|08-04-2012, 07:46 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: So. Il
Miatas & Innerwebbs Rock
Howdy CR, I learned what a lurker was at the same time I found out I was one and have been pondering about whether to post or not for a while now. Finally decided to go for it, so here I be.
I'm a 58 yr old blue collar guy with four grand kids and two more on the way. Shortly after learning how to read "see Spot run" I set to work trying to decipher the captions under the pictures in my Dad's R&T, Sports Car Illustrated ( now C&D ), and Sports Car Graffic, ( now defunct ). There was also a steady supply of Hot Rod, Car Craft ( including the little ones ), Rod & Custom, Motor Trend, etc. and still have just about every car mag either one of us have ever bought. It occurred to me the other day while surfing CR & MX-5. net that I hadn't bought a car magazine in ages and how not so long ago it would have taken forever to get this much information in monthly installments, if someone happened to be covering what I was interested in. What I have been interested in, in the past, as in past vehicles, include everything from Muscle Cars to two stroke Saabs, with V-dubs being my passion for the past few years. I had always wanted a two seat roadster but didn't want to deal with the issues involved with British or Italian cars, so when my newest daughter-in-law said her Miata was for sale for $800 I jumped on it. I liked that girl from the git-go when I found out she drove one and figured that sooner or later it would be mine when I learned she and my youngest son were getting married,
Enough about me, on to my humble project that I've had for about a yr. I learned lurking it's a Mariner Blue NA . I already knew it was a ' 91 with aprox. 160,000 mi., 5 spd., AC, pwr. windows, pwr steering and cruise control. It seemed to run great and the oil was in good shape when I went to Sun. dinner with my son, daughter in law and her large family at her Grandma's house to check it out, and came complete with matching cartoon frog seat covers and floor mats. It had flaky, peeling clear coat that gave the car a fuzzy out of focus look, and non-functioning speedo and hi-beams. The tombstone was all busted to hell and the plastic tray under the engine was busted up and hanging together with wire. The rocker panels in front of both rear wheels were rusted out, but other than that I don't see anything but surface rust underneath and none on the body.
What I've done so far:
Wet sanded the flaky clear coat, buffed what was left of the paint,and did a temporary fix on the rocker panels with fiberglass and roof tar. ( OK, so I just might be a redneck, but there are no signs of St. Dale the Earnhardt worship on my vehicles, property, or wardrobe. I swear. )
Was surprisingly successful at repairing the engine tray with epoxy & a couple of zip ties.
Replaced fluids with synthetic & all the filters.
NGK plugs, & red wires the size of fire hose's.
Cleaned up the engine bay.
Upper and lower front stress bars.
Painted wheels, removed center caps and added boy ricer lug nuts that turned from black to bronze almost immediately.
Tires from recently deceased '84 GTI, occasionally referred to as Thunder Bunny, but way more fun to type THUNDER BUNNY!!
Drilled & slotted rotors, new pads, braided SS brake lines, painted the calipers red. ( lick me Jeremy Clarkson, I think they look cool )
Polished SS cat back exhaust, gutted the cat.
New steering wheel, charcoal sheepskin seat covers, floor mats, short shift kit, boot & weighted knob, DIY pedal covers & used tombstone.
R-style front lip & HID headlights. Installed the projector housings and H4 bulbs that came with the kit but not transformers & HID bulbs, 'till I figure out what to do about CAI.
Relocated front license plate & installed el' cheapo fog lights from the Rabbit wired up to work as DLRL's.
New right rear wheel bearing, & wheel alignment.
New speedo cable, & used combination switch to fix hi-beams. New one was over $400 from dealer !!!!??
Replaced accessory belts.
Except for the wheel bearing, there have been zero mechanical or drive ability issues other than some oil leaking into the plug wells and a small oil leak around the CAS that I'll deal with when I do the VC gasket. Other than some BS from a few of the Huckleberry Gomer's that infest my corner of the world and the $140 speeding ticket I got of couple wks. ago, I couldn't be happier with the car.
If your still here or interested, my new found skills at picture posting can show you what I've been going on about.
While pondering to post or not I wondered if I might get hammered a little for that sticker. One day a light bulb suddenly lit up in the thought bubble that had eventually formed over my head, my angst was cut short as the bulb slowly morphed into the words of the wise man who said "Hang a lantern on your problems". Hence the avatar.............................
2012_0623practice0021 by dubster5, on Flickr
.................................................. .................................................. ...................
that I almost used.
2012_0731practice0005 by dubster5, on Flickr
In the end I decided if I was going to be hanging around the 'ol clubhouse here, I wouldn't want to be totin' that unfortunate moniker around with me everywhere and opted for the iconic Mooneyes unequipped with the punch line.
