2008-10-27

Quo vadis part 2

So with my car and I it's like a never-ending soap opera. One day you have a happy ending to an episode, but the next day, you turn around and it's drama again.

So with the oil consumption, and my desire to have a car competitive in its class, I sat down and listed all my options and their money values. The "value" number is derived by figuring out how many percent of the estimated car resell value I will be investing. The resell value is estimated based on what local dealers and prvate sellers offer 99 Miatas for. I took the low end of the spectrum, because of the high mileage on the car and modifications, that most people will be suspicious about when buying a used car.

First, the cheap fix. For 500 bucks I can have someone replace the valve stem guide seals and hope it fixes the problem. When it doesn't, I have spent the least amount of money in relative as absolute terms, but my car will still have the problem, and no performance gain.

Option two appears to be the most expensive one. I took a median approximate quote for a rebuild and added $600 for a clutch/flywheel upgrade. That's pretty much all there is in cost.

Third option uses an 18 hours labor estimate at $85 per hour, with a 10% Tarheel club discount. Parts: that's the new crate engine plus tax. Extras is the better clutch/flywheel combo. The negative resell number is the money I can get out of selling my old motor (again, estimated on the low side).

After all is said and done, both option 2 and option three will leave me with a car that has a good-as-new or new engine, plus upgraded clutch and flywheel. Residual cost of the car will still be around $7000, presuming today's market. Engine swap gets extra brownie points for the resell value of the old engine, effectively offsetting the cost of clutch and flywheel upgrade.

Now to the last option: ditch Bonnie and buy a new car. I looked around, and for about $15000 a nice Honda S2000 can be had. If I do sell the Miata, the deal is to achieve two goals:

  1. Have a higher-performing car that will be good for autocross in its class.
  2. Have a stock car that will not require constant money transfusions to be competitive. CSP is an expensive class to run in, and honestly, I would rather compete in Stock.

Interesting how the math works. Yes it will cost me $8000 extra to buy the newer car, plus a hundred or so to pay for the title transfer and new license, but in the end, I will have a newer car that will be worth $15000 or so.

Of course, the newer more expensive car will be more expensive to insure and the property tax will be higher. Also S2000 is less fuel-efficient and requires premium gasoline, while a 99 Miata is perfectly content running on 87 octane. So adding this to the equation makes the car upgrade option less attractive.

To make it more fun, if I wanted to get my current car up to par with CSP competition, I would ideally spend on the following upgrades:

  1. Independent runner throttle bodies (IRTB): $2000
  2. Torsen differential: $900
  3. 13" CSP wheels: $600
And I will still have a $7000 car!

Tell me what you guys think in comments!