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Rodan Reader
12/16/17 6:11 p.m.

Couple of decades of cigarette smoke and fossilized coffee makes for a mess...


Carpet before by Rodan AZ, on Flickr

Console Before by Rodan AZ, on Flickr

In addition to cleaning the carpets, I hit the seats with Lexol cleaner and conditioner, cleaned all the plastic and vinyl and treated with 303, and hit the inside of the top with upholstery cleaner.


Carpet after by Rodan AZ, on Flickr

DSC_1444 by Rodan AZ, on Flickr

DSC_1448 by Rodan AZ, on Flickr

DSC_1446 by Rodan AZ, on Flickr

I'm still getting a slight cigarette odor from the HVAC.  Disgusting... indecision  

If it doesn't clear up (which it probably won't), I'll swap the whole HVAC unit from the other NB.


Rodan Reader
12/16/17 6:23 p.m.

It was 60* and sunny today, so SWMBO and I took the black NB to Red Robin for a late lunch... top down, of course!

The car drives really well, and even the automatic is much better than I expected.  Pretty happy with this car... with the manual swap, it will be a nice keeper.  

The happy herd:

Herd1 by Rodan AZ, on Flickr


Rodan Reader
12/22/17 11:13 a.m.

This morning I finally finished editing all of the old photo links, so the all the pics in the thread should be working again.

Thanks photophukt... that was ~8hrs of my life I could have spent on something else.  angry


Big thanks to GRM for not putting a time limit on editing posts! yes

Rodan Reader
12/22/17 2:38 p.m.

I was really planning on not working on cars this weekend...

But, I decided I would swap the wheels between the NBs, just because.  When I moved the black car, I discovered a half-frozen puddle underneath... WTF??  I hadn't driven it in a couple of days, but it hadn't leaked drop one since I bought it.  A little investigation revealed the lower radiator hose had been pushed off the radiator and there was a nice popsicle in the open space between them! 

Apparently, the guy I bought it from filled it with straight water...  angry

It was already melting, so I managed to get the popsicle out, and the hose back into place.  I couldn't find any other damage, though popping the radiator cap revealed a slushy.  I ran the engine up to operating temp, and still wasn't getting warm air out of the heater, so I shut it off, and am letting it sit in the sun for a while.  Hopefully the heat from the engine will get things thawed out over the next couple of hours so I can figure out if I got lucky, or have a whole new set of problems.  

Oh, I did get the wheels swapped, and they look good on the black car...

BlackNB Konig by Rodan AZ, on Flickr

mikedd969 New Reader
12/22/17 9:09 p.m.

Fantastic thread!!  I just got done reading the whole thing beginning to end. 


I was weeks from beginning my own long anticipated Miata adventure a few months ago, when I suddenly found myself out of work for the first time since 1986.  The small software company here in the Mobile AL area that I'd worked for as an IT manager/tech for 13 years was bought a year previously by a giant competitor from California.  After getting everything they wanted from those of us here, they started the inevitable "reorganization and alignment process" (short for getting rid of folks who aren't located at the corporate HQ).  Not exactly unexpected, but crappy timing. I wasn't really enjoying the word of "big enterprise" IT and there was/is an element of relief to it. I really don't care much for the IT world anyway, (I'm an "real electronics" guy by training and inclination) so I'm not much interested in looking for another position in that field, so it's back to school for me, and "fun with Miatae" plans will have to wait for awhile.  

So if you don't mind, I'll just live vicariously through your adventures, and learn what I can in the process.  I promise, when the day does come, I'll do my own GRM thread on it.  :) 

I've been a gearhead all my life. I grew up in rural KY as a "farm kid" and working on cars/trucks/tractors was just part of growing up.  I've owned a lot of cool and interesting cars over the years, all pretty cheap projects, even my '78 911 that I had while living in Italy in the 90's was a cheap ride/project in true GRM fashion, ditto my 1969?? Fiat Dino Coupe.  (God how I loved that car.....)  

Thanks for taking the time to document all your excellent work with these cars.  I particularly loved hearing about your recent visit to MRLS. There is just no track in the US that compares IMHO.  I lived in the SF bay area in the mid 90's and did many 2-wheel laps at MLRS on my trusty old Ducati 916.  THe first time you dive down into the corkscrew in anger.....man, THAT is a religious experience to say the least!!   I think I was picking seat foam out of my butt for an hour after that first time.......  LOL.


Anyway, I'm rambling.  Looking forward to reading all your future updates!!

Mr. Lee
Mr. Lee UberDork
12/22/17 10:16 p.m.

In reply to Rodan :

It does look good with those wheels!

Rodan Reader
12/23/17 9:29 a.m.

In reply to mikedd969 :

Thanks,  I hope your career issues work out for the best... that's a real bummer.

