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alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
8/25/18 2:38 p.m.

A few years ago, I had a thread asking if I should restore my Miata, which was kind of a dumb question- I was planning to anyway.  But I have a solid project to play with.  

This car, I bought from new back when we were able to get S plan pricing from Mazda, and I drove it every single day (other than days that I drove a test car home)- rain, snow, sun, cold, etc.  It went few a few deep puddles, and drove through snow deep enough to rub on the bottom of the car.  But after 205k miles, I decided that I wanted something new to drive to work, and this car was put into storage.  

And in the 4 years sitting still, it got a nice barn yard look to it- I gotta get a cover for it.

So the plan is to 1) do the body, 2) do the engine, 3) do the exhaust, 4) do the suspension, and 5) do the interior.  This is going to take a while, but the real long term plan is that this car will be our 2nd car for normal driving when we retire in 4 years.

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
8/25/18 2:40 p.m.

Some pictures of my barn find

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
8/25/18 2:42 p.m.

And of the rust

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
8/25/18 2:46 p.m.

Some of the rust came off in chunks while cleaning the car, lol.  

One thing I'm interested in- how is it under that panel.  When I looked at the bottom of the car a few years ago, it was oddly really clean.  Even the issue that others have had with the front subframe is really minor on this car.

This was after 15 winters in SE MI, where salt is a key part to keep the snow off the road.  Most of the winter, my car is pink due to the salt.  Yet other than the really, really bad rear fenders, the car is in great shape.

I may start digging into it next week, but for now, it's on my hoist, and I'll get it up a little more, since my 4 post lift also has two lifts under the car, so I can get it off the wheels.

DeadSkunk
DeadSkunk PowerDork
8/25/18 3:05 p.m.

The front subframe isn't really the issue, the main chassis rails are where the rust hides. Check carefully, I've seen it on two different cars recently, one of them is mine.

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett MegaDork
8/25/18 3:09 p.m.

In reply to alfadriver :

Are the steel wheels stock, or just your winter set?

Cousin_Eddie
Cousin_Eddie HalfDork
8/25/18 3:45 p.m.

I understand the sentimentality of this being your car since day one, but Baby Jesus weeps at that rust. Maybe a trip down here to Texas to buy a cheap shell or roller to build off of. NB's are just laying around here for pocket change and there won't be any rust. 

mblommel
mblommel Dork
8/25/18 4:34 p.m.

Yeah, I understand sentiment and all but jeez it would be so much easier to get a clean shell down here and just ship it back. With rust like that on the door jamb (sweet baby jeebus) I thinkyou're going to find more nasty suprises once you peel those rear quarters off. NB's are at the bottom of the depreciation curve.

https://tampa.craigslist.org/hil/cto/d/miata-project/6678338999.html

https://miami.craigslist.org/brw/cto/d/1999-mazda-miata-automatic/6675562211.html

https://orlando.craigslist.org/cto/d/sporty-2000-mazda-miata/6652515036.html

Take advantage of the automatics being stupid cheap if you are just going to use the shell.

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
8/25/18 5:36 p.m.
Pete Gossett said:

In reply to alfadriver :

Are the steel wheels stock, or just your winter set?

Winter set. They are actually off of a 95 I had before this one. 

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
8/25/18 5:38 p.m.

I appreciate the suggestions to get a new tub. But that is not going to happen, for more reasons than this is my car. 

It will be interesting how bad it is under that. 

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
8/25/18 8:20 p.m.
DeadSkunk said:

The front subframe isn't really the issue, the main chassis rails are where the rust hides. Check carefully, I've seen it on two different cars recently, one of them is mine.

I've looked under the car before- it's not nearly as bad as cars I've seen on line.  No idea why, but it's pretty good.  When I get to it, I'll post pictures.

mblommel
mblommel Dork
8/25/18 8:52 p.m.
alfadriver said:

I appreciate the suggestions to get a new tub. But that is not going to happen, for more reasons than this is my car. 

It will be interesting how bad it is under that. 

Well at least new quarters from Mazda are only like $360/side. Should be fairly easy to install if you have a pneumatic hole puncher and a decent MIG welder. Best of luck. 

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
8/25/18 9:49 p.m.

In reply to mblommel :

Rock auto had them for $46 when I bought them a few years ago. So i have the parts. 

NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
8/26/18 5:28 a.m.

The rear quarters are fun to get off. Looking forward to what is behind.

 

Pete

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
8/26/18 6:44 a.m.
NOHOME said:

The rear quarters are fun to get off. Looking forward to what is behind.

When NOHOME refers to your upcoming panel removal as "fun", prepare to get butt-smashed.

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
8/26/18 3:01 p.m.

Passenger side clean up, the lower part:

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
8/26/18 3:12 p.m.

