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Old 06-23-2014, 11:02 AM   #21
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The Saratoga set a lot of records in the Gulf, some good, some bad I guess.

Maybe we should get you this hat, you know, since you served in the Air Force... :-)

Amazon.com: Air Force F-18 Hornet Ball Cap: Clothing Amazon.com: Air Force F-18 Hornet Ball Cap: Clothing
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Old 06-25-2014, 11:31 AM   #22
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Yeah, lost some friends. Knew a couple of guys that died on that ferry. Scott Speicher was also a good friend. Another friend, Jeff Zaun ("Zule") made the cover of Time magazine all beat up as a POW. We didn't get fresh vegetables in the Red Sea and all my hazardous duty pay went to paying my wardroom dues for bad food, LOL. Lots of Suez canal transits.

Air Force? LOL! They stayed at the Hilton. And they probably got per diem too.
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Old 07-05-2014, 10:54 AM   #23
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So, I spent another couple weeks enjoying the weather and the Miata. However, as the temperatures went up, it was clear that the gorilla tape was overmatched at keeping the top hole free.

So, I broke down and ordered up a cheap Ebay top. I spent the other day stripping the top off of a used NB frame that I bought on CL, and then pulled the old frame and top off the Miata. The package tray and other hidden bits all seemed to be in pretty good shape. I clean some rust off the fuel tank cover and threw some Rustoleum at it, also cleaned up the retaining rails.

Today I will clean out the drains, although I was surprised that they were not too crudded up, looks like the OP may have recently cleaned them. Not like the ten pounds of crap that came out of the front fenders...

Top should arrive early this week, and then we will see how much of a challenge it will be to get it installed.



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Old 07-05-2014, 11:54 AM   #24
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Those covers are in good shape. I put an E-bay special with a glass window on my Silver car back in 2006. No problems. Still like new.
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Old 07-05-2014, 01:05 PM   #25
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I used an E-Bay zippered plastic window top and I have no complaints!
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Old 07-07-2014, 03:36 PM   #26
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I have been patiently awaiting my new top over the weekend, it should be here tomorrow. Hopefully the new tension cables will show up at the same time.

This weekend I did some more cleaning of the back sill, and took the opportunity to swap out the original clutch master and slave cylinders. The fluid was black when I got the car, clearly it had never been flushed. Replacement parts were cheap, so I did the full swap. The slave was a bit of a pain to mess with, either I was reaching in through the sub-frame, or laying underneath having fluid drip in my eyes....

I also tossed in a couple cans of r134a, I knew the A/C felt a bit weak, but was surprised to see 20 low /150 high. After two cans it is up to 35 low/ 215 high. Probably could do one more can. I noticed on my low pressure cap that there was no flat rubber washer. Standard, or is mine missing?

Will update thread on my new top experience.
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Old 07-07-2014, 04:24 PM   #27
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Clutch fluid turns dark quickly. Not sure why . . . I think it's from the plunger material in the slave. In any case, it won't stay clear like brake fluid does.

Rain rail in good shape?
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Old 07-07-2014, 04:25 PM   #28
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Either way, after 20 years, it was a safe bet to replace them, but I have noticed that as well.

Rain rail was not in bad shape, but I went ahead and got a top with a new rail. For most items, I would rather do it right the first time.
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Old 07-11-2014, 11:44 AM   #29
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More pictures and details to follow, but had to post these pictures today. Finished up the top last night, best $189 I have spent in a while. Overall it came out just about perfect, especially given the price. Now I can spend the difference on some new 650cc FICs...


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Old 07-11-2014, 02:26 PM   #30
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What a difference!

BTW, recommend downsampling your pics to 800x600 before uploading.
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Old 07-31-2014, 03:21 PM   #31
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It has been a couple weeks since I last posted, I mostly have been enjoying the ride. And, while I have a nice clean top now, the weather has been so perfect that I have been top down almost everyday this month.

