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Old 01-05-2010, 12:20 AM   #1
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Well, I'm back from a year of deployment. I had two goals while I was there - Pay off every single bill that I owe (Student loans, car loans, etc. etc.), and save up some extra $$$ to throw into my hobby once I got back home.

Surely you've guessed, the Miata is the 'hobby' in question. A 1994 A-Package in classic red. I picked it up from the local stealership for $6k (this was before I knew better) in 2004 with just under 60k miles on it when my trusty silverado (1990 black, short cab, full bed, 5.7L, 200k miles) blew out a rear main seal, and my dad convinced me it wasn't worth the work to replace.

When I bought the Miata, I had searched probably 15 lots in the columbus area, and was ready to go home for the weekend. At each dealership, I gave the used car salesman two requirements....

It had to be a two-door
It had to have a five speed

I got a "sorry, don't have anything like that" at basically every dealership...the sneaky ones also tried the "but maybe you'd like....instead".

F That.

Convinced my dad to stop at one last dealership before going home. He didnt even get out of the car. Met the salesman at the door, gave him the requirements, and got a "yeah, we got that, right over here".

We took a short test drive, talked loan terms, and slept on it. Came back the next day, and after some quick paperwork I had the keys to my shiny new 10 year old red car (and my first car loan payment). I didn't even know what a Miata was, just that I had a Miata, and some ****-eating ear-to-ear grin.

50k miles and 4 years later I knew what a gem of a car I had - and I finally saved up enough to drop into an FMII Hydra kit, with all the supporting mods. I spent much more on that purchase than I had on the car itself when I bought it - but I've always had a theory - "do it right, the first time"

I put an NB Head on the car at the same time I did the turbo. Had a few kinks to work out at first, but eventually I got it all worked out. Right about the time I had everything working in near perfect harmony I got a phone call:

"Hey, it's the battalion commander, you sitting down?"

"No, Sir. I'm standing next to a Humvee." (I know it's spelled HMMWV)

"Well, you might want to lean on it..."

It was a 30 day notice that I was getting deployed. Son of a Bitch!

Well, I got deployed, and so sat the car.
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I did manage to get it to a couple auto-x before jumping the puddle.
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At one point, it was driven from Columbus, OH to LA for R&D of FM's 3" NA Exhaust. It was some guy I had never met, most of you will know him as VagaXT or Sonny. They fitted it with a new 3" exhaust after the design was approved, and the car sat for several months at my aunt's house in LA until I got home and drove it back.

The day I got home from LA, I drove it into my garage, parked it, and started tearing it to teensy little pieces. I had lots of new toys to add to it. This is where my build begins.

First off: Maybe it actually began when I was in LA with the car for a week. I ordered FCM Coilovers, new brake pads, rotors, an FM front sway, and some end-links. I had most of it shipped straight to my aunt's house. I kinda felt like a terrorist when I checked my bag with a huge front sway bar duct-taped to the outside of it...

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The first thing I did after I got home was tear out the engine...I've never done something like this before, so no idea what to expect - and couldn't find anyone to help out :(
Note to self: Take off the shift lever next time - what a pain in the *** THAT was!!!
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Also took out some other fun parts:
Rear differential out - took it out as a single unit with the PPF because of that pesky exact fit sleeve thing -
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And some new toys going into the diff
3.636 R&P!!!!
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Of course, had to rip most of the 3" exhaust out to get to anything...Only thing left on the car is the muffler.
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The engine bay is ugly as all hell without an engine to plug things up - WTF am i going to do with all this crap?
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Here's the random odds and ends that came off the engine before I took it to the shop. Lots of extra crap laying around.
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I just dropped this pretty thing in tonight. Walbro 190lph HP fuel pump. Next time I do a fuel pump, I might take off the soft top first - it might almost be easier...
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Additionally - I decided to do a foamectomy, but to the extreme. Screw taking out just the foam. I took out the seat covers, the headrest speakers, the seatbelts, the rails...all of it, gone. You wont believe how much legroom and headroom I have now!! The passenger side too!!! :P
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Here are the seats, out of the car:
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And here are the katzkins leather pieces going on them. These seat covers are absolutely gorgeous, top rate. I ordered twin seat heaters too, but I haven't gotten them yet, so the seats will sit until I get the heaters.
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Accompanied by some new Clearwater headrest speakers, of course:
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While deployed, I picked up a mazdaspeed tranny off here (MT.net) in the classifieds. I didn't get a shifter with it, the whole assembly was another couple hundred dollars :( I'm glad I made the purchase though. The red tranny fluid that I put into the 5-speed about 10,000 miles earlier was now a very pretty metallic silver color. Hmm...how odd....
Old and busted on the right, new hotness on the left:
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There are plenty of other fun things that haven't been installed yet. Obviously some of them require an engine first:

M-tuned coolant reroute kit:
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Hydramist WI System:
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Mazdacomp Motor Mounts:
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Garage Vary Front Lip:
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FM Hard Line Kit and Silicone lower radiator hose:
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Also have engine internals that I never got pics of - Belfab Rods, Supertech 9.0:1 Pistons, ARP Studs, Boundary Engineering Oil Pump, ATI Super Damper Pulley, and probably some other parts that have skipped my mind.

