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Thread: Impulse Buy: Drift Miata

  1. #1

    Default Impulse Buy: Drift Miata

    Introduction


    Some of you might have seen my other build thread on my 1973 BMW 2002. That project has gotten out of control, and while I will finish that car and make it perfect, I've come to accept that's a year or two out minimum. It's my dream car, and I want to take my time and get everything right. In the mean time, I've been itching to drive something fun. I've been tossing around the idea of getting a dedicated drift car for years now, but I've never been able to commit.


    A friend of mine sent me a link to the video above. I had written off Miatas as an option, because the short wheel base makes them twitchy. I had set my sights on an E36 or 240sx, because they are good at what they do. But I reconsidered after watching a bunch of Miatas hot lapping a track over and over, and then leaving with full tire tread and still running cool. I've had one Miata in the past, and it was a bit of a pile, but I figured I could give it another shot. The same day I found this car on Craigslist.


    It's a 1990 Miata, which at some point received a long nose crank 1.6 swap. The main draw to this car was the hard top. Effectively for the price I paid, I bought a hard top and got a free Miata with it. The story goes, and we'll see if that's true, is the owner before me started to do the timing belt, got stuck at the crank bolt, and gave up. He just bought a new Mustang and just decided to cut ties with the Miata. It's bone stock minus some LRB door cards (which he sticker bombed), and weirdly enough an HKS intake.


    Normally I wouldn't pick up a non-running car for a project like this, but his story checked out. We were able to turn over the engine, he had every single part to do the timing belt job, and that crank bolt is notoriously tough to remove. On top of that, I happen to be friends with something of a Miata expert. My friend (@nhammon) is in the middle of a nut and bolt restoration of his own NA. He came with me to check the car and gave it a clean bill of health. He's also helped a ton in selling me his spare parts and answering any and all questions I have.


    So here's the plan. Basic track mods such as seats, steering wheel, cooling etc. Welded diff, coilovers and angle kit to follow. I'll be fixing the AC, and adding in a new headunit to keep it semi-streetable for the AZ summer. All in, I'll have a very low buck drift car. My total cost in this car will be less than one totaled out 240sx. I just want as much seat time as I can possibly manage this year, and have a fun car to play with while the 2002 enters the boring parts of restoration.

    Starting Point






    The first thing I did was take inventory of what the car came with. As mentioned, all the new parts were included, timing belt, thermostat housing, bearings etc. There were a few seals missing, so a quick order later and everything will be in. The front main seal has clearly been puking for a while, so I also took the time to scrub everything clean to make working on it a little easier.


    I also picked up some parts off of my friend. New Mishimoto rad hoses, Advanti Storm S1 wheels, his old 1.6 open diff (to be welded) and driveshaft, as well as some other misc. bits. These were just sitting on his shelf, and will go a long way to getting this car on the road. I'm on the fence about the wheel choice long term. For now they're absolutely perfect, they weigh ~11lbs a piece and will be great for drifting. But I can't help but want some SSR Mk2s some day. I'm a wheel nerd deep down, I want all my cars to be on three piece, OG wheels. Something to look forward to I suppose


    I could only test fit as it turns out I need new lug nuts. No biggie, it looks goofy at stock ride height anyways. With a drop, they'll look fantastic and the unsprung weight drop is definitely a bonus as well. I've noticed these are a fairly common Miata wheel choice, so I'm not expecting any clearance issues. Especially with stock angle right now.


    If you've gone through my 2002 build thread, you'll know I bought some Car Make Corn's seats for that project. Since I've decided to take the restoration even further, I've borrowed those seats for this Miata project. Saves me some cash, and they're not doing me any good in a rolling shell. Technically speaking the Corn's seats were designed specifically for Miatas, so this is their proper home anyawy. I just plopped the seat in to get an idea of fitment. I'll definitely need a quick release steering wheel to get in and out. I'll be putting both seats in as well, drift missile or no I'd like the car to look nice.

    Side note, I think I'm going to de-stickerbomb those door cards. I'm just not feeling it.




