BoxheadTim MegaDork
8/7/19 7:12 p.m.

As documented on this forum a while back, I recently road tripped to Florida to retrieve my next "Miata with a funny looking badge". For once I went for the nicest car I could find, and ended up with this '04 AP2:

Mostly lived in WA, followed by Florida. P-PO was a retired Boeing engineer, PO is big into vintage dirt bikes and needed to free up some garage space. It is depressingly stock, and will probably stay that way to a certain extent. We'll see.

Once I got home I threw it up on the QuickJack to check the underside in more detail and also change the gearbox oil as the gearchange (especially into 2nd) was a bit crunchy at times. These don't have the same gearbox action as a Miata, but a good one comes pretty close.

Assume the workshop position:

Photos/video of the underside to follow, but if anything it's cleaner underneath than up top. It has one scrape on one of the longitudonal "frame rails" that's got a bit of surface rust, otherwise the underside is almost clean enough to eat off. Well, if you like you your food with a bit of road grime.

And because it would be rude not to if you have the wheels in the garage, well, TE37 all the things:

The offset is a bit hellaberkeleyingflush so I'll have to figure out if I want to fit those rims or not.

So what's the plan? Catch up maintenance first - it needs most fluids changed, an alignment and probably a shifter rebuild. I do want to track it this year, but I suspect I'll have to put some new shocks on, too, as the originals felt a bit worn and had oil mist on them. It also looks like Honda emulated a Miata issue with the travel of the rear suspension, so I'm looking at determining what can be done about that. There's a company that sells customised Öhlins coilovers that might be an option. OTOH I'm not super keen on coilovers as they require a special kind of inspection in WV.

Other longer term mods very likely include a lowered driver seat, a baffled oil pan and very likely some additional oil cooling - based on the MotoIQ articles on their S2000, these run very high oil temps.

The mods I'm planning for now should all be reversible - this was a fairly expensive car and nice S2ks are going up in value, so I want the option to revert the car to stock before a potential sale.

What I like so far, after driving for about 1500 miles - the ergonomics suit me better than the NA/NB/NDs I've owned, I find it easier to heel/toe and I've actually got enough headroom to wear a helmet and can still fit under the roof with a stock seat.

It doesn't feel much faster than a Miata even though it's got close to a 100bhp more, but all those horses live somewhere between 6500 and 7500 rpm, and I don't feel like driving like a complete nutcase all the time.

spacecadet Dork
8/7/19 8:01 p.m.

That is clean! Nice buy! 

BoxheadTim MegaDork
9/22/19 5:10 p.m.

In reply to spacecadet :

Thank you!

Nothing's happened with the car since the last post as I was chasing roof leaks on my shop and temporarily patch them. Today I finally got around checking the clutch master cylinder as hadn't been 100% happy with the clutch action since I bought the car. I guess I found one of the reasons why:

Yep, I guess that wants a new one. I'll probably change the clutch line at the same time and replace it with a braided hose while I've got it apart. Oh, and take the clutch delay mechanism out.

I also finally got around to checking the paint code and yes, it's Sebring Silver. So now I can at least see if I can find a good condition OEM lip in the right colour.

BoxheadTim MegaDork
10/14/19 8:08 a.m.

And because I didn't have a chance to do much work on it in the last month, I finally got around to sticking together some footage I took over the last couple of months for a project into on the YouTubez:



Not super stoked about the video quality as the camera on my Android phone isn't that great. Note to self, need to free up space on my iPhone.

BoxheadTim MegaDork
11/10/19 3:58 p.m.

Had the week off, but seemed to mostly play potted plant - no, not that sort of potted plant - just recover at tad from work-related exhaustion. Towards the end of the week I finally managed to muster enough energy and get the cats of my lap for long enough to attempt changing the clutch master cylinder.

I did arm myself with an OEM shop manual as I usually do for cars that I intend to keep for a while:

It's a bit fiddly, even if you don't have large hands. Mainly because getting your hand in to undo the hard line to the clutch master is a bit tricky:

Anyway, managed to eventually get the master cylinder out without dropping a mounting nut behind the A-pillar panels, put the brand new OEM one in, hooked up everything and did a bit of pre-bleeding with my vacuum bleeder. That done, I figured I'd adjust the clutch pedal as per the above book of wisdom. That turned out to be a mistake.

