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Old 03-10-2015, 09:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How I modified my Miata

Decided to finally start a modification thread on here. I don't post this stuff many places but since I am now here quite a bit I figured why not share?

I came about my gearhead status a little later than some do. Not quite sure what caused it. I did help my dad work on cars when I was younger, but that was mostly of the routine maintenance variety of repair. While I was in college I became more interested in motorcycles, I was never allowed to have my own but could ride my grandfather's on the back country roads (without a license no less) when I visited them. Then my senior year, Mazda came out with the RX-7. I was familiar with the rotary since my sister had owned an RX-2 (which she used to race and generally humble much bigger cars with), but the styling of the 7 was wow! As it worked out, I was able to buy one the following year, which I still have. That started my journey to where I am today.

I am definitely a Mazda fan. Probably get that in part from my dad, although he was a Buick fan (no accounting for taste). Over the years I have had quite a few, both performance and pedestrian models (Millenia S, 2nd/3rd gen Protege, 1st/2nd gen MPV, etc) but never seemed to be able to get into a Miata. One of my brothers had two, a '94 (IIRC) and a '02 SE in titanium. I drove both and they had what I liked about all Mazdas in general, my RX-7 in particular, and had the cherry on top of being a convertible.

About four and a half years ago I was driving home from Cars & Coffee with my wife when we saw a Miata. After admiring it, she told me if I sold my '03 Protege I could get one. I knew she didn't think I would ever sell that car but she underestimated my desire. I immediately began plotting, worked out a deal with my oldest son for the Protege and then began looking for the Miata. I knew I wanted something in the maroon color range, when I first saw a 2000 SE (Mahogany Mica for those who live under a rock) I knew that was the one.

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Old 03-10-2015, 09:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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After chasing a couple of cars (both found on eBay, one was in northern Ohio and the underside looked way too rusty, the other in Florida and was way overpriced), I happened upon the $9.95 Miata for sale (Miatamart) site. There was a very nice 2000 SE with low miles and a JRSC under the hood. I immediately got in contact the seller. He had just listed the car a day or so before. Did some back and forth with pictures and such, I told him I'd like to look at it and then I got the loan. On 18 September 2010 the wife and I drove three hours to West-by-god-Virginia, crawled around the car, took a test drive and then bought it. Drove the three hours home in the evening dark, top down the whole way, hatless and without ear plugs (left them in the other car), grinning like an idiot. When we were almost home we stopped to get something to eat and my wife started laughing at me because my hair was sticking straight up. I didn't care, I had too much fun.

In any event, I don't regard what I do as a build. Call me old-fashioned, but to me building a car involves tearing it apart and putting it back together. I will be doing that to my RX-7, but not to this car. What I have done so far, and will continue doing, is to make modifications and improvements to bring it to where I can say it's mine. If I can provide a gem or two of knowledge to someone along the way, all the better. I have done a lot in the past four and a half years and will document all that. I tend to be more of the get the job done type than the take a picture every stage of the way to preserve it for others type. You'll have to deal with it, I'm not changing because none of you are cute enough.
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Old 03-10-2015, 10:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Ok, time for a little bit about the car when I brought it home. The guy I bought it from had picked it up from some sort of wholesaler in FL. Not sure how many owners there were in between, but he somehow managed to track down the original owner. He had bought the car new and after having it a year had the JRSC installed (possibly most or all of the other mods, I'm a little hazy on that). As a result of the previous owner's interest he had all the papers that the original owner had held onto, which was nice. Unfortunately I guess he didn't have the SE extras, more on that down the road.

As mentioned the car had the JRSC (Jackson Racing Supercharger) which was the M45 Eaton. The rest of the supercharger install included a DDM Works cold air intake box, JR timing controller, Walbro 255lph fuel pump with restrictor pill, and finally the piece de resistance, a small black box (I can't remember the correct name right now) which basically fooled the ECU into thinking the air temp was cooler than it was so that extra fuel was added. So yeah, the resistor trick that you can buy on eBay. But hey, it worked just fine. The only other engine-related upgrade was a Brainstorm axle-back dual exhaust. For dress-up there was a stainless panel (sort of an air blocker) bolted on top of the front bumper attachment point, the 'charger outlet manifold was polished, there were a ton of stickers on the radiator frame and cross-over tube, and a very noticeable set of yellow silicone hoses EVERYWHERE (just ask Bryan, I think he saw it).

