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Fitzauto
Fitzauto HalfDork
11/12/15 11:15 a.m.

That is one crusty miata. But still looks like fun!

frecks
frecks New Reader
11/13/15 9:58 a.m.

Calling it "clean" would be disingenuous, but "less disgusting" works. I also tried Rain-X Anti Fog on all the interior windows. Fogging up has been a bit of a problem on cold mornings so I'm hoping that will help. I'm also on the lookout for a washer fluid bottle & pump for an NA Miata with ABS. Not having that will be a big problem once the snow starts flying.

I really should look into getting a different steering wheel at some point. This one makes me feel like I should be wearing gloves.

I have to take out the seats & console to give the carpet a good scrubbing. It is filthy but should clean up pretty well when I get to it. I also need to clean the seats, which I'll do at the same time. Once I get the carpet & seats clean, the interior will actually be in shockingly good condition (compared to the rest of the car, anyway).

frecks
frecks New Reader
11/13/15 9:59 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner:

Thanks for the suggestion. The extra effort would easily be worth the added comfort.

frecks
frecks New Reader
11/13/15 12:54 p.m.

Will there be any clearance problems with using a 185/70x14 winter tire? I assume the extra 1.5" in tire diameter compared to the 185/60x14 tires won't be enough to cause significant rubbing?

NickD
NickD Reader
11/13/15 1:18 p.m.

In reply to frecks:

Yeah, that should be plenty fine, considering these cars sit like 4x4 trucks from the factory.

And don't think of it as rusty or ugly, think of it as a late-model rat rod. Rat rods are popular, right? That was always my answer when people busted on my rusty, beat-to-death Subaru

frecks
frecks New Reader
11/13/15 4:15 p.m.
NickD wrote: In reply to frecks: Yeah, that should be plenty fine, considering these cars sit like 4x4 trucks from the factory. And don't think of it as rusty or ugly, think of it as a late-model rat rod. Rat rods are popular, right? That was always my answer when people busted on my rusty, beat-to-death Subaru

Awesome. I'm hoping to score a craigslist deal on a set of 185/70x14 General Altimax Artic snow tires mounted on some steelies tonight or this weekend. The tires have 10/32" tread depth remaining. The tires have 12/32" tread when they're new, so these should be in decent condition. He's asking about half of what it would cost for me to get that shipped from TireRack. I don't feel like spending $530 (TireRack cost) on winter tires/steel rims for a $600 car, so I should probably jump on this.

I like that attitude about the car. The way I see it, I've got a fun vehicle that will outperform many more expensive vehicles while allowing me to learn & focus on the function over the form. The rust is just character (and an opportunity to practice welding)! I do need to think of a fitting name for the Miata though. Rusty & Beater just seem too negative & unoriginal.

frecks
frecks New Reader
11/13/15 5:19 p.m.

I need this. MaxJax. I can't afford it, but I need it. The irony that I'd be able to afford it if I didn't play with beater cars, but I wouldn't need it if I didn't play with beater cars is kinda lame. This is definitely going on the list of things to buy when I suddenly become rich.

frecks
frecks New Reader
11/14/15 5:59 p.m.

I present to you: Khione, goddess of the snow. This is going to be a fun winter.

I picked up the snow tires & wheels that were previously used on a Civic for $230. They are way bigger than I was expecting. They're bigger than the snow tires on my GTI & they're way bigger than the stock tires on Khione. They rubbed a little, but that was easily fixed by bending the brackets in a little bit where the wheel well liners bolts to the fenders.

Khione also got an alignment. The steering was off center & she was handling like a poorly loaded dump truck. I've never done my own alignment before, but was pleasantly surprised by how easy this was. 3/8" toe out on the right front tire explains a lot... The improvement after fixing that was massive & immediately noticeable.

My roommate told me that he's never driven a manual before & thinks he'd like his next car to be a manual. I can't think of a better car to learn with, so we spent a bit of time practicing today. Start from a stand still, shift to second, shift back to first, stop, repeat. He should have the hang of it by the time he's ready to replace his car. Practice is a good thing.

I know the girlfriend can drive a manual just fine because her first time ever driving one was on Skyline Drive in rain that quickly turned into fog & she had no problems with it.

