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eastsidemav
eastsidemav SuperDork
10/16/17 5:21 p.m.
wae said:

I thought the purpose of the battery powered speaker was to fix any noises the car made...

Right - then I should ziptie it in place, and crank it up for the autocross...

eastsidemav
eastsidemav SuperDork
10/16/17 8:47 p.m.

After another test drive, I'm beginning to wonder if the occasional noise is coming from the back.  At this point, it doesn't seem to be causing any problems with driving the car safely, so I'm going to stop chasing it, get my paperwork ready for the challenge, and be prepared to enjoy the trip instead of stressing out.

eastsidemav
eastsidemav SuperDork
10/17/17 4:15 p.m.

Style bar just sold, $20 back into the budget, and one less piece of junk in my garage!

eastsidemav
eastsidemav SuperDork
10/23/17 3:27 p.m.

Bringing the Miata to the $2017 Challenge was the right choice.  It handled the 800 mile drive down, getting flogged on the autocross and dragstrip, and 700 miles back north with no real problems.  For the last leg of the trip up, we loaded it onto wae's trailer, since we had just dropped Ashyukun's car off of it.  Many thanks to both of them, Jerry, and my wife for all the help.

We finished 25th with it, and it stayed relatively anonymous during the weekend, which is pretty good for a car that was bought as a backup, and we had little time to prep and know if there were any hidden problems lurking.  It was also great to be parked next to the Smith College team's Miata at the concours and talk to some of our next generation of engineers!

At this point, plans in the immediate future are to fix the driver's window regulator, put a stereo in it, replace the headlight lever bushings and enjoy it until the snow starts falling.  After that, it'll hibernate until the spring, and I'll see how it goes from there.

eastside Utah John Cougar Montana
eastside Utah John Cougar Montana UltraDork
11/6/17 2:01 p.m.

A little bit of an update.  It's been occupying my garage as I've slowly pulled the window regulator assembly out.  Finally put the replacement in, and got the window reinstalled, but I still need to put the stops in, and get everythign adjusted right.  Thanks to EvanB, I now have a much better trunk lid, rear fascia panel, and rear bumper, all the same color as the car!  Still need to install them, but at least I have them.

While the car is taking up space, I'll also get to the rubber grommets for the shifter, so there'll be one less way for fumes to get into the interior.  If I can manage to loosen the old one, I'll also replace the upstream O2 sensor, in the hopes that it'll fix the cold stumble. 

eastside Utah John Cougar Montana
eastside Utah John Cougar Montana UltraDork
11/7/17 11:12 a.m.

Last night, I finished the window install, including putting a replacement door card in that was in much nicer shape than the original.

Took care of the shifter during my lunch break today.  If all goes well, the O2 sensor will be dealt with tonight.  The weather is going to be cold, but dry for the next few days, and I'd like to use the Miata for a bit, so I can take my daily driver off the road to take care of some deferred maintenance before winter hits, not too mention take the time to get the winter tires onto it.

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltraDork
2/21/18 8:47 p.m.

Been slacking on updating my build threads, because I've been slacking on getting any work done on them.  Going to try to hold myself accountable and get some work done.

Went ahead and changed out the O2 sensor in the hopes it is the culprit behind a cold stumble around 2500 RPM.  It's the third thing that is supposed to be done if the car has this problem, the first two being new coils and new plugs, but they were done by the PO when he tried to fix the problem.  No chance to test if it was fixed, due to salt still being on the roads.

The left rear caliper also blew out while the car was in hibernation.  I just replaced it tonight, and will also be swapping new pads on the other 3 corners while the car is in the air, and ditching the race pads up front.  May lose a tiny bit of street braking ability, but it'll be a lot quieter.

I've also ordered the cheapest stereo I could find from Crutchfield.  It'll be nice to actually have some tunes, but I don't need anything fancy.

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltraDork
2/22/18 8:41 p.m.

After work, I went ahead and swapped out pads on the other three corners.  Whoever last tightened the front caliper bolts must have done it with an impact wrench.  I needed a long handled wrench and a hammer to loosen them.  Other than that, not really any problems. 

The stereo came in today, too, so I decided to tackle it.  That was the easiest car stereo install I've ever done.  I think it was also the first time I was able to install a single DIN stereo into a single DIN slot.  Matching up the wiring and connecting all of it took longer than anything else, and it was only 7 wires.  Tested it, and it all worked on the first try!  The Miata has tunes now.  Just need to wait for nice weather, so I can take it out of the garage.

 

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltraDork
2/26/18 11:30 a.m.

