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Old 07-01-2013, 09:38 AM   #1
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Default Oldfart that should have bought a miata...years ago...

My buddies convinced me to get started with autocrossing, and having no autocross worthy car, I purchased a bone stock 94 Miata base spent some time getting it to just to be driveable without the wheels falling off.

Suspension was shot, tie end rods were shot, interior smelled like crap, tires were shot, brakes were shot, cracked radiator, and wouldn't pass
smog. Oh yeah, the rear window was torn too.

So a few months of on-off again monkeying in my garage.. new radiator, tie end rods, new tie rod boots, new rubber bushings, new plugs/ oil/air/fuel filter, new rotors with Hawk HP+ pads (which bite pretty good but squeal like mad), shifter overhaul, FM Stage 1.5 suspension, Dunlop Dirreza II on 14", Hard Dog Rollbar (because I will flip the car one of these days lol), ghetto DYI rear window repair for $25, driver side foamectomy, and the delete carpet, radio, rear deck metal covers, spare tire, jack, glovebox, smelly carpets, and a little wet sanding to get the 15+ years of crud off of neglected miata... Finally was able to run in my first autocross a week ago....




And quickly, two lessons I learned..

1. I should have done this years ago, because it was the best time I had in a long long time. Miata's are just so cool.

2. Before I do any power mods, I definitely need mod the "driver skill mod" first. Because my driving skills suck big donkey ***.

Well, anyway...Thanks everyone on this board that's helped me get this far so far while I was in "lurker mode" for the past few months learning about what folks did just to get up to bone stock... I probably should have/could have done things cheaper, but I was sort of in a hurry too and got too carried away as my car was sitting idle too long.
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Last edited by oldfart; 07-01-2013 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 07-01-2013, 12:15 PM   #2
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Welcome! looks like you put in some work, and did a good job bringing the car back to life! any more plans for the car? or are you stopping where you are at?
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Old 07-01-2013, 01:33 PM   #3
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Welcome! looks like you put in some work, and did a good job bringing the car back to life! any more plans for the car? or are you stopping where you are at?
No plans as of right now, except maybe:

(1) fix oil drip so it doesn't trash my driveway
(2) Maybe find a better fitting seat if foamectomy 2.0 doesn't work
(3) Hire a driver to teach me better driving skills and attend more auto-x events. I don't think any performance mods at this point will make significant improvements until I end up getting better at driving.
(4) Maybe rip out other stuff I don't need. Door panels inserts, dash etc.
(5) I sort of want to remove the quarter glass and cut lexan to the same size (namely because if I do hit something, I don't want the thing to shatter on me...But haven't it's on the low priority list)
(6) Maybe find a hardtop (if cheap) and ditch the softtop completely. I figure on an autox, I'd remove the top, and as a daily I'll just leave it on.

FI would be nice, but it would be over my head at this point. Well, if any of you got a free kit I wouldn't say no (just kidding).... I have no desire to run in any SCCA spec-class race in the future anyway.

One thing for sure. Wrenching a miata is a heck of a lot easier than anything German

Last edited by oldfart; 07-01-2013 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 07-01-2013, 01:57 PM   #4
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Welcome. Although this is a miata turbo site I'm sure you have noticed there is plenty of information regarding auto-x and track things too. Enjoy your stay.
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Old 07-02-2013, 01:19 AM   #5
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Welcome, oldfart. Check out the Miata Gallery and post up some pics!
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Old 07-02-2013, 03:06 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by oldfart View Post
Wrenching a miata is a heck of a lot easier than anything German
+10^6.

Don't you just love how you only need 10mm, 12mm, 14mm and 17mm?

Now that it's patched up, you'll find it's a whole lot more rugged and reliable than German too.
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Old 07-02-2013, 05:07 PM   #7
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+10^6.

Don't you just love how you only need 10mm, 12mm, 14mm and 17mm?

Now that it's patched up, you'll find it's a whole lot more rugged and reliable than German too.

Lol... By virtue of wrenching on my other german cars, I found I have sufficient set of tools to cover the Miata.

I have some of the weirdest tool assortments aside from metric. On the my A4, I'm slightly perplexed they used torx extensively in one part and then use something called triple-squares in the other, and then in some other parts they use hex bolts (allen wrench).
Reliability on my A4 surprisingly has been pretty decent (I'm convinced 70% of the reason why german cars aren't reliable is because the mechanic at the stealership don't know what they are really doing most of the time and break things...So I service everything myself and suddenly pretty rock solid...Well except for the fried chipped ECU that was self-induced)... The C320 I worked on wasn't too bad either, but they have some dumb-*** electrical gremlins every so often.

I really like the miata because it's pretty simple (at least the NA miata). How cars should be built.. My only gripe is the location of the oil filter is kinda hard for me to get to, and I can't fit my oil wrench in there. So I need to go find a new oil wrench that fits at the end of the filter.. I was considering an oil filter relocation kit, but kind want keep things as simple as possible with as few parts as possible.
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Old 07-02-2013, 08:06 PM   #8
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You should put your location in your profile. Somebody here might be local to you.

You get one chance to break in Hawk pads properly or they will squeak forever. Maybe on the next set of pads or rotors.
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Old 07-02-2013, 08:40 PM   #9
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You should put your location in your profile. Somebody here might be local to you.

You get one chance to break in Hawk pads properly or they will squeak forever. Maybe on the next set of pads or rotors.
Thanks for the advice. Yeah I figured that after reading a bunch of folks that posted their experience with the HP+ pads about squealing. I probably didn't do that good of a job prepping and figured I would probably end up as the person with the squealing wheels.

No matter, not a biggie for me. From what I can tell, the have decent bite for the way I drive right now, and that's all that matters to me now. I can tolerate the noise (neighbors however...well that's another story...lol)..

Next time i guess...
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Old 07-03-2013, 12:54 AM   #10
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My only gripe is the location of the oil filter is kinda hard for me to get to, and I can't fit my oil wrench in there.
Remove the support for the intake manifold. You can then reach it with no problem, and even fit a larger filter if you like.

Also, nice job on the rear window repair. Way, way better than my homebrewed method. What sort of adhesive did you use?
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Old 07-03-2013, 02:01 AM   #11
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Remove the support for the intake manifold. You can then reach it with no problem, and even fit a larger filter if you like.

Also, nice job on the rear window repair. Way, way better than my homebrewed method. What sort of adhesive did you use?
Thanks for the advice on the oil filter. I'll give it a try next time.

Regarding the rear window rear repair. Lol. Oh my [email protected]#$#[email protected]$#[email protected]#$. Finding the right glue that would stick the plastic with the canvas top was a major PITA. I went through about about 10 different types of glue and couldn't get things to stick. I think I spent a total of $5 on the plastic material from the fabric shop and then $20+ on different glues (not counting half of the the ones that I returned after doing a test try and realizing it wouldn't stick immediately)..

The one glue I found that works (subject to ample prep work I'll explain below) was this one that I found at my local Ace Hardware store called VLP (see attached image)...

As far as prepping the vinyl surface, I had to really scuff up the vinyl edges AND scuff up the convertible top canvas material ( I used a really dull knife and scratched up both surfaces pretty good). I applied the glue in roughly 6-8inch sections, and taped the thing down with clear packaging tape, and clamped things down or put my weights on the glued section. I let it cure for about an hour each section. Took me a few days working slowly to get everything glued. Once everything was done, I took good old black friction tape one uses on a hockey stick and taped around the seams on the the front and back side and left it that way for a a few days.

So far it seems to be holding up pretty well in the heat. I live in SoCal, and I leave it parked outside everyday. Water also doesn't seem to affect it as I ran the car through the washer a few times...I'm keeping my fingers crossed though. You're mileage may vary if you live in an extreme hot or cold part of the world.

The other glues failed a few days after leaving it out in the sun and having the top closed..The heat melted the other glues enough such that the shear force of having the top closed was enough to pull the window gradually loose...

I guess I should have just bit the bullet and bought a new top from ebay for around $180..But then again, "cheap" is my middle name when it comes to aesthetic things .. Serious money goes into performance things only (or to keep things running)
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Last edited by oldfart; 07-03-2013 at 02:18 AM.
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Old 07-03-2013, 12:36 PM   #12
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Thanks! And yeah I feel ya on cheaping out on aesthetics. Which is why I riveted a sheet of clear plastic in place on my top :-) If I didn't have a hardtop for winter driving I'd have sprung for a full replacement, but I don't really care at this point.
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Old 07-03-2013, 01:22 PM   #13
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Why do you need an oil filter wrench? Well I mean besides after the first time you change the oil because you know the last guy who put it on was some gorilla at jiffy lube that doesnt understand that 1 turn past oring contact is sufficiently tight.
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Old 07-03-2013, 02:18 PM   #14
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Why do you need an oil filter wrench? Well I mean besides after the first time you change the oil because you know the last guy who put it on was some gorilla at jiffy lube that doesnt understand that 1 turn past oring contact is sufficiently tight.


Would you believe that despite that I'm 5' 10" I have short arms and a really tiny hands. So I can't seem to get a good grip on the filter...(well, I didn't take off the intake manifold as suggested)...

And yes, the original owner totally cranked the filter on because it was stuck pretty tight.
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Old 07-03-2013, 02:41 PM   #15
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But then again, "cheap" is my middle name when it comes to aesthetic things .. Serious money goes into performance things only (or to keep things running)
You will fit in well around here, then.
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