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cmcgregor
cmcgregor Dork
6/16/18 12:04 a.m.

Ever since I bought this car, the front bumper has had an unsightly tear. So, I "fixed" it.


Apparently primer fenders are the start of a slippery slope into ricerdom. Oh well.

cmcgregor
cmcgregor Dork
7/2/18 10:07 p.m.

Well, the Miata got whacked again. Some jackhole in a new F150 got all poed that I wasn't going 50 in a 25 and tried to swing around me on the right when we both turned left at a light - and didn't make it, since his truck is quite a bit wider than a Miata. And the best part was, he took off! I called 911 on speaker and followed him to his parking garage, where I parked outside and waited for the cops to come. Now I get to play the "let insurance sort this out" game.

Time for flares?

cmcgregor
cmcgregor Dork
7/28/18 12:37 a.m.

Well, I hammered out the fender well enough to drive it around, but there was unfortunately some rust hiding in there that is now a hole. I'm still undecided as to what to do about it - I'm considering having a body shop replace the damaged portion of the wheel well, since i don't have the time, space, or expertise to do it myself. However, I would like to do a full cosmetic overhaul on this car in the future - my 5 year plan includes a house with a garage big enough for this kind of thing, so it seems silly to spend the money on it now, especially since the paint is so crappy on the rest of the car.

Probably I'll just drive it around like it is for a few years.

In other news, the driver's side axle was flinging out its grease, so I got a reman from Rockauto and got that swapped in. I also ordered the race springs for my VMaxx coilovers from FM, new bumpstops, and a few other things since I'm planning on doing a track day or 2 in the near future. I might actually take some pictures when I do those.

I still have a really weird squeak when turning left - it really sounds like a wheel bearing to me, but I swapped that and it didn't solve the problem. I'm considering dropping it at a Miata specialist shop anyway to have them look everything over before I subject it to the track, so I may have them take a look. Hopefully it's nothing too expensive.

cmcgregor
cmcgregor Dork
7/30/18 12:41 a.m.

Another excellent Berkeley Cars and Coffee. 

Kiddo had a good time

This guy had a great setup

Also, there was another SBY Miata there! Very stock and in very nice shape. It was fun to park next to it and compare.

cmcgregor
cmcgregor Dork
8/12/18 6:55 p.m.

I finally got up the motivation to get some paint on the fenders - I tend to think of these as temporary, since they're cheap aftermarket replacements and don't fit particularly well, but the primer has been slowly deteriorating in the CA sun, so it was time to do something about it.

I primed then painted them with Rustoleum, just black since I didn't want to spend the cash for color match paint and Maaco quoted me $300 to spray just the fenders

It went.....OK. They're pretty orange peel-y, for a couple of reasons, but they're at least glossy. Good enough for now.

While I had them off, I took care of some other small projects - like replacing the hood hinge on the driver's side that has been rattling and driving me crazy, and installing these guys

I didn't realize that I would have to pull and reroute the wiring for the airbag sensors, and since I no longer have an airbag anyway, I just left them off and sealed up the holes with aluminum HVAC tape. I also found this totally legit wiring job on the diagnostic port:

So I pulled that out and rewrapped the existing wiring.

The strong arms are definitely beefy - they made a noticeable difference in driving the car, but not as much as the framerails. I will say that my ongoing efforts to eliminate rattles and stiffen up the car have made it a much nicer place to spend time.

cmcgregor
cmcgregor Dork
8/28/18 5:41 p.m.

Not much to report. Just been driving it, mostly. I have a bit of a parts backlog, but nothing critical.

The fuel pump has been making a bit of noise, so planning on doing that this week sometime. Of course, it made it 225k miles, only to start complaining once I made access significantly harder, and after I had the whole soft top out of the car. Such is life.

 

cmcgregor
cmcgregor Dork
9/1/18 6:37 p.m.

Fuel pump success!

The stock connector was pretty corroded, so I spliced in the one from the kit. 

I did the filter too, but was too busy swearing at it to take pictures. Got everything buttoned up and we're back in business. 

cmcgregor
cmcgregor Dork
9/10/18 12:22 a.m.

I've had a persistent squeaky brake problem, so I decided that this was the weekend for dealing with it. I had a set of stainless brake lines from FM, a set of calipers with low miles, and new clips and boots. I also recently discovered that the purple permatex brake goop is not compatible with rubber - which explains the swollen and stretched out boots on both my old calipers and the ones I sourced.  P/N 80653, which is neon orange and weirdly...solid? Is. So we'll see how that goes. 

Old and busted - complete with flaking yellow paint job.

Weird wear pattern on the old slide pin. 

