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AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand Dork
4/12/22 12:45 p.m.

First paint down. 

Definitely budget endurance race car quality but that's exactly what it is!

AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand Dork
4/14/22 10:34 a.m.

A long time spent masking got me here. I need to get the e-brake handle out, tuck away the trunk/gas levers and wipe down/tack cloth some spots and then the rest can be painted.

Removing the dashboard would have been simpler but I tried for 20 minutes and could not get it out whatever I tried so I just decided to mask around it. I still don't have my engine hoist back from a friend so drivetrain is on hold. I'd like to not put it up in the air for suspension work until the engine/trans is in so I only have to do it once. 

AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand Dork
4/18/22 11:04 a.m.

Interior paint done. I'm pretty set on not painting the engine bay the same color per my original plan and may just touch up some bad spots with black so it looks a bit nicer.

I also decided to be done with the valve cover. After I took this pic I put two coats of semi-gloss clear on. 

The engine hoist is now back at my place so things can really start moving along. 

TED_fiestaHP HalfDork
4/18/22 11:12 a.m.

   That looks great, very top end type work.

        I have found tin foil handy for covering up some odd things, you might have been able to cover the hand brake handle.  Of course the best option is to remove anything you don't want paint on, just takes more time.



AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand Dork
4/19/22 9:44 a.m.

In reply to TED_fiestaHP :

You know, I actually intended to try the tin foil trick on the wiring as I've seen it but never tried. I just got carried away with wrapping it all in tape. 


Last night I crawled into the foot well to put in the FM clutch switch clip only to find out the car already has one! Next was repairing the hacked ignition wiring where the alarm was wired in. I then got the dashboard secured with the bolt in the middle up by the windshield and a couple zip ties where screws are supposed to be. Finally, the wink mirror was mounted. Clearly I wasn't in the mood to do any real work but progress is progress. 

AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand Dork
4/22/22 10:41 a.m.

More little things knocked off the to-do list. I've got a lot going on this weekend but hopefully I can get the engine and trans back as one, spots in the engine bay touched up and the new brake master installed. We'll see. 

AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand Dork
5/5/22 9:38 a.m.

Engine and trans moved into their new home. 

Now, can I find the nuts for the engine mounts...

AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand Dork
5/17/22 3:24 p.m.

Time in the shop has been limited recently but things are moving forward. Block off bolts for the steering rack installed, correct pigtail for the hacked O2 wiring attained, exhaust manifold on and now the car is up in the air with suspension bits coming off for all new bushings. 

Question for you Miata people out there.

I'm fairly certain what's in the car is an open 1.8 diff. It's got the damper and the 4 ear output flanges. I say it's open because turning one side does not turn the other. I usually expect to see the other side turn the opposite way for an open diff. It's strange to me that there's no movement on the other side. Turning the pinion makes them both go the same way. Open diff, right?

EDIT: Googling has turned up one instance where it's said a Torsen can act in this way with no movement on one side. Thoughts?

Double EDIT: I suppose even if it is Torsen I want to pull it anyway as that's not great for track duty either. 

AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand Dork
5/23/22 9:45 a.m.

I have put many hours into Sven over the last week but have little to show for it. 

The sleeves for the upper control arm bushings that came in the kit I bought were totally wrong. I received the replacements within a couple days (Saturday) but they seem to have way too much play with the bolt. 

I went with a poly kit because I'm not running Spec and can but I'm tempted at this point to just buy stock replacements. We'll see what the company has to say. 

Next was hooking up the gauge cluster and connecting/securing all of the under-dash wiring. Mostly just for some visual progress. 

I drilled out the steering wheel lock and only because there are just about no pics of this on the internet, here's one. I pulled the spring out and just covered the hole with aluminum tape. 

I went to hook up and mount the ECU but this car has been robbed of those brackets. I then moved to getting things ready for the kill switch install. I initially intended to mount it on the dash but it's just so simple in a Miata to mount on the roll bar and uses much less wire that I'll just do that. Didn't have quite enough battery cable  so that job couldn't be finished either.  Last night, I decided to do a job I knew I could finish and just cross off the list - the new fuel sender and pump. I started by draining the old disgusting gas and removing the fuel filter I'll be replacing. Popped the cover off the fuel tank and... no screws for the sending unit! Wow. 

I also spent some time noodling on seat position and how I'm going to mount it to the bracket I bought. An order from McMaster Carr is ready for pick up with that hardware, the sending unit screws and a couple other things. 

AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand Dork
5/24/22 9:49 a.m.

