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Discussion Starter #1
I've been working on and customizing my 2003 LS for about 5 years now. I don't claim to have any sort of master plan for my car. I just can't seem to leave well enough alone. I done mods that I ended up undoing later. Other mods have stayed around. And some mods have ended up getting modded, lol.

I had a build thread over on another forum, but Photobucket's extortion scheme pretty well killed my old thread by making all the image links useless. So, I'm going to start at my current project and I'll backfill the previous projects as I can. It'll take a few posts to get caught up to today's work. So, here goes...

Today I received the CCP Fab widebody kit I ordered.



I had it shipped to my store, then made a run to work to pick it up this evening. With this big box sitting in the driveway, I felt just like a kid at Christmas time!



And I showed just about as much self control before tearing in!



Paul at CCP did a great job wrapping everything up for shipping. Tons of bubble wrap and cushioning! every part arrived safe and sound.

 

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Discussion Starter #2
New front bumper!



I'm so excited about this! My Miata has had a messed up front bumper the whole time I've owned it. I'll finally have a bumper that doesn't bother me every time I look at it!

I'm not an expert on judging fiberglass, but CCP's work seems really good. No major voids or sloppy looking lamination. The gel coat is reasonably smooth and I'll only need to do basic prep before painting the parts.



How much wider is a "widebody"? A pretty fair bit.



The new nose is also longer the the old one. It has a sharper, more aggressive look. It's also taller, so that the one piece bumper is about the same height as the original bumper with the large tupperware. The bottom is a large flat surface that extends farther forward and back than OEM, essentially adding a built in front splitter.

 

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Discussion Starter #3
And now the fender flares. The small ones are for the front and the larger flares are for the rear.



That extra little piece in the middle is the front bumper support. It makes sure the top center of the bumper stays in place with the correct gap/alignment to the front edge of the hood. I'll have to glue that to the front bumper with some Panel Bond.

Last, but not least, the side skirts:



Once I get everything fitted up to the car, I intend to open up the front and rear vent areas on the side skirts.
 

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I don't plan on working on this in earnest until tomorrow, but I thought it would be fun to just do a quick fitting today. And thus I ran into my first issue:



Hmm... It looks like the only way to fit this into place would be to remove the black plastic bumper pad under the bumper cover. A quick call to Paul at CCP confirmed that I did indeed need to remove the bumper. I have mixed feelings about this. I'm already committed to installing this kit, but I wish I could keep the OEM bumper pad. After I get everything installed, I may see if I can trim the pad to fit inside the new bumper shell. Although, I don't know it that would compromise the bumper pad's integrity to the point that the whole exercise would be superfluous. :dunno:

Oh, well... In for a penny, in for a pound!



While I was down there, I finally yanked the baby teeth.



I also cut off the light sockets and pigtails for the original front side markers. My plan was to use them for the new clear rear side markers, but it turns out one of the sockets is hopelessly corroded and will not work. Tomorrow, I'll make a run to the auto parts store and pick up 4 new sockets; two for the new rear repeaters and two for the round side repeaters I have inbound from the UK.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
And so the pile of take-off parts begins to grow!



With the bumper pad out of the way, the new shell slides right into place.



In a happy coincidence, the new flares and bumper will cover up a dent on the front left fender that was caused by the previous owner's ham-handed attempt at fender rolling and pulling.

 

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Discussion Starter #6
Here are the two pieces of the bumper that I need to bond together tomorrow.



Since this will determine how well the bumper and hood fit together, I really want to get that part right! The panel bond epoxy is super strong, so it's definitely a one-shot sort of thing.

A couple of shots to show the extra width of the new bumper:





It's going to look kind of funny until I get some new wheels and tires on the car!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
These shots give an idea of how much of the original fenders I'm going to end up cutting away.

Front


Rear


That's probably the most daunting part of this project. Of course, by the time I get to that part, I will have already drilled about 30 holes in the car and installed rivnuts in them, so I guess the cutting might not seem like such a big deal by then.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The first step it the slowest part. First, fitting the bumper and the bumper retainer to figure out where I want to bond them.



Next, squeezing on a few beads of panel bond and clamping the two parts together. The 18V calking gun was a big help here. The epoxy has a mixing nozzle, and it's REALLY hard to squeeze the adhesive out. So hard that I've seen pictures of cheaper caulking guns that broke in half from this stuff!



Now, I have 3.5 hour wait for the panel bond to cure. Then I'll have to fit the top edge of the bumper to the leading edge of the hood. After that is done, the rest of the fitting should move more quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
While I'm waiting for the panel bond to cure, here's a pic of the under side of the bumper. No additional splitter needed!

 

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Discussion Starter #11
I got the Miata up in the air to make it easier to work on.







The hood overlaps the top of the bumper, so some trimming to fit is in order.



