How to build MX-5 turbo

mx 5 turbo

As you could already know, the most simple and effective method to boost extra power to your Miata is to install a turbocharger. It is not simple, actually, and refers to a variety of upgrades. If you want to achieve perfect results, just to put a turbocharger, small intercooler and retune the engine, like in NB-series special edition Miata by Mazdaspeed is not enough.

What you need first

The following list illustrates the upgrades you need to make to build a turbocharged Miata to make it effective and efficient. Don’t forget that it is not the only one article regarding Mazda Miata tuning topic.


The very first thing is engine control unit. You may use reprogrammed stock ECU, standalone ECU or piggyback ECU. Stock control unit usage is effective only for small boost, and require fuel pressure regulator. Standalone control units are often require additional wiring or rebuilding the existent one. Piggyback ECUs which is used in mazda miata greddy turbo kit, doesn’t require any additional upgrades to wiring.



There are plenty of turbocharger variants available for Miatas, the brand new models from HKS, GReddy or AEM and turbos from other cars, such as Mitsubishi and Nissan – TD04/05 and Garrett T25/28 used in 90s Subaru and some Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.


Blow-off or Dump valve

This valve is used to release excess air from the turbocharger system, when the accelerator is closed. Many owners of turbocharged cars are arguing about the appropriateness of the unit, however, it is necessary to add in order to avoid engine damage.

dump valve


To make your engine effective, you need not only more air and oxygen pumping, but also more fuel. To achieve this you need more productive fuel injectors. The most of Miata tuning enthusiasts recommend to use injectors from Mazda RX-7 or RX-8.



The cooler air, the more productive engine. So, intercooler is using to decrease the temperature of the air in order to provide better performance and what is more important cooling to the turbocharger itself. The size and performance of the intercooler should be fitted to respective performance of the turbocharger.


Boost controller

There are 2 main types of boost controllers existing. The first one is manual, using special valve to limit the pressure amount the limit is set only by the stiffness of the spring. The second type is electronic which limits the pressure more precisely.

boost controller

Downpipe and Manifold

These two units are referred to exhaust system. Manifold is a pipe connecting to exhaust ports of the engine; downpipe connects the turbocharger to exhaust system. It is very important part and the most problematic to choose, because it is difficult to fit custom manifold to Miata engine, you need to know dimensions and the type of your engine.



The other important things for Mazda mx5 turbo install is air intake, oil and water lines, special spark plug for the turbocharged engines. To achieve good performance it is also important to use custom clutch, exhaust system, brakes and cooling system. You may also be interested in the aspects of tuning regarding engine and safety.

air intake

MX-5 turbo specs

If you want to gain about 40 hp of extra power, you need to modify exhaust, use Garett turbocharger, stock ECU, stock injectors. No intercooler needed.
To gain 80 hp or so you need dump valve, RX-8 injectors, small intercooler, electronic boost controller, gapped spark plugs, etc.
The more power you want, the more upgrades you should do, spending more money and the car will be less appropriate for usual roads. But at least you could made your Miata much more powerful than Honda S2000 and put an end to disputes which car is better.

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Also read about Mazda Miata engine swap, full article about all possible variants of engine swap including Miata 13b swap (rotary engine)

  • Matt Honeywill

    That’s my first MX5 in the header photo :)