She doesn't have confidence yet though, so she needs to practice some just to get more comfortable with it. It would be really convenient if she were comfortable with the manual so that she could just take my GTI to work when her car needs work done. Speaking of which, her '04 PT Cruiser w/ 2.4L Turbo threw a CEL tonight. It came up on the scanner as a P0304 cylinder 4 misfire. It only happens under hard acceleration & the CEL turns back off when you let off the gas. She's got 90k miles on the car. I'm hoping it's just something mundane like plugs, wires, or a coil. We'll have to check that out.

Kenny_McCormic
Kenny_McCormic UltimaDork
11/14/15 7:10 p.m.

With that much toe you might want to replace that tie rod, or at least the inner, once they get a bend in them they bend easier and don't hold alignment as well.

frecks
frecks New Reader
11/14/15 7:22 p.m.
Kenny_McCormic wrote: With that much toe you might want to replace that tie rod, or at least the inner, once they get a bend in them they bend easier and don't hold alignment as well.

I replaced the outer last week. The outer had tons of play in it. I noticed when I was doing the alignment yesterday that the inner was slightly bent. It isn't bad, but I'm sure the potholes here will help prove you right pretty quickly. With your encouragment, I'm going to order new ones at some point soon so I have them on hand if it becomes a problem.

Kenny_McCormic
Kenny_McCormic UltimaDork
11/14/15 7:49 p.m.

I'd just do it soon and get it over with, very easy job with the correct tool. The harbor freight kit is good and is on sale for $40 right now. Or you can rent one from the parts store that might fit*, I prefer the HF style.

http://www.harborfreight.com/inner-tie-rod-removal-set-69619.html

*The common rental with cast sockets only comes in the 3 most common sizes, I know from experience the rental doesn't fit a 02 Subaru.

NickD
NickD Reader
11/15/15 7:50 a.m.

If you have a Facebook, you may want to join this group. I've scored a lot of parts for my own Miata for a pretty good deal (Full Energy Suspension poly bushing kit for $150, for example)

frecks
frecks New Reader
11/16/15 11:36 a.m.

Thanks for the group recommendation, NickD. I'm sure I'll find some useful stuff there.

The Hazard Freight ball joint separator that I used worked quite well, so I'll probably pick up that inner tie rod removal set that you recommend, Kenny. I wonder when the sale ends. I can probably make it to HF sometime this week.

There's a big difference between driving a beater car & being a slob. One is cool - one isn't, So I decided to do some cleaning. I initially found 2 Fritos, a cough drop, 3 bolts, a marble, & $1.47 in change.

Driver's side & parcel shelf are done. I'll probably finish the passenger side after work tonight. I've cleaned the seats too, because they're just as gross. This was done with a bucket, water, dish soap, a brush, & a shop-vac. It is tedious, but effective. I had to dump the bucket of soapy water & refill twice because of how dirty it got & I hadn't even made it to the passenger side yet.

I also found an empty unlabeled pill bottle & a moldy 1989 map of Ingham County from AAA. This car was clearly never used as a drug runner for some college kid at MSU.

Fitzauto
Fitzauto HalfDork
11/16/15 1:17 p.m.

Looking good in there! I need some different tires for mine during the winter. 200tw tires plus cold do not mix well unless you like going sideways.

How is yours liking the wheel tire combo you have?

frecks
frecks New Reader
11/16/15 1:37 p.m.

I have only driven 20 miles on these winter wheels so far, so this is just a preliminary report. They ride nicely & I anticipate that they will do very well in the snow. They're acceptable traction in the dry, but not anything special. Traction in the dry is probably comparable to all-seasons. Steel rims (IMO) look like ass, but the point is to make going sideways controllable & going forward possible on the cheap, not to look outstanding. I did have slight clearance issues, but they were easily fixed. The tires just barely rubbed on the tabs where the fender & fender liner bolt together. Bending those tabs just slightly fixed that issue. I wasn't super careful when I did this because my fenders are already beat up, but you might want to take a little care to not bend them too far so you don't cause the metal to buckle at all. Another option would be to use a 175/60x14 tire instead of a 175/70x14 tire like mine, because the tire I have is 1.5" bigger in diameter than stock. My car also may be sitting slightly lower than it should because all the bushings & suspension are worn out, so you may not have this issue even with a bigger tire. I really only had to bend the tabs like 1/8" out of the way to stop the rubbing. NickD just put my new suspension in the mail & it should show up on Wednesday. I'm pretty pumped to get that installed.

Overall, these should do exactly what I needed & I should be happy with them. The extra size will help the car clear deep snow & it should be a fun winter ride. 200 tread-wear tires in winter around here probably wouldn't even get me out of my driveway & would be a death wish for sure.

frecks
frecks New Reader
11/16/15 1:48 p.m.