    Since I'm basically just sitting around waiting for parts to come in, I decided to do some cleaning. I was just going to paint the valve cover black, but it was so disgusting I had to take a wire wheel to it. An hour later, I ended up with this. I don't know how I feel about it, but I've spent too much time on it to actually bother doing anything else. So brushed valve cover it is.


    So that's where we sit now. I've put a weekend worth of work into the car so far. This weekend we're aiming to have it running and driving. Once I know it's mechanically sound, I'll order some coilovers, buff out the paint, and get ready for some drift events. This is a change of pace for me, I'm very much a BMW guy. But I'm looking forward to having some fun with this little Miata at the track. I can't promise anything crazy in this build thread, the whole point is to keep this project budget so I don't detract too much from 2002 progress. But I'll be doing the basic bolt ons to get this thing sliding properly.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    I can't wait to see this!

    I love NA Miatas so, but their size scares the ever loving crap out of me. Some day, I'd love to own one! Looks like you got one in pretty good shape body wise. The nice thing is, they don't seem to expensive to fix up!



    Static 1986 Guards Red NA Porsche 944
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  3. #3

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    "Crusty engine" to "somewhat clean engine" shots always make me happy
    I'm following for sure as always, only thing I feel is not a good idea is using your expensive&cool seats on a "beater" car, my experience is they will quickly age with all the entering/exiting the car in a non very careful use

    FB: @DumbassCarCrew - IG: @fruttolo_dumbasscrew

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2018
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    East Washington
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    Love that video, I am planning on doing a Miata drift car soon so I will be keeping an eye on how this goes. Looks like a great start!
    grimegang_cody on insta if you want to follow my build

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenz View Post
    I can't wait to see this!

    I love NA Miatas so, but their size scares the ever loving crap out of me. Some day, I'd love to own one! Looks like you got one in pretty good shape body wise. The nice thing is, they don't seem to expensive to fix up!
    It's surprisingly straight. No rust, no damage, almost a shame it's getting turned into a track rat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fruttolo View Post
    "Crusty engine" to "somewhat clean engine" shots always make me happy
    I'm following for sure as always, only thing I feel is not a good idea is using your expensive&cool seats on a "beater" car, my experience is they will quickly age with all the entering/exiting the car in a non very careful use
    I thought about that, but ultimately seats are for being used. If I have to reupholster them, that's alright. I rather use these seats and enjoy them, than spend on another set to abuse.

    Quote Originally Posted by xxcody2130xx View Post
    Love that video, I am planning on doing a Miata drift car soon so I will be keeping an eye on how this goes. Looks like a great start!
    Thanks, it's going to be a fun project!

  6. #6

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    I love Miatas. What part of AZ you in? I am in Mesa. I have a 89 Nissan Laurel RB25DET swap. Just moved down here looking for like minded JDM lovers.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frisbygolf View Post
    I love Miatas. What part of AZ you in? I am in Mesa. I have a 89 Nissan Laurel RB25DET swap. Just moved down here looking for like minded JDM lovers.
    I'm in Gilbert, so not too far from you. Welcome to the neighborhood!
    I can suggest a few different meets and events if you're interested, shoot me a PM! The car scene in the east valley is a little hit or miss, it'll go through periods of high activity and then kind of disappear for a while.

    Extra Bling

    Last night was a bit of a fail working on the car. While working on the seats, I came to the conclusion that I couldn't make the Sparco brackets bolt to the stock sliders. After some research, I have to buy Sparco bases, which is nearly another $300 in parts, so for now... we leave the stock seats in. While putting the stock seats back in, I turned on a flash light and watched a scorpion crawl under my dashboard. The next two hours were spent tearing apart the dash to try and get it out, but that bitch is in there now.

    During the process of tearing apart the dash, about 90% of the plastics crumbled to pieces in my hand. They were already worse for wear, but now my tombstone is in two pieces and my gauge hood in about fifty more. Granted this was bound to happen eventually, but it's a shame it had to happen before I even got the car started. All thanks to a scorpion...

    Ah the joys of living in Arizona.


