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SteveDallas
SteveDallas New Reader
1/2/17 8:41 p.m.

Alignment

I had a plan. It was a brilliant plan. The brilliant plan was to drive the car 5 miles to the local Firestone for an initial alignment, then wait a couple of days for the suspension to settle, set the ride height exactly where I want it, and take the car to Cobb Tuning for a more precise final alignment. The plan was not so brilliant, as it turns out.

After performing all the suspension work, I tried to back the car out of the garage. Rather than roll, the front tires skidded across the polished garage floor and made an interesting noise that is rather difficult to describe, without invoking unpleasant sounds of wounded animals. Seeing and hearing that, I knew the front tires would not make it the 5 miles to Firestone without significant unnecessary wear, so I would have to do a quick and dirty alignment myself.

Using fragments of knowledge I gleaned from reading GRM, I used straight edges, levels, bits of string, newt entrails, and masking tape to adjust the front end alignment to make the car drive-able. According to my crude measurements, the Tramp had about 3.3 degrees of toe in per side in the front plus about 4 degrees of negative camber, which made for some interesting caster. Wow.

My redneck alignment was not that great, but it was good enough to drive the car to Firestone. Their alignment was not that great either, but I kind of expected that. They were in the rough ballpark of my specs, but putting all the rear total toe into the left wheel is probably not the best prescription for precision.

Immediately after bolting on suspension stuff (steering wheel is not ghey):

After Firestone alignment and settling of 1/4" +/- 1/8" all around:

I have a new set of track wheels on the way. Once installed, I'll adjust the ride height, then take the car to Cobb this week or next for "final" alignment (which is really just my first crack at finding settings I like).

SHAKESBEARD
SHAKESBEARD New Reader
1/3/17 6:29 p.m.

I'm seriously enjoying this build. As a fellow bad back sufferer, I'm curious about what you will do for a seat. The one and only time I "threw my back out" was at VIR, on track in a stock seat in an E36 BMW. Have since sold that car but for my next one (again, likely to be a Miata... or another BMW... or...) I was thinking a Kirkey seat or equivalent with a custom foam insert. Please include what you do there in your build thread.

OHSCrifle
OHSCrifle GRM+ Memberand Dork
1/3/17 8:24 p.m.

Entertaining read. Keep it coming.

SteveDallas
SteveDallas New Reader
1/4/17 9:33 a.m.

I love free horsepower.

dcamp2
dcamp2 New Reader
1/4/17 11:26 a.m.

Nice car... I did a similar bolt-ons build with my old miata except used a rotrex supercharger instead of a turbo kit.

Do you have a 6 speed transmission? You'll probably need one to handle the turbo. Also I think if you're upgrading brakes you might as well go with the biggest brakes possible. I did Wilwood caliper/11.75" rotors in front, stock rear caliper on sport rotors in back- it was awesome.

Good Luck!!

codrus
codrus GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/4/17 12:05 p.m.
dcamp2 wrote: Do you have a 6 speed transmission? You'll probably need one to handle the turbo. Also I think if you're upgrading brakes you might as well go with the biggest brakes possible. I did Wilwood caliper/11.75" rotors in front, stock rear caliper on sport rotors in back- it was awesome. Good Luck!!

The 5-speeds are generally fairly reliable if you keep the car in the low 200s for torque and refrain from doing wheel-hop drag race launches on it. Get it much over 250 and they become consumables.

SteveDallas
SteveDallas New Reader
1/4/17 9:26 p.m.

@SHAKESBEARD: I'll definitely update the thread with whatever seat choice I make. That is a can of worms all its own.

@dcamp2: I have the 5 speed. My expository thinking is I like the gearing better for my home track than the 6 speed. Should I blow it up, It will likely be cheaper to source a 6 speed replacement than to rebuild this 5 speed.

@codrus: That is precisely why I'm thinking 200WHP as a good starting point for FI. I'm hoping to get what my RX-8 lacks at that HP level by turbocharging this Miata. I should get the low end torque the RX-8 wishes it had, plus a better power to weight ratio. In theory, at least.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/4/17 9:27 p.m.
SteveDallas wrote: I love free horsepower.

Or the feeling of faster throttle response on initial tip-in, anyhow :) Were you unable to get full travel on the butterfly before?

I've only seen four transmissions blow (3 five speeds, 1 six speed), but all of them happened under continuous load and not a launch. Of those that blew, three were on 350+ rwhp cars and the other was a 250 rwhp track car that took 8 years to pop it.

codrus
codrus GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/4/17 9:44 p.m.
Keith Tanner wrote: I've only seen four transmissions blow (3 five speeds, 1 six speed), but all of them happened under continuous load and not a launch. Of those that blew, three were on 350+ rwhp cars and the other was a 250 rwhp track car that took 8 years to pop it.

