ClubRoadster.net banner

1 - 20 of 1036 Posts

·
I will find you. And I will kill you.
Joined
·
3,085 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Decided to finally start a modification thread on here. I don't post this stuff many places but since I am now here quite a bit I figured why not share?

I came about my gearhead status a little later than some do. Not quite sure what caused it. I did help my dad work on cars when I was younger, but that was mostly of the routine maintenance variety of repair. While I was in college I became more interested in motorcycles, I was never allowed to have my own but could ride my grandfather's on the back country roads (without a license no less) when I visited them. Then my senior year, Mazda came out with the RX-7. I was familiar with the rotary since my sister had owned an RX-2 (which she used to race and generally humble much bigger cars with), but the styling of the 7 was wow! As it worked out, I was able to buy one the following year, which I still have. That started my journey to where I am today.

I am definitely a Mazda fan. Probably get that in part from my dad, although he was a Buick fan (no accounting for taste). Over the years I have had quite a few, both performance and pedestrian models (Millenia S, 2nd/3rd gen Protege, 1st/2nd gen MPV, etc) but never seemed to be able to get into a Miata. One of my brothers had two, a '94 (IIRC) and a '02 SE in titanium. I drove both and they had what I liked about all Mazdas in general, my RX-7 in particular, and had the cherry on top of being a convertible.

About four and a half years ago I was driving home from Cars & Coffee with my wife when we saw a Miata. After admiring it, she told me if I sold my '03 Protege I could get one. I knew she didn't think I would ever sell that car but she underestimated my desire. I immediately began plotting, worked out a deal with my oldest son for the Protege and then began looking for the Miata. I knew I wanted something in the maroon color range, when I first saw a 2000 SE (Mahogany Mica for those who live under a rock) I knew that was the one.
 

·
I will find you. And I will kill you.
Joined
·
3,085 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
After chasing a couple of cars (both found on eBay, one was in northern Ohio and the underside looked way too rusty, the other in Florida and was way overpriced), I happened upon the $9.95 Miata for sale (Miatamart) site. There was a very nice 2000 SE with low miles and a JRSC under the hood. I immediately got in contact the seller. He had just listed the car a day or so before. Did some back and forth with pictures and such, I told him I'd like to look at it and then I got the loan. On 18 September 2010 the wife and I drove three hours to West-by-god-Virginia, crawled around the car, took a test drive and then bought it. Drove the three hours home in the evening dark, top down the whole way, hatless and without ear plugs (left them in the other car), grinning like an idiot. When we were almost home we stopped to get something to eat and my wife started laughing at me because my hair was sticking straight up. I didn't care, I had too much fun.

In any event, I don't regard what I do as a build. Call me old-fashioned, but to me building a car involves tearing it apart and putting it back together. I will be doing that to my RX-7, but not to this car. What I have done so far, and will continue doing, is to make modifications and improvements to bring it to where I can say it's mine. If I can provide a gem or two of knowledge to someone along the way, all the better. I have done a lot in the past four and a half years and will document all that. I tend to be more of the get the job done type than the take a picture every stage of the way to preserve it for others type. You'll have to deal with it, I'm not changing because none of you are cute enough.
 

·
I will find you. And I will kill you.
Joined
·
3,085 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Ok, time for a little bit about the car when I brought it home. The guy I bought it from had picked it up from some sort of wholesaler in FL. Not sure how many owners there were in between, but he somehow managed to track down the original owner. He had bought the car new and after having it a year had the JRSC installed (possibly most or all of the other mods, I'm a little hazy on that). As a result of the previous owner's interest he had all the papers that the original owner had held onto, which was nice. Unfortunately I guess he didn't have the SE extras, more on that down the road.

