The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Working on building up a car? Tell us about it here!

Moderators: Native, Jamie

Loren Williams
Forum Admin
Drives: A Mirage
User avatar
Location:
Safety Harbor
Joined: December 2006
Posts: 17493
First Name: Loren
Last Name: Williams
Autox Car: A Mirage
Location: Safety Harbor

The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby Loren » Mon Oct 14, 2019 11:06 pm

Spent 5 minutes troubleshooting the fan problem today. 30A fan fuse is blown. Relay and wiring may actually be good. One fan spins freely. The other one is stuck tight! Ah-hah, therein lies the cause of the problem. I think I have a spare set of fans. (I didn't know why... until now)
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.
Loren Williams
Forum Admin
Drives: A Mirage
User avatar
Location:
Safety Harbor
Joined: December 2006
Posts: 17493
First Name: Loren
Last Name: Williams
Autox Car: A Mirage
Location: Safety Harbor

The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby Loren » Thu Oct 31, 2019 5:36 pm

Removed the stuck fan today. Sucker got HOT! Hot enough to melt the plastic fan blade off of the spindle. And I thought I'd just be able to replace the motor with one of my spares, but the fan motor also got hot enough to melt the fan shroud! It's FUBAR. And my spare fans are from the Festiva, so they don't quite fit.

Who was it that said they had a spare fan? I'm gonna need it.

In other news... I got the extended lower ball joints installed today. That was a pleasantly easy job. One of the ball joints didn't want to separate, but the ol' ball joint separator tool made quick work of it. (the other one came out with a couple whacks of the BFH)

I adjusted the toe back to zero (from 2" of toe-in). But, it's at -3.5 degrees camber. So, I'll have to tweak the rest of the alignment tomorrow.

I also adjusted the front swaybar from full stiff to full soft.
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.
Gene Van Glahn
Autocrosser
Drives: VW GTI RABBIT
Joined: March 2019
Posts: 121
First Name: Gene
Last Name: Van Glahn
Autox Car: VW GTI RABBIT

The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby Van48 » Thu Oct 31, 2019 6:54 pm

Loren my co driver Adam backed out with a family issue. If you cant get your miata ready you can co drive the Gti
Loren Williams
Forum Admin
Drives: A Mirage
User avatar
Location:
Safety Harbor
Joined: December 2006
Posts: 17493
First Name: Loren
Last Name: Williams
Autox Car: A Mirage
Location: Safety Harbor

The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby Loren » Thu Oct 31, 2019 7:37 pm

Thanks, Gene. I'll be driving the Miata up there with no fan unless I opt to wire the AC fan up. No big deal, I drove back from Venice that way. Just can't sit and idle for more than about 5 minutes.

So, I'll have the Miata there... still might whore some rides in other cars, though! Maybe alternate runs letting the Miata cool down.
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.
Gene Van Glahn
Autocrosser
Drives: VW GTI RABBIT
Joined: March 2019
Posts: 121
First Name: Gene
Last Name: Van Glahn
Autox Car: VW GTI RABBIT

The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby Van48 » Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:58 pm

:thumbwink:
Loren Williams
Forum Admin
Drives: A Mirage
User avatar
Location:
Safety Harbor
Joined: December 2006
Posts: 17493
First Name: Loren
Last Name: Williams
Autox Car: A Mirage
Location: Safety Harbor

The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby Loren » Fri Nov 01, 2019 2:54 am

Loren wrote:Who was it that said they had a spare fan? I'm gonna need it.
After some careful consideration and research... I've decided to not put in a used fan. Any used fan is within about 5 years of the same age as this one was. I thought about fabbing up a shroud and installing a good aftermarket fan. But, it seems that even the Spal fans aren't as good as the OE fans. And since I'm not putting big power-adders on this car, and the OE fans served it well for 20 years... I just opted to order a new OE fan. About $240 shipped. Vs. maybe $100 shipped for a good Spal fan, plus some wiring and connectors, shroud materials and a bunch of time. This way it just drops in. :thumbwink:

Near as I can tell from looking at wiring diagrams and reading on forums... the AC fan is on a separate circuit from the main fan and should still be working anytime the AC is on. And I don't think it is. Gonna have to look into that. :roll:
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.
Loren Williams
Forum Admin
Drives: A Mirage
User avatar
Location:
Safety Harbor
Joined: December 2006
Posts: 17493
First Name: Loren
Last Name: Williams
Autox Car: A Mirage
Location: Safety Harbor

The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby Loren » Fri Nov 01, 2019 1:15 pm

Well, hell. OE fan is unavailable. Why list it in your website with a price of it's not available?

