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Old 05-02-2016, 03:49 PM   #1
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Greetings all- first post here. My background: early 40's, biomedical engineer, studied a lot of both mechanical and electrical engineering. I used to wrench on cars when I was young and broke, because I couldn't afford reliable cars or mechanics.

Now I'm not young, or as broke, and I wanted to get a wrench toy and weekend mountain car. No time to autoX or track, so for the foreseeable future it will be a performance street car. At the end of February, I bought Rocinante; base model '92 NA6, 132k miles, only two adult previous owners (both of whom I met). The car had been garage kept, gently driven, and had fluid changes at regular intervals, but otherwise was exactly as it left the assembly line 24 years ago except for a new top. The day I brought it home:


I won't lie, I loved the look of the steel wheels. However, they were really heavy, poorly balanced, and had crappy old chinese tires on them. The 65mph shimmy was enough to shake my teeth out.
On a positive note, engine compression was pretty good at 175/180/165/180 dry. Wet, they all pulled 180 psi.

Since then, I've put quite a bit of work into baselining the maintenance and making a few small upgrades. So far:
- replaced all fluids. oil, transmission, differential, coolant, brake, clutch.
- maintenance catchup. Timing belt, water pump, cam seals, crank seal, alternator belt, coolant hoses, radiator, valve cover gasket, CAS o-ring, plugs and wires
- adjusted timing 14 degrees BTDC and run premium gas. Noticeable power pickup here, no real downsides that I've noticed.
- replaced the clutch master and slave, installed the 949 racing clutch line.
- brake pads and rotors all around
- shifter rebuild
- pulled seats and carpet, deep cleaned the entire interior.
- paint correction to remove lots of scratches, swirls and water marks. Clay bar, 2 stage polishing, paint sealant.
- installed period-correct Daisies with 185/55/14 Yokohama S.Drives. Had them road-force balanced.
- tried to deal with numerous rattle issues on the OEM exhaust, before just replacing the whole darned thing with a new Bosal cat and a Roadstersport 3 cat back. May not have given me power (yet), but makes it a lot more fun to drive!
- other small stuff: Oris windscreen, new radio, etc.

This is how it looked yesterday when I took it up to drive the Suches Loop in north GA/west NC. Rocinante drove fantastically well, all the odd rattles and noises are gone, and for the first time I feel like I have a real sports car.


I'm having a blast with this car. I was going to do the suspension next, but... honestly, the factory suspension is pretty darned good for my needs right now. Amazingly the shocks don't leak, and it corners really well. It has a little more understeer than I like, so if I do anything I'll upgrade to a stiffer front sway bar and get an alignment done.

So why am I here? I think I'm headed down the Power path. I'm pretty good with electronics, and I think I might do the Megasquirt DIY PNP to learn about fuel and spark management, and see how much more power I can squeeze out of it N/A. After that, I think I'm headed down the turbo path. I would love to drive other turbo Miatas to get a feel for how much power I actually want/need, so anyone here that's in Atlanta- hook me up!
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1.6 noob from Atlanta-80-85d5ee7a_cce1_4ba2_9692_03cd8bea54ee_zpsrotxdpga_c0d6833089ed1c015880c3492891cfd333b889fb.jpg   1.6 noob from Atlanta-80-cff76050_61a1_45f3_8be6_deedd0dc5d6f_zps8pllqo4f_f292cdd9b04e18210f40b5db85559fed6f70d902.jpg  

Last edited by Schroedinger; 05-02-2016 at 04:06 PM.
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Old 05-02-2016, 03:52 PM   #2
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Ditch the wind screen and get a proper roll bar

Other than that, car looks mint! Welcome.
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Old 05-02-2016, 04:06 PM   #3
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Welcome. Miata looks really good, Be sure to check out mx5atlanta.com if you haven't yet. Lots of great guys there.
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Old 05-02-2016, 04:25 PM   #4
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Switching to a MS3 and ditching the stock crappy AFM will net you about 10whp. After that you will want to swap in a 1.8 motor and a FM1 clutch. Then start down the turbo path.
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Old 05-02-2016, 05:41 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice guys... I figured a 1.8L engine was in my future. I've been reading a bunch in the Megasquirt subforum, but just to cut to the chase- any strong opinions on DIY PNP vs. MS3? I had hoped to do the PNP and build the board myself. I've built a bunch of electronics for my other hobbies (guitar amps and effects), and can probably knock out a project like that pretty quickly.
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Old 05-02-2016, 05:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schroedinger View Post
Thanks for the advice guys... I figured a 1.8L engine was in my future. I've been reading a bunch in the Megasquirt subforum, but just to cut to the chase- any strong opinions on DIY PNP vs. MS3? I had hoped to do the PNP and build the board myself. I've built a bunch of electronics for my other hobbies (guitar amps and effects), and can probably knock out a project like that pretty quickly.
The strong opinion is that you buy a MS3 of some sort and don't even think about a MS2 of any sort. If you can solder and know your way around electronics you can buy the MS3X DIY kit and build it yourself.
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Old 05-02-2016, 11:10 PM   #7
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Welcome to the forum.

