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lnlogauge HalfDork
1/31/21 4:34 p.m.

If the forces on the diff are in the z direction, I'm struggling a little to understand how sandwiching pieces with 2 bolts in the x direction would be most effective. Especially with the hole drilling pretty close to the notch, it seems like that removes material where you want it the most. 

I'm sure these have been designed by engineers smarter than me. I have no problem being completely wrong, but it doesn't make sense to me. 

Rodan Dork
1/31/21 4:50 p.m.

The plates are flanged, so they support the casting when bolted in... essentially 'boxing' the casting.  Obviously not as strong as welding them in, but should provide an improvement.  If I do end up having to remove the diff, I may just weld them in.

jfryjfry (FS)
jfryjfry (FS) Dork
2/2/21 12:34 p.m.

Had a question about your bender stand and tried to dm you but not sure if it went through. 
would love to get/buy a copy of your plans for the stand.  I am having no luck reaching the guy who made them. 
You can email me if you'd like - my user name at yarhoo



Rodan Dork
2/2/21 7:48 p.m.

In reply to jfryjfry (FS) :

Sorry, been working away from interwebs all day.  I responded to your email.

Rodan Dork
2/5/21 4:04 p.m.

Last weekend we went on our first longer drive in the Jeep, driving it to Phoenix for lunch.  We took the long way home, so the whole trip was ~200 miles.  75mph interstate, urban freeways and surface streets, 65mph rural highway, and slower rural 2 lane mountain roads.  No dirt on this trip...

It was comfortable, quiet and mostly unremarkable.  Which is precisely what we were looking for on the road.  Although I was initially debating getting the 5.7 Hemi, the 3.6 V6 never lacked for power in the real world, and I'm glad we decided not to get the V8 (I can't believe I actually said that...).  Fuel mileage was 22.9mpg over the 200 mile loop, a number the V8 wouldn't have achieved.  With the 24gal tank, that gives it a real-world range of over 400 miles with a 4 gallon reserve.

Hope to take it on some local dirt roads this weekend.

Rodan Dork
2/5/21 4:09 p.m.

Today, I finished prepping the rear knuckles and picked up the reman brake calipers for the NB.

Hubs, studs and bearings:


The upper knuckle bushings were pretty trashed, so I picked up some urethane replacements.

With the fronts... OEM Mazda re-packed with good grease and ARP studs... all ready for install

Hope to get this all going this weekend as well....

Rodan Dork
2/6/21 3:27 p.m.

Put the NA back in the trailer and hauled it back to the storage yard.  NB is in the garage, ready to go under the knife.

Front before:

Rear before:

Rodan Dork
2/6/21 3:36 p.m.

Took the Jeep up the mountain today.  We were just going out to play in the snow a bit... the higher elevations still have quite a bit from the storm a week or so ago.

Didn't make it very far into our loop before coming across a young lady who had her Jeep Renegade stuck in the snowy bar ditch on an uphill section.  Fortunately, I had loaded my recovery gear into the Jeep before we left.  Unfortunately, I didn't have a recovery point on the rear, having literally just ordered a hitch mounted clevis/shackle on Amazon before leaving the house.  The Bronco had them built into the bumpers on both ends, but the Jeep only came with hooks on the front.

I went up the road far enough to turn around and came back down the road to pull front to front and hooked up the tow strap.  The Jeep pulled her out with no problem.  After watching her back down the hill to a turn around point, I'm pretty sure it was her driving (and tires) that got her stuck...  cheeky

While we were pulling her out, a guy in an older RR Discovery came down the hill and told us there was a Toyota stuck about two miles up blocking the whole road, with the owner nowhere to be found.  We decided to cut the trip short at that point, but at least the Jeep got the chance to perform its first rescue.

Sorry, no pics, but I was busy with the recovery and my wife was busy handling the dog out in the snow... 

Rodan Dork
2/6/21 5:07 p.m.

Went back in the garage and put the fronts together.  From the looks of the front pads, my timing was right on...

It looked like the front hubs were relatively new, but whoever did it didn't stake the spindle nuts properly.  Oh, well... it made removal easier.

New stuff on the front...

I'm leaving the old caliper lines hooked up for now.  Once I get all the mechanical parts in place, I'll deal with the new lines and flushing the hydraulics.

Rodan Dork
2/7/21 3:47 p.m.

Passenger rear went together easily, but the driver's side axle didn't want to come out of the hub.  This isn't uncommon, but less so in southwest cars.  It's the first one I've had trouble with.

After some significant effort with the 3 jaw puller, I got it loose.

After some consideration, I think I'm going to swap it out with one of my spare axles.  Which, of course, I took to our storage unit on Friday...  So that's it for today.  

Also, FB Marketplace finally coughed up a winner and I sold the last of my Camaro stuff today.

Rodan Dork
2/8/21 5:53 p.m.

Got the spare axle installed, and the new brake lines in.  Everything is done except for bleeding the brakes, and torqueing/staking the rear axle nuts.  Once my wife gets home, I'll put her to work on the brake pedal... cheeky

New springs and bumpstops also showed up today, but that project is going to wait...  because I got a tracking number on the hardtop for the NA, and it should be here Thursday... 


Rodan Dork
2/12/21 11:12 a.m.

UPS never showed up after waiting all day yesterday, but finally showed up this morning.  UPS guy was a motorcycle trackday rider, so we had a good conversation while unloading.



Rodan Dork
2/13/21 3:48 p.m.

NA is back in the garage, old hard top is up for sale in the usual places.  New top test fitted...  it's definitely a 'race' fitment.  Not sure I would want to try to make this thing work on a street car.