    I did manage to mount the wheels last night. Picked up some lugs, again courtesy of @nhammon. I wasn't motivated to take any good pictures last night, on account of the scorpion incident, so... This horrible photo will have to do for now. It truly is awful and I apologize. But that's the best I had energy for at that point. The car sits like a monster truck, it's disgusting at stock ride height. But, that'll be resolved soon enough.


    He also gave me the Circuit Sports overflow tank. It's a little extra for a dedicated drift car, but my stock plastic tank was cracked and showed signs of leaking. He happened to have this on the shelf from his build, and threw it my way. So now I have a very shiny piece in a very crusty car. I pulled the charcoal canister as well, as it's big, heavy and in the way.

    I'm itching to clean this car too. We're convinced this paint will buff out pretty well. It'll never be perfect but I think I can kill a lot of the oxidation with a good buff. So maybe I'll get that taken care of this weekend as well.

  8. #8

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    It Runs


    So buying this car was always a little bit of a gamble. That's how I bought it, pictured above. Like I said before, the previous owner started the timing belt process, got stuck, bought a new Mustang, and dumped the car on Craigslist. Though his story seemed to check out, you never really know if it's accurate until you actually get it running. The good news is, it's a healthy 1.6!


    Last night we went from bare engine to running and driving. Interestingly enough the car came with an HKS intake, which is kind of cool for the JDM scene points. But otherwise serves to be nothing other than a pain in the ass to put on. I have some fresh Mishimoto silicone hoses, new water pump, new timing belt, new cam seals, new front crank seal etc. etc. It's just all fresh. My front timing covers had a small issue where the lower plate was rubbing on the water pump pulley. We just let that "self clearance" for a bit and it was fine.


    Took my first drive last night after getting it mostly timed up. It made it to the gas station just fine. A couple of things I learned on the way there:

    • The trans is probably very low on fluid, it's unhappy with fast shifts
    • It needs an alignment pretty bad.
    • Miatas are slow as hell. My 2002 has spoiled me.


    Mentioned prior, but worth mentioning again, my friend @nhammon has been an immense help in getting this going between parts and knowledge. If you like Miatas at all, go look at his build because it's way cooler than this one. I'm just farting around until my 2002 is 100% again . This weekend I'll be tying up some loose ends, cleaning the car up and making a final parts list to get ready for it's first drift event. Seeing the power I'm working with, this is going to be an steep learning curve.

  9. #9

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    I'm jealous and now I want one too

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by DawsonLiri View Post
    I'm jealous and now I want one too
    Haha they do seem to be going through a cheap streak right now. Iíve seen quite a few good deals for Miatas lately. So now is the time to buy I suppose!

    Too Nice to Drift?

    When I picked up this Miata, we commented on the fact that the paint might be savable. Looking at the previous photos in this thread, it might seem unlikely but thatís the beauty of single stage paint. With no clear coat pealing, you just need to knock off the oxidation on the paint and you can get a decent shine going again.

    So, with the car running and driving, I decided to spend an afternoon cutting and buffing the car. I borrowed a good buffer, spent $80 on some cutting supplies, and setup shop in the driveway. Iíve never actually properly buffed a car myself to this extent, so I made some rookie mistakes.

    Also I apologize for the massive oil stain in the driveway you see in some shots. There was an incident, Iím going to clean it .


    My setup for the next 4 hours


    Before


    Before


    So itís in pretty rough shape. Not photographed are the in between steps, because it was a subtle transformation in between each pass. But hereís what I did.

    • Strip wash (to remove grease an oils)
    • Clay bar
    • Three passes of cutting (finer cut each time)
    • Sealed with carnuba wax


    This is a very time consuming process honestly, and I started around 10am, and was cleaning up around 3pm. That said, the results kind of speak for themselves. I put a few before and afters, which I think demonstrate the difference best.




    The faded paint has gone from disgusting, to presentable. To be clear, the car is far from perfect. For example the hard top simply wouldnít buff out well no matter what I did. I think it was resprayed with some other paint at some point, and it just powdered up. I also took the lazy route and didnít remove tail lights, mirrors, handles etc. I just wanted a broad cut and buff to make the car look a little nicer.