Bob, Igor, mine, and what's the other one? :)

SteveDallas
SteveDallas New Reader
1/4/17 9:44 p.m.
Keith Tanner wrote:
SteveDallas wrote: I love free horsepower.
Or the feeling of faster throttle response on initial tip-in, anyhow :) Were you unable to get full travel on the butterfly before? I've only seen four transmissions blow (3 five speeds, 1 six speed), but all of them happened under continuous load and not a launch. Of those that blew, three were on 350+ rwhp cars and the other was a 250 rwhp track car that took 8 years to pop it.

There was enough deflection in the cable, that the butterfly did not fully open under WOT. I doubt it amounts to much, but I found it amusing. The added throttle response is nice, too. It goes from "off" to "on" more quickly.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/5/17 1:56 a.m.
codrus wrote:
Keith Tanner wrote: I've only seen four transmissions blow (3 five speeds, 1 six speed), but all of them happened under continuous load and not a launch. Of those that blew, three were on 350+ rwhp cars and the other was a 250 rwhp track car that took 8 years to pop it.
Bob, Igor, mine, and what's the other one? :)

Not counting yours - I'd forgotten about that. Bob, Igor, Track Dog and Pokee. There have been varying failures by varying cars at varying events over the years, I was only counting ones that I'd had a chance to take apart or was directly involved with. I suppose I should also count the NC 5-speeds we lost during the MX-5 Cup 25 hour race, but that was a very different sort of failure.

TurboFocus
TurboFocus New Reader
1/5/17 5:42 a.m.

Lol the salt and sarcasm are palpable from OP.

Curious to what's gonna happen next

NordicSaab
NordicSaab HalfDork
1/5/17 6:30 a.m.
SteveDallas wrote: @SHAKESBEARD: I'll definitely update the thread with whatever seat choice I make. That is a can of worms all its own.

I just did a thread about my Ultrashield Spec Miata seat install in my NB. Might be helpful to see how i did it.

Either way. Im curious to see what you do.

codrus
codrus GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/5/17 6:34 a.m.
SteveDallas wrote: @dcamp2: I have the 5 speed. My expository thinking is I like the gearing better for my home track than the 6 speed. Should I blow it up, It will likely be cheaper to source a 6 speed replacement than to rebuild this 5 speed.

5-speeds are dirt cheap, AFAIK nobody bothers to rebuild them.

6-speeds are moderately expensive, a grand or so. The thing is that if you swap one of those in, you really need to swap the rear end ratio as well. A 6-speed with the 4.3:1 that the 5-speed NBs mostly came with would be ridiculously short gearing.

At the low 200s, if a 5-speed fails you're probably better off just swapping in another used 5-speed.

SteveDallas
SteveDallas New Reader
1/5/17 6:25 p.m.

The Round Things Fairy paid me a visit today. I wonder what these could be?

SteveDallas
SteveDallas New Reader
1/6/17 9:02 p.m.
NordicSaab wrote:
SteveDallas wrote: @SHAKESBEARD: I'll definitely update the thread with whatever seat choice I make. That is a can of worms all its own.
I just did a thread about my Ultrashield Spec Miata seat install in my NB. Might be helpful to see how i did it. Either way. Im curious to see what you do.

Cool. I'll look for that thread. I have been reading the MiataTurbo forums over the past couple of days and found that to be a popular seat. It's also made here in Texas, which scores it major points with me. I'll check it out for sure.

SteveDallas
SteveDallas New Reader
1/6/17 9:03 p.m.
codrus wrote:
SteveDallas wrote: @dcamp2: I have the 5 speed. My expository thinking is I like the gearing better for my home track than the 6 speed. Should I blow it up, It will likely be cheaper to source a 6 speed replacement than to rebuild this 5 speed.
5-speeds are dirt cheap, AFAIK nobody bothers to rebuild them. 6-speeds are moderately expensive, a grand or so. The thing is that if you swap one of those in, you really need to swap the rear end ratio as well. A 6-speed with the 4.3:1 that the 5-speed NBs mostly came with would be ridiculously short gearing. At the low 200s, if a 5-speed fails you're probably better off just swapping in another used 5-speed.

Always appreciate the depth of knowledge that resides on this forum. Thanks for helping me get my feet wet.

SteveDallas
SteveDallas New Reader
1/6/17 10:13 p.m.

Well, this is disappointing.