It was sunny and 50 degrees, so I took the Miata out for lunch.  The O2 sensor appears to have cured the stumble.  Brakes are nice and quiet now, but they definitely don’t bite as hard as they did with the Hawk HP+ pads.  I don’t mind, at least for the street.  It’s good to be able to put the top down and take a relaxing drive.

cmcgregor
cmcgregor Dork
2/26/18 11:55 a.m.

Random convertible weather in midwinter is one of the best things. I'm actually missing winter a bit since relocating to the west coast - the lack of snow and cold is weird.

Did I miss what year your Miata is? I put a stereo in mine, but the slot is actually slightly smaller than single DIN on a 1992, so it kinda pokes out and doesn't fit flush. Did you use an adapter kit?

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltraDork
2/26/18 1:10 p.m.

In reply to cmcgregor :

It’s a 1996.  Didn’t need an adapter kit to make it fit at all (except for the wiring adapter).  Was there an interior refresh sometime during the NA’s run, maybe!  The sleeve that came with the stereo fit pretty snugly, but it did fit.

EvanB
EvanB MegaDork
2/26/18 1:18 p.m.

The 1.6 center trim (tombstone) is a different design than the 1.8 cars and requires a little trimming to fit a single din flush. 

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltraDork
3/14/18 7:20 p.m.

We had more snow, and thus more salt, so the Miata is off the road again for a bit.  I did order a new top for it, which should be here tomorrow.  I am hoping to install it this weekend, then the car can stay outside in the driveway, regardless of weather, instead of taking up the garage whenever it's going to rain/snow.

I did fire up the garage heater and deal with something that's been bugging me for a while.  The bumper cover I got from EvanB was partially cut out, and exposed the plastic crash structure.  If it was purely a race car, I'd just get rid of, but since it is mostly going to be used on the street, I want at least a bit of protection.  Problem is, the grey plastic clashes bad with the rest of the car.  Once it was warm enough in the garage to do a little painting, I just masked off the back end, and sprayed it semigloss black.  Looks a lot better now.

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltraDork
3/18/18 6:57 p.m.

I attempted to replace the top this weekend, and made it halfway.  There are additional details in this thread:  Curse of the Prior Owner.  A little more info, though - in addition to the B pillar retainers and some hardware, the tension cables are looking pretty ratty, so I am going to order replacements.  It also gave me the opportunity to do a little more cleaning out.  Other than some broken trim hardware, the tally was 5 rounds of 22 LR, and a rusty, camouflage USB charger, that was covering up the drain on the passenger side:

After talking with wae last night, I am also going to order new heater hoses to cure a slight coolant leak I have.  Apparently, one of them failing is what did in the head gasket on his recently acquired Miata.

Since the car will be down for a bit, between waiting for parts, and weather, I'm going to try to take the time and install the butterfly brace I picked up during the pre-Christmas sales at Flyin' Miata.

I am also beginning to get a case of the "while you're in there" disease, and am considering order a roll bar now, as it'll be easier to do some of the install prep without the top in place.  May have to see what the lead time on that will be, though, would rather be able to use the garage bay for some other projects, too.

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltraDork
3/20/18 8:38 p.m.

Made an attempt to work on the frame rail and butterfly braces, but got a little stuck.  The driver’s seat wouldn’t slide all the way forward, so it took about 2 hours, and several different wrenches and hammers to get it loose, but I did score a disposable lighter with a flaming skull on it from under the passenger seat.

Next wrenching session, I’ll try to get more done.  I’m waiting for parts for the top, so I should have a few days to work on it.

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltraDork
3/24/18 8:48 p.m.

Parts for the top are in, so I need to get in gear with the butterfly brace install.  Work has been busy this past week, and that’s cut into wrenching time.  Today, I got the car jacked up and tried to test fit the frame reinforcements.  Unsurprisingly, they won’t fit over my mangled frame rails.  The four pound sledge made quick work of the driver’s side rail, and now I can get the reinforcement into place.  The passenger side frame rail is a different story.  Most of the deformation is on the inner side of the rail, so I can’t get as much leverage hitting it from under the car.  Also, the brake and fuel lines are right there, so I have to be very precise.  It’s taken a while to make very little progress ( a constant theme in my projects).  

I have an idea.  I’m going to take a tie down strap, and use it to very gently pull the fuel and brake lines away from the frame rail and hold them back.  Maybe use the brace between the transmission and differential as the other place to wrap the strap around.  I need to be careful not to mess them up, but I really need to get them at least a bit out of the way, so an errant swing doesn’t damage them.  Secondly, I’m going to raise the car another notch or two on the jack stands so I have a bit more room to swing the hammer.

Hoping to get the install done tomorrow, figuring the frame rails are going to be the hard part, and the butterfly brace shouldn’t be as obnoxious.

