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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
--tl;dr : Life changed. Bought a Miata. It sucked. Never drive it. Life changed again. Making the Miata drivable instead of selling it.

Hi. My name is Brian, and I have a confession. I hate my Miata. No, I don't hate Miatas. This is my second one. I loved the first one. I just hate this one. I bought it around June 2014 as my "I'm getting divorced and I'm buying something the ex didn't want me to spend money on" gift to myself. I've only put around 300 miles on it since.



The car reeked of exhaust fumes when I drove it, so I did the shifter rebuild. Some of the interior bits like the window winders, glove box latch, and other little things were broken, so I fixed those. On the way home from registering it, I discovered first hand what a CAS o-ring leak can do to coolant hoses. So I fixed that. But the car still gave me a sore throat when I drove it. The slammed raceland / xxr combo made it unbearable to drive. So I stopped driving it.

Why am I starting a build thread?

Fast forward to now. Remarried (yay!). Our first child is on the way (hell yeah!). Decision time: Either keep the car and commit to making it enjoyable, or sell it and just be done with Miatas forever.

I decided on the former.

My immediate goals for this project are to just make it as fun to drive as my first Miata, which was a bone stock 91. I'll be installing a stock suspension and catching up on a long list of maintenance items that need to be addressed. At the same time, I'll hopefully be able to squeeze some interior upgrades into my budget.

After that, I'll leave my own footprints on a well worn path. Wheels that are not craptastic, a decent street suspension setup, and TBD power enhancements. I'm not shooting for epic, but through a mixture of DIY projects and products offered by many of the forum sponsors, Finn will be a well-executed, respectable little roadster when I'm done.
 

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It's a medical thing.
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Either keep the car and commit to making it enjoyable, or sell it and just be done with Miatas forever.

I decided on the latter.

My immediate goals for this project are to just make it as fun to drive as my first Miata, which was a bone stock 91.
So... You decided upon the former, and not the latter.
 

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winlowe, humming and I say welcome to CR
 

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Welcome, I think most of us can agree that we also hate our miata's at times too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm sure you'll catch the bug for your current ride once you swap those ridiculous coilovers lol
Were the new shocks you got the nicer OEM Bilsteins?
Thanks for the encouragement. Your car looks amazing, btw.

Right now, I'm just trying to get it functional before my girl is born in April. I picked up a full set of used assemblies from treasure coast miata for almost nothing. Yeah, they're probably well past their prime, but I'll take it just to get the car back to something a little more reasonable for now. I'm not a complete noob, but my to-do list is pretty daunting for someone who doesn't have a ton of experience working on cars. It's mostly learn-as-you-go, in other word very, very slow. I'm halfway through the suspension replacement, and next is ball joint replacement, tie rods, clutch hydraulics overhaul, new catalytic converter and catback.

Then I think I can start to address the leaks. My god. The leaks.


The Finn Lean.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I got the racelands off and was 3/4 done last week before it turned too damn cold to keep working. I also decided that the rust I'm seeing may need a little more attention. I took an upper control arm completely out to get a better look...






After thinking it over a few days, I've decided to clean up this one control arm to see just how much metal is gone. Unless it looks too far gone, I'm going to replace the boot, button everything up, and plan on tackling the arms and the subframe this fall...either replacing or restoring depending on how bad they look. I'll probably go all in and upgrade my suspension, bushings, etc. in one go of it.

In the mean time, this came in the mail from Planet Miata:



I know for sure that the clutch slave cylinder has gone bad, and not knowing how well the car was treated in the past made me decide to do a full overhaul.

We're getting some warmer weather starting next week, so I'll get back on it then unless I get tired of waiting. :smile:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It's been one month since my last update. I've spent more time putting together nursery furniture than working on my car (as is the good and right thing to do). However, I have made some progress.

Suspension: We're back to a stock set up. That project is complete. While I had the UCA off, I knocked some of the rust off. It's not pretty, but it's not as bad as I feared. I also replaced the UCA ball joint boot on that control arm, but I found more that were torn. They'll need to be fixed soon. The rust will be properly addressed a little less soon.

Clutch Hydraulics: Replaced the master cylinder, slave cylinder, and installed a steel braided line. My 35-week pregnant wife graciously assisted with the bleeding the line.

