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Shavarsh Reader
1/11/22 1:02 p.m.

Lots of scattered progress, so here is a jumble of pictures. First goal: add 3 point seat belts. The pinto came with the shoulder belt anchor installed, so the only required addition was an anchor for the spool. Before the spool could be placed the rear panels had to be fitted to avoid interference.

After getting the panels roughly in place we just needed to whip up some mounts and weld them in.


And Voila! 3 point seat belts for the front:

Shavarsh Reader
1/11/22 6:11 p.m.

Some of you may remember I have already mounted the rear seat once. However I was unhappy with how the mounts turned out and now its time for a second go. I measured how far forward the bottom cushion had to move, and spaced each mount forward by that amount (2" even). Here you can see the 2" square tube stubs attached to the bottom cushion.

After welding those in, we needed standoffs for the seat latch, and support. The support will eventually receive a weld nut and rubber bumper.


When the mockup and tacking was complete everything could be welded in:

All of the hardware is 1/4-20 because i have weld nuts on hand for that size. I believe the 4 bolts that hold the seat pivot to the upright sheet metal are a bit undersized. I'll revisit this in the future if necessary. After a bit of grinding and paint we ended up here:

Shavarsh Reader
1/14/22 1:48 p.m.

I have been using an adjustable fan switch with a probe in the fins of the radiator for some time to activate the fan relay. However this system has never actually worked. The fans end up on all of the time or off all of the time. The hardware is also bulky and unsightly. I decided to add a cheapo ground switch (on at 185/off at 175) to trigger the fan relay instead. However I don't have any available coolant ports left on the intake. Instead I whipped up an inline holder for the heater hose. Here some pictures of the process:

First add some features to the bung:

Then turn a tube on the lathe, drill a hole in the mill, and weld:

Solder on a ground pin (because the switch will be held in with rubber hoses):

And install:


I haven't tested it yet, so we will see how reliable the cheapo switch is.


Shavarsh Reader
1/18/22 12:41 p.m.

The switch seems to work very well. The car gets up to temp faster and doesn't get over 190 so far. The next thing on the list was to attach the rear valence. A handful of 10-24 weld nuts later we have mounts. After paint I can permanently attach the valence.

First step was to make room for the weld nuts. I used a 1 1/8" hole saw:

After welding:

Test fit:

And with the bumper:

I am much happier with this attachment method than with the self tapers that held it onto the old sheet metal. I'm replacing as many sheet metal screws with weld nuts and bolts as I can on this project.

TurnerX19 UltraDork
1/18/22 1:04 p.m.

Thank you for removing self tapping screws from your car. The tire they puncture when they wind up in the road could be mine.

Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
1/18/22 1:07 p.m.

What weld nuts are you using?

I also want to eliminate self tapping screws 

Shavarsh Reader
1/18/22 1:23 p.m.

This is the type I prefer:

There are a few variations that I have tried but i like the simplicity of these. I was buying them individually at my local hardware store for awhile but I've started buying them 100 at a time to save a bit of coin.


I use this type when the loads are higher:

maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
1/18/22 3:57 p.m.

Awesome amount of progress! I also use those exact weld-nuts whenever I can before paint. I think I still have an extra box lying around. After paint, I switch to riv-nuts. 

Shavarsh Reader
1/18/22 6:54 p.m.

Thanks! I decided it was time to swap in the srt4 seats. First attempt at mounts were functional, but not elegant. I used sections of 1.5" box tube with holes to mount to the seat rails and nuts welded in to attach to the floor.

These mounts allowed for a test drive, but v2 was needed.

First some frames to attach to the seat rails:

Then some tabs to mount to the floor:

A bit of black paint:

Then we had one seat:

A while later we had 2 seats:


The srt4 seats have completely changed the way you can drive the car. Now that very little effort is needed to brace yourself, you can feel the suspension work and feel what the car is doing. 

Racingsnake Reader
1/18/22 8:53 p.m.

Lots of good progress! Do you still have the original front seats? I have a friend with a Pinto looking for some.

Shavarsh Reader
1/19/22 12:47 p.m.

Thanks Racing Snake, I still have the front seats but I'm planning to hang on to them for awhile. If your friend has a blue rear seat in good condition I am interested in buying that though haha.

Racingsnake Reader
1/19/22 10:22 p.m.

No worries, think my buddy is planning on keeping the back seat - it's black anyway.

TVR Scott
TVR Scott GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/20/22 10:24 a.m.

Yeah, those old seats don't look like they'd handle the G-forces too well.

Nice work on the new ones!

Shavarsh Reader
1/21/22 4:13 p.m.

Thanks Scott!

