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Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa UltimaDork
12/4/22 12:56 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Printed like a waterslide decal, or something else?  Cause the antique outboard folk have people doing waterslide decals for old outboards.  If there is a market for something closer to original I could ask for a couple vendors to talk to?

Scopecreep
Scopecreep New Reader
12/4/22 12:59 a.m.

Agreed, they were a different type of sticker. The lettering was under a clear plastic material.

Here's what mine looked like before I did the vinyl outline sticker. Once I got the original sticker off (was initially a rectangle) I could use the outline left on the bumper to
line up the new one. 

I suspect the new one will last for several years since it's not a daily driver and spends nights and weekends in the garage but isn't nearly as durable as the original.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/4/22 1:03 a.m.
Mr_Asa said:

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Printed like a waterslide decal, or something else?  Cause the antique outboard folk have people doing waterslide decals for old outboards.  If there is a market for something closer to original I could ask for a couple vendors to talk to?

Like just a printed sticker with a clear backing. Not rocket science to recreate, although it's beyond the scope of a hobby-level vinyl cutter. I could probably order a few hundred of identical stickers on Monday from the manufacturer that does the Flyin' Miata freebie stickers if I wanted to. But the market isn't huge, so leaving it to the Etsy hobbyists makes sense.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim MegaDork
12/4/22 12:15 p.m.

Great to see the progress on this car, although I can't say it's helping my desire for another NA.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
12/4/22 12:22 p.m.

In reply to BoxheadTim :

It is sunny, and 34F according to HAL here, and I just saw someone driving a red NA with the top down on I-71.

Also not helping

MyMiatas
MyMiatas Reader
12/4/22 1:33 p.m.

This is on a supercharged 1990 Miata. I thought it is fitting for it.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/4/22 6:29 p.m.

Here's an original in good shape on my first car. Yes, the one I bought 30 years ago.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/4/22 7:38 p.m.

Since I had to walk down to the shop to get the bumper sticker picture, I figured I might as well take 338 out on a completely and utterly pointless Sunday drive. Just as a sitrep check, you know. And it behaved beautifully, like it was 30 years younger. And I remembered the iPod this time, so I had tunes :)

When did driving get so serious? This is a car that wants to play. Not necessarily to lean forward over the wheel and rev the nuts off the engine at every opportunity, like the hotrodded classic Mini. No, it encourages you just just relax and pay attention to your apexes and to load up the contact patches nicely coming into a roundabout so you can feel those tall sidewalls flex into a little bit of rear slip angle and revmatch every downshift. You want to pay attention, to do the car justice as it talks back to you. Quite a contrast from all the big SUVs getting all aggro with each other and wandering all over the road.

I'm quite happy with the suspension as well, I'm working on characterizing just what it's doing so I can use it as a benchmark for our other stuff. It seems bottomless and really well damped on the primary ride, I think that's what I'm responding to. I'll have to drive it side by side with the high end race suspension on the V8 car.

Anyhow, to give the drive some slight justification I did stop by O'Reilly's to pick up a windshield chip repair kit. There's a small ding down low that I'm going to patch up. But really, I would have gone out anyhow. 

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa UltimaDork
12/4/22 8:18 p.m.

Those, somehow, are always the best drives.

I remember when I replaced the cylinder head on my Mustang after it had been sitting idle for almost a year.  Was done for a month or two, and I needed to run to base for something.  Fall was just coming into her own in Md and it was a nice day, leaves had been changing, temps were down in the low 70s.  Bombed down Ritchie Marlboro Rd, then cruised down Rte 4.

I got a weird look from the gate guard and when I thanked him and said "have a nice day" I realized my face hurt.  I'd been smiling so much and so hard that my cheeks hurt.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/10/22 12:05 a.m.

At some point in the recent past, 338 picked up a little bullseye on the windshield. Not wanting it to grow, I decided to try a repair kit.

OK, I am a believer. That's it just a little above the Tenax fastener you can see through the windshield. It's actually quite hard to photograph. Big thumbs up.

The resin needed to cure in the sunshine, so I had to take the temporary 997.2 to work. Not sure I enjoyed it any more than I would have enjoyed the Miata. It impressed other people more, but from behind the wheel it seemed a little remote.

I also spent some time very productively and came up with a way to mount a Soviet-era AVRM "tank clock" in the tombstone. It won't stay there, I'll keep it in a different car. But hey, why not. Kid's gotta have some fun.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/11/22 1:59 p.m.

