Hey guys, been lurking long enough, time to introduce myself and the car. Lots of pics. You guys like pics right? Good. SUPER LONG WITH LOTS OF PICS. You've been warned!
Its an 2001 Emerald Mica Green NB base, 5MT. Bought it last November with 145k miles on it.
Took her home and gave it a full detail/clay/polish
Cleaned Headlight Lenses and de-ambered/painted housings (free ricer mods)
Drove it a few weeks before winter came along, and put it away for the winter.
Over the winter noticed a slow oil leak got progressively worse... pretty disgusting, doubt this has ever been cleaned before.
While underneath planning on how to tackle this leak and looking for a source, noticed this:
Thats along the frame rail forward of the control arm. Yes, its split. Started removing the wheel liner and saw the frame had some 'surface' rust. Said ok, its not that bad... but lets take a screwdriver and see just how bad it is.
Turned to this:
At this point I contemplated my options... sell the car and take a loss with disclosing the frame rot, or part it out, or cut it out and patch it up.
After doing some research online, seems there are a handful of documented cases of this. The frame rail is spot welded together with the inner nut plate layer. Water gets in between, and never comes out. It rots from the middle and works its way outwards. Pretty disgusting.
Well, decided the motor was going to come out to do a complete refresh of all oil seals, TB/WP change, AC/PS delete, Comp motor mounts, and just a general engine bay cleanup.
With the motor out we'd tackle cutting out the frame rail (on both driver and passenger side, one at a time), and patching in new OEM pieces cut to size.
This project began in the spring, March/April timeframe. And was slow going at times. It was a busy summer- got engaged, went on vacation, wedding season in full force (I'm 26, so right in the middle of it all now).
So here are photo updates throughout the repair process.
Motor/Tranny comes out:
Subframe comes down:
Rotten piece gets cut out
Sitting next to the new rails- you can see the inner nut plate sitting inside the outside rail:
New pieces get cut to size and tacked in
Welded in. Not pretty, but penetration was good. Inner layer was spot welded to the outer as well.
POR 15 everywhere
Motor was surprisingly clean... no sludge under the valve cover. Resealed the oil pan
Bought some Kosei K1 TS's off a friend from his SM. Wrapped in R888's. Its a temporary solution for sticky rubber that came at a good deal.
5 months later (told you it was slow progress):
Shes back together: (oh yeah, and with a hard dog roll bar installed during that time)
And thats where we're at today. Suspension gets here Friday, VMaxx Track Pack was my budget solution for now. Car will be a summer auto-x and fun car, and slowly working my way onto the track.
I'm now tired from copying and pasting so many photo links, fml. So this post is going downhill quickly.
Big thanks to Dave and Evan, and a few others that helped throughout the project. They're both on this forum, 240tomiata is dave, unsure of Evan's handle? Wouldn't have been able to get it done without their extensive miata knowledge and equipment (hoists/welder, etc). What a huge learning experience this was for me. Excited to start really modding the car now since its solid and healthy again.