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Discussion Starter #23
Rollbar is supposed to arrive today, for some reason I have a suspicion I might not be working late tonight.

Also ordered exhaust + cat off the nice people at Flying Miata so I should be able to fit the full exhaust (Maxim Works header, high-flow cat and 2.25" exhaust) before I get to Laguna Seca.

Last piece of the current puzzle is wheels and tires, I have until the end of the week to make up my mind on those.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
When I came home tonight there was a big box waiting for me in the garage. Let the unpacking begin:



Mostly unpacked:



First impressions are very, very good. It was well packed, the welds looks nicer than on the other bar and I really appreciated the little details like the spreader plates also being powdercoated. Not to mention that it feels really solid, too. Plus, decent instructions, too, although after trying to fit the other bar I probably would have been able to work out all by myself how to fit this one :).

Roll on the weekend!
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Well, the build thread got a bit neglected while I was trying to get her done in time for Miatas at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Time to bring the build thread up to date, although there aren't that many pictures due to lack of time.

First, I test-fitted the rollbar so I could determine if I needed to cut the parcel shelf further or not compared to the EGR rollbar. The answer was, unsurprisingly, yes. Also, in the spirit of "doing things the right way" - don't do what I did and look at the side striker plate for the hardtop, think "I really need to remove those before I trial-fit the rollbar" and then forget to do so. The scratches in the powder coating are rather visible :(. Anyway, looking good:





A few more holes in the car later and we have a bad picture of the rollbar bolted to the car:

<img src="http://mail.unix-consult.com/car/miata-build-27.jpg" />

Everything fit well, the fitting instructions that Moti includes are good and include all the necessary detail and the whole thing went together rather well, keeping in mind that this was only my second attempt at fitting a rollbar.

As with pretty much all rollbars, the footplate on the passenger side and the top bolt that holds the ECU attempt to occupy the same space. I had already remove the bolt, so I eyeballed the ECU mount, "adjusted" it with my Dremel (one tool that is proving invaluable) and it everything went together as it was supposed to be:





The new radio surround also needed a bit of tweaking so the tombstone would fit, which required a little more Dremeling:





I specifically picked a "digital media receiver" over a CD receiver so I could mount it low without the center console interfering with the faceplate. Plus, I don't carry CDs in the car anyway - I mean, where would you put them in a Miata?

At this point, things were getting really rushed, so no photos. Not to mention that pretty much all the cool parts like the new exhaust and header, Arc intake etc are still on the shelf.

My local SCCA favourite tire/alignment/universal fix-it shop fitted the tires to the new rims and then had to do a manual alignment as their alignment rig was damaged and the parts didn't make it in time. Given the restrictions they did a pretty good job at the very last minute but between that problem and the invariable fatigue from late night wrenching, we decided to skip Saturday and just go down for Sunday. We did make it to the track though - after losing a balance weight of one of the rear wheels somewhere on I-80, which led to a bad case of "Miata shimmy". Either way, we enjoyed the trip, as I hope the car did, too. Definitely trying to be back next year:



Actually it turned out that maybe it didn't enjoy the trip that much or didn't want to go to this weekend's PDX session, because as I removed the exhaust to put the new shiny one on, I was greeted by this sight:



Should be an easy repair, but the rear hub on that side (driver's side) was damaged by the bent upper A-arm that I got the car with. As the whole thing has to come apart anyway I figured I'll just find a good used hub and change it out at the same time.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
As usual, the build has stalled for a while with the car on axle stands. Taking off the exhaust itself was easy - two cheers for a car that's lived in desert climates for most of its life - but the manifold required some serious soaking and the purchase of bigger, badder tools (a bunch of 1/2 sockets):



Soaking for a while, at least the O2 sensor popped out without any issues:



As long as you get all the bolts undone and don't forget one like I did, the whole header comes out in one piece after you remove the O2 sensor and leaves you with this:



Quick question - is it normal for the header gasket to "delaminate" like this or do I need to go buy a new one?
 

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There is two parts to the header gasket; one is a thin gasket, the other is a thick gasket made out of 3 thin gaskets tacked together in one spot. So yes, yours is normal
 

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Discussion Starter #30
Some progress again, finally.

