1 - 20 of 167 Posts

223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So I never really made much of a formal build thread for my car and I wanted to document it a little and have a place to keep all of the info for my build.

I had been looking around for a miata for a while. Ever since I drove in my friends miata in college, I wanted one, or at least a convertible. Finally I got enough comfort in my bank account that I decided to take thing seriously. I test drove a few and and pretty much everything I looked at was either rusty or way overpriced. It didn't help that I was looking in New England in the spring and trying to stay around $2000...

So anyways, I came upon a really poorly worded craigslist ad that had been up for about a week. The description said blue-green 94 with tan leather interior so I knew I might be onto something good. There were no pictures and no description besides that. I took a chance and arranged a time to take a look at it.

Once I got there, I was pretty pleased. It was a fairly clean 94 M edition with hollow spokes. It had a terrible looking trunk rack and the soft top window was being held together with silicon but all in all, it was in good shape. The guy wanted $3000 and I was going to try to haggle a bit considering the top condition...but then the guy told me he had something in the garage he'd throw in because of the top. An absolutely mint, color matched, defroster glass window hardtop. At that point I threw haggling out the window and bought the car then and there. It had about 140,000 miles on it but these motors last forever so I knew that was nothing.
So for the sake of a timeframe, I bought the car in May 2010.

miata1 by Stang1282, on Flickr

miata3 by Stang1282, on Flickr

miata2 by Stang1282, on Flickr

miata4 by Stang1282, on Flickr

Not the prettiest of engine bays.

miataengine by Stang1282, on Flickr

Lineup of mazdas. When we went to pick up the car, we brought it back to my friends dads machine shop. The white miata is the one that got me into miatas in the first place. We were flushing the coolant that day.

IMG_0221 by Stang1282, on Flickr

The absolute first thing I did was take off the godawful trunk rack. I don't even think I have pictures of it, it was off that fast.
So, the seats were a little rough and the steering wheel had a wrap on it so I pretty much knew it was trashed. Oh well, I had bigger things planned for this car so no big deal.

223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
So, within a week I began the hunt for parts. I managed to find a Boss Frog Clearview rollbar a couple hours away and jumped all over it.

Did the install the next weekend. What a pain in the ass getting that thing all lined up and situated, especially around the seatbelt reel mounting points.

Mid install

rollbarinstall by Stang1282, on Flickr

I also did a full claybar/polish on the car since it didn't look like it was cleaned properly in a while.
Muuuuuch better.

miatafront by Stang1282, on Flickr

miataback2 by Stang1282, on Flickr

miataback by Stang1282, on Flickr

interior-1 by Stang1282, on Flickr

Now to do something about those wheels...

223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I ordered up a set of Kosei K1's from Tirerack. A friend of mine does spec miata and these things are all over the place in there. So if its good enough for them, it works for me.

miatafrontanglewheels3 by Stang1282, on Flickr

miatarearanglewheels by Stang1282, on Flickr

So much better. That and my finish panel paint was looking pretty haggard so I debadged it, filled the holes and painted it low gloss black.

Unfortunately this presented a new problem. The car now had full on SUV status. We can't be having that now can we. I figured the suspension can't be at its best and I think its original to the car so what better excuse to get rid of it than that? Bring on the coilovers!

I ordered up a set of Tein basic coilovers and a full set of ISC racing tophats. At this point it was about June 2010.

223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
But first, some maintenance.
I had gotten pretty sick of having to put the hardtop on whenever there was a chance of rain. The rear window silicon was failing pretty badly and the top was leaking if I ever forgot the hardtop.
I know some of the purists won't like this but I really wasn't a huge fan of the tan top. I felt like the car would look better with a classic black top. So one cheap replacement soft top and a new rain rail later and we're back in business. Another step toward a more respectable looking car.

toprear by Stang1282, on Flickr
I wish I had taken pictures of that whole process. It was definitely a pain solo and I really just wanted to get it over with.

So meanwhile I ordered up a Garage Vary front lip and the coilovers came in. Another "rather get it over with than take pictures" so no pics of the coils going in either. But I'd say the results were pretty good.

droppedfront2 by Stang1282, on Flickr

droppedside by Stang1282, on Flickr

droppedfront by Stang1282, on Flickr
Super sunk

223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
So now for the good stuff.
At this point its about July 2010. I had a 1965 mustang sitting in the backyard that I was neglecting and would have taken waaaaay too much time and money to become what I wanted it to be. Basically a classic road race style mustang.
So I sold the mustang and happened upon what seemed like the deal of the century and jumped all over it.

