarris Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Kyle,

When I was building my car I was tossed between installing my fuel cell in the stock location or in the passenger area. I actually had the stock area cut out and ready to install when I decided to go the passenger floor board route. I am very glad I did. I have done lots of weight testing with my fuel cell empty, 1/2 and full. It is absolutely amazing how little difference it makes to the cross percentage. I weigh my car a lot and can tell you it doesn't make enough difference in the cross percentage to affect the handling.

As for the open top, I have raced in extreme temperatures (July 4th at Hallett) in both a SM and my open cockpit FP. I can personally tell you that in an open car you absolutely do not need a cool shirt set up.

To echo a bit on Jesse's and Sam's comments, you can switch over to a FP in your SM without too much $$$$ and effort. It would make a great regional FP car but in order to run up front Nationally, you will need an all out build.

For now, we should open the discussion on the conversion process of your current 1.6 SM to a FP.

--------------------
Rick Harris
F Production - A place for 1.6 Miata's

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d mathias Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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How would that open cockpit feel at, say, Sebring this weekend? [Big Grin]

ctkellett Verified Driver
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quote:
Originally posted by Kyle Freiheit:
Wouldn't having the fuel cell in the passenger side mess with your cross weights and therefore your handling as the race went on(burning fuel)? More so than having it in the stock location or even the trunk?

Kyle

If Jesse says to put it on the passenger side, that is where I would put it, no questions asked. [Big Grin] His record speaks for him.

--------------------
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Chris

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Sean Allen Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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What about roll cages? Can you remove the stock windshield and frame, put in a small wind visor and run the current cage in the car? Or would it be necessary to cut out and re do the cage?

TillerTech
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SCCA allows two designs, high front bar and low.
Take a look around, Harold Flesher has a very interesting design on his Midget. I know the high front bar has more drag, how much is debatable. It is not what makes or breaks a car.

John

--------------------
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disquek Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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The high front hoop designs create significant aero drag. A round object, has five times its diameter in equivalent drag. I think you might be better off leaving the hard top on than doing a high front hoop car.

The cage issue seems like the biggest stumbling block in the conversion. It may make it worth while to sell the SM and start fresh for the FP car.

However, if you want to take it a bit at a time, you could always do a hardtop FP miata and swap the tub at some point later.

Another big difference between a SM and most other SCCA class cars is resale value. SM is one of the very few (if not the only) class where you can sell a car for more than the sum of it's parts. Other classes seem to average around 50 cents on the dollar.

-Kyle

RHarris Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Kyle is absolutely correct on the built to sell ratio on the SM and FP. You can definitely find full built FP Miata's out in the 20's, or lower. I know Ken Kenard just bought David Bryson's FP and maybe he can share his experience with us. Davids car is obviously a very fast and well sorted FP Miata. The same goes for Brian Linn, who referenced this scenario in the other thread.

Here is a link to a picture of a brand new built 2009 MX-5 GTL with a high front hoop design. This car also has a 12A rotary engine.
http://prodracing.com/prodcar/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=11176

There a lots of prod cars out there with the high front hoop design. I certainly wouldn't let the high hoop design stop you from taking off the top, removing the windshield and with the stock transmission, get the weight down to 2079 with you in the car.
You do that, put some Goodyear or Hoosier slicks on the car, make sure you have a firesystem instead of a fire bottle and I believe you are legal for FP? Someone correct me if I am wrong.
Other quick small performance mods could include a cold air intake, radiator ducting, weight reduction.

--------------------
Rick Harris
F Production - A place for 1.6 Miata's

http://www.v8roadsters.com/

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2008 F Production National Champion

tyler raatz
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by RHarris:
[.

Here is a link to a picture of a brand new built 2009 MX-5 GTL with a high front hoop design. This car also has a 12A rotary engine.
http://prodracing.com/prodcar/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=11176

Jons MX5 is not "exactly" brand new. It has a high front hoop cage because that is how he got the tube frame (from me [Smile] ). That car/chassis was my GTL Nissan in 2007. I parted the car out after a crash distroyed the 1 off body that was on the car.
The MX5 body was a great pick, wheel base was a perfect match to my old Nissan.
Tyler

jprather
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I think you'd be better off taking the hard top off and cutting the windshield off even with a high front hoop. The added weight up high really makes a difference in the overall center of gravity. You can always modify the cage in the future if you'd like to go low front hoop. Kyle is right about the resale, but to me SM prices have gotten out of hand. On the fuel cell issue. I like to put it in the passenger side just to again get my center of gravity as low as possible. I'd never put it in the trunk. Always try and keep as much weight as you can between the wheels to prevent the pendulum effect.

