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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Current list of mods and pictures...





Performance:

  • None
Exterior:

  • RSpeed Hood Lifts
Interior:

  • None
General Improvements:

  • Removed rat poison/bait traps from engine bay.
  • Vacuumed out about 5 pounds of walnut shells, crumbs, etc.
  • Removed the Obama bumper sticker and anti-Bush magnet on the trunk. You'd be surprised how hard it is to get off a crumbling 5+ year old magnet off the trunk...
  • Replaced front driver turn signal housing from one I had lying around the shop.
  • Removed wiper arms and wiper fluid reservoir.
  • Replaced foam gasket around third brake light.
  • Repaired tears in rear vinyl window with Tear Aid (Type B)

Maintenance:

  • 02/16/2013, 124,114 miles: Oil change - Shell Rotella T6 5w40
  • 02/18/2013, 124,114 miles: Shifter turret fluid, bushing, and boot change - Redline 75w90 used for the oil in the reservoir
  • 02/23/2013, 124,114 miles: Differential fluid replacement (Redline 75w90)
  • 03/2/2013, 124,114 miles: Transmission fluid (Ford Motorcraft Full Synthetic Manual Transmission Fluid)
  • 03/9/2013, 124,114 miles: New battery -- Sure Start Miata (part # SSB-MIATA from O'Reillys)
  • 03/9/2013, 124,114 miles: Fuel filter
  • 04/14/2013, 124,550 miles: New timing belt, TB tensioner, and TB idler pulley
  • 04/14/2013, 124,550 miles: New valve cover gasket
  • 04/14/2013, 124,550 miles: New PCV valve
  • 04/14/2013, 124,550 miles: New spark plugs and spark plug wires (NGK)
  • 04/14/2013, 124,550 miles: New front camshaft seals
  • 04/14/2013, 124,550 miles: New front crankshaft seal, CS sprocket, CS pulley boss, and Woodruff key
  • 04/14/2013, 124,550 miles: New A/C and alternator belts
  • 06/29/2013, 125,253 miles: Replaced old soft OEM motor mounts with Mazda Comp motor mounts
  • 06/29/2013, 125,253 miles: New O2 sensor
  • 08/01/2013, 125,525 miles: Put wipers back on, increased tire pressure to 32psi
  • 08/05/2013, 125,660 miles: Changed brake pads (Hawk HPS) and rotors (Centric)
  • 08/11/2013, 125,760 miles: Adjusted rear brakes so parking brake would work again
  • 08/17/2013, 125,838 miles: Oil change -- Rotella T6 5x40, Oil filter - K&N HP-1008
  • 08/18/2013, 125,858 miles: Installed GarageStar brake master brace
Future Plans:
  • Hardtop
  • Wheels
  • Suspension
  • Steering wheel
  • Replacement seats (OEM or aftermarket, haven't decided)
  • Replacement carpet and/or trunk liners
  • Win the lotto

Edit: 3/4/2013
So... been tossing around ideas for what I want to do, aesthetics-wise. Unfortunately, I fear it'll look like Steve's, but fuck it. I guess I just like his style. So... some of the aesthetics that came to mind...


I determined my end goal is to have a retro look.
Suspension: coils. Not "slammed", but dropped.
Wheels: banana spokes -- thinking Konig Rewind, 15x7 +0 (I think that'll fit). 8" wide would be neat, I guess, but I'd never probably use the extra rubber, it's more cost, etc.
Front lip: GV lip, but probably a fleaBay knock-off. I've seen some with this, and it completely transforms the front profile.
Rear wing: probably a duck-tail, if I go with one. Not a high priority for me, really.
Might put a retro-ish vinyl strip along the bottom edge of the door (Steve used to have this but took it off -- I thought it looked phenomenal).
I'd LIKE a side-exit exhaust, but I'm not sure how that'd go over. Probably looking at a dual-tipped rear exit, centered under the bumper.
Interior (and this is where the list gets long):


  • Wood grain, 3-spoke wheel.
  • Going with a two-tone black and tan interior -- the back is there, and I've been wanting new carpet, so probably do that in tan. Lower half of the dash (glove box, tombstone, etc) to be tan, upper half (gauge hood, A-pillar, etc) in black. I'll have to really get in there and look at the lines of the dash to see how feasible this is (aka, where the dash pieces start/end, etc), but that's the plan.
  • Tan door cards, but keeping the black "sill" (I don't know what you call that upper-1/4 of the door, just below the window).
  • Thinking of the 2-hump simple roll bar, wrapped in a tan leather. Not sure how this would work (or IF it would work), but I haven't seen anyone else do it.
  • New gauge cluster.
  • Minor changes to the dash (like toggle switches instead of buttons).
And I think what I'm most excited about: "unique"/custom seats. Thinking of getting some sort of basic racing seat, adding a bit more cushion, and then wrapping in tan leather.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Finally bought my first true project car -- 1994 Miata. End goals are unclear; just trying to get it road worthy for now.

