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1,642 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After one that didn't go anywhere and another that almost landed me in jail, it was time for my third Miata.

Meet Meep:

He's a 1992 Silver Stone, A-package with AC, 189424 mileage when I bought him. No power windows and no ABS. I bought him from a gentleman named Stan in Georgetown for $2100. He's had a complete respray, recent oil change (March '16), and TB/WP job in 2012, with only around 2k miles done since then. Stan said he had his mechanic inspect it a week before I bought it, and the mechanic said the oil pan gasket had a small leak, there was a bad boot around the front tie rod, and the upper radiator hose had two small pin holes in it.

At the hotel:

I was so paranoid that someone would come along and slash the top for whatever reason, so every hour I would run outside and check to make sure it was still okay.

We woke up the next morning, and drove home, me in the Miata and my wife in her car. I was not looking forward to this because I hadn't driven a manual in years, much less on the high way. The trip was 130 miles one way, top down under the Texas sun with no AC. It was hot, and we had to stop to buy me some sunscreen, but I fell in love. I got the manual transmission figured out again, and only had one real scary instance (I went from 3rd to 2nd instead of 3rd to 4th).

Going home, I decided to go a little bit of the long way to stretch the car's legs and enjoy it. The long way went through the area I work in, and there is a stretch of 3 FM roads I'd always wanted to take a roadster down. It only added about 30 minutes to my trip home, but it was worth it:

The context for the above, is I'm holding my phone on top of the window surround, doing about 65 mph down the FM road.

Once I got on the highway to head home, I stopped for gas, so obligatory first fill up picture:

You can see the homemade wind blocker here, and some of the stickers/badges the PO added.

Once I got home, I installed my first mod, an aarrow's patented Not-A-Joyfast shift knob:

I love the way it feels in my hand, and makes shifting feel so much smoother. There, you can see the radio and little storage cubby.

After a few days, I got to work on de-PO'ing (removing the stuff the previous owner did, for the most part) and doing what little maintenance I could afford:

There was an aftermarket alarm installed at some point in time. I haven't been able to completely remove it yet, but I at least cleaned off the stickers....

So I could some of my own! :lol:

I had enough money to do replace the upper and inner shifter boots:

I do believe that was the original shifter boot. :eek:

Removed the badges and stickers off the finish panel:

A little Goo-off, and it took them right off without damaging the finish. The muffler tip was installed before Stan bought it, and he didn't feel the need to remove it. I think it adds a nice little pop to an otherwise stock car, so it'll stay until I upgrade the exhaust.

I got the interior buttoned back up:

It's not the best interior in the world, but it's still in good shape for being 25 years old.

A few weeks rolled around, and I had enough money to do a little maintenance. I figured spark plugs and PCV valve would be cheap enough, and offer piece of mind since I didn't know how old the ones in the car were.

Spark plugs first:

Plug doesn't look too bad, I'd say.

At least the new PCV valve looks nicer:

With the new plugs and PCV, the car seemed to idle better, pull a little harder, and rev smoother. Of course, it's probably just my brain trying to justify the parts, but whatever works. :lol:

One day, while dropping my wife off at work, I saw this:

Yes, it's a '92 Black and Tan. It was parked behind an auto shop, before it randomly showed up at that house. The house is empty, hence 'For Rent'. I had actually spoken with the owner of the auto shop about buying it before I bought my silver NA, but after hearing the issues with it, I decided it was better to walk away. So, every time I go to my wife's work, I get to see it just sitting there.

My father-in-law called me up one day, said he was cleaning out his paint locker, and asked if I was interested in any paint. I said sure. I ended up coming home with a few cans of spray paint, one of which was a can of Krylon black semi-gloss paint.

1,642 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Since I didn't have any money, I figured I could at least do what a buddy of mine liked to call 'broke mods', stuff you can do for dirt cheap or free.

One such thing, since I got some spray paint from my father in law, was paint the windshield wiper arms. 25 years of wear and tear, and they were starting to looking pretty sad:

So, I sanded them down and shot them with a little of the semi-gloss paint:

After letting them dry for a few hours, I did one more light coat. I let them dry in my garage overnight, then installed them:

I'd like to think it makes the car look a little nicer.