 

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Discussion Starter #12
After a bit of grinding the hood will now close.



Apparently, I was a little off when I bonded on the bumper support. The front to back alignment is just right, but it's just a bit too high.



Here, you can see how the bumper edge is higher than the hood.



After a bit of thought and looking at the problem, I think I need to use a BFH to massage the mounting points on the car just a bit. Of course, I'll have to pull the bumper off to do this, then reinstall it to test the fit, then do it all again until it looks just right.

It's gona look cool when it's all done!

 

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Discussion Starter #13
I started the day yesterday with fixing the issue with the hood. I bonded the bumper support to the bumper too low, which pushed the top edge of the bumper up too high. I thought about taking a BFH to the mounitng area to bend it down, but realized that I would end up bending the area where the headlights mount as well. I ended up cutting both of the fiberglass mounting tabs off of the support, which immediately dropped the bumper down to where it belongs.





With that done, I needed to fab up some new brackets to hold the bumper support onto the car. I was going to run to the hardware store and get some steel to drill and bend when I realized I already had wha t I needed. Good thing I didn't the original bumper support away I chopped off the corners and did a little filing and sanding to clean up the edges.



Then a couple of holes and bolts on each side and viola! It doesn't even look too bad!



So now the bumper is secure, flush with the hood and has an even gap all the way across.



The gap between the bumper and hood looks bigger than it really is because the edge of the bumper has no paint yet. I'm going to play with tightening up the gap a bit, but it will not be as apparent after paint.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Before re-securing the front bumper, I took the opportunity to play with a new toy:



My new rivnut tool. Most people seem to just use self-tapping screws when they install a body kit, but I wanted to do it right. Self-tapping screws tend to loosen up when you remove and reinstall them multiples times, which I know I will be doing throughout the installation of this body kit. So, the first two rivnuts I did replaced the self-tapping screws where the bumper mounts at the front of the fenders.



The rivnut setter is pretty easy to use. I did find out that it doesn't squeeze quite tight enough in one go to keep the rvnuts from spinning in the Miata sheet metal. I had to set the rivnut, then open the handles and screw the tool in a little more and give it a second squeeze. THEN the rivnuts are nice and snug.

A somewhat funny aside... The previous owner had broken off both of the black plastic bumper brackets that would pop into the square hole in the picture above. Not wanting anything to slow down my installation, I ordered 2 new brackets and popped them into place. Well, It turns out that they get in the way of this particular bumper and I had to take them out, breaking both of them in the process. :dunno:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Now that I had already drilled 2 holes in my Miata, albeit in out of the way, hidden places, I was ready to dive into drilling about 20 holes on the first side of the car. A spring loaded center punch and a step drill will be your friend for this part. I cringe every time I see a youtube video where they are just using a big old spiral drill bit and they drill straight through the flare and the car in one step. :eek:

The flares in my kit have :eek:nice molded in dimples where the holes need to be drilled.



Using a scrap block of delrin as a backer, I drilled out the holes, int he flares with a spiral bit.



I lined up all the parts, center punched the location for the first hole and then drilled the first 3/8" hole.



Wow! That wasn't as scary as i thought it would be, lol!



I set my first rivnut, then bolted the flare onto the car, marked the next location, removed the flare, drilled the next hole and then set the rivnut. I repeated this process for each hole. It took longer than If I had just marked all the holes and drilled them in one go, but this way I made sure each hole was drilled exactly in the right place.

 

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Discussion Starter #16
Fitment is pretty good overall. I had to do a bit of fitting on some of the bolt-on points to rebate the underside so the rivnuts wouldn't hold the flare too far away from the panel. After painting, I'm going to ad black fender welting to cover up any uneven gaps.



 

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Discussion Starter #17
Next came the side skirt.


The rear of the skirt required some filing to get it to lay against the body just right.





I used 3 self tapping screws on the bottom and 3 inside the door jamb. These will be replaced with rivnuts and stainless bolts later. I can't use the same washers and bolts I'm using on the flares, because they need to be more low-profile to not interfere with the door closing.



 

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Discussion Starter #18
Finally, the rear flare:



And, done with the left side!





Here's a shot that shows how much wider the new bumper is.

 

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Discussion Starter #19
Next, I got to work on the right side of the car. I did't take a lot of pics, as it's really just a repetition of the other side. I did take this shot that shows the added width from the side skirt.



It also shows the half-assed job the previous owner did on rolling and pulling the fenders. Oh well, that will be cut off soon enough.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
With the last piece of the kit installed, I decided it was time to take her off the stands and enjoy the nice weather we were having.





I'm definitely going to need to upgrade the wheels and tires soon! The original wheels look so skinny now!

I stopped at work to show it off a bit, then took a few shots of the car in the lot behind the store.







 
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