    Horrible oil stain aside, the car looks better!


    Post deep waxing.

    Iím starting to feel a little guilty for planning on drifting this Miata. Itís rust free, crash free, 90% stock. That said, I rather work with a car like this, clean and trouble free, than waste seat time on a basket case. Maybe I shouldnít have made it so pretty, but Iím happy with the results all the same.

    Up next, I need to figure out some interior bits. I absolutely have to get a steering wheel in the car, the stock one is disgusting and too big for my knees. I also want to get my bucket seats in, and I think I have zeroed in on a solution for this. Iíll be dropping off the spare diff for some gear melting this week, and next weekend plan to get it in the car. Also a few coolant lines that I didnít replace started weeping. Best to fix them now before they explode. Then, minus coilovers, the car will pretty much be track ready.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
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    Helsinki, Finland
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    Nice project. Don't feel bad, I had super rare JDM import, numbered Mazdaspeed build NA, showroom mint with low mileage, AC, leather interior and fully build Mazdaspeed engine, exhaust, roll bar, suspension, KAAZ LSD etc and it became crash'd and trash'd track whore. Trash it.
    But have to say a good luck with 1.6 diff. I've broken one (and I'm not alone), standard N/A power, ring and pinion will shat them selfs. I would start searching 1.8 diff with axles to go with it asap.

    Last edited by samulis; 05-07-2019 at 03:23 PM.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by samulis View Post
    Nice project. Don't feel bad, I had super rare JDM import, numbered Mazdaspeed build NA, showroom mint with low mileage, AC, leather interior and fully build Mazdaspeed engine, exhaust, roll bar, suspension, KAAZ LSD etc and it became crash'd and trash'd track whore. Trash it.
    But have to say a good luck with 1.6 diff. I've broken one (and I'm not alone), standard N/A power, ring and pinion will shat them selfs. I would start searching 1.8 diff with axles to go with it asap.
    Oh yeah, I'm still moving forward with tracking this car. But I can't help but feel a bit of guilt the cleaner this car gets. Regardless this is what I bought it for, and for the money I wouldn't get anything better.

    I've put out a feeler for a 1.8 diff, several people have warned me that the 1.6 will shatter sooner or later. So hopefully I can find a setup locally and get that swapped over. I want as much seat time as possible with this car, so any weak spots will need to be taken care of to prevent down time.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bwwaaaa View Post
    Oh yeah, I'm still moving forward with tracking this car. But I can't help but feel a bit of guilt the cleaner this car gets. Regardless this is what I bought it for, and for the money I wouldn't get anything better.

    I've put out a feeler for a 1.8 diff, several people have warned me that the 1.6 will shatter sooner or later. So hopefully I can find a setup locally and get that swapped over. I want as much seat time as possible with this car, so any weak spots will need to be taken care of to prevent down time.
    NB 1.6 has same "big" diff too. BNFL has so called "super fuji" diff that isn't all that sturdy, but should be ok as long as you dont turbo it. Friend had super rare JDM special 4.88 with torsen, that was fun, hitting the rev limiter at 180km/h 110mph, but it pulled quite nicely. You can swap 4.7 ration ring and pinion from Kia Sportage front diff into 1.8 diff.
    Also you can remove the crash bumbers that are hidden under the bumber covers, nice weight reduction.
    Last edited by samulis; 05-12-2019 at 02:00 AM.

  14. #14

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    Big Fail

    Right, so a lot to unpack in this post, and very few photos. I've been swamped lately, so what little time I've had to work on the car is always kind of a thrash. That basically means no photos.

    I ended up going to my first track day with the Miata, and it was a bit of a disaster. To rewind a little bit, since my last update, I gave up on the Car Make Corn's seats. The Garage Star seat bracket I purchased for them doesn't work with the XL version of the Corn's seat. GS swore up and down that this seat rail would in fact get me to fit well in the Miata. I ended up picking an OMP Champ R, something a local distributor said they had installed in a Miata, with a GS rail, and it would fit me well. Sure enough, no luck. The GS rail kind of sucks, simply because it sacrifices reward mobility for a fairly useless adjustment system.