Quick run-down of what I've got... '94 Miata, base model, 1.8L motor, manual tranny, and about 124,000 miles. Bought it for $1,685 which is (in my opinion) a pretty fair price. Could I have gotten it cheaper? Maybe. But Atlanta isn't known for its great deals on cars that people actually want to buy. Plus, I bought it from a friend who used to race Miatas and has a shop (with lift) that he's letting me use. He's also got parts aplenty that he said I could basically have free reign on, so that'll save some money, too. Final perk was that he let me do a 90-day interest-free payment plan to pay it off. Not really necessary on a car this cheap, but it's nice not to have to throw down all that cash at once. Made the first of six payments last Friday (2/8), so... I'm on my way to full ownership!

I'd list off "the good, the bad, and the ugly", but... that'd be a pretty lopsided list. I guess I can do it anyway. The good is the lightweight Panotech wheels (14" of pure banana-spoked goodness) with decent tread life left the tires, the engine doesn't have ungodly amounts of miles, the transmission shifts smooth, and all-in-all it seems to run fairly well. The bad is the engine smoked (leaking oil onto headers), the thing is filthy, busted front driver-side turn signal (already replaced with a spare I had in the shop), a couple small holes in the rear window (bought some clear inner tube patches (Tybe B -- suitable for vinyl) to temporarily fix the problem (hopefully), the hood is riddled with dents and the trunk lid has a few dents as well (I think it sat under a walnut tree), minor tear in the driver's seat (not bad for a 20-year-old car though), other minor body damage, etc. I'm not planning for this to be a show car, so the body damage doesn't bother me so much right now. I know with all of these problems it seems like I way overpaid, but it's actually a decent car -- just easier to ramble off the issues than the positives.

I don't have tons of time AND access (when I have time, I have limited access, and when I have access, I'm doing something else), so I've only had one good day to tinker. In that time, I pulled out the rat poison/bait traps in the engine bay. Also vacuumed up all the walnut shells and pieces leftover in the bay from said rat. I wanted to take the thing for a wash first and foremost, but it was boxed in at the shop, so I just decided to clean up the interior/trunk. Started sorting through the random wires I found in the trunk. My best guess is that the previous owner had a multi-disc changer back there at one point. They took out the changer (along with maybe the aftermarket radio), but left all of the wiring and the controllers for it. Dumbasses. Pulled out the carpet and spare to make it easier. I'm thinking I'll be doing some kind of custom trunk interior, as the factory carpet looked like shit (don't even think I want to bother replacing it with more OEM carpeting). Debating on if I want to leave the spare or get a portable tire pump and plug kit...

Upcoming mods/improvements will be a wiper delete (it's missing the wiper cowl, and the metal wiper arms and "spoiler" on the wiper are all rusted anyway), replacing the third brake light (foam gasket was falling apart AND the wiring for it was cut -- wtf?!), and will need to oil the door latches and seat rails. Should be fun.

Will update the first post with the most recent of pictures, but for now, I'll post the "what have I gotten myself into" initial pictures...

















 

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hmmm yeah I think you paid a bit much for that amount of damage but if the engine and trans really is in that good of condition it may be worth it some day.

I want a project Miata so bad but I've yet to find any in our area for that little, at least ones that aren't complete trash; you've got one that works, the only ones I see that do run are like $5k and still look just as rough inside and out.

The annoying this I know they're everywhere. I just suck at craigslist lol
 

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theykickedmeoffnasioc
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1. Those are Panasport wheels, not "Panotech." Google isnt even aware of the existence of Panotech.
2. Clean everything. Right now.
3. Replace all fluids. Brake, Clutch, Trans, Shift Turret, Diff, Engine, Coolant. (replace various radiator / heater core hoses and lines, and/or clutch slave cyl. / clutch lines at this time)
4. Buy the Timing Belt Change package from FM or similar vendor. Replace the timing belt and water pump, VC gasket, and various O-rings found within the kit.
5. Check the condition of the motor mounts. They're likely split in half. If so, replace with Mazdaspeed Comp motor mounts.
6. After this is done, drive the damn car. Once basic maintenance is done and you've driven the car for a bit, turn your attention to the suspension. I'll wait...


EDIT: Also, study Miata.net's Garage section. Bookmark it while you're there... you'll be using it a whole lot.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
hmmm yeah I think you paid a bit much for that amount of damage but if the engine and trans really is in that good of condition it may be worth it some day.

