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cmcgregor (Forum Supporter)
cmcgregor (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
4/20/21 11:13 p.m.

Another 4 month gap in updates with not much to report. It just works.


I did another performance driving school at Sonoma last weekend. Huge shoutout to SuperMiata for their customer service - I was doing prep on Monday, discovered that I had a wheel bearing that wasn't bad, but also wasn't good, so I sent off a quick email to confirm which shipping option would get a pair of front hubs here in time for Sunday. They got back to me in minutes, so I got an order in around 3:30PM and they dropped them in the mail that day. FedEx told me they destroyed the box, so I again emailed SuperMiata to figure out what my options were and placed a backup order - and then of course, the original set of hubs arrived on my doorstep, in a slightly worse for the wear box but otherwise unscathed. After another email, the backup order was cancelled and all was right in the world.

This time, I signed up for the stage 2 Performance Driving class. We started off with an autocross, then a session of lead follow, then a session that was half lead follow and half solo, then 2 solo sessions. After the autocross I got placed in a group with a 991.1 GT3, a 991.2 GT3, and a Cayman GT4. And my 1992 Mazda Miata... Needless to say, they were a little faster in the straight parts of the track, but I found that I could hang through the corners. I really felt like I was starting to "get" the track by the end of the day, and was having a lot of fun actually remembering what I did the last time I came to a corner and trying something slightly different.

Here's the quickest lap that I have video of - I went a few tenths faster than this in the last session (and ~10mph faster through turn 10) but I forgot to change the GoPro battery. I also came really close to running out of gas!

https://photos.app.goo.gl/GFRSmy9gYPQGowus8

This is the 3rd track day that I've done on this set of Conti ECS, plus an autocross. I'm super happy with them. They got a little greasy a few times, but were predictable and easy to drive. It's also finally approaching time to replace my brake pads - I've had this set of Porterfield R4S pads since my first orange Miata in 2014, so I've definitely gotten my money's worth. The only minor issue I had was with boiling my PS fluid - it went everywhere in the engine bay, so I'm going to try changing to some Redline synthetic and possibly adding a cooler.

It's a great car. Everyone should just buy a Miata.

cmcgregor (Forum Supporter)
cmcgregor (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
4/21/21 2:04 p.m.

It occurred to me that I have a YouTube account, so I threw the video up there as well.

 

Feedback welcome! I definitely do not know what I'm doing still.

 

cmcgregor (Forum Supporter)
cmcgregor (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
4/23/21 9:33 p.m.

Just posting to show off my new keychain.

 

cmcgregor (Forum Supporter)
cmcgregor (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
5/11/21 7:06 p.m.

I'm not really sure where to go with the car. It's reliable, safe, and fun. I'd like to do some bodywork but I really don't have the space or expertise for it, and I'm loath to spend the cash to have it done. It's started to make a mildly concerning rattle between 3000-4200 rpm, which is probably the super cheap exhaust but kinda sounds like a bad bearing or something. I really hope it's not the pilot bearing, although I have no real reason for thinking that it is and it's new. It makes the noise regardless of if the clutch is in or out, so that makes me think exhaust.

I guess just drive it? I don't know what to do with myself without a goal for the car or knowing what the next project should be.

cmcgregor (Forum Supporter)
cmcgregor (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
6/4/21 5:03 p.m.

Gonna try something new. This will probably only go in for track days, but I fit in it pretty well and it seems comfortable enough. Mounts and a cover are still on their way.

cmcgregor (Forum Supporter)
cmcgregor (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
7/21/21 11:43 p.m.

Well, I'm signed up for a track day on Saturday. It was suspiciously cheap - turns out it's because it gets hot inland in the middle of summer. Forecasted high is 105, so that will be fun.

The car is pretty much ready to go. I'm just doing the normal nut and bolt check, make sure nothing has mysteriously broken in the last few weeks of sitting in the driveway, and I did end up changing out the power steering fluid. I bought Royal Purple, mostly because it's available at my local O'VancedZone, and therefore I don't need to give any more money to Jeff Bezos. 

I did decide to change out the brakes. The Porterfields still had some life left in them, but it's about 1000x easier to do this in my driveway while drinking a beer than it would be in a 100 degree parking lot while I'm trying not to miss a session, so I just did it. These are Hawk DTC-30s, so we'll see if I hate them on the street. It looks like I was getting some tapering on the old pads, so I'll keep an eye on that, but I doubt it will be a big problem with my usage.

The Miata in its natural habitat

wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
7/22/21 5:47 a.m.

RE:"mildly concerning rattle"- Meh, drive it. it will let you know if it is worsening.

Cool to read of your adventures. Do carry on.

cmcgregor (Forum Supporter)
cmcgregor (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
7/23/21 5:13 p.m.
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) said:

RE:"mildly concerning rattle"- Meh, drive it. it will let you know if it is worsening.

Cool to read of your adventures. Do carry on.

I'm about 75% sure it's the exhaust, since it has gotten worse as the exhaust note has gotten louder. This Yonaka catback lasted about 6 years, which isn't so bad considering how cheap it was. I ordered a much fancier exhaust from Good Win, but it's out of stock until early August. Hopefully that cures it.

accordionfolder
accordionfolder SuperDork
7/23/21 6:02 p.m.

In reply to cmcgregor (Forum Supporter) :

Yeah, don't sweat it - just send it. 

cmcgregor (Forum Supporter)
cmcgregor (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
7/24/21 1:05 p.m.