Suspension was a set of Bilstein PSS coilovers with 15 X 6.5 Alpha wheels wearing General Exclaim UHP tires (they were actually pretty decent). A set of matched JR sways front/rear (adjustable tubular front), braided stainless steel brake lines with some drilled/slotted rotors and unknown pads (calipers were painted yellow) finished that off. Interior was stock except for a Hard Dog Ace rollbar, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a nice cloth boot cover, and a trunk lid storage holder inside the trunk.

As you can see from the second picture, the car was way too low. On certain bumps I would hear a scraping noise, thought it was the tire hitting the fender liner (it was) but mainly it was the right "frame rail" hitting the ground. That wasn't acceptable to me.


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Old 03-10-2015, 10:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I will be copy/pasting my posts from elsewhere so you will see updates slowly as I have time (read: bored at night twiddling my thumbs). If anyone has any questions about anything I have done, I will answer as best I can. While I may not take a lot of pictures, I do keep notes/receipts so can fill in the blanks on a lot of stuff.
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Old 03-10-2015, 10:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I should also point out that I won't be bastardizing mine the way concealer is his (love you Ben babe ). I like my parchment interior coupled with the mahogany mica exterior (everyone take note, those are the correct names for the colors of this car). That said, it probably won't pass the m.net test either.

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Old 03-10-2015, 10:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: How I modified my Miata

I want rx7 pics.
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Old 03-10-2015, 10:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I want rx7 pics.
Wish in one hand, shit in the other, and see which fills up first. Seriously, did you not read the thread title? Just because I am a nice guy, here is one from her heyday:



For anyone else, don't bother asking for more pictures of this car. There aren't any, and should I decide to share anything about it that will be in the appropriate forum.
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Old 03-10-2015, 11:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Damn. That is a nice rx7. In for Miata build. Seems like an awesome start.
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Old 03-11-2015, 12:18 AM   #9 (permalink)
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#textwall
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Old 03-11-2015, 05:44 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: How I modified my Miata

Great looking '00SE! I REALLY wanted one when I got my first Miata(NB) but never could find one in the proper condition for the right price. Looks like quality parts were used which is always a good sign. How do you like the m45? Is it "enough"? Or you thinking upgrading to a mp62 some day?

That is a sweet Rx7! Appropriate forum? You sayin we aint appropriate?!
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Old 03-11-2015, 08:08 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Damn. That is a nice rx7. In for Miata build. Seems like an awesome start.
Thanks. Unfortunately she no longer looks that good, but that will change.

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#textwall
I don't do Mcposts. If a picture is worth a thousand words, and I don't post pictures, you do the math. Maybe if there is enough text it will discourage the mouth-breathers. Who knows, there might be some gems in all those words.

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Great looking '00SE! I REALLY wanted one when I got my first Miata(NB) but never could find one in the proper condition for the right price. Looks like quality parts were used which is always a good sign. How do you like the m45? Is it "enough"? Or you thinking upgrading to a mp62 some day?

That is a sweet Rx7! Appropriate forum? You sayin we aint appropriate?!
Thanks. I was very lucky to find one so nice that wasn't too far away. The original owner did use quality parts, I have been in contact with him a few times. I won't give anything away about power production just yet, but let's just say more is usually better.

As this is the Roadster Projects subforum, I wouldn't post about my RX-7 here. That's what the Non-Roadster subforum is for. However it will be some time before I do anything to her.
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Old 03-11-2015, 10:51 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: How I modified my Miata

I had no idea you even owned a Miata. That said, it doesn't come as any surprise to me that if you do own one it is a nice one.
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Old 03-11-2015, 12:49 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I had no idea you even owned a Miata. That said, it doesn't come as any surprise to me that if you do own one it is a nice one.
Why did you think I was on a Miata forum? For the ambiance? Thanks for the compliment, but trust me, you ain't seen nothing yet!
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Old 03-11-2015, 01:18 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Why did you think I was on a Miata forum? For the ambiance? Thanks for the compliment, but trust me, you ain't seen nothing yet!
I'm on a miata forum and don't own a miata.

You'd be surprised at how many of us on here don't actually have miatas
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Old 03-11-2015, 01:20 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I'm on a miata forum and don't own a miata.

