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Working the body

Posted by Adax , 06-15-2013 · 2,478 views

The underside of a 10 year old Miata is not pretty. Sure, most never see this unless you have a very unfortunate off, but I'll see it every time I'm under the car and there is no better time to do something about it than now. It is upside down after all.

You can certainly be National Champion with the undercoating in place. The weight is negligible (maybe 3 pounds) and it is located somewhat lower than you can legally mount ballast. Removing it is no fun and I would only recommend doing it if you can afford to pay someone to do it for you.

Google undercoating removal and you will find about a dozen different methods. Dry ice works well for the interior sound deadening but is not really practical for the entire body. Heat is recommended but his seemed like a good way to make an unpleasant job into an even messier, stinky job. I thought a needle scaler had promise and ordered one of these bad boys from Harbor Freight. It is now for sale. Unless you work in a shipyard I doubt you will every have an application for this thing. It will remove undercoating but at the expense of the metal underneath.

As I think Drago mentioned in an earlier thread, nothing works a well as a wire wheel on an angle grinder. It makes a huge mess so do it outside. You might as well remove all the seam sealer while you are at it which come off like cotton candy. And if you're like me, since you removed it from underneath, you'll have to remove it from the interior as well.


Plan on going through 3 twisted wire wheels. Here is a new one beside one after about 15 minutes of work.

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PPE is important. I used my welding hood with the darkening element removed, ear plugs, leather gloves, and my canvas welding jacket and jeans. I should have bought a Tyvek suit as I still had rubber bits all over me. I also had to clean them off the side of my house 10 ft up. Enough complaining, here are during and after images. I assume you know what before looks like.

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I found sheet metal features I never knew existed. The uni-body appears to be made from at least 50 separate pieces. You can see a few areas of seam sealant left but I eventually got them all gone.




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