Ordered new spark plugs, wires, & intake gasket for my girlfriend's PT Cruiser. I would feel like a major ass if she got stranded on her commute through the hood in Detroit because of misfire issues that I could have easily fixed instead of tinkering with my beater Miata. Everything is shoehorned into the engine bay in the PT Cruiser & I have to remove the intake manifold to change spark plugs & wires. That's kinda obnoxious. I'm really hoping/thinking that new plugs & wires will do the trick though.

NickD
NickD Reader
11/16/15 3:10 p.m.
frecks wrote: The tires just barely rubbed on the tabs where the fender & fender liner bolt together. Bending those tabs just slightly fixed that issue.... NickD just put my new suspension in the mail & it should show up on Wednesday. I'm pretty pumped to get that installed.

I had that problem with the tabs on my car after I threw sticky rubber at it with stock sway bars, unknown lowering springs and Tokico Blues. I heard it intermittently at the first couple autocrosses and couldn't find the source. Then when I was at The Tail Of The Dragon it was doing it through every curve. Stopped at the hotel to check pressures and noticed the scuffing on the shoulder of the tires and bent it out of the way and that largely fixed it, then I put FM sway bars on later and that cured it.

Also, glad to hear you're excited for the Bilsteins. I was going to use them and then decided just to get coilovers this winter and they were sitting in the basement. Figured someone on here could use them. Hope you enjoy, and will be watching with interest.

frecks
frecks New Reader
11/16/15 4:09 p.m.
NickD wrote:
frecks wrote: The tires just barely rubbed on the tabs where the fender & fender liner bolt together. Bending those tabs just slightly fixed that issue.... NickD just put my new suspension in the mail & it should show up on Wednesday. I'm pretty pumped to get that installed.
I had that problem with the tabs on my car after I threw sticky rubber at it with stock sway bars, unknown lowering springs and Tokico Blues. I heard it intermittently at the first couple autocrosses and couldn't find the source. Then when I was at The Tail Of The Dragon it was doing it through every curve. Stopped at the hotel to check pressures and noticed the scuffing on the shoulder of the tires and bent it out of the way and that largely fixed it, then I put FM sway bars on later and that cured it. Also, glad to hear you're excited for the Bilsteins. I was going to use them and then decided just to get coilovers this winter and they were sitting in the basement. Figured someone on here could use them. Hope you enjoy, and will be watching with interest.

The Tail of the Dragon is sweet. I actually prefer the Cherohala Skyway because of how much less crowded it is, but they're both amazing roads. I got to ride both of them on my Street Triple R this summer & it was like heaven. Now the Street Triple R is half disassembled in my parent's garage due to an unfortunate incident commuting home from work. :( Luckily I fared better than it did, mostly.

I'm glad you figured someone on here could use the Bilsteins, because you were correct! :)

The sway bar bushings on the Miata are so worn that I can see daylight between the bar & bushings. My current terribad plan is to pull big junkyard sway-bars from a truck or something, chop it down to the right width, & weld a piece of bar stock on each end with multiple holes to make them adjustable. There are probably numerous reasons why this won't work, which means it will be even more awesome if it does.

NickD
NickD Reader
11/16/15 4:31 p.m.
frecks wrote:
NickD wrote:
frecks wrote: The tires just barely rubbed on the tabs where the fender & fender liner bolt together. Bending those tabs just slightly fixed that issue.... NickD just put my new suspension in the mail & it should show up on Wednesday. I'm pretty pumped to get that installed.
I had that problem with the tabs on my car after I threw sticky rubber at it with stock sway bars, unknown lowering springs and Tokico Blues. I heard it intermittently at the first couple autocrosses and couldn't find the source. Then when I was at The Tail Of The Dragon it was doing it through every curve. Stopped at the hotel to check pressures and noticed the scuffing on the shoulder of the tires and bent it out of the way and that largely fixed it, then I put FM sway bars on later and that cured it. Also, glad to hear you're excited for the Bilsteins. I was going to use them and then decided just to get coilovers this winter and they were sitting in the basement. Figured someone on here could use them. Hope you enjoy, and will be watching with interest.
The Tail of the Dragon is sweet. I actually prefer the Cherohala Skyway because of how much less crowded it is, but they're both amazing roads. I got to ride both of them on my Street Triple R this summer & it was like heaven. Now the Street Triple R is half disassembled in my parent's garage due to an unfortunate incident commuting home from work. :( Luckily I fared better than it did, mostly. I'm glad you figured someone on here could use the Bilsteins, because you were correct! :) The sway bar bushings on the Miata are so worn that I can see daylight between the bar & bushings. My current terribad plan is to pull big junkyard sway-bars from a truck or something, chop it down to the right width, & weld a piece of bar stock on each end with multiple holes to make them adjustable. There are probably numerous reasons why this won't work, which means it will be even more awesome if it does.

