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Scopecreep
Scopecreep New Reader
10/11/20 10:22 p.m.

Well, it seems there isn't enough Miata content on GRM wink so I thought I would start a thread to make up for shortage...

I've been quietly lurking around the GRM forum since I learned about it via the celebrated Unicorn of My Destruction thread. While I'm not nearly as good of a writer that many on GRM are, I decided to finally go ahead and take the plunge.

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise SuperDork
10/11/20 10:25 p.m.

Very nice. There are many of us here who have had 5+ miatas. 9 for me. Na/nb/NC. 

no ND for me. 

NOT A TA
NOT A TA SuperDork
10/11/20 10:56 p.m.

Nice line up! Diggin the yellow NA.

Scopecreep
Scopecreep New Reader
10/11/20 10:57 p.m.

So here's a little background - I've always been a car guy and have owned quite a few different "project" cars ranging from 60's American Muscle to 90's Toyota MR2's and Supra's. 

I've been buying cars that needed a little work cheap and maintaining/upgrading them myself for years and really enjoyed the satisfaction of working on and fixing things with my hands. I work in Information Technology Management so I don't get that satisfaction from my day job...

After failing to complete a couple of MR2 projects that had one wheel in the junkyard, I began looking for something other than Toyota MR2's to work on. I had come to the conclusion that I was too old to work on mid-engines cars. This was about the time that I discovered GRM and started reading  the various build threads and decided that I might try a Miata since the front engine/rear drive layout is the easiest to work on and I've always been a fan of convertibles.

 

Scopecreep
Scopecreep New Reader
10/11/20 11:05 p.m.

In reply to mr2s2000elise :

I suspect there will be more in my future - I have the "ooohhh - look at the new shiny thing" gene that I've learned to embrace with cheap used cars instead of expensive new cars like I did when I was younger. smiley

Scopecreep
Scopecreep New Reader
10/11/20 11:06 p.m.

In reply to NOT A TA :

Thanks - it's the latest addition with a backstory behind it (though it's story will probably be told first as it's the one that I'm currently working on).

Scopecreep
Scopecreep New Reader
10/11/20 11:28 p.m.

The first Miata was the 2008 Stormy Blue Mica PRHT that was acquired in Huntsville AL during the summer of 2017. I really liked the PRHT since I travel to the Corporate office periodically and stay in hotels when there. The PRHT would allow me to sleep at night not worrying about going out to the car in the morning and looking at a slashed convertible top.

The car was cheaper (by several thousand dollars) than any of the others I been looking at because it had 172K miles. I got it cheap enough that I could put some money into it if it was needed and still be feeling good about the purchase. The only planned work was to replace the torn pumpkin colored seats and the matching door cards. I'm not a fan of pumpkin anything with the exception of Jack-o-lanterns...

Scopecreep
Scopecreep New Reader
10/13/20 10:58 p.m.

Before I changed the seat skins, I wanted to drive it for a while to make sure there weren’t more pressing, mechanical needs that needed to be addressed. Luckily, it was really solid mechanically.

While I really was enjoying the NC1, I quickly realized (like everyone else in the world except for Mazda engineers) that the cup holder in the door was in exactly the wrong spot as it dug into the side of your leg and made driving extended periods of time uncomfortable.

I read conflicting reports on whether NC2 door panels could be installed but decided to get a pair and see what would be required to make them work in a NC1.

Short answer is they work perfectly well if you make 2 small modifications:

  • A 3 inch section of the plastic covering on the door has to be cut out to clear the recessed cup holder in the NC2 panel. A Dremel with a cut off wheel was my tool of choice (once I determined where to cut). Two small pieces of butyl mat under the “floating” plastic ends made sure I didn’t get any new rattles.
  • The original NC1 screw that goes in the bottom of the armrest is about an inch too short. I went to the fastener bin and grabbed a couple longer machine screws and they’ve held up fine for the past 3 years.

