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Old 12-23-2016, 02:46 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default [NA] SoCal Love

I spent most of my life in NY and recently moved to LA!! I moved here to enjoy the canyons and the car scene. Maybe the women and job market too

Shiny things are too temporary for my budget, so this will be about functioning as a tool and resource for FUN! I have registered over 35 cars at one time or another. I deeply enjoy customizing and tinkering with things. I want to build a car that will be part of my stable for a long time. This one will be for the tracks and canyons.

1996 w/ a JDM engine/tranny w/ mazdaspeed flywheel, clutch, and diff.

Upgraded front and rear sway bars.
Racing Beat radiator frame brace.
Aluminum Radiator with one fan dead and broken mounting bracket

Brakes are weak. Handbrake doesn't work. Seat is beat. It’s got body damage all the way around but the engine purrs.





Brought it home and used the free used bottle of Fiji water as my temporary handbrake…


Exhaust is a hack job, leaks everywhere, but the solenoid works and the valve opens and bellows "Give this 4cyl a ticket!!", at least none of it rattles for now... When it's closed it sounds like it wants to be an Si... the owner explained that the exhaust tip came off a 2010 truck



Caliper has some weight reduction?


Megan EZ streets, not impressed, suspension is sluggish, stiff, and bouncy
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Last edited by rapinatore; 05-16-2017 at 04:57 PM.
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Old 12-23-2016, 03:10 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: SoCal Love

The coils look like Megan EZ-streets.
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Old 12-23-2016, 03:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: SoCal Love

Dude when you are up and ready, come hit the Malibu canyons with us on Sunday mornings, sun-up. Followed by Supercar Sunday (cars & coffee) at the Westfield promenade off Topanga Canyon Blvd near the 101. You will NOT be dissappointed. I moved here three years ago and it still isnt getting old...

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Old 12-24-2016, 05:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: SoCal Love

The one time a year LA gets rain and you have a beat to shit top.
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Old 12-24-2016, 05:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: SoCal Love

I've got a soft top for real cheap if you just need it to keep water out of the car. It has a a bunch of rips but it has a window at least.
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Old 12-24-2016, 08:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: SoCal Love

Quote:
Originally Posted by Norcommencal View Post
The coils look like Megan EZ-streets.
Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hav0c View Post
I've got a soft top for real cheap if you just need it to keep water out of the car. It has a a bunch of rips but it has a window at least.
I am pulling the top off for good and selling it with the defroster rear glass window, No tops needed!
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Old 12-26-2016, 02:41 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: SoCal Love

The intake piping had a hole worn through it from the radiator hose clamp screw head. Also the intake joint for the throttle body was broken and siliconed in place. Cleaned and JB welded the intake, patched the hole and turned the guilty clamp.





I love to be OCD but I keep telling myself this is a canyon car, not a club car
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Last edited by rapinatore; 05-15-2017 at 10:29 AM.
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Old 12-26-2016, 04:00 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: SoCal Love

Hard Dog is the only way to go for a sub $500 bar
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Old 01-06-2017, 09:21 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: SoCal Love

Cleaned up a few more odds and ends, removed the hood. Windshield washer reservoir was chopped up? who has an extra?... will happily make one if i find a clever container...

Here's my current big dilemma, i don't want to die if the car rolls off a cliff... Budget roll cage options?



Had to do some work at the school on the weekend so I used ‘preferred parking’
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Old 01-06-2017, 09:51 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: SoCal Love

Weight reduction! and a $12 ragtop!!!!
I removed the soggy rotten carpet, and softtop frame(with some shreds of canvas).


That heap of Shite in the foreground is the carpet, AC system, PS pump, and random previous owner trash.

All tucked in for the night

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Last edited by rapinatore; 05-15-2017 at 10:39 AM.
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Old 01-06-2017, 09:57 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: SoCal Love

Problem:


Found two Sparco replica? fiberglass seats for $110 with universal mounting brackets, previous owner says they were in an NB but won't fit in an NA.....

