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Old 06-29-2012, 01:08 AM   #1
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Default Former F-body builder with a Miata

Howdy from central Texas!

I'm fairly new to Miatas but I've been building cars for years, mainly 82-92 F-bodies (Camaros & Firebirds).

Originally, I bought my 93 Miata for my wife as a fun, economical commuter car. Less than a week after we bought it it got smashed by an Expedition driver that wasn't paying attention. It didn't look that bad after the wreck.



NO, we did NOT put the BMW emblem on it. The PO stuck it on to cover up the holes from the Mazda emblem and we hadn't taken it off yet.


When I pulled off the fender and bumper cover I discovered that the frame horn had buckled on the driver side just ahead of the cross member.



So, I cut the bent section of frame and radiator support out.




My wife found a Miata in the junk yard with a good front end on it so she had them cut the front clip off. After measuring and trimming I fit the new section into our car and welded it up.




We replaced both fenders, bumper support, and bumper cover. Since I am a metal worker by trade and Miata hoods are scarce in my local junk yards I straightened out the original and re-used it.

After a great deal of sanding and popping out hail and door dings I sprayed it with satin olive drab green. We replaced all of the lenses with smoked pieces and painted the "berger panel" on the rear satin black. We also added a stainless style bar which will probably get replaced with a real roll bar once I get some power going in this car.








Love the color, hate the color...I really don't care. Personally, I love it. All of the body and paint work was done by my wife and I in around 4 evenings in my garage.

I have one of the biggest budget paint job threads going on the internet from my 91 Firebird. Just google "ultimate budget paint job" and it's at the top of the list.

I just sold my last F-body today and plan on fully focusing my attention to building my Miata. I don't know anything about turbos. But, I can fab anything out of metal and have an endless supply of it at work including all kinds of stainless fittings/pipe at different diameters and wall thickness.
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Former F-body builder with a Miata-dscf0123.jpg   Former F-body builder with a Miata-310800_2388466666719_1102392328_2768923_1881095123_n.jpg   Former F-body builder with a Miata-308615_2391933313383_1102392328_2771163_1305809813_n.jpg   Former F-body builder with a Miata-296825_2394481817094_1102392328_2773040_78670318_n.jpg   Former F-body builder with a Miata-376381_2502536998406_1102392328_2865802_178379510_n.jpg  

Former F-body builder with a Miata-2011-11-08_15-51-42_308.jpg   Former F-body builder with a Miata-389141_2502542238537_1102392328_2865805_42132251_n.jpg  
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Old 06-29-2012, 01:21 AM   #2
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Wow, I remember reading one of your threads when I was researching the rustoleum jobs. I ended up going with boat paint lol. Most satisfying cheap project I've ever done probably.

Welcome!
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Old 06-29-2012, 01:22 AM   #3
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I kinda like the color. Nice body work, looks good!!

Welcome!
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Old 06-29-2012, 01:44 AM   #4
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I used to be an F body fan...until I realized the weight to HP ratio difference...
Lose the style bar, and welcome.
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Old 06-29-2012, 09:42 AM   #5
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I like the paint, nice job on the body work too
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Old 06-29-2012, 10:21 AM   #6
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He's on miataforumz too. Welcome to here!
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Old 06-29-2012, 10:38 AM   #7
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So that valspar tractor paint comes in a flat green eh? Looks nice to me. I paged thru your Fbody paint thread, very informative. Nice job & welcome!

EDIT: and do you buy this stuff at your local Lowes?
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Old 06-29-2012, 11:01 AM   #8
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Wow one of the few satin jobs that doesnt look like primer and/or trashy. Just lose the guillotine bar.
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Old 06-29-2012, 11:02 AM   #9
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The body work and paint came out great. Welcome to the site, I look forward to seeing the car progress, I wish I had the fabrication skills to piece stuff together myself.
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Old 06-29-2012, 11:04 AM   #10
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I own a 2000 TA WS6 and a couple miatas. I'd suggest getting the red VHT and painting the tailights, other than that it looks great.
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Old 06-29-2012, 11:46 AM   #11
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Thanks for the warm welcomes!

The green is actually automotive paint. It was advertised as pre-mixed and ready to spray. We intended for it to be a quick temporary coat because we were spraying at the end of October and the temps kept dropping. There are a couple of fish eyes and a run. It looks great from 3-4' away but I'm incredibly ---- about my paint work. I'll probably end up sanding and re-spraying fairly soon, and this time around get the door jambs and in the trunk. I'm not a big fan of the watermelon look every time I open the door.

As for the bar. I know it serves no purpose but I kind of like it. I'll end up building a real roll bar for it eventually. I really don't feel like fighting the battle to take it off. I put it on, and I know it's REALLY on there.

At the moment I'm scouring the forum and Google to see if any of the complete SAAB turbo systems I've found would be any good for my first turbo build, or even which turbos are in the cars. There doesn't seem to be much info out there.

In my local JY there are 3 complete SAAB setups:
1999 saab 9-3
1999 saab 9-5
1996 saab 9000cs

From what I've found so far I'm pretty sure that the 9-3's had the Garret T25 but haven't found anything about the others.

These cars are complete even with the intercoolers, BOVs, plumbing, etc... What all would fit on my car? I can get each complete system for under $100 each.
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Old 06-29-2012, 12:05 PM   #12
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We never suggest building a turbo setup around a turbo, which is the biggest part you could use from the Saabs.

The intercoolers can be used, but they're very small. A slightly larger ebay unit will run you ~$50-100 shipped.

The BOV can be used, especially if you find one with metal internals. The plastics go for $10-20 shipped in our classifieds, or ebay, etc. The metal internal ones go for $20-25 shipped. So not bad, but not great.

As for the turbo, they have funky inlet and outlet flanges, see here:

Which can be hard to source a flange for.

Hence the reason we use the t25s out of Nissan SR20s DETs, they're standard Garrett flanges. I bought mine for $60 shipped, and bought a $80 rebuild kit. Not much more than your Saab idea in the end.
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Old 06-29-2012, 12:53 PM   #13
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Thanks for the info! I was looking around the forum and saw that they had odd flanges. But, being that I fabricate stainless steel manifolds on an almost daily basis at work for clean rooms I figured that I could fab up another flange to mate with it. They have the turbos priced at $45 and the intercoolers for $25. If they'd work it would be great since I drive by the place everyday to and from work. I'm not looking for a ton of power at the moment, I just want to start small and see if I can figure this stuff out. if/when I do then I'll probably end up going all out.

Honestly, I haven't gotten in the front of the car with a tape measure to see exactly how big of an intercooler will fit without having to cut away part of the car.
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Old 06-29-2012, 02:08 PM   #14
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With your fab skills . . . go for it.

The most critical part is figuring out the engine management. Not sure what you ran in the F-bodies, but if you're an old cam+carb+headers+distributor recurve man (like I was), the engine management piece can be a steep learning curve. It's actually a lot easier once you figure it out, but it is a paradigm shift.

Cool that your wife pitches in.
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Old 06-29-2012, 04:49 PM   #15
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Welcome to the site Sprout, thanks for joining up!
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Old 06-29-2012, 05:07 PM   #16
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in for pics of the female body builder?
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Old 06-30-2012, 06:39 AM   #17
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Thats what i was curious about.
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Old 07-01-2012, 12:24 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hornetball View Post
With your fab skills . . . go for it.

The most critical part is figuring out the engine management. Not sure what you ran in the F-bodies, but if you're an old cam+carb+headers+distributor recurve man (like I was), the engine management piece can be a steep learning curve. It's actually a lot easier once you figure it out, but it is a paradigm shift.

Cool that your wife pitches in.

I'm pretty sure that the engine management is where I'm going to run into trouble. I know what all the electrical components do, I just don't know how to "tune". I've done several LS1 & LT1 swaps into older F-bodies that were previously V6 or TBI so re-pinning and building a wiring harness is nothing new to me. I've always had someone else that was familiar with the PCMs for those engines that was able to data log and tune for me. But, I've started reading and I think I might be able to figure it out eventually. As far as physically installing/mounting/plumbing all of the components, that's a piece of cake for me.

Unfortunately, I don't have any pics of the wife working on the car. We were trying to get it done and sprayed before a cold front hit. But, I'll keep a lookout for an opportunity in the future.
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Old 07-01-2012, 12:30 PM   #19
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Tuning should be simple. Take it up to someone like Hustler and hand him a bit of cash.
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Old 07-01-2012, 11:06 PM   #20
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welcome. nice work on the car and i love the color. i own a built up LS1 fbody but it just sits in the driveway because my miata is way more fun to drive. not to mention gets way better fuel economy with boost.
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