As mentioned the car had the JRSC (Jackson Racing Supercharger) which was the M45 Eaton. The rest of the supercharger install included a DDM Works cold air intake box, JR timing controller, Walbro 255lph fuel pump with restrictor pill, and finally the piece de resistance, a small black box (I can't remember the correct name right now) which basically fooled the ECU into thinking the air temp was cooler than it was so that extra fuel was added. So yeah, the resistor trick that you can buy on eBay. But hey, it worked just fine. The only other engine-related upgrade was a Brainstorm axle-back dual exhaust. For dress-up there was a stainless panel (sort of an air blocker) bolted on top of the front bumper attachment point, the 'charger outlet manifold was polished, there were a ton of stickers on the radiator frame and cross-over tube, and a very noticeable set of yellow silicone hoses EVERYWHERE (just ask Bryan, I think he saw it).

Suspension was a set of Bilstein PSS coilovers with 15 X 6.5 Alpha wheels wearing General Exclaim UHP tires (they were actually pretty decent). A set of matched JR sways front/rear (adjustable tubular front), braided stainless steel brake lines with some drilled/slotted rotors and unknown pads (calipers were painted yellow) finished that off. Interior was stock except for a Hard Dog Ace rollbar, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a nice cloth boot cover, and a trunk lid storage holder inside the trunk.

As you can see from the second picture, the car was way too low. On certain bumps I would hear a scraping noise, thought it was the tire hitting the fender liner (it was) but mainly it was the right "frame rail" hitting the ground. That wasn't acceptable to me.


 

·
I will find you. And I will kill you.
Joined
·
3,085 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I will be copy/pasting my posts from elsewhere so you will see updates slowly as I have time (read: bored at night twiddling my thumbs). If anyone has any questions about anything I have done, I will answer as best I can. While I may not take a lot of pictures, I do keep notes/receipts so can fill in the blanks on a lot of stuff.
 

·
I will find you. And I will kill you.
Joined
·
3,085 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I should also point out that I won't be bastardizing mine the way concealer is his (love you Ben babe :smile11:). I like my parchment interior coupled with the mahogany mica exterior (everyone take note, those are the correct names for the colors of this car). That said, it probably won't pass the m.net test either.
 

·
I will find you. And I will kill you.
Joined
·
3,085 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I want rx7 pics.
Wish in one hand, **** in the other, and see which fills up first. Seriously, did you not read the thread title? Just because I am a nice guy, here is one from her heyday:



For anyone else, don't bother asking for more pictures of this car. There aren't any, and should I decide to share anything about it that will be in the appropriate forum.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,008 Posts
Great looking '00SE! I REALLY wanted one when I got my first Miata(NB) but never could find one in the proper condition for the right price. Looks like quality parts were used which is always a good sign. How do you like the m45? :dunno: Is it "enough"? Or you thinking upgrading to a mp62 some day?

That is a sweet Rx7! Appropriate forum? You sayin we aint appropriate?! :suicide:
 

·
I will find you. And I will kill you.
Joined
·
3,085 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Damn. That is a nice rx7. In for Miata build. Seems like an awesome start.
Thanks. Unfortunately she no longer looks that good, but that will change.

#textwall
I don't do Mcposts. If a picture is worth a thousand words, and I don't post pictures, you do the math. Maybe if there is enough text it will discourage the mouth-breathers. Who knows, there might be some gems in all those words. :hello kitty:

Great looking '00SE! I REALLY wanted one when I got my first Miata(NB) but never could find one in the proper condition for the right price. Looks like quality parts were used which is always a good sign. How do you like the m45? :dunno: Is it "enough"? Or you thinking upgrading to a mp62 some day?

That is a sweet Rx7! Appropriate forum? You sayin we aint appropriate?! :suicide:
Thanks. I was very lucky to find one so nice that wasn't too far away. The original owner did use quality parts, I have been in contact with him a few times. I won't give anything away about power production just yet, but let's just say more is usually better. :phillyb:

As this is the Roadster Projects subforum, I wouldn't post about my RX-7 here. That's what the Non-Roadster subforum is for. However it will be some time before I do anything to her.
 