Around this time, my wife named my Miata. Don't ask me why, but she likes naming things. Her car ('07 Sebring) is named the Terminator. After leaving the grocery store to come home, we almost got into a crash with a lady that wasn't paying attention. I honked the miata's horn to get the lady's attention. Anyway, my wife got the giggles because she thought the horn sounded 'cute'. After we got home, she asked me to hit the horn again. She said it sounded like the Roadrunner's 'Meep meep' from the old Warner Bro's cartoon with Wiley E Coyote and the Roadrunner. So, my miata became Meep.

One day, after having a bug splat on the windshield, I went to hit the windshield washers. Well, water just started squirting out from underneath the hood instead of the washer nozzles. I could tell it was just washer fluid, so I decided to wait until I got home to see what the problem was. Popped the hood, and bingo:

I looked online for a new Y, and found several places that sell them, but I didn't want to spend $6 plus $5 shipping on that little nozzle Y. I looked online, and found an awesome shop about 25 miles south of me called SR Enterprises owned by a gentleman named Austin. Basically, it's like a Miata junkyard. He buys Miatas for cheap at auto auctions and insurance auctions, and cleans them up for sale or to break for parts. I called him up, and he said come on out and I'll get you set up for a couple bucks. I hopped in Meep and drove down there. I replaced the entire washer line from the reservoir to the nozzles, complete with all the connectors, from a wrecked '97, for $5. We BS'd for about 20 minutes or so, and he let me walk around to check out all the wrecked Miatas he has (I think the exact number was 38). He's got quite a few performance parts as well (i.e. NB tophats and MSM Billies :mrgreen:), but those are having to wait for another date.

After 2 months of ownership, I decided it was time for a nice wash and wax, not just a quick 5 minute hose down at the car wash:

I'd say it turned out pretty nice. The 'professional' respray ended up being a cheap Maaco-style job, so it's not the best in the world, but at least it was done in the proper Mazda 3L Silver and looks pretty good.

While flipping through file folder of paperwork that came with Meep, I saw there was a receipt from a tire shop in 2006. I went out and looked at the tires to look at the DOT date, and well:

38th week of 2005. 10 year old all seasons. Since they still have good tread depth and no abnormal wear or damage, I'm going to keep using them for the time being until I can do a wheel/tire upgrade. Meep isn't my daily driver as I have a company vehicle from work, so I'm not too terribly worried about it for the time being.

I figured it was time for another 'broke mod', since I'm not happy unless I have something to tinker with. This time, it was painting the valve cover. I bought a can of Duplicolor Metal Specks in Red on sale at Autozone, as well as a can of high temp clear coat. I started by carefully removing all the hoses:

I eventually got the valve cover off and started cleaning it. I went so far as to clean as much of the oil off of the underside as I could too:

Zero performance benefit, but it made me feel better.

After getting it all clean, time for the first coat:

If you can't tell by that picture, it sucked. The paint globbed up bad no matter how clean I kept the nozzle, and I couldn't get it to spray evenly to save my life. The clear coat didn't apply too well either, but oh well. After I got the high temp clear coat cured, I got it installed:

It looks decent from a distance, but it didn't turn out as nice as I'd hoped. Next time, I'm either going with a regular color or powder coating.

Anyway, I created a problem by busting the hardened 25 year old vent hose to the valve cover. I went to Autozone, and they supplied me with a 2 foot section of vaccum line. As I was installing it, I thought it would be too loose to seal. Meep started right up, but he ran poorly. I eased back down to Autzone, where they tried the next smallest size they had, but it was too small. Crap.

I figured I needed to replace it with the exact vacuum hose rather than keep ordering hoses and hoping it worked out. I thought about calling Austin with SR to see if maybe he could hook me up, but I figured it'd just be better to replace it with a new part. I broke out my PDF copy of the Official 1990 Mazda MX-5 Workshop Manual With Parts Catalog and figured out the part number I needed.

