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Old 09-16-2014, 01:03 AM   #1
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Location: Manchester, CT
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Default '01 NB Miata Welcome

Hey guys, been lurking long enough, time to introduce myself and the car. Lots of pics. You guys like pics right? Good. SUPER LONG WITH LOTS OF PICS. You've been warned!

Its an 2001 Emerald Mica Green NB base, 5MT. Bought it last November with 145k miles on it.

Took her home and gave it a full detail/clay/polish

Cleaned Headlight Lenses and de-ambered/painted housings (free ricer mods)


Drove it a few weeks before winter came along, and put it away for the winter.
...like this:

Over the winter noticed a slow oil leak got progressively worse... pretty disgusting, doubt this has ever been cleaned before.

While underneath planning on how to tackle this leak and looking for a source, noticed this:

Thats along the frame rail forward of the control arm. Yes, its split. Started removing the wheel liner and saw the frame had some 'surface' rust. Said ok, its not that bad... but lets take a screwdriver and see just how bad it is.

Turned to this:

At this point I contemplated my options... sell the car and take a loss with disclosing the frame rot, or part it out, or cut it out and patch it up.

After doing some research online, seems there are a handful of documented cases of this. The frame rail is spot welded together with the inner nut plate layer. Water gets in between, and never comes out. It rots from the middle and works its way outwards. Pretty disgusting.

Well, decided the motor was going to come out to do a complete refresh of all oil seals, TB/WP change, AC/PS delete, Comp motor mounts, and just a general engine bay cleanup.

With the motor out we'd tackle cutting out the frame rail (on both driver and passenger side, one at a time), and patching in new OEM pieces cut to size.

This project began in the spring, March/April timeframe. And was slow going at times. It was a busy summer- got engaged, went on vacation, wedding season in full force (I'm 26, so right in the middle of it all now).

So here are photo updates throughout the repair process.
Motor/Tranny comes out:

Subframe comes down:

Rotten piece gets cut out

Sitting next to the new rails- you can see the inner nut plate sitting inside the outside rail:

New pieces get cut to size and tacked in

Welded in. Not pretty, but penetration was good. Inner layer was spot welded to the outer as well.

POR 15 everywhere

Motor was surprisingly clean... no sludge under the valve cover. Resealed the oil pan

Cleaned parts

Bought some Kosei K1 TS's off a friend from his SM. Wrapped in R888's. Its a temporary solution for sticky rubber that came at a good deal.

5 months later (told you it was slow progress):
Shes back together: (oh yeah, and with a hard dog roll bar installed during that time)

And thats where we're at today. Suspension gets here Friday, VMaxx Track Pack was my budget solution for now. Car will be a summer auto-x and fun car, and slowly working my way onto the track.

I'm now tired from copying and pasting so many photo links, fml. So this post is going downhill quickly.
Big thanks to Dave and Evan, and a few others that helped throughout the project. They're both on this forum, 240tomiata is dave, unsure of Evan's handle? Wouldn't have been able to get it done without their extensive miata knowledge and equipment (hoists/welder, etc). What a huge learning experience this was for me. Excited to start really modding the car now since its solid and healthy again.
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Old 09-16-2014, 04:44 PM   #2
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Welcome, MoarCurves!
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Old 09-16-2014, 11:39 PM   #3
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Good intro thread, almost belongs in the build thread section.

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Old 09-17-2014, 10:40 AM   #4
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You told me there was a picture of me straddling a tranny in your intro thread just so I would come look.... I hate you.
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Old 09-17-2014, 11:15 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by 240_to_miata View Post
You told me there was a picture of me straddling a tranny in your intro thread just so I would come look.... I hate you.
I said I didn't post it, but since you've brought attention to it. Here it is:

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Old 10-06-2014, 03:57 PM   #6
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Update- VMaxx XXtreme Track Packs are installed and alignment is done to (as close as possible) 949 dual duty alignment. Couldn't dial out anymore rear camber, so the rear left is a hair more than the front left. Though, L/R sides match pretty well.

The install for the VMaxx's weren't all that bad, except for the driver LCA Shock bottom bolt... the bolt was frozen to the bushing, and no amount of heat, PB, torque/extension bars would make it turn.

Worked at it for over an hour and eventually a combination of all of the above, and removing the tophat from the strut tower (to allow rotation of the shock body), along with a BFH on the bolt threads, I was able to get it to break loose and painfully back it out.

I'm sitting 11 13/16" Hub to Fender Front, 12 5/16" Hub to Fender Rear (.5" rake)
Track pack spring rates are a lot better than I anticipated for street driving. I have the damping turned slightly softer than recommended by FlyinMiata, front is 6 clicks from full stiff, 10 in the rear, and it really takes on the street bumps VERY well. Its not jarring or crashing anything when I hit even good sized bumps. Its definitely comfortable for street driving.

After the alignment last Thursday, been enjoying a much more neutral handling car. Its flatter through the turns of course, but handling characteristics are much more predictable. Its a hair towards the oversteer side rather than understeer. I've broke it loose (purposely) on a few turns just to get a feel for limits and its no fuss/drama oversteer. When I get it to auto-x and the track (probably next year), I'll be able to fine tune it to my liking. Right now I'm happy with the setup for street driving.

Photos attached, starting with a before/after, and some other shots afterwards.
Attached Thumbnails
'01 NB Miata Welcome-img_6948.jpg   '01 NB Miata Welcome-img_6930.jpg   '01 NB Miata Welcome-img_6928.jpg   '01 NB Miata Welcome-img_6967.jpg   '01 NB Miata Welcome-img_6952.jpg  

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