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docwyte
docwyte UltraDork
12/21/18 12:40 p.m.

So everyone here has a love affair with these cars, me, not so much.  I live up at altitude so the rather low horsepower is even lower and I'm a unabashed horsepower guy.  The bigger problem I have with them is I just don't fit in them!  I'm not all that tall at 5'11" but I'm all torso, which means I basically look over the top of the windshield in these.

Like the rest of you I'm constantly scanning the cars/parts classifieds, even when I'm not looking for a car.  That's when lightening struck, right here, on our very GRM classifieds board, I found an ad.  An ad for a '94 M edition Miata.  With all kinds of Flyin Miata stuff on it.  Even better, it was basically local to me, maybe 45 minutes away.

Hmm, ok, that's worthy of a click.  Reading the ad and looking at the pictures revealed a nice, low mileage M edition Miata, with a Flyin Miata Link based turbo system, Flyin Miata suspension a Hard Dog rollbar and more.  The price was quite enticing, mostly because the owner wanted it to go to one of us, someone who'd take care of it and bring it back to life.  It'd been sitting for several years due to a back injury.

I reached out, chatted with the owner and went to look at the car earlier this morning.  On the entire drive up I was going through the reasons why I wouldn't buy the car.  It'd be a basket case.  It'd have tons of rust.  It would drive like a turd.  Oh yeah, I don't *fit* in them!

Pull up, car is in the driveway.  Meet the owner, who I have quite a bit in common with.  Look over the car, it's in good shape.  Now, scratch that, it's in *great* shape.  Body is really good, no rust.  Paint has a few chips here and there but shines well and clear coat is intact.  Top is new and has a glass window.  Interior is very nice, save a small tear in the drivers seat.  Car has a nice but vintage, aftermarket stereo system.

It fires right up and idles well.  Took it for a drive, carefully as the tires are wicked old and dry cracked, but it drove well.  Turbo boosted up to full boost.  Brakes worked, clutch worked, tranny shifted fine.

I still didn't fit all that well in it but now I'm very conflicted.  This is a really nice miata!  With lots of cool, expensive parts on it!  For, um, cheap!  I actually told the owner he could ask and get quite a bit more, to which he just shrugged. 

Now what to do?  I don't really need another car.  I've never really had the hots for a miata before.  I still don't really fit in the car.  But this is a low mileage, nicely modded example and I know I'll never find one like this again in this price range.

The owner must see me internally waffling and basically offers it to me at a brainless price that includes all his extra parts, including a freshly rebuilt head by one of the best in the Spec Miata field.  I accept.  Uh, I now own a miata?!

It can't be driven home due to the dry rotted/cracked tires and we're both heading out of town for the holidays.  I drop him a check today and he's going to send me the bills of sale and the signed title when it clears.  Then in the New Year, when we're both back in town, I'll use one of my AAA tows to bring it back to me house.

docwyte
docwyte UltraDork
12/21/18 12:44 p.m.

So, here's what it needs.

#1  Tires!  It has the stock 14's, which severely limit my tire choices.  Either I run Toyo R888R R Dot "race tires" on the stock wheels or I need to get a set of 15" wheels so I can run auto-x cheater tires like RE-71R's or Rival S's.  Thoughts?

#2  It needs the timing belt, all other belts, hoses, spark plugs and wires swapped out.

#3  It need every single fluid flushed out.  I understand there's fluid in the shifter I need to flush??

#4  It needs a new cat so it'll pass emissions.

#5 The factory coolant temp gauge didn't work.  I'm assuming a bad coolant temp sensor?

#6 I want to take the drivers seat to my upholstery guy to have the tear fixed and have him do a foamectomy.  Will this give me another 1" of headroom?

#7  I want to add a momo steering wheel as the stock one hits my legs.  How do I wire past the airbag so it won't throw a light?

Would appreciate any other tips/thoughts on this!  There's a possibility I could squeak this under budget for the Challenge, so any heads up on cheap parts that I need I'd appreciate it!

turtl631
turtl631 HalfDork
12/21/18 12:49 p.m.

For wheels, 949 6UL are the obvious if not budget option.  Can do 15x8 to get some meat under that thing.

Brake_L8
Brake_L8 New Reader
12/21/18 12:49 p.m.

Looks good! It's an M-Edition as evidenced by the special paint color and tan leather/tan top. 

I would upgrade to a 15x7" wheel with a 205/50/15, at minimum. Not sure how much power the car puts down but 15" will give you more tire selection and potentially more width.

Yes, there is fluid in the shifter. Take off the knob (it should unscrew) and the leather boot, then pull out the rubber boot underneath that. Borrow your significant other's favorite turkey baster and suck the fluid out of the little shifter turret that the shift lever sits in. It'll take I dunno, a few ounces of new stuff. This does actually help shift feel so it's worth doing.