I want a project Miata so bad but I've yet to find any in our area for that little, at least ones that aren't complete trash; you've got one that works, the only ones I see that do run are like $5k and still look just as rough inside and out.

The annoying this I know they're everywhere. I just suck at craigslist lol
See, this is why I think it was a fair price. Given the market I'm (we're) in, it's hard to come by anything in much better condition for less. Typically, a car in the shape/condition would still sell for $2500+ (easily) in Atlanta. There just aren't many "barn finds" around us.


1. Those are Panasport wheels, not "Panotech." Google isnt even aware of the existence of Panotech.
2. Clean everything. Right now.
3. Replace all fluids. Brake, Clutch, Trans, Shift Turret, Diff, Engine, Coolant. (replace various radiator / heater core hoses and lines, and/or clutch slave cyl. / clutch lines at this time)
4. Buy the Timing Belt Change package from FM or similar vendor. Replace the timing belt and water pump, VC gasket, and various O-rings found within the kit.
5. Check the condition of the motor mounts. They're likely split in half. If so, replace with Mazdaspeed Comp motor mounts.
6. After this is done, drive the damn car. Once basic maintenance is done and you've driven the car for a bit, turn your attention to the suspension. I'll wait...


EDIT: Also, study Miata.net's Garage section. Bookmark it while you're there... you'll be using it a whole lot.
1.) Yes, Panasport. Whatever. You figured it out. They aren't my top priority/concern.
2.) Can't clean it in a shop. Otherwise I would have. As I said in my novel, I was boxed in.
3.) Replacement fluids are coming. Just haven't gotten there yet. I want to do a good clean before I replace anything. I'd like to be able to tell what/where something is leaking once I put new fluids in it.
4.) Timing belt looked to be in good condition, but I'll look into it.
5.) Why MS Comp MM? Why not something else?
6.) Yes, being able to drive it is the ultimate goal. The list of mods were not in order of desired/anticipated completion. Just a list. Fuck. You sound like my dad. The reason why I bought this (haven't even told him I bought it yet) was so I didn't have to put up with this...


Also, wtf is this? I found it in my trunk when cleaning up the disc changer wiring. 2 male plugs, no female plugs. Typical Miata gayness.
 

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1.) Yes, Panasport. Whatever. You figured it out. They aren't my top priority/concern. Theyre expensive... they should be of your concern. Clean them up.
2.) Can't clean it in a shop. Otherwise I would have. As I said in my novel, I was boxed in. I dont care.
3.) Replacement fluids are coming. Just haven't gotten there yet. I want to do a good clean before I replace anything. I'd like to be able to tell what/where something is leaking once I put new fluids in it. You'll have to replace fluids regardless. Do them all. Do them first.
4.) Timing belt looked to be in good condition, but I'll look into it. Irrelevant. Replace it and the water pump. Not optional.
5.) Why MS Comp MM? Why not something else? Everything else is incredibly harsh. AWR / Good-win-racing has full replacements but the way they're oriented makes it feel like you have solid mounts. Get the MS Comp and forget about them for another 30k miles.
6.) Yes, being able to drive it is the ultimate goal. The list of mods were not in order of desired/anticipated completion. Just a list. Fuck. You sound like my dad. The reason why I bought this (haven't even told him I bought it yet) was so I didn't have to put up with this... I give you this short list from experience. I have weekly headaches with this car and you will, too. I bought my car at 123k miles so you're guaranteed to tread through the same murky water. You'll hate it, but be better off having done it. Deal with it.


Also, wtf is this? I found it in my trunk when cleaning up the disc changer wiring. 2 male plugs, no female plugs. Typical Miata gayness. Antenna plugs? No idea... I've not seen those in my trunk.
.
 

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Yeah; despite the not crazy high miles (usually the ones I do find that are cheap around here have 200,000+ and are still $3,000), it's an old car, a LOT of stuff needs replacing. I bet all of the bushes in the suspension are shot as well.

I seriously won't be surprised if you sink another $10k into that car to get it in 'nice' condition.

Hey Steve, are NAs as bad as NBs when it comes to crank position sensors and other main sensors?
Major engine sensors are probably also important things to replace.


(And yes, REAL panasports are surprisingly worth a fair chunk of money; while those aren't in great nick, still worth some if you dislike them)
 

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NAs dont have crank position sensors, though they do have a Crank Angle Sensor (CAS) on the back of the head. The sensors themselves are robust but the o-rings around the sensors tend to weep.

As I'm sure you read in my Miater thread, I'm in the process of swapping out all my suspension bushings for Poly. After that, the only bit of untouched rubber on the car will be the diff bushings, which are a bitch and a half to replace.
 