·
enormous gay swords.
Joined
·
6,360 Posts
Why did you think I was on a Miata forum? For the ambiance? Thanks for the compliment, but trust me, you ain't seen nothing yet! :mrgreen:
I'm on a miata forum and don't own a miata.

You'd be surprised at how many of us on here don't actually have miatas
 

·
Murse Magnet
Joined
·
7,241 Posts

·
I will find you. And I will kill you.
Joined
·
3,085 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
The day after I bought the car (that would be 19 September for anyone who suffers from attention-deficit disorder. BTW you are probably not married if you do) I did a few small things. Put the wiper arms on correctly (PO had apparently painted them and didn't put them back on the right side), did a massive stickerectomy under the hood, set the tire pressures and generally just drove her. I only had a couple of days to do that before having to go to Dubai for a work-related conference. Talk about separation anxiety!

Over the next couple of months I did quite a few small things. Replaced the god-awful yellow hose kit with a black one, replaced the chrome gas filler door with a stock painted one (forgot to mention the car had one of those when I bought it, the wife liked it better than the painted one. Guess I need to sign her up for M.net). Put in a cargo net. Changed all the fluids using the magical Motorcraft synthetic in the tranny (I really like it), I found the oil filter was barely on there so it was a good thing I did that. Raised it by 13mm which corrected the majority of the grounding issues. Did my first autocross a few days later and had a blast. Got a performance alignment at a place in Cincinnati run by a guy who has been around for years, he didn't give me my final specs and I didn't think to ask for them, but he told me I had toe out in the rear (which went a long way to explaining the tail-happiness of the car. Besides my heavy right foot around corners that is). Installed some Hella Supertones but wasn't happy with them so switched to my usual Fiamms. I went all out and bought a stock hanger for the driver's side one so it would look stock.

When I was messing around with the horns, I discovered the driver's side headlight was missing a plastic spacer for the post that located the bottom of the light. Bought one of those to correct that issue. Someone along the owner's road had installed a bra which used snaps and they were still on the car, so those came off (and I found that the two at the front of the hood had been put on with screws that were just a bit too long, so I had two bumps from that). Flipped the passenger seat stopper around to get that precious extra inch of legroom.

One thing I did that merits some extra attention was install a factory 6 disc changer. Ha, I can hear you say, you couldn't get one of those in 2000 on a Miata. True enough, but you could get one on a 626. I was looking around eBay and noticed the plugs in the rear of that unit were the same as on mine. After some research I found out the bar in between my stock radio and cassette player was just plastic. So I bid on and won a radio. Guaranteed to work, but upon receipt I found that wasn't the case as the CD player wouldn't. There was a CD stuck in it for one thing. I got in touch with the seller, who told me to keep it and reimbursed me my cost (in other words, a stand-up person). I messed around with it and managed to get the CD out, found the eject button was messed up so using some plastic steel and silicone built that up. After that it still didn't function. On to the next step.

For anyone who doesn't know, Mazda uses modular radios. This means you can swap bits around to get where you want (for instance, my wife's RX-8 came with a single CD player. I bought a beat up 6 disc unit, changed over the CD player and voila!). I knew this was the case with vehicles after 2001 but not earlier. I was able to find a 6 disc radio from a 2000 Tribute on eBay (listed for parts as it had a rattle inside). When it showed up, the rattle turned out to be 36 cents in loose change (someone's kid probably got a whipping for that one). Swapped out the changer unit and the faceplate, put it in the dash and it worked like a champ. Sure it doesn't play MP3s or have a slot for a memory stick, but I don't have to juggle CDs all the time either. Plus since it's factory with Mazda all over it, I don't have to worry about someone prying it loose. Here's how it looks:

 