Current status of the engine - It's at my builder right now, Stewart Engines out of Indianapolis. They've been doing lots of fun things with it. Basically rebuilding the whole thing - the bottom end with parts I have supplied. They are doing a full top end rebuild with a supertech kit they sourced with slightly stiffer springs. They will be gasket matching the IM, and porting the internal wastegate on the 2560. I had overboost issues after the install of the full 3" FM exhaust, so hopefully the wastegate porting will solve the issue. They are also drilling and re-tapping the exhaust manifold and turbo housing to accept M10x1.5 Studs as opposed to the M8 Studs supplied by FM. I am currently working with Stephanie at BEGi to get an Inconel turbo stud set from them when they become available, hopefully this month. It's probably overkill, but I like the possibility that I can "fix it and forget it"

The differential is across the street from the engine builder at AIM Tuning - getting the 3.636 R&P put in it.

I've been looking for a hardtop for quite awhile now. I finally found one, reasonably priced, on craigslist about two weeks ago. $3500.

The best part is, it came with a "winter beater" attached to it!!!
This was as I bought it:
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Here it sits in the garage with my stock '94 wheels on it, blizzaks mounted:
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I'm still not sure if I want to keep the top and sell of the car this spring, or keep the car as a winter car...

And I got an extra set of wheels from the guy too...I think i'm beginning to have too damned many wheels/tires. I have two sets of wheels and tires for every vehicle I own now, except the motorcycle...and I already have the second set of wheels for that - just waiting for a summer track day to put slicks on those wheels.
Make that FOUR sets total of miata tires/wheels:
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And two sets to fit a mitsubishi montero sport - a 3-season set, and a snow set.

My power goals are 300 RWHP. If I can make more than that safely, then it's just an added bonus. I have no intention to track the car, but it does see auto-x duty. The idea is a suprisingly powerful and fun daily driver. It won't look 'overdone' from the outside. The only hints that a passing motorist will have is the FMIC in the front and a 3" Exhaust coming out the rear. From the side, you'll see only the 6ULs wrapped in RS2's (ok, RS3's eventually) and the ever so slight suspension drop - if you know what you're looking for.

I have ideas for how best to 'gauge' the interior. If I can get the motivation and the resources, I've got an idea in my head for the 'best' way to get two gauges in the car to look stock, and damned good.

For the exterior, I was considering just a classic red, or slightly darker red repaint. After having the black NB for a couple weeks, I think I may have changed my mind. It looks like the car may end up black, with a bold 'racing stripe' design I have in my head.

I'll update as I go - or as I remember to.
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Old 01-05-2010, 12:43 AM   #2
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Nice start to your build, those pics were killing my Blackberry.

Ricky Bobby wouldn't drive with that windshield decal, car would look much better without it.

Thanks for your service.
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Old 01-05-2010, 12:50 AM   #3
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LOL, thanks
The windshield decal is no more
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Old 01-05-2010, 12:50 AM   #4
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Good story, and an amazing amount of money spent. But if you said you paid off all your bills, loans, and credit cards, then why not! Any idea how much you've spent?
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Old 01-05-2010, 12:52 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curly View Post
Any idea how much you've spent?
ouch...it hurts too much...make it stop!
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Old 01-05-2010, 01:28 AM   #6
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Id say close to 7
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Old 01-05-2010, 01:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbkcocker499 View Post
Id say close to 7
He's got to be over $10k. The Hydra kit is $5,300.

Nice build, and nice writeup.

C
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Old 01-11-2010, 12:25 AM   #8
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Thanks for your service Fooger! Good luck with the car.
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Old 01-11-2010, 07:52 AM   #9
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@chris
maybe double that - without original purchase of the car

@rweatherford
thank you sir, it's my pleasure to serve

no new updates yet.
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Old 01-11-2010, 12:28 PM   #10
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Awesome build thread

I just got back from Afghanistan about 4 weeks ago.. maybe we were near each other?

Good luck with the build, everything is looking good
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Old 01-24-2010, 12:03 AM   #11
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Default Yay updates!!! Everyone loves an updates!!!

Time for more miata **** -

I did a quickie install of the clearwater speakers, went from this...
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To this...
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Also got my mazda comp diff mounts in...
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Best news ever: Engine and Differential are back from the builders!!!!
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I know, I know, it looks like an engine, so what...
I've also been tearing apart the passenger's side of the engine bay, here's a before and after of the twin EGR solenoids with mounts -->
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And OH MY GOSH, CRAZY WIREZ ARE EVERYWHERE!
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But im getting the bay cleared up a little bit, trying to make wires prettier and the bay nicer - some things are going back of course, but compare this to the WD-40 photo earlier...
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Next time I get down on this, I'd like to tear out the brake master cylinder/booster solenoid so I can get into that corner better where I've got primer sprayed over everything - I tell you what, brake fluid gets on crap, and it gets NASTY in there...ugh.