Yes the new seats have been a game changer. The car is really moving in the right direction. I had to time to stop in at the scales. With a 1/4 tank of fuel and no driver the Bean weighs in at 2620lb. A bit heavier than I was hoping but I am still happy with that number. I expect to gain another ~100lb in trim, carpet, and other finishing items.

Shavarsh Reader
1/26/22 4:49 p.m.

Playing around with some roof racks. I don't think these will stick around forever but for $10 it was a fun project to do a quick cleanup on them.

Shavarsh Reader
2/1/22 4:35 p.m.

A quick question to the audience. Have you seen or heard of another IRS equipped pinto? I have seen some pictures of a cruising wagon build with IRS but I don't know if it is driving around yet.

06HHR (Forum Supporter)
06HHR (Forum Supporter) Dork
2/1/22 4:44 p.m.

These days just seeing a Pinto is a rarity in itself.  A V8-powered IRS equipped Pinto?   Yours is the only one I know of..

wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
2/1/22 6:43 p.m.

In reply to Shavarsh :

Nope. We all bask in your unique awesomeness (note: not sarcasm). 

Shavarsh Reader
2/2/22 2:18 p.m.

Thanks for the kind words! If someone comes across another, let me know. Until then I'll consider this the first : )

Shavarsh Reader
2/7/22 11:56 a.m.

One of the goals for this build: power brakes. Here are some pictures of the start of the project.


Here is where we are starting, 15/16 master from a 1989 Ford Ranger:

A comparison of the Ranger master and the 7/8 Miata master with booster:

One of the issues with adding a vacuum booster to the pinto is the proximity of the clutch cable and steering column pass throughs on the firewall. To get around this, the booster must be spaced off of the firewall. Here is my solution: a bit of 1/8" plate and 2.5" exhaust tube:

After the mount was tacked up we needed a pushrod. Here are a couple tube ends whipped up for this purpose. The pedal side is 7/16-20 and the booster side is m10-1.25.

And the pushrod tacked up:

Shavarsh Reader
2/17/22 4:18 p.m.

A bit more welding, you can see the difference between a dirty mask (couldn't see the weld pool) on the left and a clean mask on the right:

A bit of paint:

Finally installed, lines ran, and bled:


The first spin around the block revealed that the brake pedal is very sensitive and soft at the top of the pedal, but feels better the more brake force is applied. I will need to figure out how to make the pedal feel more consistent throughout the travel. I don't have a bias valve in the rear line, so that may play a role. I've gone through almost a full bottle of fluid but may need to keep bleeding to firm up the top of the pedal. If there are miata specific tips that might help I'm all ears.

Shavarsh Reader
2/18/22 4:22 p.m.

After lengthening the booster pushrod the dead space in the pedal is gone. It feels much better now. I think the initial bite of deceleration is something I will have to get used to with power brakes. Looking forward to taking the car out for some more spirited driving.

Shavarsh Reader
2/21/22 2:42 p.m.

Finally made it out onto some fun roads. Turns out the term "canyon carver" is a real thing. I had a blast feeling out all the recent modifications to the car.

Shavarsh Reader
2/22/22 7:05 p.m.

The brake light switch needed a shim to work with the new pushrod, and even then didn't actuate until braking hard. I'm not a huge fan of the design of the ford switch anyway (requires extra free play in the pedal to actuate the switch) so I was planning to convert to the switch from the miata pedal cluster I have. The miata switch is actuated when the pedal moves and comes off the switch. The ford switch is activated when the pedal pin moves forward relative to the pushrod, requiring some resistance from the master cylinder to actuate. The two are shown below, miata style still attached to the miata pedal cluster and original ford switch in the bottom of the frame.

After considering it a bit the easiest option would just be to put a lighter spring in the ford switch. This solution avoids building new brackets and having to adjust the switch if the pedal height is adjusted. A bit of searching and it turns out there is a different part number for cars and trucks with power brakes. The local store had the switch for a 2008 E-150 which is a match with a lighter spring! After installing, the brake lights activate as soon as you rest your foot on the pedal: Success!

Shavarsh Reader
3/1/22 6:48 p.m.

Now that the car is a bit more capable, I am taking some time to do a bit of optimization before the next round of major modification. That brings us to O2 sensor/gauge installation. Here are some pictures of the progress:

First pull the Y pipe and install bung:

Slather the connectors in copper rtv where they might leak (good luck future me):

Whip up a sheet metal gauge pod to add to the column:


Then a lick of paint and install:


I'll drive it for awhile with a plug installed in the O2 port to give the sealant some time to burn off so I don't foul the sensor right away. Looking forward to being able to actually tune this thing.

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