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eastsideTim UltraDork
4/5/18 7:56 a.m.

And the forecast has changed - we're getting clouds by the time the temperature hits the 40s today.  May still run the heater in the garage, then open the garage door and fire up the car and run its heater, and see if that is enough to stretch the top to close it.  Was really hoping to drive it sometime soon, and have the garage bay available for other projects.

EvanB MegaDork
4/5/18 9:15 a.m.

You can still drive it with the top down...that's what the heater is for. cheeky

Running the car heater full blast heats the top up pretty quick. 

wae SuperDork
4/5/18 9:26 a.m.

And for parking outside, just get you one of those free tarp coupons from Harbor Freight!  Problem solved!

Look at the upside:  The 10 day forecast doesn't have any good convertible weather, so you're not missing anything there...

eastsideTim UltraDork
4/5/18 9:46 a.m.

In reply to wae :

Yeah, but the general recommendation seems to be to keep the top up for a couple of weeks after you latch it so it’ll stretch into shape.  Of course, knowing this area, they’ll dump salt on the road again soon.  I saw the pile of salt at Cargill last weekend, and it’s still huge.

EvanB, if I have time I think I’ll be trying the car’s heater today after work.

eastsideTim UltraDork
4/5/18 8:37 p.m.

Cranked the garage heater up after lunch, and tried to latch the top after work was over - no luck

Started the car, and turned the heater on full blast (after opening the garage door), and covering the roof of the car like I was about to fumigate it...

Still didn't work.  Decided to risk loosening the rain rail nuts.  SUCCESS!!!

It's not perfect, but I have a new top that should be far more weatherproof than the old, torn one. 

The interior still needs to be put back together, and the weatherstripping may need a bit of adjustment, (and one of the driver's side pieces should be replaced).  I am also going to install the factory behind the seat brace that I go from guy I bought the car from.  It won't fit exactly as it should, due to some mounting blocks from the style bar that used to be on the car, but I've already picked up some hardware that will allow it to go on. 


Now, the two rounds of snow that are predicted in the next week need to hurry up and go through, so I can take the car out and enjoy it on relatively salt free roads!

eastsideTim UltraDork
4/8/18 3:54 p.m.

And the interior is now all back together!  Just have to wait out the next round of (almost no) snow, and hope for no more salt getting dumped on the roads.

eastsideTim UltraDork
4/24/18 3:54 p.m.

Just a quick update.  I've been driving it when I'm around, and since we've had enough rain to wash away most of the road salt.  The butterfly brace has made a huge difference in how solid the car feels, I'm loving it.  Still haven't dropped the top, but I think we should be getting some better weather by the end of the week, so that'll be a good time to try it out.

Other than maintenance, I think the car is pretty much where I want it to be for now.  A roll bar would be nice, but I think I'm going to depend on the factory brace.  Maybe next year.  Since the body is kind of rough, I don't want to dump too much money into it.


eastsideTim UltraDork
8/22/18 8:27 p.m.

The Miata sat for a couple of months while a noise in the rear was stumping me.   I'd assumed worn bushings, but when I jacked it up and gave them a quick inspection they seemed okay.  Today, I finally got it into the garage for an oil change, and a thorough inspection while on the jackstands.  The left rear wheel seemed a little more easily locked up with the emergency brake than the right, so I pulled the wheel off, and think I found the problem.  When I ran the impact, two of the lugnuts came off with pretty much no resistance.  Between this and the electrical issues in the truck, I'm realizing I have a tendency to overlook obvious possibilities when I'm stressed.  I really need to be more careful about that. 

After I adjusted the ebrake, my wife and I took the car out.  Other than the usual 220K mile squeaks and rattles, it appears to be fine now.

eastsideTim UberDork
11/22/19 4:29 p.m.

The Miata has been a nice car for driving around locally for a while now, but I have been letting a lot of little (and not so little) issues stack up on it.  Today, while the weather was reasonably decent, I pulled the Beetle and put a cheap cover on it, in order to give the Miata some long overdue attention.

To be done (not necessarily in this order):

  1. Timing belt/water pump/pulleys - I think the Gates kit I got when I bought the car has the tensioner and idler pulley, but if not, I'll get them ordered soon.
  2. Radiator hoses
  3. Cam seals
  4. Front Crankshaft seal
  5. Clean up the HLAs, and replace any that are too far gone.
  6. Valve stem seals
  7. Replace passenger side door card and lubricate the window regulator.
  8. Get the factory horn working or add an auxiliary horn.
  9. Replace the "angel eyes" headlights with normal headlights.
  10. Replace the trunklid, after sealing up the holes in the trunklid I got from EvanB.
  11. Figure out why only one speaker works, and fix the stereo system.
  12. Replace the turn signal assembly with one that hopefully self cancels.
  13. Maybe do a little bit of suspension work - I know one of the control arms on the passenger side is slightly bent, and probably isn't coming out without the help of a sawzall.


Gtholen New Reader
11/22/19 7:17 p.m.

