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  #1  
Unread 07-05-2007, 04:02 PM
BeerBurner's Avatar
BeerBurner BeerBurner is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Sterling, Virginia
Project The "Project Miata" thread

Because you never know when this car will suddenly become a project car.

And yeah, I know, most of us have seen this stuff before. But it's always good to have a timeline, so I'll backtrack as best I can to get this whole thing settled in a few posts.

First of all, I bought this car in October, '04 as a daily driver to replace my former '85 Jetta. Even though it wasn't an entirely practical car, it would be fun, and would be something that I'd hold on to for a while. Unfortunately, the following 18 months would make this the most expensive and biggest PITA I've owned. I did manage to get the car squared away, and it has been very reliable since then.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg miata01.jpg (60.9 KB, 17 views)
File Type: jpg miata02.jpg (60.5 KB, 16 views)
File Type: jpg miata00001.JPG (60.8 KB, 25 views)
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'87 Porsche 944 (toy)
'90 Miata (daily driver)
'98 BMW 323is (her's)
"The first step towards gaining self confidence is not being afraid to suck."
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  #2  
Unread 07-05-2007, 04:09 PM
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BeerBurner BeerBurner is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Sterling, Virginia
Early on, the car suffered the dreaded shortnose crankshaft failure. Basically, the crankshaft on the early cars only stuck out a little bit from the front of the engine, and the crank bolt was small and puny. Eventually, the bolt would stretch and the timing belt sprocket and crank pulley would eventually be turned by the key and keyway of the crankshaft. This would result in a self-machining crankshaft. It also resulted in a replacement engine.

I had the 77k-mile engine from a '93 Miata installed. This engine wouldn't have the crankshaft problems. Since I had a bunch of spare parts, I decided to paint and polish various components in the engine compartment to make them look much nicer. After all, the replacement engine looked like it had been buried underground for a while.

I haven't really done any performance engine mods to the car. It came with a Jackson Racing CAI and a Leistritz muffler. The muffler eventually rusted out and I went through several different mufflers over the following year in an attempt to replace it. I started out with an Ansa muffler that had a loose baffle and sounded like a cicada. I then went to a Pacesetter one, which was a bit ricey and gave me a headache after 20 minutes of driving with the top up because of an obnoxious drone. I then went to a restrictive Bosal muffler that was quiet, but choking. I finally sourced a free OEM exhaust which is a great compromise between sound and performance. Plus, it's stainless steel so I won't have to replace it.

I got the red Jackson Racing plug cables for free. Don't notice any performance difference but they sure do look great!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg messymiataengine.jpg (60.1 KB, 21 views)
File Type: jpg miataengine100018.JPG (60.9 KB, 21 views)
File Type: jpg miata81600029 (Small).JPG (67.0 KB, 22 views)
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'87 Porsche 944 (toy)
'90 Miata (daily driver)
'98 BMW 323is (her's)
"The first step towards gaining self confidence is not being afraid to suck."
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  #3  
Unread 07-05-2007, 04:20 PM
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BeerBurner BeerBurner is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Sterling, Virginia
My suspension has stayed stock, save for some bracing. When I bought the car, it had a front and rear subframe brace sitting in the trunk. I installed those, along with a cheap front stressbar. The subframe braces helped, but I'm not sure if the stressbar does anything for me other than giving me something to lean on when working on the engine. The bar was originally chromed but I painted it black when doing the engine.

Now, the rollbar, THAT made a huge difference in chassis stiffness! The car was a flexi-flyer when I first bought it, and the rollbar really helped. It also was a pain to install, since some bolt holes weren't properly lined up for the seatbelt towers. I finally got it going with some help from Jeremy (Ricecop's Boostedvenge).

Right now, there are no plans for future suspension updates. The shocks need to be replaced soon, although they aren't bad. I'm not sure what I'll replace them with. Currently, the car is my daily driver so it has to get me through things like snow. But there is a chance it may be a track flogger, so I can then have fun with my suspension. Since I don't want to buy/install my suspension twice, I'll hang tight for a bit before I do anything.

The brakes on the car sucked when I bought it. They're small compared to later Miatas. I had planned on updating them (it's easy enough to do) but decided to try some other pads, first. I started out with Axxis Ultimate pads and they really made all the difference in the world! They were good enough to not necessitate a rotor upgrade for daily driving, although they were very dusty. I eventually replaced them with EBC Greenstuff pads, which perform about the same but without all of the dust.