$15 later, I got a package in the mail from Priority Mazda (it's the same guy from Rosenthal Mazda, FYI) with my new hose:

I took off the Autozone hose, installed the new one, and took Meep for a quick spin. He was back to normal. As I figured, the Autozone hose was too loose and was causing a vacuum leak.

I've got a few more maintenance items on hand that I need to knock out, but it's been too hot to get out in the garage and get them done.

5,016 Posts
Glad you made a build thread Rudy! Always nice to see a fellow Texan on the forums, where abouts are you? :dunno: Look forward to the progress! :)

1,642 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
After having all this stuff for almost 6 months, it finally cooled off enough for me to spend a little time in the garage.

No shifter boots here, as I installed new ones a couple of months ago. MTL for the transmission, Mobil 1 for the differential, and a new shifter bushing. The MTL and shifter bushing were from Moss, the Mobil 1 I've had sitting around the garage from the last time I serviced my Benz.

I started with the diff first:

I was a little alarmed at first since fluid started pouring out from the fill hole, but I realized I didn't have the car level. After letting it drain for a little bit, I leveled the car to the best of my abilities.

Before I drained the diff fluid, I realized I had no idea if Meep had a VLSD or an open diff. I called Mazda USA, and spoke with a very nice lady on the phone named Brittney. She actually sounded like a Brittney too, which was nice. She asked for my name, then the last 8 digits of the VIN. I rattled it off to her, and she correctly I.D'd that I was looking at a 1992 Mazda Miata, 5 speed transmission, A-package car, with Code 3L paint. I explained to her the information I needed, and she said yes, my car originally came with a viscous LSD. She emailed me a PDF copy of the '92 brochure and owner's manual, along with the rest of the information the Mazda computers showed for my VIN, which is stuff I already knew, but still, I wanted it. :lol:

I removed the drain plug:

It looked nasty and smelled nasty.

While the diff was draining, I started to wipe down the drain plug.

Before and after.

In with the new! Look at that golden fluid!

That little pump transfer thing sucked. I had to hold the bottle upside down to get the fluid to transfer while trying to pump it, and the screw in part wouldn't fit the Redline MTL bottles. If your reading this and have a nifty little fluid transfer gizmo you use, please let me know.

By this time, it had gotten hot, and I was ready to be done, so picture taking kind of went out the window.

So, out with the old transmission fluid:

Again, looked nasty as heck. I don't know if it was the original fluid or not, but yuck.

I refilled it with the Redline MTL from above. Since the fluid transfer pump wouldn't fit the bottles, I had to pour the MTL into a clear plastic bottle, then use the transfer pump on the bottle. Of course, the plastic bottle would only about 75% of the MTL bottle, so needless to say, it got annoying quick.

But, I learned something new today, in that Redline MTL is actually a reddish pink color. :haiguyths:

I got Meep off the jack stands, and started on the interior.

More yuck. I tried a few different ways to get the fluid out, including the fluid transfer pump, but a dollar turkey baster from the dollar store worked the best.

After draining the fluid, I realized I didn't have an old shifter bushing to remove. It wasn't in the turret, so I figured it had either disintegrated into nothingness or hadn't been replaced. A little detective work and I actually found parts of it.

Disintegrated into nothingness it was.

I popped on the new shifter bushing, filled it up with Redline MTL, and realized I was 5 minutes into picking up my wife from work. :whistle: I got everything back together, and went for a drive. It's only a 4 minutes drive to my wife's work, all city streets, but I figured this would be a good test.

I picked her up from work, and about 2 minutes into the drive home, she asked me what changed. She said my shifting seemed a lot smoother and Meep seemed to accelerate better as well. I told her what I had done, and she said she could feel a difference.

What she didn't know, is it had made so much of a difference I stalled twice trying to pick her up from work.

$75 in fluids and a plastic bushing, and my little roadster is like a whole new car.

Note to future self: When doing the transmission service, you only need 2 jugs of MTL, cause Meep takes 2 and a bit.

