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Discussion Starter #1
I've been working on my current mx5 build since sometime in the late fall, when I finished up my 05 STi build.
Bought the car on my birthday in late 2008 from a local guy with 42k on the clock, a JRSC, and not much else. This is my 6th miata.

The car hard been in a hailstorm under the owner before the last one, and had been repainted, with new hood and trunklids. The paint isn't the best, with some chips around the black rail you clip the tonneau cover to, and in the door jams. But it was dingless, which I am big on. A full repaint is coming in the NEXT rebuild of this car, either the original white, or black.

I don't have a very good photo record of the car, I've never been very good at that, and I'm not in the habit of taking pictures at every step of my mods. And typically if I do, I'll whip out the iphone rather than go and get the SLR out. But I'll try and be better about that for the purposes of this thread. And with a lot of the current build done, there are some things to show besides the boring stripping down part. It's mostly putting things back together now, which is what people want to see I'm guessing.

First build thread. Be gentle. Anyways here goes.

Here is the engine bay after I bought the car in 2008






Kinda ratty looking, and not so safe, with no intercooler, an AFPR for fuel, and for "timing control" 6BTDC base timing and a Sebring box to pull 4 degrees timing starting at 2psi boost. Eww. It would ping under load. I replaced the Sebring with a Bipes and reset base timing. That took care of the pinging. Drove it like that for a couple months and then tore it all down for my "MKI" build in early 2009. (late 2010-2011 will be MKII)
 

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I had some parts all set from an aborted plan to turbo my previous NA, so things got moving pretty quickly. The old VLSD, axles and driveshaft were replaced with a 4.11 Torsen setup, with Energy suspension diff bushings.



The stock (!) clutch was replaced with a 1.6l ACT Xtreme pressure plate and fullface sprung organic disk, remanufactured flywheel, new slave cyl, braided clutch line, and new master cylinder.

The brakes were upgraded to 1.8l calipers with new blank rotors and stainless lines. For suspension, installed Tein Basic coilovers with NB shock mounts. From what I understand, Tein Flex is the preferred shock on CR for slamming MX's. I wonder if the basic might do nearly as well, considering the shock bodies and spring rates are identical, the Basic just lack adjustable damping. IDK. Sway bars were 1" hollow RB up front, solid RB in rear.

Back in the engine bay, I ripped out the JRSC system and installed a Greddy manifold and turbo, with a Racing Mazda 2.5" downpipe, and a CX racing intercooler and pipes, with some begi pipe pieces. My pipe setup was ghettoooooo. After these pictures I added a turbo blanket to the turbo hotside.







Completing the exhaust system, I added a Begi 2.5" high flow cat, and a 2.25 Magnaflow Cat back.



Wheel Choice was on the cheap - A-Tek Eraser/MB Weapon (Gramlight knockoff) in 15x7 +35 with 205/50/15 ziex 912's.



Up front the PO had installed BSP low profile headlights. I'd had a set on one of my previous miatas and was a fan. But by this age, the original lights were usually pretty worn out and beat up, and these were no exception. I followed a guide from m.net on retrofitting in some Hella angel eye foglights in place of the original motorcycle lamps.




and no, I did NOT wire in the Angel Eyes :fab::woolery:
This headlight setup is being modified in my 2010-11 build
 

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On the interior, the major work was done in seam welding. I purchased a Harbor Frieght 90amp flux wire welder, and set about seam stitch welding the interior as shown in these pretty famous photos






I also welded the seams of the front seat mounts, and across the top of the windshield frame. I sadly don't have pics of this welding, but I have done far more this winter and I do have pics of that, which will also show the work I did two years ago.
 

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Looks like you are doing good. The engine bay looks much worse than before. But, like I said. Looks like you are doing pretty good.