To help start Rick's main reason for this topic. Some cool items you can do to convert your SM over to FP. Completley gut the car of wiring including the stock dash completely. I like to run Electromotive but there are other good stand alone ECU's as well. This way you can make a very simple and basic wiring harness and completely tune your engine for max performance. This is a great investment in your FP build because no matter what you do engine wise, you can always keep this ECU and retune as engines change. No special computers, just purpose built tuning.

By the way, Jon is planning on putting the hardtop on that MX5 in GTL I've heard.

RHarris Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Thanks Jesse,
I think I am going to start a new topic specifically for the SM to FP conversion.
I believe we covered the differences.

Thanks for the clarification Tyler. I just ASSumed that the MX-5 GTL was a tub. I stand corrected. [Smile]

--------------------
Rick Harris
F Production - A place for 1.6 Miata's

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2008 F Production National Champion

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No disrespect intended....but why would you want to switch from SM with great, close racing to go to FP? Today at the Sebring National there was one FP Miata and not many more FP cars period? All were grouped with EP, etc and were spread out with very little wheel to wheel racing.

--------------------
Paul McLester

RHarris Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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None taken. [Smile] I will agree with you 100%. You show up at with a SM at any track any time and you have a big group to race with.

Many of us have been asked by fellow SM competitors about what it would take to go racing in Production. Jim Daniels has had some inquiries thus the base reason to start this forum. Another reason is that FP only authorizes one engine and that's the 1.6 so this is just an option for a place for the 1.6 to graduate to, that's all. [Smile]

JD, would you care to elaborate on this subject?

--------------------
Rick Harris
F Production - A place for 1.6 Miata's

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racerfink Verified Driver
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Could I take my SM and run both classes on the same weekend? At the Turkey Trot in Sebring, on a brand new set of R888's, I ran lap times comparable to the first place finisher in FProd. I ran tenth in the first SM race, and 11th in the second, four seconds a lap off the pace.

Paul, the chance to win races and a regional championship, for the same exact amount of money that I'm spending now is a big plus, especially to potential sponsors.

--------------------
'90 Spec Miata
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springfielddyno Verified Driver
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quote:
Originally posted by racerfink:
Could I take my SM and run both classes on the same weekend? At the Turkey Trot in Sebring, on a brand new set of R888's, I ran lap times comparable to the first place finisher in FProd. I ran tenth in the first SM race, and 11th in the second, four seconds a lap off the pace.

Paul, the chance to win races and a regional championship, for the same exact amount of money that I'm spending now is a big plus, especially to potential sponsors.

Trust me, it's not like that in all the divisions [Wink] At least not in the National's... Prod guys are much less likely to run regional races.

Yes, you can build a 1.6 that is FP and SM legal... You'll be perhaps 4 seconds/lap off pace in FP...

--------------------
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RHarris Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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quote:
Originally posted by racerfink:
Could I take my SM and run both classes on the same weekend? At the Turkey Trot in Sebring, on a brand new set of R888's, I ran lap times comparable to the first place finisher in FProd. I ran tenth in the first SM race, and 11th in the second, four seconds a lap off the pace.

Paul, the chance to win races and a regional championship, for the same exact amount of money that I'm spending now is a big plus, especially to potential sponsors.

I checked with a National Tech inspector and the only thing we could come up with is the fact you need a Fire System and not just a fire bottle for Production.
Also, we many need to check to make sure it's OK tor run DOT tires in the production class. At first glance I don't think there are any issues but we need to make sure.
You put some 8" slicks on your SM and that's probably worth up to a couple of seconds off your current SM lap times. Do some tire temps and maybe a little camber adjustment and you will have a blast. Just guessing and not a show stopper, but you probably don't need as much camber with the slicks as you would with DOT's.

--------------------
Rick Harris
F Production - A place for 1.6 Miata's

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RHarris Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Another item you could do without too much effort is get rid of all your lead in your SM. If your racing a 1990 I am sure you have some added ballast. However, that will probably mess up your cross%. Using a stock transmission you can weigh in for F Production at 2079. [thumbsup]

It would take some testing on the scales at your shop but once you get it down, you could make those subtle those changes at the track between qualifying/races.

--------------------
Rick Harris
F Production - A place for 1.6 Miata's

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2008 F Production National Champion

David Dewhurst
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Does the production car class rule "dual braking systems are required" mean two seperate master cylinders are required?