    The problem is my legs are so long that I have to bend them substantially to place them on the pedals. This puts my knees into the steering wheel. I ended up getting an NRG hub and quick release, but even that didn't put the steering wheel far enough away from my knees. So I borrowed a deep dish steering wheel, and while that finally cleared my knees, the steering wheel was now practically in my face.

    This about made me give up on the car entirely. I was now two seat setups in with no results, and getting frustrated with bad information from companies. But, I had already swapped in the welded differential.


    This last weekend I decided to sign up for a local drift clinic and evening drifting event. I figured I may as well get some seat time out of the car before I get rid of it. Two things happened.

    1. I almost blew the whole thing up.
    2. I absolutely fell in love with the car.


    I'll address the second point first. As it turns out, just doing some dumb donuts around a cone in a Miata is absurdly fun. Took me a bit to get a hang of it, being on blown stock suspension and fighting a short wheel base wasn't ideal. But towards the end of the time I did get, I was starting to get the hang of it.

    To the first point, about 1.5 hours in, the instructor sitting in the Miata with me looked out the window and asked me if the car leaked. It hadn't up until that point, I just redid most of the seals on the engine. But sure enough there was a ring of oil spots where I had been going around the cone. I went into the pits, tightened the valve cover, and went back out. Worse this time, puking oil, and I finally shut it off when I lost all oil pressure. Back to the pits, the engine bay is COVERED in oil.

    Some more poking around, and sure enough it looks like my brand new front main had failed and vomited oil onto the timing belt, which in turn flung it everywhere. I was at the track alone, drove the Miata there, and didn't really see myself successfully repairing it track side, so what was supposed to be a ~11 hour day at the track, ended at about 2 hours. Bummer, but it happens. I then had to uber to the nearest AutoZone to pick up oil, uber back and pack up my things. Fortunately with the oil topped off, and not under heavy load, it didn't spew oil and seemed to hold oil pressure. So I limped it home, stopping every few miles just to make sure things hadn't gotten worse.

    That evening, someone suggested that it wasn't the seal that failed by itself, but rather I had a faulty PCV valve that was building up too much crankcase pressure. This would cause the oil to push past the seal, and result in that failure. A friend had a new one on his shelf, so I picked it up and plopped it in the Miata in about 30 seconds. Sure enough, full oil pressure and no more spewing under heavy load. Annoying that such a simple part ruined my first go at a track day.


    You live and you learn, now that I know what caused the problem, I'll clean the engine back up and make sure there wasn't any damage to the seals. I'm going to make a couple of changes to the engine bay to make it easier to monitor leaks and spills, and get a seat in. Hopefully I'll have coilovers in soon, and I'll get this thing a little more dialed. This weekend was a learning experience, and I came super under prepared for such a long event. Now that my schedules are a little more normal, and I'm not traveling so much, I'll take more photos and update more often.

    If you read through that wall of text, thank you for bearing with me

  15. #15
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    Glad to see it was an easy fix for the oil issue. Sucks about the seat situation.
    97 M3 GT2
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  16. #16

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    Seat situation is classic for tall people in miatas...the only thing I've seen successfully working are Lotus Elise seats on fixed brackets (stock or racing-er aftermarket ones if you need more side support), and those are actually comfy too even with near to no padding. Dunno about availability on that side of the big salty waters tho

    FB: @DumbassCarCrew - IG: @fruttolo_dumbasscrew

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by hinrichs View Post
    Glad to see it was an easy fix for the oil issue. Sucks about the seat situation.
    Thanks! And I'll figure the seat out one way or another. Considering the Spec Miata seat drop at the moment. Requires some aggressive cutting and welding of the floor, but might solve the issue for good.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fruttolo View Post
    Seat situation is classic for tall people in miatas...the only thing I've seen successfully working are Lotus Elise seats on fixed brackets (stock or racing-er aftermarket ones if you need more side support), and those are actually comfy too even with near to no padding. Dunno about availability on that side of the big salty waters tho
    Fun story actually, I had another NA Miata about 6 years ago. One of my only modifications to it before the engine imploded was putting a Lotus Elise seat in. I had to dig around, and this was the only photo I could find of that.