New hotness - repeat for the other side, then install the lines in the back, then my lovely long suffering wife helped me out with bleeding. Minus a clogged up bleed screw, everything actually went pretty smoothly. 

Also discovered this

So it's a good thing I changed them. 

cmcgregor
cmcgregor Dork
9/26/18 12:08 p.m.

I'm finally starting to feel like the car is at a point where it's enjoyable to drive and I don't have to worry much about parts falling off, so that's nice.

I drove it down to Miatas at Laguna Seca for Sunday - which was a nice ~2hour trip. I'm finding that that's about my limit for sitting in Elise seats before I have to get out and stretch, but that's a perfectly reasonable amount of time anyway. I unfortunately didn't manage to sign up for the track day, since it sold out in about 5 minutes and I couldn't have committed to doing it when registration opened, but I still had a good time. I got out for the parade laps, met our own Boxhead Tim, and managed to hitch a ride in Flyin Miata's V8 ND (I think I need one). I also used this trip as a trial run for my hardtop side brackets, since the seats interfere with latches. They turned out to be pretty easy to install as long as the interior trim panel is off, so I'll keep that in mind for later.

Then, for our anniversary, the wife and I took it up to Bodega Bay for the weekend. There are some incredible roads in Marin and Sonoma counties - it would be nice if people would use the turnouts, but what can you do. Baby #2 is due to arrive pretty soon, so my Miata time will be even more limited - but I'm glad that it's reliable enough now that I can just jump in whenever I have a few minutes.

cmcgregor
cmcgregor Dork
10/11/18 11:51 p.m.

Nothing new in Miataland, but since we're expecting baby #2 any day now, we added a family hauler to the fleet. 

It has it's share of scratches and dents, but only 86k miles, and it was cheap. These are notorious for eating shocks and these were definitely overdue. Baseline parts arrived today 

Unfortunately rockauto only had one rear in stock and they were double the price elsewhere, so we'll hold off a bit until stock is replenished. They only take about 5 minutes to replace anyway. 

So far things are going well with the 5. It's amazing how nice it is to work on a car that has spent it's whole life outside of the salt belt!

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise New Reader
10/12/18 11:54 a.m.

Just read through your thread, and felt like we lived parallel lives.


I started out at Berkeley, and had my first Miata there (91 Red NA). Moved to MA, grad school - wife, etc, MSM Miata then. Kids, back to CA, where I had 95R, then 2nd kid, and added Mazda5! Just did the Bilstein at all 4 corners on my Mazda5 two weeks ago!

Keep up the good work!

cmcgregor
cmcgregor Dork
10/12/18 5:24 p.m.

In reply to mr2s2000elise :

Ha! That is oddly similar. How do you like the bilsteins? I couldn't find much info about them but figured they were a safe bet .

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise New Reader
10/12/18 9:53 p.m.

In reply to cmcgregor :

I was the first to get the Bilstein I believe when it was introduced last year. I have 13k miles on them. I love them compared to oem, handles much better. The rebound and tightness is fantastic. I have very sticky rubber wrapped around ms3 wheels. 

 

I had a nasty clunk on rear post install. Dealt with Bilstein local factory for a few months and finally the third set 2 weeks ago fixed the clink on rear. 

 

I have a long thread about the Bilstein on the 5 forum. I purchased my 5 new. 

cmcgregor
cmcgregor Dork
10/13/18 4:55 p.m.

In reply to mr2s2000elise :

Would you mind posting a link to that thread? I actually have a few questions about the B4s - is the tab meant to go into the gap in the knuckle? Then, the tab that's bent out of that serves as the stop so you know they're fully seated? Or, does the bottom of the tab sit on the top of the knuckle? Bilstein provides no instructions and unlike the stock shocks, the tab is not long enough for the bolt to go through. It's confusing.

 

Thanks!

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise New Reader
10/13/18 7:35 p.m.

In reply to cmcgregor :

My Mazda5 is the generation after yours. I literally took mine out, and went in exactly the same. I will have to get to the car Monday to answer your tab questions. 

 

I have to send you link offline - not linking here for some reason 

 

i added pics pics of the shocks to see if the look same to you 

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise New Reader
10/13/18 7:35 p.m.

Other one 

cmcgregor
cmcgregor Dork
10/15/18 2:03 p.m.

Thanks for the pictures. For anyone that might read this in the future - the tab on the shock body goes into the gap in the knuckle, and is there for alignment. I was concerned that unlike the stock shocks, the tab on the Bilsteins is not full length, so there may be uneven clamping force - but with the bolt torqued to 70ft/lbs, the gap in the knuckle is ~5mm, while the tab is ~4.4mm thick. There's no force being applied to the alignment tab itself. 

cmcgregor
cmcgregor Dork
10/18/18 11:57 p.m.