Keep it up.
Thanks...I'm still recapping its evolution, at this point I am only up to two years ago. So you're looking at pics from around 2008/9.
The bay went from super shitty to slightly less shitty in the pics. But I was still embarassed by it.
The work I am doing now and will post here in a bit is less shitty still, and finally starting to look good. I don't expect perfection until the build AFTER the current one when I can strip the car down to its shell for a respray.
 

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The final changes in my MKI version were on the interior after finishing the seam welding and reinstalling the carpets etc. The seats were replaced with Sparco Roadster racing buckets in Black. A KG Works short shifter was installed with a Voodoo Shift knob. Steering wheel was replaced with a Momo Mod 88 330mm D-Cut Suede steering wheel, with a quick release mount. A 3gauge din pod added oil temperature, EGT,and Air/Fuel ratio (innovate LC1 wideband fed) to the boost and fuel pressure gauges on the A pillar.

Hard dog M2 sport double diag rollbar, HD harness bar with G-Force 6pt harnesses, and a new Robbins zippered glass top.

I traded my OEM classic red hardtop to one of the guys that actually works at Chaser auto for his carbon fiber hardtop with an acrylic rear window. Seemed like a nice guy and the top fits well...sad that they are not doing so well around here.

Complementing the CF top were a pair of CF side mirrors. These are the same mirrors that Moss or someone has sold for the Miata, only I bought the mirrors in bare form and made my own mounting adapters out of aluminum, which is really all Moss does.

Anyways, that completed my MKI build, here are the only real pictures I have of the state I have rocked it in for the last couple years













 

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So yeah, that's all the boring stuff, nothing too interesting there and not much to be proud of. Most of my miata mods were low cost affairs while most of the money went into my FD RX7, Mazdaspeed6 (both now sold) and STi.

This new build is slightly higher dollar, and a little more hardcore. Current pictures to come.
 

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So how'd the welding work out for you?
The first iteration of the seam welding that I did was definitely worth it. The car was that much more composed over bumpy roads, 65mph shimmy was drastically reduced, and turn in was improved. I'd compare it to the difference you felt when you first installed a Hard Dog.

As far as welding on the current project, I did a bunch more in the passenger compartment, all suspension mount points as covered in the other seam diagrams floating around, and some on the front end. I also made replicas of some expensive chassis braces for pennies on the dollar, and made an adapter for my turbo manifold to external wastegate that would have been impossible to buy.
 

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I'm interested in seeing all the progress on the welding!
That makes 2 of us!

Where is all this welding goodness?? Post it up!
 

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Fair enough, I'll start with the welding stuff since it's in demand. First let me introduce the goals of this rebuild:

- get rid of the timing/fueling band aids
- clean up the i/c intake piping
- make over 200hp at the wheels
- reroute the OEM cooling so "normal" isn't 10 degrees from catastrophe
- Oil cooler for same reason
- make the car as stiff as possible, and add lightness wherever possible to at minimum offset weight of bracing
- treat self to set of legit JDM low offset wheels CR does so well, that make my pants fit funny.

Ok I promised to start with the welding.

Here is the work I've done on the interior







Red hash marks are to give a better idea where I was welding. While I was at it, I also used a wire wheel to grind away all the seam sealing goop that mazda used to bond panels together. Why? It's kind of ugly, and it does weigh something. Taken together, I removed at least a few pounds of seam sealing goop from this car. I also chiseled out the black tarry coating that mazda put in four locations on the interior, two per passenger side. In the middle was a rubber plug. I'm guessing these were for drainage? I don't know. There was a **** ton of it in the trunkwell. That all came out too.
 

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Looks good, you did a lot more welding in the interior than I did, and I still noticed a huge difference. Oh.. and is that a Lotus foot rest I spy? Or some sort of odd triangular gauge/cup holder thingy ma-bob?
 

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Crap! That's a lot of welds! I think a NB driver would have a few less (the NB has a few gussets right on some of the spots you welded).

Admittedly, the thing that keeps me from doing this is that you are guaranteed to have to disassemble the entire interior (including the dash), then have to repaint (or at least coat with primer) every spot you hit. If I were doing it, I'd probably save it for the same time I have the car repainted.

Looks good, you did a lot more welding in the interior than I did, and I still noticed a huge difference.
How much did you weld?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
yeah, you do have to strip everything, and you do have to paint what gets welded. I don't recommend just primer, because primer seems to suck up moisture from what I have seen. Makes me wonder what the fate of all those cars running around in primer only is. Guess they would be ok if not taken down to bare metal.

And yeah, that is an Elise footrest. I actually just sold it to Stoly a couple days ago. It's a really nice piece, I'm just going with something slightly different that will eventually be shown in this thread.
 

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Wow, got sick this week in a way that I don't wish on my worst enemy. Wife and boy too. Limited my ability to work on the car, and even to work on this thread.


here's some moar of the seam welding. All the little dots are welds, after I was done I bombed it with some white engine enamel.






And in the rear wheelwell. To prepare, you can take a wire wheel on a drill and use it to strip away all the undercoating and seam goop and leave bare metal. When done welding, I hit it with rust converter just in case, then spray undercoating



can see the poly engine hangers in that pic above.

Below is after welds and before spraying



Here is one of the front wheelwells after welding and undercoating



Again the idea here is that the shock mounts are kinda half assed attached to the frame rails, the sturdy part of the chassis. Some robot spot welds and some adhesive goop. With seam welds you make it a stronger attachment with less flex.


Here's the coolant reroute I did. Tstat is moved to the back of the head, drilled/tapped a bung into the neck there to send coolant to heatercore. You can see that line wrapped in heat wrap in the lower left



The front tstat outlet was moved to the back and aims towards the passenger side of the car. A gates flex hose extends under the intake manny, where it attaches to an aluminum hard tube.



from there it goes into the radiator. Coolant reroutes aren't too hard, and they are a very good idea - the stock routing is crappy, and was used due to packaging reasons by mazda. The motor was first used in the 323, where it was mounted horizontally, with the tstat at the back.

Here is my catch can/vac distribution block.



On my last build I just put a breather on the valve cover, that works fine but eventually the breather soaks, and you get a film of oil vapor on the hood and lots of other bits of the car. Here, I'll have a tube off my Capri valve cover to the bare inlet of the catch can. I opened up the catch can and put a copper scouring pad in it to condense the oil out of the vapor. The cleaned air will then vent out of the breather. The hose coming out of the bottom of the can is corked, used to drain the can when it fills. just stuck it in the frame rail hole there to keep it somewhere.

Here is a Hayden oil sammich plate, with a built in tstat. I wanted to add an oil cooler, as the turbo will heat up the oil, I used to see 210-215 sometimes in the summer with my greddy. The cooler you can keep the oil the longer it will last. The cooler can do that, but without a tstat, it would take forever to get the oil up to operating temps, probably most of my commute, and you shouldn't really get on the turbo/engine until the oil is warm. So the integrated tstat keeps the oil from circulating in the cooler until it's fully warm.



Here is the Permacool oil cooler installed in front of the raddy, and behind my intercooler bracket.

 

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Discussion Starter #19
After welding the interior, it gets dirty as hell. Burns, bits of slag, old dirt, wire wheeled bits of seam glue.
I first grinded down any of the seam welds that were too tall and might affect any trim fits etc. Then vacuumed like a mothereffer, then wiped everything clean with goof off. Then primer, then Rustoleum Hammered Black. Real durable finish, texture hides paint sins. It's good looking enough to make me consider running without carpets, but I don't think I want to deal with the heat. I've got a plan for the interior that pretty much requires the carpets too, but I didn't want ugliness underneath either.





The trunk got the same treatment - all seam glue gone, all tar gone, primer and paint

 

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Thats a hell of a lot of elbow grease, looks good.
 
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