1,642 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Every time I drive to my wife's work, I see a Black and Tan '92 sitting next to an empty house. I always look at it and imagine the possibilities. Comfy long distance cruiser? M.Netter's wet dream? Street legal track rat?

Well, a few days ago, I saw it had a note taped to it:

It was for sale! My imagination ran wild! I did a brief walk around then took a picture of the phone number. As I walked to Meep, I had a rough game plan in my head: if it was cheap enough, buy the '92 B&T and turn it into a 'Major Hater' style build with the funds left over.

I hopped in Meep and continued on to meet my wife for lunch. As I pulled up to the stop sign across the street from her work, I tried to shift from second into first. It kind of 'popped' out of second gear, then wouldn't go into first. I managed to get it into first gear, and eased to her work.

After her lunch break, I got back in Meep, started him up, and couldn't get him to go into gear, any gear for that matter. Thankfully the parking lot is on something of an incline, so I was able to roll out of the spot, but couldn't go forward. I shut the engine off, and realized with it off, I could go into gear. With my foot on the clutch, and the transmission in first, it leap frogged and started up. I had movement! I creeped all the way home in first gear.

Once I got home, I popped the hood and tried to diagnose what was wrong. I didn't really think it was the clutch, because he still drove fine, but I had zero clutch pressure. I wasn't loosing any clutch fluid either, so my first thought was the hydraulic system, but I wasn't 100% convinced.

Once my wife got home, I put Meep up on jackstands, took off the passenger wheel, and took a look:


More Yuck.

I had my wife pump the clutch for me to see what kind of movement I was getting from the clutch hydraulics (it was very very little). The fork from the transmission still had plenty of movement. So, after a little back forth with Rev, Sploinkin, and 99Blk (<3 you guys!), it was determined to be the clutch hydraulic system, either the master, slave, or the rubber line.

Since I don't know the age of those parts, and it's a common failure point anyway, I've elected to just replace everything in one go. New master, line, slave, and fluid.

The catch is, the Millionth Miata is going to be local to me on Saturday, so I'm hoping I can get all the parts in on time and get them installed so I can make the trek to Georgetown to get the chance to sign the Millionth Miata. Fingers crossed!

1,642 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I got all the parts in I needed this morning, and torn into it.

Plainly put, it's kind of a pain in the butt.

Since I didn't know what was wrong and I had no idea the age of the parts, replace everything! So, new Clutch master, clutch slave, Garagestar steel braided clutch line, and a bottle of brake fluid for the clutch.

Even though I have the service manual, I elected to follow Revlimiter's awesome write up here.

That is the inside of the clutch master reservoir, after I drained and removed it. What you see is a little oil, and well, sludge.

Even though Meep has spent his entire life in Texas, there is still rust. The firewall around the clutch master wasn't rusty, so at least there is that. Removing the clutch master and seeing the sludge made me glad I decided to just replace everything.

Removing the clutch slave was a pain in the butt for me. All my socket and extension combinations were either too short or I couldn't get enough torque to turn it. Eventually though, I managed to get both bolts out.

Old and new. The old rubber boot, as seen in my previous post, had disintegrated into about 4 pieces. There was sludge build up on the clutch slave rod, and it looks like the old clutch slave rod is missing the pointy part that goes into the clutch fork.

Only thing left was the clutch line. Easy right? Ha! It went well until I forget about the hose joint at the back of the motor near the transmission.

The old rubber hose and the old curly-q hard line were still attached there. My sausage fingers could barely get back there with all the hoses running around, so I decided to make things a little easier:

I disconnected and rotated the rubber hose that runs from the intake manifold to the brake booster hard line, I removed the old clutch hose junction bracket off of the firewall, and moved the throttle cable out of the way. As you can see in the picture before last, it made a world of difference. The only problem was that spring clamp, which for some reason I had to pull towards the rear of the car to remove it.

After getting everything installed, tightened down, and the system bled, I'm happy to report that the clutch works now! :icon_cheers:

I drove around for about 10 minutes, some slow, some fast, and I can say it works. I checked the fluid level before and after, and there doesn't appear to be any leaks.

