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cmcgregor HalfDork
8/30/16 11:28 a.m.

Let's see here

Dropped in the NB seats and better headlights and drove it up to Vermont for a quick camping trip, which was a bunch of fun. I pulled the roll bar and sold it, then autocrossed again on Sunday. I wasn't really feeling into it for the morning runs, and had to consciously tell myself to be more aggresive. I placed a bit better this time - 7th of 10 in STS. I had a few people ride along and tell me I'm driving pretty decently, but the tires are definitely holding me back. I'm the only person that's not on RE71s. Next year, I'll hopefully have a slightly more competitive setup and drive more than 5 events. This will probably be my last event for the season, since the wife is due at the end of September. She dropped by to bring me lunch, which is always nice

There was a photographer there this time, so hopefully I'll get a nice action shot from this weekend. I'm planning on driving it up to the Adirondacks for the long weekend, then enjoying it over the fall and probably not doing much more work. I do have a bunch of stuff to do to the orange car so I can sell it - I bought an open 1.6 diff so I can steal the viscous from it, so I've been working on that.

NickD Dork
8/30/16 1:08 p.m.
cmcgregor wrote: I'm planning on driving it up to the Adirondacks...

Where in the Adirondacks? I'm not that far away.

cmcgregor HalfDork
8/30/16 3:46 p.m.

Not sure yet, but I think we're camping on Saranac lake. I try to go up there once a year with some of my high school friends for a guys weekend, do some hiking, do some drinking, generally behave poorly.

cmcgregor HalfDork
8/31/16 3:26 p.m.

Proof I actually drive this thing!

Oh yeah, I bought some real numbers from iZoom graphics. They're nice.

cmcgregor HalfDork
9/15/16 10:34 a.m.

I dropped the diff and PPF out of my orange car a while back, and it's been sitting in the driveway waiting for me to get to it. One of the bolts was broken (how?), so I hauled it down to the basement for extraction.

The patient

That dent in the aluminum is interesting too.

You can see where I started out by welding a nut onto the exposed end and trying to turn it out, but I had no luck with that approach. I ended up ordering the captive nuts and a replacement bolt from EBay and driving the broken bits out the top.

Then, I had the issue of the remaining bolt - which turned out to be much more of a pain than I had bargained for. I tried heat, I tried soaking, I tried my impact wrench, I tried my bigass breaker bar - then I soaked it down with PB blaster and left it for the night.

To be continued. Now that I finally managed to get rid of my e30, there's less pressure to get the orange car out of here too, but I would like to sell it before winter if possible.

cmcgregor HalfDork
9/18/16 9:36 p.m.

After a few days sitting in Kroil and thinking about what it had done, I got the bolt turning. Then, with some further persuasion (my shop press may have been involved), we ended up here.

And with a bolt that looked like this


Cleaned it up with my HF bench grinder that I bought months ago and have yet to use, then cleaned up the threads with a die.

That will work.

Harbor Freight abrasives, best in the biz

cmcgregor HalfDork
12/13/16 12:31 p.m.

Well, I haven't been working on this much. Mostly because this little guy came along

It's been a whirlwind, but we're slowly getting into a groove.

As for car stuff, not a lot to report. It was ridiculously nice out the day I went back to work from leave, so I drove it

And my wife got me some Christmas goodies from revlimiter when he did his annual Sharksgiving sale. These are all packed away now for install in the spring.

I think they'll really class up the interior.

I was making plans for more competitive tires and better suspension for next season, but I changed my work schedule to Sunday-Thursday, so I don't know how many autocrosses I'll actually get to. I'll probably focus on driveability and maintenance stuff for next year and hope to get into a competitive schedule later. I also got a free VVT motor that needs a rebuild, so that's been stashed in the basement. Don't know what I'll do with it when I'm done since the orange car is (hopefully!) going away soon, but it should be a fun project anyway.

cmcgregor HalfDork
12/14/16 12:35 p.m.

I don't think I'll be updating this anymore. Frankly it's just not that interesting of a car, and I'm not that good at keeping up with it. Maybe I'll try another build thread if I get something that's more unique.

cmcgregor Dork
2/23/18 1:31 p.m.

After a long hiatus - I decided that having a place to dump all of my info about this car is useful. Long catchup post ahead:


In May 2017 someone rearranged my front fender and door for me - their insurance decided to total out the car, but MA doesn't brand titles for cars this old, so I could take the buyout and keep the car easily. My loyal readers may remember that my wife and I flew to North Carolina for this car in December 2015, then drove it about 3500 miles over the next few weeks - it was our last big trip before having our son in October 2016, so it has a lot of sentimental value. We're keeping it forever.

I bought some aftermarket fenders from RockAuto just to get it back on the road, and spent way too much time getting them installed - having a kid tends to consume your free time, especially when they're not consistently sleeping or taking naps on a regular schedule.

Despite the lack of sleep and disruption of our lives as we knew them, we're keeping him too.