I’ve always liked light interiors in dark colored cars and thought Dove Grey would look nice against the dark blue metallic paint. I purchased some Ebay specials which were a little disappointing. The backs were fine but the bottom’s attachment points were completely different so I ended up creating new attachment points from metal zip ties. It works but the bottom isn’t as tight as I’d like and will probably try again if I have to take the seats out in the future.

That said, I’m really happy with the color combination...

Scopecreep
Scopecreep New Reader
10/13/20 11:35 p.m.

When I bought the car, the battery would only hold a charge for 4 -5 days and it seemed every time I got ready to go somewhere it was dead and I would have to jump it with a battery pack. I ended up getting a Battery Tender and a new battery which corrected the issue.

Since I was always under the hood jumping the original battery, I got tired of putting the hood prop rod up every time (yeah, I know, first world problems) so I began my love-hate relationship (love the products, hate the price tags) with specialty Miata vendors, in this case Good-Win Racing. I got the dual hood lift kit as well as the aluminum overflow tank as mine was pretty yellow.

Other than oil changes, I haven’t done anything else under the hood since those were installed. 

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise SuperDork
10/13/20 11:41 p.m.
Scopecreep said:

In reply to mr2s2000elise :

I suspect there will be more in my future - I have the "ooohhh - look at the new shiny thing" gene that I've learned to embrace with cheap used cars instead of expensive new cars like I did when I was younger. smiley

When I was younger my goal was ferrari or Lambo 

 

these days reality - barely a civic 

 

I had civics when I was younger 

still civic 

 

my life has been a failure 

Scopecreep
Scopecreep New Reader
10/16/20 10:37 p.m.

In reply to mr2s2000elise :

That's one way of looking at it  - when I was young I wanted a 911 and then when I was little older, the goal was a Shelby GT350.

Those dreams never happened but largely because learned knowledge and experience.

The 911 dream died when I shared my plan to buy one and ship it home when my tour in Germany ended (you could ship one to the states back then and not pay the import tariff) to a Warrant Office who had owned a 912 and he explained the "Porsche Tax" to me. I was always way to cheap to pay it so that was the end of that dream.

The GT350 dream went away when I drove my '68 Olds 442 convertible in Nashville traffic a few times. I realized it would have to be a garage queen if I bought one because I'd be sure to wreck it eventually with people cutting you off and then slamming on their brakes to get one car further ahead to before a stop light.

Based on what I learned over the years, Miata's work for me and probably will for as long as I am able to get in (and out) of one.

I just read your VTEC to VTEC thread and that's a pretty sweet Si - I suspect a younger mr2s2000elise would have liked itsmiley

 

Scopecreep
Scopecreep New Reader
10/16/20 10:48 p.m.

 

Fast forward to August 2018 when Scopecreepette and I decided to go to Miata’s at the Gap for the first time (Mrs. Scopecreep gets motion sickness) and really had a blast.

Prior to MATG, most of the miles put on the NC were cruising to get ice cream and similar outings; nothing too strenuous. After a few trips up and down the Tail of the Dragon and a couple of organized “runs”, it was clear the original suspension and mounts had definitely seen better days.

Shortly thereafter I resumed my relationship with Good-Win Racing and ended up replacing most everything under the car including:

Progress front and rear sway bars

Progress front and rear springs

Koni yellow adjustable struts (set ½ turn from full soft) w/ GWR Comfort bump stops

SuperPro differential mounts

RoadsterSport engine mounts

I also decided to get some new wheels and tires. One of the things I didn’t like about the NC’s is the fender to wheel relationship. The rounded fenders look empty to me with the standard 17x7 wheel so I decided to go with something wider and did some research while at MATG as there were several that had oversized wheels and tires to look at.

I ended up going with 17x9 Enkei RPF-1’s with Bridgestone Potenza RE 760’s upsized to 245/40/17. Good-Win Racing’s fitment notes say you need “more fender roll” for the 245’s but I had to roll the rears flat in order for them not to rub.

I used an Eastwood fender roller and a Porter Cable heat gun. I picked a 95 degree day in full sun and slowly rolled them flush keeping the edge around 130 - 140 degrees. Didn’t have any paint cracking - I went slow and used the sun to help keep the paint hot. Here’s side and rear pictures - I really like the look on the NC.

