The Not-A-Project Miata Project

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The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby twistedwankel » Sun Apr 28, 2019 11:01 pm

twistedwankel wrote:
Loren wrote:I keep telling myself this is not intended to be a project.
:popcorn:
I painted a car in my garage once. PIA. Never did it again even tho' it looked good. WOT.
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The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby Loren » Thu May 09, 2019 9:14 pm

Since I'm in a spending money kinda mood, the paint prep is coming along nicely, and we do have at least 12 weeks before the car needs to be competition ready... I'm thinking about maybe overlapping the body work and mechanical work.

I have shocks ready to go on the car. That's no biggie, I can have that done in a couple hours, and likely will do just that very soon.

I'm thinking more about the big Miata timing belt/water pump maintenance job. I might go ahead and knock that out before we do the paint work... less risk of mucking up the new paint while working on the car.

This stuff doesn't have to be done immediately, but probably should be done within the next year. Might a well do it. It's typically a half to 3/4 day of work once I have all the parts on-hand.
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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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The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby Loren » Tue Aug 27, 2019 12:38 am

3.5 months later...

The paint is mostly done. Between the surprisingly dirty paint booth that we rented, and my own ham-fisted wet-sanding technique, we had to repaint some stuff... and I've already messed up some of that. :roll: But, it's still looking great overall! I finally got it back together far enough to drive today. Still have some wet-sanding and a lot of buffing and polishing to do.

As a part of the paint project, I removed the OE side skirts and filled the holes left behind; removed the antenna and filled the hole; removed the big Mazda logo badges and filled the holes; replaced the front bumper with a plain one (no foglight holes); repaired a crack where the door bar attaches inside the driver's door; replaced the side window glass with non-scratched used pieces; buffed the headlights back to clear; replaced all of the exterior light bulbs; and probably a few other things that I've forgotten.

Have the other pair of tires over at Carl's to get mounted. Those will be on the car this week.

Have Koni's on the shelf that will go on this weekend.

Have a 5-speed transmission on-hand, and a lightweight flywheel and uprated 1.6 clutch on order. Those will go in at some point.

But, it's still "not a project!" Think of it more as a "minor restoration" and "setting it up the way I want it". I don't consider it a real "project" because the scope is limited (even though it has crept, and it might not seem like it's limited). I'm doing JUST what I need to do to make the car what I want it to be. I wanted it to be all the same color... that led to a full paint job due to a kind offer from Chris... and also led to a lot of work. But, that's really the closest this car has come to being a "project".

Everything else is just "business as usual" Miata autocross setup. New shocks are par for the course. 5-speed transmission... well, I should have bought a 5-speed to start with. Lightweight flywheel and clutch... have you met me? That's pretty much it. The plan is to just DRIVE it for a year or two once that's all done. (other than some additional maintenance catch-up) The car will be comfortable, quiet, nice looking, great-handling, and responsive. Everything I want in a Miata.
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Suck Less - Drive something resembling a proper racing line.
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The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby Loren » Tue Aug 27, 2019 12:56 am

While I'm on the topic. I drove the car today for the first time in about 4 months. Feels like a Miata, so that's good, of course. AC still works, that's pretty awesome. It's nice and quiet. It's comfortable. The steering response is amazing. But...

If I didn't already have a 5-speed ready to go in the car, I'd be shopping for one. I absolutely hate the 6-speed! And it's nothing to do with the gear ratios (okay, maybe a little bit). More that it just doesn't feel right. It's far too easy to get "lost" in the pattern. With a 5-speed, you're spring-loaded to the 3/4 gate, and you go left for 1/2, way off to the right is 5/R. It's nearly impossible to get lost unless you have bad shifter bushings. The 6-speed... I challenge you to find 5th gear from neutral! There's a 5/6 gate, and then a Reverse gate. And it's nearly impossible to find 5th gear. Skipping 4th to 5th? Oh, you better bring your A-game! It's just awkward. Even just getting the car into reverse is awkward. I don't know how Mazda went from having one of the best shifters ever made with the NA 5-speed to... this.