Pretty cool project car. Ive been toying with the idea of a cheap miata. But also being from southern Ohio,finding a decent one for a good price may not happen too soon. 

I also have been reading through your S-10 build.  I have a 91' Sonoma. Fun trucks. I'm thinking about a 4.8 LS swap in mine.


eastsideTim UberDork
11/22/19 8:39 p.m.

 In reply to Gtholen :

Thanks!  I’d highly recommend heading south of Ohio for a Miata.  I really Iucked into getting one that hadn’t been in an Ohio winter.  I’m leaning towards a 6.0LS/4L80E combo in the truck eventually.  I figure that way I only have to do an engine swap in it one more time smiley

eastsideTim UberDork
2/2/20 5:47 p.m.

So, lets see - the Miata has been in the garage since late-November, I think I put it on jackstands in early December and drained the coolant, before leaving for a couple of work trips, and then, nothing.  Time and motivation have both been issues, between household and work problems.  Neither of which are letting up much, but I need to get things going, so the Beetle can go back in the garage and be prepped for the next rallycross season.

Last weekend, this happened:

It took most of a day to get everything apart.  I had intended to start cleaning HLAs during the week, but aforementioned problems happened.  I did manage to pull them all, and put them in labeled egg cartons, so I can put them back in the same bore I pulled them from.  Today, I finally started cleaning them.  I set up a little work station to do one at a time:

The clean oil on the left was used to dunk them after they'd been reassembled, and I squeezed them until air stopped bubbling out of the hole, so they should be pretty much full of oil once the engine starts up.  After I had a few done, I decided, since they take a little time to soak in brake cleaner, that it would be good to start tackling the valve stem seals during the down time.  Started by using the rope trick to keep the valves from dropping.

Used an impact tool I found from some youtube videos, and it worked fairly well.  The biggest problem I ran into was I need to hit it a bit harder with the hammer.  Multiple times, I only ended up getting one valve keeper loose instead of both.  Putting them back on with the tool was pretty easy, too, but there is a chance I nicked the HLA bore on one of the intake valves.  I couldn't actually feel any damage when I ran my finger over where I thought I hit it, so I am hoping all is well.

Today, cylinder #1 has had it's valve stem seals replaced, and 6 of the 16 HLAs have been cleaned and oiled.  Since I'll probably be doing this over the course of multiple days, I made a quick chart to keep track of my progress.  Here's a pic of it I took during the middle of working on the car:


AnthonyGS Dork
2/3/20 9:28 a.m.

In reply to eastsideTim :

I had a similar issue with my new top.  Brute strength finally got it to latch after extending the latches to max length.  After a few days, I set the latches back to the proper length to full close the top.  Honestly, all in all, the top replacement wasn't as awful as it's reported to be.  It's also worth the effort.

eastsideTim UberDork
2/3/20 6:43 p.m.

Looks like I didn't pack in the rope well enough in cylinder 2.  I partially dropped an exhaust valve trying to reinstall the spring and retainer.  I can still get to it and pull it up with pliers, so at least it is reachable.  I am concerned about whether or not the tool may have damaged the valve, but have also realized that, with well over 220,000 miles, if I pull the head to check, I might as well just pull the engine and refresh or replace it.  And if I pull the engine, I might as well pull the transmission and put one in with synchros in better shape. 

I have a few ideas, including buying a different style of valve spring compressor, but the first thing I think I may try is using a magnet to hold the valve up, and pull and repack the rope into the cylinder.  Either way, I'm going to sleep on it.  Not going to work on it pissed off.


eastsideTim UberDork
2/10/20 8:42 a.m.

Over the weekend, I finished installing the valve stem seals and cleaning the HLAs.  To deal with the valve that was dropping a bit (and another in cylinder 4 with the same issue), I took a magnetic pickup tool, attached it to the tip of the valve, then used a vice grips braced across the top of the head to keep it from falling, while I redid the rope in the cylinder.

I was planning on getting the cams back in last night, but cleaning the excess RTV off the head took longer than I planned, and tore my fingers up a bit.  Should be able to finish that job next session.  I think a prior owner was trying to fix cam seal and cam sensor seal leaks with massive amounts of RTV on the cam cover.  Obviously, it can't work.

That was after I had already been cleaning it off for a while.  The front cam caps were pretty bad, too, but they are good to go now.




eastsideTim UberDork
2/12/20 7:06 p.m.

HLAs and cams are back in!  Starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

eastsideTim UberDork
3/29/20 1:49 p.m.

Update time - got sidetracked dealing with the timing belt swap.  Linked here .

For obvious reasons, it hasn't been out much.  I have used it on a few "necessary" errands this weekend, and it is running well.  Seems like it might be running smoother than it was last fall, but that could be just in my head.  If it is, I suspect it is mainly down to the HLAs being cleaned up, as I can't imagine anything else I did affecting how it runs.  Of the list a few posts back, 1-6 and 10 are now done.  I think the horn and headlights are going to be the next main concern.  Other projects are taking precedence right now, though.

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