I found a used Begi S5 turbo kit on miataturbo with a T3Super60 with reasonably low miles for way below the price of a new kit. Needless to say, I used some of the proceeds from the mustang sale and picked up the kit.

turboparts1 by Stang1282, on Flickr

turboparts2 by Stang1282, on Flickr
Ceramic coated turbo and manifold, all the piping and components I could possibly need, Tial BOV and wastegate, new fuel rail, fullsize front mount intercooler, etc, etc. How could I pass this up.

So onto sourcing all the supporting mods to make this thing work.
I opted to go megasquirt and figure out baseline tuning while the car was still NA, so I ordered up a DIYPNP from Braineack over on Miataturbo.
I also combed the rx-7 forums and picked up a set of 550cc injectors and sent them out to Deatschwerks to have them cleaned.

inj3 by Stang1282, on Flickr

I installed the megasquirt, figured out a baseline and then installed the 550s. At some point I painted my valvecover crinkle graphite which looks much better than the corroded aluminum that was there previously.

injectorsinstalled by Stang1282, on Flickr

While I was tweaking the tune for the 550s, I got antsy and decided to throw on the interfooler and sweet vacuum gauge.

fmicmiata by Stang1282, on Flickr

vacuumgauge by Stang1282, on Flickr

223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
So I took a long weekend from work and set out to installing the turbo. Again no pictures of the process...I've really gotta work on that...but it was fairly straightforward. Just unbolt the stock manifold, bolt up the turbo/manifold and all the piping, plumb the oil and coolant lines, install the exhaust and good to go.

I also picked up this Magnaflow exhaust for the time being and threw it on the car.

magnaflow2 by Stang1282, on Flickr

And after a long weekend of working on the car, I finally had boost!

boooooost by Stang1282, on Flickr

At this point, it was early September 2010, less than 5 months from the day I bought the car.

In about October, I got sick of the falling apart factory tan leather seats and set out to find a set of S2000 seats. This time I took plenty of pics...

In order to get the seats to sit as low and as far back as I wanted, I basically had to make a set of rails from near scratch.

Here's some pics I took while I was making them. Its only cellphone quality though so nothing special. And I ran out of welding gas before finishing the last few welds and it was a friday night so I never took pics of the finished welds.

Unmodified rails.

miatarails by Stang1282, on Flickr

Then I lopped the ends off and drilled out the rivets holding the upper channel onto the front end.

miatarailsapart by Stang1282, on Flickr

Took some thick metal bar and sized it up on the ends.

barstock by Stang1282, on Flickr

And welded everything together.

completerails by Stang1282, on Flickr

The s2k rails needed some modification as well. They keep the base connected to the seat back so they can't be eliminated. However they are too far to the outside to fit well between the side sill and the transmission tunnel so they need to be modified.

s2krail by Stang1282, on Flickr

I drilled out the rivets and separated the sliders from the actual support section. I also had to take some metal out of the support to go over the various bumps in the miata floor.

moddeds2krail1 by Stang1282, on Flickr

moddeds2krail2 by Stang1282, on Flickr

Finally, I lightly bolted the modified rails to the car and placed the seat on top of them and got it into a suitable position.
The only accessible part at this point was a small amount of metal on the seat pan above the new rails. I tacked the bottom of the seat to the front of the rail while in the car and then removed the seat from the car and make some stronger welds and cut several gussets to connect the seat bottom to the rails and to the existing s2k rails.

tackedrails1 by Stang1282, on Flickr

tackedrails2 by Stang1282, on Flickr

And thats about it. No sliders so bolting the rears was a huge pain.

But the finished product was pretty damn good if I do say so myself. These seats are immensely comfortable and hold you pretty well.

seatsexterior by Stang1282, on Flickr

seatsside by Stang1282, on Flickr

seatsrear by Stang1282, on Flickr

I also ditched the Magnaflow exhaust at this point and picked up a full 3" Artech catback which I cut apart to weld on a 2 bolt flange to mate to the Begi downpipe and added another resonator to as well.

223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)

223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
So, winter came and I put the car away but not without prepping a list of things to do to the car over the winter.

So, over the next few months I picked up....
-a set of toyota coil on plugs,
-racing beat hollow front swaybar
-pieced together the parts for a coolant reroute
-and 4 25mm bolt on spacers

I wanted to clean up the engine bay a bit as well so I got to removing all of the smog junk, depowering the steering rack, ditching the a/c and generally getting the engine bay a bit more respectable looking.