So... Aftermarket OE replacement? Or custom Spal fan installation? Off the shelf replacement is cheaper and easier. But, are they reliable?
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.
---------- ----------
Moderator
Drives: Whatever has more miles than anything on the grid
User avatar
Location:
Just within reach of storm surge
Joined: December 2006
Posts: 2268
First Name: ----------
Last Name: ----------
Autox Car: Whatever has more miles than anything on the grid
Location: Just within reach of storm surge

The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby Jamie » Fri Nov 01, 2019 5:18 pm

It's not a complex part -- it either works or it doesn't. Pop a decent-brand OE replacement in there -- there's a good chance it's the same as "factory" anyhow -- and run with it. If it proves unreliable, you can still go down the custom route...unless you're looking to turn this into a project....
Jamie
'01 Miata, '92 Prelude Si
Speed Demon Racing
Loren Williams
Forum Admin
Drives: A Mirage
User avatar
Location:
Safety Harbor
Joined: December 2006
Posts: 17493
First Name: Loren
Last Name: Williams
Autox Car: A Mirage
Location: Safety Harbor

The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby Loren » Fri Nov 01, 2019 5:44 pm

The water pump blew up on the way back from getting a fan fuse at the parts store. I may have damaged the head gasket. At the very least, the TB/WP job has become a top priority.

The good news is that the AC fan works. And there is power at the main fan connector. So, it appears that wiring and relays survived.

Curiously, the AC fan does not work without the main fan fuse in place. Gonna need to look at that diagram again, I thought the AC fan was on a separate 20A fuse.

Have I mentioned that I hate this car?

It felt really good driving TO the parts store, at least.
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.
Daniel Dejon
FAST Elite
Drives: 2006 Lancer Evolution
User avatar
Joined: November 2015
Posts: 1051
First Name: Daniel
Last Name: Dejon
Autox Car: 2006 Lancer Evolution

The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby CaptainSquirts » Fri Nov 01, 2019 5:49 pm

Wtf, that's nuts. :bangwall:
Steve --
Forum Admin
Drives: whatever I can get my hands on
User avatar
Location:
St. Pete
Joined: November 2006
Posts: 8793
First Name: Steve
Last Name: --
Autox Car: whatever I can get my hands on
Location: St. Pete

The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby Native » Fri Nov 01, 2019 7:40 pm

:smack: That's not good.
Steven Frank
Class M3 Miata
Proud disciple of the "Push Harder, Suck Less" School of Autocross
______________
I'll get to it. Eventually...
Loren Williams
Forum Admin
Drives: A Mirage
User avatar
Location:
Safety Harbor
Joined: December 2006
Posts: 17493
First Name: Loren
Last Name: Williams
Autox Car: A Mirage
Location: Safety Harbor

The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby Loren » Fri Nov 01, 2019 10:29 pm

Okay, so let's recap my crappy day.

Dialed the camber back to about 2 degrees. Was going to recheck it after my drive to the parts store, but... :mad:

Broke the welds on my special extended box-end alignment wrench. No problem. Welded it back together, and I'm better at welding than I was before, so it took no time at all and was mo-betta. Then the box-end of the wrench itself broke. Guess I'll have to recreate that tool at some point.

I figure the factory adjustment range is about +/- 1 degree of camber. It was fully maxed out before, and I backed it off by about 5/8 or so of its total adjustment range. Should put me pretty close to 2 degrees. The toe adjustment that I had to make jived with that, too. (adjusted it OUT 2" yesterday, back in by 1" today)

The whole setup feels nice. The softer front bar got rid of that "springy" feeling that it had, and it just feels good overall. Was looking forward to autocrossing it Sunday! :bangwall:

Swapped the blower fuse into the cooling fan slot. That woke up the AC fan, and put power on the main cooling fan connector. That's when I went to the store to get a fuse. Everything was looking great! Temp was on the low side of normal, even sitting at the light with the AC on. (AC was keeping the fan on, of course) Came off the second-to-last light before getting home, got half-way up the bridge, looked down and saw 3/4 on the temp gauge. What the hell? Didn't want to get stuck in the left turn lane at the light, so I went straight and coasted for a bit, expecting the temp to go down... and it kept going up! Turned into the side entrance of the neighborhood to limp it home... more coasting with good airflow... STILL getting hotter. So, I shut it down. Didn't have any water with me, so I just let it cool down for a while.

