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Apexcarver
Apexcarver UltimaDork
12/22/22 10:14 a.m.

You are successfully making me miss my NA.  That said, I do have a Bugeye Sprite and I love it for making trips an adventure. The NA was the right kind of effortless that you were still wonderfully engaged, but didnt have to think about it as much, the Bugeye takes enough more that its not as relaxed.

 

Look forward to seeing what the "purity miata" plan looks like. 

 

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
12/22/22 10:20 a.m.

338 is a special car just because of the low VIN.  being owned by keith berkeleying tanner makes it more so.  reading this thread makes me want an NA.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim MegaDork
12/22/22 11:49 a.m.
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) said:

reading this thread makes me want an NA.

You and me both. And I've owned seven of the things already, including a very early UK model that ended up being bought from me by Mazda UK.

 

JoeTR6
JoeTR6 Dork
12/22/22 12:13 p.m.

I wish that I had my 1990 Miata back.  It went to a friend after I bought the MSM, but it just felt more Miataish.  Alive is a term that often is used to describe this feeling.  Mine received new stock bushings and Konis a few years before it left, and that did really restore the magic.  Good to see this one being treated so well.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/22/22 12:59 p.m.
Apexcarver said:

You are successfully making me miss my NA.  That said, I do have a Bugeye Sprite and I love it for making trips an adventure. The NA was the right kind of effortless that you were still wonderfully engaged, but didnt have to think about it as much, the Bugeye takes enough more that its not as relaxed.

My mom had an MGB as her first car - one of the very earliest ones. She once accused me of showing off when I put the top of my own Miata down in a couple of seconds. Dad's family had a bugeye and at least one B that they picked up at the factory. "An MG that works" I think was basically the brief for the Miata :)

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/22/22 1:06 p.m.

So, an unplanned modification. I was putting some stuff away in the shop and I noticed the set of Clearwater speakers I'd pulled out of another Miata a year or two ago. These were the speaker upgrade to have back in the day, and my donor car was actually a Miata magazine project car around the time that 338 joined our family. So they have a bit of history themselves. I figured what the heck, and in the amount of time it takes to play Jamiroquai's "Feels Just Like It Should" (4:32, apparently) I had them installed. 

Nice. There's a reason these were so popular. There's more bottom end and overall better clarity. Now, when I think about it, one of my other Miata stock head units was fettled by Jeff Anderson (RIP) years ago to tweak it a bit, I might swap that in. It looks completely stock.

Here's the comparison between a set of fully functional 1989 Miata speakers and the Clearwaters. Interestingly, the cone in the stock parts is not anchored on the periphery but is in free air. Maybe I should have weighed them, I'm destroying the lightweight purity of the car :) But they sound good.

Am I starting to modify beyond the original purpose of the car? I think not. Dad was a bit of an audiophile as was his father, and I know he would have appreciated the improvement in reproduction without doing something like mounting subwoofers on the rear deck. This is the sort of thing he would have appreciated if I'd done it for him back in the day, and that's pretty much the metric I'm using here.

Apexcarver
Apexcarver UltimaDork
12/22/22 1:33 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Its hard to pin the way to put it, but if you accept the limitations of a small two seater, the miata is practical in that its simple enough to do what you need to that you dont have to think about it. If you keep it in oil changes and timing belts, its reliable (unless you mess something up with modifications). It just does the job. 

Mine was a 95 base with power steering as the only option and served as my daily for the period between graduating college and having kids.  I added power door locks to it as a practical measure and yeah, there was awhile I very much wished it had been equipped with aircon.  There still isnt another car I would prefer over it for chucking into a curvy mountain road. 

That said, the bugeye is a wonderful project to tinker with and keep going. 

RedGT
RedGT Dork
12/22/22 2:48 p.m.

I am curious what you find out from the alignment shop.  Out of curiosity, how much front camber was there?

