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Old 03-19-2012, 11:23 PM   #1
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Smile Help me buy an NA miata. Pleze

I have decided that I need a third car.

My Miata is obviously, fully functional and on the road only 10% of the time. That me sad. Nevertheless, I have to accept that since a) I don't know what the fucky I am doing with car work and b) I have the mechanic skills of a chimpanzee with tourettes, my Miata will probably never be that reliable.

I have a pretty damn spiffy 2004 Subaru Forester XT, but it too is kinda modded. Very basically modded, with a bigger turbo and a 3" turboback. I also reprogrammed the factory EMS with Rom Raider. Also some pretty damn kickass Feal coilovers. It -should- be reliable. Should. I am only running 18psi, and the motor -should- last and the tranny -should- last, but eventually, something will fail.

Given the fact that I have to drive for work, this is bad. I need 100% reliable transportation. In the past year, my old daily driver failed, and I spent thousands (seriously) on repairs and car rental costs. This offends my financial conscience. While I may be a crappy mechanic, I still have the capability to fix a car, given enough time. In the past year, I spent many late nights and hours lying on the ground in my parking lot, in the winter rain trying to fix my old daily driver. It sucked. In the end, I had to spend the thousands of bucks so it double sucked.

Because I will eventually have to spend money on mechanics and rentals if my daily dies, I conclude that I need three cars. With three cars, I will always have ONE fully functional car to drive around in IF BOTH other cars are not available. With three cars, I will always be able to do my own work on my cars, and not pay money for labor and rentals.

The three cars shall be:

God's Gift to Miatas
Neato Subie Forester

and

One fairly unmolested NA Miata.

I want it to be a cheapo, so I can stretch the ROI as far as possible. Therefore, it will have to be an NA.

My budget is $4000, since I figure that should pay for itself in four years or so.

Unfortunately, I don't know jack about NAs. I know that they are kinda like an NB, but they are a little smaller, uglier, and have stupid headlights. I know too that they are also a little more fun to drive (lightness?).

I am looking at some NAs this week.

What should I look for? What are some NA specific problems? I already know to look for rust, rust, um, rust, and rust. I will do a compression test. What else? Please help. Or sell me your NA.
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Old 03-19-2012, 11:28 PM   #2
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Mine is for sale for 2k. No rust, just minor body damage
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Old 03-19-2012, 11:57 PM   #3
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blah stupid question i had
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:02 AM   #4
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Leave it NA and don't molest it. A basic suspension to make it fun and a exhaust to make it spunky. That is all.
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:16 AM   #5
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Your going to want a 1.8 because there is no replacement for displacement on a car that aspirates naturally. That leaves two different groups the '94-'95 cars, and the '96-'97 cars. The '94-'95 are better because they are ODB1 which means it will be easier to pass emissions with because the emissions standers for those cars are lower from what I understand, and they have less emissions equipment (for ex. my '97 has two O2 censers, one of which is broken I think).
Next, you'll want to find one with a torsen. You can find out if the car has a torsen by doing doughnuts in a parking lot or by calling mazda and giving them the VIN, there are other ways to find out but calling is the best, trust me, I'm a gearhead.
Next find one that isn't in some gay color like teal. Since you have the mechanic powerz of an autistic child with down syndrome, you'll want to take whatever car you like to a mechanic to have them look over it. The first car I looked at I was about to buy until the mechanic who checked it out told me it had oil all over the under carriage, even though there was no sign of a leak that I could see under the hood, and no smell of burning oil.
I'd find one with the nicest interior that mazda made, I thought I'd be fine with my base cars interior, but I'm not sure I made the right choice. Or you could just swap in an NB interior later. Make sure the goddamn AC works, I didn't and I pay for that mistake now.

Good luck, and leave the sawzall at home.
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TorqueZombie View Post
Leave it NA and don't molest it. A basic suspension to make it fun and a exhaust to make it spunky. That is all.
NIEN NIEN NIEN NIEN NIEN!

Basic suspension, & exhaust (header back), yes. But also get a rollbar, door bars, FM frame rails & butterfly brace because it will stiffen up the NA chassis because it's gonna be a bit more flimsy then your NB, the earlier the NA is, the flimsier it will be, this is supposed to seriously help the car, even make it rattle less. Upgraded rotors and pads can't hurt, and decent front sway bar wound be nice. A stiffer rear sway will make it tail happy, which personally I really don't like on such a short car. Mud guards make NA's look nicer (meaner) and obviously a nice set of wheels and tires are gonna be on the list.

That stuff should hold you off until you need more power and swap in a VVT motor from an NB and end up with IRTB's.
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:26 AM   #7
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You won't be able to leave it alone and not mod it. You are doomed. Start shopping for a fourth car, lol.