--------------------
Have Fun [Wink]

David Dewhurst
CenDiv
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Spec Miata #14

FireballPhil
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David,

The Miata has a dual braking system already. It only uses 1 reservoir and 1 master cylinder. Granted the stock system is, maybe, not as efficient as a dual master cylinder would be but I have personally worked on 3 different production converted Miatas (2 FP and 1 EP). Two have dual master cylinders and Rick has the stock system. Between the 3 of them, Rick has had the greater success of the 3. The stock system works very well. You just have to keep a close eye on the front discs as they will develop cracks. And use OEM discs because they actually last longer than after market. And that has been verified by Rick at the '08 Runoffs. After personally seeing Rick race, I have no reservations about using the stock Miata braking system.

Phil Harris

--------------------
2008 MidSouth Region RE
Auto racing, bull fighting, & mountain climbing are the only real sports...all others are games.-ernest hemingway

David Dewhurst
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Phil, I understand the OEM brake system. [thumbsup] I'm wondering IF the OEM two seperate pistons seperated by a spring within one cylinder meets the production car class rule "dual braking systems are required"?

--------------------
Have Fun [Wink]

David Dewhurst
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TillerTech
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There are several Production cars running stock braking systems. The purpose is to still have one end of the car with brakes if either the front or rear has a major malfunction.

John

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Perhaps they are trying to say that the stock E-brake is required?

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David, yes the stock master cylinder meets the rule for a dual system. This is simply because the stock cylinder has two separate chambers for front and rear even though they're in the same cylinder. The spring brings the single dual pison back so even if you lost the front or rear, the other one would still work. I found this out last year at Hallet when I lost the front brakes due to a brake pad delamating and pushing the piston out of the caliper.
The stock e-brake is not required.

Also, think about this. Have you ever bled the brakes on a dual brake pedal assembly and notice how far down the pedal goes when you bleed the front or rear. The balance bar collapses when you lose the fluid. I'd rather have the stock master than the dual anyway. The booster is also a nice addition. I'd challenge anyone in a Miata with a dual tilton pedal design vs. my stock system. The KISS principle at it's best!

Sean Allen Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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JP,

If that is true about the stock system, then how come when you crack a bleeder valve (simulating a broken line etc.) the pedal just goes to the floor and you have no stopping power?

jprather
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Because the booster isn't working. On the track it works much better with the booster. I'm not saying if you lose your front or rear brakes that your pedal will be good, I'm just saying that I'd put up the stock system against the dual master tilton pedal type anytime and that the dual pedal type isn't any better or safer. Here's the thing. Think about if you just had one cylinder for all 4 brakes like some cars did 40 years ago. Then we're talking zero brakes into a corner. That's how people get killed. Either one of these dual systems we're talking about works, I just prefer the stock system.

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I just looked through the GCR to see if i could find anyting about any tire restrciton in Production. This is all I could find in reference to tires:

8. Wheels and Tires Level 1 and 2
a. Wheels, wheel spacers and wheel fans are unrestricted
b. Spare tires and wheels must be removed.

I would ASSume this means tires are unrestricted also.

--------------------
Rick Harris
F Production - A place for 1.6 Miata's

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David Dewhurst
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9.3.44. Tires

Tires shall be 120 mph rated or better unless otherwise specified or controlled.

--------------------
Have Fun [Wink]

David Dewhurst
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Bill Etherington
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quote:
Originally posted by RHarris:
I just looked through the GCR to see if i could find anyting about any tire restrciton in Production. This is all I could find in reference to tires:

8. Wheels and Tires Level 1 and 2
a. Wheels, wheel spacers and wheel fans are unrestricted
b. Spare tires and wheels must be removed.

I would ASSume this means tires are unrestricted also.

Rick,
I would agree with this and your analysis of SM's running in FP. It does appear tires are free as long as they fit on the specified size rims (15 x 7) (I don't see anything different that would not allow DOT tires to run in FP). It would seem all a SM competitor has to do is install a fire system to run FP.

Mitch,
Serge Lentz of NER is a recent convert to FP in a Miata. He is at most nationals, I would suggest talking to him if you are interested in converting. Mason Workman a FP Miata also ventures east, for a few NEDIV nationals, from the Great Lakes division. I think 4 or 5 FP from NEDIV were at the Runoffs.

Of course, listening to what Rick Harris and Jesse Prather have to say is always a good idea.

--------------------
Bill Etherington
NNJR Tech

hythloday
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Window clips and straps? Fuel evap. system?
And I think slightly different roll bar spec; front dash bar?

jprather
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You only need window straps if you're running lexan in the windshield. Clips are required if running glass I believe. Fuel system is unlimited. Roll bar spec is the same or at least the SM roll cage will pass a prod check. If you run the hard top/windshield you just have to have the high front hoop. All of this being said. If you want to run FP in your SM, noone is going to give you much trouble as long as the fire system is in there. You'll be plenty off the pace of the front guys, at least you should be. At the runoffs, it's 10 seconds per lap difference.