I got the clutch on the engine as kind of a last-thing-before-i-wrap-it-up-for-the-night deal. I got the damn thing on, then realized i'd forgotten the damned trans plate - **** - back off, then on again...

Motor mounts and the heavy *** A/C bracket all have been sandblasted and primered, waiting paint and mount.

I'm in the market for a nice catch can if anyone has a spare - two 'in' lines with a VTA preferred - no idea where to find one right now.

My nice powdercoated valve cover was stripped to bare aluminum at the engine shop, then repainted - they did a hurry-up job on the repaint, it looks ugly as hell, now i'm going to have to strip it down myself and re powdercoat the thing - ****.

Thats all for now, hopefully gomiata and katzkins figure out the backordered seat heaters soon so i can do the reupholstery - i can't wait on that project!!!
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Old 01-26-2010, 11:35 PM   #12
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This build is looking great so far, great job! I can't wait to see how it turns out. I can't wait until I'm in a position to build the motor in mine....one day!
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Old 01-27-2010, 11:22 AM   #13
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Hey, thanks Turbo! I'm really enjoying taking my time on this, I'd love to have it on the road by April, and fully repainted by early May. When you get the chance to do an engine build, I'm sure youll enjoy it too!!!

Started reassembling the block last night, slowly. Got the brake master cylinder and booster off, got everything below it primered and ready for paint. The 6-speed is mated with the proper trans plate and a smaller NB starter.

Does anyone know if the smaller NB starters are bracketed to the block like the NA starters were, or are they just bolted to the tranny in 3 places?

More pics to come soon!
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Old 01-29-2010, 07:41 PM   #14
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This just came in the mail today....
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I found a rattle-can and might have messed things up a bit....the color doesn't look right. Dont know if i want to go get the right color paint, leave it the way it is, or do the whole bay in this...
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And started reassembly, haven't been moving too awfully fast...
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I've pretty much been blasting and painting everything before it goes on the engine - trying to get rid of as much of the ugly as I can. The P/S and A/C compressors are going to be a bit more difficult unless I choose to disconnect them - I dont wanna - esp. the A/C.
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Old 02-02-2010, 12:08 AM   #15
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I got a late start today...some dude got pwned at an intersection, took me half an hour to go half a mile, wtf...
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Engine bay, oh engine bay...what to do?...

Ok, hell, I'll do it...
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So was working on the alternator, got the whole thing tore down, cleaned up, painted, and put back together -
Here's the before pic...
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And the after pic, mounted up, and ready to go!
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Yes, It's the same exact alternator, just purdier


While I was cleaning parts up, I got a good look at the lower alternator mounting bolt....

HOLY GRADE 6 HARDWARE BATMAN!!!
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I wonder how many more thousands of miles this bolt is going to last now that I put it back in....

And that's all I got for ya today!
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Old 02-04-2010, 08:41 PM   #16
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Just a quickie for today - Before and after pics.

Enjoy!
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Old 02-04-2010, 08:48 PM   #17
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Beyond the "roadster" emblem, seats look awesome.

Thank you thank you thank you for cleaning your alternator, everyone ignores them. I've considered doing the $60 rebuild simply to have it come back clean.
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Old 02-04-2010, 08:51 PM   #18
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If you can get that damned front pulley off the alternator, its absolute CAKE to disassemble, clean, and reassemble.....


....like I said - If you can get that damned front pulley off
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Old 02-04-2010, 09:56 PM   #19
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Looks like it, especially if you have a bead blasting cabinet available. What's everyone's trick to getting the pulley off, impact hammer while the belts still holding it?
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Old 02-05-2010, 12:55 AM   #20
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thats probably a good way. i used a bad way and fuxxored up the pulley.

hindsight, undo the 4 bolts holding the case together, pull the case apart. the rotor will be attached to the pulley end. it will be somewhat difficult to pull out (but not crazy impossible) as you're pulling the rear bearing out with it. the .... wirey part (is that the 'stator?')... will be attached to the other end. You may have better luck getting leverage on the rotor part after you pull the halves apart than on the pulley belt.

once it's apart, there are 3 screws inside the rear half - one is tough to get at, but if you pull the stator out a bit, its easy.

When you put everything back together, theres a pinhole in the rear case. you'll have to hold the brushes (springy things) down with your finger and stick a pin through the pinhole - this will hold the brushes in place as you assemble the alternator. once you are done, pull the pin out and the brushes will spring back to life

Thats pretty much it

blast cabinet, $119 at harbor freight, includes blast gun
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