I've had to remove the EGR tube and block off the valve as the Maxim header doesn't have a connector for the EGR (IIRC the JDM models don't have EGR). It's trial fitted and looks good in the engine bay, but I think I need some sort of header wrap or the TDR exhaust blanket for it. Removing the EGR tube was fun, but I eventually figured out that it's much easier to access it from underneath the car.

I had a little time on my hands to go and finally work on the problem with the driveshaft. As suspected, the cap over the CV joint had popped out, resulting in this:




Not sure how this happened, though - it's not running super low suspension or anything like that. Anyway, stuff some fresh grease in there (yeah, I know, I should've taken out the CV joint, cleaned and repacked it), then slap the cap back on.





Oh, and bolt it all back together, which took no time at all.

Next job, take the exhaust hangers that I put on the car back off, fit them to the new shiny exhaust first and then try to mount them back onto the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
TIme to hang the shiny new exhaust, once I had managed to get the new polyurethane exhaust hangers off the car (they have to go on the exhaust first, at least with this particular exhaust).

With the right tool, not a problem:



Once the shiny exhaust was fitted correctly I tried to put the cat in to connect the shiny aftermarket header with the shiny new exhaust. "Tried" being the operative word here:



I guess the NA USDM header and the NA JDM header aren't only of different lengths, the flanges aren't identical either. So if I want to keep the Maxim Works, I'll have to find someone who can modify the cat with a new flange as I don't want to have the header modified, or I'll have to find a replacement header. Of course unless I put the old header back on the car isn't drivable, which makes the cat modification just ever so slightly more difficult.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
Today it was time to take a couple of steps forward, and a step back.

I bumped up the rear ride height a little as I suspect that the mishap with the drive shaft resulted from the suspension almost bottoming out on the way to Laguna Seca - it certainly sounded like a couple of metal parts met courtesy of the famed Californian potholes, and those were parts that shouldn't have met. In an attempt to alleviate this problem, I moved the spring platform up another 1/4".

Rear end buttoned up again, it was time to go from this:



Back to this:




I'm getting pretty good at removing and refitting the EGR tube, but I can't say that it's much fun. I've got fairly small hands and thin arms so I can embrace the gearbox and get both hands around to the EGR tube but is this a pain in the proverbial or what?

Oh, and side by side it's fairly obvious that the Maxim Works header is a bit longer than the USDM stock one:




Sorry for the crappy cell pics, I forgot to grab the real camera (and I took the wrong cellphone, too...).
 

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Great info on the header..!

Is the header for 1.8 or 1.6? Maybe the size difference/fitment issue is due to 1.8s having a longer cat?
 

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Or $40 of welding at any mom and pop exhaust shop.
 

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Discussion Starter #36
Great info on the header..!

Is the header for 1.8 or 1.6? Maybe the size difference/fitment issue is due to 1.8s having a longer cat?
This is a 1.8 header - IIRC the 1.6 will not fit a 1.8 head (different port spacing).

There are at least two different sizes of cats available for the non-US 1.8s and given that it's a JDM-only header, it's made to fit the JDM exhausts and not the US ones.

You are going to need either a 1.6L cat or test pipe.
Actually I think it's a little more complex than that.

Or $40 of welding at any mom and pop exhaust shop.
That, and a new flange and gasket for the header side of the cat, because the flange is also a different size and orientation.
 

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Discussion Starter #39
Bringing the thread up to date.

Now, with shiny, throaty exhaust:



Also got the not-so-shiny intake fitted, at some point I need to take the time to polish it properly:



Next, it was time to put in the recently cleaned NB injectors. First, time to pull off the fuel rail, drop the plastic spacers down the side of the engine three times with mucho swearing before I could put the clean injectors in.





All buttoned up, ready to roll:



On the celebratory test drive following all this work, I noticed that the inertia belts didn't lock, so it wasn't exactly very safe to drive as is.

A set of FIA harnesses that at least look vaguely street legal are on the way, should be here tomorrow so I should be finally halfway safe in the car again and be able to take it on the track on Saturday, only four months after it was on the track the last time...
 
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