The first picture is of the entire area cleaned up- somewhat ready to put some new metal in.  If you look closely, you can see 3 of the 4 part sill that Mazda uses for the Miata, the 4th is inside of the 3rd, facing the ground.  This is really similar to how Alfa did it on the 105/115 cars, that I've worked on before.   3 of the four parts look to be structural, the 4th is the outer skin.  

The first patch is to re-connect all of the inner most, hidden sill.  The bottom picture is the biggest hole that I need to replace, but I also have to re-connect the rest of it to the seam.  But before I get to that, I need to put something inside of that to protect what is still good- which should be fun.  I may simplify some of the folds, but we will see.

The next patch is a small part that is the wheel well- it's kind of interesting they used a dedicated piece just for the wheel well, separate from that inner still that I have to repair.  

After that is the large damage of the outer structural sill.  Which seems like it won't be too bad to fabricate- thankfully, I still have a metal brake.

I think I will weld up all of that before moving onto the other rust areas on this side.  And I've not even thought about how big the fender patch will end up being.

All in all, it's not as bad as many of you try to make me worried about, as I see it.

NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
8/26/18 7:12 p.m.

I was under the impression that you were doing a full quarter. There are a boatload of spotwelds to bust. 

The inner looks better than what I expected. 

 

Pete

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair MegaDork
8/26/18 9:25 p.m.

I was definitely expecting worse.

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
8/27/18 6:17 a.m.
NOHOME said:

I was under the impression that you were doing a full quarter. There are a boatload of spotwelds to bust. 

The inner looks better than what I expected. 

 

Pete

I had considered it, but we will see.  Well, and that is prefaced by the issue that I'm not sure full quarter panels are even sold.  When I look at what I can get, you can see that the cut off point is just below where the quarter panel meets up with the inner trunk structure.  So I think for the patches that I could find, it was just smaller parts.

What I'm envisioning at the moment- one large piece for the front, and one small patch for the rear (there's some rust where the bumper goes under the quarter panel.  

That part will wait until I'm totally done with the underlying structure, though.

DeadSkunk
DeadSkunk PowerDork
8/27/18 9:56 a.m.

Those inner sills look better than I expected they would. All the patch panels that I've seen/used were the ones that covered the fender well lip and the dog leg area. I've never seen a full quarter panel, although there is a local fellow  who sells complete quarters from cars he's parting out. If it were me, I'd just get the patches and weld them to the existing fender tops. It depends how much rot you find when you cut out the fender lip area. Either way way you can fix it with some steel and a welder. Carry on !

PS: I still want to see how the front chassis rails look. In my experience they were harder to repair than the sills and wheel wells.

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
8/27/18 10:26 a.m.

About the condition- I wonder if people originally react to the un-cleaned up areas?  Before it got that way, it was a huge mess- lots and lots of rust piling up as it decays.

But after some cleaning up with wire brushes and a chisel, you could see were teh big problem areas were- so then a cut off wheel, a grinder, and some sanding, and you see how bad it actually is.  The outer sill was not attached to the car at all, no spot welds, nothing.  Pretty funny.

Still, I've seen worse in Alfas, and this car is pretty solid otherwise, so I think if I reconstruct reasonably close to how Mazda laid it out, it will be good.

And looking at the higher up rust- I'm kind of betting the repair will be a lot easier- there's a lot less behind the skin that could need repairing.

As for the "entire" panel or using patches of the patch- my instinct tells me that it's a little more work to cut the panel up, and weld in smaller sections- but that effort will allow the original body lines to define how it should look a lot more accurately.  Which *should* lead to less filler.

NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
8/27/18 3:41 p.m.

If you are already familiar with this kind of work then you shoulf

d be fine. Just work.

 

I harvested the sills and quarters off the miata tht went on to become the Molvo. Actually drilled out every spotweld. The tubs are very well built. 

If I were restoring the car, and new panels were available , I would use them. Have to think that quarters are available for the Miata.

 

Pete

mblommel
mblommel Dork
8/27/18 6:38 p.m.
NOHOME
NOHOME UltimaDork
8/28/18 6:34 a.m.

Dug back in the Molvo thread and found this note . Note that I would not hesitate to invest the 6 hours if I were doing a "restoration" as I  define it.

 

My concern with localized repair is two-fold.

 

1-I don't know if I got all the rust. 

2- A weld bead is by definition and chemistry a line of rust. As the metal cools it has reacted with oxygen and formed a surface layer of oxide. On the front-side, that is normally ground off, on the backside it is most often ignored.  If doing localized repairs, do whatever it takes to clean or get POR or somesuch on the backside of the weld.

 

Passenger side rear quarter off in one piece. Would have taken half the time to remove in pieces! 6 hours give or take.

 

Another one to show where a few more spotwelds are hiding in the dogleg area

 

Once again, nothing in this job is "hard" just a lot of repetitious work to find and cleanly drill all the spotwelds. All I use is a 1/8" and a 5/16" drill bit to do the job.  The clamp thing is because it is hard to push a drill sideways and I was getting tired!

 

Ready for new panels

 

Pete

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