Around this time I interviewed for, was offered, and accepted a job offer across the country. The next few months were a complete whirlwind of logistics, planning, moving, and settling into a new place. I moved to the Bay area in August, and my wife and son stayed behind until October, when we finally had a place to live and could get all of our stuff packed up and sent. The Miata was shipped out in early October, and I started exploring the amazing roads around here.

Unfortunately, it also decided to strand me for the first time since I've owned it.

The alternator/water pump belt broke and took out the upper radiator hose, making a big bang and spraying steam everywhere in the middle of the tunnel behind me in the above shot. Very exciting. Not having tools, parts, or friends to help me out, I got it towed to a shop that was just within the 5 mile basic AAA free tow allowance and also happened to be open on a Saturday. They got me sorted out.

This incident got me looking into deferred maintenance, since I sold my Focus ST before moving and would be relying on the Miata to get around. I popped off the valve cover to replace the gasket and discovered that the timing belt was perhaps a bit overdue...


So I did that, the water pump, a bunch of small stuff like plugs, wires, the PCV system, replaced the weird PS tensioner arrangement that was on it for some reason, and got it all buttoned up. It's been getting me to work and back since - except for the alternator dying once, which was at least a quick fix.

I also ordered some FM frame rail reinforcements when they had their black Friday sale. These are something that I've been waffling on for a long time - they do absolutely ridiculous things to autocross classing, but I'm spending a lot more time in the car now than I have in the past, so interior comfort and a reduction in squeaks and rattles has become more important to me. I also bought FM's sway bar end links for the same reason. I had the 949 endlinks on the car, which are a great product, but they were not happy about the small amount of winter driving I had to do in my last Miata and had become clunky and unreasonable for a daily. I don't have any shots of it, but I finally got around to installing my Revlimiter gauge faces and HVAC panel cover, and as you can see in the above pictures, I bought and installed some Corbeau LE Pro seats as well. More recently, I acquired a luggage rack free trunklid and a driver's side door from a car that was being parted out, so I can finally get that fixed as well.

They're not in perfect condition, but are far superior to what's on the car - and the right color to boot. In installing the trunklid, I discovered that my third brake light was in no way connected, so I was able to fix that as well.

Finally, I got out and did some autocross.

I was slllooooowwwwww - I've never run on concrete before, it's been more than a year since my last autocross, and quite a bit has changed with the car since then anyway, but I had a good time.

So here we are, caught up to the present. Right now, I'm focusing on comfort and convenience refinements. A 1992 Miata with 230k on it is never going to be a luxurious ride, but I think that there are a number of small things that I can do to make it just a little bit nicer on a day to day basis. Additionally, I'd like to do enough cosmetic work on it to not be embarrassed to bring it to a cars and coffee - it looks like I don't care about the car at all right now, which is not at all the case. I'm going to give wrapping the front fenders a shot to at least make the contrast look intentional, since faded black primer is not a good look.

Any suggestions, comments, or criticisms are welcome.

NickD UltraDork
2/23/18 3:03 p.m.

Glad to hear the frame rails make a big difference. I've considered them, but the thought of drilling all those holes in the floor makes me squeamish. Still, with a 240whp supercharged engine getting dropped in mine soon, it might be a good idea to shore things up a little.

cmcgregor Dork
2/23/18 4:39 p.m.

I was pretty hesitant for a few reasons, but they were really pretty easy to install. I did it by myself on jackstands in the driveway.

I'm excited to see the finished product of your build, it sounds like it's going to be a blast!

cmcgregor Dork
2/24/18 6:00 p.m.

Today I installed some new speakers that I picked up a while back off one of the Facebook groups. 

There have clearly been several sets of speakers in this thing over the years, but the most recent install was suboptimal to say the least.

They've been blown and rattly for some time, probably thanks to the lack of foam gaskets or protection from water. I used this boom mat product to accomplish both goals. I cut approximately half of the back off to avoid sealing them, since I'm not running a sub.

As per usual for me, the first side took forever and the second took about 5 minutes. They sound infinitely better now.

tjbell Reader
2/24/18 8:47 p.m.

I love love love sunburst yellow miata's, greeting from a fellow Massachusetts grmer

cmcgregor Dork
2/26/18 12:09 p.m.

In reply to tjbell :

Thanks! As of right now I'm a former Massachusetts grmer, but that's probably a temporary situation.


First commute with the new speakers was this morning, and I'm calling that little change a resounding success.

Floating Doc
Floating Doc Reader
2/27/18 9:24 p.m.

Thanks for the update. I hadn't been on GRM when you first had the discussion active, so I liked reading through it. 

Any a late congratulations to you and your wife. Very cute boy!

cmcgregor Dork
2/28/18 11:40 a.m.

In reply to Floating Doc :

Thanks! Good luck with your recent Miata purchase too - it seems like you're enjoying it!

Nothing new to report, but here's a shot of the revlimiter guages. I switched to amber backlighting while I had the faces off, which I really liked in my e30.

cmcgregor Dork
3/26/18 12:18 p.m.

My parents were in town, so I convinced my dad to help me install my replacement door. Here's a before and after

It actually went really smoothly - we pulled the fender, latched it, and everything lined up first try. I think that having the garagestar door latch blocks helped. Swapping the lock cylinder was a bit of a pain, but not too bad.


