wae UltraDork
7/24/20 7:30 a.m.

For the first time in over a month, I actually have a little bit of free time on my hands, so let's get us caught up.

The full details are here, but the rough cut is this:

Got the hub back.  Looked pretty good:



I put another new wheel bearing in the knuckle and got the hub in.  Boom.  All good.

One thing didn't work out:  I have these longer wheel studs that Greenhouse gave me.  I've put wheel studs in before and there's a little groove in the knuckle to let you knock the old ones out and pull the new ones in, right?  Yeah, so the long studs don't fit there and the new studs that came with the hub from Timken don't have the requisite notch cut in them to fit, either.  So getting the regular-length studs in there was a bit of a PITA, but I wasn't about to put yet another new wheel bearing on there PLUS do the other side.  The long studs will have to wait.

Next problem was the sway bar:

There was no getting a wrench or socket on that.  So I got agressive:

I didn't do it at the time, but since we're talking about the front-left corner here I did come back and tighten the strut body collar and correct the camber.  So the front suspension was all good to go.

Now the motor mount.  Oh, that motor mount.

Eastside Tim gave me some help in getting that project started.  I had spent a lot of time with cardboard and parts diagrams and photos trying to figure out what to do.  in the end, I settled on basically re-creating the 1gn engine-side bracket that could also accommodate the structural collar of the 2.4 Turbo.  I got some 1/8" steel bar stock and some 1 1/4" angle and we went to work:

The welds are ugly, but it fit:


To make up the offset on the lower transmission bolt, I ground the zinc off a nut coupler, welded it on, and trimmed it down:

And just like that, the first step is completed.  Next up, I need to connect it to the body-side mount.  Which is angled.  Apparently on purpose:

A little bit of cardboard-aided-design and I was able to determine what the right side needed to look like:

For those of you keeping score at home, look at the body-side mount versus the charge pipe.  That information becomes important later, but I wish I had realized its importance at this step.

Continuing on, I made a little wedge out of some angle for the left side to accommodate the angle of the mount:

And when it was all put together it looked something like this:

Refining it a bit after some test fittings got me this ugly bracket:

I did some more test-fitting and hole-drilling, threw a little paint on it, and finally had a front motor mount:

For my next trick, I needed to get that fixed bobble strut bracket re-installed.  Rather than go with another solid bobble rod, I went ahead and put the OEM bobble strut back in place.  But...  it didn't fit.  The strut would bolt to the brackets but then the transmission bracket was way out of line and couldn't even begin to bolt to the trans.  So I un-bolted the front motor mount and discovered my problem.  I had no idea that the bobble strut spacing was so tight, but the motor was at such an angle that while the front mount was fine, the bobble strut would have needed to be located through the transmission case itself in order to get to the K-member bracket.  In retrospect, that should have been pretty obvious, but I never claimed to be smart.

So back to the grind:

Well crap.  That won't work.

And I actually had to cut that bracket down even more.  Now, notice the spacing between the charge pipe and the body mount, right?  That should have been a clue.

I cut up some more 1/8" bar stock and welded it to the existing bracket:

The right side went pretty well, but on the left side, because of that wedge I added, the bolt hole was now going to be right through the edge.  Look for the starter hole for the new bolt hole on the center-left of the picture:

I welded on some more stacks of bar stock to even that out a bit and re-drilled the hole:

At this point, I'd like to point out that the cheap electric finger sander from Harbor Freight is fantastic for this kind of work when you add some of the 3M purple 1/2"x18" sanding belts.  It turns that cheap-o sander into a very narrow grinder and the 3M belts seem to last forever.  After some cleanup work and paint, I had this:  (again):

And now it all bolts up correctly:

I considered just removing the torque strut, but I figured that any additional support should help, given my experiences, so I turned my attention to that.  The biggest problem was that because someone put an oil pan in the way, I had to either rub the strut against the pan or have a long bolt to connect the strut to the engine.  So I pulled off the bracket that connected the strut to the K-member and decided to extend it a bit:

Welding those bits of bar stock on and then a little grinding and sanding gave me this:

And now the torque strut doesn't rub and has a much shorter bolt:

With all that taken care of, it needed a test drive.  I filled up the radiator and left it to run for a bit to get the air out while I put the street tires on.  After the system was bled, I put the hood on, pulled out of the garage, and went for a quick drive.  It didn't take long before I was getting white smoke from under the hood, fluid on my windshield, and a total loss of power steering.  Ruh-roh.  I was pretty sure that I had cut through the power steering lines with the alternator pulley, so I brought it back into the shop and shut it down.  I pulled off the hood and discovered:

As it turns out, that is NOT a proper place to install the cooling system pressure cap.  The worst part about that is as I was getting ready to pull away from the garage I stopped to get out to double-check the cap.  But then I distinctly - but very inaccurately - remembered putting the cap back on before I put the hood on.  But after some more coolant and some more bleeding, along with 100% MORE radiator cap installation, everything was fine.