I guess this is becoming a thread about both Mazdas? I'm ok with that. 

Did the front sway bar bushings and end links on the 5 tonight. They were just a little worn out 

I read a lot of complaints about how much of a pain in the ass this is online before starting, but it really wasn't that bad. Helps that this thing has really, truly no rust - the bolts all still have their factory plating. The end links actually didn't feel too bad but since they were cheap, I did them both anyway. I'm hopeful that I'll get to the back before baby comes, but the due date is Sunday, so we will see. 

cmcgregor
cmcgregor Dork
11/25/18 8:40 p.m.

No recent Miata updates - we had little monster #2, a healthy, happy boy, on 10/26. I haven't even really driven it much. Today I took it back out to Berkeley cars and coffee with little monster #1. I forgot how much fun it is to drive - especially with a good copilot. 

cmcgregor
cmcgregor Dork
1/14/19 7:00 p.m.

One little thing that's been driving me crazy - the front upper control arm bushings I have have a sleeve that's too long. That's it on the left, next to the new one I got from another forum. This allowed the front upper control arms to slide back and forth a few mm, making a lovely noise and, I'm sure, doing wonders for my alignment. 

Of course, that new sleeve is a different diameter, so I had to pull the bushings themselves and replace them. I'm not super happy about this solution either, since these bushings are 2 pieces and there's nothing to constrain the other side on the FUCA. I'm looking at options but probably getting a bronze bearing retrofit for just this bushing to solve it once and for all.

 

In the course of doing this job, I made 2 other discoveries. First, I need to reclock my freshly installed brake lines:

And, my VMaxx springs seem to have sagged. This explains why I have the adjusters all the way up at the top but the car is still pretty low.

These are supposed to be 140mm, and I pulled both of them to verify/get a more accurate measurement. I'm hoping to fix this issue by buying something shiny and new, hopefully once bonus/tax season is over...

cmcgregor
cmcgregor Dork
1/20/19 6:23 p.m.

Well, I made kind of an impulse purchase today. 

That's a 4.30 Torsen out of a '99, plus some 2 piece axles and a driveshaft from a '95. 

My devoted readers will remember that this car came with a 4.10 Torsen originally, which I swapped back to a viscous LSD thanks to autocross classing rules. Since I've given up on building a competitive STS car, I thought it might be nice to go back to a Torsen, and this one popped up locally for a good price. Now I just need to create a few hours of time to slap it in. 

cmcgregor
cmcgregor Dork
1/26/19 9:32 p.m.

Today I washed and vacuumed it, which felt good. I realized too that there aren't actually many pictures of the whole car in here.

Little monster #1 is still just a little too short to reach the pedals (he's 2 and standing on the seat), but he loves the thing. 

cmcgregor
cmcgregor Dork
2/17/19 6:53 p.m.

Small projects this weekend. I ordered some window bushings to fix a few more interior rattles, as well as a replacement for the extra-long telescoping antenna that has been making a very annoying whistle in the wind. Here's what that looks like-

Before

After

It's been pouring here for the last week or so, during which I discovered that my soft top is not all that waterproof, so it's been drying out for the last few days. No lasting damage though. 

cmcgregor
cmcgregor Dork
3/18/19 1:16 a.m.

So this happened 

I also bought these little guys 

Which are brass bearings for the front upper control arm bushings. Since I was going to be pulling the suspension apart again, I figured I had better just go for the nuclear option. 

The FM recommended starting height had the ride height a little low, but I also took this opportunity to sand and slap some paint on my smashed up fender. It doesn't look good, per se, but it definitely looks less bad. 

I got the car pulled into the garage as far as I could, and got it up on my paco alignment stands. 

The garage is 10' deep - I don't know what genius made that decision, but I'm thankful that I can at least get the wheels on to flat concrete. Last picture - at the recommended 12.5" front ride height, the (new racing beat) sway bar is pretty close to the control arm. We're going to see how it goes. 

During this project cycle I also swapped the steering rack, which is a big improvement as well. I got it roughly aligned and took it for a spin around the block. 

cmcgregor
cmcgregor Dork
5/18/19 6:25 p.m.

I've been driving the car with the Fox coilovers for a couple months now, and they're fantastic. Today I did some work prepping the Torsen to go in, using this slightly sketchy arrangement to press out the old bushings:

The zip tie helps a lot. 

I decided to put in Mazda Motorsports bushings, since poly adds too much noise, in my opinion. Working on getting those in today. 

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