Foamectomy will definitely sit you 1+" lower in the car. I'm 6'2" and a good split of legs/torso, and cutting foam out made my car (1995) much easier to fit in.

docwyte
docwyte UltraDork
12/21/18 12:56 p.m.

In reply to Brake_L8 :

Yup, it's an "M" Edition, hence my "Flyin M Miata" title!  Good to hear about the foamectomy.  What about deleting the factory airbag steering wheel?  Right now the wheel hits my legs, I'd like something smaller

docwyte
docwyte UltraDork
12/21/18 12:56 p.m.

In reply to turtl631 :

Can I fit 225-50-15's without having to cut/pull the fenders?

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
12/21/18 12:57 p.m.

Pull the bottom seat cushion. All the way. Bare steel seat pan. Fold a bath towel in half, lay it on and take a drive. It won't be comfortable per se, but it will let you know where your eyes fall in relation to the dash and window frame. Add a little padding and see how it feels. When you get it where you want it, then bring it to your upholstery guy and have him rebuild the seat to the height that you know you already like. 

In my car the difference between full seat foam and an inch of squishy foam on the pan is the difference between casual indifference and love. 

M16ta
M16ta New Reader
12/21/18 12:59 p.m.

Whatever you do, you should plan on bringing it to FM's Summer Camp!  The Kool-Aid is free, and you are welcome to drink as much as you want there...

Also, 225/45/15 should fit with proper offset (something like +36) for an 8" wheel.

dculberson
dculberson UltimaDork
12/21/18 1:05 p.m.

Jealous here!!  Awesome color and a great price, I'm sure. I hope you really enjoy it.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/21/18 1:16 p.m.
docwyte said:

So, here's what it needs.

#1  Tires!  It has the stock 14's, which severely limit my tire choices.  Either I run Toyo R888R R Dot "race tires" on the stock wheels or I need to get a set of 15" wheels so I can run auto-x cheater tires like RE-71R's or Rival S's.  Thoughts?

#2  It needs the timing belt, all other belts, hoses, spark plugs and wires swapped out.

#3  It need every single fluid flushed out.  I understand there's fluid in the shifter I need to flush??

#4  It needs a new cat so it'll pass emissions.

#5 The factory coolant temp gauge didn't work.  I'm assuming a bad coolant temp sensor?

#6 I want to take the drivers seat to my upholstery guy to have the tear fixed and have him do a foamectomy.  Will this give me another 1" of headroom?

#7  I want to add a momo steering wheel as the stock one hits my legs.  How do I wire past the airbag so it won't throw a light?

Would appreciate any other tips/thoughts on this!  There's a possibility I could squeak this under budget for the Challenge, so any heads up on cheap parts that I need I'd appreciate it!

1. 15s for sure. If you get 15x8s, you can run 225s with some sidewall squish or 205s with nice stiff sidewalls. If you want 205s with some squish, get 15x7s. We know a bunch of wheel options at varying price ranges.

2. Certainly never hurts.

3. There may not currently be any fluid in that shifter turret. Expect to have to change the big and little shift boots. The result will be smoother shifting and less heat in the cockpit.

4. Probably. And check the tune. Did it come with a SerialLink? That will allow you to datalog.

5. The car actually has a separate coolant temp sensors for the gauge and for the ECU. You can access the ECU reading through the Link keypad, which is a nice trick. Did you get the instruction manual for the Link?

6. DIY upholstery is pretty easy. Skin the seats by cutting the hog rings. Then you can try Seth's towel trick. I also strongly recommend you do your own foamectomy. It's over-simplified on most of the online writeups. The best way to do it is to assemble the seat base and back without the seat covers, then cut some foam and sit. Then cut more foam and sit. Cut some out of the back, of the shoulders, whatever it takes to make the seat fit you. The end result is a supremely comfortable fitted custom seat. Then you can install the new upholstery with zipties.

7. The foamectomy may help there. Also, you have the option of retaining the airbag if you use one of our Cipher wheels. Alternately, if you pull the steering wheel airbag, you can put a resistor across the connector. Or just pull all the airbag wiring and controller, but that will kill the one on the passenger side.

I would recommend you find a copy of this for a how-to on things like the shifter fluid and the airbag: Miata Performance Projects Also available at Amazon etc.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/21/18 1:17 p.m.
M16ta said:

Whatever you do, you should plan on bringing it to FM's Summer Camp!  The Kool-Aid is free, and you are welcome to drink as much as you want there...

Also, 225/45/15 should fit with proper offset (something like +36) for an 8" wheel.

225/45-15 on an 8" wheel  will fit if you have an offset of +35 or higher. It's really close, so any lower and you will start to rub. If you roll the fenders, you can use lower offsets. 

docwyte
docwyte UltraDork
12/21/18 1:19 p.m.