You'd be surprised at how many of us on here don't actually have miatas
Steve comes to mind.
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Old 03-11-2015, 01:27 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I'm on a miata forum and don't own a miata.

You'd be surprised at how many of us on here don't actually have miatas
Not surprised at all, I keep track. You did all used to have a Miata though.
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Old 03-12-2015, 03:29 PM   #17 (permalink)
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The day after I bought the car (that would be 19 September for anyone who suffers from attention-deficit disorder. BTW you are probably not married if you do) I did a few small things. Put the wiper arms on correctly (PO had apparently painted them and didn't put them back on the right side), did a massive stickerectomy under the hood, set the tire pressures and generally just drove her. I only had a couple of days to do that before having to go to Dubai for a work-related conference. Talk about separation anxiety!

Over the next couple of months I did quite a few small things. Replaced the god-awful yellow hose kit with a black one, replaced the chrome gas filler door with a stock painted one (forgot to mention the car had one of those when I bought it, the wife liked it better than the painted one. Guess I need to sign her up for M.net). Put in a cargo net. Changed all the fluids using the magical Motorcraft synthetic in the tranny (I really like it), I found the oil filter was barely on there so it was a good thing I did that. Raised it by 13mm which corrected the majority of the grounding issues. Did my first autocross a few days later and had a blast. Got a performance alignment at a place in Cincinnati run by a guy who has been around for years, he didn't give me my final specs and I didn't think to ask for them, but he told me I had toe out in the rear (which went a long way to explaining the tail-happiness of the car. Besides my heavy right foot around corners that is). Installed some Hella Supertones but wasn't happy with them so switched to my usual Fiamms. I went all out and bought a stock hanger for the driver's side one so it would look stock.

When I was messing around with the horns, I discovered the driver's side headlight was missing a plastic spacer for the post that located the bottom of the light. Bought one of those to correct that issue. Someone along the owner's road had installed a bra which used snaps and they were still on the car, so those came off (and I found that the two at the front of the hood had been put on with screws that were just a bit too long, so I had two bumps from that). Flipped the passenger seat stopper around to get that precious extra inch of legroom.

One thing I did that merits some extra attention was install a factory 6 disc changer. Ha, I can hear you say, you couldn't get one of those in 2000 on a Miata. True enough, but you could get one on a 626. I was looking around eBay and noticed the plugs in the rear of that unit were the same as on mine. After some research I found out the bar in between my stock radio and cassette player was just plastic. So I bid on and won a radio. Guaranteed to work, but upon receipt I found that wasn't the case as the CD player wouldn't. There was a CD stuck in it for one thing. I got in touch with the seller, who told me to keep it and reimbursed me my cost (in other words, a stand-up person). I messed around with it and managed to get the CD out, found the eject button was messed up so using some plastic steel and silicone built that up. After that it still didn't function. On to the next step.

For anyone who doesn't know, Mazda uses modular radios. This means you can swap bits around to get where you want (for instance, my wife's RX-8 came with a single CD player. I bought a beat up 6 disc unit, changed over the CD player and voila!). I knew this was the case with vehicles after 2001 but not earlier. I was able to find a 6 disc radio from a 2000 Tribute on eBay (listed for parts as it had a rattle inside). When it showed up, the rattle turned out to be 36 cents in loose change (someone's kid probably got a whipping for that one). Swapped out the changer unit and the faceplate, put it in the dash and it worked like a champ. Sure it doesn't play MP3s or have a slot for a memory stick, but I don't have to juggle CDs all the time either. Plus since it's factory with Mazda all over it, I don't have to worry about someone prying it loose. Here's how it looks:

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Old 03-12-2015, 03:31 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Installed a Cobalt front shock brace, this is the one that has arms to the firewall. Some say it's useless, I say it helped the cowl shake. Had a moment of excitement after that was in, I was out driving and had hit the brakes lightly. Went to brake harder a few moments later and the pedal was hard as a rock but the car wasn't slowing. Turned out the hard line from the intake manifold to the brake booster had been deflected enough to kink the hose on one side, so there was not a constant source of vacuum to make the booster work. That was an easy fix. Put in a set of IL Motorsports pedals to replace the set that was in the car, they said Miata on them which was fine but they were huge (very wide) which made it difficult for me to operate them, especially to heel and toe. The IL set has nice little rubber nubs on them to help grip.
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Old 03-12-2015, 03:34 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Bought a red Mazdaspeed oil cap (as used on the Speed3) and a Raceland windblocker. Thanks to Bryan for the suggestion, it matched the contour of my Ace rollbar perfectly. All I had to do was fabricate some extensions for the mounting points (a fancy way of saying I cut two pieces of aluminum flat bar to length and drilled two holes in each). I cut a piece of plexiglass to fit the space at the bottom of the windblocker and the wife was happy with no more messy hair.