He was sorta correct? The mounting bracket holes didn't line up with the miata brackets. Sadly I do not have a fully equipped shop so a 12v dewalt and a dremel....

Lined up the holes and made my mark...






OEM sliders still work!




The shift knob is HORRID. Someone melted a dollar store screwdriver handle onto the shifter in order to thread it??? They also melted a push button into the top of the handle. It spins freely until the button wires get twisted… to be fixed!

More very soon! Going to the swap meet at 949 racing and meeting a craigslist seller there. Sunday at sunrise meeting some people to drive Topanga!!

I love SoCal so much...
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Last edited by rapinatore; 05-15-2017 at 10:41 AM.
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Old 01-07-2017, 02:23 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: SoCal Love

Dammit I completely forgot about the swap meet.
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Old 01-09-2017, 05:36 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: SoCal Love

Love the beater status. Let's get your brakes done and hit the canyons this weekend!

No kidding, I'd clean your interior as well as you can and then hit everything with bedliner and call it done.
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Old 01-09-2017, 10:17 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: SoCal Love

Quote:
Originally Posted by jumbosrule View Post
Love the beater status. Let's get your brakes done and hit the canyons this weekend!

No kidding, I'd clean your interior as well as you can and then hit everything with bedliner and call it done.
I was thinking primer gray hides dirt and dents the best, but I hadn't thought of bedliner!!!
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Old 01-10-2017, 09:02 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rapinatore View Post
I was thinking primer gray hides dirt and dents the best, but I hadn't thought of bedliner!!!
I was thinking just for the interior though. Got a buddy that did something similar this past weekend. Bedliner out of a rattle can - would be great for a stripped out car with no interior, especially when you have no top and the car stays outside.

Did you save your soft top? You can remove the frame, save the front bow and make a bikini top if you wanted.
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Old 01-10-2017, 06:30 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: SoCal Love

I've been thinking about the bikini top, I'd love to see a bikini top in person to see how it fits and looks on the car. I'm not sure it'll work so well with my style bar either... Still waiting for a used Harddog to pop up.... anybody?
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Old 01-11-2017, 09:37 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: SoCal Love

I wouldn't use bedliner personally. Looks really bad imo. Get some used carpet from someone who gutted their car for cheap and clean it real good.
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Old 01-12-2017, 11:53 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rapinatore View Post
JB welded the intake, patched a whole from the upper coolant hose clamp bolt rubbing. Also re-attached the side fitting, what's the purpose of that lower intake hose?
That's the inlet for your valve cover vent - from where your breather is currently installed.

Bedliner in an interior looks pretty good because of all the curves and contours - it hides the natural texture of the bedliner paint. Plus there are some noise dampening properties, it will seal bare metal, etc. Plus if you hate it, you can always find a used carpet to cover it up! Personally I've seen your interior... I'd say it would be a huge improvement.

A used Hard Dog should be around $300-400 depending on condition. Always bolt-in, I think. They also make door bars that use the same roll bar mounting points. DIY Roadster door bars also use the same mounting points so you don't have to drill new holes if the roll bar is already installed.

I've got a bikini top. I'll have Phee model it for you.
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Old 04-09-2017, 03:40 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: SoCal Love

Roll Bar? Bolt in Cage? orrrr





SPEC Miata chassis?!?!?! I paid $500 to have this delivered to my driveway...






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Last edited by rapinatore; 05-15-2017 at 10:42 AM.
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Old 04-09-2017, 03:52 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: SoCal Love

Rusty! but I can see the beauty and potential…








Only damage to the frame is the trunk passenger tail light framework, but it didn’t wrinkle the trunk or anything around it.



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Last edited by rapinatore; 05-15-2017 at 10:43 AM.
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Old 04-09-2017, 04:13 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Default Re: SoCal Love

My radiator hoses are collapsing after I turn off the car??? What would cause this? They are certainly dry rotted and each hose shows signs of being shortened.

Mystery purchase on Amazon.
Silicone 1.8L Miata Hoses

They are 9 of 10 quality but easily worth the $32 for all 3 hoses!