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Yeah, the miater specialist around here wants $200 for the job. Fuck that noise. I'll end up making the 2hr job last 6hrs, not including excessive swearing, throwing of tools and a hospital trip or two (seriously, this is what its like to work on a Miata).
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yeah, those plugs aren't antenna. There was some other wire for the antenna (there was some relay housing or something plugged in there for the disc changer), but that's hooked up back to normal -- the foam-looking cylinder at the far left of the picture, bottom "bundle". I have no idea what that other crap is. The guy had some wires cut and wirenutted to one wire on each of those harness dongles (the blue and black wire nuts in the pic). I guess I'll just pull it and see where it goes.

Also, your "i speak from experience. you'll hate it, but be better off having it done. deal with it" sounds exactly like my dad. Like... eerily like my dad.
 

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Haha, I don't mean to sound like your old man but only about 5% of the work I've done on my Miata has been enjoyable. Generally, New England winter salt has been to blame so you may not have that issue, but fixing cars, rather than improving cars, sucks.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yeah, there is zero rust on this thing (other than minor surface rust/orange dust in the trunk area -- normal, I think). I enjoy fixing cars, but hopefully the necessary repairs don't drain the budget for the fun stuff.

Found this list for fluids to change. I think it's a good start, and covers most (if not all) of the fluids needing replacement. Is there anything you would change (what fluid to use, frequency, whether or not it really needs it, etc)?
http://www.miata.net/garage/maint.html
 

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Engine oil: Shell Rotella T6 - 5w-40 (buy at Walmart)
Trans: Motorcraft gear oil or Redline MT-90
Diff: Redline 75w90 (if LSD, not sure if VSLD)
Coolant: Whatever 50/50 mix is on sale
Brakes: Search m.net
Clutch: Search m.net

Also, replace your spark plug wires and spark plugs soon-ish.
 

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+1 for living in the south, woohoo!

No rust!

Except that SA RX7 I went to look at which had "no rust"
Except all of the rust... well, everywhere... f*&#ing craigslist...
 

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theykickedmeoffnasioc
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+1 for living in the south, woohoo!

No rust!

Except that SA RX7 I went to look at which had "no rust"
Except all of the rust... well, everywhere... f*&#ing craigslist...
lol I remember that. I don't know how he thought he would get away with that 'no rust' claim
 

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Also, also: get multiple keys made. The one that came with my car felt like it was on its last legs so I went to the dealer and had 2 keys made with OEM blanks. One has twisted 10-ish degrees and the second just now almost broke off into my trunk lock.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Engine oil: Shell Rotella T6 - 5w-40 (buy at Walmart)
Trans: Motorcraft gear oil or Redline MT-90
Diff: Redline 75w90 (if LSD, not sure if VSLD)
Coolant: Whatever 50/50 mix is on sale
Brakes: Search m.net
Clutch: Search m.net

Also, replace your spark plug wires and spark plugs soon-ish.
Was already planning on going full synthetic for engine oil. Why do you recommend the Shell T6 (just curious)? And why 5w40?? Mazda recommends 10w30...

Already planned on the Motorcraft for tranny and Redline for the diff (nothing that I've read has differentiated on preference for LSD vs VLSD) and shifting turret. Bought a shifter bushing rebuilt kit, both shifter boots, 6 of the aluminum washers (wanted a set of spares), and a fuel and an oil filter. Not sure when I'll do the fuel filter (soon though, don't worry).

Spark plug wires are a must. Just not sure what brand of plugs or wires I want to get. Haven't looked into it. But being that one of the wires has a chunk missing out of the insulation, you can bet your sweet ass that'll be soon.

Also, sorry to say this, but it looks like I'll be "copying" you on the windshield cowl and probably the radiator "cooling plate" (or whatever they call it). Going black, too, as the polished aluminum looks funny on the red Miatas.


No rust!

Except that SA RX7 I went to look at which had "no rust"
Except all of the rust... well, everywhere... f*&#ing craigslist...
Bahaha. I remember that. How the hell did he expect to pull that off?! Clearly, that car was not native to the south either... We see snow about twice per decade.


Also, also: get multiple keys made. The one that came with my car felt like it was on its last legs so I went to the dealer and had 2 keys made with OEM blanks. One has twisted 10-ish degrees and the second just now almost broke off into my trunk lock.
Sounds like you might benefit from lubing the locks. Or use graphite. That (and getting a couple extra keys) is also on my to-do list, but not quite top priority.


Congrats nice project...love the wheels
Thanks! I like them, just wish they were slightly larger... :(. They'd also look better if the car was a bit lower. Odd how the suspension can make the wheels look so much better.
 
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