MRLS is indeed a great track...  I've also been there several times on two wheels.  My first time was in the rain! surprise

Laguna CLASS 2 by Rodan AZ, on Flickr


In reply to Mr. Lee: 



As for the NB, the radiator is definitely toast.  Hopefully that is the extent of the damage.  Got a new radiator on the way...

Rodan Reader
12/25/17 1:53 p.m.

Merry Christmas, GRM!!  laugh


New radiator arrived yesterday(!).  I installed it, and have no leaks, and no nasty noises, and no water in the oil, but water is not circulating through the cooling system.

Next step is T-stat...  I don't know if freezing can kill one and cause it to fail closed, but that appears the likely scenario.

The other possibility is the water pump, but if it was damaged, I would expect leaks or nasty noises, and I have neither...

If the T-stat doesn't fix it, I'll just yank the motor and check it out after I swap in the manual drivetrain.

Rodan Reader
12/28/17 5:40 p.m.

T-stat was fine...

Started on the NB drivetrain swap today.

Big swap start by Rodan AZ, on Flickr

Lot of work pulling the drivetrain on two cars!  Got most of the prep done today... yanking motors tomorrow.

Rodan Reader
12/30/17 9:30 a.m.

Got the engine/trans out of the black NB yesterday.

DSC_1459 by Rodan AZ, on Flickr

Cleaner than the black car was...

DSC_1461 by Rodan AZ, on Flickr

Also did some of the wiring mods for the manual trans.

Got some other stuff getting in the way today, but I hope to pull the engine/trans from the blue NB this afternoon.

Rodan Reader
12/30/17 9:33 a.m.

On the NA side of the garage, the front brakes are in...

FrontWilwoods by Rodan AZ, on Flickr

Wilwood Dynapro radial mount calipers on 11.75 rotors, and a Wilwood m/c.  Still need to order an NB Sport booster, and decide which pads I'm going to order.  Also need a few other little parts.  I'm busy with the NBs at the moment, so no big hurry anyway.

The Dynapros are just a bit beefier than the stock calipers...

FrontDynapro by Rodan AZ, on Flickr

Rodan Reader
12/30/17 4:30 p.m.

Didn't get much accomplished on the swap today due to limited time, but I did dissect the BP4W that came out.  Turns out the water pump was indeed a casualty of the freeze...

DSC_1466 by Rodan AZ, on Flickr

I'm not sure how the impeller was bonded to the shaft, but there's no damage to it or the shaft... the freeze apparently created just enough drag to shear the bond.

DSC_1467 by Rodan AZ, on Flickr
DSC_1468 by Rodan AZ, on Flickr

At least it's an easy fix to get the engine back to a salable state.

Mr. Lee
Mr. Lee UberDork
12/31/17 10:18 a.m.

May have been just pressed on the shaft and the freezing water just pushed it off the end. Looking at the shaft, and the little bit of wear on the impeller I would bet that is what happened.


Call it lucky. Living in AR when I was 17, and had a heater line blow in my old 85 grand prix. After fixing it, we filled it with water to make sure it wasn't going to leak, then forgot about it. First hard freeze we got, I went out to fire it up, and the pump was frozen solid. After we thawed it out we found a San Andreas sized crack in both sides of the block.

Rodan Reader
1/1/18 11:54 a.m.

Engine/trans is out of the manual car....

DSC_1469 by Rodan AZ, on Flickr

Rodan Reader
1/2/18 9:35 p.m.

Both dashes out today...

DSC_1473 by Rodan AZ, on Flickr

Black car now has three pedals, and I got the clutch hydraulics installed.  Also moved over the ECU, and HVAC heater and fan units.

DSC_1476 by Rodan AZ, on Flickr

I'm getting pretty good at dash removal... cheeky  

Rodan Reader
1/5/18 6:43 p.m.

More brake parts are still trickling in for the NA...

And I'm making progress on the NB manual swap...

While both dashes were out to swap pedals and ECUs, I took the opportunity to swap all the vents and ducting over from the blue car in my quest to eliminate any remaining cigarette stench.  I gave them a good cleaning before reinstalling them... not often you get the opportunity to clean the HVAC ducting.

I also picked the best four of the eight 'eyeball' vents, and cleaned them up as well.

Next was getting everything back in the car... after making a couple of wiring mods for the manual trans.

Everything is ready to drop the engine and trans in.  I need to install new motor mounts and extend one of the O2 sensor harness before it goes in, but that shouldn't take long.

Rodan Reader
1/6/18 6:45 p.m.


Finished the manual powertrain swap into the NB today...

And it runs!


Rodan Reader
1/7/18 7:52 a.m.

Some more auto to manual swap info, for posterity...