That looks a bit like the top of Blood Mountain in the pic. I survived Wolf Pen Gap before switching to track and leaving the mountains to the guys without dependents.

Good to have you here.
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Old 05-03-2016, 01:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sixshooter View Post
Welcome to the forum.

That looks a bit like the top of Blood Mountain in the pic. I survived Wolf Pen Gap before switching to track and leaving the mountains to the guys without dependents.

Good to have you here.
Nailed it- that's the welcome center on the AT at the top of Blood Mountain, Neel Pass. I'm addicted to Wolfpen...
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Old 05-03-2016, 07:49 AM   #9
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Then you will love Road Atlanta and AMP. It's a whole new world once you run RA. I don't even drive fast on the street anymore because it is unfulfilling after the time spent at the track.
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Old 05-03-2016, 11:51 AM   #10
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I can't beleive that no-one has asked OP if he has CAT. Of course, even if he does, he doen't know if it is dead or alive.

Sorry OP, this is probably the millionth time you've heard such.

For context, this forum has an affinity to kitty cats.

6-Gap is for cycling.

Welcome
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Old 05-03-2016, 12:32 PM   #11
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Welcome! You need to check out mx5atl and hook up with the local crew. A bunch of guys track their Miatas - usually with Jzilla Track Days.

QFTT
Quote:
Originally Posted by sixshooter View Post
...I don't even drive fast on the street anymore because it is unfulfilling after the time spent at the track.
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Old 05-03-2016, 12:43 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by DNMakinson View Post
I can't beleive that no-one has asked OP if he has CAT. Of course, even if he does, he doen't know if it is dead or alive.

Sorry OP, this is probably the millionth time you've heard such.

For context, this forum has an affinity to kitty cats.

6-Gap is for cycling.

Welcome
Just to put my newbness on full display- I have gathered that cats are a big deal here, but I have no idea why. Is there a FAQ somewhere that explains this, or is this a "secret handshake" Fight Club kind of thing that I will only understand when I'm ready?

Also, for me cycling involves knobby tires and mud. Roads are for cars, not skinny tires and spandex.
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Old 05-03-2016, 01:02 PM   #13
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Why cats? I think because many long-time members and moderators are cat people. I don't have pets of any kind.
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Old 05-03-2016, 01:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m2cupcar View Post
Welcome! You need to check out mx5atl and hook up with the local crew. A bunch of guys track their Miatas - usually with Jzilla Track Days.

QFTT
I posted at MX5ATL and found the guys there to be very cool and helpful. Would love to do the Jzilla thing but my schedule makes it tough to take big blocks of time on weekends. 4-5 hour mountain runs are about as much as I can manage right now. Maybe when my kids get older...
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Old 05-05-2016, 12:06 PM   #15
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Well... It's a combination of things. Start with the fact that the internet was created so that average individuals could more easily share pictures of cats with each other. Then factor in the perceived effeminate nature of our car by the car-bros. Then add our desire to expose their insecurities by being faster around the track and emasculate them by doing it in a "*** hairdresser's car." We laugh at the egomaniacal chest thumping rampant in most internet car forums and openly poke fun of ourselves and each other to make light of it.

For a while the Miataturbo.net unofficial motto was "Because kittys and turbos are awesome!", which seemed to completely confuse many of the macho-car bros and was one of our many inside jokes.
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Old 05-05-2016, 01:31 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sixshooter View Post
Well... It's a combination of things. Start with the fact that the internet was created so that average individuals could more easily share pictures of cats with each other. Then factor in the perceived effeminate nature of our car by the car-bros. Then add our desire to expose their insecurities by being faster around the track and emasculate them by doing it in a "*** hairdresser's car." We laugh at the egomaniacal chest thumping rampant in most internet car forums and openly poke fun of ourselves and each other to make light of it.

For a while the Miataturbo.net unofficial motto was "Because kittys and turbos are awesome!", which seemed to completely confuse many of the macho-car bros and was one of our many inside jokes.
Thanks. I kind of felt there were some interesting over-tones that one of the more mature members could bring to light.

EDIT: Added illustrative example:
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Old 05-06-2016, 02:10 PM   #17
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So awesome. When I was shopping for a cheap wrench toy, I had it narrowed down to Miatas and fox-body Mustangs. That is, until I started to go look at the Mustangs. You wouldn't believe some of the knuckleheads I met.
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Old 05-06-2016, 02:19 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schroedinger View Post
So awesome. When I was shopping for a cheap wrench toy, I had it narrowed down to Miatas and fox-body Mustangs. That is, until I started to go look at the Mustangs. You wouldn't believe some of the knuckleheads I met.
If you want to make a drag car then the Mustang is the way to go, if you want to make a road race or mountain driving car the miata is the way to go. Both cars are built for entirely difference purposes.
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