I don't know if it's because the fluid was so old and nasty or the clutch cylinders were grimy or both, but the clutch feels....lighter? I can't really described it, but the clutch pedal seems to be lighter and the clutch easier to engage. I don't know if that makes sense, but I don't really have any other way to describe it.

Now, the Garagestar line. I only have one complaint, and it seems kind of silly, but it is what it is. I couldn't tell which end is which. One end has a little bend in it, the other is straight. I didn't know if the end with the bend was for the slave and the straight end was for the master, or vice versa, so I installed the end with the bend to the slave and the straight end to the master. If it's wrong, oh well. My clutch works now and I'm a happy camper!

I'll re-bleed the clutch again in a few weeks, once everything has been worn in so to speak to make sure all the air is out.

Once I have the fundage in the appropriate account, it'll be time to order more parts!

Until next time! : 3gears:

1,642 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I just did this service on my '90 a few months ago. What a dirty job.
It didn't help I accidently kicked the bottle of brake fluid over and spilled half of it on the garage floor. :(

I think I went through like 10 pairs of disposable gloves just trying to do this one job.

1,642 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
After the first trickle of cash started to hit my Paypal account, I knew right away the first thing I wanted needed for Meep: new gauges. Of course, I went straight to the man himself, Revlimiter.

After exchanging a few emails, I placed an order for a standard set. Rev emailed me straight away and said he thought he may have one set in stock for what I ordered, but he wasn't 100% sure. I knew he was going to be taking a trip to Houston that next day so I said if it has to wait, it can wait, I'm in no rush.

Last Saturday, I got a text message from the wife, saying I had a package that was delivered. Wait wha? I wasn't expecting anything. Of course, she brought the package in then left the house, so I had no idea what it was or who had sent it. I was stuck at work, so I couldn't swing by the house to take a peek. After she got home, she called and asked if I knew a revlimiter?

Yes, he had the audacity to get my package in the mail before leaving on his trip. Needless to say, I was floored. This was my third order through Adam, and I can't speak enough praise for his customer service.

So which set did I get?



Version JNC for the NA Miata.

I followed the instructions on his website, but ran into two issues.

First, I managed to break all the mounting tabs on the gauge hood. :cry2:

Second, for whatever reason, my speedometer cable was upside down:

I couldn't get my sausage fingers down through the little gap between the instrument cluster and the dash, so I found a video on Youtube on how to remove the speedometer cable without removing the gauge hood. Following those instructions, I removed the metal knee guard, and snaked my hand through the wiring and steering column until I found the speedometer cable. I was able to work my hand underneath it and hit the release. With that finally done, I was able to remove the cluster.

One issue that had been bugging me since I bought Meep, was one of the light bulbs had been slowly getting dimmer until it finally just went kaput:

I really didn't want to swap to the LED lighting since I like the look of the stock light bulbs, but I couldn't find what size the stock Miata gauge light was. After a quick search through M.Net, I finally found the right size: 194. My local NAPA had them in stock for 99 cents a pop. Since one had already gone out, and they were only 99 cents, I went ahead and bought enough to replace all 4 bulbs at once. Boy, I'm glad I did.

When I ordered my set of gauges, I did them as 'White/clear with red bulb condoms'. I love that blood red look, especially at night. My wife preferred the clear/white look. After I got all the gauges and needles fitted, I popped the cluster out and fitted the new bulbs, but half were installed with the red condoms and the other half without, so I could see which one I liked better. The red was exactly as it appeared on Adam's website, and while I liked it, I didn't love it. The white on the other hand, was gorgeous. I took off the red condoms, tried it again, and was in love.

I took two pictures trying to get the gauges to show up as close to real as possible (yay for potato pics!):

It has a warm, nostalgic feeling, without being overly bright or too dim, which I think fits this set of gauges perfectly. I can't wait to actually see them at night time, not locked up in my dark garage.