I'll be very glad to be rid of it and back to a "classic" 5-speed. :wise:
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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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The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby Jamie » Tue Aug 27, 2019 10:11 pm

Loren wrote:But, it's still "not a project!" Think of it more as a "minor restoration" and "setting it up the way I want it". I don't consider it a real "project" because the scope is limited (even though it has crept, and it might not seem like it's limited). I'm doing JUST what I need to do to make the car what I want it to be. I wanted it to be all the same color... that led to a full paint job due to a kind offer from Chris... and also led to a lot of work. But, that's really the closest this car has come to being a "project".
Y'know, the first step in beating a problem is admitting you have a problem.... :rolling:
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The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby Loren » Tue Aug 27, 2019 10:45 pm

Oh, but I'm just starting to get to the good part of owning this car. Not a problem at all!

Got the Konis installed on the front today. And had the other pair of tires mounted.

I'm betting that the Bilsteins that were on the car were still pretty good. But, the front bump stops were powder. There was about a half-inch of one of them left, the other one was completely gone. That might account for some of the floppiness. But, it definitely feels better with the Konis on the front and some more complete bump stops. Can't wait to get the rears done!

Boots are shot on the lower ball joints. Was thinking about putting on a set of extended ball joints for camber... need to see how much camber I have first. (it's an NB at stock ride height, so probably not a lot)

Clutch and flywheel have shipped. But, I realized last night that I don't have a shifter for the 5-speed. Hopefully, Philip still has it.

Other observations from driving yesterday and today: Man, I hope most of these rattles go away when I get the hard top firmly attached and the rest of the interior back together! Putting the stock muffler back on quieted the exhaust nicely, but the INTAKE has a serious growl.
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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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The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby Loren » Thu Aug 29, 2019 12:41 am

Got the rear shocks in today. Set the fronts to 50% (1 turn from soft) and the rears to 25% (half turn). It's magical. The car just does what it's supposed to now. No stray body movements. No delay. No thought required. It just does what it's supposed to do. :lust:

I think mirrors and securing the hardtop will be next on the list. Then paint polishing.
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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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The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby BrilloHeadBen » Thu Aug 29, 2019 10:36 am

99% of the rattles in that car were from the hardtop. I took the latches off of the soft top because they made too much noise rattling against it.
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Postby Loren » Thu Aug 29, 2019 10:54 am

Yeah, that seems to be the case. I've got to get the rear sliders tightened up, then install all of the brackets to get rid of the latches. Hopefully, that will take care of it.

The other rattle I'm getting is the doors. I guess they fit tight against the inner door seal, which isn't installed yet. Without that seal, they rattle!

Since both of my driving lessons canceled today... maybe I'll have time to work on some of that?
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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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The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby Evil MS3 » Thu Aug 29, 2019 12:48 pm

Loren wrote:Yeah, that seems to be the case. I've got to get the rear sliders tightened up, then install all of the brackets to get rid of the latches. Hopefully, that will take care of it.

The other rattle I'm getting is the doors. I guess they fit tight against the inner door seal, which isn't installed yet. Without that seal, they rattle!

Since both of my driving lessons canceled today... maybe I'll have time to work on some of that?
Maybe some delrin door bushings would help alleviate that? I have them and my doors are solid and silent.
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The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby Loren » Sat Aug 31, 2019 11:33 pm

I'm hesitant to do the solid door bushings. Remember, I already had to repair the door bar in the driver's door. I don't want to introduce MORE stress into that system! If they are the source of a rattle, I should be able to adjust them to resolve it.

Clutch and flywheel arrived today. Unpacked and briefly inspected. Everything was packed very well, looks good. Not sure when I'll get around to installing.
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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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The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby Loren » Mon Sep 02, 2019 6:21 pm

Got the door mirrors on (broke one!) And all the rest of the interior back together. Now, aside from some hard top creaking and a squeaky AC belt, the car is quite pleasant to drive! About as rattle free as most 20 year old Miatae.
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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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The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby Loren » Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:53 pm

FYI, and for my reference:

Stock bump stops are 60mm front and 58mm rear, different hardness poly foam. The ones that came off the car were pretty much gone. Rears had been replaced with used stock fronts, and were deteriorating. Left front had about 15mm of the top end left, and was crumbly. Right front was literally dust.

