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Old 11-07-2006, 02:15 PM   #1
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Default My new $1300 Miata(pics)

I posted a few days ago that I was going to look at a 1990 miata and here she is. It is a 1990 5 speed, 129K miles, PS and AC(not working) The clutch is new and so is the windshield. The top has a few tears(doesn't leak), so the top will need replacing. There is some rust, not sure if I will fix, or cut out and put a body kit on the car. The exhaust rattles and is rusty, so that is getting replaced today. Mechanically the car is sound, doesn't burn any oil, trasnmission is great, clutch is great as is new. Where it isn't rust the paint is pretty glossy still, suspension feels pretty solid too. Interior is in pretty good shape. The soft top boot look as though it hasn't been used much. Wheels are corroded and car is rusty as it was a Minnesota car and saw quite a bit of salt. I found it online, where I live Miatas values are inflated and are hard to find reasonably priced. I drove 2.5 hrs to look at it w/ my g/f. I offered him $1200 for it and we settled at $1300. obviously needs some work.
Here are my questions:
Should I fix up the car and make it look nice, or just take out everything that isn't absolutely necessary to bring down the weight and make it a bar bones auto x car.

I looked on ebay for tops, not sure whether to get the kit with the rain rail tension bars and top for $500 or go for just the top for $200(the fixed window setup), any suggestions.

Would you guyz have bought it? I guess I just have a soft spot in my heart for a poor neglected Miata, and I love a good project(hate body work though).

Would you guyz fix the rust or just leave it and make it look as nice as possible? Rattle Can the rust and go with it?


Here she is:
















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Old 11-07-2006, 02:24 PM   #2
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for 1300 thast not bad at all.
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Old 11-07-2006, 02:40 PM   #3
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Ouch.... thank god I'm in California.

I love the color, and the Minnesota plate looks nice on it! But otherwise, OUCH!

What I would do:
flake off what paint and rust scale will easily come off (fingernail and/or
screwdriver)
cut out whatever badly rusted metal you can without affecting integrity or getting into the blue paint.
rustmort or POR-15 the insides of the rockers and quarter
fiberglass over the holes, repaint the rockers black, and live with it.

Note, you'll probably have to redo this every year or two; maybe three if you keep it out of the snow and salt. BTW, thank God I'm a Cali boy.

Body kits are gross in my opinion, and any serious investment in rust repair would be more than the car is probably worth.
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Old 11-07-2006, 03:31 PM   #4
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I'd try to cut it out and patch it up and hit it with glossy black. Local guy here started to rust in the same fashion, now it's getting eaten alive like the flesh eating virus.
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Old 11-07-2006, 03:54 PM   #5
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I agree, bondo and spray paint it. If you are going to go big $ for a body kit and nice paint job, start with a low mileage car. Drive it, drive it, drive it. What kind of exhaust are you putting on it?

I would have bought that car for that price in a heart beat. Fix it up a little and sell it in the spring for $2500. I don't know about which top but I do know they are a huge pain to put on.
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Old 11-07-2006, 03:55 PM   #6
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Flat black hides the imperfections better, but you should probably paint the entire rocker panel.

Oh yeah, and remove more metal than you think you should. It will pay off in the long run. (That bondo fence stuff works ok.)
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Old 11-07-2006, 05:27 PM   #7
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Nice Color Choice
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Old 11-08-2006, 12:51 AM   #8
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I agree with cutting out as much metal as you can and then patching it up with some of the bondo fence stuff. But then I would find some stockish looking side skirts (which are cheep) and cover it up. Something like the racing beat or wizdom side skirts look pretty good and I'm shure there is way better ones out there.
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Old 11-08-2006, 02:10 AM   #9
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nice buy!
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Old 11-08-2006, 02:34 AM   #10
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A diamond in the rough. Bet you are going to have plenty of fun working on it this winter while the ground is all snowy. Also dont forget to have fun drifting around in the ice and snow!

All in all, looks like a pretty good buy to me. First thing I would do performancewise is get some decent tires and an alignment. Those two things really set the car off. Or go even further and get wider wheels w/205 tires and drop it an inch or two.
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Old 11-08-2006, 08:35 AM   #11
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The first thing you need to do is give it a bath.
I'm a big fan of Meguires products. Go spend $50 at your closest autoparts store and do their 3step process of 1.PaintCleaner 2.PaintPolish 3.Wax (I prefer the TechWax Paste). Between steps 1 and 2, give is good rub with a clay bar. Get the thing up on jacks and spend a couple hours on the undercarriage with a toothbrush to make sure rust hasn't set in anywhere else. Detail the engine bay...your choice on chemicals. I prefer Simple Green and a toothbrush. Do the same on the interior, shampoo the seats (a portable steam carpet cleaner will do the trick, a neighbor will have one if you don't, or a Miata is pretty small, shouldn't be more than about $50 to have the interior completely done by a pro.

Next thing you need is a tuneup:
Change the oil
Air filter
Spark Plugs
Motor Mounts
PCV vavle
Tranny and Dif fluid
Set timing
Inspect Cat
Inspect Radiator end tanks
Any worn or cracked lines
Suspension bushings
If it's got the stock shocks, those need replacing too.
I do see new plug wires, good.
Give it a bottle of Seafoam in the next tank of gas and run some through the intake (do a search if you don't know what Seafoam is).

Then, fix the rust on the rocker panel... your choice on methods, but definitely fix it.

My recommendation on mods is in this order:
Rollbar
Brake Pads (Hawk or RPS street pads)
Consider Braided brake lines
Shocks/Swaybars
Tires/Wheels (15" is big enough, go as light as you can, 195 is plenty wide, perhaps 205 if you intend to turbo soon) Wait on the springs. You want to drive a lowered Miata before you lower it. You also need it aligned when you change the tires/wheels.
Consider chassis bracing.
Clutch- pick your stage based on the power you will want to make eventually with the turbo. I like Spec, but there are half a dozen others.