First Things First I'm The Realist
10,404 Posts
That little pump transfer thing sucked. I had to hold the bottle upside down to get the fluid to transfer while trying to pump it, and the screw in part wouldn't fit the Redline MTL bottles. If your reading this and have a nifty little fluid transfer gizmo you use, please let me know.
My fluid of choice for the transmission is Amsoil GL-4 and I must say... the pump fits those bottles WAY better. I've tried it on the taller skinnier Mobil1 and such bottles... broke 1 or 2 of the threads. I've moved to considering these pumps consumable and not a forever tool.

If you don't want to bother with Amsoil, find the shorter bottle with the larger neck. I literally keep 2 old bottles on hand... 1 to store the pump and catch the drips (it's all hacked up) and another in case some mouth breather wants me to work on his car but is too assholish to not listen to me when I tell him what to buy. :) No insinuations. I like you. ;)

I'm really glad to see you went with the GS line and have it all buttoned up... and now I need to do my gauges. Thanks a lot!

1,642 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
My fluid of choice for the transmission is Amsoil GL-4 and I must say... the pump fits those bottles WAY better. I've tried it on the taller skinnier Mobil1 and such bottles... broke 1 or 2 of the threads. I've moved to considering these pumps consumable and not a forever tool.

If you don't want to bother with Amsoil, find the shorter bottle with the larger neck. I literally keep 2 old bottles on hand... 1 to store the pump and catch the drips (it's all hacked up) and another in case some mouth breather wants me to work on his car but is too assholish to not listen to me when I tell him what to buy. :) No insinuations. I like you. ;)

I'm really glad to see you went with the GS line and have it all buttoned up... and now I need to do my gauges. Thanks a lot!
Haha thanks. I was thinking of switching to Amsoil front and rear the next time I do the trans/diff service since I found an Amsoil dealer local to me.

I ended up just throwing it away. I tried using it with the clutch master/slave job, but one of the seals went bad and it wouldn't pump.

I figure if I'm upgrading, upgrade all the way. Think of it as inspiration! :p

1,642 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I hopped in Meep a couple of nights ago to take a quick trip to the store for my wife. I cranked and cranked, but no zoom zoom. I ran through a quick check to see if I could determine what it was, and found that I was getting spark, but no fuel. I checked the fuses for the fuel injection, but everything looked good. I called it a night for Meep, and took my wife's car to the store.

Flash forward to yesterday. After checking the fuel pump for flow, and realized I had flow, I narrowed it down to something had to be clogged, either a fuel line or the fuel filter. I figured started with the fuel filter first since everything else has been either OE or just as ancient.

I went to Autozone first. No Miata fuel filters in stock. The guy there recommended I just splice in a 'more common' fuel filter since Miata fuel filters are supposedly hard to get, as it was going to take 2 days for them to get one to me. Yeah, pass.

I went to NAPA next. No fuel filter in stock, they could order one but it would have to be drop shipped from the manufacturer. The closest NAPA they found with one in stock was in Houston. Um, no thanks.

I went to O'Reilly's last. They had one in stock. $7 later and it was mine! The guy at O'Reilly's said they are a 'regular stock' item for them, so they usually have them on the shelf.

I got the old filter removed, and was surprised at how heavy it was. It felt like it was half again as heavy compared to the new filter. Old one out, new one in. I managed to dump about a gallon of gas on the garage floor, since I forget the new fuel filter didn't come with any hose plugs. :suicide:

After a few chugs getting fuel back to the motor, he started right up! My wife and I went for a little cruise to make sure there were no leaks, and she commented on how he seemed to idle a little smoother.

I guess I need to sit down one night with the service manual, figure out what all the service items are, and get them all done if I haven't already.

I've got 2 of the 3 packages I need for my next upgrade, the last one should be delivered on Monday! :phillyb:

1,642 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I finally got around to starting the brakes yesterday. Yes, yesterday.

'Economy' Centric rotors (vented front, plain rear), Centric rubber brake lines, Porterfield R4S pads front and rear, 1L of ATE Typ 200 brake fluid, and one MOOG OEM inner tie rod boot.

For the TL;DR crowd: this whole operation turned into one headache after another.

