Developing a Project Plan | Garage Rescue Miata

David S.
Update by David S. Wallens to the Mazda Miata project car
Jan 4, 2021

This garage find wasn’t some unknown machine with a secret past. We built this 1992 Mazda Miata two decades ago. We know what parts were installed and even have the records. 

But two decades is also a long time ago, meaning it was time to replace a few routine items. We knew it was due for a timing belt, while the puddle on the garage floor strongly suggested that the clutch hydraulics needed attention. 

The 2005 date stamp on the tires told us that they needed to be replaced. And stat. 

The Jackson Racing cold-air intake uses a foam filter, and ours was coming apart–we’ve had that happen before. For $24.99–on sale!–we ordered a replacement from Moss Motors

The big question, of course: What was in the fuel tank? To be honest, we couldn’t remember. 

We made up a to-do list: 

The Miata has been sitting for several years–possibly since 2012–and we’d like to drive it again. It ran when parked. It might start right up. But it still needs some work. 

We’re not sure what’s in the gas tank. Can we drain it? How does the rest of the fuel system look? We have a fresh fuel pump on the shelf.

It should also get a new fuel filter.

The battery is dead and old. We assume we should just replace. Stock-type is fine. 

It needs an oil change. Let's change the transmission fluid, too. 

We should change the diff fluid as well. The car has a Kaaz limited-slip diff. We run a GM limited-slip additive.

Looks like the clutch hydraulics are leaking, and the fluid’s very dark. Let’s flush the system. If it needs a new slave, replace. Upgrade to a braided line at the same time? Anything else to do there? 

The brakes should be flushed. The lines are already braided. Let’s assume the pads are fine for now.

It’s due for a timing belt and whatever that entails. Timing belt was changed about 20 years ago. 

How do the coolant hoses look? Radiator is maybe 12 years old. (But doesn’t have much mileage on it.)

Most of the items on this list were fairly routine yet mundane, but small reality check: Draining all that fuel would be easier to do on a lift, and all of ours were busy. So we pressed the Easy Button and sent the car to Spec Miata prep shop BSI Racing

They worked on this Miata back in the day, and they’re located around the corner from the GRM offices. Plus having an experienced set of eyes look over things might not be a bad thing considering all of the deferred maintenance: Let them knock out the routine stuff while we tackle the more involved tasks. In fact, here's a photo of our Miata at BSI Racing back in 2002.

Now that the Miata was clean enough to be presentable, pulled up the AAA app and requested a tow. 

 

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