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NorCal '91 NA Spec Miata Build

- - - - - build na scca construction 1991 1.6L

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#1
Austin Robison

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Hey everyone,

After a great first season racing rented SM's in the San Francisco Region SCCA (many thanks to Larry Oka and crew!) I decided to build my own car for next season. So a few weekends ago I picked up a base model '91 from a guy in San Jose. Cosmetically a little rough, but really great mechanically. Straight tub, no signs of crash damage, the transmission feels recently rebuilt, a fresh-ish motor that was replaced 100k miles ago (or so I was told). The odometer reads 330k miles, so I'm not sure how much I believe that... The car looks ways too good for that many miles.

I'll be posting my progress (and probably asking lots of dumb questions) to this thread. I'm really looking forward to building my own car and getting out there and dicing with you guys next season!

~Austin

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#2
Austin Robison

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I'll go back in time a little bit here, since I've got a few days of stripping already done.
 

After cleaning out the random bits of detritus that had accumulated in the passenger compartment I start on taking the soft top off. And found this:
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I think it's...a hamster?

#3
Austin Robison

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Got the soft top off:

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And the seats are out:

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#4
Austin Robison

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Dash comes out:

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And carpet comes out too:

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Nice and straight.

#5
Austin Robison

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Some trunk emptying

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And most of the rear off:

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Who thought the rear bumper shell needed so many fasteners?!

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#6
Austin Robison

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Pretty much up to date now.

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#7
Austin Robison

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So the plan going forward is to clean and repaint the interior, have TC fab and install my cage, seat, nets, etc. and then have at the mechanicals. I want to strip it down to the bare tub as much as possible (or as much as appropriate for installing a cage). There's also a machine shop right next door to our shop, so I'm planning on doing some work on the motor while I'm at it. Have some head work done, bring the compression ratio up to snuff, see what condition the rings and cylinders are in, replace seals, etc. It looks like there's a little oil seepage coming from the rear of the block, but nothing major.

And then I have to decide what color the paint this thing...

#8
Phillip Holifield

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Looking good. Best of luck with the build

Who thought the rear bumper shell needed so many fastener?!


Now you sound like Juan :D
We have a Winnah! - Won their 1st race... Congratulations! Series Champ - Won a points based series in a Spec Miata Bona fide - A bonafide Spec Miata driver Series Champ - Won a points based series in a Spec Miata

#9
Todd Tagget

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Hey Austin, Looks good I'm a few weeks behind you as I just bought my car and hardtop last week, but will be Dec 1 before I can pick it up and start the process.
It will be interesting to compare notes.
Bona fide - A bonafide Spec Miata driver

#10
Ron Alan

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Austin,

PM me if you need anything parts wise or hunting for something I don't have...will keep an eye out for you. If you are going to go the torsen route hit me up for that...and of course any advise! Have fun! Ron

Ron

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2014 NASA SM Western States Champion(Car owner)

2015 NASA 25HR E3 Champion(Car owner)

2016 NASA 25HR E3 Champion(Car owner)

2017 NASA 25HR E3 Champion(Car owner)

2018 NASA 25HR E3 Champion(Car owner)

2017 NASA NORCAL SM Series Leader

2018 NASA NORCAL SM Series Leader

Donor - Made PayPal donation Bona fide - A bonafide Spec Miata driver

#11
Austin Robison

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Thanks guys! I think the biggest part to source will be the hardtop. I was planning on going the Mazdaspeed LSD route, and am currently examining my seat options before I bring the car to Tony for cage and seat installation. Definitely going the full containment route, just not sure which yet. Aluminum vs. Fiberglass, Sparco vs. Racetech vs. Kirkey, etc.

Ideally this weekend I'll get the interior ready for the cage, remove the stock exhaust to make way for a Springfield Dyno setup, and probably pull the engine/trans for refreshing.

I haven't decided if I'm going to go Sealed Spec or not yet, either.

#12
Ron Alan

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Sent pm!

Ron

RAmotorsports

2014 NASA SM Western States Champion(Car owner)

2015 NASA 25HR E3 Champion(Car owner)

2016 NASA 25HR E3 Champion(Car owner)

2017 NASA 25HR E3 Champion(Car owner)

2018 NASA 25HR E3 Champion(Car owner)

2017 NASA NORCAL SM Series Leader

2018 NASA NORCAL SM Series Leader

Donor - Made PayPal donation Bona fide - A bonafide Spec Miata driver

#13
EscapeDan

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Austin - this is great news! Hit me up if you need an extra set of hands.

#14
Austin Robison

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Spent some more time this weekend dismantling and cleaning. Picked up a seat and belts at Wine Country Motorsports and Ron tipped me off to a hard top while I was up there too, thanks Ron!

So far nothing has been too hard or surprising, just lots of bolts to come off. And the brass grounding screws that stripped themselves taking the dash bar out of the dashboard... On the other hand, I found a ratchet under the parcel shelf.

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#15
Austin Robison

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Dash bar back in:
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The sealant in the doors is pretty gross...
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But I managed to get most of it off (freezing it off is probably the best approach here, I'll come back to that when I solvent the crap out of everything to get 20 years of filth off...)
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#16
Austin Robison

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For taking the glass out, remember to take the three bolts out of the glass that attach it to the center guide before trying to pull it out, or you will be very confused on how to get the whole assembly out. Same goes for the crank assembly, don't try to feed it up out of the top of the door; undo the two bolts holding the front part of the moving window frame so you can get the crank into the center part of the door. Then take the crank and the guide it's attached to out through the central hole. You'll also find the small hole right under the lock handle is a great access hole for one of those three bolts (almost like someone put it there on purpose ;) )

#17
Austin Robison

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Hardtop resting:
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And the most exciting find of the day was a huge black widow living in the front fascia right where I was about to reach in to unfasten those bolts holding it on...
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#18
Austin Robison

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Dispatched the spider today, but did get a great picture first:

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With that, front fascia and bumper are off:

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Coolant drained (not much in these guys, huh?):

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And radiator and fan out:

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What radiators are people liking these days? (And what temperature thermostat while I'm thinking about the cooling system?)

#19
Doug007

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Dave Wheeler's recommendation on radiators: http://www.advanced-...2f72e55e9806d4f

I've heard some folks gut the thermostat entirely to increase coolant flow and keep the engine cool. It's not really necessary if you aren't running in cold weather. Check this out: http://forum.specmia...44;t=002776;p=0

#20
Alberto

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I'm running that NAPA "42" t-stat. Can't remember if it is a 180 or a 160. NAPA in Redwood City carries them.
Bona fide - A bonafide Spec Miata driver





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