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Discussion Starter #42 (Edited)
Not much happened since the last update. I went to the last local PDX of the season:


Car ran OK, I had fun and everything is good again with the world. It's now time to put the winter wheels and the hardtop back on, as soon as I get some Beatrush H/T latches.

After driven back from work one night I decided that it was past time to do something about the fireflies that are attempting to illuminate the road in front of the car. Fortunately, at that point someone one another forum posted about a special offer from Busdepot on their H4 lights, so tonight I went from this:



To this:



Sorry about the crappy cellphone pics, someone forgot to charge their DSLR...
 

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Discussion Starter #45
Finally, some more updates. Haven't had that much time to play with this car because I'd been traveling and also because other things got in the way.

Anyway, it's winter so it's hardtop time. When I ordered the rollbar, Moti warned me that the OEM hardtop side latches were unlikely to fit and that I needed smaller ones like the Beatrush latches. Project-G kindly supplied them so a few weeks ago, it was time to play with them:





Time to pull out the OEM latches and bolt the shiny ones on:





After taking off the OEM hardtop latches and putting the little hook on, we're all done and the hardtop holds on to the car securely once more:



The latches wouldn't unlatch with both the lock washer and the larger washer in place so I pulled the lock washer from the front bolts. After all, that's what Loctite is for. Job done, the latches now engage and disengage beautifully. I do however need to put something on the rollbar to protect the power coating as the exposed bolt heads already scratched the finish. That, or I'll get a couple of button head allen screws to hold the hook plate in.
 

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Discussion Starter #46
The one big issue I need to solve was the seating position. Even with the low seats and Bride Low Max rails in the car, I couldn't really get comfortable in the car - knee angle was wrong, I kept banging various extremities against parts of the car and I couldn't fit into the car with a helmet on if I didn't take the seat cushions out. Given that a lot of the tracks around here are 4+ hour drives away, it didn't particularly make me want to use the car on anything but the local track.

For various reasons I didn't want to modifiy the attachement points of the seat rails to the car, so anything I came up with needed to fit the original attachement points. Some research suggested that the Garage Star seat rail would probably be my best chance to get the seat lower. I've bought some smaller parts from Ken before and was very happy with the quality, so I ordered one of his seat rails.

Off came the Bride slider:



Then it was time to bolt on the Garage Star seat mount and figure out the correct position of the seat on the mount.



My first attempt was a dismal failure, I couldn't get the seat back far enough to be any more comfortable. I left it alone for a few days, but the fact that I could get the seat back further on the slider kept bugging me, so I eventually went back to investigate more.

Turned out that one of the captive nuts for the rear mount had a messed up thread. I was tightening down the the bolts by hand, but I couldn't get the bolt far enough in without tools, so the seat would hit the bolt. After this "Doh" moment I ran a tap through the thread. Of course that fixed the problem. Oh, well, I bought the big HF tap & die set for this car after all...



With that out of the way I finally managed to get the seat back and low enough on the mounts. Phew.

I love the quality of the seat mount, the only detail I wasn't 100% happy with was that the harness would potentially rub on the sharp-ish edge of the mount when I had the seat in the correct position.



A bit of rummaging around the garage yielded a piece of fairly thick rubber, so I improvised a protector for the lap belts. Problem solved.



Of course they're on both sides of the seat...

With the seat finally in, things are looking much better now:





I can finally sit in the car with a helmet on my bonce and the seat cushion in place without banging my head against the hardtop. I also have more clearance between seat and steering wheel despite tilting the seat back a little. A slightly smaller steering wheel is still in order, though, but at least I finally sorted out the seating position.
 

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Discussion Starter #47
I would like to point out that I did *not* overnight these parts from Japan. Regular mail was fast enough, and now I should be able to fit a proper steering wheel unless I messed up the back of the envelope calculation.

 

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Discussion Starter #48
Still working on the seating position :(, I've moved it around but ended going back to the original position, so I still have to remove the seat cushion when wearing a helmet.

It was pointed out to me that a Recaro Profi SPG would possibly be a better fitting seat compared the Bride for my requirements, so I'm debating if I'm coughing up the money it'll or wait until I know if some of the cars I'm currently pursuing work out on not. Anyway, while I'm trying to figure out that and the rest of my life :D, it was time to work on the Miata a bit more.

Time to take off this wonderful steering wheel:



Explosive device removed :):



Right, time to decide if I just use a vise grip to drive the car or not:



Decided having a steering wheel would work better, so I put on the Daikei boss. Fortunately it came with enough pictures so I didn't have to get our Japanese speaker in the office translate the destructions for me:



The big advantage of this boss over the original Momo boss one is that it "just bolts on" - if you check the web for mounting instructions on the MOMO one, pretty much everybody complains that it has to be modified to fit the NA. This one just fits.

As I've always wanted a car with a Momo Prototipo and don't have a Porsche to bolt it into, it would've been rude not to mount it to the Miata instead. It's a little smaller but not so small I can't see the instruments. Makes the whole cabin feel like a nicer place, too. With the 40mm spacer on the Daikei, it's pretty much perfectly positioned.



While I was tearing apart the interior I figured it was time to finally mount - or at least mock up - the new gauges. So, time to take our the center console and the tombstone:



Gauges look OK, fortunately the two oversized gauges fit well and there is still space for a regular sized gauge in the center:



Looks pretty decent, if I may say so myself:

 

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I like your bronze color wheels on your blue Miata. Can you please tell me what kind are they and the tire size? Where can I buy them at?
 

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Discussion Starter #53
Well, I can now confirm that you can't make a 1.8L Maxim Works header fit a USDM Miata by using a 1.6L test pipe or cat, unless the test pipe I have is completely wonky.

Short (err?) version - the 1.6 one is about 10mm too short and the flanges are at the wrong angle, the 1.8 cat is about 10-15mm too long (minimum) and has the flanges at the wrong angle, too. So I now better find a shop in town I can tow the car to ('cos I'm not taking that damn header off again) that can take the cat and reweld the flanges into the correct position. Problem is that most exhaust shops in town aren't necessarily set up to weld stainless steel and/or insist welding the whole exhaust together, and I'm not having anybody weld anything to a $1k+ header.

On hopefully better news, there should be a really big parcel showing up tomorrow with a couple of Recaro Profi SPGs in there - those seats should go further back than the Brides I have (on the same mounts) and they'll either fix my seat position problem or I've just blown a large chunk of my car buying money on new living room furniture.
 

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Discussion Starter #55
I'm about 5'11". I can fit in the car wearing a helmet if I either take the seat cushion out or tilt the seat back a little, but the latter messes with my iffy knee...

The quality of the "Brides" isn't bad for a fake seat and they're pretty comfortable. I've driven from here to Laguna Seca in them and still felt human when I arrived at the other end. Obviously the finish isn't as nice as with the real ones and the fabric isn't as durable, but I think they're pretty good value for money.

The main reason for taking them out apart from me not being able to move them back far enough is that I wanted a FIA approved seat anyway and it was a toss up between the Recaros and a set of real Brides.
 
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