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Old 08-04-2010, 02:14 AM   #1
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Default Pseudosports's GRM Challenge build thread

I've been reading though a lot of other people's build threads and decided to make my own. Most of it will be a copy from what I've posted over at GRM but this will give me a chance to give updates.

I was shopping at AutoZone when there was a customer pricing out suspension parts, brakes, and a few other things. When he found out the total cost for everything he was displeased and yelled out (Who wants to buy a Miata, $500!). I looked around to see if anyone else was interested then just raised my hand. I spoke to the owner about the car and followed him back to where it was kept. He said the last time it was on the road was 2004 but would fire right up. Here is a picture of the car when I first saw it.




Engine bay was nasty, body was rough and had some poor body work done, but the interior was clean and it had a hard top! We went to start it but the battery was dead and would not take a jump. A spare battery got it running but he dropped the price down to $485 to offset the cost of buying a used battery. I actually drove it back to my house but that’s a story in its self. Cliff note are: it was raining at dusk, bad clutch, broken coil springs, 8 lug nuts total, no wiper blades, poor charging system, dim headlights, no brakes, and I was so scared when I got home I wanted to throw up.

Random pic of the broken springs. I was actually able to remove all of them by hand without unbolting anything. I'm guessing someone heated them with a torch to try and lower it at some point.



Now my goal was to build something fun and cheap that I could drive everyday. It was later I decided to gear it towards the challenge. Not having any money to start the project I pulled the engine and started working on the body. I knew the body was rough but did not expect to find out that the whole rear quarter was bondo.



Also the bottom of the driver’s side fender was only held together by undercoating. I wanted to replace it but could not find and used one for a fair price. Instead I used a piece of rusted out 1969 Camaro quarter panel and graphed it to the bottom of the fender. With some body filler and fiber glass I had left over from old projects I was able to straighten most of the body.

Since the body work was finally coming along it was time to find some wheels. I knew I had a set with the right bolt spread on a BMW parts car but was unsure if they would work on the Miata. The offset was not quite what I wanted and they where probable going to rub but they looked awesome! Yeah 2 were bent and cracked but I didn’t care and decided to make them work. $120 later Tru- Wheels had them straighter and my budget took a good hit but they make the car. Without them it would just be a boring red Miata. Here is the parts car that's slowly being returned to the earth. It was actually too rust to jack up so I had to unbolt the wheels then dig under them to get them off. At least one was in the trunk.






With the body striped down I got the bumpers, fenders and hood prepped for paint. Front bumper had been hit and painted a few times and was a real pain to strip and glue back together. Please note that at this point I still don’t really know what I’m doing but the instructions on the can make it sound simple. I mixed up some primer and gave the parts and shell a few coats. Due to lack of space in the garage at the time the shell had to be primed outside.




This pic was 2 weeks before the 2007 challenge. As you can tell by my face (left) things are not going well. I knew I was not going to make it at that point but i kept trying anyway.



Suspension is made up of KYB AGX shocks that I got used off ebay but it turns out they were listed wrong and were for a 99+. I had to drill my shock mounts and add a piece of pipe to make them work. I tried using ebay coils overs but the sleeves hit the mounts so I later ditched them for used RB springs till I could mess with the coil overs more.

Engine is pretty simple. I painted it with left over spray cans and bolted on an eBay manifold and downpipe kit. Turbo is a 14b from a 1991 Plymouth laser. When I went to pay for it I pointed out that around the wastegate was cracked and picked it up for $35!


Engine bay was actually painted with Sunrise Red rustolium. It was a better match then I thought


With the engine and turbo in the car I now had to sort out the intercooler setup. Most of the pieces are from a used aftermarket DSM kit. Intercooler fit the front of the car great and the cold side was easy to hook up. The j-pipe that came with the turbo was crushed plus it pointed in the wrong direction. I had to weld the flange to a scrap piece of Dodge 440 header so that it pointed down. The rest of the intercooler kit did not fit too well on this side so I ended up using an intercooler pipe and BOV from a Saab and a coupler off a Volvo wagon.



Cold side is less interesting


This time I was able to get the whole car in the garage to paint it. I didn’t get a chance to fix the rust at the base of the windshield so I just said “screw it” and painted over it. I’ve never painted a car before and really enjoyed being able to cover all the bodywork and primer and seeing a shiny car for the first time. A few mosquitoes were harmed in the process and are now part of the car. I also learned that you can not wetsand or buff them out. I like actually enjoy pointing them out when people ask about the paint job. Anyway Miata is now red and so is everything in my garage. Paint is Kirker Porsche guards red single stage.





