Greetings all- first post here. My background: early 40's, biomedical engineer, studied a lot of both mechanical and electrical engineering. I used to wrench on cars when I was young and broke, because I couldn't afford reliable cars or mechanics.
Now I'm not young, or as broke, and I wanted to get a wrench toy and weekend mountain car. No time to autoX or track, so for the foreseeable future it will be a performance street car. At the end of February, I bought Rocinante
; base model '92 NA6, 132k miles, only two adult previous owners (both of whom I met). The car had been garage kept, gently driven, and had fluid changes at regular intervals, but otherwise was exactly as it left the assembly line 24 years ago except for a new top. The day I brought it home:
I won't lie, I loved the look of the steel wheels. However, they were really heavy, poorly balanced, and had crappy old chinese tires on them. The 65mph shimmy was enough to shake my teeth out.
On a positive note, engine compression was pretty good at 175/180/165/180 dry. Wet, they all pulled 180 psi.
Since then, I've put quite a bit of work into baselining the maintenance and making a few small upgrades. So far:
- replaced all fluids. oil, transmission, differential, coolant, brake, clutch.
- maintenance catchup. Timing belt, water pump, cam seals, crank seal, alternator belt, coolant hoses, radiator, valve cover gasket, CAS o-ring, plugs and wires
- adjusted timing 14 degrees BTDC and run premium gas. Noticeable power pickup here, no real downsides that I've noticed.
- replaced the clutch master and slave, installed the 949 racing clutch line.
- brake pads and rotors all around
- shifter rebuild
- pulled seats and carpet, deep cleaned the entire interior.
- paint correction to remove lots of scratches, swirls and water marks. Clay bar, 2 stage polishing, paint sealant.
- installed period-correct Daisies with 185/55/14 Yokohama S.Drives. Had them road-force balanced.
- tried to deal with numerous rattle issues on the OEM exhaust, before just replacing the whole darned thing with a new Bosal cat and a Roadstersport 3 cat back. May not have given me power (yet), but makes it a lot more fun to drive!
- other small stuff: Oris windscreen, new radio, etc.
This is how it looked yesterday when I took it up to drive the Suches Loop in north GA/west NC. Rocinante drove fantastically well, all the odd rattles and noises are gone, and for the first time I feel like I have a real sports car.
I'm having a blast with this car. I was going to do the suspension next, but... honestly, the factory suspension is pretty darned good for my needs right now. Amazingly the shocks don't leak, and it corners really well. It has a little more understeer than I like, so if I do anything I'll upgrade to a stiffer front sway bar and get an alignment done.
So why am I here? I think I'm headed down the Power path. I'm pretty good with electronics, and I think I might do the Megasquirt DIY PNP to learn about fuel and spark management, and see how much more power I can squeeze out of it N/A. After that, I think I'm headed down the turbo path. I would love to drive other turbo Miatas to get a feel for how much power I actually want/need, so anyone here that's in Atlanta- hook me up!