I also painted the calipers because I think red calipers are sexy.

Of course, if I do track the car, that'll all be for naught when I ditch everything in favor of the big brakes!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg paintedcaliper.jpg (62.1 KB, 11 views)
__________________
'87 Porsche 944 (toy)
'90 Miata (daily driver)
'98 BMW 323is (her's)
"The first step towards gaining self confidence is not being afraid to suck."
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  #4  
Unread 07-05-2007, 04:28 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Sterling, Virginia
I made some aero mods as well. I first installed an OEM R-package airdam, which helped a lot. The car was pretty unstable at highway speeds with the top up, but the airdam helped that quite a bit. Plus, it looks really, really good. I also installed the R-package rear skirt. Apparently, I bought that at just the right time because they stopped producing them and were impossible to come by about 4 weeks after receiving mine.

I ordered a R-package spoiler replica and put that one. I don't know if it helped, but I love the look of ducktail spoilers so it's all good.

Oh, and wheels. I transferred the painted BBS wheels from my VWs with 195/55-ZR-14 tires as my summer wheels and put snow tires on the OEM "daisy" wheels. The car is, needless to say, awesome in the snow.

I've made a few interior mods as well. I installed some aluminum pedal covers, mainly for the looks but they do make heel-toeing much easier. I had to trim the clutch pedal to keep my left foot from hanging up on it. I also installed a gauge pod with an oil temp and volt gauge. I really only wanted the oil temp gauge but decided to install the volt gauge as a nice "blank" in case I want to upgrade to another gauge. I installed it, and even have a sender wire hanging out in there for the next gauge.

Lighting has been improved with E-code headlights and fog lights. Not that I use the latter all that much.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg miatapedals.jpg (59.7 KB, 18 views)
File Type: jpg miatagaugepod.JPG (50.3 KB, 17 views)
__________________
'87 Porsche 944 (toy)
'90 Miata (daily driver)
'98 BMW 323is (her's)
"The first step towards gaining self confidence is not being afraid to suck."
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Unread 07-05-2007, 04:33 PM
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BeerBurner BeerBurner is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Sterling, Virginia
So, this brings us pretty much up to speed on the car. It is now a good daily driver, but there is the chance it may be the next flogger. I want to avoid buying anything else for it until I know, tho.

BB.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg miata04110600018 (Small).JPG (42.1 KB, 20 views)
File Type: jpg miata04110600021 (Small).JPG (60.2 KB, 26 views)
File Type: jpg snowplowmiata01.JPG (60.7 KB, 31 views)
__________________
'87 Porsche 944 (toy)
'90 Miata (daily driver)
'98 BMW 323is (her's)
"The first step towards gaining self confidence is not being afraid to suck."
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Unread 08-29-2007, 06:33 AM
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BeerBurner BeerBurner is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Sterling, Virginia
Weee!

I just scored a free set of OEM alloy wheels for it. And since I already have a mounted set of street tires and mounted set of snow tires, this will set me up for a (not so near) future purchase of a mounted set of R-compounds.


BB.
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'87 Porsche 944 (toy)
'90 Miata (daily driver)
'98 BMW 323is (her's)
"The first step towards gaining self confidence is not being afraid to suck."
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  #7  
Unread 08-29-2007, 08:03 AM
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FastFord58 FastFord58 is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2007
cough* 5.0 conversion kit *cough
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  #8  
Unread 08-29-2007, 08:18 AM
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BeerBurner BeerBurner is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Sterling, Virginia
Nah, I like my 50:50 weight distribution...

BB.
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'87 Porsche 944 (toy)
'90 Miata (daily driver)
'98 BMW 323is (her's)
"The first step towards gaining self confidence is not being afraid to suck."
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  #9  
Unread 08-29-2007, 09:07 AM
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Renntag Renntag is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Mid-Atlantic Region
Quote:
Originally Posted by FastFord58 View Post
cough* 5.0 conversion kit *cough
There...now I didnt have to say it.
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  #10  
Unread 08-29-2007, 10:14 AM
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UGApballer UGApballer is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Athens, GA
*cough* 4.6 S/C conversion *cough*

.. saw it on a miata up for grabs on eBay once.
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