I don't know where they're measuring the pedal height from, but the spec in the manual would put the pedal way too high. Not to mention that I'm not quite sure how you'd accomplish that without grinding bits off parts of the clutch mount. Ah well, plan B based on the recommendations of some of the suggestions on S2ki then. Basically, adjust the pedal such that it only has minimal free play without actually putting pressure on the clutch.

That would have been fine had I been able to loosen the lock nut on the master cylinder's actuating rod. No amount of trying while turning the air blue got me anywhere. So I decided to leave it for the night and try again this morning. With the same result, so off comes the master cylinder again.

Only that I also had a case of the clumsies and dropped one of the two nuts behind the footwell cover. I had almost waited for that to happen but didn't want to remove the cover because I figured that I'd end up breaking at least one of the mounting pins. Which I did now that I had to remove the plastic cover frown.

Master cylinder comes off again after draining the clutch hydraulics  - at least I'm getting better at that part. Lock nut is somewhat chewed up from previous attempts, but I figured I can just transfer the lock nut from the old master cylinder. Cue more swearing as it appears that the lock nut had been tightened by my old mechanical nemesis, gorilla wivva a toothache. But behold! Something is moving!

Turns out the "something" was the fork that goes over the clutch pedal - which the locknut is supposed to hold in place. The nut is resolutely sticking in place even when not locking anything.

So right now I need to order a few more parts like the interior clips I broke and figure out if I try risking taking both master cylinders apart far enough to transfer the actuator rod (which I don't have time for) or just order another OEM master cylinder. Only this time I'm checking that dang lock nut before fitting the master cylinder.

I also decided to fit a braided clutch line in place of the original rubber line, mostly because the original rubber line is 15 years old and it didn't look like the clutch hydraulics had been serviced a lot. Well, that was another idea that I quickly abandoned after trying to mock up fitted the braided line I bought and started doubting very much that I'd be able to route it anywhere near to where the existing line runs. The fact that the braided line appears to be a little shorter and the kink on one end piece went into the opposite direction from the OEM one didn't exactly inspire more confidence. I guess I'll just throw on another OEM line and write the aftermarket line off as a learning experience.

BoxheadTim MegaDork
12/8/19 4:03 p.m.

Finally had some wrenching time. Project cars and jobs with lots of travel don't mix well.

Ended up with another OEM master cylinder. I figured that way I can get the car back on the road just in time for salty season frown(no, it's not going out when there is salt on the road). I'll keep the other one as a spare and will eventually replace the actuating rod. I suspect my attempts at loosening the actuating rod bent it slightly, but enough to jam on the lock nut hard. This time, I tried to loosen it up before putting the master cylinder in, which worked much better. I'm still surprised how hard they jam the nut on.

Anyway, the new master cylinder is in, with a new gasket - top tip, removing the bracket for the throttle cable makes it much easier to get at the master cylinder. Unfortunately brainiac here couldn't remember where I had put the brake fluid, but TBH I wasn't too fond of the stuff I got. Local auto parts place just didn't have anything better. I figured I'd just get the good stuff and wait for Amazon Racing Services to deliver it instead.

Hopefully I'll have a working clutch by the weekend, then it's brake service time.

amg_rx7 SuperDork
12/8/19 4:19 p.m.

I think you know this already judging by your reference to the custom valves Ohlins but Sakebomb has some awesome parts for the S2000 (and Miata, RX7, Tesla...)

BoxheadTim MegaDork
12/8/19 4:22 p.m.

In reply to amg_rx7 :

The custom Öhlins from Sakebomb are on my slightly-after-Christmas list .

mr2s2000elise Dork
12/8/19 5:19 p.m.

Beauty. Love to see another S2k owner here. After 170K on my AP1, I bought my AP2 new in 07. Still loving it after 12 years. 

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