Racing Beat hollow front swaybar vs stock

swaybar-1 by Stang1282, on Flickr

Bolted up the 25mm spacers and went from super sunk to sortaflush:

passfront1 by Stang1282, on Flickr

driverfromrear2 by Stang1282, on Flickr

Much better

miataspacer3 by Stang1282, on Flickr

And all that engine bay work resulted in this:

motor3 by Stang1282, on Flickr

motor2 by Stang1282, on Flickr

motor1 by Stang1282, on Flickr

Tons more room in front of the motor. And all of the clutter of a/c, power steering and the bulky coils and plugs at the back.

Seasonal affective disorder was kicking in hard and the only solution was to spend money.
So in went a Nardi Twin steering wheel and I retapped one of my spare STi shift knobs and put that in.

nardiwheelandknob by Stang1282, on Flickr

223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Onto spring which means only one thing...Car Show Season!

Some friends and I (2 other miatas and an S2000) went to the local car shows for the season.


uconnmiata1 by Stang1282, on Flickr

And some sick rolling shots on the way home from the UConn show....which resulted in the S2000 being pulled over by an unmarked statie for kneeling on the seat taking pictures. :lol:

uconnmiata3blur by Stang1282, on Flickr

Then onto the Worcester Polytechnic Institute car show (My Alma Mater) where my car won Best Sleeper.

bestsleeperaward by Stang1282, on Flickr

Awww_yeah by Stang1282, on Flickr

Gratuitous post show victory picture.

miataaward1 by Stang1282, on Flickr

And then some other shows that I won't subject anyone to essentially just pictures of my car in various locations.

I also got some smoked turn signals which I think improved the look of the front end considerably.

Somewhere during this time I got in on PlanetMiatas 2nd sideskirt group buy. It took some time but when they came in, the results were well worth it.

miataskirts by Stang1282, on Flickr

And then I got slightly distracted with pulling the motor out of this thing to put in a new clutch, TD06SL2-18G turbo, injectors, external wastegate and a bunch of other supporting stuff.

STibuildings25 by Stang1282, on Flickr

Not a whole lot else happened to the car after that. I had an overheating scare on the highway on a long uphill section of highway under boost and decided the stock radiator wasn't up to the task of handling a turbo.
So I picked up a Koyo 37mm radiator and put that in. Huge difference from the stock radiator.

koyovsstock by Stang1282, on Flickr

miatamotorhigh by Stang1282, on Flickr
Nice and snug even with the stock fans and giant front swaybar.

223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
So then came this past winter.

Some friends of mine told me that my car was good as it was, but they felt that the Kosei's were holding it back.
So I decided to try something that I've really never thought I'd do.
I ordered up a set of Rota Grid V's in 15x8 +0.

dish_2_12 by Stang1282, on Flickr

dish_1_12 by Stang1282, on Flickr

And a set of Yokohama S Drives in 195/50/15

I usually am not a fan of the whole stretched wheel thing. I usually like to have fairly authentic wheels as well. (The wheels on the STi are Forged Prodrive GC06-H's made by Rays). The Kosei's had fairly beefy tires on them as well. 205/50/15's on 15x7's, so this was a huge detraction from the norm.

I wanted to go 205's bad but I knew it wouldn't be feasible without either alot of fender pulling or tons of camber. Neither of which I was particularly keen on doing at that point. So I bit the bullet and accepted the little bit of stretch that 195/50s had.

And its a damn good thing I did.

So anyways, thats where she stands right now.

Aside from some maintenance lately. (Valve stem seal replacement and HLA rebuild).

And going to the local shows for this year.

Staggered 2012 - Who puts a kayak on their car for a car show?

And here's how she sits right now, sans kayak.

And just friends slammed dog at Staggered

So more to come as I do it. Its starting to taper off a little as I run out of things to do. But I do still plan on continuing modding it as time goes on.

223 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I've been waiting to see a build thread from you. Awesome journey, still love the Kosei's, but I'm biased ;)
Thanks, hopefully the journey isn't anywhere near over. I have dreams of a LSx sometime in the future, I miss the sound and power of a v8.
I still have the kosei's in case I want to do a track day or something. I'm definitely a big fan of those wheels too. I'll keep looking around to see if I have anymore in progress shots on some memory cards I haven't seen in a while.
I'll definitely be making more of an effort to actually take pictures when I do things. I might be doing a turbo rebuild so I'll be sure to get plenty of that.
1 - 20 of 167 Posts