·
I will find you. And I will kill you.
Joined
·
3,085 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Installed a Cobalt front shock brace, this is the one that has arms to the firewall. Some say it's useless, I say it helped the cowl shake. Had a moment of excitement after that was in, I was out driving and had hit the brakes lightly. Went to brake harder a few moments later and the pedal was hard as a rock but the car wasn't slowing. Turned out the hard line from the intake manifold to the brake booster had been deflected enough to kink the hose on one side, so there was not a constant source of vacuum to make the booster work. That was an easy fix. Put in a set of IL Motorsports pedals to replace the set that was in the car, they said Miata on them which was fine but they were huge (very wide) which made it difficult for me to operate them, especially to heel and toe. The IL set has nice little rubber nubs on them to help grip.
 

·
I will find you. And I will kill you.
Joined
·
3,085 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Bought a red Mazdaspeed oil cap (as used on the Speed3) and a Raceland windblocker. Thanks to Bryan for the suggestion, it matched the contour of my Ace rollbar perfectly. All I had to do was fabricate some extensions for the mounting points (a fancy way of saying I cut two pieces of aluminum flat bar to length and drilled two holes in each). I cut a piece of plexiglass to fit the space at the bottom of the windblocker and the wife was happy with no more messy hair.

Here's some pictures of the windblocker showing all sides. Note that I have electrical tape on the back side of the bolt that connects my bracket with the windblocker bracket to keep it from scratching the plastic. There are several washers at the back of the bracket to shim it out, the washer next to the plastic has also been covered with electrical tape. I have since replaced those rear bolts with Allen head screws. It only takes a little juggling to get the back screw in through the bracket and washers.




The final thing done, and only because I have an awesome wife, was sourcing and installing a set of Clearwater speakers. Yes they are expensive (I did save $50 by buying through them on eBay) but they clean up the Bose system a lot and I am more than happy with what I have now. I can't see spending a lot of time or money on a stereo for a convertible, especially with the job-related hearing loss I have. The Clearwaters go right into place, I did put one of the fixing wires for a tweeter in wrong but figured that out the next time I was home.

So after a little more than two months of ownership, it was back to work. There went Thanksgiving and Christmas that year.
 

·
I will find you. And I will kill you.
Joined
·
3,085 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
The wife and I went out to lunch in the Miata the day I left, so I got a little fix to tide me over. Good thing too, as I ended up being gone for four months that time. Over lunch, I told her I would try not to buy anything for the cars until right before I came home (please note I specifically did not promise). She laughed and basically told me, yeah right! I was serious, but I also know (as does she) that I have this tendency to see good deals and go for them.

So four days later (I know, right?!) I managed to score the factory header off an '05. Over the next few months, I bought the following: Mazdaspeed competition diff mounts, IL Motorsports engine mounts (same stiffness as the MS units but cheaper), HID projectors, security bolts and Rennenmetal side plates for the hard top I was planning on, Rennenmetal crank holding tool, KG Works gauge face, Konig Lightspeed wheels in bronze, some Toyo T1-Rs in 205-50/15, Planet Miata shifter rebuild kit and stainless clutch hose, AWD needle caps from RSpeed with their closeout (took me a little while to make up my mind on those, now glad I did), couple of supercharger pieces from Moss (rotomolded crossover tube, 'charger outlet manifold, couple of small things that escape me), Cool Breeze scoop, oil change and coupler for the 'charger, Koyo 37mm radiator and TDR header blanket. Somewhere in there I got a hard top off a local Craigslist ad, thanks to a good friend of mine from HS who not only fronted me the money for it (I had no way to get him the cash) but he even went and picked it up. It was Merlot Mica which was close to mine, and had all latches and the defroster pigtail for an NB. I got home at the end of March, so it was time to install everything. First I had to track it all down. My wife had made piles of boxes all over the place, most everything I found no problem but it took some time to come up with the header (ended up being out of the way in the basement with a towel draped over it. Think she was trying to tell me something?).
 
1 - 20 of 1036 Posts
Top