In reply to dculberson :

I couldn't pass it up at the price offered to me.  Even though I wasn't planning on buying it.  I don't need another car!  Going to sell the euro GT3 seats from my 996 to cover the costs of buying the miata

docwyte
docwyte UltraDork
12/21/18 1:22 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Thanks Keith.  Owner wasn't sure how old the timing belt was.  I have it ingrained in me that you change those every 60k miles or 5 years.  That the same on this car?  Interference engine?

It is coming with the Link instruction manual, I don't know if it has the data logger.  I figure I'll replace the cat get it nice and hot and see if it passes smog as is.  Apparently the previous owner brought the car to you guys to have you tune the Link and install the FM Tokico suspension back in the day.

docwyte
docwyte UltraDork
12/21/18 1:23 p.m.

In reply to M16ta :

When's the FM summer camp?  Might be a fun event to go with my son and I'm not all that far away from FM....

M16ta
M16ta New Reader
12/21/18 1:29 p.m.

In reply to docwyte :

June 20-23, 2019.  https://www.flyinmiata.com/news/summercamp/index.php

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim MegaDork
12/21/18 2:46 p.m.

Re the tires - if you want to stick with 14", Falken makes the Azenis in 195/60R14. That's what I run on my NA and they work pretty well.

docwyte
docwyte UltraDork
12/21/18 2:56 p.m.

In reply to BoxheadTim :

Nice!  I just checked and Discount Tire has them for $105 each.  I'd love 15" wheels but at least I can just replace tires and save a bunch of money.  Nothing wrong with that!  I kinda want to keep the spend on this low.

docwyte
docwyte UltraDork
12/21/18 2:57 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Made my first order from you, got that book you recommended.  Once I get the car over here I'll call you and order everything else I need/want. 

I mailed the check today, so its official!

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/21/18 4:04 p.m.

So that was YOUR book I just signed laugh

Factory schedule for the timing belt is 60k miles, no time limit. I like to err on the side of caution myself. It's a non-interference engine so if the belt breaks, the only thing that gets ruined is your day.

AnthonyGS
AnthonyGS Reader
12/21/18 4:05 p.m.

Welcome to the world of Japanese roadsters.  Enjoy it!  I'm still thinking about a Boxster myself. 

 

 

docwyte
docwyte UltraDork
12/21/18 4:07 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Awesome, a signed copy! 

Hmm, ok, well then maybe I'll just inspect the timing belt then.  Car only has a little over 60k miles on it so I know the belt doesn't have nearly that many. 

I'll get tires (Maybe wheels?  What 949 6UL wheels do you have in stock that aren't black or white?) a tune up kit, flush all the fluids, get all the old fuel out of the tank put in a new cat and see if it'll pass smog.  Then foamectomy and steering wheel, along with pads/rotors.

What's the ticket for track pads for this that won't drive me crazy on the street?

docwyte
docwyte UltraDork
12/21/18 4:08 p.m.

In reply to AnthonyGS :

My default is definitely to a Boxster S but this thing was just too good to pass up, especially for the price.  My friends son is already bugging me to buy it in a few years when he's 16!

docwyte
docwyte UltraDork
12/21/18 4:13 p.m.

Friend hooked me up with the Carfax, car was originally from my old stomping grounds on Cape Cod, then went to Florida, then came to Colorado in 2001.

Looks like the tranny and rear diff fluids were changed ~2000 miles ago/4 years ago.  So they should still be fine.  I'll change the oil, check the shifter oil and flush the brakes.  What about the coolant, that was changed the same time as the tranny/diff stuff, so 4 years on it but basically no mileage...

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/21/18 4:35 p.m.
docwyte said:

In reply to Keith Tanner :

I'll get tires (Maybe wheels?  What 949 6UL wheels do you have in stock that aren't black or white?) a tune up kit, flush all the fluids, get all the old fuel out of the tank put in a new cat and see if it'll pass smog.  Then foamectomy and steering wheel, along with pads/rotors.

What's the ticket for track pads for this that won't drive me crazy on the street?

You can see our 6UL stock in real time on the site. We have one set of Beryllium (the current hot color) 15x7s but otherwise it's black and white. That's not going to change anytime soon, there's no ETA on the next shipment of 6ULs. The Advanti Storm is nice and light and makes for a great looking 15x7. The offset is a bit low on the 15x8 so you do have to roll the fenders, but it looks great.

Also - there's a Tire Rack warehouse in Denver so you don't pay shipping. Honestly, just go to Tire Rack in your case!

 

docwyte
docwyte UltraDork
12/21/18 4:49 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Tire Rack sells the 949 wheels?

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