Thanks! My goal is to have it running in time for the Dream Cruise, which is just under two weeks away now. There is no better way to break in a freshly built track oriented LS1 Miata than attending an event which is renown for heavy traffic and strict law enforcement.
Definitely, and if I prove myself to be totally unworthy of building a car, the consequences of a failure at 3mph will be minimally detrimental to the health and safety of myself and those around me.
Anyway, more photos. So far, the two biggest issues that I've spotted relate to what I like the least: body work. Firstly, I should have gone a bit thicker with the body filler in a few places on the firewall. I was paranoid of adding too much, as that could lead to cracking, so the upper limit is about 1/16". Unfortunately, that has lead to imperfections that become apparent in direct sunlight as seen in the photo below. Second, the John Deere Blitz Black paint that many speak so very highly of online seems to be quite prone to chipping. That said, I like the appearance, it's extremely easy to touch up, and suspect that the durability will not be a huge issue once everything is together--I just have to be extra careful during the assembly process.
I'm really pleased with the way the wiper motor relocation turned out.
The radiator mounts also seem to be quite good. The radiator is entirely isolated from the chassis via little rubber things and is also very secure.
The wiring is mostly together. Most of what you see here was done quite some time ago. What remains is connecting the engine harness to the chassis harness, wiring the gauges, running a wire from the ignition to the starter solenoid, running a heavy wire from the starter to the battery, grounding the engine, and tidying everything up with loom and zip ties. That sounds like kind of a lot, but I should be able to get through it in an evening.
The remaining tasks at this point are plumbing and bleeding the brakes, finding appropriate coolant hoses, finishing the air intake, ducting the radiator, installing extended wheel studs in the front spindles, finishing the fuel system(still waiting on fittings), adding fluids, finishing the exhaust, and general assembly(seats, top, etc). Then I can get an alignment, a tune and start to enjoy this thing.
I don't have a lot to report since I've been obscenely busy with other things this week, but here's the latest:
Reading this thread motivated me to check the depth of the oil pickup tube. Engine Rebuild update - MX-5 Miata Forum
Pulling the drivetrain again didn't appeal to me so I checked the depth with the engine in the car. The clearance between the shallow part of the pan and the crossmember made that a bit difficult. After playing around with the pan and manipulating it just right, I was able to lower it enough to place my sophisticated measuring device at the bottom of the pan. The measuring device was a thin piece of packaging plastic with a few 3/8" mounds of silly putty, which I made a special trip to Walmart for, pressed onto it. I pressed the pan into the block, the screen on the pickup left an impression on the tops of the mounds that sat below it, and voila, I had the depth. I measured it to be .3", which is perfect. Spec is between 1/4" and 3/8".
I wasn't satisfied with the amount of thread that the lug nuts were able to catch with the stock wheel studs, particularly since I have aluminum lugs. I ordered some ARP extended studs for the front(already had them on the rear), and pressed them in with the Harbor Freight balljoint service tool of glory(HFBJSTOG). They look very long, however the length is perfect. The nuts catch all of the thread and the knurled bit sticks out a tad.
Here's the HFBJSTOG in action. Note the additional C clamps that were used to stabilize the HFBJSTOG. They're almost a necessity if you're working solo.
The oil cooler is mounted in what should be its final location. I initially had it on the passenger side but opted to move it to the drivers side so less hose will be required. The piece of aluminum angle is there to protect the exchanger. The corner of the exchanger sits pretty close to the bumper skin, making it vulnerable in small impacts. Now, with protection, I should be able to slam cones and graze tire walls allll dayy!
The aluminum angle lightly touches the bumper skin. I filed the corner and smoothed it with sand paper to prevent it from wearing through.
Awesome build, I may have missed it but what the hell happened to the windshield?
Last summer, I was at a bbq organized by a local car forum and they had a low car limbo. I rocked the first few rounds despite not having a low car, but the competition got more fierce and, thinking that I'd need all the help that I could get, I asked my big friend to ride shotgun. He braced himself against the windshield frame as he was getting in and gave glass a stress fracture. That was the point where I ceased to care about the windshield. I did nothing to protect the glass from the copious cutting/welding/grinding that took place once I started the swap. The glass developed a texture, similar to that of pavement. Eventually, my ADD kicked in and I became curious of how much force would be necessary to create a spider web crack. Not being one to shy away from opportunities for scientific discovery, I began to hit the windshield with my elbow, progressively harder with each blow, until I created a nice spider web crack. My curiosity had been satiated--great! Unfortunately, since I hadn't quantified my findings with a standard measure, I had no meaningful way of conveying them to curious friends. Naturally, they wanted to find out for themselves and I let them. That's how it started. Now, however, it's just the target of repeated senseless abuse.
Originally Posted by Fireindc
1) who cares about the firewall imperfections. Still looks way better than the OEM one would have with hella holes in it.
2) AWESOME updates and build progress. Looks like you are doing it right. I like your c-clamp on a c-clamp on a c-clamp wheel stud installation procedure. Yo dawg, i heard you like c-clamps...
The rough spots bug me but at the same time, I'm not building a show car so they don't cause me as deep of emotional anguish as they otherwise would have. It's the kind of thing that I can deal with for now so that I can get the car running sooner and enjoy it, but at the same time, something that I would like to address later on. But you're right, it's a nice step forward.
Thanks, I'm trying. There's noting worse than down time and constantly breaking ****, and I'm trying to build it with that in mind.
I drove the car for the first time on Friday night and things went pretty smoothly. After a short drive followed by an inspection, I felt comfortable going WOT a few times and driving out to some of the local car-person hangout spots. I had a buddy with me who flashed a base calibration with HP Tuners a while after we took off....and that made a pretty noticeable difference, both in smoothness of startup and in acceleration.
Here's a shot from friday. This guy is quite excited to see that my car has finally come to life:
The Woodward Dream Cruise was on Saturday. All of Woodward Ave basically turned into a parking lot, as car enthusiasts gathered for what, if I recall correctly, is the largest automotive gathering in the nation. I spent the morning cleaning up a couple of small things that I hood-rigged to get the car out the night before and hit up the Dream Cruise in the afternoon. The car continued to run well, although the cooling system doesn't appreciate prolonged stop and go traffic on hot sunny days. Once the temp reached 210 or so, I hopped onto a road with less traffic and it dropped back down in a hurry. I guess 210 is fairly normal for a stock thermostat ls1, though.
A leaky slave cylinder fitting is the biggest problem that I had. The clutch master cylinder reservoir had gone dry. When I noticed that the clutch engagement point was working its way towards the floor, I parked and got a ride home for more fluid. With a couple of top-offs, I made it though the rest of the night without any issues. There's a known problem with the fitting that the kit provides and solving the problem shouldn't be too terribly difficult.
Here's a photo that somebody snapped of me as I was stopping to give someone a ride:
Here's the fully populated engine bay. Yes, the radiator fans are held back with zip ties. I never said the car was truly done.
Here's the interior. I was planning to reinstall the dash, but now I'm leaning towards leaving everything exposed. I kind of like it this way.