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Discussion Starter #1
Look at that stockitude. Stockness. Stockitocity.


Most folks know about Bucky, my daily driver. I still get the random "you have an NB?!?!" or "did you put an NB nose on Sharka" reply when Bucky creeps into a Sharka photo, but it doesn't happen too often anymore. Still, Bucky needed a build thread. I've been spending more time driving the little guy and more weekends tweaking things.

So. Here's Bucky, the 2001 NB2 that's been parked next to Sharka since 2003.


Such stock. Much OEM. wow.



Many unfinished garage. Much ride height. Wow.



Bucky was my wife's car for eight years. I bought Sharka in the summer of 2000 and Sarah bought (leased) an MK4 Jetta about the same time. That Jetta got tired and awful after less than three years and we were shopping for something new and thankful that the lease was about to run out. I loved my Sharka, but I didn’t try to nudge Sarah toward a Miata. I wanted her to have any sort of car she wanted. Anything we could afford. We looked at WRXs, Lancer Evolutions, S2000s, Civics, even Mustangs. I didn't care. I wanted her to have a car she'd enjoy.

To cut a long story short, we spotted a sad little green NB at one of those inventory clearance parking lot sales. Sarah drove it and was smitten. The car was ours that following weekend and we became a two-Miata family.


Much stripes. So matchy.



For the following eight years, I tried to keep my hands off Bucky. He was Sarah’s car and I wanted things to be that way. I didn’t wanna take over and force her to buy mods she didn’t really want or wouldn’t really like. I wanted her to choose everything and only lend assistance when requested.

It was really damn hard. I LOVE cars. I love modifying them. But this was my wife’s car. I kept my distance.

Why the matching stripes? These cars are INVISIBLE. Emerald Green Mica is slightly more invisible than Montego Blue Mica. I originally striped Sharka to cover up some paint damage on his nose (true story). Bucky got stripes to aid in visibility.

Wow.


A note about "he." Bucky, like Sharka, is a boy car. Why? Why must a gender be assigned to an object? Because the car does not at all feel feminine. I've had girl cars. Bucky does not feel like a girl. Bucky likes to get yucky and play in the mud. Bucky rolls day in and day out. Bucky is not a drama queen. Bucky is my buddy, always ready for action.

So, I call Bucky a he. I realize I probably have psychological problems.



I bet you’re asking “Why Bucky?!” Well… it was a name that the car claimed during the first month of ownership. In 2001, Mazda was having a hard time with their clutches and flywheels. It was called the “Bucky / bucking clutch problem” by Miata.net. There was something like FOUR recalls for it. If I remember right, the first was for a clutch bearing, the 2nd was for the disc, the 3rd was for the disc and pressure plate, and the 4th replaced the whole clutch/flywheel assembly.

Anyways, Bucky had the bucky clutch problem. And it really wasn’t that bad at first. It seemed worse in humid weather, but that’s not often here in New Mexico. But it slowly got worse and worse. Sarah couldn’t take off from a stop without looking like a student driver, so we broke open the transmission to see what was going on.

I’ll never forget figuring out what was wrong. We got the case cracked (car on jack stands) and something fell out and onto my chest. It was the pilot bearing. The bearing that’s normally pressed into the flywheel? It wasn’t. It was very very loose. The hole in the center of the flywheel was WAY too big for it. That was the whole problem.

Sharka’s factory flywheel was the solution. He had a superlight Fidanza at that point and the stock flywheel was sitting on a shelf. A quick refinishing and a Mazda Value Clutch Kit were all that was needed. Bucky didn’t buck anymore.

After I started driving Bucky.








We had a kid and Bucky didn't work as a daily for my wife anymore, so I took over driving. Sarah got my 2008 Mazda 3 for a daily.

I didn’t immediately go crazy with mods. I’m rather proud of my restraint. The truth is, Bucky is pretty awesome in his current form. The suspension is very comfortable. The seats are supportive, yet soft. The engine makes fun vrooming noises. And the car looks fantastic! Bucky is a wonderful daily driver.

After Sharka got the Star Sharks, I put the 14" RPF1s on the tire rack. I love the wheels and didn't want to get rid of them. I intended to swap them back onto Sharka once in a while.

I found myself looking for wheels. I thought of some SSR meshies. I considered some Volks. I came up with all kinds of ideas. Then I thought about those 14" lightweights on my rack. I mounted them and they were perfect. They are now Bucky's 3 season wheels.


The interior.


It's pretty stock in there. A Joyfast shift knob, some of Sharka's vent rings, and various gauges. I'll update this thread with more stuff in a moment...
 

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Discussion Starter #2
The OEM top was pretty ratty. The previous owner lived in the mountains. 2 years of 8000' sun exposure will really age a top.



Boom!



I have a whole how-to for installing a Robbins cloth top on an NB frame. I didn't wanna retype it here or anything, I just wanted to post some highlight pix.

The install really wasn't bad. I'd do another one. Not a nightmare at all.



Stretching the top to make it latch the first time. Parking in 100 degree sun helps. Zip ties get you that last inch.


Mmmmm. Cloth.






I did this mod nearly 3 years ago to the day. The cloth top has held up very nicely.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
OEM+ was Bucky's first set of gauges.


Followed by Version Zero.


F1 Stage 2 came after that...




and then GT40. That makes four sets in one year.




And then Sunstorm gauges. These have been installed for OVER a year. That's a record.