Got the temp down to a normal indication and went to restart it... and repeatedly, it would start, but not run. I'm still not sure why. I was thinking possible head gasket failure at that point. Called AAA for a tow (through the damned neighborhood, half a mile to the house), and they were busy. 15 minute wait just to get a person on the phone. And my LTE signal was REALLY slow, I couldn't even download the stupid AAA app! So, I was on hold waiting for 5-8 minutes.

After a while, I decided to try starting it again. This time, with just a little bit of throttle feathering, it fired up and idled just fine. I hung up the phone and drove it home! Over the course of the next 15 minutes or so, I slowly ingested 2 gallons of water into the engine, mostly with it shut off. Starting it every now and then to move water around. Once I got to a certain point, the leaky waterpump became apparent.

After dinner, I checked the oil and radiator. No oil in water. No water in oil. No smoke when it was driving. Felt like normal power when driving. I may have dodged a bullet with the head gasket. Still not sure why it didn't want to run after being overheated... maybe something to do with valvetrain clearances? Getting that hot is bad for so many things. Valves. Valve seals. All of the rubber parts on the top end.

So, now I have to order a big stack of parts to do the timing belt, water pump, front oil seals, and all of the belts and hoses. Half wondering if I should pull the head, have it reconditioned, and put a new head gasket on it just to erase any concerns about having damaged anything by overheating it.

All I wanted was a reliable Miata. :no:
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.
Loren Williams
Forum Admin
Drives: A Mirage
User avatar
Location:
Safety Harbor
Joined: December 2006
Posts: 17493
First Name: Loren
Last Name: Williams
Autox Car: A Mirage
Location: Safety Harbor

The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby Loren » Fri Nov 01, 2019 10:52 pm

Loren wrote:Curiously, the AC fan does not work without the main fan fuse in place. Gonna need to look at that diagram again, I thought the AC fan was on a separate 20A fuse.
Finally found the proper 1999 Miata wiring diagram. Both fans draw power from that 30A fuse. And THIS is what nearly caused my wiring to melt down!

Everything I've found indicates that these fans draw something like 6-7 Amps each, with maybe 12-15 Amps of start-up current. So, it makes sense for there to be a 30A fuse on a circuit that's designed to feed both fans. But...

What if the AC fan is off (as it typically is when I'm autocrossing), and the main fan locks up? Either due to age, or just due to something somehow getting stuck in it. Now you've got a full 30 amps just COOKING that one fan.

I still think that's pretty dumb, and I think I'm going to address it with individual inline fuses on each fan.
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.
Doug Adams
FAST Elite
Drives: Rotary or Vette
User avatar
Location:
Spring Hill
Joined: April 2011
Posts: 4064
First Name: Doug
Last Name: Adams
Autox Car: Rotary or Vette
Location: Spring Hill

The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby twistedwankel » Sat Nov 02, 2019 3:14 pm

Loren wrote:Have I mentioned that I hate this car?
It felt really good driving TO the parts store, at least.
:headscratch: You drove the unreliable car to the parts store? A guy out here collects blown Skidoos, fills them with dirt and puts them in his yard as ornamental planters. :thought:
Loren Williams
Forum Admin
Drives: A Mirage
User avatar
Location:
Safety Harbor
Joined: December 2006
Posts: 17493
First Name: Loren
Last Name: Williams
Autox Car: A Mirage
Location: Safety Harbor

The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby Loren » Sat Nov 02, 2019 3:29 pm

The car was behaving normally (minus one cooling fan) until the water pump blew.

I'll fix the Miata and keep driving it, thanks.
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.
Doug Adams
FAST Elite
Drives: Rotary or Vette
User avatar
Location:
Spring Hill
Joined: April 2011
Posts: 4064
First Name: Doug
Last Name: Adams
Autox Car: Rotary or Vette
Location: Spring Hill

The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby twistedwankel » Sat Nov 02, 2019 6:12 pm

Loren wrote:The car was behaving normally (minus one cooling fan) until the water pump blew.

