At the heart of the car's performance lies a T25 Turbo that I purchased off of Ebay. Actually, there is more to the story than that and I'll go into details below. But, first what I know about my turbo. The turbo was freshly rebuilt when purchased and it is some kind of odd T25/T28 hybrid. It was put together with a Garrett compressor housing with what looks to be a T25 wheel. The turbine side looks like a mitsubishi piece with a 16G type discharge flange. The compressor A/R is 80 vs the standard 48 for the Misubishi DSM T25 (confirmed by a friend with a 95 Talon AWD Turbo). The larger compressor gives it more kick than a standard T25 which is just fine by me. I puts out somewhere around 210-220 HP right now.
Now the rest of the story... I purchased a used FMIII (one of Flyin' Miatas older kits that used a T28 Turbo with an external wastegate) kit off miata.net for $1500. The kit was shipped to me in a large box that weighed about 80 pounds BUT when it arrived at my house it was in a much smaller box that weighed about 40 pounds. The box said "1 of 2" on it but no second box arrived. After a few calls to UPS I determined that the original box came apart during shipping and they repackaged it into two smaller boxes. A few days later a second box arrived but I was still missing some parts. I guess parts of my turbo wound up all along the eastern seaboard! Anyway, an insurance claim was made with UPS and I got my full $1500 back since the sum is worth more than the whole in turbo kits. So, here I was with my original $1500 still in my pocket, a 90% complete turbo kit, and a car that was torn apart waiting for a turbo installation. As luck would have it, while inspecting the turbo I found that the blades on the compressor side were eaten up. I guess it ingested something in the previous owners car - a detail he neglected to tell me when he sold it to me. So, if it weren't for UPS and their slack handling of my turbo I would have been buying a new turbo anyway but would have been out my $1500 at this point. A few days later I found a deal of a lifetime on Ebay for a freshly (never spun up) rebuilt T25 with a brand new stainless downpipe and manifold for $350! I purchased the turbo and started putting parts of the two kits together to make what I have in the car now.
Here's what the compressor blades look like on the FM3 T28:
Here are side by side comparisons of the downpipe and turbo on the FMIII-T28 and Ebay-T25:
Here is a closer look at the snails themselves. Look at the difference in size. I am actually glad the T28 was damaged (kind of) because I think I am much happier with the T25's faster spoolup.
The cheapy Ebay turbo stainless tubular manifolds are well known for cracking and poor product quality. Of course, mine cracked after the first week of use and then again after another week. I got the cracks welded up at the shop for $40. It cracked a third time after a few months of use (probably only 300 miles since I rarely drive the car). I had purchased my own Mig welder at that point and welded it myself.
Here's what the manifold looks like (with the cracks):
Here the cracks have been welded over:
I had to get the downpipe cut and rotated a bit because it had a nice uphill grade on it as it went towards the back of the car. It was hitting the tranny tunnel and I couldn't even attach my exhaust to it!
Here is another example of the poor design. There was no room to put all the bolts into the downpipe to hold it to the turbo. I had to cut the head off of one of the bolts and get it welded in like a stud. The quality is incredibly poor on this kit! Look, no room for a bolt head on there: