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Old 05-01-2009, 12:05 PM   #1
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Figured I'd create a thread to document my build.

Finished stripping the latest parts car Tuesday, the carcass was towed yesterday morning. That freed up space in the garage; Long took some time out of his studying to help me shove the project miata into the garage (Thanks Long!).

I tend to get de-motivated rather easily, so rather than think that I'm going to get everything done at once I'm going to break this into bite-sized chunks which should each give noticeable rewards.

General plan:
Timing belt & water pump
Finish stripping interior
Swap out automatic for manual
Reinstall interior
Build and install suspension
Install roll bar

Heading to the garage to start the timing belt. I hope to have it running this evening.
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Old 05-01-2009, 01:04 PM   #2
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We want pics!
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Old 05-08-2009, 12:49 AM   #3
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With the timing belt swapped and the engine starting, it's time for the manual tranny swap.

Spent this evening getting the motor ready to come out. Long came over to lend a hand turning wrenches. It's close to being fully disconnected; got hung up on not being able to find a second 1/2" extension to reach one of the manifold bolts and I was too brain-dead to realize that I could've just used a 3/8" drive socket instead.

There's also some god damned bundle of wires running from the transmission tunnel, up between the auto tranny dipstick and the engine block, to the relay pod on the passenger fender. Thinking I'm just going to rip the dipstick off because I don't see a way to get enough play to get it over the dipstick without undoing the all the **** the harness is connected to at the back of the car.

No pics because I haven't really done anything interesting yet.

I don't expect to have a lot of time to work on it until Monday, so my goal for this weekend is just to pull the dash (so I can swap out the pedals) and interior carpet (going from beige to black while the dash is out). If time permiits I may try to clean up the used Sparco Torino's I snagged a while back.
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Old 05-12-2009, 01:02 AM   #4
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Since the last update I've removed the rest of the interior, the engine, tranny, and automatic pedals. I've installed the black carpet, heater, and manual pedals.

I've also been reading up on what I'll have to do for the manual swap in terms of wiring. Not much, it seems.

Occurred to me that, if it were viable, the engine from the '97 I just parted out would be a better choice at this point than the '94 auto engine. Higher compression, more power in NA form. Then I can build the auto engine over winter and drop it in next year with a turbo (no turbo this year; the small garage needs a roof). Bonus is that I can use the clutch and flywheel out of the car I parted out; can wait to use the xtss and lightweight flywheel until I put in a turbo engine. Upside is I won't have to worry about resurfacing the flywheel. Downside is I won't get to enjoy the flywheel in the meantime.

My concern with that engine's viability was that the sway bar got shoved up and under the crank pulley when the car was wrecked (wasn't me; bought it that way). Crank pulley cut some nifty grooves in the sway bar. Figured there'd be some play in the crank resulting from that. Anyway, got a dial gauge from harbor freight and did some measuring. Less than .001" to each side and .0065" front to back.

So am going to drop this engine and tranny in; if it works, great. If not, I'll pull it and use the automatic engine instead.

Pics later today.
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Old 05-12-2009, 01:06 AM   #5
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good progress, would like to see pics


I wouldn't beat myself up over the higher compression in the meantime, especially if you go turbo next year.

One thing I wished I had done while still NA was sorting out the suspension and brakes a little more. Man things unravel fast when you're in boost. Nice thing about stockish power is really paying attention to handling at the limits, before you exceed them.
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Old 05-12-2009, 01:18 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gospeed81 View Post
good progress, would like to see pics


I wouldn't beat myself up over the higher compression in the meantime, especially if you go turbo next year.

One thing I wished I had done while still NA was sorting out the suspension and brakes a little more. Man things unravel fast when you're in boost. Nice thing about stockish power is really paying attention to handling at the limits, before you exceed them.
I'm trying to think of this as a series of small tasks so that I feel like I'm getting somewhere. With so much to do, it can get overwhelming. A few hours here and there will add up to a finished project, whereas waiting until I can spend several consecutive days on it will ensure that months pass between bursts of activity.

Brakes will be hawk hps with stainless lines, napa rotors. Got cheap brake fluid to refill and flush the lines and abs unit, then will put good stuff in once all the air is out.