I started loosening the lug nuts to get him up in the air to get the wheels about, but the back two tires have the wheel lock lug nuts. Guess what I don't have?

I called Stan, who very helpfully told me he had no idea about it as the gentleman he bought the car from never mentioned it to him. I tore trunk apart, up to and including removing all of the trunk interior panels, I removed the seats, I removed the glove box, and nada. I took it to Discount tire, and was first told their emergency removal socket probably wouldn't fit, then was later told it's against Discount tire policy to remove the wheel lock lug nuts unless the customer can provide the key. Mexican tire shop, here I come! They told me they could do it for $10, but I'd need to provide the replacement lug nuts as they didn't have any that would fit Meep. So, for a total of $15, I had the old wheel lock lugs removed and new lug nuts!

So, today rolled around, and it was time to get started. I sucked out as much of the fluid from the master cylinder as a could. The fluid was still really clean, but I figured change it anyway. I started with the passenger side rear as it was the furthest away, as I figured it would get most of the old fluid out of the lines.

As I said, it was surprisingly clean after dealing with that nasty clutch fluid.

I started to get the caliper off, and it exploded in a mess of parts. Rather than deal with the caliper on the car, I went ahead and just removed the brake line so I could take it off.

The old brake lines really weren't in that bad of shape, but I figured might as well go ahead and do it while I have the tires off.

I started on the rear driver side so I could figure out what goes where as a road map for the passenger side. I grabbed the caliper to try and slide it off, but nada, it was stuck. Using a screwdriver for leverage, I was able to get it to rotate, but couldn't get it to slide off. I disconnected the parking brake cable and the brake hose just to make sure nothing was binding, but still nothing.

I looked at the brake pads to see if they were wearing evenly.

Yeah, no. The left one, which was the outside pad, still had a lot of meat left. The right one, which was the inner, was worn almost all the way down. Time for a new caliper!

I called around to see who had a new brake caliper in stock. Autozone said they could have one tomorrow by noon. Pass. NAPA said a week, as it drop ships from the supplier. O'Reilly's had one in stock. As a matter of fact, that had enough calipers in stock that I could replace all four at once if I wanted to. The guy did a little digging in their system for me, and come to find out, they have most of the common wear items in stock at their store, like spark plug wires, various sensors, etc. Needless to say, I came home with a new, well remanufactured, caliper. After a liberal dousing of PB Blaster and repeated smacks with a hammer, I got the old caliper removed and installed the new one.

Here it is installed:

Yes, it's silver. The other three are black. I was tempted to paint them all metallic red to match, but this job had already dragged on long enough.

So what caused it to stick?

The slider pin was rusty, as well as it's little home inside the caliper. Upon further inspection, it appears the caliper or the hose had leaked brake fluid all over the caliper, leading to a build up of gunk, grime, and rust.

After I got both of the rear brakes buttoned up, I started on the fronts. I really didn't have any issues with the fronts, other than stuck bolts, and it seemed like I'd just about get everything done with one side, then I'd look down and see a spring on the ground, or find a bolt I hadn't tightened down all the way.

Tomorrow will be bleeding the brakes, doing another bleed on the clutch, and maybe swapping the inner tie rod boot depending on time and difficulty of getting the tie rod end to pop loose. I'm taking a little road trip to my old home town tomorrow, so it'll be fun to tear up the old back roads in my little roadster and give my new brakes a good test.

I will say this though, the Porterfield R4S pads I installed are my first real 'performance' pad, so I will have no basis for comparison to say the Hawk HPS, HP+, or any of the StopTech pads.

1,642 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Update time!

Stan, the previous owner, had an oil change done right before I purchased it, so I elected to wait to do one. In the middle of last month (March), I saw it was time. In a year of ownership, I had completed a little over 3000 miles.