Here's some pictures of the windblocker showing all sides. Note that I have electrical tape on the back side of the bolt that connects my bracket with the windblocker bracket to keep it from scratching the plastic. There are several washers at the back of the bracket to shim it out, the washer next to the plastic has also been covered with electrical tape. I have since replaced those rear bolts with Allen head screws. It only takes a little juggling to get the back screw in through the bracket and washers.




The final thing done, and only because I have an awesome wife, was sourcing and installing a set of Clearwater speakers. Yes they are expensive (I did save $50 by buying through them on eBay) but they clean up the Bose system a lot and I am more than happy with what I have now. I can't see spending a lot of time or money on a stereo for a convertible, especially with the job-related hearing loss I have. The Clearwaters go right into place, I did put one of the fixing wires for a tweeter in wrong but figured that out the next time I was home.

So after a little more than two months of ownership, it was back to work. There went Thanksgiving and Christmas that year.
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Old 03-12-2015, 03:35 PM   #20 (permalink)
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The wife and I went out to lunch in the Miata the day I left, so I got a little fix to tide me over. Good thing too, as I ended up being gone for four months that time. Over lunch, I told her I would try not to buy anything for the cars until right before I came home (please note I specifically did not promise). She laughed and basically told me, yeah right! I was serious, but I also know (as does she) that I have this tendency to see good deals and go for them.

So four days later (I know, right?!) I managed to score the factory header off an '05. Over the next few months, I bought the following: Mazdaspeed competition diff mounts, IL Motorsports engine mounts (same stiffness as the MS units but cheaper), HID projectors, security bolts and Rennenmetal side plates for the hard top I was planning on, Rennenmetal crank holding tool, KG Works gauge face, Konig Lightspeed wheels in bronze, some Toyo T1-Rs in 205-50/15, Planet Miata shifter rebuild kit and stainless clutch hose, AWD needle caps from RSpeed with their closeout (took me a little while to make up my mind on those, now glad I did), couple of supercharger pieces from Moss (rotomolded crossover tube, 'charger outlet manifold, couple of small things that escape me), Cool Breeze scoop, oil change and coupler for the 'charger, Koyo 37mm radiator and TDR header blanket. Somewhere in there I got a hard top off a local Craigslist ad, thanks to a good friend of mine from HS who not only fronted me the money for it (I had no way to get him the cash) but he even went and picked it up. It was Merlot Mica which was close to mine, and had all latches and the defroster pigtail for an NB. I got home at the end of March, so it was time to install everything. First I had to track it all down. My wife had made piles of boxes all over the place, most everything I found no problem but it took some time to come up with the header (ended up being out of the way in the basement with a towel draped over it. Think she was trying to tell me something?).
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Old 03-12-2015, 03:35 PM   #21 (permalink)
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First up I put on the crossover tube and outlet manifold on the supercharger. That cleaned the engine bay up some more. Had the tires mounted, when I got home from that the Gorilla lugs I bought had arrived so I could put the wheels on the car. Here's how that all looked:
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Old 03-12-2015, 03:36 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Nice valve cover! :O
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Old 03-12-2015, 03:38 PM   #23 (permalink)
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A few days later (on 03/31/11) I installed the new shift boots and Beatrush lower bronze bushing. I could see no way to remove/replace the lower nylon (?) ring and wave washer, it is blocked by the two locating pins. My lower boot was torn right around, the upper one looked fairly new when I first pulled it off but then I found a tear in it. I also found the upper wave washer was completely missing which meant the upper nylon (?) ring was moving around and not doing much of anything as far as locating the shifter ball. Out and about, the shifter isn't a huge improvement but it is noticeable. While I was coming out of one store, a slightly modded Civic pulled up close to me. Two guys got out and walked over, then proceeded to display the most gratuitous use of the word "sick" that I have ever heard. Every fifth word was sick, as in, that's the sickest Miata I've ever seen. Nice to get the compliments though.