Next Up:
  • Tranny fluid
  • Differential fluid
  • Radiator flush
  • Squeaky belts
  • Why does my car stink? - Seriously, the fumes are bad enough to cause a sore throat.
  • Where is all that fluid coming from? - There have been two known leaks with this car - the CAS O-ring and the slave cylinder. The CAS leak was bad enough for long enough that it killed the heater hoses. Now that that's fixed, I don't seem to be losing any oil. I have no idea how many times the PO refilled the clutch fluid reservoir, but I had to twice. That theoretically could account for all of the gunk under the car. Let's all cross some fingers and hope that this issue is resolved...

Yeah, not the most exciting update, but all necessary work. During this time, I did purchase one upgrade that will be installed shortly along with a Momo hub and Project-G airbag defeat:

 

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Following ! Hopefully I'll see you around, and good look on the baby girl! Just brought my daughter home today!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hi CR!

This weekend I installed Prototipo, changed the differential fluid, and unclogged the differential breather. I was a bit skeptical of the previous owner's maintenance claims, but the diff fluid was clean enough that I'm a little less doubtful now.


The weather was great this weekend, so I decided to take Finn out for a drive. The stock suspension with unknown mileage feels so much better than the racelands, and I can get out of the driveway without scraping. One day I will go with an aftermarket setup, but for now I'm happy with what I have.

The leak in the front is gone now that the clutch slave cylinder has been replaced. The rear leak may be gone now that the breather can do its job.

So many issues to address:
  • Alignment is off, no surprise, but rear eccentrics look like a solid piece of rust.
  • Scraping sound - possibly a caliper needs to be adjusted.
  • Cat won't make it through another emissions test. Separating it from the down pipe is going to be a challenge, so I might go with new headers.
  • Muffler rattles due to broken hanger arm. I'll try a temporary fix before replacing it.
  • SO MUCH subframe rust. The rear is much worse than the front. I don't know whether I should fix the remaining torn ball joint boots, or save myself the time and money because I'll have to tear it all apart to get rid of the rust anyway. Fortunately, there's very little (visible, at least) rust on the body.
 

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It's refreshing to see that someone swapped in stock suspension in place of Ricelands. I'm sure it's a much better ride now that you've done so.

Keep chipping away at your list and little by little your car will be a nice example.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So much has happened since my last update, just mostly not with Finn.

An old Air Force buddy stopped by to help me work on the car. Although, he's a professional mechanic with professional equipment, so mostly I helped him work on my car. The inner tie rods turned out to be fine, so we replaced the ends, failed to locally source some ball joints, then called it a day.

Ordered: used UCAs with good ball joints, new lower ball joints, new rear wheel bearings. Once these are all in, phase one of this project will be complete.

Then a few things happened.

On March 31st our new roommate decided to move in a few days early (happiest, proudest day of my life):


Two days after coming home from the hospital, exhausted and ecstatic, our sewer line backed up and flooded the basement. Everything that wasn't ruined got moved to the garage:



So now I have no space to work..not that I have the time to work on a car with a newborn in the house. On the upside, I can slowly accumulate the parts I still need so that I can make repairs in one fell swoop rather than piece by piece as I have been.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
It's been a long while since my last update. A new born, a graduate program, and a full time job take a lot of time. Who knew?! It's such a strange feeling to know that I'm forever done with academia now that my MBA is over.

Keeping in line with my original plan to focus mostly on the maintenance issues while having some fun with the interior, here's what's new with Finn:

I installed a quick release, and I like the steering wheel position much better. I also finished off the prototipo with a revlimiter model 36 horn button. I love how much more cohesive that whole area looks now with the horn button. My overall plan for the interior is based on the Model 36 logo.





\

Maintenance items: Replaced rear wheel bearings. Fixed the leaking axle.

I also started cutting out the rocker panel rust with a dremel. Gave up on that miserable attempt. Bought some higher powered equipment and plan on finishing that project after Christmas.

As I was typing this up, I realized that this is one of the more pointless build thread on CR. I'm working on a couple of cool ideas, but I might not post any updates until those are sorted out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Nice work fine, steering wheel looks fantastic! :icon_cheers: There is no such thing as a pointless build, imo. :)
Thanks, Chad! I love the model 36 logo. It just fits what I want to do with Finn perfectly.

Slowly but surely is what I keep telling myself on this project. It's more slowly than surely though.


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