While I have also been driving the car, I spent some more time on that goofy clock. I doubt it'll stay here but it makes me smile and I am sharing it here because otherwise my poor wife has to deal with me. This is my prettier, non-patina one.

BoulderG
BoulderG New Reader
12/11/22 3:44 p.m.

So, you have _multiple_ "Soviet-era AVRM tank clocks" to install?

Are you confessing or bragging?

Dare we ask how you got these? A souvenir from some Black Ops in your past? Do you have the rest of the tank? Will you put a turbo on it?

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/11/22 4:15 p.m.

It's more a statement of fact :) I have a weakness for interesting timepieces, particularly from the alternate reality that was the USSR.

I do have room for a tank, but alas, no tank to take up that room. 

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) UberDork
12/11/22 9:25 p.m.

24 hr clocks are cool.  My 24 hr watch needs a new battery.  

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/18/22 1:14 a.m.

I had the Targa Miata on the lift to pull off some aero parts used for a video last week, and then had to think about what was next. Well, I've got some time off for the next couple of weeks. And it's not exactly prime sports car season. So...

It's bushing time :)

Why yes, I think it is.

I could go nuts and clean up these arms in the bead blaster and repaint them etc, but I think I'm just doing to do the bushings at this point to minimize down time. The last thing I want to do with this car is turn it into a lift queen. So we continue putting shiny new Mazda OE bushings into crusty control arms. They're mostly just dirty, really. With a little bit of paint damage. I am going to chase threads on all the fasteners and maybe change a couple, like the old design alignment cams.

So much better.

I did find that the upper ball joint on the driver's side is a little on the loose side. I haven't heard any clunks or noises from it, but there's not as much resistance as there should be. I could press in a replacement one or swap out the whole upper control arm - I'll have to see if I have any spares. I think I gave my extras away, but maybe not. Hmm, checking inventory at work - we've got some coming in next week. So I'll swap them out later. I can do it on the car.

Since I've got the shocks out, I also decided to swap out the front bumpstops. It had been my plan for a while, but the car has been working really well so maybe it's not totally necessary. Still, I did the rears so I decided to do the fronts as well.

Check out the condition of these 33 year old bumpstop/boots! I suppose it's possible I changed them when I installed the Konis, but even that was in 1999.

One corner down, three to go :)

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
12/18/22 10:26 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:

It's more a statement of fact :) I have a weakness for interesting timepieces, particularly from the alternate reality that was the USSR.

I do have room for a tank, but alas, no tank to take up that room. 

What is that watch.  I am not a watch person and yet I need one of those.

24hr clocks are cool and that watch uses the same font as my Volvo's cluster.

Slippery
Slippery PowerDork
12/18/22 10:29 a.m.

Today I learned 24hr watches exist. 

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa UltimaDork
12/18/22 10:36 a.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:
Keith Tanner said:

It's more a statement of fact :) I have a weakness for interesting timepieces, particularly from the alternate reality that was the USSR.

I do have room for a tank, but alas, no tank to take up that room. 

What is that watch.  I am not a watch person and yet I need one of those.

24hr clocks are cool and that watch uses the same font as my Volvo's cluster.

Looks like the Aviator logo, which fits as Keith was saying that he likes the USSR stuff

The top right on this page looks like an updated version of Keith's
http://montre24.com/brand/Aviator/Aviatorwatch/

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/18/22 10:52 a.m.

Yeah, it's an Aviator. Not Soviet, it's modern but I didn't have a pic of the clocks without it :) I find 24 hour watches give a really interesting perspective on the passage of the day - the Aviator is the most clearly legible example I have. I wanted one of the black case ones but they're very rare. Mine's got a polished case which I prefer over the more common brushed ones.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/18/22 9:27 p.m.

Back to Miatas, I started to work on the right front corner and everything was covered in goo. Uhoh.

That's not good.

Shock still feels decent when I stroke it by hand (phrasing!) but obviously it's losing fluid. That's an advantage of twin tubes, they don't lose all their capability with a bit of fluid loss :) Koni offers a lifetime warranty on these to the original purchaser and I'm 95% sure I bought these for the car. So I shall start the warranty process. Good thing I bought them from a Koni dealer and not off eBay or from some budget reseller :)

I know where there's a stash of replacements so I can swap it out in the meantime!

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/20/22 12:19 a.m.

Progress! 