On 04/01 I installed the Koyo radiator. Nothing too tough, I did have to bend the mounts for the A/C condenser a bit to allow the rad to go where it needed to be. I have read several stories about people having issues getting the air out of the car's system, but I didn't do anything more than I usually do and it seems fine. There was a 1" gap between the radiator and the support bracket across the front so I got some window A/C sealing foam and stuffed that in there. I am going to have to figure out what to use to seal the sides of the fans as well.

On 04/12 during a round of my tireless research, I found out how to remove the lower bushing and wave washer for a 6 speed tranny (Google Miata shifter and click on the links for Mike's Place). So that got done. For any future readers who wonder, you have to drive one of the pins back from the inside, replace the parts then drive it back. I was able to drive the pin out with the piece it is mounted to in place, but had to remove it to put the pin back. With the two front bolts on that piece underneath the chassis it takes some wiggling to get things out, thin fingers help.

No pictures of this work because well, it's already pretty well documented.
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Old 03-12-2015, 03:40 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I bought a set of taillight surrounds off eBay, had them painted along with the hard top (Merlot Mica is very close to Mahogany Mica, but not close enough for me. Plus it had a couple of nasty gouges in the middle towards the front). I put on a HD lip (that's Home Depot for anyone who lives under a rock) and removed the Zoom-Zoom sticker off the factory lip. Replaced the driver's side foglight, I don't use them much so am not really concerned that the factory units aren't as good as aftermarket. I put some X-Pel film on them for protection against rocks. Cleaned up/painted the '05 header. Ordered some stock parts, a new driver's side inner fender liner (the piece with louvers that is on the very front of the fender), seatbelt attachment cover, and new inside door handle pulls (originals were scarred up). I got the last driver's side in parchment available in North America, I was happy about that. Installed my hard top side plates (I used my Craftsman Nextec multi-tool to cut the plastic, it is awesome), replaced both windows in the passenger door with used (there were small spots that appeared to be etched into the glass, it was annoying looking through them). Replaced both hoses on the brake vacuum assist line, whoever originally put the yellow hoses on didn't move the orifice over so whenever I shut off the engine, my brake assist disappeared immediately. If you don't think this is a big deal try it, makes life interesting if you stop on a hill.

I managed to pick up a set of Atlantic Design trunk bags. These are no longer made, but they are a very nice way to carry more stuff without having to put a luggage rack on. The set is two bags with plastic covered metal hooks that go over the edge of the trunk lid, the straps they are on are adjustable to get them snug. There is also a cushioned pad that you lay down on the trunk lid before putting the bags in place.

Got some goodies for the supercharger, an oil/nose coupler kit and a DDM Wonderbracket. Good thing I got the Wonderbracket as my bypass actuator arm was worn as well as the bellcrank it moves. I ended up buying a new actuator (only way to take care of that). I cleaned/oiled the air filter, it was pretty dirty and very dry. Based on the amount of sand I found in the area around the intake shielding I doubt it had been cleaned since it was in FL.

I had bought an A-pillar with integral gauge pods from Moss, but when I got it didn't like how it looked. I did take the opportunity to redo the wiring on the gauges some, it was a mess with all different types of wire used (including some speaker wire). I was to find out soon just how shoddy the wiring was.

Finally got around to installing the '05 header, one of the EGR pipe nuts put up a fight and I ended up messing it up. I forgot to take my own advice, which is that sometimes it's easier to remove more than you need to. In this case had I taken the coil pack off from the beginning I would have been much better off. Oh well. At the same time I opened up the supercharger, I didn't get much oil out of the gearbox (I had read in several places this was an issue with M45s, but never any thoughts about why) but it looked fine inside. The new coupler was very tight so I was happy about that. While all that was off I replaced the heater and lower radiator hoses. One of the heater hoses had been rubbing on the supercharger inlet, failure of that would have been a lot of fun (NOT!). I also replaced the engine mounts while I was busy. Got everything back on the way it is supposed to be without any extra parts (always a good thing). BTW, I found out it is best to have the radiator drain plug installed before filling it.
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Old 03-12-2015, 03:41 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Default Re: How I modified my Miata

