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Surgeon General
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2,924 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Well, it’s a bit overdue, but I decided it was time to put together a build thread for my 10AE.

My overall goal for this car from the time I bought it in August of 2009 was to do a clean, functional build that would eventually lead to Forced Induction, but mainly, to have fun with it!

A bit of my background: I’m in college at the moment, and working a part time job to pay for all this, so don’t be surprised if some of my updates for the car are spaced out or slow at times. I’m doing all of this on a budget, but I plan on trying to get the best parts (that I can afford) the first time, so that I don’t have to go back and redo something later on.

I previously owned a 1992 300ZX N/A which lasted me about 9 months before having 3 piston rings fail, causing the need for a new motor.




I said screw it, and began the hunt for a new car. I had noticed the Miatas at autocross kicking some major butt, so I decided to look into them. A couple of my friends who owned them encouraged me to give the little roadster a chance, so I did! :D

Found an ad on Craigslist for a 10AE (#1027) which seemed interesting, and being an anniversary edition, I knew that this one was a bit different than the rest. Since the price was right, I jumped on it.

Here she is the day I picked her up in League City, Texas. Had 114,000 on the clock, but was surprisingly well taken care of. No rust, and the body was very clean (except for the scraped up front lip!) The previous owner included a set of no name front and rear slotted/drilled rotors which I ended up installing the next week just for shiggles.





After about 4 weeks of owning and enjoying my new ride, the radiator decided that it wanted to explode all over my engine bay when I was on my way home from work one day. I ended up replacing it with a Mishimoto 55mm radiator, which is still working out great today.



The engine bay in all of its stock glory! :D

Even though I had only owned the car for a meager 4 weeks, I didn’t really think I was ready to start dumping money into the car, but after seeing the potential that the roadsters were capable of, it was hard to resist. I ended up getting the front bumper and lip repainted, which made the car look a LOT better.

http://i822.photobucket.com/albums/zz145/ShadowZ32/DSC00413.jpg%5b/IMG
 

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Surgeon General
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2,924 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
I began to look over the aftermarket parts available for the 99s, and started to formulate an idea for the car.

I ordered a set of Hawk HP Plus brake pads, as I had those on my 300ZX, and loved them for DD/autocross use. In addition to the pads, I also ordered a set of Falken Azenis, which were great for autox.

Then, I had my first run-in with the infamous 10AE curse.

In November of ’09, the stock manifold developed a hairline crack in it along the front. I searched for replacements, and the stock 01+ manifold caught my eye. A friend of mine who had a 10AE did this, and being that it was a stock part, it looked positive. But after searching for a week, I couldn’t seem to find any that were worth buying (high prices, shipping, etc.). At this time, the Raceland header seemed to be booming in the Miata world, so I thought that for $89, why not?!

I made an attempt at wrapping it, which went okay in my opinion. I could do better next time…but having the experience the first time and learning what to do, and what not to do will definitely help me the next time I take a stab at it!



The buy was definitely worth it for $89; I still haven’t had a problem with the header since.

For Christmas that year, my parents got me a new shift knob because the stock one was fading fast. This shift knob is the “long” Duracon knob from Tomei. Its lighter than the stock one, but feels great. In addition to the shift knob, I ordered a new shift boot from Redline to match the 10AE blue.



I also ended up getting the “Extreme” air splitter from Track Dog Racing to give the front end a little more aggressive look.

After a bit of a lull in messing with the car, I found that the chassis of my 10AE wasn’t stiff enough. I then ordered and installed a set of V8 Roadsters Frame Rail Reinforcements and a Hard Dog Single Diagonal Roll Bar with harness tabs.







Before I installed the bar, I had the itch to make it a bit different. I got the inspiration to paint the bar Nighthawk Black Pearl from fellow forum member Broketuner. After seeing how his wheels turned out with this paint, I was amazed at the color!



A friend of mine showed me the Carbon Fiber vinyl, and I thought it looked pretty cool so I grabbed some and wrapped my fuel door, hardtop strikers, and made some eyelids. I think they turned out pretty good actually!



 

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Surgeon General
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2,924 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
However, the happiness with my car was short-lived. The 10AE curse struck again.

In May of 2010, I was at a meet with some of my friends, and as I was leaving, there was a strange rattling sound coming from my engine whenever I let off the throttle. I immediately pulled over at a gas station, and decided that I needed to get the car home ASAP! After I limped the car home, I looked over the motor to try to figure out what was going on, and finally concluded that I had spun a bearing of some sort. I got a hold of a local shop that was going to be able to look at the motor, so I decided to pull the motor myself to cut down on the cost a bit.





