Secrets of the Mirage

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Secrets of the Mirage

Postby twistedwankel » Tue Jan 30, 2018 11:00 pm

Loren wrote: Everything fit PERFECTLY with about 1/4" clearance from the bottom of the ball joint to the wheel
Those front rotors look to be about 7" dia. That's the same size as my old Mustang Shamu. You want the box of Cherios I used for brake pads?
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Secrets of the Mirage

Postby ImpostorDan » Tue Jan 30, 2018 11:52 pm

twistedwankel wrote:
Loren wrote: Everything fit PERFECTLY with about 1/4" clearance from the bottom of the ball joint to the wheel
Those front rotors look to be about 7" dia. That's the same size as my old Mustang Shamu. You want the box of Cherios I used for brake pads?
This explains so much.
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Postby Loren » Fri Feb 02, 2018 1:06 pm

Took a drive out to get some lunch. Noticed some rattling in the rear suspension. Also noticed that it looks like the rear tires are rubbing on the fenders. Figured I'd better give things a quick look back there.

Rear shock adjuster ring was loose. That was the rattle. Easy fix.

And, sure enough, the rear tires are now rubbing the fenders. They never did it before because the shocks were adjusted such that the rear suspension simply didn't move. It just immediately engaged the hard rubber bump stops, which probably never compressed more than an inch. The tires were probably right on the ragged edge of almost rubbing before.

Now that I've got the shock length adjusted to allow more compression travel, AND I've shortened the bump stop length by an inch... I've got a total of probably 2.5-3" of compression travel. And that's enough to get the tire up into the fender and rub a little bit.

It's not rubbing so much that I'm worried about it. I could roll the baby fender lip (it's only got like a 1/4" lip on it) for a little more clearance. But, instead, I opted to do what I was thinking about doing anyway, and just raise the rear of the car up another half inch, and then run the shocks stiffer. Hopefully, that will keep it from rubbing under all but the most extreme circumstances.

So, that's what I did. 1/2" taller. Dialed the shocks up to 3/4 stiff.

The ride is SOOOOO Smoooooth! (compared to what it was) Even with the shocks that stiff, it feels fine. Not harsh at all.

Still really itching to autocross the new setup!
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Suck Less - Drive something resembling a proper racing line.
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Postby Loren » Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:46 pm

Well, not an overly dramatic "reveal" today. The car performed as expected. Definitely feels better. Didn't get any photos or video of the front suspension in action. But, Joe Brannon said he was watching it in some of the more severe course segments and didn't see any wheel lift. So, that's good.

Hard to say if I was any faster based on today. The course was a fast "power course", which is not what this car is good at. And I ran the event with 7/8 tank of fuel because I filled up yesterday. Never checked the tire pressures. In truth, the only thing I did besides show up & run was adjust the rear shocks to full stiff.

I'm going to need to learn to trust the car. REALLY trust the car. It'll do a lot more than I think it will.
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Suck Less - Drive something resembling a proper racing line.
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Postby Loren » Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:27 pm

In my never-ending quest to find little things to do that will improve the car without going "full modified" on it...

Been thinking about seats. Factory height-adjustable seats are an option. But, they are not present on my base model. I've always felt that the driving position was too high. And, of course, lowering nearly 200 pounds of driver weight (and 40 pounds of seat weight) by a couple inches would help lower the center of gravity... which is a very good thing in this car. It's top-heavy, and 200 pounds is 10% of the weight of the car!

A set of nice leather Mazdaspeed Miata seats came up on the Miata forum this week. And I've been VERY tempted to buy them. Fab up some brackets, and then I'd have better (possibly heavier) seats and a more appropriate height. But, that's gonna cost me $300 for the seats, plus materials and likely some welding on the brackets. Figure $400 by the time I'm done. Not bad, all things considered. But, it's money that I don't need to spend right now. And, the downside is that my seats have integrated airbags. So, replacing the seat loses that (I don't really care much, I wouldn't hesitate to DD a vintage car with no airbags), and I'd have to find a way to cheat the system to ignore the missing airbag and still allow the others to function, and not trip a constant airbag light. That's usually not hard to do... but, it's on the list of things I'd have to do to go that route. (or accept that none of my airbags will work, and put up with a blinky light)

So, first, can we get the factory height-adjustable seats? Sure, we can. Probably around $200 or so for the driver's seat. But, good luck finding a salvage yard that's going to reliably sell you (and ship to you) the one you want with the height adjuster vs the one I already have without it! Could turn into a real pain in the ass unless I could find it locally and lay hands on it before buying it. And they might sell the seat base/bracket/mechanism part separate from the seat. It's possible I could get what I need for $50. Maybe. If was willing to run around searching for it. Meh.

A little research shows that the seat adjuster/slider/base thingy is a separate part, and can be bought from Mitsubishi. That would be easy. But, it's almost $600! I'll pass on that.

Let's go look at the car!

As mentioned, the seats are really tall. But, how did they accomplish this? Can it be modified? Well... yes! The seat bottom is pretty standard. A few inches of upholstered foam on a frame bolted to a pair of adjuster rails. The adjuster rails are mounted to the floor on pedastals. Simple bolt-on 3.5" tall steel pedestals! They can easily be modified or replaced with shorter ones. Too easy. Of course, that would never work... only THREE of the corners are on bolt-on pedastals. The inside rear corner is on a welded-in pedastal. Do I want to hack up and modify that pedastal? Well, aside from "no, I don't"... my class rules don't allow me to do that kind of modification. If it's not a bolt-on part, I'm stuck with it. Grrr.