Since I have them all out, I'm updating the alignment cams to the newer design that as an added bonus is less crusty. 338 is in pretty good shape for a 33 year old car, but it's still 33 years old :) Of course, I had about a set and a half of these sitting in a box that was my spares for the Targa Newfoundland in 2011. I probably can steal them at this point.

Other fasteners got an Evaporust bath just to clean them up, and a few threads got chased.

A few others got the easy update - the wall o' bolts bins at FM, parts that were taken off dozens of Southwest salvage cars. This is only a small part of it, all organized and labeled and so much fun to just browse through. I will note that I didn't have to label any of the parts I took off, I know what all these fasteners look like. NA suspension is deep in my comfort zone.

Hmm, shocks. No, Keith, focus. Just grab the new Koni.

I did decide to upgrade the end links. The stock NA links (on left) have a rubber bushing at both ends, and as you can see mine are well expired. Besides, they don't deal well with misalignment if you have adjustable sway bars. The NB ones (beside the stock NA part) have a superior ball joint design but they're not compatible with NA lower control arms. The classic rod end style turns into a rattling nightmare in fairly short order (I have quite a collection of these). Racing Beat ones had a nice urethane design but they can lose their bushing, as this one did. The one on the bottom is a unique design sold by a certain Miata shop after I suggested we could build a hybid using off-the-shelf parts from our existing end links - rubber bushing for the NA control arm and a ball joint for the sway bar.

Finally, all 22 bushings were finished this afternoon. I did them all with this ball joint service tool and cranked them all by hand, which gets a bit tiring but gives better control than hammering away with an impact. The last two were done on the car because it's easier than wrestling with the halfshaft. And of course, the last bushing was the one that gave me the most trouble. But I won.

Borrowed the hub stands from work because it makes it so much easier to torque everything up and do an alignment. Decided to save that particular treat for tomorrow :) The goal here was to make sure the car didn't end up spending weeks on the lift, and I think I'll pull that off.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/20/22 11:27 p.m.

Alignment did not go as smoothly as it should have. I found the adjustment range to have a lot of negative camber, which is interesting. I also found that both tie rods had the lock nut frozen in place. I managed to get one free on the car with a certain amount of heat and PB Blaster and a burly air-powered impact gun, but the other one needed to come off the car. And I found something interesting - that's the one from 338 on the bottom. It has a supplementary boot for the ball joint, which I've never seen before. 

In the rear, I couldn't get less than about 2 degrees of negative camber which I can't explain. After encountering and overcoming various obstacles, I decided the best choice was to get the pros to help. It's going to my friendly local alignment shop tomorrow morning. When it comes back, I think I might put it back on the hub stands just to see if my measurements match. I am assuming I'm the problem. It's been a long time since I aligned a car from absolute zero.

obsolete
obsolete HalfDork
12/21/22 1:18 a.m.

That's a cute little inner tie rod boot. I've never seen one of those either. Seems like a bit of belt-and-suspenders overkill that some engineer managed to get into production, which I admire.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/21/22 1:53 a.m.

I don't think they stayed in production long, I've never seen one before. I've got two other 1990s, maybe I'll sneak one onto the lift and take a peek under the primary boot.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/22/22 1:37 a.m.

Public service announcement: if your car feels old and rattly, change the bushings! The difference in apparent chassis rigidity is enormous. Where a bump used to occasionally shudder through the structure, it doesn't any more. The car feels really solid. It was a lot of work  and Mazda OE bushings aren't cheap but holy cow was it worthwhile.

The car has always felt a bit loose. I bolted on a set of FM frame rails years ago in an attempt to help it, but it always seemed wobblier than it should be given my experience with other NAs. Obviously, years ago I decided the bushings were the most likely culprit and even bought (most of?) a set. But given the level of effort multiplied by the fact that I'd be working two thousand miles away from my tools, I never did it. I wish I had now so that Dad could have felt the car the way it does now.

So, big win there. 

In the meantime, I've added a part to make things a bit easier in our wireless world. The car has an AM/FM/cassette stereo. There was an optional CD player but most of those (including my own) have succumed to time and my days of carrying around four big books of CDs have ended. I could wire in an AUX input into the stereo like I did back in the day or even use a tape adapter, but my phone doesn't even have a headphone jack anymore. So I bought a small box that is a Bluetooth receiver and an FM transmitter. Not exactly the latest in audiophile tech, but it works well enough and it doesn't sound like a brain dead FM deejay yammering on. Well worth $20.

I have a few more plans for the car. Two are maintenance related, one is...well, we'll get to that. 

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