I know you have been deep into many, many of these cars but in my experience with a handful of them - mostly neglected ones so maybe bushing slop is playing a role here - they always have a lot of rear camber relative to front and gain even more when lowered.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/22/22 3:18 p.m.

In reply to Apexcarver :

The effort/reward ratio is very good on the original Miata, I think that's the secret. My '85 CRX is pretty similar, it's a lot like my classic Mini but it's never as much of a pain in the ass.

Noddaz
Noddaz PowerDork
12/22/22 6:16 p.m.

I have this ball joint tool.  I am glad to see that it works well with bushings.

I need to introduce it to my Jetta.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/22/22 6:54 p.m.
RedGT said:

I am curious what you find out from the alignment shop.  Out of curiosity, how much front camber was there?

I know you have been deep into many, many of these cars but in my experience with a handful of them - mostly neglected ones so maybe bushing slop is playing a role here - they always have a lot of rear camber relative to front and gain even more when lowered.

I picked up the car when I was on my way to do other stuff, and I didn't realize they hadn't given me a printout until I got home. So I don't have the "before" handy. I did just take a peek at the adjuster positions, and they're in the middle quarter of their range so it's pretty clear that what I was seeing was user error. I'd been able to get the front dialed in right where I wanted it, but the rear was misbehaving.

I'm running 0.5 degrees more negative camber on the rear than the front on this car, the target was -1.5 degrees in the rear. The car isn't lowered* so excessive camber was unlikely. That's why I called it quits, things weren't making sense.

If you want to know what alignment settings I'm running, you can find them in "Mazda Miata Performance Projects" by Keith Tanner, available at fine booksellers everywhere. Also Amazon.

 

*it's a stock 1990 running Konis on the "R package" setting, which means it's probably 2" lower than a stock 1996 which might as well have been called the Safari edition given the ridiculous ride height boost in 1996.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/22/22 6:59 p.m.

I also have to mention that we took the temporary Carrera with us to pick up the Miata, and Janel followed me with it on the rest of our journey. The 911 is a 2009 4S with the PASM adjustable suspension, and she was unable to keep up with the Miata through the roundabouts with the suspension on "normal" as it was moving around too much. She had to go to "sport" (which should also be labeled "harsh") to keep up with a 33 year old, 116 hp car on all-season 185/60-14 tires.

I'm thinking I should put my resume in to Porsche for suspension tuning, it's no wonder journalists loved the suspension on our ND V8 so much if this the shock quality they expect from Porsche.

Slippery
Slippery PowerDork
12/23/22 9:00 a.m.
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) said:

338 is a special car just because of the low VIN.  being owned by keith berkeleying tanner makes it more so.  reading this thread makes me want an NA.

I was curious after reading this how early my '90 Miata ('89 production date) was ... I never knew they made so many in the first year! Looks like between Keith's dad and mine there are more than 120k cars!

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/23/22 10:05 a.m.

The leading 1 means the first year of production, so that's number 22649. My 4/90 car is 50590. 

Slippery
Slippery PowerDork
12/23/22 10:34 a.m.

Ok. That makes much more sense. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/23/22 3:20 p.m.

Gratuitous drive pic, because while it's a total icebox east of the Rockies, it's sitting right around freezing here right now.

I am very much enjoying the refreshed suspension. Seriously, people, change your bushings. Also, the Clearwater speakers reputation is deserved. Sound quality is fully adequate for the environment of the little ragtop's interior, whereas before it was "audible". Well worth the minutes and minutes of effort I put into it.

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) UberDork
12/23/22 4:19 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

I'm tempted to do bushings once the full IL Motorsport kit is back in stock.  I love high durometer rubber over poly in a street car.  For most vehicles it is sadly not an option.  

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/23/22 4:21 p.m.

Poly was never really an option for this car. I considered IL because if would have saved me a chunk of change and I have half a set already on the shelf (I don't know why), but I wanted those differential durometers in the rear just because.