The only other mishap I had during the project was when I went to check on the paint the next day when I got home from work. I went to open the garage door and it jammed halfway up. I quickly ducked under and ended up hitting my head off the trunk. I cleaned up some then took a cell phone pic so my friends could laugh at me later. At this point it was a day or 2 before the event so I called it quits till next year



Over the winter I slowly built a Megasquirt. When summer finally came along I was able to wire it all up and go for a test drive around the yard. It ran like crap but it made me fell better about the whole project.



Later that summer I was able to finish painting the rest the panels and repair the hardtop. I downloaded a base map from DIYautotune.com and hooked up a wideband so I could tweak the fuel map. I got plates, threw the panels on, and made a few runs around town. Since it did not blow up and catch fire it was time to load it up on the trailer and take it to the challenge. The finish install of MS was done as it was loaded onto the trailer, wheels were painted in the hotel parking lot, and it did not have full boost till 3am Friday morning when I found the shorted boost control solenoid. Here is the car all done at the 2008 challenge. Car placed 11th over all.



Last edited by Pseudosport; 08-04-2010 at 02:56 AM.
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Old 08-04-2010, 02:17 AM   #2
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Nice build man. So random just buying the car at autozone lol.
I'm worried about that exhaust manifold. will most likely crack
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Old 08-04-2010, 02:21 AM   #3
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Awesome, I love this car.

My brother wanted to go in on a turbo Mercury Capri this year haha.
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Old 08-04-2010, 02:24 AM   #4
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For 2009 I did not want to change much because I was pretty happy with the car but as the challenge was approaching the need to modify the car grew. The first thing I wanted to do was add a stronger rear diff plus a limited slip. Since no one was giving away torsens I looked towards the RX-7 clutch type limited slip. I was able to find a worn out LSD that I was told needed a rebuild. Rebuild sounded expensive so I disassembled it and measure the frictions and steels to see how out of spec it was. Next I searched for a sheet of metal that would get me close or just a little over factory spec. That piece of metal happened to be a beer can. So I took a razor and traced the outline of a friction. Finally a good use for Coors. This is what I ended up with.



I threw the whole thing back together and measured preload and ended up with 150+ lbs. Nice!

Other then that I added a front sway, eBay coilovers, some Hoosiers, more boost, and a Capri turbo valve cover. Still never got around to getting an alignment. Maybe next year.





We ended up placing 4th over all. So far the car's weakness is the drags. I'm having trouble with the launch. Either I get wheel spin or clutch slip. Hopefully I can get this sorted out too for next year.

Last edited by Pseudosport; 08-04-2010 at 03:11 AM.
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Old 08-04-2010, 02:40 AM   #5
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I think this will be the last year for the Miata at the challenge but I also said that last year. For 2010 I'm upgrading my turbo set up because the manifold cracked for the second time and seals in the 14b let go. I've now upgraded to the cheap cast ebay manifold and I'm running 2 different turbos. A 50 trim T3 for the autocross and a 60 trim for the drags. I might even add a 50 shot of nitrous since I think I have some more room in the budget this year. I hope the rods are feeling strong this year.

The other issue I had was the clutch would slip on drag passes. I cheaped out and got a 1.8L organic clutch but this year I'm upgrading to a pucked clutch.

Here is a pic of some parts waiting to go on the car.



Somehow installing all this frees up $300 in my budget over my old setup. Roll bars are also a safety item this year so that's another $100 to play with.

Currently the engine is out so I can paint it and replace the clutch. I also need to modify the valve cover so I can run hoses to an oil catch can. While all that's happening I'm doing a mild wire tuck. Hopefully I can get it all back in next weekend and start welding up a new downpipe

Last edited by Pseudosport; 08-04-2010 at 03:01 AM.
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Old 08-04-2010, 02:54 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 18psi View Post
Nice build man. So random just buying the car at autozone lol.
I'm worried about that exhaust manifold. will most likely crack
Actually blew the welds off the manifold, lol. There are also 20 other cracks you can't see in the picture. Manifold was welded once after 3000 miles and this picture is was taken after 5000. I knew this was going to happen but the price was right.

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Old 08-04-2010, 03:22 AM   #7
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ahh xtd 6 puck clutch is what I have as well. Also is that the ebat T3 cast iron manifold?
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Old 08-04-2010, 10:46 AM   #8
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This is one of the best build threads to date, good job man!



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Old 08-04-2010, 11:00 AM   #9
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Great, great thread. Looking forward to more.

Also, you must make this your avatar:

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Old 08-04-2010, 11:07 AM   #10
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Looking forward to seeing you run again this year. Really going to try and get myself down in the GTX and run hard for the under 1k car super amazing trophy
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Old 08-08-2010, 12:18 AM   #11
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Thanks, I really hope to see the GTX down there.