Changes to the car this month included new Kosei K-1 wheels and Yokohama SDrives 205/50/-15. I got a great deal from an Acura fan on craigslist, and none too soon. The original crappy walmart tires were no longer cutting it, especially with the number of miles I have been putting on the car. So, I now have some much grippier tires, and the wheels looks nice as well. The 15 inch rim will give me more tire options going forward.



In addition, I also installed an ExhIntake that I picked up a couple months back. The main driver for cracking open the valve cover was that I had a nice leak in the back, I figured while I was cleaning that up, I may as well swap the cam. The overall project was much easier than I expected, the whole process, including realigning the time belt was probably two hours, and that includes realizing that the previous owner had somehow lost the alternator adjusting bolts, and had just bolted it to the arm.




While in there, I noticed that the timing belt had a nice slice in it, so a new belt will be swapped in this week, along with the new alternator adjusting bolts. Thanks Arlington Mazda, it is nice to work so close to them...



I don't have definitive results on the ExhIntake swap, I am still in the process of retuning. It certainly has not hurt performance.

Next on the agenda are swapping injectors to FIC 650cc units, and I am in the process of building a set of Bilstein coil-overs. I had originally planned on doing the turbo before suspension, however the stock ride is just not getting it done, especially after driving the Lotus for a day.



I also am buying a de-powered power steering rack. It currently does not have the spool welded, so I will need to figure out how to get that done as well...
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Old 08-11-2014, 03:32 PM   #32
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Ok, I have to make a confession... I made one of the bigger dumb headed moves in quite a while. I probably should pretend it never happened, however I figured I would fess up in case anyone else ever wonders why their car won't start.

Yesterday I decided to swap out the old fuel injectors for the new FIC 650cc's. This is probably the last step I will take on the engine before adding the turbo. I have read a ton, both in swapping the injectors, and updating the MS3. I felt pretty confident, so I went at it.

I pulled the fuel pump relay, and let the car idle until stall. I then pulled the old injectors, I didn't even lose a spacer, I loosened up all the bolts, then used some long needle nose pliers to hold the spacer while removing the bolt. Lubed up the new injectors, and I was out with old and in with the new in about 30 minutes. Super painless.

I went into the MS3, changed the req fuel from 12.9 to 4.7. Turned the key and after several cranks, nothing. Went through everything in my mind, but nothing, no fuel or vacuum leaks, no obvious issues. I was able to get the car semi-running by turning req fuel up to 65 when cranking, then dynamically lowering it to 20 while idling. It would run rough and AFR's jumped all over no matter what I tried. After an hour or so, I gave up and went out and had dinner and beer with GF.

So today, I head out to garage and try again. I reset the MS3 back to a good tune, updated req fuel, and still had same symptoms. After messing a bit, I decided I must have screwed up the install so decided to pull off the new injectors. First step, pull the fuel relay.

As I look up the steering column I am shocked to see the pump relay unplugged.... WTF? Plugged it in, car fired right up and after some minor tuning, is purring like a kitten.

Yes, I now know that you can get the car to run in siphon mode, but runs like ****...

First really stupid mistake on this project, but I am sure not the last...
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Old 08-27-2014, 06:28 PM   #33
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A couple weeks back I picked up a used Spec Miata suspension off CL for an unbelievable price. I decided to upgrade to NB top hats and give the crazy 700/325 springs a try. I figured if it beat the crap out of me I would just get some QA1 springs at a lower rate.



While doing the tophat conversion, I added 36mm MCU bump stops all around. Final height after swapping over was 11.75, 12.25. First drives were amazing, totally transformed the handling, however the first week trying to daily drive it was not that much fun. The rear was bouncing off the bump stops at speed, which was not much fun... The front (with the 700lb springs) actually never had any issues, did not hit the bump stops, and the front-end handled the dips with no issues.



So, this past weekend I popped it back up to 13.25, 13.75. That 1 1/2 inch made a huge difference in the back. No more visits to the bump stops, and still handles well.