Scopecreep
Scopecreep New Reader
10/16/20 11:45 p.m.

Shortly after we got back from MATG, Scopecreepette left for her freshman year of college a few hours away making my wife and I empty-nesters. One unexpected result was how much free time I had (and how bored I got) when there is one less person in the house if it’s your child.

With all the extra time, I installed the NC suspension components in the post above in short order and then looked around for what I was going to do next. I was pondering doing a 2.5 engine swap since the engine had close to 175k miles by that time and I could erase about 125k miles fairly economically and get some extra low end torque as a kicker.

One Sunday night in October 2018, I was researching 2.5 swap articles and did a local Craigslist search for Miata’s and Miata parts and lo and behold there was a 2001 Miata SE with a bad engine for sale within 10 miles of my house. I emailed the seller (making sure to tell him how close I was) and went to bed.

First thing Monday morning, I had an email from the seller letting me know he would be there until noon. After a cup of coffee and a call to the boss (a Jeep guy) I went to see it. It was still on the car dolly so I could get a good look underneath (it has never seen salt) and after a quick walkaround determined it was an honest, tired 143k Miata SE. It had all its SE specific parts so we made a deal and he hauled it over to our house and dropped it in front of the garage.

Here was the new project before it got pushed into the garage...

Claff
Claff Reader
10/16/20 11:51 p.m.

We've gone through NA/NB/NC as well and currently have two NA6s and three NCs in the fleet. Eventually people will catch on to just how good NCs are and scoop all the cheap ones up. In the meantime, we're enjoying the heck out of them. For the time being there's not much interest in getting a ND.

2Girlsracing
2Girlsracing New Reader
10/17/20 3:56 a.m.

The answer is always miata for a track car so once i found out the Rx8 is a nc miata chassis i was sold for an ls2 swap

Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter)
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
10/17/20 7:45 a.m.

That's a awesome colors on the NC. I wish there was some cheap ones local. 

MrChaos
MrChaos SuperDork
10/17/20 9:05 a.m.

ive owned an NA 95M and a ND RF, if i get another miata it will be another RF or a NC club PRHT.  But i much prefered my ND to my NA.

Rodan
Rodan Dork
10/18/20 12:13 a.m.

This thread seems vaguely familiar... cheeky

If you leave two Miatas near each other overnight, they'll multiply...

We're down to three now (NA and two NBs); I definitely miss the NC3 PRHT from time to time.

Scopecreep
Scopecreep New Reader
10/18/20 11:06 p.m.

In reply to Claff :

Sounds like quite the fleet - One of the things I like about them is each series really is a different car.

The NA6's are almost go cart feeling. The NB2 drives quite a bit different with it's VVT engine and Sports brakes. The NC is different still with more interior room and the PHRT. We're enjoying them all right now.

Scopecreep
Scopecreep New Reader
10/18/20 11:10 p.m.

In reply to Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) :

Thanks, I lucked into the Blue one - I really like the color also and I gets lots of compliments when people see it for the first time. When freshly washed, it's got a lot of "Mica" in the paint that really looks good in the sun.

I thought the Gray would go well with the blue and wasn't disappointed when I got to see them installed.

Scopecreep
Scopecreep New Reader
10/18/20 11:16 p.m.

In reply to MrChaos :

I've never driven a ND RF but I think I'd prefer the full top down experience of the PRHT. I've had a couple of Supra with Targa tops which were all right but they didn't feel like a convertible to me.

The plus of the Targa top was the rear portion of the roof is basically a beefy roll bar - the RF's (IMO) have the downside of not being a true convertible but don't have the upside of helping in a rollover.

Scopecreep
Scopecreep New Reader
10/18/20 11:25 p.m.

In reply to Rodan :

Wow - I didn't realize you had a pack of Miatas. I've been following your NA track build thread which is really entertaining.

I'm not nearly as talented as you but I enjoy seeing the type of work folks like you do in your home garage. I sometimes think "I'll bet I can do something like that" and give it a shot - more often than not with positive results.