When I got the motor to the shop, they checked it out and told me that I had somehow spun 3 rod bearings!!! I was really surprised, as I hadn’t done any aggressive driving prior to the motor making the weird noises. The good news was that none of the journals were damaged, and it seemed that a simple rebuild of the motor should result in a healthy motor again. It was at this point, that I decided to NOT settle for a simple rebuild, but to put out the money, get some quality stuff, and build my motor to the specifications that I wanted, in preparation for forced induction. I ended up placing an order with 949 Racing to get a set of Supertech 83.5mm 9:1 Forged Pistons, 949 Racing Forged H-Beam Rods, Mazdaspeed Intake Cam, and ARP Head Studs.

While the motor was being built at the shop, I also decided to get a new clutch, because the stock clutch was pretty old (I believe it had over 70,000 miles on it). I ended up deciding to try the new F1 Racing Technology Stage 2 clutch with the lightweight chromoly flywheel. As of now, I love the lightweight flywheel. It’s great paired with the 10AE’s 6 speed. You can really fly through the gears like crazy with the lower rotating mass of the flywheel. I don’t really care for the clutch too much though. I’ll definitely be replacing it with something stronger in the future.

Anyways, the motor build took a bit longer than anticipated because the machine shop got backed up pretty bad, along with the Memorial Day holiday pushing a lot of their work back. So to “make amends” the shop owner offered to sell me a set of Tein Super Street coilovers for a reduced price. He had the set there, but the guy who ordered them never got around to picking them up, sooooo I just snatched them up.



While I waited for the motor to be finished up, I threw the coilovers on and got a good idea of all the features of an adjustable suspension system! I really love these coilovers; they aren’t too harsh for daily driving, and they have great height adjustability, as well as the dampening adjustability. They aren’t as legit as the Flex or Monoflex, but they suit my needs quite well…for now. :twisted:

Over the next weekend, me and a couple of my buddies got the motor back in, and everything was running great! I was thrilled to finally have my roadster running strong again; after the 9 weeks that I was out of commission, I couldn’t wait to get it back on the road!
 

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Surgeon General
Joined
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2,924 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Everything was going great the rest of the summer; the car was running great, no school to worry about, and the weather was definitely top down friendly! I ended up wanting to try a different color on my wheels, so I painted them graphite right before my second year of college started.



I was able to enjoy having a perfectly operating roadster until…you guessed it…the 10AE curse struck again.

I was pulling into work one day, and as I was coming around the corner into the parking lot, a little girl on her bicycle rode out in front of me. I swerved out of the way to miss her, and ended up jumping over an 8” curb instead. Needless to say, there was extensive damage. The airbags had deployed, the windshield was shattered, the front lip got smashed into 3 different pieces, part of the subframe was bent, and both the oil pan and steering rack got busted. I had the car towed back to my house where I was able to start the tear down…all over again.







Somehow my TDR splitter managed to survive!



I had to pull the motor out again to replace the oil pan, and while the motor was out, I pulled out the whole front subframe along with it.







The hole in the oil pan was about an inch wide. Luckily, nothing got damaged internally.

Then the headaches began…

I had been playing around with the idea of deleting my power steering for the past couple months, and I thought that it would be a great time to get rid of the power steering while everything was disassembled. I was able to find a guy in Houston that had an oil pan, front subframe and depowered rack from an NA that he was willing to sell to me. I took him up on the offer, and drove down to Houston, picked them up, and hoped to God that they would work. Well, the oil pan worked just fine, but the subframe and steering rack, did not. And for all you people wondering if an NA subframe is the same as the NB subframe, its close, but no. The NB subframe has 2 extra tabs on the rearmost part of it that bolt to the frame. The NA subframes do not.

To make a long story short, I went through 2 more steering racks and another subframe that I was able to pick up cheap before I decided that enough was enough, and I just wanted to put everything back with power steering. I contacted Tom at The Parts Group who heard my dilemma and was able to send me a used NB power steering rack and NB subframe in like new condition. As soon as I got them, I mounted them and threw the motor back in.



It was at this time, that I got another itch to do something else to the car while everything was disassembled. After seeing the many Miata engine bays with wire tucks, I wanted to see if I could pull it off as well. It ended up being a lot easier than I thought, and the engine bay looks completely different with all the wires out of the way. At this time, I also painted the headlight housing Nighthawk Black Pearl, which ended up looking really good with the Carbon Fiber vinyl eyelids!

I also had to find a replacement for the airbag exploded steering wheel, so I got a hold of a Momo Monte Carlo 350mm wheel along with an NRG hub and quick release, which I have definitely fell in love with after installing!



(Don’t mind the green zip ties; my reservoir cap broke when I was reinstalling the power steering. :p)

After I got the motor running and everything back together again, I took a bit of a break from the car, as school was picking up again.
 

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Surgeon General
Joined
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2,924 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Fast forward to Christmas 2010…

I had been keeping an eye out for any new wheels that could be coming out, and the Rota Grid V’s definitely caught my attention. I loved the way the new Volk TE-37v’s looked, but on my budget, there was no way I would be able to get my hands on a set of those! I knew that I wanted to get the 15x8 et0 version of the wheel, as it had a bit more of a concave face, and it just looked downright awesome. I saved up a bit more, and debated for a while about which color I should order. I liked the color of my Graphite stockers that I was still rocking, but I had also seen some 10AEs with bronze wheels that looked killer. I decided to pull the trigger on a set in Gunmetal with the machined lip.











Not too bad for a 15x8!

I had to order another set of tires to go along with the wheels, as my Azenis had just about had it! Since I liked the Falken tires so much, I decided to get something with a little more tread life, and picked up a set of Falken Ziex ZE-912 in 205/50-15.

I got the tires mounted, wheels on, and dialed in the ride height so it looked less pokey.





 

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Surgeon General
Joined
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2,924 Posts
Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
As you may have noticed, I still didn’t have a replacement for the stock lip that got ripped apart. I had been on the lookout for a stock lip to replace it, but didn’t find anything promising. After meeting mk2tmr2 and seeing his absolutely flawless and downright badass supercharged NB at a meet, I had the idea to get a Garage Vary front lip. The lip arrived right before the customs scare slowed down a lot of international mail coming from outside of the United States. I got the lip painted and mounted, and was surprised how much it changed the look of the car.





I was really pleased with how everything seemed to be coming together at this point, as my roadster was definitely looking a lot cooler than I ever thought it would.











Now that I’ve become fairly content with the way the car looks, I want to focus more on how the car performs.
 

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Surgeon General
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2,924 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I started off by ordered a Racing Beat Tubular 1.125” front sway bar.







This sway bar really made a big difference over the stock bar. Responsiveness is definitely improved, and it feels like the front end of the car plants a little better in the turns.
 

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Surgeon General
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2,924 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
The most recent part I received was the Beatrush PPF Brace.







This brace really helps to isolate the movement of the differential, and makes shifting so much easier because of the reduced movement.

And that just about takes it to the present day.

My immediate plans for the car are to more adequately prepare it for autocross/track racing, and to start preparing it for BOOST!

More updates to come!
 

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Functionally formed.
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1,752 Posts
You're in the same spot as I am in right now. Very inspiring, and well done. I'm finishing up my first year of college, and I think my motor is on the way out. Shitty thing is, I'm already out of money and don't have a job. This college thing sucks. I'm going to try to pull the motor myself, never done anything like it before, but I don't really have another choice.

Keep this going, I'll stay tuned!
 

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Surgeon General
Joined
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2,924 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for the compliments guys! :D

You're in the same spot as I am in right now. Very inspiring, and well done. I'm finishing up my first year of college, and I think my motor is on the way out. Shitty thing is, I'm already out of money and don't have a job. This college thing sucks. I'm going to try to pull the motor myself, never done anything like it before, but I don't really have another choice.

Keep this going, I'll stay tuned!
Good luck on the motor pulling man; I was extremely nervous about yanking mine out the first time, but I had a good group of friends to help me out and it all went a lot smoother than I thought. It can get tough with limited funds, stuck with a motor that wants to give out, but keep with it! The rewards for getting it all back together and running well are great!!!
 

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Functionally formed.
Joined
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1,752 Posts
Thanks for the compliments guys! :D



Good luck on the motor pulling man; I was extremely nervous about yanking mine out the first time, but I had a good group of friends to help me out and it all went a lot smoother than I thought. It can get tough with limited funds, stuck with a motor that wants to give out, but keep with it! The rewards for getting it all back together and running well are great!!!
Thanks, I'll have a few friends to help me as well. We all know our fair share, but I've never done it before. I think the 200whp was finally getting to it. We'll see tomorrow.

Anyways, your NB is very clean, great job!
 

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Motorboat Captain
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9,990 Posts
Props on doing the engine work yourself.

One of my fave NB's.

Can the rear chassis brace be used with the PPF brace? If so, its relatively cheap and quick to install.
 

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Official Armchair Racer
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14,399 Posts
Can the rear chassis brace be used with the PPF brace? If so, its relatively cheap and quick to install.
Yes, I believe so. Not sure where the OP ordered his from though but mine's 7+ weeks in getting here. :fp: Fak..

Awesome build man. The car looks great, get her out to the track and some autox's.
 

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Surgeon General
Joined
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2,924 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Props on doing the engine work yourself.

One of my fave NB's.

Can the rear chassis brace be used with the PPF brace? If so, its relatively cheap and quick to install.
I actually have a set of the 949 subframe braces, but the rear can't be mounted until I do somethin about the exhaust. For some reason, the brace hits my muffler and part of the piping :(

Yes, I believe so. Not sure where the OP ordered his from though but mine's 7+ weeks in getting here. :fp: Fak..

Awesome build man. The car looks great, get her out to the track and some autox's.
Thanks man, I'm planning on doing some of the local autocrosses soon as well as some with the Austin club. I can't wait to get the car on the Harris Hil Road track in San Marcos sometime soon; a lot of my friends have raced there, so I can't wait to join in!
 
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