Suspension is, theoretically, pretty well sorted- h&r 400lbs/in 6" springs for the front and qa1 7" 250lbs/in springs in rear. Ebay coilover sleeves. NB Tokico Illuminas, NB top hats. MCU bumpstops, FCM shock mount bushings, r package tie rod ends, and energy suspension bushings. Cue the people bitching about the ebay sleeves, I'll wait here.

It'll be nice running NA for a year to get a proper feel for the car before it has ridiculous amounts of power. And to get a feel for tuning the adaptronic before complicating things by adding boost.
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Old 05-12-2009, 03:23 PM   #7
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Auto vs. Manual pedals


No pedals, but carpet installed.


No master cylinder:


1000000% more MC:
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Old 05-12-2009, 03:26 PM   #8
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At least Mazda made things easy.
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Old 05-25-2009, 12:31 AM   #9
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Just enjoyed half a bottle of sake after a busy night in the garage.

Since pulling the engine from the car, I've removed the automatic from the engine and installed the act xtss and prolite flywheel and the manual tranny from the '96 I parted out a few years ago. Yesterday I unbolted it again because I forgot to grease the clutch fingers where the throwout bearing contacts them.

Regarding the ACT clutch-I was very unhappy when, upon opening the package containing the clutch plate, I found specks of rust all over the machined surface of the clutch. I've had it for a year, though (sitting in a spare room) so don't think it's likely that I'd be able to return it. Installed it despite the issue.

This evening I jumpered the black/red and black/blue wires from the auto tranny harness. Will later splice the clutch switch into the black/blue wire in the cabin wiring harness. Also installed mazda comp motor mounts and put the engine back in the car.

The engine is sitting somewhat cockeyed, with the passenger side mount seated at the bottom of the slot in the subframe and the driver's side at the top. A bit perplexed by this, thinking I must somehow have installed one of the mounts upside down.

Next chance I have to get out to the garage I'll sort out the mount issue and then reconnect the hoses and connectors on the engine.
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Old 05-25-2009, 09:00 PM   #10
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Got the engine properly situated today. Removed the driver's side mount from the engine, attached it to the subframe, then sat the engine down on it and bolted the engine and mount together.

Reattached the exhaust manifold, egr, and most of the sensors as well as the various vacuum and coolant lines.

Next:
Jumper interlock switch at ecu
Install radiator and refilll coolant
Re-install dash
Figure out the last couple vacuum connections (failure at labelling on removal)
Wire in reverse lights

Last edited by deliverator; 06-10-2009 at 12:07 AM.
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Old 05-30-2009, 10:13 PM   #11
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Dash reinstalled. Radiator installed. Interlock at ecu jumpered.

Wouldn't start. Had my girlfriend come out to the garage to help debug this. Demonstrated the non-startingness. Fired up with the first twist of the key.

Engine runs!

Idle was unstable. Verified timing belt is correct. Possibly the vacuum line not being attached to cruise control.

Reinstalled timing belt cover.

Next:
Reinstall accessory belts
Button everything else up under the hood.
Install driveshaft and PPF
Install exhaust
Install brake lines and brakes

Last edited by deliverator; 06-04-2009 at 09:18 PM.
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Old 05-31-2009, 10:17 PM   #12
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Accessory belts installed.
Reconnected last ground and vacuum line.
Rear brake lines installed

Idles fine now.

Next:
Front brake lines
Install pads and rotors
Exhaust
Driveshaft & ppf

Last edited by deliverator; 06-04-2009 at 09:19 PM.
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Old 06-01-2009, 09:33 AM   #13
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Wow, down to the easy stuff...

Great progress. First auto to manny swap I've witnessed. I don't think I'd bat an eye at picking up an auto anymore.
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Old 06-03-2009, 12:16 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gospeed81 View Post
Wow, down to the easy stuff...

Great progress. First auto to manny swap I've witnessed. I don't think I'd bat an eye at picking up an auto anymore.
Thanks. :-)

Took a day off from work today.

Installed PPF, exhuast, and driveshaft
Removed rotors, calipers, and lines. Installed NAPA Brembo blanks, Hawk HPS pads, and stainless lines I got from Moss last year.

