Since you have the front end off, you mind as well pull the timing belt gear and replace the front main seal. Mine had a small leak that drenched the bottom of my motor and steering rack (as you can see, filthy!) I just completed the project last week at a tech day and let me tell you.......it's like they tell us in the military, "Use the right tools for the right job". When removing the timing belt gear, we couldn't find a puller that had claws small enough to go behind the gear so we went to Sears, still nothing. We ended up (well, Bill Wilner, of miataroadster.com) fabricating a a puller from a brake press.....
After a few tweaks, it worked like a charm. But it wasn't until afterwards
that we looked at a helms and the book recommended using a steering-wheel puller.DOH!! That would've saved us about 3-4 hours of trying to get that dayam thing off.
Don't forget the CAS seal (easier to do with the valve cover off), and don't forget to mark the CAS so you don't have to change timing.
Have the right tools
Have a big-*** breaker-bar for the gear bolt
Don't forget a new Woodruff key and bolt (and use Loctite if you have a short-nose)
bolts to spec
Have some kind of cam-lock device to keep your timing the way you left it, we used the Brainstorm cam-stopper thigmagiggy and it worked wonderful.
When re-installing the timing belt gear, be sure the notches line up.
When installing the timing belt, its WAY easier to line up the cams first then work the belt over the tensioner (loosened).
After we installed everything, the nervous part is always the first start. Mine started up without a hitch and purrrrrd like a *****. The timing was just the way I left it!
Good luck and don't forget to post any problems you might have. I think everything that could go wrong with my install, did, so i learned a lot.