Miatas aren't as fun on Cherohala, in my opinion, or at least my 1.6L car isn't. You end up lugging along in 3rd gear at 45mph unable to go any faster due to gearing and torque curve. In a higher-powered car though, I'm sure it'd be fun though.

As for your suspension idea, hmmmm. In theory it could work, provided the welds were really good. Or you could do the double sway bar idea.

frecks
frecks New Reader
11/17/15 8:57 a.m.
NickD wrote: Miatas aren't as fun on Cherohala, in my opinion, or at least my 1.6L car isn't. You end up lugging along in 3rd gear at 45mph unable to go any faster due to gearing and torque curve. In a higher-powered car though, I'm sure it'd be fun though. As for your suspension idea, hmmmm. In theory it could work, provided the welds were really good. Or you could do the double sway bar idea.

That makes sense. The Street Triple R has 105 bhp & a 417 lbs wet weight, so it didn't have that issue. Instead, it is just such a sublimely good machine that it makes the rider overconfident, which can be dangerous.

I've never heard of double sway bars on one end. That's intriguing. I can see how it would work.

NickD
NickD Reader
11/17/15 10:29 a.m.

After some looking, I'm not entirely sure how you would make both bars hook to the same end link because they don't use the vertical rod-style endlinks. It would certainly require some creativity.

frecks
frecks New Reader
11/17/15 8:56 p.m.

My idle has been dropping down to like 200 rpm when I pull up to stop signs & signals. It feels like it's about to stall, then jumps back to normal idle. At first, I thought it was random. Then I realized that it only happened while I had the clutch held in & the car in gear. The problem never happened if the car was in neutral. This led me to the clutch switch. Here's what it looked like. The switch was barely even poking out of the end.

The spring was broken in 3 pieces. Luckily, it is the exact same size as the spring from the clicky pen that came home from work with me today!

Much better!

Got it reinstalled. I almost got myself stuck. I do not even remotely fit underneath the dashboard.

Took it for a brief test drive. Problem solved! That was a nice simple/cheap fix. In the last picture, you can also see the buzzer that I unplugged to stop it from driving me bonkers when the door was open.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/17/15 9:22 p.m.
frecks wrote:
Kenny_McCormic wrote: With that much toe you might want to replace that tie rod, or at least the inner, once they get a bend in them they bend easier and don't hold alignment as well.
I replaced the outer last week. The outer had tons of play in it. I noticed when I was doing the alignment yesterday that the inner was slightly bent. It isn't bad, but I'm sure the potholes here will help prove you right pretty quickly. With your encouragment, I'm going to order new ones at some point soon so I have them on hand if it becomes a problem.

FYI - toe out can also mean that corner got a curb strike and has a bent lower control arm. You'll also have too much positive camber in that case. Sounds like you found it, though.

I love seeing them get saved.

frecks
frecks New Reader
11/17/15 9:52 p.m.
Keith Tanner wrote: FYI - toe out can also mean that corner got a curb strike and has a bent lower control arm. You'll also have too much positive camber in that case. Sounds like you found it, though. I love seeing them get saved.

I love this forum & it's members for info like this. It seems I've found the issue, but that knowledge is still super useful. I'm picking up tons of little things like that from you & others here. It's great.

This thing will probably never be "valuable" again due to the rust, unless I turn out to be like a god with the welder - which is unlikely. But it will be a ridiculous amount of fun & learning from a car that was probably on track to meet it's maker soon. I like seeing them get saved too. :)

frecks
frecks New Reader
11/18/15 1:06 p.m.

It's car parts delivery day for me! 10AE Bilsteins & an oil filter (not pictured) for the Miata. Intake gasket, plugs, & wires for the PT Cruiser. This means I'll have to get moving on fabricating those top hats. Also, it's supposed to snow 1"-3" this weekend. Now that I've got snow tires mounted, I hope it actually does snow.

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