Time to do some new gauges...
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)


I always hated the airbag panel. I keep the passenger bag off, so the light is always on. And I always loved Sharka's start button.

I got a spare airbag panel from Project G and went to work.



A little bondo and some switches.


A little paint and some letters.


Done! About 8 hours of work, just like that.




No light at the bottom? Priceless.


-edit-

I wrote up a whole NB start button install as well. You can find it on my site. I thought I'd add this after posting the pix so as to not be flooded by "how did you wire the button?"
 

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Discussion Starter #6


We had a cold snap and Bucky and Sharka both lost their batteries in one day. Bucky's was the original at about 11 years old. It was time for a change.



I just wanted a stock replacement battery. I’ve had Optima batteries before. They’re awesome. But they’re also heavy and over-sized and expensive. And I’m not really interested in saving weight on the back passenger corner. If anything, that’s the one place you really want to ADD weight. So, an exotic, lightweight battery wasn’t appealing to me either. I just wanted a stock replacement.

Thanks to a little internet research, I learned that O’Reilly’s Auto Parts stocks a gel cell replacement battery for Miatas. The part number is MIATA.

THAT, my friends, is awesome. How could I not buy that?



Perfect fit.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Bucky's speedometer suddenly stopped working. I was driving along, passing an old lady. I looked down and I was registering 0 mph.

Love my tripod stands.



The speed sensor/generator went bad.


The sensor just needs re-soldering.




Oops.


The act of removing the little green cover will most likely remove the wires for you as well. They did for me. The green stuff is like a slightly gummy plastic. I was able to dig channels out of it for the wires with a very light application of an Xacto knife.

My reading online indicated that the wires weren’t soldered well at the factory. Too much silver in the solder or something and not enough heat? Very likely I “fixed” them the same bad way the robot did at the factory. I used some high-silver-content solder and only a 30W gun. But, to spoil the ending, it worked. Maybe it’ll stay working for another 10 years?



I’m not sure it makes a difference which terminal connects to which wire, but I marked them anyway. I’d hate to do all of this work and get something backwards.

To solder, I held the wires with a needle nose vice grip and the generator body with a panel clamp. Nothing special, just something to give me an extra pair of hands. I’m sure folks that regularly play with circuit boards will be laughing.


Fixed!


All sealed up.


Not a bad way to save $200.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Project G to the rescue!


One of my favorite things is swapping steering wheels in Sharka. I've had more than 10 of them over the years and currently own 6. Bucky needed to get in on this.

Project G sells Daikei hubs. That's what I've had on Sharka since 2002. It's a great hub and the install is super easy, so I wanted one for Bucky. A quick email and one was at my door the next day.

This is a hard dimension to find when you're looking.



Momo F1 - a fine first wheel for Bucky.


yuck.


My helper.


How a pro takes off bolt covers - with a katana.


Careful handling of the explosive device.


It unclips like this. I literally spent 15 minutes puzzling over it like a damn finger trap.


Another view of how this clips together.


Slide the hub in place...


Tape the resistor to the hub...


6 small screws


and one big nut.



An improvement.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
And then I started making these badges. Bucky had a huge part in the testing. One has been on his ass since January. That's 5 months before I started selling them.

Fender badges. I love these. They really add to a bare fender that doesn't have the winkers.




What's wrong with this photo? The nose badge you say?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
About to go bye bye.


bye bye.


Peeling vinyl off is fantastic.


This stuff is meant for filling holes in a bumper. Pretty awesome.


Holes filled.


Goo flattened.


Ready for sanding.


That’s all there is to it. Fill the holes with the goo, then flatten it to around bumper level and let it cure. It cures in about 15 minutes, so there’s not much wait time.

I actually put a tiny bit of goo in the holes before photo one and let it set up. Just to give a base for the stuff to sit on. You’re supposed to put metal mesh on the back side of the bumper, but that’s really hard with the NB nose design. A little bit of hardened epoxy worked well.

Sanding. This is MOST of the job.


All smooth.


I re-applied the painter’s tape after removing it above. I didn’t want to sand off too much of the nose paint, even though it would be covered by vinyl immediately. Two layers was all I applied.

Sanding really is 90% of the job. No matter if you’re just putting vinyl or if you’re re-painting the nose, you want a flat surface. And that’s what I ended up with.







Bucky’s badges all match now. I have the Prototipo1 badge on the nose and three 50mm Prototipo2s elsewhere. Is it a lot of badges? Maybe. But I’m pretty happy with my rolling Circle-M.

Mostly, I’m just pleased to not have that huge Winged-M on the front anymore. It feels “right” with the 58mm badge.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Beautiful!
Thanks!

You're the definition of "Roadster Life"
HA! Thank you. I drive Miatas every day. I love it. I need to buy an NC...

No, no Tony, the battery says "super start" not "Super Stark".
I lol'd.

Has the new top faded at all?
If you looked at it now, you'd say yes. But it just traps dirt and dust and is currently dirty. After a bath and fresh spray of Raggtop, it's as black as the original pix.

It's really held up well over the last 3 years/
 

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Literally laughing out loud looking through your pics. Love the use of the action figures. Very clean build, but that goes without saying.
 

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Bucky is looking better than ever Adam! Glad you found the time to make a build thread, even though I read your blog on him. :) I too am envious of the matching consecutive generations and would approve and even donate towards a NC fund, AT LEAST $2, maybe $5 if you promise to make a triplet. ;)
 
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