Seriously, buy something boring you would hate to be seen in and you might not mod it. Think old Camry.
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:26 AM   #8
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take your pick bro

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Old 03-20-2012, 12:27 AM   #9
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or better yet

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Old 03-20-2012, 12:27 AM   #10
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it will get you so much cock you won't even remember you have your current one
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:34 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shearhead_3:16 View Post
Your going to want a 1.8
(...)
Next, you'll want to find one with a torsen.
(...)
Next find one that isn't in some gay color like teal.
(...)
I'd find one with the nicest interior that mazda made,
I'm just swimming in a sea of irony here, as my teal 1.6 Miata with an open diff and a ratty interior is parked out in the garage.

On the plus side, it was $800 and has thus far been 100% reliable.


To be serious, though, the only real downside to the NA cars is that in stock form they have even less suspension travel than an NB. I wouldn't bother with all the roll bar / frame rail / butterfly brace nonsense, but I would sink some money into a decent set of shocks, springs, and tophats (FCM or ISC).

There are a couple decent tires still available for the 14" wheel, so don't feel like you have to run out and sink money into a set of 15" wheels just yet. And despite what everyone seems to think, the 1.6 brakes are perfectly adequate for a street car, even one driven enthusiastically through the mountains on sticky tires from time to time.
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:46 AM   #12
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I drove a bone stock one a while ago. Loved it. My main gripe was that it was sprinkling and it needed new wipers. Ah the good 'ol days.

I'd seriously do NOTHING to it. Call me old but I want suspension travel on rough roads, I don't want to slow down for speed bumps, and I don't want to hear a damn thing when I'm going down the freeway at 65mph except my music.

I agree completely about the brakes and tires too. Make sure they're not on the backing plates or cords respectively, then leave them alone.

You basically want a rental car you can rent from your driveway for free, am I correct? Why such a high budget? Doesn't sound like you need anything that expensive.
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:51 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
I wouldn't bother with all the roll bar / frame rail / butterfly brace nonsense...
A rollbar is not nonsense, to argue that it is would be an exercise in futility.

If you don't think door bars are useful, read this thread. It also goes into the FM frame rail + butterfly brace benefits as well.
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:52 AM   #14
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also a turbo setup and a millon other things lol
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Old 03-20-2012, 01:03 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by curly View Post
Call me old but I want suspension travel on rough roads, I don't want to slow down for speed bumps,
That's actually the reason I suggest installing some stiffer springs and aftermarket tophats. I'm not saying lower it to the ground, just increase the springrate and allow for more shock travel. This will improve the ride comfort over a totally stock NA suspension, especially on rough roads where you'd otherwise be slamming into the bumpstops all the time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Shearhead_3:16 View Post
A rollbar is not nonsense, to argue that it is would be an exercise in futility.
I won't claim that they're totally without merit, but in the context of wanting a cheap, simple, inexpensive daily driver, all of those things are fairly superfluous. Roll bars, in particular, annoy me on daily-driver cars.
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Old 03-20-2012, 01:06 AM   #16
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Ah, I guess if your taller they would be an annoyance, but I'm 5'9" so it's never really annoyed me.
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:08 AM   #17
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Actually, Fae, 5 cars seems about right (3 of them convertibles). I've got the itch though, but that's tempered by only having a four car garage. Damn limitations. Need to build myself a giant outbuilding with 4 post lifts.

I do think a 94-95 is optimum, but if you find a good, rust-free example of any year, you'll be fine. Finding rust-free is easy if you expand your search to other parts of the country. No biggee to get a one-way ticket and take a couple of days to drive back to MD. Weren't you just in the DFW area? No rust here, I assure you.

Wouldn't worry too much about interior. Getting seats re-upholstered is cheap on these and everything else should clean up just fine.

A top with a glass window is really nice. Make sure AC works. You should plan on doing the Rosenthal water pump/timing belt kit as soon as you get it.

What on Earth makes you think you'll be able to leave it alone?

I love the Chimpanzee with Tourettes remark. My wife would agree with that. I find that there are many car parts that need convincing in French.
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:57 AM   #18
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I thought your budget last time was $40k?

Why the drastic drop in ballerness??
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:05 AM   #19
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I need capital.

I am looking at a 92 and a 97 today.
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:56 AM   #20
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what you really need is a 2000 Dodge Grand Caravan. There isn't really much available to "mod" it besides shocks and sway bars and you will have a hard time focking it up.

Also the seats come out for bein creepy.

we need a new smiley for ADD-can't-decide-what-car-to-drive Fae.
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