It made the drive back home with no problems other than the usual idling and tip-in issues that I still need to tune out (and, like, get a functioning idle air control system).  In fact, it even made the drive without catching on fire even a little bit!

Tomorrow is the OVR 2-day RallyX event at Bitzer's so the real test is coming.  I've driven it around on the streets a bit this week and have tried to hit every bump I can find, but there is something about Scott's place that just punishes the motor mounts so if it can survive the weekend, I think I'll finally be able to call it "fixed".  Here's hoping!

wae UltraDork
7/25/20 5:01 p.m.

Well, day one has worked out okay.  Everything seems to have held together and it was good enough for 2nd in class, 3rd overall.

wae UltraDork
7/26/20 7:19 p.m.

It was pretty dusty this weekend, but there she is on the trailer and ready to roll home.  And the only difference in the car versus when I loaded it on the trailer is more dirt and less fuel.  There are no signs of damage to the motor mounts at all.  Everything is tight and the welds look good after 21 pretty abusive runs over 36 hours.

eastsideTim PowerDork
7/26/20 8:02 p.m.



wae UltraDork
8/25/20 11:53 p.m.

Since the next event is coming up on Saturday, I decided to not procrastinate.  I wanted to give it an inspection to make sure the mounts were holding up, just check things out to make sure nothing was broken or breaking, and clean out the beads on the front tires.

If I back up the to shop just right, I don't need the ramps. 

Before tackling the list of things I really needed to do, I wound up doing this:

Little bit of masking tape...

Little bit of PlastiDip...

That should cover up the paint that was coming off the roof in sheets.  I'm not sure I really love the color, but it was what I had.

Next up, the mounts looked great after a good close look.  No cracking, nothing bending, nothing loose.

I needed to replace the vacuum cap that disintegrated last time out so I also went ahead and hooked up the smoke machine.  Found that my electrical tape patch wasn't doing a perfect job and the PCV hose to the intake manifold was apparently cracked.  I also hooked the smoke up to the intake tract and discovered that during one of the broken motor mount events the engine rocked forward and put a hole in the aluminum hot side charge pipe.  I didn't have any of the piping at the shop with me but it's really easy to get to so I'll cut a bit and have it ready so I can swap it out later this week.

After all that, I cleaned up the beads, re-beaded the tires, and out it back on the trailer.  It's basically ready to go.

Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter)
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
8/26/20 9:14 a.m.

Glad it's good to go. 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
8/27/20 4:16 p.m.

Dangit, we gotta stop not being prepared until Friday at 10pm.  Just got the cancellation e-mail.

EvanB (Forum Supporter)
EvanB (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/27/20 4:31 p.m.

I didn't prepare anything but I guess that wasn't enough to offset it. 

wae UltraDork
8/27/20 4:47 p.m.

Yeah, just saw the email.  I guess I'm not surprised.  Never been ready ahead of time without a cancellation!

EvanB (Forum Supporter)
EvanB (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/27/20 4:52 p.m.

I lied. I forgot that i ordered an air filter so i wouldn't have to clean the old one and it showed up around 5.

wae UltraDork
9/23/20 5:45 a.m.

The hole wasn't as big as I thought it was (heh heh), but I went ahead and swapped that pipe out last night.  I also went ahead and set all the tire pressures and stuff like that.  Once again, I forgot to check what size hose I need to replace the one that I rerouted directly to the PCV, so I can't fix that just yet.  Most of my time was spent diagnosing and fixing the right trailer light.  I thought it was a ground, but actually both the taillight and the brake/turn wires going to that light were faulty.  And then after I got the taillight wiring replaced, I proceeded to forget what color was what and spent a bunch of time testing the brand new wire and being really confused as to why the taillight wire was good but the brake light didn't work.  Not my proudest moment, but I got it sorted eventually.

Everything should be good to go for Saturday now.  I'll just want to check and top-off tire pressures, but otherwise there's nothing that I'm aware of that needs to be done.

wae UltraDork
9/27/20 10:09 a.m.

Yesterday's course beat the everloving snot out of the car.  It was on the front field which has some really nasty ruts in it and the course went over three of them.  Despite that abuse, the only problem I had with the car was the new charge pipe coming loose.  And that was probably more of an issue with the original installation.  I think that I had the elbow to the intercooler a little too far on the inlet which meant there wasn't enough "bite" on the pipe.  Once I moved that around, however, it held just fine for the rest of the day.

That's three events with zero breakage and the motor mounts are all still looking great.  Hopefully I can call this officially fixed!

wae UberDork
12/1/20 11:20 a.m.

