dan0
dan0 Reader
7/17/18 6:59 p.m.

So this Miata went through two owners here on GRM, not sure where it came from before that.

Here's the history on it.

First for sale thread: https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/200x-classifieds/challenged-na-miata-located-near-worcester-ma-1000/117308/page1/

Second for sale thread (when I got it): https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/201x-classifieds/miata-parts-car-18-swap-potential-for-rebuilding-in-ct/140531/page1/

A bunch of pictures and videos interlaced on my Instagram (sorry you'll have to scroll through some cat pictures too): https://www.instagram.com/42green/

I ended up buying it, well more like trading it for a set of tires. Originally it was to be a set for the owners other Miata but turned out to be a set for his wife's car. So the total was $274.38, plus the cost of a U-Haul and some gas. He got some parts out of it (wheels, hardtop, and roll bar) and got it out of his garage making it worthwhile for him. 

It's been sitting a while and needs some rehab but working through it slowly and cheaply. Considered prepping it for $2019 challenge but I don't like keeping records so for now I'm just plugging away at it. Two big issues, rear brakes and a very rusty gas tank. The previous owner picked up a spare and trying getting the car running off that. I had trouble with it like that and tested the car running off a Jeep ZJ gas tank I had. Two cans of Seafoam and two gallons of 93 and it slowly started running better. WIth it running (kind of) next step up was the fuel tank replacement. Daunting it seemed from the posts, but whatever some time is less than spending money to buy a fuel cell. 

Started taking it apart on Friday. Spent three hours and got almost everything out. Broke one bolt and the rear of the power plant frame. My uncle came up to my house for moral support and tool fetching. We both kind of jinxed it. At one point I said, "I'm really surprised how well it's coming apart so far, I thought it would be a lot worse" and he said, "But it's always one bolt that grinds things to a halt." Yup, cursed. Using a cheater pipe on the breaker bar, the last bolt from the power plant frame into the diff broke. 

Saturday, I started by dropping the old tank and installing the replacement. Then dropped it again and replaced vent and fuel lines, spent $5 figured it would be better than having to do the whole job all over again... Then I started on extracting the bolt.. It didn't go well About seven more hours of buying drill bits and chisels, trying to get it to turn from the top, grinding away at it. Drill bits started then failed, grinding away I figuted I would be able to get the insert apart, NOPE. Gave up. I also tried getting the car to run and failed on that adding to my frustrations. 

Sunday, new tactic tried. I didn't know at first that that the threaded insert at the top could come out, so I started from the bottom trying to knock the remaining shoulder of the bolt and insert out of the ppf. Figured it shouldn't be too hard since I really hacked up the top of it pretty good already. Nope, I cracked the spacer that bolts to the diff. Ah well, I'm all in at this point and cut off the bulk of the ppf to make it eaiser flipping the subframe back and forth. Then I just went grinding and chiseling at everything I could (minus the diff and subframe) Finally got it apart.

Monday, got the subframe back in so I could get the car back on the ground. Balancing it on a floor jack and two 2x4 actually worked better than I thought. Down on the ground I finally figured out I had the fuel pump wired backwards. The harness on the replacement was loose originally and I swapped the damaged connector with the good one from the original rusty pump. I had assumed the grounds would have line up with the level sender, but instead it was a criss cross. Now with the pump pumping it finally starts more like a regular vehicle 

What's next? Now unfortunately I need to source a replacement ppf, spacers that go on top and bottom of the diff, and the original broken bolt. Then it's the rest of the re-assembly, ppf back in, drivershaft, brake lines, and exhaust. Then sort out the rear brakes and clutch so it can drive and stop. Then it's time to have some fun with it. 

If you happen to need a soft top or parts of it, I am selling mine (already removed) https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/201x-classifieds/fs-miata-soft-top-and-frame-located-in-northwest-c/141151/page1/#post2552844

 

I'll add some more pictures soon. Other than the peeling paint and surface rust the car is very solid. One rocker is soft the other is perfect. 

dan0
dan0 Reader
12/19/18 6:58 p.m.

Work has progressed:

  1. PPF replaced
  2. Clutch master and slave replaced
  3. Fuel filter replaced
  4. Sold the seats and some other parts

What's next:

  1. Replace rear calipers and brake parts, bleed brakes
  2. Bleed clutch slave cylinder
  3. Find a race seat or modify a random seat I have for temp use
  4. Drive it on the road!
  5. ?????
  6. Profit!
dan0
dan0 Reader
4/15/19 1:49 p.m.
dan0 said:

What's next:

  1. Replace rear calipers and brake parts, bleed brakes
  2. Bleed clutch slave cylinder
  3. Find a race seat or modify a random seat I have for temp use
  4. Drive it on the road!
  5. ?????
  6. Profit!

1, 2, and 4 have now occurred. Need to find a seat. 

dan0
dan0 Reader
4/15/19 6:56 p.m.
dan0
dan0 Reader
4/19/19 3:11 p.m.

Woot! Picked up a free seat today from the previous owner of the Miata. His boss bought it from Summit Racing was used a a gaming chair, then he needed to downsize some belongings and passed it on. Even came with slider brackets so fabricating will be a little easier. Fits decent with 2x4 underneath right now.

 

Edit: A little searching the seat is from JEGS. https://www.jegs.com/i/JEGS/555/70245/10002/-1

dan0
dan0 Reader
4/27/19 11:38 a.m.

First day on the road earlier this week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcrJJacdhCc

It's now got 50 miles on the road, 

dan0
dan0 Reader
5/5/19 9:57 p.m.