    They're expensive, and definitely make you sit far back in a Miata. However, they're not very supportive laterally. For drifting, I need that lateral support to keep me upright while going sideways. That said, they might be my only option.

  18. #18

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    Dunno about how skinny yo ass is, since those are really narrow, but here's an (expensive af) example of an elise seat with really high sides

    https://www.sportseats4u.co.uk/shop/...s-racing-seat/

    Only thing they all lack is shoulder support, for obvious reasons, but I don't think there is much room for that in a miata either

    FB: @DumbassCarCrew - IG: @fruttolo_dumbasscrew

  19. #19

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    Cleaning Up

    Small updates, because I'm not actually finished with this project. But I haven't posted much in a hot minute, and I just felt like sharing what's going on. Basically, I went in to add AC into the car, and discovered some more damage. One thing led to another and here we are. This isn't quite 2002 territory, because I'm not trying to make the car perfect or do a lot of custom things. I've just been severely delayed by parts and my own spare time.








    First thing is first, the photos are just plain shitty. I know it, you know it. Motivation to capture things as I go along has been low, so I apologize. I'm due to break out my DSLR anytime now I guess. That said, I made some small interior improvements. I got rid of the Nardi shift knob, as cool as it was it didn't really fit my needs. I found a taller shift knob via 5x racing, so I went with that. I sourced a new-to-me tombstone, since mine fell apart when I removed it. It's rough, but better than having nothing at all.

    I added a new radio as well, using the DDMworks surround. This isn't strictly necessary for the track, but the car will be driven on the street and I need my tunes. Turns out half the speakers are fried in this Miata, but still this works as intended. You'll also note the three gauges below the radio. Those are actually blank fillers. I specifically ordered the 3 gauge radio surround for future application. I figure if I ever boost the car, I'll need a place for gauges. But since I have no need for them now, I simply popped in 3 blanks from Glowshift. They look fine, and give me the option to change things later.

    Then came the bummer. I have to AC in my street cars, this is Arizona and it has to happen. When we lifted the car in the air, I took a really close look at the front subframe for the first time. The car had clearly been punted into a curb at some point in it's life, and the steering rack tab was taco'd. This probably explains some of the funny steering feel I was getting out of the car, so I just opted to replace the whole subframe. I needed new rack bushings, steering rack risers, and motor mounts anyways. Plus the oil pan gasket was leaking, and it's so much easier to do with the subframe entirely out of the way. So out it all came.




    New subframe I picked up


    I cleaned it and repainted it. Had some ridiculous color shift clear sitting around from an old art project, so I sprayed that on for fun.


    You can compare the extent of the damage to the old subframe. Steering rack mounting point is crunched in.


    You'll also spot that I did in fact purchase coilovers for this car. I just got some cheap K Sports. They're really not ideal, and frankly I'm not a huge fan of the company, but they are local to me so I figure if I crash and need parts, they can supply them pretty quick. Long term, if I keep this car, they'll be swapped out for something a little higher quality. While I had it all apart, I put in polyurethane steering rack bushings, 5x steering rack risers, and NB camber bolts up front. The hope is all these changes will allow me to fine tune the alignment and get the car feeling planted and consistent.


    Here's a before and after on the drop. Obviously I'm in need of a good fender rolling, I haven't driven on this setup yet, but frankly that's not even leaving the driveway with that little room.




    Another small, but important, change I made for the track is swapping on 949 racing lug nuts. You'll see in the first image, the lugs I had before required a key to remove. This is a hassle at the track, and just gives me one more tool to potentially lose. The 949 lugs are super light, but more importantly accept a simple 19mm socket. No more key needed to remove drift spares at the track. A cheap change that will make a noticeable difference.