So I have basically a complete interior to install in the car, but I've been waiting to get new carpet to put in first.  So, I went ahead and did this today:


Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter)
Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
12/1/20 11:26 a.m.

In reply to wae :

Woot! Finally!

Jerry PowerDork
12/4/20 6:47 a.m.

I thought weight addition was a bad thing?

Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter)
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
12/4/20 7:31 a.m.

I need to order some also. 

wae UberDork
12/4/20 9:10 a.m.

I've actually pondered ways to put a couple hundred pounds of ballast in the trunk to see if it would help!

Mostly the interior is gone because I wanted the recoup for the $2005 and $2012 Challenges.  For RallyX, the few pounds that the interior bits weigh probably doesn't make a measurable difference given the power levels.  And I would actually like to be able to drive it around more than I do.  Heck, it might even get a radio!

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
12/4/20 3:43 p.m.

Interior panels weigh very little, but they transform a car from "pita to live with, never drive it except on and off a trailer" to "enjoyable to drive on the road, further justifying its existence/gaping hole in my bank account"

(also, I'd expect a rule making door panels mandatory to be happening)

Now, if you could cram A/C in there, you'd be golden!  Buuut I have seen the engine bay.

Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter)
Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
12/4/20 3:48 p.m.

Radio: im running a $9 blaupunkt head unit and a yard sale amp and cheap component speakers in the miata now. Works good enough to be useful over top down, horrifically loud exhaustm rattles and gear noise! 

And weighs about 10lbs.

wae UberDork
12/4/20 6:52 p.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

I've got door panels.  They just need a little more duct tape....

I've spent some time staring at it trying to figure out how I could make it happen.  If I went to an electric steering setup I'd get a little more room there and then I could cut out the core support entirely and build a new one from tube so I could push the radiator forward enough to get the condenser in.

wae UberDork
12/4/20 6:55 p.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) :

I like the sound of that.  All I need is something that can take Bluetooth from my phone and push it to some speakers.  Of course, I'll need to re-run all that wiring since I might have sort have pulled it all out far far ago in a galaxy long long away.

The other thing I've thought about, though, is a double-din setup running something that could communicate with Megasquirt.

Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter)
Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
12/4/20 6:59 p.m.

Or a rca to 3.5mm jack and plug it into the headphone Jack on the phone. Thats how i had it initially. Works fine, but i prefer having a knob and buttons. 

wae UberDork
12/4/20 7:10 p.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) :

I had that for a while, actually!  I cut down a sheet of OSB, mounted a small speaker box and an amp to it, put battery clamps on it to power it, and then the adaptater to plug my phone it.  I'd just throw it in the back when I was driving around town and take it out on race day.

But also I prefer the buttons and knobs

wae UberDork
4/16/21 3:41 p.m.

When the truck was out of commission last month, I drove the Neon around quite a bit.  I had a chance to get it up on the lift real fast to give it an inspection and it actually looks like it doesn't really need much to be ready for the first event of the season next weekend.

I also got my SA2020 helmet ordered and USPS claims that they expect to have to me by the 23rd.  That's cutting it mighty close.  I also didn't realize how far away this place is until after I signed up.  Looks like a four-plus hour drive each way.  I'm gonna need a nap.

List of things I need/want to do this coming week:

  1. Need to reattach the inside door handle linkage
  2. Change the oil
  3. Top off trans fluid
  4. Replace the vacuum line that runs from the intake to the catch can
  5. Inspect all the vacuum caps.  For some reason I lose at least one of those per season due to them cracking a bit and then blowing themselves apart.
  6. Fiddle with the tune a little bit to get it to idle better and not stall out on throttle tip-in.  It may be a simple matter of just clipping something on the throttle body to hold the butterfly open a little bit since I don't have a functioning IAC
  7. Have my mud tires moved to my two spare AR24s and have the Pirelli rally tires mounted on the bubble wheels so I can try those out
  8. Install the mechanical oil pressure gauge
  9. Reflow the solder on the gauge cluster
  10. Install a new coolant temperature gauge or repair the wiring for the current one.  I've got a coolant gauge that I bought to install on the RV, but I'm not sure I'm ever going to get around to installing it there so I might as well use it here

I'm not sure how much of that I'll actually get done, but the top 5 absolutely have to be done.  In order to do that, though, I'm going to have to get a new battery for the Miata and some 2x6s so that I can get the Miata off the lift and bring the Neon up.

I suppose I could have done any or all of those things in the last several months, but here we are...

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
4/16/21 7:46 p.m.

In reply to wae :

You're coming to Joe's?  Awesome.  Definitely a power course with that big hill.

If the test event was any indication, we will run there mud or shine. Finally got to use my mud tires. The track holds up very well to wet conditions.  The paddock not so much.

Our Preferred Partners