Opti
Opti SuperDork
12/23/22 5:16 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

I am very much enjoying the refreshed suspension. Seriously, people, change your bushings. Also, the Clearwater speakers reputation is deserved. Sound quality is fully adequate for the environment of the little ragtop's interior, whereas before it was "audible". Well worth the minutes and minutes of effort I put into it.

QFT. I did a suspension refresh on my old 4th gen and it made a bigger difference than new konis/springs and sways, on a car known to have terrible oe shocks, I bought an NA afterwards, and did a bushing refresh almost immediately after purchasing.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
12/24/22 10:36 a.m.

This thread is making me think that I need to plan for a full bushing replacement for my 99 sport autocross car. It competes in E Street, so I have to use stock ones. Hopefully they are still available from Mazda. I need to renew my Mazda Motorsports account for 2023 anyway, unless Flyin Miata has them. 
 

I don't know if I should try to do it myself, I'll have to look at The Book. I don't have a press, but that ball joint tool looks pretty functional.


 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/24/22 11:38 a.m.

That's a quality bookshelf right there.

Mazda does indeed have the stock bushings available. Flyin' Miata, alas, does not :)

The book doesn't cover using a ball joint service tool to pull bushings, as I had access to a press when I wrote it. Concept is about the same though :) The tool is from HF. A piece of 2" exhaust tubing (the thicker the wall, the better) works well for Miata bushings. Oh, and lots of Simple Green for both pressing bushings in and out.

Bushing replacement isn't really challenging, it's just long. There are 22 of them.

GIRTHQUAKE
GIRTHQUAKE SuperDork
12/24/22 1:02 p.m.

It's so weird, that in your picture where you were passing through Omaha that I can tell EXACTLY what gas stations you stopped at, based entirely on the rust mark on the awning.

I have similar feelings- my toolbox and half my workshop right now are from my late father, so all of it has a special feel to it I cannot explain.

MyMiatas
MyMiatas Reader
12/24/22 6:28 p.m.
Slippery said:
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) said:

338 is a special car just because of the low VIN.  being owned by keith berkeleying tanner makes it more so.  reading this thread makes me want an NA.

I was curious after reading this how early my '90 Miata ('89 production date) was ... I never knew they made so many in the first year! Looks like between Keith's dad and mine there are more than 120k cars!

After seeing this I had to check out mine. Those number are production number?  I own one that is 5649 cars older than yours? 8/98 production date.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/24/22 7:46 p.m.

The "hundred thousand" number is a year indicator, and it gets a little squirrelly with later years. It's nice and easy for the early cars, 1 is the first year, 2 is the second, etc. The last five digits are the production number for that year. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
1/1/23 11:15 p.m.

So I got a little distracted around Christmas, and started putting LEDs where LEDs don't really belong. More in the analog race dash thread.

 

In order to hook these up to the tach (etc), I needed access to the back of the gauge cluster. I've done this before to 338, and discovered that the gauge hood is absolutely perfect. Usually they lose some of their mounts when you remove them. So while I worked on the gauges, I put 338's hood over on the workbench for safekeeping. Then, in preparation for some welding/grinding work on my trailer, I picked it up to move it somewhere else. And it slipped out of my hand.

Sigh. I can get a reproduction from my friendly local (very local) Miata shop, but this was just careless of me. Poop.

Thanks to that trailer work, I got the hardtop back - it had been sealing up a car that was parked outside. And armed with a 07498 3M Stripe Off Wheel, I went after them.

It works! These stripes were installed in 1996, and installed very well. But they were rated for something like 7 years of outdoor exposure, not 26.

Next, a swipe of acetone to clean up the goo.

And now the big question - will the paint match after some polishing?

So, no. At least, not with the polish I had at hand. Given the state of the paint on the hardtop, I think it's going to take power tools and paint restoration is not a strong point of mine. I'm going to see if a friend can come help. The hardtop was originally white and was repainted sometime in the early 90s before I got it in 1994. The paint job was well done, but it is starting to chip in a few spots. It wouldn't break my heart to repaint it.

Still, it's all one color now!

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