I contemplated what oil I wanted to go to, as the last oil change had been done with 5w-30 conventional. I knew I wanted to go to synthetic, I didn't know what flavor (0w-40, 5w-40, 10w-30, etc). Eventually, I settled on the 'standard' go to oil for Miatas, Rotella T6, and a Mobil 1 oil filter for synthetics. Everything went smoothly, and I'm happy to report, Meep seems to love it. After a month of use, he seems to run a little cooler and it feels like I shaved a tenth of a second off of his 0-60 time.

Next up, stickers! :haiguyths:

Since sticker real estate is something of a premium for a soft top Miata, I decided to put mine on the inside of his trunk lid. I'm actually pretty particular when it comes to putting another person/company logo on my vehicle, as I've always viewed it as free advertising and my personal recommendation. After sorting through the stickers I had, this is what I came up with:

The end of March came and went, so it was time to get Meep's registration/inspection done. I had my lovely wife check the lights for me, since it's hard to check the tail lights without getting pulled over. Alas, the CHMSL (Center High Mounted Safety Lamp) a.k.a. the third brake light, was out. No worries, right? I went to Autozone, which didn't have the bulb I needed, and wound up over at O'Reilly's. $5 netted me a two pack of bulbs. I went out to the parking lot, swapped the bulb, and had a customer going into the store check the lights for me. Still nothing.

I went home and broke out the volt meter. Lo, and behold:

Yep, pinched wire! After some searching on M.Net, I found it is a common issue with NAs. 1 butt splice later, I was rocking and a rolling!

I live in a no-emissions county (yeah, be jealous :phillyb: ), so no worries over emissions, right?

Well, after about a 30 minute wait and a call to DPS, Meep passed inspection. You see, the inspector claimed my Miata failed inspection because I did not have ABS, which was required for my year model (1992). I tried making the argument it left the factory with no ABS, but nope, he wasn't having it. He called DPS, who told him it didn't matter whether or not it had ABS, as long as it stopped in the necessary distance, which he did. So, he gave me the pass form I needed, and went to the courthouse to get the registration sticker. $74 later, and I was street legal again!

It ended up working out, because that night, I found a post on Craigslist:

Score! I had originally wanted to upgrade to a MSM front sway, but I learned since I have a 1.6 NA, I can't use a 1.8 sway unless I have the upgraded mounts. So my next bet, would be a Racing Beat for a 1.6 NA. After exchanging text messages that night, I made arrangements to meet him the next day.

I met the gentleman, who told me he used to run a Mazda wrecking yard, and had a lot of Miatas. He closed down the wrecking yard a few years ago, and was liquidating the inventory he had. I wanted the sway bar at least, but he said he had a few racks full of Miata parts, and asked if I was interested in anything. After a glance at one rack in particular, I saw a red spring and the Bilstein logo on a silver bodied shock! Oh! MSM Billies! I bent down, and saw he had all four! I pulled two out, which ended up being the rears. They looked good to me, so we agreed on $150 for all 4 complete shocks, 2 hub caps, and the front sway. A trip to the bank later, and I was headed home:

Now, as you can tell, the front shocks and rear shocks have different springs. I didn't think anything of it at the time, until I got home:

Yep, I had 2 front KYB GR2, and 2 rear MSM Billies. Son of a...

I sent the seller a text, and was told he didn't have the MSM fronts and no returns. :(

Needless to say, I was pissed. But, nothing I can do about it now, learn my lesson and carry on.

After working the weekend, I found myself with a few days off. Install day! I began by watching a few YouTube videos of the install process, and thought it looked too easy.

It was stupid easy. Jack the car up, unbolt the sway bar from the end links, unbolt the mounts, snake the old sway bar out, snake the new one in, loosely install the mounts and end links, preload the suspension, tighten the rest of the way. The only thing extra I really needed to do was loosen the end links so I could move them up to meet the end of the sway bar.

Old and busted vs nused warmness:

Result? Best $45 mod ever! The front end is tighter and I can corner flatter with only a touch of very controlled understeer.

As far as the Racing Beat sway bar blocks go, I do plan on getting a set. Half the people I've talked to say I don't need them, the other half say I do. I figure $40 in parts and an hour is worth the piece of mind, compared to spending $150 and an afternoon on the replacement mounts.
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