This shot really shows how much roll bar design is compromised when keeping the soft top on a Miata, which takes up all that space between the rollbar rear supports and the rear of the package shelf.

Hopefully I can get the roll bar out tomorrow, and start working on removing the stock seat belt towers.

If anyone in AZ is reading, I'll make you good GRMer deals on the old hardtop and/or rollbar... wink

Rodan Dork
2/13/21 3:51 p.m.

Other parts that showed up this week...

Fluidampr harmonic dampener and new crank trigger wheel.  The BP engines are not known for their smoothness, and I've been waiting a while for the new version of these to become available.

Rodan Dork
2/14/21 4:29 p.m.

Pulled the rollbar this morning, and it took all of 45 minutes to sell on a 'local' Miata FB group.  Much better than marketplace!

Roll bar removed and package shelf area cleared off...

While I was waiting for the rollbar buyer to show, I cut out the seatbelt towers and welded up a couple of seams.

I need to make and weld in some covers for the holes cut for the roll bar support, as new holes will need to be cut further back.  Also need to make some bulkhead patches to seal off the area where the seat belt towers were.  Those I'll make out of aluminum and they'll be bolt-in.

Planning to pick up tubing for the main hoop and the rear part of the cage tomorrow so I can start bending things up.

Rodan Dork
2/15/21 3:14 p.m.

Picked up a hardtop cart so I can move the heavy top around until it sells (hopefully quickly), and then it will provide a convenient place to put the race top while I'm working on the cage.  It's amazing how much space a hardtop takes up sitting on the floor...

I should have bought one of these a long time ago, but it really wouldn't have had a lot of use.

Also picked up 20ft of 1.5" DOM and some plate for mounting points this morning.  The DOM tubing is $4.50/ft...   This isn't going to be cheap, but I'm pretty sure I'll still come in under one of the 'kit' cages.  I plan to keep track of materials for the cage just to see where it comes in.

Rodan Dork
2/16/21 5:10 p.m.

Today went a lot more slowly than expected... I spent a couple hours this morning moving some stuff out of the garage, then re-arranging it into fabrication mode.

Once I finally got started, I was able to finish the mounting plates for the main hoop.

Here's the area where the plates will be welded in, after stripping the seam sealer, but before taking it down to metal:

As usual, I got in the zone, and didn't take any pics in progress, but the mounting surfaces are made up of a small plate (horizontal) that will mount the main hoop, and a front plate that runs down the bulkhead.  One of the door tubes will mount to this surface.  

Both sides finished:

Welding to old sheet metal is a PITA.  Looking forward to working with tubing for a bit.

Rodan Dork
2/17/21 12:13 p.m.

Started on the main hoop this morning.

Step 1 was using the roller to put a gentle curve in the top of the hoop to get it closer to the inside of the top.

Step 2 was putting the bends in for the uprights.


I did the layout on the garage floor to figure my dimensions and bending angles.

Rodan Dork
2/17/21 12:19 p.m.

Perfect fit to the mounting pads...

But, just a bit too tall.

That's OK... I cut the legs a little long so I could get a nice tight fit to the top.

I chickened out a little early with the roller (I went too far with my practice piece), so there was a little less curve in the hoop than in the top.  This had the effect of 'raising' the corners in comparison with the center of the bar, and that's where the top is contacting.  I still have about an inch of increased height on center compared to a straight hoop and a little trimming will get it to the proper height on the sides.

Rodan Dork
2/18/21 3:11 p.m.

Slow progress, trying to get a couple hours in every day.  I rotated to a graveyard shift, so my sleep cycle is totally berkeleyed right now.  But it does give me time to work on the car.  I can sleep when I retire, right?  cheeky

Got the height dialed in on the main hoop and built the harness bar today.

I took some head scratching, but I managed to bend the harness bar the way I wanted it on the first try.

Fitted and tacked...

Fit to the top turned out pretty good.  Just enough room for padding over the bar on the driver side, and I didn't lose a lot in the center.


Next, the hoop comes back out to fit a diagonal brace in the same plane that will intersect the harness bar.  This is the Miatacage main hoop I'm patterning mine after:

Rodan Dork
2/19/21 3:25 p.m.

Finished the diagonal brace today.  It took a LOT of fitting and fiddling, and one wasted piece of tube to get the position and angle right with both pieces.


Diagonal ties into both the hoop and mounting plate at the bottom.


wawazat Dork
2/19/21 4:45 p.m.

Very nice work!   That looks great.

Rodan Dork
2/21/21 4:48 p.m.


Next step with the cage is the front tubes.  In order to really get those right, and brace them to the A pillar, I needed to remove the windshield.  When I had the NB windshield replaced a few weeks ago, I loosely set it up with the installer to pull the NA windshield as a side job.  I figured it would take him about 1/3 the time it would take me for the job.  Then I lost his number.  I found it today, but he couldn't do it until next weekend, and that puts me way too far behind schedule... DIY it is.

I picked up some tools at HF and went to work.  And it wasn't that bad.  I managed a few new scratches in the paint, but "race car", right...? cheeky

Hopefully I can get the dash pulled and start on the front tubes tomorrow.

Rodan Dork
2/22/21 10:58 a.m.

So, walked into the garage with my cup of coffee this morning, and just contemplated things...

and for a LONG time, I considered just chopping off the A-pillars and going all Speedster on it...  devil


Something like this:


Then I came to my senses, and got to work... cheeky

Dash is out...  noodling front tube/dash bar design...

cmcgregor (Forum Supporter)
cmcgregor (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
2/22/21 11:39 a.m.

While I love the speedster look, this thing is going to be badass when you're finished with it too. 
Cage is looking great!

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