Got some more work done on the car today. I tried to drop the subframe to clean it and try to free up the suspension but the bolts were rusty and rounded so I messed with the camber bolts. 4 out of 3 bolts broke so I'll need to order new ones. I also got the engine bay cleaned, sanded and primed. Tomorrow I should be able to paint everything and finish the wire tuck. I still have a lot to get done in a few weeks.

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Old 08-09-2010, 04:44 PM   #12
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Painted the engine bay yesterday morning. Just as I finished it it down poured and ruined the whole paint job. Weather was supposed to be perfect all day and when I looked at the weather map it showed onc speck of green over my town. So I spend the whole day cleaning and wetsanding the engine bay. Finally at 9pm I had it all painted again. After I touch up the booster, brake lines, and a few other things I should be ready to drop the engine back in this week.

Sorry for the cell phone pic, didn't want to get paint on the nice camera.


Last edited by Pseudosport; 08-09-2010 at 05:00 PM.
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Old 08-09-2010, 04:48 PM   #13
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Rained on your parade eh... fun
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Old 08-11-2010, 05:53 PM   #14
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While Iím waiting for a few minor parts to show up in the mail Iíve been eyeing the turbo on this Dodge CSX sitting in my driveway that my friend and I picked up for free. We posted a pic of the turbo up on turbomopar.com and they think itís the stock turbo machined out for a 60 trim or super 60 wheel. From what we were told the turbo was replaced not long before the car was parked for 5 years and it looks to be in a fair shape. Few small chips in the compressor but no shaft play. Since the car was free the turbo is free and would not count towards my budget. I can either redrill the odd dodge flange or use another exhaust housing.

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Thread where we got the car for free:

http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/for...t/14065/page1/
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Old 08-27-2010, 06:07 PM   #15
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After a fair amount of detonation last year I decided to check on the rod bearings while I had the oil pan off. Here is a pic of the best bearing. #1 showed more wear and had a grove but the crank looks perfect. I couldn’t get pics of that one to come out. I know it’s a GRM car but I’m thinking of spending $17 to replace them.

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Old 09-13-2010, 02:49 AM   #16
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Engine is finally back together and in the car. The wire tuck has been taking a lot more time then I would have liked. Hopefully it will be nice when I'm done. As for the suspension I broke 6 out of 8 alignment bolts. One actually unbolted and the other it too rounded and I'm out of cut off wheels. By Thursday wheels should be back on and I can give the car a rough alignment.

This coming weekend the turbo needs to go on and I need to fab up the exhaust. I also have to clean up the cam gears, balance, and some other small brackets. That would give me one more week to do some tuning and break in the clutch. Here are some pictures from today.

Drivers side wire tuck is pretty much done and the engine is actually wired up.


Passenger side still needs some work. Fuse panel needs to be bolted in and there are a few connectors I forgot what they went to.
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Old 09-16-2010, 04:19 PM   #17
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Quick update, I picked up some NB mounts cheap to use with my NB KYB’s but they didn’t come with the needed hardware. This year I decided to mess around with them again. Since I still needed hardware I read that GM end link bushings work well. I picked up an end link kit for a 1985 Chevy Monte Carlo and the washers and bushings fit perfect. One $6 kit will do two shocks. Not sure what I’m going to use for a bump stop since I think the ebay coil springs will bind before the shock hits the bump stop. I might just cut up the NA mount and throw it in there just incase. If I have time maybe I’ll actually measure this weekend. Either way these are much better then my drilled NA mounts with a chunk of pipe.



Picked up another set of rims and tires off Miata.net for $100. Rims are 15x7 Borbet Type H with 4 year old RA1’s that look almost new. I was going to sell the tires to try and zero out the rims but so far I have room in the budget. I’m mounting 2 drag slicks on these and keeping 2 RA1’s up front for the drags.

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Old 09-16-2010, 04:22 PM   #18
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Borbet Type H! Now I know what my drag slicks are mounted on
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Old 09-22-2010, 02:43 PM   #19
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Wiring just needs a little more tape and it’s done. Drag slicks are mounted and fit great. Engine is almost ready to fire up. I’m hoping the car is all back together Saturday and I can start tuning on Sunday.
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Old 09-22-2010, 02:46 PM   #20
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Random things that get mentioned to me with using real slicks are using a matching front tire. So figure out if you need a skinny or not.

Something about bias ply vs radial something or another. I've never used real slicks but it was mentioned to me as an issue for rwd. FWD can get away with normal rears... but RWD can't... don't ask me for more details... its just something that came up and popped into my head from your update.
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