Even with H4 bulbs, projector housings give off cool ( as in the hue of the blue, not its degree of hipness ) blue light, and an improvement over stock sealed beams. Not sure what's up with the little blue bulbs with separate wiring that I haven't hooked up yet. Maybe DLRL's ?, not much use with pop ups, or maybe just more cool blue ( the hip kind this time )
2012_0722practice0047 by dubster5, on Flickr
I had quite the specimen collection the first time I decided it would be a good idea to pop up the headlights at the car wash. With chagrin I imagined the spectacle I must have provided at dusk on Main st. sportin' fresh Power Gloss and frog eyes encrusted in a decaying bio-mass.
Another bright idea I didn't use was using the drivers side duct on the R-lip to pull outside air for a CAI setup. A post on a thread I was reading made me think about my brother-in-law's Ford truck that hydro-locked getting into his driveway and the Niagara sized waterfall flowing over the dashboard of a ragged-out Karmen-Ghia I used to have. Finally accepting what I hadn't wanted to admit, the thought bubbles floating over my head began to explore other options.
2012_0623practice0012 by dubster5, on Flickr
Sadness at the bottom of the blue tupper-ware is the result of the same off road excursion that ate up the belly pan thing. Since more trips down the "Information Super Highway" were needed to find out about repairing & refinishing that stuff, I didn't worry too much about drilling a hole in it before I knew there was such a thing as a plate relocate bracket.
This shot is from last fall, about 3-4 months after initial cleanup and a short spiff-up as I recall. Red bits are red because they needed paint and a can of red caliper paint was sitting there so, why not. Red tape was used to cover up frayed end and remind me to get a new one.......... unfortunately, it's still there. Can't see as how that stress bar is doing much good, the way it bends up in the middle, but I think it looks good & could use the mounts for future DIY one. Powder coated red one on the bottom seems adequate enough to do its job. Much like the braided SS brake hose's and clean socks when I'm wearing boots, it's good to know its shiny redness is down there even though no one can see.
#5 2011_0911practice0045 by dubster5, on Flickr
From what I know about the design process of the car, I'm sure it's no accident that even the VC looks like something out of R&T, late Dec. back in ' 63
The twenty year old soft top provides classic sports car patina to Mazda's Miata and is virtually weatherproof if ordered with the optional black silicone and electrical tape.
#6 2012_0624practice0008 by dubster5, on Flickr
I probably should have replaced the raggedy-ass thing by now but it would be really nice to have it out of the way during paint and body work and only have to deal with it once.
There, that's better. In my mind it's a freaking bullet proof Lotus or Alpha that you can operate as a DD without going broke, or working on every day. Yes, I'll take one please.
2012_0623practice0018 by dubster5, on Flickr
Even with VW logo's, I wish the center caps from V-dub "Snowflakes" would fit ( because redneck ) & that the lug nuts would have stayed black. No worries though, they'll be replaced soon enough.
The aux. gauges were at hand when I got the tombstone recently and I wanted to see if I liked the white faces. Air/fuel ratio meter on the left was useful as I fiddled about on the Rabbit with Bosch K-Basic fuel distributor, but can't see much use for it on this car at this point, so only the light is hooked up for now. Oil temp or even clock would be more useful companion for the volt meter. Functional, if not webb-worthy pedal covers were cut from 11ga. aluminum stair treads and pounded to shape on 2X4 shaped with a grinder. No more foot slipping off of brake during heel & toe, and also because racecar. Since I've been lurking around car forums the J. C. Whitney sheepskins occasionally give me a feeling similar to the one I had when I first started to think maybe a mullet and porn star mustache were no longer fashionable. Fashion fox paw or not, they feel pert-n-near sensual summer & winter and seem to be holding up well. The steering wheel may be a bit rice for a man of my advanced years, but it was cheap ( $50. including quick-disconnect I didn't use ) and I really like the diameter, thickness of the rim, and the thumb grips. Add those things to the short shift kit and you really get that go-kart strapped to yer ass sensation ! !!!!....................................... .................................
2012_0722practice0039 by dubster5, on Flickr
or............................... that Japanese word about the horse and the rider.......( sorry, lost my head there for a minute ).
Savvy working class roadster enthusiasts will recognize the small flashlight as an excellent choice for a dome light when shoved between the top bow and fabric.
I don't know much more about TSUDO exhausts than I did a year ago when I installed this one. I do know that they are " competition driven for enthusiast achievements ". Said so right on the box. Regardless of quirky translations it blew me away when I pulled it out of the box and seemed like a bargain at $200 delivered. After disemboweling and painting the cat and an uneventful installation I was a bit disappointed at first when I didn't hear the traditional euro-roadster exhaust note that you can imitate by vibrating the corner of your lips together, but it didn't take long to enjoy the hollow growl under throttle, not unlike intake sound coming from the wrong end, and the neighbor/cop friendly idle. Add a little harmony from some genuine intake honk from up front and it should be just right for Gran'pa.