Exhaust is incredibly quiet. Now that the engine doesn't sound like thunder, I can hear....

Engine making an awful CLACK CLACK CLACK noise. Things I need to check out are: collapsed lifter, bearing issue, loose spark plug, foreign object in a cylinder, or wrong firing order. Re: collapsed lifter, does that sound really loud? Links to sound clips maybe?

Also, accessory belt is squealing. Easy fix, though.

Next:
Tighten belt
Change oil
Resolve clacking. Hopefully this won't involve pulling the engine again.

Bleed brakes
Determine why oil pressure gauge, tach, and temp gauges aren't working (guessing a blown fuse)
Wire in reverse lights
Install seats, seat belts, and steering wheel

Last edited by deliverator; 06-10-2009 at 12:08 AM.
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Old 06-04-2009, 09:22 PM   #15
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Clacking sound still present after oil change.

Became intermittent after idling for about 10 minutes.

Goosing the throttlebody made the sound go away, even for a few seconds after returned to normal idle.

More idling, more goosing, more idling.... Sound is very, very infrequent.

Guessing it must be a HLA. Sound is there on startup, gone after a blip of the throttle. Surprised it can make that kind of racket. Jeez.

If I bled the brakes and installed a steering wheel I could drive it around the block...
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Old 06-06-2009, 11:03 PM   #16
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Today I filled the tranny (Redline MTL) and refilled the diff (Redline 75w90).

Clutch works nicely. Low engagement, but that can be adjusted. For some reason I was worried that I'd installed it wrong, but it's works quite nicely.

Started bleeding the brakes. Was just about done and then my dumb *** let the master cylinder run too low. Will start over again tomorrow.

Found a gotcha with my cheap moss motors stainless lines- swivel fittings on the rears unscrew. Brake fluid was just pouring out.

Next:
Bleed brakes again
wire in reverse lights and the clutch starter interlock
check gauge fuse
install seats, seat belts, and steering wheel
get inspected

Last edited by deliverator; 06-10-2009 at 12:08 AM.
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Old 06-07-2009, 01:22 AM   #17
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Almost there!
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Old 06-07-2009, 06:21 AM   #18
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Wow, nice progress! Why did you get an automatic? Was it that cheap compared to the labor you have to put in now?
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Old 06-07-2009, 12:51 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spookyfish View Post
Wow, nice progress! Why did you get an automatic? Was it that cheap compared to the labor you have to put in now?
Got the automatic because -with a whole manual tranny parts car sitting in the garage- the swap didn't seem like it'd be a big deal at all.

And the price was right for a 85k M-edition with hard top and pristine rocker panels. Got the car for $1800, then shipping was about another $1k. The engine was reported as having "no compression in any cylinder" but I knew it had to be either a dead/misadjusted timing belt- and if I was somehow wrong and it was something more serious, there was a good engine in that parts car.

Other advantage of the automatic tranny is that I know it wasn't abused. Can't really rev the **** out of an engine in an auto on a daily basis (unless you're an f'n retard).

I swear that the car itself is getting excited about it's transformation. Based on what I found* while stripping the interior, the previous owner, Nancy, was an elderly, churchgoing, new-age, hospital worker. I'm sure she took great care of it (mazda oil filter, zero sludge under the valve cover), but just being driven to church on Sundays is a sad life for a sports car.

*Long grey hair, "sounds of nature" cassette in tape deck, church flyers, hospital id badge

Last edited by deliverator; 06-07-2009 at 06:26 PM.
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Old 06-07-2009, 06:25 PM   #20
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Today I:

Properly secured the steering column
Installed seats
Messed with the rear passenger brake line (it seems to like to drip; seems to have stopped post-messing)
Checked gauge fuse


The "meter" fuse is fine, so that isn't the problem. Will have to look at wiring schematics to see what the problem is. Possibly related to reverse lights not being wired up?

Popped the climate control panel in and attached its connectors; this kicked on the AC. I now know that I have to tighten up the ac/ps accessory belt. Too annoying to deal with right now.

Going to eat some diner and watch some Firefly. Then start look at wiring diagrams to see about these f'n gauges.
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