They all look really nice - thanks for adding the picture. 

Scopecreep
Scopecreep New Reader
10/19/20 12:13 a.m.

So I pushed it into the garage and started the biggest car project I’d ever attempted. I got it up in the air using my QuickJack and looked around underneath. No rust and the frame rails were perfect which was a welcome sight. I had hoped to see if the engine was really bad (Mazda dealership had told the PO that it had crank wobble) but everything that connected to the crankshaft was missing. After pricing used replacement parts, I decided it wasn’t worth the expense to confirm it’s condition and bought a 97K mile 2002 engine from LKQ.

I started disassembly while I waited for the freight shipment (took about a week) and went to Harbor Freight and purchased an engine hoist and stand - this was my first solo engine removal. I had assisted with a turbo swap on a 91 MR2 but the guy I bought it from did all the heavy lifting.

I was really happy with the engine with one exception - some idiot had drained the engine oil and had purposely put the drain plug in sideways and hit it with an impact wrench. The steel plug had reamed the aluminum out so bad I couldn’t tap it and had to throw it away.

I put it on the engine stand and started replacing everything since it would never be easier than it was while it was out of the car - new parts installed were:

Timing belt kit with tensioners, crankshaft, camshaft gaskets and water pump

New alternator and AC belts

New master and slave cylinders with long stainless steel line

Exedy clutch kit

Input and Output transmission seals

Rear main seal and carrier seal (oil pan gasket)

Motor mounts

OEM cooling and heater hose kits; Gates radiator hoses

Spark plugs and thermostat

Valve cover gasket

Scopecreep
Scopecreep New Reader
10/19/20 12:56 a.m.

 

I had worked on and off on disconnecting everything to remove the engine and transmission while waiting on parts to arrive but had put off the actual removal as long as I could.

However, I finally got everything disconnected and had no more excuses so I hooked up the engine hoist and started lifting it up. I had cranked the leveler all the way to the firewall side and it came up a little tail heavy but overall, I was surprised at how easily it cleared everything. I had recruited Mrs. Scopecreep to watch the clutch and brake lines running along the top of the firewall but that was it (that would NOT be the case with the installation).

I had to lower the QuickJack to the first locking location (there are 2) to get everything to clear but in fairly short order the engine and transmission were separated and sitting on a couple of small furniture dollies. I rolled the engine out of the way, cleaned up the transmission and put the transmission seals in.

I had to reorder the output shaft gasket as RockAuto had the descriptions reversed - I had ordered the 6 speed gasket which wouldn’t fit my 6 speed transmission. After a little research of part numbers, I ordered what RockAuto said was the five speed seal and it fit perfectly. I ended up paying for 2 day shipping because it was the last piece and I wanted to get done.

Once I mated the engine and transmission together and got the hoist connected, I started the installation process. I again recruited Mrs. Scopecreep to (in theory) observe the firewall to make sure I didn’t crush the lines going across the top. Everything went pretty well until I tried to get the engine mounts in the cradle holes. I had left the PPF installed on the differential and while it wasn’t a problem on the way out, it was keeping anything from lining up at all on the way back in. After about an hour, I ended up giving Mrs. Scopecreep a quick class on lowering and raising the engine so I could crawl underneath the car and wrestle with the transmission and PPF into place.

About an hour and a half later, after a bunch of raise, lower, forward, and back, everything just magically lined up and it was in. I think if I ever have to do it again, I’ll (at a minimum) remove the front bolt off the PPF on the differential and I might take it completely off.

After a few more days of connecting everything back up and adding some Ford Fluid XT-M5-QS transmission fluid, we were finally ready for this:

 

Rodan
Rodan Dork
10/19/20 8:30 a.m.
Scopecreep said:

 

About an hour and a half later, after a bunch of raise, lower, forward, and back, everything just magically lined up and it was in. I think if I ever have to do it again, I’ll (at a minimum) remove the front bolt off the PPF on the differential and I might take it completely off.

 

It's frustrating how you can wrestle with it for an hour and nothing works, and then suddenly it pops in. LOL  It does help to remove the PPF.

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