It's still chugging along, now with a trip to a local car show yesterday has 190 miles since re-birth. The driver's side window was held up with a bungee cord when I bought it. I pulled the glass out immediately but the regulator was still there loose and rattling around. I removed all of that this weekend. It's tight in my garage right now and been raining, but up this week will be gutting the passenger side door when I can pull it outside. I'd like to do some aluminum door panel replacements eventually.

My whole point in building this is budget. I got it cheap and I'm building it "cheap" By that I'm stripping as much unnecessary things as possible, sort of like a rat rod, but still functional as a Miata, so a track rat. Not planning on doing any racing series / competitive autocross so I'm not concerned with building anything in it to specifics.

Things up to do:

Oil change, previous owner did an oil change at some point when he was trying to get it running (2016-2018 sometime)

Top off transmission gear oil, some leaked when I had the PPF out and the transmission was angled down before jacking it up level. I do hear some gear noise while engine braking. I know I'm being a little cheap here but the clutch seems to slip some, but I'd like to get some life out of it before replacing. When I change the clutch the fluid will need to be drained again. 

Add headlights, they were removed at some point. I've been careful not to be out anytime near dusk currently. 

Replace exhaust gasket, I had the exhaust down and lost a gasket for the rear muffler. 

Secure battery, tie down missing. 

Overall bolt and component check.

Remove carpet, since I'm going sans top completely with this, if I do get caught in the rain I don't want to worry about carpet getting wet and drying, creating possibility for rust / mildew. 

dan0
dan0 Reader
6/10/19 1:55 p.m.

Update:

Well now it's been about 300 miles on the road. Top speed of 115 mph (closed course) achieved.

Headlights installed, battery secured, exhaust gasket replaced but it still sounds like a leak somewhere. 

I bought a cheap set of wheels but unfortunately one has a bend and vibration (30-40mph only), but they do have some 160 tread wear tires on them I'll use up the last of them. 

Once I put the wheels on I wanted to lower it a little, but unfortunately was un-aware of how the rears don't really go low with extended top hats, bought a set but they didn't seem to work with my cheap coilovers. I'll just wait a bit and get a better quality set of coil overs more suited to the task (thinking BC Racing).

 

jstein77
jstein77 UltraDork
6/10/19 1:59 p.m.

I've heard of patina, but that's ridiculous. cheeky

 

dan0
dan0 Reader
6/10/19 7:33 p.m.

In reply to jstein77 :

I'm considering doing a very cheap paint job. Thinking that even a really bad DIY job, might still look better than the patchiness. Someone described it to me looking like spots on a cow. 

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
6/10/19 7:43 p.m.

Rustoleum. Thinned with mineral spirits and a splash of hardener sprayed with a harbor freight gun.

1 quart will do a miata.

WonkoTheSane
WonkoTheSane SuperDork
6/10/19 8:07 p.m.

Glad to see you're still plugging along with it :)

dan0
dan0 Reader
6/11/19 7:23 a.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael :

That looks really good. I do have a cheap Craftsman spray gun that came as part of a combo of air tools. Might have to give it a shot. 

dan0
dan0 Reader
6/19/19 8:28 p.m.

So the last time I drove the Miata it was rattling underneath and exhaust was a little louder than before. I crawled under it and had a look, low and behold the exhaust behind the catalytic converter was loose again. Bad enough that one nut was gone, and the other could be removed by hand. I went to the hardware store to buy replacement nuts and lock washers this time. Oddly the nut fit best on a SAE size, I got them home and they won't thread on and the threads on the studs don't look so great. Probably why they loosened up in the first place. Fine I'll remove the studs, no go. Cut them off and drill out, no go. In the end I went the opposite way and scrapped the cat for $70 and spent $125 on an ISR Performance Cat delete with resonator. I was planning on just making a test pipe but reading quick online a lot of people weren't happy. Too loud, drone over 3k, raspy over 3k. Obviously kind of expected but people with the ISR piece seemed pretty happy, still loud but not annoying.

The budget including sold pieces the total is still under $1000. Link to Miata Budget - Google Doc

 

dan0
dan0 Reader
7/5/19 11:27 a.m.

Just about to tick over 500 miles since rebuild. Still had an exhaust leak I finally found as the EGR pipe cracked right after the connection to the exhaust manifold. I took the pipe off and welded a nut into place. I got too confident tacking a little on the inside and messed up the threads a little. Without a tap that big, I went for it trying to install it. Messed up threads on the exhaust manifold. So last option I jammed it on and welded it to the manifold as best I could reach. At that point the manifold threads were damaged so what did I have to lose? I made a block off plate one my CNC machine for the intake manifold. 

Just waiting on a new shift insulator (upper and lower)

Total for the project now at $906.29

 

dan0
dan0 Reader
7/19/19 6:59 p.m.

Broken on Friday: Flat tire noticed after getting home. Pulled slightly when I was a couple miles from home, it was probably the tire dropping slowly.

Progress from Monday/Tuesday: New upper and lower insulators, and turret filled with oil. Center console in with two screws. Also put in delrin door bushing things (instead of the softer rubber). Sorry couldn't think of the correct name. Tire leak was dry rotted tire valves. $4.36 bought 4 new ones, did all four on Tuesday. Also tried to beat the bend ouf of the one bent wheel and tried swapping it to the back. Didn't work out well and worse vibration on the back. 

Problems left: Tires aren't great and are due to be replaced. Wheel has bend, PO said it balanced it before. Been trying to find a good replacement but can't find any. I don't really want to pony up for new wheels AND tires right now. Also don't really want to buy tires then still have a bent wheel. Maybe pull iy put a spare on and see about getting it repaired. Small "convertible rattles, but otherwise feeling pretty solid. Pleased with the 600+ miles I've been able to put on it so far

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