The car certainly does not have a cushy ride, but it is not bad to drive at all. Of course, my other car is an Elise, so take it for what it is worth. For about $400 investment, I am pretty damn happy with it.

On the comfort side, I wrapped my cracked uncomfortable console cover with memory foam and leather. One of the best $20 I have spent on the car so far...



All the items I wanted to complete before adding a turbo are now finished. However, I have a leak down tester on order from Amazon. My engine has 145K miles on it, and when checking the compression I get 180, 135, 125, 155. Dumping oil down the cylinder does not help any of the readings. I have a feeling that the engine was over-heated in the not too distant past as all the hoses and belts were all replaced at the same time. My guess is that they blew a line and replaced them all. It did not seem like they spent money on maintenance unless something was broken... Even with the low compression, the car runs fine, no oil consumption in 5K miles, no water loss, runs cool, no water/oil cross contamination.

So, depending on what the tester says, I am probably looking at head gasket or a valve. Need to decide if worth addressing now, or just turboing it and when it blows up swap in a VVT engine. Makes me lean towards just going turbo now. Decisions, decisions...
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Old 09-04-2014, 04:55 PM   #34
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**** just got real...



Bought a 2004 VVT with 68K on it with 6-speed... Now time to swap out my tired old motor.

Did a cold leak-down and got 90%+ on all cylinders. Start prepping everything for the swap is in progress.

VTCS delete and 99 fuel rail with 94 damper is the first step. Currently labeling all wiring and connectors. Wish me luck...
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Old 09-09-2014, 11:42 AM   #35
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Plan of Action

Steps on new Engine before pulling old
Ream valve cover for COPS
Remove VTSC
Remove Engine

After Pull, Before install
Attach new fuel rail for test fit with hose - Bought a 1.6 FPR, 1.8 is supposed to work with mods, the 2004 Tracker FPR looks like best if bought new, nipples point up and down.
Swap oil pressure sender
Swap Coolant Sensors - two in back
Swap exhaust manifold
Replace Engine Mounts - Competition vs MSM vs Stock?
After new engine in
Connect Cam Sensor
Connect Crank Sensor
Connect VVT - Get Power and Trigger from FPR valve and wire to harness? Pin 23 -Yellow/Green on ECU - MS Pin 36
Connect TPS and IAC
Connect Knock Sensor - MS Pin 33
Connect Throttle Cable - Sourced NB
Connect Fuel Line - Sourced Quick Connect, Gates 27348
Rebuild Tran Shifter - Sourced shifter, inner boot
Remove or Modify the starter bracket.
Connect Power Steering, A/C, Alternator, Starter, Clutch Slave
Girls are ready to start pulling that engine.
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Old 09-09-2014, 11:46 AM   #36
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I think I also plan to tap the oil pan now for turbo oil return line while engine is out, should be easier, right? Idea is to do 3/8NPT and plug for now. Smart or stupid?
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Old 09-09-2014, 12:34 PM   #37
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Reroute?

I've never heard of anyone reaming the valve cover for COPS. ??
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Old 09-09-2014, 01:18 PM   #38
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The spark plug holes on the VVT head are slightly smaller than the Toyota COP width. They need to be enlarged slightly to fit.

Good Description of Issue Here
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Old 09-09-2014, 02:45 PM   #39
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And, in a perfect world, I would do the coolant re-route now. However, I do not want to open up the engine and swap head gaskets right now. In addition, I have read some conflicting info on if needed if I am not running 100% FI at the track, which is not in my immediate plans.

Thanks for the suggestion, it made me at least think about it again!
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Old 09-15-2014, 10:36 AM   #40
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Engine out


Now has two sister power


Son helping slide the new one in.


Still finishing up the wiring, but all in all the swap went pretty smooth this weekend. I do have one question however, is it even possible to put a new engine in without smashing the coolant sensor? Definitely should have swapped it after the install. Seems inevitable that that sensor will hit the firewall no matter how careful, or, I just suck at maneuvering 300lb engines.
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