That'll get you started. Be sure to keep on top of the classifieds here and at m.net.

Goodwin http://www.good-win-racing.com/Mazda...ml?id=e33MD3jE is a good place to do homework on most of the standard Miata upgrade parts. Check through their menus to familiarize yourself with the POPULAR (not all inclusive) upgrades and brands.

For OEM parts, this is the only place http://www.finishlineperformance.com/miata/index.html
They're a dealership with eBay prices... can't go wrong.

Good luck.

PS, NO BODY KITS, FOR GODS SAKE, DON'T DO IT!!!!!!!
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Old 11-08-2006, 12:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samnavy View Post

You also need it aligned when you change the tires/wheels.
Um i dont think thats true? Although it would not be a bad idea.
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Old 11-08-2006, 01:43 PM   #13
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the rust problem looks like my car when i first got it.heres how to remove the rust.
1.sand the panit off in the problem area,sand down the rust to bare metal iff the area isnt that bad.
2.cut out the poke hole area i used a 5 inch cutting wheel.
3.clean it all up with prepsol or rubbing alchol and shop vac out all the crust.
4.put a layer off fiberglass for the base and sand it smooth.
5.then finishing off with body filler and sand with 60 100 180 grit sandpaper,
repeat step 5 until it flows evenly.
6.now what to put over it? Rostuleum hammer finished paint,tape a guide line off of the origonal and roll the paint on with a 2 or 3 inch roller.but do the whole bottom area.and look no more rust and looks stock.
7.now the last step snake the drainage holes.i had a pile of mud and dirt in mine .
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Old 11-08-2006, 01:46 PM   #14
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oh yea buy a long sanding board.17in or so .this will make life eassier and is the trick to body work.
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Old 11-08-2006, 05:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akaryrye View Post
Um i dont think thats true? Although it would not be a bad idea.
Miatas are VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY sensitive to even the slightest changes in anything suspension related. Even the most minute changes to the suspension or weight balance will upset your handling. Of course you don't NEED to do it, but you're really just if you don't.

I hate to do this, but it's a link to an m.net title search of the word "alignment". When you do get it aligned, be sure to take along your weight in sandbags or something to leave in the drivers seat to simulate you being in the car. I weigh about 240lbs. If I didn't have weight in the seat when it was on the rack, it wouldn't align right. That's 10% of the weight of the car acting on the suspension while it sits statically on the rack. IT'S IMPORTANT!

http://forum.miata.net/vb/search.php?searchid=915103
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Old 11-08-2006, 09:50 PM   #16
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Thanks for all the great advice guys. I wish one of you lived near me tohelp me out, I'm on my own out here in South Dakota. Does anyone have any tips on the soft top? I am definately going to try to fix the rust, I like the idea of bondo and rolled on rustoleum, a lot of great tips guys. I've seen that on a car and it didn't look bad at all. Here are a couple of pics of my other miata(now it storage, I need to lower it pretty bad, and have a set of tein s tech spring waiting to be installed. It has the greddy kit(8 psi), bosch inline fuel pump, ETD Racing crossover pipe w/ turbosmart type I bov. stainless style bar, hardtop, 17" wheels and z rated tires, altezza taillights, 2.5" straight throw exhaust, cat removed and an intercooler and piping kit waiting to be installed.
The other pic is of My 02 VW GTi.black leather, sunroof, heated seats, viper 2 way remote start and security, traction control, headlight eyelids
mods are: Neuspeed chip, ECS tuning poly dogbone inserts and bushings,H & R springs and struts, ecs tuning stage II clutch, ecs Tuning pully setup, VR6 aluminum fly wheel, 2.5" exhaust w/ Hayame muffler(sounds awesome) Audi TT short shifter, Forge diversion valve, tinted windows, autometer steering column mount boost gauge, Eurosport Heatshield and eurosport intake w/ ITG filter,




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Old 11-10-2006, 10:50 AM   #17
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the rust would turn me off. However, thats a decent deal.

I gave $1600 for my car with the hard top, and all it needed was some paint.
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Old 11-10-2006, 02:03 PM   #18
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ya they are pretty sensitive to alignment, but not so much that a half a degree of camber will create unpredictable behavior. I have an icehawk/lannyish alignment that was done w/o ballasts and i have never had an issue. I do agree with you though that the more precice you can get the better, but you are exaggerating this a bit imo.

and ya i have done my fair share of reading up on alignment, but thanks for the link

Quote:
Originally Posted by samnavy View Post
Miatas are VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY sensitive to even the slightest changes in anything suspension related. Even the most minute changes to the suspension or weight balance will upset your handling. Of course you don't NEED to do it, but you're really just if you don't.

I hate to do this, but it's a link to an m.net title search of the word "alignment". When you do get it aligned, be sure to take along your weight in sandbags or something to leave in the drivers seat to simulate you being in the car. I weigh about 240lbs. If I didn't have weight in the seat when it was on the rack, it wouldn't align right. That's 10% of the weight of the car acting on the suspension while it sits statically on the rack. IT'S IMPORTANT!

http://forum.miata.net/vb/search.php?searchid=915103
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Old 11-23-2006, 10:05 PM   #19
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well guys, I sold it. I got $2500 for it, how is that for 2 weeks of ownership? I am going to miss it, I was looking forward to the project, but this gives me $1200 more to put into my other miata
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Old 11-23-2006, 10:11 PM   #20
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sweet deal
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