I've been lurking on this site for the better part of two years. I haven't really had anything of value to add so I've kept from posting. Now I'm getting to the point in my Miata odyssey where I will have some questions I can't answer though searching; but mostly I need to buy used parts from you guys.
Here are some pictures of my cats:
That is Buttons.
This is Scrambles:
I bought this car in March, it took some work to get it looking like this:
I'd been shopping for an affordable fun car for a long time. I had Iroc Camaros
, 5.0 Mustangs
, and Hondas
in high school and most of college. Then I graduated and got an engineering job in Chicago, so I bought a grown-up commuter. Hated commuting and hated Chicago so I moved back to Iowa, got some cats, got married, bought a house, blah blah blah. That was about four years ago, and I'm just now getting back into cars. In the down time I got into mountain biking, backpacking, shooting sports, and hobbyist gunsmithing. I also spend a lot of time remodeling/fixing my house.
The goal for this car is to build something reliable that I can bomb around in on weekends and take to the occasional track day. I've been wanting to drive a car on a road course since I was 12 years old watching races at Road America, so getting to the point where I actually do a track day is my main objective. All the cars I've had before this have only had minor mods, so I'm also looking to learn some of the more serious DIY stuff.
The NB I bought seemed to be very well taken care of, but was starting to rust pretty badly and needed some maintenance items taken care of (still does). I started with brake pads and rotors, transmission fluid, shifter boots, fuel filter, clutch master and slave w/ stainless line, and gorilla taping the top.
While I was doing the brakes I started picking at some rust on the frame rails and they ended up looking like this:
Before I bought it, I got under this car on ramps, with a flashlight, but didn't know enough to look at the rails under the belly-pan
After some minor despair, I called a buddy that used to own a body shop and we got to work cutting, welding and patching up the rails. It was a major pain in the ***, but everything came out fine.
Since I had to pretty much rip everything off the front of the car, I took out the A/C and power steering (looped lines). Then we started in on the body work. Cut out all the rust and did up hot-patches with tiger hair. We also shaved the antenna and bumper emblem. It's not perfect, but I'm very happy with the results. Here's an in-progress picture:
After the paint was done I wanted to start lightening the car, so I replaced the cast manifold with a $130 raceland header. It was horrible. Should have forked over the money for the RB. I spent the better part of three days getting the damn thing to fit, in and out with it four times, lots of massaging the trans tunnel with a 3lb maul.
After the header ordeal I bought myself a little Hobart 130 welder and made my own exhaust. I was trying to copy the expensive Borla spec-miata exhaust that's supposed to be so great. I used a Flowmaster Hushpower, no cat. It was extremely loud so I added a resonator, which didn't really help. I ended up making an add-on tail section (like the borla setup) using a little dynomax. It sounds pretty good now that I've gone to a rear exit. It feels like it added power but I have no idea. It is, however, substantially lighter than the OEM exhaust.
Here's what the front half of the exhaust looked like before I added the tail section. It's the first thing I ever welded so I took a picture:
And to bring us to the present, here is a shitty picture with the hardtop I picked up last weekend:
So my future plans are (no particular order):
Stainless brake lines and fluid flush
(HDHCHTSD or whatever I can find used)
(Ideally I'd go right to Xidas, but MSM + ebay sleves is probalby more realistic for my budget)
Real wheels and tires, probably 9" 6ULs with Rivals
(all stock with one cheap aftermarket fan right now, however I did make ducting with old Ron Paul 2012 signs I had around)
(Air bags and soft top are gone)
I would love to turbo this thing someday, but I'd like to use this car to learn to drive fast around a track while it's still slow. At this point I really don't want to make it a track only car - I love driving it to work and running around town, it's already more fun than any car I've owned and I want to keep that accessible.
Sorry for the huge post. Here are some bonus cat pictures for making it to the end: