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The Project

 
Old 06-22-2018, 12:49 AM
  #21  
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Default Engine refresh is finally done

This post is overdue, but since my last update a lot of more work went in, coupled with vacations, waiting for parts, various struggle-buses, redo things multiple times and the likes.

Timing belt, AC/PS belt, alternator/WP belt
First I replaced all the belts. Together with that I replaced belts, cam seals, main front seal, pulleys and tensioner, water pump.

The Flyin' Miata timing belt toolkit came extremely useful, especially since it was my first time doing this job.


Cam seals time!

This turned out to be quite tricky when remounting the cam pulleys. Although I used the cross-wrench method, the cam pulleys wouldn't sit in the original position. I had to wiggle the cams to make everything fit to the markings I had made. YouTube was very helpful in this process. This is also the part where I had some help to understand whether the belt was tensioned correctly.

Belt is mounted and new water pump in. I also decided to paint the water pipe black.


Things going back together...


CXRacing eBay radiator
Time has come to get the radiator in, together with new black Samco silicone radiator hoses. Radiator and fans were purchased off eBay. Honestly I was positively impressed by the quality of the CXRacing radiator. I'll be getting a better radiator when I decide to make more power.




Overflow tank: a sad discovery
Remember the previous picture showing off the Canton racing radiator? That was supposed to be a direct fit, well, it wasn't. The radiator holes weren't aligned with the holes in the car and it had clearance issues with the light. Shout out to Summit Racing that gave me a full refund even after 3 months since the purchase.

After a lot of thinking, I recently decided to pull the trigger on the Moroso overflow tank. Fit like a glove.


First engine startup: injector gas leak
I don't have any pictures of this, but after putting things back together I tried to start the engine. Fire extinguisher ready. The engine turned on, but the injector on cylinder #4 was leaking gasoline. I di f*** it up when putting the fuel rail and injectors back together and basically destroyed the injector. After swapping it with an old one few days later, I tried to start the engine again.

Second engine startup: massive leak from the back of the engine
Surprise! Coolant started to flow from the back of the engine. This is the moment where I began to get worried and suspected this leak was coming from the rear highly inaccessible water pipe, underneath the coil pack. Some investigation confirmed my suspicion. A nut was missing, letting coolant flow free (out of the engine).

Yes, from there...

If you've ever tried to access that location with the engine in the car, you probably know already how fun that must have been. Couple that with old grime and the old gasket being melted in between the cap and the neck of the pipe, and you get the full picture. Patience, cursing, cutter and sandpaper were abundantly used to remove the old gasket.

Since I had to remove the coil pack, I took some time to clean it up and hack up the old grommet that disintegrated itself.


New full exhaust
Last, but not least, I decided to swap that rusty piece of junk that's called exhaust. Got a pair of Jackson Racing headers, a Magnaflow high-flow cat and Fujitsubo cat-back. Pretty sure I've lost like 10HP, but the car sounds really good...


Jackson Racing carb legal headers (putting the EGR pipe back together was a f***ing pain).


Fujitsubo tailpipe


Before and after


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Old 06-22-2018, 01:33 PM
  #22  
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Default Revlimiter gauges

Yesterday I took a break from engine and drivetrain rebuilds, to finally install a set of Revlimiter gauges that I purchased back in November as a Black Friday deal.
The manufacturing of these gauges is top notch. The whole process is fairly easy and deeply documented. Putting the needles back was likely the part that took the most time.



And here's the new gauges
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Old 06-23-2018, 11:38 AM
  #23  
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Which guages are those? I may need a set for that 80's/90's futuristic look (if I get them in green they will look amazing for that).
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Old 06-23-2018, 12:29 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by x_25 View Post
Which guages are those? I may need a set for that 80's/90's futuristic look (if I get them in green they will look amazing for that).
They are called FC, backed by LED: Version FC NA Miata gauge set | revlimiter.net Store - if you switch to LED make sure you test the cluster gauge lighting up before mounting the new gauges on. LEDs have polarity and you might find yourself having to take them off and rotate to be able to light up (the doc explains that well). Good luck!
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Old 06-23-2018, 01:18 PM
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Great progress! Nice job chasing down all the leaks first, I know how much of a struggle that can be.

I noticed in one of your earlier posts you had a quickjack, how do you like it? The more work I do on my car the more tempted I am to pull the trigger on one.
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Old 06-23-2018, 01:44 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by tenthe View Post
Great progress! Nice job chasing down all the leaks first, I know how much of a struggle that can be.

I noticed in one of your earlier posts you had a quickjack, how do you like it? The more work I do on my car the more tempted I am to pull the trigger on one.
It is a struggle indeed. Thatís why I decided to change and clean everything I could change (that also helped fixing the idle drop issue).
The Quickjack are just awesome. I had to raise/lower the car multiple times over 5 months or work. I canít think of how it would have been with jack and jack stands. They are heavy, as Iíve got the 5k LB model since I use them on my other cars too (and they have a slight clearance issue with a Miata since itís so short). But yeah, game changer I can not recommend enough if you canít get a lift.
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Old 06-23-2018, 04:31 PM
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Nice work!
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Old 06-29-2018, 08:26 PM
  #28  
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Default Recap of engine refresh

I decided to put a brain-dump of everything I've done so far, related to the engine. Mostly to document these past five months I've spent working on this car.
  • New sealed battery (might swap for vented one at some point)
  • New VC gasket and CAS o'ring
  • New OEM heater hoses and new OEM water by-pass hoses
  • Flyin' Miata oil filter relocation kit
  • Swapped oil pressure sender and gauge with pre-94 one
  • New OEM oil drain plug installed
  • CXRacing "Ebay" radiator and low profile fans, new Samco silicone radiator hoses and Moroso aluminum overflow tank.
  • Installed new water pump and gaskets, new thermostat and o'ring, new gasket on water neck-pipe in the back of the engine.
  • New CAS and injector connectors (broken while unplugging them out)
  • Swapped injectors with lower mileage ones; injectors were cleaned and rebuilt (new grommets)
  • New fuel filter and fuel filter hoses
  • New intake air filter
  • Removed and cleaned throttle body, IAC valve and intake manifold (this solved the idle-drop issue). Installed new gaskets for intake manifold, throttle body and IAC valve.
  • New OEM 323 GTX/Turbo PCV valve and PCV valve hose
  • Swapped stock exhaust with Jackson Racing headers, Magnaflow high-flow cat, Fujitsubo cat-back.
  • Installed new exhaust gasket and hangers. Installed new exhaust studs and bolts.
  • Installed new Mazdaspeed motor mounts
  • New timing belt, alternator and AC/PS drive belts, camshaft seals and front main seal
  • New woodruff key (old one had been installed on the wrong side and I had stripped it trying to remove it)
  • New NGK spark plugs and spark plug wires
  • All new red vacuum lines from Siliconeintakes
  • Removed window washer bottle and lines (it's California)
  • New OEM speedometer cable
  • Swapped all hose clamps with adjustable ones (used Oetiker hose clamps for water cooling)
  • Painted VC and intake manifold green. Painted front water neck-pipe black.
  • Lots of sanding, cleaning and anti-seize. Removed rust from all the bolts and nuts used.
  • Torqued (almost all) bolts and nuts to torque spec and marked them with oil-based paint marker to easily spot if anything comes loose
I guess that's it. I'll edit in case I remember more.

Last edited by Leuz; 07-02-2018 at 12:42 PM.
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Old 07-05-2018, 07:13 PM
  #29  
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Default The cheap visual mod #1: carbon fiber wrap

Decided to take a break from tinkering with the engine and do some interior/exterior mods. I decided to paint the central tunnel and tombstone blue and do some wrapping experiments with carbon fiber wrap.
Since I fu**ed up the interior painting job - and the plastic - I'll write up some mediocre success with carbon fiber wrapping the fuel tank and the retractable headlight covers.

Disclaimer: please refrain from the this looks ricey type of comments. I am very aware of it. I am not posting about it because I think it looks cool. It was just my attempt at experimenting with wrapping car parts. This car it my project car and anything I do is just for fun and learn.

Ok, let's start. The original idea was to actually wrap some interior parts. When I tried to wrap the NA OEM cupholder I suddenly realized what an impossible job for my skill that was. Props to whoever is able to do something like that, professional or amateur
So I started looking for something of an easier shape... the fuel tank lid was my next target. It turned out to be way easier doing that.

The job isn't perfect by any means, but I'm quite happy with the result to be my first time wrapping anything really:


Next I decided to challenge myself and attempt to wrap a pair of headlight lids I had previously purchased as spare parts.
Lids sanded and primed.


My original goal was to paint them black, same as the car as they were originally red and painted gray from the previous owner. That did not turn out great as even with a gloss clear coat the black still looked flat compared to the car's paint.


So wrapping it is!




Job turned out decent and I'm quite happy with the result.
Lesson learned: I will not do a car wrapping for a job.
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Old 09-18-2018, 09:17 PM
  #30  
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Default Front frame refactor

The Miata had previously been in a front fender bender. In fact, this was its initial status:


Since I removed the front bumper for some refactoring as well, I decided to take care of this and its rust:




Some sanding and repainting after


And the job finished
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Old 10-28-2018, 03:52 PM
  #31  
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Default Aerocatch hood latches

Side note: It happened that I bought two more Miatas (2001, yeah I love Miatas) and basically not worked on my "project" for a while, so I'm trying to catch up in here with some old work I did before I get back into it.

aka: No more hood opener!
Hood latches have somehow always gotten my interest. Be it the easy access to the engine bay or the because racecar look. So, together with the fact that the OEM latch hook was in bad shape because of an infamous "fender bender" the previous owners had gifted to me, I pulled the trigger on cutting the hood and installing Aerocatch latches.
Disclaimer: it was my first time (like almost always with this project) that I was doing this type of installation. If I had to do it again, I would cut the under parts of the hood before measuring where to put the latches... as the final adjustment took a lot of wiggling and modifications to make the pins fit the latch So, here we go:

Step 1: taking measurements... such engineering, much precision


Step 2: cutting & coating (e.g. rust prevention)




Step 3: installing the hood pins

Again, this step was the most challenging because of the f*ed up measurements I initially took... nonetheless I made it work by drilling the holes in which the pins sit and using washers to move the pins around to mate with the hood. It worked but took way too long.

Here's some random bonus pics from cleaning and refactoring the front bumper.




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Old 12-18-2018, 01:16 PM
  #32  
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Default Suspension work

New suspensions are in. I decided to throw some more money away and went for the following:
  • MeisterR ZetaCRD coilovers
  • Extended Lower Ball Joints
  • Racing Beat front (tubular) and rear sway bars
  • 949 Racing adjustable toe links
  • Konig Dial-In gloss black 15x8
Before the install:

I have to say that so far the installation and initial setup was quite easy. The MeisterR are ready to go and the initial height would be a good start for anybody wanting to just drop the car. I don't have an opinion on how they handle yet because I am still waiting to get an alignment. I actually installed the ELBJ because I want to try to get as close as possible to the 949 Racing Dual Duty one. Some work travel and other delays have stopped me from finalizing this... hopefully soon.

Out with the old, in with the new:



One mistake I had made was to start lowering the car to get a 4.50'' at the pinch weld in front and 4.75'' in the rear... it goes without saying that the suspensions did settle and found the car way lower than I wanted. It took a lot of QuickJack action to get it to where I wanted... here's a pic at "stock" height:


Next (days later) I got to install the Sway bars. I went with the recommended setup found on 949 Racing. Did I say how much I love their site, articles, etc on Miata? [If any of you guys happen to read this, thank you, you rock ]


And finally the links:


When the job is done..



Bonus points if you guess the car next to it
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