Here's a little story about my recent road trip that will hopefully lead to a turbomiata project log.
I have a beater '93 Miata that has seen the worst of Michigan winters (prior to my purchase of this POS). I bought it this spring, replaced the "undesirably ventilated" engine (hole in block), and drove it all summer and fall. It is very rusty, and I was wondering what my best plan of action would be to fix it (and put a turbo on it). Well, as fate would have it, I went on a trip from Michigan out to L.A. last week for work purposes. The options were - get back on the plane and fly back to Michigan like a lame ***, or buy a crappy, yet rust free Miata in CA, and drive it back to MI in an epic road trip.
Well, based on the length of this post, you can guess which route I took.
The thought process was - I've got a miata that runs and drives, everything works, needs a new softtop, is rusty as hell, and is worth about $1500 in Michigan. And, I can pick up a miata that runs and drives, everything works, needs a new softtop, has absolutely no rust, and is worth about $1500 in CA
See what I'm thinking here - sell my ****, and get a rust free car for free. Yup, awesome idea right?
Alright, it's December 15th, and I buy a Miata in Chatsworth CA. The car has 153000 miles on it, all stock, is a 1990 car with P/S and A/C (works!) is red in colour, and is in decent shape. The clear coat is pealing in a few places, both front fenders have been crunched, the engine has very low torque below 4000 rpm (suspected cam timing issue), and the plastic rear window is held up with zip ties. The timing belt, and t-stat have recently been replaced. So, I buy it and decide to take it across country.
The trip plan was to take I40 East from CA through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma, then head NE across Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, then East Through Michigan to the Detroit 'burbs.
10:00pm December 15th - car is bought - get ready for road trip in the morning. Head to Walmart.
4 pack Monster energy drinks
1 big *** Powerade - Red flavor (not really sure what flavor is red, but it tastes good, right)
1 package zip ties
1 roll Gorilla duct tape (black)
1 stylish yet not very functional winter hat (apparently functional winter hats are not available in CA)
1 pair work gloves - dual purpose for both warmth and working on the car
2 pair underwear (gotta have fresh skivvies for the ride home - no frontside, backside, insideout for this guy)
1 can WD40 (the doors on the Miata were super squeaky, and were really annoying me)
2 quarts of 5W 30 Oil (you never know, right?)
1 kit of Slime tire flat goo and 12V tire inflator
1 pack of tire chains (just in case of snow? - I really just bought these 'cause I thought they were badass and we can't buy them in Michigan)
1 Giant package of beef jerky (It just isn't a road trip without beef products stuck between the gaps of your teeth!)
1 can of Brakeclean (will become very important later!)
December 16th 4:30am Pacific time - leave Santa Clarita CA.
Fill up with gas prior to leaving. Bend over to check tire pressure. My pants tear, creating a giant rip in the *** of my pants
. The chicks in the car next to me discover my exposed underwear, and much hilarity ensues in their car. I am too close to the situation to share the humor at the time...although can appreciate it a little later in the trip.
Sunup in Barstow:
Somewhere shortly after Barstow, I stop for some McD's Breakfast Burritos, and put the new roll of Duct Tape to good use by taping up the *** of my pants. I got very strange looks from people wherever I went after this...
Somewhere in AZ:
Well, the tires on this car were 3 different brands, and the two rear mis-matched tires were also out of balance. This made for a very uncomfortable and shaky ride, and I was really hoping for no snow on the trip home. Well, I got really nervous in Flagstaff where they had more than 2 ft of snow.
So, I caved and stopped at a Discount tire in Flagstaff. I said "I want something round and black that holds air, and has a bit of tread". They said they could put a pair of brand new Falken RE512's on the rear for $150 in 40 minutes. SOLD!
Went to Carl's Jr for lunch during the tire swap - they don't have these in MI, so was looking for a change. The fries sucked, but the Blue cheese burger was actually pretty tasty. Felt much safer after the tire switch, and the ***-end shakes were also gone as well. Much better. Time to put in some serious miles.
Fast Forward to 10:00pm. Decide to get a Hotel in Santa Rosa, NM (about 2 hours east of Albequerque). Put on the brakes to make the off ramp. Holy crap! It feels like someone pulled the line off of the brake booster - major pedal effort required to stop the car. I pull into the parking lot of the hotel to check it out. Large clouds of billowing smoke coming out of the front of the car. UH-OH!
Open the hood to discover engine oil everywhere! Looks like it's leaking out the front of the engine somewhere (most likely the front main seal), and the crank pulley is successfully flinging oil everywhere. What a mess. I check underneath the car, and notice both front brakes are covered in engine oil!
Well, I guess I don't need to worry about looking for a vacuum leak!
Check the engine oil level - down 1.5 quarts - Crap, better keep an eye on that! Hose down the front brakes with my can of Brakeclean.
Get some rest in the hotel, and look for a couple of parts stores on the internet. Sleep in to make sure the car parts stores are open in the morning. Go to both parts stores - a Carquest, and a NAPA - neither is open on the weekends. CRAP!, plan B in action.
Find a truck stop. Buy more cans of Brakeclean, and ask politely at the truckstop for a big-*** cardboard box. Spend some time in the parking lot under the car fashioning some "oil deflectors" out of cardboard and zip tieing them to the control arms and sway bar. Buy some more oil, and I'm off!
Well, stopping every 120 miles and adding a quart of 20W50 oil (thickest viscosity I could get to try and prevent leaking)
to be continued later...
EDIT: Warning - Spoiler in post #10 by TURBOBURKE