Quote:
Originally Posted by julezer View Post
Nice valve cover! :O
I know. It's for sale if you want it. Trust me, the replacement is much better looking but you will have to stay tuned.
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Old 03-12-2015, 03:44 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Default Re: How I modified my Miata

Next on my list was the rear of the car. I replaced the fuel filter (not horrible but worse than it has to be. Thanks Mazda). Next up were the differential mounts. This is one time I really should have taken pictures, because I found a relatively easy way to do it. I didn't want to remove the diff which I knew would make life more difficult, but I was sure it was doable. I did all the normal removals (rear bracing- actually did that before the filter, PPF brace, diff mounts). I had read up on all the various ways people have used to do this, and tried just about every method (excepting fire). Those damn mounts would not budge. After several hours of frustration, I sat back and regrouped. Drawing on my years of experience and knowledge with removal of tight, stubborn objects from holes I took stock of my tools to see what could be done. Basically you need to use something that will allow you to press the mounts out of the diff arms. I found one of the spacers for my ball joint kit was just the right size (2.5" OD) to push against the metal that is on the outside of the mount. I used a two arm puller to grab the slight lip that is on the diff arm and just screwed it upwards to push the mount out. It was a little hard getting all the bits in the correct place so the first one took me all of 10 minutes to get out. Second one was easier since I had my method down.

Getting the new mounts in proved to be a right royal PITA. I had the Mazdaspeed mounts, and they are slightly oval before installation. Since the hole they go into is round, there is a wee bit of resistance. What ended up working was putting them in place, jacking the diff up so that the weight of the car was on the mounts, then using a hammer and a piece of wood to hit upwards to get the mounts started. I then used the reverse of my removal method to jack the mounts into place, except instead of the puller I used a BACC. What's that, I hear you ask? A big-ass C-clamp. My local Ace provided it in all its 8" goodness. Once they were seated in place it was a matter of putting it all back together.

I do want to mention here that I posted about doing this on MT.net on someone's thread about this job. I was told at that time that no one would buy a ball joint kit or other special tools to do this job. Maybe six months later someone posted about doing it using this method, and he was a hero. Of course he did provide pictures so that may have made the difference. If you can't figure out what I did from my description head over there and you will see what I am talking about (although he dropped the diff completely out of the car).
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Old 03-12-2015, 03:47 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Default Re: How I modified my Miata

So I had gotten quite a lot done since getting home. The reason for this was I had gotten my good wife to agree to take the Miata on our delayed honeymoon. Just to let everyone know what an awesome woman she is, not only did she agree to that but she also agreed that we could have a two-part trip. For the first part we went to Savannah GA and stayed in a B&B for a couple of days. Then we drove to Atlanta for The Mitty, that was the year Mazda was the featured marque and it was attempted to have the longest line of Mazdas around a track (we didn't make it).

Anyway, lest you think it was all work and no play, along the way I did this:



I got the magnetic numbers from a guy I know on another forum who has a side business. He also hooked me up with the wheel emblems and third brake light Zoom-Zoom sticker (which I have on all our cars). If you look back a few posts and peer closely at the pictures, you can see them. As you can see from the picture, I have a set of RyokuRob tow hooks. I can attest to the fact that they work (the front one does anyway), more on that a lot later.

Before we left on our trip, I went to my local junkyard and picked up a couple of sealed door switches off a '93 929. Pretty much any bigger Mazda you look at has these sealed switches, while for some reason they skimped on the Miata and used open ones. The sealed ones keep crap out of the switch so there is one less thing to worry about. The only thing I had to do to get the switch installed was bend the tab on the switch so it was pointing 180 degrees away from where it was stock. The wiring on the Miata just isn't long enough to allow it to work otherwise.

I also replaced the two nibs (or tits as I call them) on the upper top latches. The one on my passenger side was missing completely, as well as the screw that holds it in place. Off to Ace I went, the screw needed is M4 X 6. Did an oil and filter change, while I was under there I replaced the clutch hose and pigtail with the long stainless braided hose I had. It was only slightly a PITA, mainly in trying to get the old one out of there. For some reason Mazda failed to slot the one bracket the pigtail passes through, so I just got out the sidecutters and cut it into two pieces. I removed the hard top sideplates because the wife said she didn't want to use it on the drive.