Here's the Miata.net wiki page on the subject:  Miata.net Auto to Manual Wiki page

Here's a thread on MT.net specifically on NB wiring:  MT.net NB Auto to Manual swap wiring



docwyte SuperDork
1/9/18 1:10 p.m.

Wow!  Impressive amount of work!

Rodan Reader
1/9/18 2:16 p.m.


None of it is rocket science, but it was a lot of wrenching! cheeky

Rodan Reader
1/13/18 4:50 p.m.

I've been driving the black NB, and it drives very well...

I had a little hiccup with a coolant leak, but replacing a dodgy hoseclamp on the lower radiator hose fixed the problem.  Other than that, I've been chasing down little stuff.  The rear window defroster wasn't working... that one was easy:  it wasn't plugged in! (Miatas have a plug in pigtail for the defroster to switch between the soft and hard tops)  I've also been working on diagnosing an ABS light, and a couple other little things.

Big project today was headlights.

We live in the AZ mountains at around 5000ft.  With the UV at this altitude the sun is absolutely brutal on anything plastic, including headlights.  The lights on my wife's NC (her daily) were looking pretty bad.  After experimenting on our organ donor NB and being impressed with the results, I decided to use the same Sylvania kit on the NC.  While I was at it, I did the other NB as well...


NC before:

NC after:

NB before:

NB after:

I also washed the dually, which is kind of like washing a city bus... cheeky

Rodan Reader
1/18/18 5:41 p.m.

Didn't get a lot done on the cars today, but got some peripheral tasks out of the way.  A friend's grandson popped the 1.6 in his NA last Fall, and is supposed to be buying the BP4W that came out of the black NB.  I took the engine over to my friend's house this morning, and also dropped off the automatic trans and all the related parts with an acquaintance who has an auto NA.  I hope he gets some use out of it... better than dumping it for scrap.  With all that out of the way, I was able to move the engine hoist and stand out of the garage and clean things up a bit.

Next, I dug out the FM VMaxx coilovers that were originally on my NA.  I had bought NB mounts when I got them, so they'll bolt right into the NB.  I spent a little while adjusting them to what should give ~.75" more ride height than the NA had... maybe more like .5", given that the NB is probably a couple hundred pounds heavier.  Since it's just a driver, it doesn't need as aggressive a setup as the NA had.

Tomorrow, I'm taking all 8 NB wheels to the local Discount tire to swap the tires.  The black car had some decent looking, albeit "no name" all-seasons in 195/55-15 on the stock  wheels, while the blue car had the Konig Rewinds with worn out Kumhos in 195/50-15.  I'm putting the all-seasons on the Konigs, which I think will work out better for the NB... the Kumhos were getting hard and noisy.  The extra sidewall should make the ride a little nicer.  The other set is just needed to hold the parts car up....

While they're swapping the tires around, I'll be swapping the suspension.

I also got a tracking number for my brake pads today.  Should be in by the middle of next week.  Everything else has arrived, so I should be able to start the brake swap on the NA next weekend.  Then I'll have a set of Konig Flatouts with Conti ECS in 205/50-15 for fun rubber for the NB, as I don't think they'll fit over the new brakes on the NA.

Rodan Reader
1/19/18 6:16 p.m.

Got the VMaxx suspension installed...  quick 'after' pic:

It's a little lower than I would like, but I'm out of adjustment in the front shocks.  I'll look into replacing the springs down the road a ways, as this is just a driver and doesn't need track ride height.  It drives great... the VMaxx really tightenend things up.  It's scheduled for an alignment next week to dial it in.

Rodan Reader
1/25/18 9:54 p.m.

The last components for the brake upgrade finally rolled in... G-Loc pads in R12 and R10.  So, time to get started.

The 1.6 brakes are comically small compared to the upgrade... cheeky

11.75" two piece rotors for the front

11" (Miata NB Sport) for the rear

Singular cooling vents to replace the stock backing plates up front.


Got the fronts installed, but I still have to hook up the hydraulics.

6UL 15x9s fit with a 5mm spacer


Unfortunately, my 15x8 "street" wheels (with brand new Extreme Conti Sports) don't have sufficient clearance from the calipers, so they'll get handed down to the NB for a summer set.

Rears are just test fit for now... gonna get back to work on it in the morning.

Rodan Reader
1/25/18 10:02 p.m.

The NB got some attention as well... I replaced a recalcitrant driver's side door lock mechanism, so at least I can lock it now.

I also took it for an alignment yesterday and discovered that the front passenger control arm(s) is likely bent.  The shop couldn't get more than ~.5 deg negative camber on the passenger side, so I wasn't able to hit my numbers.  Got it dialed in with some mild numbers for now, but at least it's symmetrical.  Once I get the control arms swapped out we'll give it another go.

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