But... what if I move the rails FORWARD so that I'm not trying to move it down into the location that the non-movable pedestal is in? Move it forward about 3 inches, then I can move it down all I want! The downside: I lose 3" of rearward seat travel. Some quick measurement shows that is not a problem for me! Anybody with significantly longer legs might hate driving my car (because, you know, everybody LOVES driving my car, anyway)... but, it would work for me. I could even work it so that it's more like only 2" lost. That could totally work.

So, what I need to do is create 3 basic pedestal brackets to go between the floor and the seat rail... and one bracket that will bolt to the top of an existing pedestal go down and forward to go under the now lower seat rail. Pretty simple, really. Might not even require any welding... though, I'll probably do some triangulation and weld in some reinforcements to make sure it's plenty sturdy.

Can probably do it with just $15-20 worth of steel. The welding is basic enough that I can DIY in my garage. Should be a cheap and easy project!

I needed another project.
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Push Harder - Drive as close to the limit of your tires as possible.
Suck Less - Drive something resembling a proper racing line.
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Postby twistedwankel » Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:23 pm

Not sure where you are going with the seat thing? I have a complete grey rx8 interior I picked up as a spare and never used any of it. They are standard grey cloth and very supportive. Come with the rails attached and all mechanical. DS has a pump up and down. Assuming it's low enough for you in the full down position? Has all the airbags in them and they were never recalled like the front of the car. Must not be Takita? Might have a blow up tube like on the airplane floation :lol: Concerning esthetics you might not appreciate the plastic pretend rotor in the headrest (hole for belts). I will be happy with $150 for both the front seats.
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Postby Loren » Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:23 pm

Thanks, Doug. That wouldn't be much better than the Miata seats I was looking at. I couldn't trust the airbags to be compatible with my Mitsubishi system (though they very likely would be... standards and all), so I'd still be hassling with the "airbag delete" issue.

Besides, making some simple brackets is a dirt-cheap and easily reversible solution. I just have to remember where I put the original brackets! (in the box with the rear wiper motor and the original control arms!)
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Push Harder - Drive as close to the limit of your tires as possible.
Suck Less - Drive something resembling a proper racing line.
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Postby twistedwankel » Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:39 pm

What did you do with the Fastiva seats? You might as well go all funky nuts. Mike takes off his entire exhaust each event. I hung my extra seats from my tire rack I got from Tire Rack in the missionary position. 8-)
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Postby Loren » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:03 pm

Ben already offered me the Kirkey out of the FASTiva. Nah, don't want to go that route.

I'm apparently far more lazy on event day than Mike! (or busy... a little of both) I like to just arrive and drive. I don't even like to take the time to check my tires. I'm doing good to remember to put enough gas in it.

I even tried to leave the grid without starting my car Saturday! (and then, because I'd forgotten to start the car... I also forgot to turn off the traction control on my first run)

I'm on the fence about pulling out the back seat. I probably should. That's permitted in Mod. But, it makes the car a lot louder with rattles and clunks from the rear suspension. Even just removing the silly cargo cover over the area behind the rear seat makes it louder.

I should at least fold the seat down when I autocross to lower the CG. (not that the rear seat back weighs anything)
Loren Williams - Loren @ Invisiblesun.org
The "Push Harder, Suck Less" philosophy explained:
Push Harder - Drive as close to the limit of your tires as possible.
Suck Less - Drive something resembling a proper racing line.
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Postby twistedwankel » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:19 pm

I'm really trying to wrap my head around a 4dr with no back seat. That's like some sort of sin? If you take the back seat out you have to have Joe weld the doors shut and shave the handles. Also put in a roll cage since no one can get in there ever again. Monkey bars come to mind. Like a play area for people who don't check their tire pressure at least once a month. :lol: Whoa. This car with only two little front doors would make a great flower car for funerals or maybe even a hearst for double amputees? I digress. Oops. Where is the original "course design" for the Mirage? How do you ever know when you have achieved it? Mystery. :read:
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Postby Loren » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:27 pm

Well, I didn't buy the car because it had a back seat. I bought it because it weighs 2000 pounds. Rear doors and a back seat were purely incidental!
Loren Williams - Loren @ Invisiblesun.org
The "Push Harder, Suck Less" philosophy explained:
Push Harder - Drive as close to the limit of your tires as possible.
Suck Less - Drive something resembling a proper racing line.
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Postby twistedwankel » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:04 pm

I get it now. I bought a three story semi-restored century barn once with 17 acres and they threw in a two story remodeled 1850 house - no charge.
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Postby ImpostorDan » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:49 pm

Loren wrote:Well, I didn't buy the car because it had a back seat. I bought it because it weighs 2000 pounds. Rear doors and a back seat were purely incidental!
How much weight can you drop without the doors?
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Postby Loren » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:52 pm

Maybe 100 pounds, but then I'd have to run in R1.
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Push Harder - Drive as close to the limit of your tires as possible.
Suck Less - Drive something resembling a proper racing line.
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Postby Rawkkrawler » Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:00 am

Loren wrote:Well, I didn't buy the car because it had a back seat. I bought it because it weighs 2000 pounds. Rear doors and a back seat were purely incidental!
Well according to Doug DeMuro, the back seat is terrible, it has to go! Kidding, I know how much you value his opinion. :)
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