Should the screw cover on the mirror have some adhesive or something to hold it down? It's not very secure on mine.

cmcgregor Dork
4/2/18 3:43 p.m.

About a month ago, I paid for a roll bar. After a lot of back and forth with uship and the carrier they contracted to deliver it, I finally just drove down to Hayward to pick it up. Fortunately the bar is pretty nice, but I am super unimpressed with uship and their subcontractor.

Someone had custom ordered this, then had to back out for one reason or another. It's primarily white.


It might look ridiculous, but I think it might just work.

cmcgregor Dork
4/9/18 1:09 p.m.

2 small projects - it was supposed to be 3, but my struggles with small companies shipping things continues.

First - my thrown together in 5 minutes license plate bracket was starting to shake itself apart, leading to a lot of rattling and contact between the front bumper and the plate.



This is the Garagestar bracket. It's a nice piece, everything feels very solid now. I no longer have the baby teeth, so bolting the adapter on was pretty fiddly, but not too bad.


Also from Garagestar is this cooling panel - it cleans up the engine bay quite a lot, for not a ton of money.



Somehow, I managed to get one of those Chinesium dress up bolts tight enough that I stripped it when attempting removal - so I had to drill it out. Not a big setback, but annoying, to say the least.


I also ordered the wiper cowl cover, but that was mysteriously missing from the box of stuff delivered on Friday. Hopefully that was just an oversight and they can get it out to me in the next day or so.

cmcgregor Dork
4/16/18 6:18 p.m.

Another weekend, another minor update.

My steering has been acting a little funny - if I leave it parked on a hill with the wheel turned, the steering wheel will be off center. Then, when it's parked at work on flat ground, the wheel is centered again.

I crawled under it and discovered a pretty solid power steering leak, directly onto the steering rack bushing on the driver's side. The bushing is completely falling apart. Ok, seems like that's the problem. Parts ordered.

The lower alternator bolt seems to be non-standard

I realized that when I swapped it recently, but then immediately forgot about it. I'll dig around in my bucket of bolts and see if there's something more suitable.

My exhaust hangers are also in sorry shape, so I found a poly set that someone was selling pretty cheap. Unfortunately, they're red.

Oh well. Not that noticeable anyway.

Since the car is going to be down for a few days while I wait for the steering stuff, I pulled the seatbelts to get them rewebbed. Lastly, I checked the diff and transmission fluid, since it seemed to be leaking some - everything looks ok, so it seems that I overfilled it and it pushed some past the seals.

I'm still waiting for the cowl panel from garagestar, but that should arrive today or tomorrow. Onward!

cmcgregor Dork
4/19/18 12:42 a.m.

Well, I got the power steering hose changed. That was a messy, slow, fiddly job. Not something I look forward to doing again - and also not very conducive to pictures!

I also decided to pull the rear sway bar, since it was clunking around and the standard autocross setup removes it anyway. We'll see how that goes.

cmcgregor Dork
4/28/18 7:58 p.m.

Update to come, but the interior looks like this now

cmcgregor Dork
5/1/18 8:45 p.m.

Had 5 minutes after work today, so I got the garagestar wiper panel in.

I'm really happy with them.

cmcgregor Dork
5/7/18 6:55 p.m.

The seats:
I've been on the lookout for Lotus Elise seats for a long time. They're very hard to find, expensive, and go fast when they do come up for sale. After a few months, I gave up, and spent a big chunk of money on these Corbeau LE Pros, which are meant to be Elise replacements with harness and sub strap grommets. I got mounts from a guy called Ryokurob, which allowed me to mount them basically on the floor.

They're really nice seats, but what I didn't know is that the headrest is about 3" lower than stock Lotus seats. Since I'm like 90% torso, I really need those 3". I posted them on several boards for trade, and after a few months, finally got connected with a guy named Rob, who owns a shop specializing in track prepped Elises out here. He traded me straight up for a set of cloth Probax seats - exactly what I was hoping for. They're perfect, if a little dirty in the picture I posted above.

I also started installing the seatbelts I bought from seatbeltplanet.com. They made me a shorter receiver side, which put the belts in a much better position. However, their floor anchors are not the right size - so I had to enlarge the holes with a dremel. Overall, I think the belts are nice, but I'm pretty annoyed with the work I had to do to install them. If I ever do this again I'll just get the stock belts rewebbed.

I got the passenger side in - which allowed this to happen:

He LOVED IT. We took a quick trip down to Berkeley Cars and Coffee, which was a great time. The interior is finally starting to come together - although I would love to get new carpet, that's probably not in the cards for the next year or so.

cmcgregor Dork
5/11/18 2:34 p.m.

A while back I bought a flat-rate box full of random hardware from a Miata dismantler. Last night I finally finished sorting through it - here's the haul

Definitely worth the $25. There were a bunch of random brackets in there too.

Nothing much else to report. I'm trying to figure out if I should try and paint the fenders myself - Maaco wanted $300 to spray them off the car, which feels like a lot. Might just get some color matched paint and a gun from the hammer store and give it a shot myself.

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