2012_0702practice0002 by dubster5, on Flickr
No angst to report from being flamed on satellite television by a car show host for painting the calipers red. A year later they still be lookin' good.
The first part in the future plans dept. is building a pole barn to play with my toys in, is how this paragraph should begin. Instead I'm waiting to get some trees cut and stumps removed so I'm also waiting on the Megan EZ Street's and HardDog Hard Bar I just ordered from Go-Miata. I'm a welder and plan A was doing a DYI roll bar, but wussed out on the bending part so I went for the Hard Bar and will add my own diagonals and harness bar later. Waiting on the tree/stump guy and $344 price for the Hard Bar were a great excuse to take some time to install the roll bar and coil overs I've been antsy to get, before I get serious with the barn project. That should give me a few months of Zoom'n with 'em before winter sets in and then its into the barn for timing belt-VC gasket-water pump, chassis detail, poly bushings, CAI, mount the HID transformers, wheels & tires and finally paint & body work when the weather breaks in the spring. With that much of the " classic sports car patina " gone, I might as well get a new top. After its on the road from all that it'll be time to start thinking about sway bars and a brake upgrade. A 1.8 transplant seems to be the way I'm thinking for down the road plans....... along with a classier interior .
Well believe it or not, that's about it. Who knew they would come up with a gadget that lets me play like I'm Brock Yates, David E Davis, John Lamm, or any of those other guys whose skills with a typewriter and camera I admired as much as the cars they were describing. I hope no one was offended by the flea-bay thing. Except for no instructions or poorly translated ones ( circumvolve the bulb ???!! ) and brown lug nuts, I've been well pleased with my e-bay purchases. Without them my Walter Mitty Mazdaratti would be way less fun.
So that's it for now kids, Zoom safe and don't let the haters curb your enthusiasm - Les
2012_0711practice0005 by dubster5, on Flickr
PS. No, I don't belong to or hang out at senior centers yet. I just thought that sign was appropriate for this thread when I saw it.
|08-04-2012, 10:29 PM||#3 (permalink)|
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Portland, TN
Holy hell what an intro! Welcome to CR. And fantastic pickup!
Sent from my DROIDX using Tapatalk 2
|08-04-2012, 11:33 PM||#6 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Re: Miatas & Innerwebbs Rock
Nice car. Good deal from daughter in law! my 01 NB came with sheepskin seat covers in leopard print. Within 10 miles of driving on them, they were SO HOT, making my back sweat, I pulled over, took a knife to them, and cut them off.
Does your car have a shifter extender? Looks high to me. Find a NB Nardi OEM steering wheel, they can be had just as cheap, and won't look as rice.
Why are your lug nuts sticking out so much?
Also I lived in St. Louis for 3 years, redneck women are hot!
|08-05-2012, 08:05 AM||#7 (permalink)|
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: So. Il
Re: Miatas & Innerwebbs Rock
have to go "
Unfortunately, I didn't tell you the whole story on the seats. This was plan A
2011_0121practice0070 by dubster5, on Flickr
I always have this vision of a binder full of receipts neatly organized and listing all the expenses for a vehicle, It usually never works out, & I don't have time to look it up, but these were between $200 & $300 on e-bay. Right away out of the box I was a bit disappointed at the fabric quality, but still jazzed to get them on with the rest of the goodies I got when I did the wheel bearing. When I did the first one on the drivers side, the seat back was too wide to clear the seat belt anchors like the stock seats, forcing a NASCAR type driving position. None for me thanks. Thinking, OK when I fab a roll bar I'll do away with those towers & mount the seat belts to the roll bar, & ordered the sheepskins, that could be used elsewhere, 'till then. This was before I knew that the tower was an integral part of the roll bar system. At this point I'm thinking maybe having them modified & recovered. Should have done more research.
( Gotta figure out that "quote" thing Later )
|08-05-2012, 08:11 AM||#8 (permalink)|
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: So. Il
Re: Miatas & Innerwebbs Rock
" Looks high to me. "
Funny, I thought the same thing after I finally found out from here or the other place that you use your old little hemi-bushing and the new one that came with that shifter. Being the resourceful fellow that I am, I welded a nut to a bolt just long enough to poke the knob out of the boot. This worked out pretty good with my forearm resting on the e-brake & snick snick wrist movements. Then about the time I'm mulling over displaying my humble project on the same pages as some of the awesome machines on these pages, I see a thread about shift extensions. Extensions ?? I thought the idea was short shift. Digging out the one that came with the kit, I've been trying that for awhile. Some good points were made in favor of the more retro looking extended shifter. Wouldn't mind trying that sometime.
Dunno 'bout them lug nuts. When I saw them on e-bay I just thought they'd look better with or without some kind of black center caps than the stock center caps. Since then I've learned they're necessary for certain after market wheels, I guess.