Currently sending it

 

cmcgregor (Forum Supporter)
cmcgregor (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
7/30/21 1:11 p.m.

Last Saturday I woke up at 5am to head up to Thunderhill for a day on the 2 mile West course with Speed SF. The forecasted high was 107, so I was a little concerned, but figured I could always just stop if either I or the car was getting too hot. 

Later in the day, my wife showed up in our new Eurovan with the kids, which was a lot of fun.

All told, I ran 5 20 minute sessions plus 90% of the 40 minute open session at the end of the day. The car didn't miss a beat, while I went through at least a gallon of water, plus gatorade. The morning started off a little slow while I learned the track, but I rode along with a new friend in an NC, which helped a lot to get the lay of the land. I ended up running about 65 laps, totaling over 100 track miles (my phone overheated at the end of the day and lost some data), with a best lap of around 1:37. That's slow, but I was pretty consistent, only went off once (I let someone by and then just.....followed them right off the track), and had a great time.

We spent the night at a campground on Black Butte Lake, which was really low. Everything is so brown this time of year. This was our first trial run with the camper van, and we loved it! Looking forward to getting a lot more use out of this thing in the future.

 

At home, I pulled the wheels off to clean them and see how badly they were abused. Not too bad, but it looks like I could stand to put some more pressure in them (and probably could run some more camber). This is a front.

All in all a pretty successful weekend. This was the first outing for the Hawk DTC-30 brake pads, which worked fine, though they took a bit to warm up on track. I didn't do a great job bedding them beforehand, which probably had something to do with it. I could stand to seal the areas around the radiator a little better, the temp was rock solid around 200 all day but toward the end of the day when it was getting really hot it started creeping up to around 210. Really not bad considering the weather and the fact that my last session was right before the open session, so I really did 60 solid minutes of lapping with very little cooldown time.

Now that I'm home something smells kind of like gas, so I'm going to figure that out. It seems to be coming from the back of the car around the fuel filter area, so I'm not sure what that's all about. More to come on that I suppose.

Oh, and I'm currently regretting buying white wheels. So much dust and rubber!

I also ordered a new exhaust from GoodWin that's supposed to ship sometime in early August - hopefully that's soon!

cmcgregor (Forum Supporter)
cmcgregor (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
8/5/21 9:27 p.m.

I've been noticing that it smells like gas around the Miata for the last few days, so tonight I finally got around to jacking it up. It was obvious that there was a leak around the fuel filter. Still not sure what's going on here, or why it would choose now to start leaking, but I'll probably just replace all of it.

stylngle2003
stylngle2003 GRM+ Memberand Reader
8/6/21 9:25 a.m.

may have split the hose around the clamp 

cmcgregor (Forum Supporter)
cmcgregor (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
8/11/21 11:51 p.m.

And the verdict is-

Old dry rotted fuel hose. Which is good in some ways, because there's no catastrophic failure, but also bad because now I question every piece of rubber hose on the car. It's good that it failed when it did, could have been very bad on track.

cmcgregor (Forum Supporter)
cmcgregor (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
12/9/21 12:27 p.m.

Well, I'm here for your quarterly Miata update!

That nice exhaust I ordered back in June finally arrived - in late October. Supply chain struggles are real. 

It fit great, looks and sounds fantastic - and didn't solve the annoying rattle I had that I was sure was the exhaust. Once I spent more than 5 minutes troubleshooting, I discovered that there was a slight issue with my hardware selection for the starter bracket, so that problem was solved.

Tuesday, I took the car to get smogged, which makes me nervous every time even though it passed with flying colors.

Wednesday, I did the third and final Performance Driving course at Sonoma. Finishing the course means I can now sign up for their "Track Day Plus", which is basically a track day with a very small number of cars and light instruction, for a semi-reasonable price. Sonoma is only about 30 minutes from my house, so it's by far the most convenient track, and also the hardest to get sufficient experience on to run with other groups, since they don't allow in car instruction.

Anyway, yesterday was drizzling all day and a ton of fun. Lots of people bailed, so there were a total of 7 cars, and we had the entire track to ourselves - no other groups were running. I got caught in traffic and showed up late, basically just in time to head out on the track, so I started out pretty frazzled and didn't really get myself collected until after lunch.

Unfortunately, I also got a little overambitious and crept onto the dry line in turn 10, which led to an off track excursion and some minor bumper damage thanks to a tire wall. It was pretty low speed and I was able to get back onto the track (and fortunately pit in is right there, so I could just pull off and get myself together). I guess the car has now officially been christened as a track car.

I actually have another yellow rear bumper in the shed, since this one had a hole in it from a previous owner, and the rest of it should mostly buff out. Pretty lucky all in all, that's a bad spot to go off.

I got an instructor to drive the car for part of the last session as well, which was really illuminating. I have a long way to go in terms of smooth inputs. I actually turned a faster lap than he did, but he wasn't working nearly as hard for it.

All in all a pretty solid day.

cmcgregor (Forum Supporter)
cmcgregor (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
1/21/22 6:47 p.m.

Finally got around to buffing out the bumper after my little off track excursion. It looks much better - not great, but better. Someday I'll have to get this thing cleaned up and painted.

cmcgregor (Forum Supporter)
cmcgregor (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
2/20/22 2:16 p.m.

Took the kids to cars and coffee this morning. I even got some help from them yesterday washing it! 

Also took the opportunity to park the two "fun" vehicles next to each other for once.

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