I'll KEEP fixing the Miata and keep driving it, thanks.
There fixed that typo for you. :whip: It's much better to look good than to run good. 8-)
Loren Williams
Forum Admin
Drives: A Mirage
User avatar
Location:
Safety Harbor
Joined: December 2006
Posts: 17493
First Name: Loren
Last Name: Williams
Autox Car: A Mirage
Location: Safety Harbor

The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby Loren » Sat Nov 02, 2019 6:26 pm

Thanks for the help and encouragement, Doug.
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.
Daniel Dejon
FAST Elite
Drives: 2006 Lancer Evolution
User avatar
Joined: November 2015
Posts: 1051
First Name: Daniel
Last Name: Dejon
Autox Car: 2006 Lancer Evolution

The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby CaptainSquirts » Sat Nov 02, 2019 10:40 pm

Fixing it up more just makes the car more sentimental!
Loren Williams
Forum Admin
Drives: A Mirage
User avatar
Location:
Safety Harbor
Joined: December 2006
Posts: 17493
First Name: Loren
Last Name: Williams
Autox Car: A Mirage
Location: Safety Harbor

The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby Loren » Sun Dec 29, 2019 8:05 pm

Water pump, and associated parts have been replaced. Still running without a main cooling fan, but as long as I get that sorted before hot weather returns, I'll be okay.

We now return you to our regularly scheduled program...

New extended lower ball joints were installed. I went into yesterday's autocross with more negative camber in the front... and that's about all I remembered about my "setup". I have no idea what the rear camber is. Couldn't remember what my shock settings were. And, of course, as is typical, I had no idea what my tire pressures were.

First run was a little damp. The car felt a little loose in the rear, but not so much that I couldn't blame it on the rain (obligatory Milli Vanilli). Second run I noted that the front end was absolutely STUCK! But, the back end would still step out. Definitely a little more oversteer than I'm used to, and I wasn't able to put power down like I wanted to.

Still don't know what my tire pressures are. Can't do anything about the alignment. But, the easy button... maybe I can soften the rear shocks? So, I checked them. They were a half-turn off of soft. I went ahead and dialed them to full soft. Checked the front shocks just for kicks. I could have maybe stiffened them, but for Lakeland, I probably wouldn't. Turns out the fronts were set to 1.5 turns from soft. Full stiff on a Koni Sport is 2 turns from soft. So, that's pretty stiff. Don't want more than that, especially at Lakeland. The front wasn't giving me trouble, so I left that alone.

Third run was a little better. Slightly less oversteer. A little better acceleration out of turns.

All that's left to check now is tire pressures. Again, the front is fine, not gonna mess with it. Fix the end that's not gripping. So, I checked the rear tire pressures, hoping they were up at 32 or 34 and I could bleed them down to 30 or so. Nope, they were already at 29 psi. I did lower them to 28, grasping at straws. I don't think there's any benefit to going lower than that.

Fourth run was marginally better. I definitely could be driving it better. I was a little wide in places on this course, and I was tapping the brake with the left foot in places that I didn't need to. Pretty easy half-second worth of driving errors, and maybe a couple tenths on the launch that I never got right. In the end, I was 9/10th off of Ken, and 2/10th off of Jamie. At least half of that was me.

I was thinking that I needed to add some rear camber to balance out the front camber, and that may be true. Now that the suspension is fully settled, I definitely need to revisit that alignment and sort it out. I've noticed that the steering feels a little heavy on the street, like it may have too much positive caster. Or possibly too much toe-in... but, I think I set the toe to zero.

But, then I remembered that I still have the rear swaybar connected. An awful lot of stock Miata drivers run with the rear bar removed. I might experiment with that. The stock rear bar on a Miata is about the size of a pencil. Having it or not is a pretty subtle change. Which is what I'm after in this case. Just a little more ability to apply power coming out of a turn.

So, that's where I'm at with the suspension. Check the alignment. Experiment with removing the rear bar. And then maybe try to dial the front shocks a little softer if I can get away with it.
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.
Daniel Dejon
FAST Elite
Drives: 2006 Lancer Evolution
User avatar
Joined: November 2015
Posts: 1051
First Name: Daniel
Last Name: Dejon
Autox Car: 2006 Lancer Evolution

The Not-A-Project Miata Project

Postby CaptainSquirts » Sun Dec 29, 2019 9:25 pm

Do they make sway bars that are softer than factory? If not, then springs could also be the answer, but may affect dailability.

Return to “Projects”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests