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Old 06-01-2012, 07:56 PM   #1
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Default What did i just get myself into?!?! (bought a former ice racer)

Hi, My name is Richard, and I'm a racing addict

I just bought a 1997 former serious ice racer with the intention of turning it into a laughably underprepped but fun SSM autocross car.

It came with a short list of problems and a long list of mods. Turns out some of the mods weren't very accurately described, and the list of problems was short by at least 60 worker hours, but I own it.

It came with:
  • a low price tag
  • throw you into the steering wheel levels of cutting out at around 4 psi on the test drive. Based on the receipts I got after buying it, it looks like it has had this problem intermittently from 2006 to when I bought it. We have since fixed it. If anyone is paying attention enough to ask, the fix was simple. Or guessing to test your turbo Miata knowledge could be fun
  • a brand new GT2560
  • most of an old FM2 kit
  • freshly rebuilt clutch type RX7 rear diff
  • Link ECU with commander, EBC, etc
  • roll bar, told it is a hard dog, looks like an autopower competition to me
  • in dash dvd player with remote, and 6 aftermarket speakers (why?!?)
  • FM springs and Tokico HP dampers (why?!?!)
  • Some sort of stiff pedal, stock-ish throw clutch with lighter than stock flywheel
  • 1" x0.188 wall two hole adjustable hollow front anti-roll bar
  • 3/4" 3 hole adjustable solid rear anti-roll bar
  • Team Dynamics charcoal wheels, krylon'd black (why?!?) with brand new star specs
  • stock daisys with full tread chinese tires (why?!?!)
  • a hardtop in great shape but for a couple big scratches
  • lots of surface rust, the worst of which is on the hood
  • a horrible 30 mph shimmy we haven't figured out yet
  • steering wheel cocked over to the left, due to seized tie rod ends on the left side (fixed)
  • a downpipe repaired in a way I'll have to show pictures of for anyone to believe me
  • much much more, I'm sure

It took about 25 hours each for two of us to get it "ready for an autocross shake down". So far, it has done 17 autocross runs, and the only problems were fairly minor:

1.) It oversteered on throttle. It oversteered off throttle. It oversteered going in a straight line if you twitched the wheel. We disconnected the enormous rear bar and it then drove around on the bump stops, but behaved a lot more civilly.

2.) It blew the wide band out of the downpipe (sensor is missing some threads from previous owner hamfisting). We fixed that with safety wire, which is working out so well a new sensor isn't even on the short list.

3.) It set the heater core coolant line on fire. No worries there, the leaking coolant put out the fire. We fixed this with soda cans scrounged from the venue, stainless zip tied to the down pipe (divorced waste gate pipe).

4.) It ate the clutch slave cyl. Seriously. We were pumping it up to get it around the paddock, short shifting to second and leaving it there for the run. By the end of the event, there were bits of slave cyl seal floating in the reservoir. Co-driver changed this in like 20 minutes, bled the fluid, and it works great now.

Remaining problems are many. Priority number one is the wiring. Mickey Mouse would slap you to the ground if you credited him with the wiring... The knock sensor is still working only intermittently. We also desperately need a new (used) downpipe, as we are currently using a borrowed one we need to return.
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Old 06-01-2012, 08:39 PM   #2
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pics pics pics pics pics pics pics

this sounds like my type of car.
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Old 06-02-2012, 12:48 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Faeflora View Post
pics pics pics pics pics pics pics

this sounds like my type of car.
Away for the weekend at the co-driver's wedding, and then instructing for tirerack street survival. When I get back, I'll post some.
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Old 06-02-2012, 01:22 AM   #4
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lol
find yourself a stock aluminium hood
yours is a china replacement and steel since it's rusting.
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Old 06-02-2012, 11:36 AM   #5
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Welcome, Rocwandrer. Check out the Miata Gallery and post up some pics!
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Old 06-04-2012, 01:28 PM   #6
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Photo album with what I have right now:https://www.miataturbo.net/album.php?albumid=489

I let the co-driver/wrench take it on his honeymoon (I know, I'm such a jerk for not talking him out of it ) so no more photos for at least a week.
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Old 06-04-2012, 03:09 PM   #7
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lol
find yourself a stock aluminium hood
yours is a china replacement and steel since it's rusting.
That is so far down the list it probably won't get done We need a steering wheel hub adapter so we can install the smaller wheel I bought closer to the driver (for steering wheel/hand/leg clearance, this is a high bang for buck performance mod in my case). We need to get the knock sensor working again. We need to get a downpipe. We need a cooler/bigger reservoir for the power steering. We need a pair of front springs to begin our testing (2.25-2.5" ID, 6-7" length, 700-1100 lb/in rate should get us in the ballpark). We need to clean up the bare metal/minor surface rust all over the body to prevent it from getting bad (surprisingly, it isn't yet). The hood can rust away for years. If we ever paint the car, I'll replace it then
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Old 06-07-2012, 11:25 AM   #8
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Don't bother with anything for the power steering besides depowering it. A properly de-powered rack will make you happy.
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Old 06-07-2012, 02:29 PM   #9
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Don't bother with anything for the power steering besides depowering it. A properly de-powered rack will make you happy.
Don't be that guy, Corey. I want what I want. It isn't what is right for everyone else; I'm not saying depowered is wrong or anything. My power steering currently functions flawlessly, and my legs/hands/steering wheel are all trying to occupy the same space in the cabin, with my legs forced up against the door and the center console. I'm going to a smaller diameter wheel. I'm keeping the powersteering so there is no effort disparity between the spyder and the miata, and so on some of our tight local courses, I can have control at the same time as power. Don't worry. No kittens will be harmed by my use of power steering. You can pretend it is depowered if it makes you happier

Last edited by Rocwandrer; 06-07-2012 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 06-07-2012, 03:24 PM   #10
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I just assumed you would like it better, but since you have already thought about it, I'll leave you be. I have not disabled my power steering just because I daily drive my car and don't feel like putting in the effort to steer all the time. I like to drive around with one hand in parking lots.
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Old 06-07-2012, 08:40 PM   #11
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I just assumed you would like it better, but since you have already thought about it, I'll leave you be. I have not disabled my power steering just because I daily drive my car and don't feel like putting in the effort to steer all the time. I like to drive around with one hand in parking lots.
But not runways like in your sig photo, right? I just noticed that. Sweet picture! I'm working on course designs for this year right now. Tough to make it feel new and different and still keep the topographical elements that are so much fun. I'm trying to figure out if we can run the B-52 reversing pad backwards this year, so I can let people have some more speed in the banked part of the oval Also planning to.... well, lets say speed up the entry to the nuclear disarmament pad, and slow down the exit
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Old 06-08-2012, 11:39 PM   #12
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Just bought 740 lb/in 7" front springs. Won't ship out until next week though so we'll be trying out what we have now at the next race. Even with the 7" springs it will have monster truck stance, and more importantly, way not enough negative camber. Any cheap cheats on the camber given we can't lower it more without shorter springs?
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Old 06-09-2012, 01:35 PM   #13
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Old 06-09-2012, 11:10 PM   #14
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I get the car back tomorrow. Co-driver/wrench is still on his honeymoon in it.
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Old 07-03-2012, 01:48 PM   #15
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How about video? Crappy video, but video.... actually, it goes with the theme

Co-driver at the second event:

The cone at the end.... not sure. He said something about a spectator (not visible on the video) running towards the finish from the left?

Me at the last event:

The yelling at the beginning is to the driver of a truckload of new BMW's that drove up to spectate for a moment.

The car still needs much stiffer front springs, some real bump stops, and a dozen other things, but we are making progress.

Last edited by Rocwandrer; 07-03-2012 at 02:14 PM.
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