Finally did a minor foamectomy on the driver's seat. I bought some hog ring pliers (Ace to the rescue again) although I ended up not using them as everything was accessible enough for needle nose pliers.
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Old 03-13-2015, 12:52 PM   #28 (permalink)
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So off to Savannah we went. I got into hot water when I missed an interstate change that caused us a couple of extra hours driving. She also wasn't pleased with my driving through a mountainous zone, I was playing with an STI and she seemed to think there was no need to drive the speed I was through the turns. Ah well, the bruises healed nicely.

Savannah was nice, if you've never been I can recommend it (although not in late summer). The drive up to Atlanta was good, we met up with a group of people I have known for years on forums but had never seen most of them in person before. My wife isn't a huge race fan so she wasn't at the track a lot, she did take some parade laps with me and shot those with her phone. Here's one I took when we were trying for the record:



While at the track, I was literally parked next to the Flyin' Miata tent. They were having a sale with free shipping, so I managed to sweet-talk my way into a set of V-Maxx and the frame rails with butterfly brace. In my defense, we did buy my wife a purse in Savannah so it's not like I was hogging the money.

The next to last night we were there, we went to a nice restaurant in Atlanta to have an early anniversary celebration. We parked, only to find out that there was valet service. The guy asked for my key, I didn't really see the point but gave it to him anyway. After a very nice meal, we came out and a different guy gave me the key. I saw the car wasn't where I had put it, asked and he said it was around the side. When I walked around the corner, I found that my lowered car had been backed up over about an 8" curb and the front lip was on the ground. I was so mad I was shaking. I tried gently pulling it off the curb but the right exhaust tip scraped as I was doing it. I vented a little by doing a burnout, when I pulled around front the only valet to be seen was the one who had given me the key. When I asked him who the genius was that parked my car like that, he said it wasn't him. So that was a nice evening shot to hell. The next day when I looked things over closer, I discovered that they had also damaged my rear mud flaps. Luckily there was a phone number on the ticket which we called and got things taken care of. I ended up with a new set of mud flaps (much to my surprise they were still available), the exhaust I just have to live with.
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Old 03-13-2015, 12:53 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Default Re: How I modified my Miata

I mentioned about the Atlantic Design trunk bags I bought. I had also picked up a deck bag to use. You might think that would have been enough storage, but not for my wife. I had the car packed tight (I'm very good at using every bit of space) and there was not any room to spare. When we bought her purse a hat box was included (don't ask me why that is) but there was no way I could squeeze it into the car short of her holding it on her lap for the 8 hour drive home. Her solution was to have them mail it to us (no way was she not getting that box!). Even though you can't see the inside, this picture might give you an idea of what I'm talking about:



I have been told in no uncertain terms that was the last long trip we were doing in the Miata.
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Old 03-13-2015, 12:54 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Default Re: How I modified my Miata

While in Atlanta I developed a CEL. Borrowed someone's Hypertech to read it but there were no fault codes showing. I disconnected the battery to reset it. It came back on the way home, I noticed that the narrowband gauge stopped working at the same time. I went ahead and ordered a new O2 sensor just in case, but after reading the documentation I had and finding out the narrowband gauge was tied into the O2 sensor wiring, I began to figure out they might be connected (can't put one over on me!). Turned out that was the case, another example of how not to do wiring by whoever installed the supercharger. I soldered the connection back and everything was in business.

I bought a set of hood lifts from RSpeed, got those installed. As it turned out I would have needed them eventually anyway, but it is very nice not having to work around the prop rod. I did notice the back sides of the hood appear to be raised a little and no longer line up with the tops of the fenders. I haven't really looked at what I can do to correct that, I suspect it will require bending some sheetmetal.

I actually mentioned the tow hooks a couple of posts up but I installed them after our trip. I showed my wife the tow hooks so she would know not to back up too far. She informed me they were ugly, I should have consulted her beforehand and that they made the car less cute. By my reckoning that's a double win!

I replaced my windshield header interior plastic piece, the original owner had placed the boost retard control there with two screws. I wanted to move that out of the way, as it was an open invitation to anyone to move the knob with possible disastrous consequences. The installer had run the wiring for it behind one of the dash brackets so I had to cut the wires to get the control knob fed back inside the car. Soldered everything back together and used heat shrink tubing for a nice neat seal. I also replaced my faded visors and the tinted interior light lens with a Mitsu clear one sourced from a guy on the other forums.
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