    Currently I'm waiting for the oil pan seals to arrive, and then I'll be putting the subframe back in the car. I'll just need to adjust the coilovers a bit, get an alignment and roll the fenders to be back on the road. At which point I'll have fully functional AC, a refreshed steering system, and new suspension all the way around. Not a bad improvement between events. I'm also currently waiting on my rollbar to be made at Zerekfab. That should wrap up about 90% of what I want out of the car right now. So here's hoping I have another update in the next couple of weeks.

  20. #20

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    Hope you know you now need to paint as many parts as possible in that ninja turtle paint

    Fitment looking good, coilovers always make things cool

    FB: @DumbassCarCrew - IG: @fruttolo_dumbasscrew

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fruttolo View Post
    Hope you know you now need to paint as many parts as possible in that ninja turtle paint
    what he said!

    Bummer for the subframe, at least you didn't find any rust... for now.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
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    With the seat rail, just throw it away/sell it. I'm 6'2", long legged and I had JDM roll bar that had leg's behind the seat, lost 2-3" on movement. I bought similar rails and my head hit the top and I didn't get the seat to move enough and even that it was "super low" it didn't help because if you look the original seat, it sits between the rails, so it goes lower than the lowered special. To make it up just I bolted the seat straight into floor. There is some bracket making and griding involved but its well worth it and it helps alot. I could fit in with the helmet no problem and I had more room in lenght wise and less problem with knees hitting the steering wheel.
    I didnt and still don't like the Elise S1 seat (least of Elise's problems), my bum is too slim so it felt like sitting on church bench and there is not enough support sideways, biggest problem was that it wasn't meant for track driving so there wasn't holes for 4 point belts (in worst case, deadly on crash) and no room for helmet like race seats have, it pushed head forward when sitting up right.
    If you can afford Tillett seat, I highly suggest them, they fit like Italian shoes, but I bet you can find similar ones locally.
    Have you check'd Flyin'Miata's seat list of what fits in Miata? They have picture that gives you seat measurements what to look and also old list of know seats. There is also a good thread about seats in Miataturbo.

    With suspension best of all I've tried by miles is 949Racing's XIDA's. ÷hlins are great, but are too general to suit, rear runs out of shock lenght and bottoms out "all the time", it can be helped with NB rear top mounts. MeisterR and BC Racing bound and rebound seemed to be bit out of balance. XIDA's have been ones that make you forget the suspension, in good way, like in good Porsche's. They just work.

    Can't remember was it Flyin'Miata or 949Racing that had list of good alignment for track, road etc.
    If you havent changed polybushes all around, I would suggest it too, before, on our second track whore, while braking it moved around that stopped with poly bushes. With Engine mounts don't go too hard, we had ice puck hards (also we took all the interior off to make it lighter, biggest, stupidest mistake) and it just made the whole car feel like your sit inside big loud drum, undrivable to the level that you can't hear your thoughts. But nice, harder ones make shifting easier, when in our local track I had S bend with braking and down shifting, engine/gearbox moved/tilted so much sideways that I often found 4th instead of 2nd.

    I bet you have read miataturbo.net about all you need to know about boosting Miata, if not, read, don't ask, they love frying lazy asses. They also have good thread about what it takes to build turbo miata for real track use so that it lasts more than one stint. From my experience of 10 or so different turbo Miatas ranging from 180whp to +400whp I would suggest to go with smallest that gets you to the number you want and gives you the flattest torque curve.

    Sorry for the long rant (and bad'ish English), I bet I'm repeating things you already know but it all comes back and I love sharing.
    Last edited by samulis; 07-14-2019 at 04:48 PM.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Oregon, USA
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    9,326

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    kind of sad to see the Elise S1 seat go, looked hella cool, but I know that is meaningless if they aren't comfortable or safe. Curious to see the new Tillett seat.

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by DawsonLiri View Post
    what he said!

    Bummer for the subframe, at least you didn't find any rust... for now.
    If I find any rust, I'm driving this car in a lake and leaving it there
    I have enough of that on the 2002 to last a life time haha.