EvanB
EvanB MegaDork
3/24/18 8:56 p.m.

Maybe use some C clamps to squeeze the frame rails a bit till they fit?

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltraDork
3/24/18 9:06 p.m.

In reply to EvanB :

I like that idea.  I’ll try that first tomorrow morning.

cmcgregor
cmcgregor Dork
3/24/18 9:21 p.m.

C clamps work pretty well. You're also going to need to move the brake and fuel lines quite a bit to mount them to the new frame rail, so both is probably the best path forward.

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltraDork
3/25/18 9:42 a.m.

The C clamp method is slow going, but appears to be working.  Big issue I've run into is the way the inside of the frame rail has folded, it is much stronger than the outside.  My first attempt with a clamp big enough to do anything ended up mangling the outside rail further, while not doing anything to the inside rail, which is the one that needs to be moved.  I'm use a piece of angle iron on the outside to distribute the load a bit, and it seems to be helping.  Just really slow going.  Needed to take a break from under the car, especially after the angle iron fell and hit me in the face.

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltraDork
3/26/18 7:30 a.m.

The frame rails are fitted, and I’ve attempted to install the butterfly brace.  It has been quite difficult, and as yet, I am not able to get it in place completely.  Going to make another attempt tonight after work, but if it fails, I may just stick with the frame rail reinforcements.  I think I may have not done enough to the passenger side frame rail before installing the reinforcement, and there just isn’t enough room.

I’ve also learned a few things about installing the butterfly brace on a high mileage Miata with mangled frame rails:

1.  Don’t.  But if you do, heed the next two items.

2.  Fitting the reinforcements as far forward as possible makes the butterfly brace interfere with the fuel and brake lines a lot up front.  I think just setting it back 1/4” would have helped considerably.

3.  Go buy some 8mm x 1.25 non locking nuts, and use them to pretighten the inner sides of the frame rail, then remove the nuts.  This will make the reinforcement and the floor pan conform better to each other, and you’ll have more clearance to install nuts/washers when you put the butterfly brace on.

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltraDork
3/27/18 8:03 a.m.

Success!  Took a while last night, but finally got it installed and the car  back on the ground.  I did find that the fuel lines are too short to let the fuel filter stay in place (and that the bolt for the fuel filter clamp is also missing), so I'll need ot put in some new rubber lines and fix that at some point.

 

Will be too busy to get much of anything done in the next few days, but later this week, I will get back to trying to install the new top.

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltraDork
3/30/18 8:47 p.m.

Had a bit of time tonight, so continued undoing some of the previous screwups on the top frame.  Replaced a couple of drywall screws with rivets on the passenger side, which was a bit baffling, as they were on pieces that didn’t need to be removed to replace the top.  Also, swapped on the new tension cables, and actually used rivets to install them, instead of (again) drywall screws.

Since most of the Internet seems to recommend it, I also pulled the top frame off the car.  This made it easier to check the drains, which were clear.  I found yet another round of ammo, too.  Hoping that was the last one.   Tomorrow, as long as plans don’t change, I’m going to try to finish up the top install.

We've had a lot of rain the past several days, so as long as we stay above freezing, most of the salt should be washed away now, too.

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltraDork
4/1/18 5:18 p.m.

Convertible top is mostly installed now, and with stainless steel hardware, instead of drywall screws.  It won't close, since the vinyl needs to stretch.  We have rain in the forecast, and it probably won't get too warm for a bit, so the standard "leave it out in the sun" method is a no go.  I've cranked the heater up in the garage, and did this:

Two bricks, and a box of Dodge Neon wheel hubs.  Later this evening, I'll check and see if I can get the top to close.  I also adjusted the latches out all the way.

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltraDork
4/4/18 8:40 p.m.

Replaced the camshaft sensor o-ring and the heater hose that ran under it this evening.   The old o-ring was definitely done for.  The heater hose might have been okay for a while longer, but it seemed like it wasn't worth risking it.  I also sprayed the lower hose clamp with a bunch of brake cleaner and let it dry out.  I think part of the cause of the earlier leak was the hose clamp may have been slowly loosening up.  Now that it isn't saturated with oil, that shouldn't be as much of a problem.  Didn't seem to lose much coolant, so I just put about 8 oz or so into the reservoir. 

No time to fire it up tonight, but tomorrow I'll get it outside and see about getting the top some sun.  Will also try a trick I saw somewhere on the net - cover the gap in the top with a towel, fire up the car, and run the heater full blast for 20 minutes.  I guess it helps warm up the top from the inside.

The coolant reservoir cap is also looking like it's about to fall apart, so that'll need to go on my next parts order.

 

 

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