I replaced them with cheap replacement VW poly foam bump stops (URO Parts 1J0512131B, $6.58 each on Amazon Prime) all around, trimmed to 67mm. I used the small end, trimmed away the fat end. So, while they're a little longer than stock, the extra length is in the smallest part of the small end. This just eases their engagement. Very smooth.
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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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The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby Loren » Fri Sep 06, 2019 3:25 pm

Non-performance stuff:

My autocross bin fits in the trunk of the Miata! (wasn't sure it would) The velcro on the bottom of the bin grips the carped... and slides the carpet around with it. I'll need to probably come up with a replacement carpeted trunk floor board to help with that sort of thing. (the old stock fiberboard piece is warped and cracking, in addition to the carpet just being loose carpet)

I hate the NB armrest. It's particularly bad with a short shift knob. I like the short shift knob. But, it puts your elbow too much into the armrest. So, I want to address that. And while I'm at it... there's an ashtray right there that's too small for anything useful (like holding a phone or a wallet). So, I'll probably design a custom center console of some sort to make it both more comfortable and more usable.

I got me a fancy OE Bose AM/FM/CD and CASSETTE stereo! I wasn't sure how I felt about that, or if I cared. But, I drove the Miata to pick up Cathy for lunch today. Part of that process is to call her when I'm almost there so that she can come out. So, I had no place to put my phone... and no Bluetooth integration. Funny the things we get used to and feel like we NEED when they're gone. And since I removed the external antenna from the car, I currently pick up one radio station (fortunately, it's a classic rock station). I need to throw a CD in there for emergency use!

So, there's another list of non-priority things to do. Trunk space management. Custom center console. Bluetooth stereo.
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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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The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby Loren » Fri Sep 06, 2019 3:26 pm

^^^ But, it's not a project.
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Suck Less - Drive something resembling a proper racing line.
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The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby Evil MS3 » Fri Sep 06, 2019 3:29 pm

If you're looking for a phone holder, I recently picked up the ProClip Miata mount and the appropriate mount for my phone. It is super sturdy. A tad spendy tho but I think I have a 10% off coupon if needed.

I also disliked not having somewhere to put my phone.

Image
Image
Last edited by Evil MS3 on Fri Sep 06, 2019 3:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Loren » Fri Sep 06, 2019 3:33 pm

Oh, I forgot about the under-radio tray. I may have space for that when I ditch the big factory radio.

I need to decide if I want a wireless charger in my phone mount. I have one in the DE car and rather like it.
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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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The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby lddavis91 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:58 am

Loren wrote: So, there's another list of non-priority things to do. Trunk space management. Custom center console. Bluetooth stereo.
If you ultimately decide to replace your head unit, consider forking over the extra coin to get a double din unit with Android Auto integration as well. I put such a head unit in the Expedition last year and its really great to have when you want it.
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Postby Loren » Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:08 pm

Oh yeah, the Evergreen Miata took it's first turn at bat last weekend! Mind you, it's been autocrossed A LOT over the years, so it's not fair to say that this was it's first outing. First outing with this color of paint, and with new Konis and fresh tires, though.

It did as-expected. Handled well, felt great. The bumpy Lakeland surface didn't upset it at all, which was nice. I didn't cream a bunch of cones as a result of not knowing how big the car is (I *did* hit some cones, but that was because I wasn't looking ahead). It's a great starting point. Some alignment tweaks and driver improvement should make it competitive S4.

Of course, it wouldn't be a shakedown without something... being shaken down. The throttle pedal did what they do on Miatas that have seen a lot of autocross without the floor mats in. It cut through the carpet at the bottom of the pedal, and once it punches through... it hangs. Stuck throttle. Unfortunately, this resulted in a driver over-reaction that flat-spotted both front tires. They are being replaced.

Otherwise, the car is as-expected. 8-)
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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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The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby Jamie » Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:32 pm

BTDT. A little fiberglass patch on the carpet where the pedal contacts it cures the problem.
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