It seems a single snowflake fell in the Dallas area this afternoon, and the Metroplex did what it usually does, which is light its hair on fire and go into total freakout mode. As a result, the Partsmageddon I had planned for today did not arrive. The plan was to receive all the brake parts needed to complete that upgrade, then mount the new wheels, set the ride height, and take the car to Cobb Tuning for precision alignment one day next week. I have a track day next Saturday, and I want to take the Super Tramp instead of the RX-8 if I can.

OTOH, the weather is starting to look crappy for next weekend, and if it stays that way, I might as well take the Tramp with street brakes and tires and enjoy the extended driving lesson.

FWIW, the parts which are supposed to be here are: GWR's take on a 2.5" Singular Motorsports brake duct kit, cheap-O Centric rotors, Carbotech XP-10F and XP8R brake pads, a Wilwood brake proportioning valve, Goodridge stainless brake lines, 949 aluminum centering rings, and 949 aluminum lug nuts.

GWR's brake duct kit is made to use the fog light holes as inlets. That presents a bit of a dilemma for me, because I usually drive to the track starting at 5:30AM, and it is often foggy. I actually use fog lights for their intended purpose. In trying not to overthink things, I may just leave the hoses long, and route them to the front bumper mouth and zip tie them (including the compressed extra) to the undertray for now, until I decide what to do more permanently. All they need is flow to start serving their purpose.

Ducts should largely address one of the major frustrations I have had with the 8, which is brakes with plenty of stopping power, but not enough cooling capacity. My 8 is a Series 2, of which Mazda made very few, which means the available brake duct kits do not fit. I could roll my own, of course, but oil coolers and lines, sensors and wires, and adequate positive pressure concerns have kept me from going there. It can be done, but you have to be willing to seriously hack up the car, and mine is too nice for that. Until recently, a front BBK for an RX-8 was $2500, so I never did that either. Ergo the Miata. I digress.

As for the stainless brake lines, I'm neither here nor there on them. After installing them on my 8, I noticed no improvement in brake pedal feel. The OEM lines were only 2 years old at that point, however, so they did not have much time to become squishy with age. Based on that experience, I figure $5 lines from Rock Auto should perform just as well, as long as they are replaced every few years. I just threw the stainless ones in my cart, because they were on holiday sale, and I had a 20% off coupon with free shipping again. That made them $50 for the set, which is worth not having to think much about brake lines again for the life of the car.

Enough rambling for tonight. Let's have a photo or two.

Advanti Storm S1 15x9 rims wrapped in Toyo R888 225 45 15 tires. I picked these up on sale for $129 per rim and $99 per tire. I've driven on a lot of tires, but never R888s, so this is my opportunity to try them and collect some data. Carrying on with the red and black theme.

I thought the Enkeis on my 8 were light. Holy carp.

Rodan
Rodan Reader
1/7/17 7:48 a.m.

Red and black is a good combo!

Enjoying your build. Keep up the good work!

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/7/17 12:36 p.m.

About those fog lights - they don't work as fog lights and they collect rocks so you're usually looking for a replacement for the broken one. Install the ducts instead

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/8/17 1:56 p.m.

In reply to SteveDallas:

<thread derail>

Interesting, it looks like I'm not alone after all with RX8 brakes having heat issues. I've actually been looking for a duct kit but haven't been able to find one, would you have any links by any chance? Otherwise I'm looking at making/having one made...

</thread derail>

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/8/17 2:51 p.m.

I"ll bet the NC ones would fit an RX8.

https://www.flyinmiata.com/awr-nc-brake-ducts.html

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/8/17 3:13 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner:

Do you happen to know what the diameter of the rotors is on the MX5?

Edit: To answer my own question it looks like the NC front rotors are 290mm in diameter, vs 320 for the RX8.

SteveDallas
SteveDallas New Reader
1/9/17 2:47 p.m.

In reply to BoxheadTim:

I'm not saying I'm the oracle of RX-8 ducting kits, but the only one I can currently find is from Mazda Motorsports for $251. I don't know what comes with their kit; it may just be the spindle attachments. I have seen those attachments made GRM-style, where the OEM heat shields are cut for a flush-mounted aluminum flange, which is riveted in place. Simple, cheap, reasonably effective. The flanges and hose usually come from Aircraft Spruce, so you can cobble together your own "kit" with parts purchased there.

Speaking of brake ducts. I have not finished this installation, because the hose has not arrived yet, but I did manage to mount the spindle attachments last night. The flanges are not finished pieces, so I enlisted my son to wet sand them to a 600 grit finish. I will paint them black semi-gloss before they go on permanently, but it is too cold to do that now.

SteveDallas
SteveDallas New Reader
1/9/17 2:52 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner:

Is the photo correct on your web site? The NC MX5 has a 5 lug hub like the RX8, yes?

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