My Connecting Pipe is horribly rusted and needs replacement but it's holding seal after I wirebrushed it.




Replaced the thermostat, and brushed the thermo housing while I was in there. Unpacked some parts from the volvo (my daily) and snapped a picture of my new CA stable
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Last edited by rapinatore; 05-15-2017 at 10:45 AM.
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Old 05-15-2017, 11:07 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Default Re: SoCal Love

I've named the old miata "Waldir" as I found his name tag (not previous owner's name)under the battery?


The new miata is named “Spec”, took me a long time to come up with that name!


I went with Jumbosrule to a Cars&Coffee, despite hiding away from all the nicely modified cars people were coming over to see what car had no hood…

Belt wouldn’t stop squeaking, turns out my Alternator bracket was missing some parts!



Replaced the alternator bracket using the bracket that was on the free miata alternator I got with my $20 exhaust! Straight pipe from the cat back, muffler cut out but not done well because it bounces against my bumper, so logically I needed to remove my bumper.
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Old 05-15-2017, 11:14 AM   #23 (permalink)
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I’m determined to memorize Tuna Canyon! It makes my soul smile.



Got some Miata friend help! Jumbosrule with his immaculate car and relentless attention to detail! We replaced many a rotten hose with silicone. Clamps in the garbage because zip ties are lighter, and cleaner!

Most importantly we rebuilt my shifter!! It feels like she just started birth control…. I’m going to need a minute to enjoy this…




We also installed Stainless brake lines and some fresh StopTech fluid! Which is when we found out the previous owner LIED to me!! 1.6 brakes, he promised me they were 1.8, time to research brakes (or just chat with Jumbosrule, the brake guru)



Brake pads I bought new second hand on ClubRoadster!


Have I mentioned that I love SoCal?


I decided to drive to NoHo and visit George at Super Imports. George’s wife? Works the desk which is a 30ft trailer RV that is surrounded by 10+ modified miatas. Fair warning, his prices are in his head and he starts out 10% above market high price. He seems to have everything in stock all the time. I bought a full 1.8brake conversion for 180.

One front caliper was very weak. One rear caliper was weak. The other rear caliper was frozen. Went back to George and he let me look through his inventory (pile of brakes in a shopping cart) to replace the bad parts. The swapped front caliper was also weak so i bought new front calipers from RockAuto for $150 with a $75 core charge.


Just FYI this brake adventure has taken over a month and i've bled the brakes at least 4 times! and yet, after all that work, time, money I can see a BBK in my future...
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Old 05-15-2017, 11:16 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Did this awhile ago and forgot to post. Waldir came with an alarm and aftermarket electric door locks. Removed everything and installed my delicious Genuine Leather door pulls made by an exotic upholstery shop



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Old 05-15-2017, 11:17 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Default Re: SoCal Love

While doing the brakes it was very hard not to notice how old the suspension looks. It’s easy enough to refresh things, so why not?




My bushings are all at the end of their life and the car has lots of flex when pushed hard. The rear has an odd rare shift when the weight shifts. A friend suggested slipping alignment bolts as a possible cause.

So I ordered new alignment bolts from 949 Racing!



Changing the alignment bolts I realized my front sway bar end links are bent Lower ball joint boots are extremely damaged. Upper ball joint boots are also badly ripped. Tie rod ends look worn out and they are two different manufacturers….

$$$$$$$$
-949 Adjustable Sway Bar end links
-Baer Lower ball joints
-Moog upper ball joints
-Timken wheel bearings
-Miata type R tie rod ends



I decided to practice repacking hubs with my old ones first before tackling the new Timken.


Old and New


Wire wheel magic on the hardware, tedious but satisfying




Flat black Errryting!


Super fresh, but there’s a whisper in my ear for drift knuckles…
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Old 05-15-2017, 11:18 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Bought a press for $30, 3 ton press raw finish H frame


Going to Wire brush this frame shortly
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Old 05-16-2017, 02:38 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Manual Brakes!? Did a lot of research and this seems like my kind of mod, so hopefully I don’t die!!