    Quote Originally Posted by samulis View Post
    With the seat rail, just throw it away/sell it. I'm 6'2", long legged and I had JDM roll bar that had leg's behind the seat, lost 2-3" on movement. I bought similar rails and my head hit the top and I didn't get the seat to move enough and even that it was "super low" it didn't help because if you look the original seat, it sits between the rails, so it goes lower than the lowered special. To make it up just I bolted the seat straight into floor. There is some bracket making and griding involved but its well worth it and it helps alot. I could fit in with the helmet no problem and I had more room in lenght wise and less problem with knees hitting the steering wheel.
    I didnt and still don't like the Elise S1 seat (least of Elise's problems), my bum is too slim so it felt like sitting on church bench and there is not enough support sideways, biggest problem was that it wasn't meant for track driving so there wasn't holes for 4 point belts (in worst case, deadly on crash) and no room for helmet like race seats have, it pushed head forward when sitting up right.
    If you can afford Tillett seat, I highly suggest them, they fit like Italian shoes, but I bet you can find similar ones locally.
    Have you check'd Flyin'Miata's seat list of what fits in Miata? They have picture that gives you seat measurements what to look and also old list of know seats. There is also a good thread about seats in Miataturbo.

    With suspension best of all I've tried by miles is 949Racing's XIDA's. ÷hlins are great, but are too general to suit, rear runs out of shock lenght and bottoms out "all the time", it can be helped with NB rear top mounts. MeisterR and BC Racing bound and rebound seemed to be bit out of balance. XIDA's have been ones that make you forget the suspension, in good way, like in good Porsche's. They just work.

    Can't remember was it Flyin'Miata or 949Racing that had list of good alignment for track, road etc.
    If you havent changed polybushes all around, I would suggest it too, before, on our second track whore, while braking it moved around that stopped with poly bushes. With Engine mounts don't go too hard, we had ice puck hards (also we took all the interior off to make it lighter, biggest, stupidest mistake) and it just made the whole car feel like your sit inside big loud drum, undrivable to the level that you can't hear your thoughts. But nice, harder ones make shifting easier, when in our local track I had S bend with braking and down shifting, engine/gearbox moved/tilted so much sideways that I often found 4th instead of 2nd.

    I bet you have read miataturbo.net about all you need to know about boosting Miata, if not, read, don't ask, they love frying lazy asses. They also have good thread about what it takes to build turbo miata for real track use so that it lasts more than one stint. From my experience of 10 or so different turbo Miatas ranging from 180whp to +400whp I would suggest to go with smallest that gets you to the number you want and gives you the flattest torque curve.

    Sorry for the long rant (and bad'ish English), I bet I'm repeating things you already know but it all comes back and I love sharing.
    Thank you for all this info! I was familiar with some of this information, but you shed a lot of light on the seat that just doesn't seem to be available online in this detail. I ended up upgrading to Mazdaspeed engine mounts, which I have heard gives the best balance between comfort and firmness. XIDAs seem to be the way to go suspension wise, though I'll give the KSport a fair shake for now and adjust once I get more comfortable with the chassis. In retrospect I wish I went that way initially.

    I had been planning on just giving up on the seat front, but I think a floor mount solution may be the only option at this point. I've heard of Tillett, but haven't had a chance to test one out before. I'm going to need to explore that option, if it fixes this seat headache once and for all, I'll be a happy camper. The problem is, most people recommend tube frame seats, which I find to be horribly uncomfortable. I prefer something like the OMP or Corns I bought, with a fiberglass shell. Locally it seems like most people just slap a Kirkey in the car and call it a day. If I have to, I guess I will, but it doesn't really fit my needs. Plus, I just think they look ugly...

    Definitely appreciate all the info, every bit helps at this point!

  25. #25

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    I love kirkeys look wise but they don't look that comfortable for anything else than drag racing, but then again I never sat in one. I sat in some tube frame seats tho and those are the worst stuff I've ever laid my ass on, sparco sprints are so uncomfortable I'd rather sit on the floor with a rope holding me down

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