Jay Lutz
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I did't see it here but the stock system (by federal law) is plumbed diagonally ie LF and RR are on one independent circuit, RF and LR on the other. Tilton balance bar (aka wiffle tree) setups are a Front, Rear split.

From a safety standpoint the stock system is superior since with a leak in either circuit you always have one front brake working....where roughly 70% of the braking occurs. If you've ever tried to stop a vehicle with rear brakes only it's almost comical......the more pressure you apply, the more forward weight transfer yielding earlier and earlier lockup and reduced braking (less normal load) on the rear and deceleration(ever wonder why Porsche 911's are dominant under braking...it's just simple physics...they start off with high rear weight bias since the engine is hanging behind the rear axle...under braking the loads on all 4 tires are more evenly distributed than competing marques thus higher decels). The advantage of the balance bar tilton setup is the ease of getting optimized braking.....so long as both systems are intact.
The ex brake engineer has given his $.02 worth.

Thanks, Jay

--------------------
"In our sport if you go out of bounds you're most likely not coming back" Michael Waltrip

TillerTech
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Jay,

not to be contradictory, but how would you split the rear brakes up side to side with only one line to the rear? Is this something new?

John

--------------------
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jprather
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Good point John. Jay's talking about the proportioning valve. Forward of that and he's right, behind that and you're right. Same as a tilton setup except for the tilton doesn't have that "common" prop. valve. I did run into a case where my booster was getting weak and the brakes just didn't have that crisp feel anymore.

Jay Lutz
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you have to have 2 lines to the rear as you have stated....and you need 2 proportioning valves in series with those 2 lines.

--------------------
"In our sport if you go out of bounds you're most likely not coming back" Michael Waltrip

David Dewhurst
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***I did't see it here but the stock system (by federal law) is plumbed diagonally ie LF and RR are on one independent circuit, RF and LR on the other.***

& so that I don't come of as contradictory (I like that word John) in what year did this become federal law? [Confused]

--------------------
Have Fun [Wink]

David Dewhurst
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TillerTech
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I am not so sure that having a brake failure on one circuit and cross feeding the brakes is a good thing. The car will tend to yaw into the working circuit front wheel. If collision avoidance is in the other direction, avoidance may be compromised.

It could be Fed regulation newer than '06, my '06 has a "T" fitting mounted on the rear end with 3 lines.

I remember when the "anti-lock brakes" became popular. I have had two complete braking failures with them. No one was hurt in either incident, however, a new 430 MB went to the scrap yard and I had to buy a new front bumper.

John

--------------------
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PVYoung
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I converted my SM several years ago. I am so much happier in FP than SM.

The purpose of this post is to clear up two things that were mentioned earlier.

First, the Miata braking system is front-rear split, not left-right. Here's a link to the Flying Miata Proportioning Valve Installation Instructions:

http://www.flyinmiata.com/support/instructions/suspension/proportioning_valve.pdf

Second, at Turkey Trot, the times for the FP races were not representative. We had split starts with the SM's in front. On both days, there were full course yellows at the start. So, the FP cars were stacked up behind the SM's. This slowed the leaders down during the races. It was fun picking off the backmarkers! :)

That being said, my laptimes would put me in the top 10 of the SM grid (depending on who is there). I do not have a fully built FP Miata by any means.

Perry

RHarris Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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Thanks for the clarification Perry. Maybe we can generate some more interest in Miata's in F Production.

--------------------
Rick Harris
F Production - A place for 1.6 Miata's

http://www.v8roadsters.com/

http://jesseprathermotorsports.com/
http://www.wbrgraphics.com/
http://haremotorsports.blogspot.com/
2008 F Production National Champion

David Dewhurst
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Guys, the more I read this run your Spec Miata in F Production the more I look at the rules for F Production. I own a Spec Miata & I crew with Kenny Kannard with his Spec Miata & the X David Bryson F Prod car. While reading the E/F Prod rules the E Prod rules spec line "OEM hardtop allowed." The F Prod rules spec NOTHING about the hadrtop. Is this a big ol Opp's in the rule or is this saying that NO hardtops are allowed in F Production? Am I [Confused] or are the rules [Confused] ?

--------------------
Have Fun [Wink]

David Dewhurst
CenDiv
Milwaukee Region
Spec Miata #14

jprather
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It's probably an oversight as most guys run in prod as roadster's. I've seen plenty of FP Miata's with hardtops though. Even some at the runoffs. A quick letter to the crb would probably take care of it.

 
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