The idea is that the Brake Booster exists to make braking easier and more comfortable. The brake booster both boosts the pressure from your foot to the brake cylinder. It also gives a cushion feel so bumps and spilled coffee don’t cause you to spike your brakes, wreck, and die.

My excitement is that with no ABS and high grip I want to have consistent predictable control over the brakes. Not only does the cushion reduce transparency but the booster runs off vacuum pressure. That means braking has some immeasurable effect on the engine and the pressure of the engine has a real and noticeable impact on the brake booster. This conversation normally comes up more in the realm of non-turbo cars receiving boost which adversely affects vacuum pressure.

Brake Booster Delete Yes there are many kits online, but who wants to spend money and not flex your brain?

Removing the brake booster is straightforward, however all the hardware has been pressed into the body of the booster. A trip to the hardware store and a helpful white haired man sorted that out quickly.


The important part is the mounting bracket. I tested mounting the brake cylinder to the firewall, but it starts to bend the firewall even as you tighten it.




The next issue is lining up the brake cylinder to the plunger hole link on the brake pedal. The trick is to mount the brake cylinder as high as possible (which i did not do on my first install). Then it is possible to drill a new hole in the brake pedal that allows the plunger to mount at a higher position. This creates a better angle for the lever action of the pedal making the pressure required to push the pedal slightly less. This Matters! the pedal will require a lot of force once the booster is gone.








Conclusion: It’s not comfortable. There is much travel before the brakes respond and to lock the brakes requires a foot and a half. The pedal feel is very consistent and has perfect feedback though! I am certainly not giving up yet. I have to remake the brackets so as to move the brake booster a bit higher and get better angle on the pedal. I’m also considering creating an extended plunger to be sure i’m hitting bottoming out, but that seems a common desire
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Old 05-16-2017, 03:09 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Started work on Spec!!!
Pulled the dashboard and started with the wire wheel and dremel. The dash bar is totally rusted, not welded to the cage, not bolted down, and never coming out unless cut in half. FML refinishing this is going to be tedious…







The cage had a cross member going from the center rear to the passenger right foot. It’s been cut out! I used the last of my baby dremel cut off wheels, might be time to buy an angle grinder…




Happy Mothers Day at Harbor Freight!! Free $3 item (flashlight, microfiber towels, etc) and another coupon 25% off, but in the tiny fine print you must have a coupon and it only applies to one item. Unless of course you use a digital coupon and go through the line 3 times! Microfiber towels for days! And a new angle grinder! The second one is borrowed from a friend to test it out, can’t beat a $20 angle grinder with a 1year warranty. Also, jackstands/pads to give Spec some respect and get him up off the rollers

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Old 05-16-2017, 03:10 PM   #29 (permalink)
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I finally got around to fixing the radiator! I’ve flushed my coolant system about 8 times now and I’d say after the 6th time I no longer found gobs of gunk and stuff in the fluid. Now it’s time to fix the bracket. Due to at least one front end collision the passenger radiator bracket was mangled! Forgot to get a proper ‘before’ picture, but below is the mounting bracket on the car which is extremely misplaced and still holding some radiator aluminum.


Unbolted the bracket from the side of the radiator (proper construction and got it mostly back to it’s original shape.



Rivets and flat stock close this deal! I gave it a nice slot to make installing and removal easier in the future. In comparison to the undamaged side. I found a bit of rubber from something in the trash to use as a vibration washer.

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Old 05-16-2017, 03:11 PM   #30 (permalink)
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After removing all the rust, the first coat of paint is on the Roll Cage, time to pull the wiring so I can do the floor and firewall! Pulled the steering column and pedals, might as well freshen them too!


Also time to use my Mother’s Day sale jack stands, and give Spec some legs


Wire wheel, vacuum
Wire wheel, wipe down, vacuum
Wire wheel, vacuum
Find the spray paint, put it back
Sand, wipe down,
Wire brush, vacuum
Sand, wipe down

On and on

It feels endless sometimes! Must celebrate in the small victories!


Last edited by rapinatore; 05-17-2017 at 02:02 PM.
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