Still awaiting a response from the bushing company but I can't see how the engineers will say that's how it's supposed to be. Nonetheless, my wife picked up my McMaster Carr order last night so I was able to get the new pump and sender into place. 

My concept for mating the seat to the mount worked but I goofed and need to order longer bolts. Washers are to show up tomorrow. 

And in the car. 

The seat may need to come forward a bit for me to be totally comfortable but I can definitely reach all controls. I really won't know until I drive it. Last for the night was the driver side door pull.

I may mount it with a rubber-lined P clip at some point but my only concern with this setup is the metal cable rubbing on the metal holes but that concern is almost nonexistent. I also tossed the window net in to test mirrors and really hate the one I bought. It's the kind with webbing inside the normal grid and you can't see a damn thing through it. 

The best part of progress on this car? Every time something goes onto the car, it comes off the garage floor or my workbench! I've been living with a Miatasplosion for the past 6 months. 

AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/3/22 10:50 a.m.

Seat adjusted forward a bit - it's now perfect, I think. Shifter rebuilt. It's very direct but 5->4 and 3->2 is difficult so I'm thinking I maybe don't have enough fluid in the turret. Pic just because it looks more and more like a car. 

With the front suspension all finished, I moved on to the rear and again the provided sleeves did not fit over the long pivot bolt. I'm awaiting a response back from the company. Last time they shipped the replacements super fast.

One of my teammates grabbed the ECU brackets, temp gauge plug that was cut off this harness and a few other odds and ends from the car I pulled the engine from. I was way too nice when I did. I then need to get back to our storage to grab the correct axles. Getting closer but it's like pulling teeth!

Oh, and check out some PO's solution to not having one of the right rear caliper bolts.

That's a socket head cap screw with a nut threaded on. I suppose it's better than stacking washers...

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 UltraDork
6/3/22 12:11 p.m.

Looking good! This may be the answer for vintage racing as well right?

AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/4/22 9:23 p.m.

In reply to Teh E36 M3 :

Thanks! A number of organizations are allowing Miatas now, yeah. I'm planning on aero though so I'm not sure it would be then. 

AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/15/22 1:39 p.m.

It's getting very close.

I'm 5'8" and a couple of the drivers I race with are 6ft. plus so I've been thinking on ways to make the driving position work well for everyone with minimal adjustment needed. The seat is about as low as it can got without a floor drop and it's about as far back as it can be with me still being comfortable. I started dreaming up ways I could make a bent shift extender and then one night was searching online and found that one exists for little money as compared to the amount of work it would have taken. So, we'll see. 

It's hard to tell in the pic but it's angled back a bit. The thought being it'll be closer to not-so-tall-me. 

I took a trip to our parts stash and grabbed what I needed off the car I pulled the engine from along with the correct axles. Now that I have all the right sleeves for the bushing kit, I'm mostly done with the rear end. Diff and driveshaft are also in. 

I also tracked down the rad brackets I needed and tossed in the well used but we think good aluminum rad that was in our stash. 

Things needed: driver's side axle, rear drop links, PPF, exhaust, kill switch, fluids, fire system, roll bar padding, transponder, flagtronics and likely plenty of other things I'm forgetting. 

AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/22/22 11:30 p.m.

The list continues to grow shorter. There is oil in the engine along with a new filter. Driver's side axle, drop links and PPF are installed. I believe I've got all the exhaust pieces I need to make something work aside from the rubber hangers.

I really didn't want to put my welds on the pretty cage so I came up with this solution for the kill switch. Just a couple generic roll bar mounts intended for a spotlight or something.

Diff fluid arrived today but the MTL I ordered is late, will be here tomorrow. I really shouldn't be putting this out into the universe but as long as schedules allow, I'd like to start it this weekend...

AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/24/22 9:08 a.m.

Kill switch wired up. Just need to secure the alternator wire. 

I realized last night that I made more work for myself in the times I've sat in the seat and made vroom vroom drivey noises. The clutch slave is fully extended and the seal is leaking so I probably have to replace it. Joy. 

AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/25/22 9:19 p.m.

No pics today because I spent most of it laying under the car getting absolutely filthy. 

Wiring harness attached to PPF.

Forgotten trans mount installed. Almost whoops.

Downpipe installed. The rest of the exhaust pulled out of storage is so banged up and bent from that car being wrecked that it doesn't fit so I'll have to modify it somehow.

New (used and unknown condition) slave cylinder installed. Got brake fluid in my eye.

I think some other stuff too but I can't remember. 

Even without the exhaust system on, I'd like to start it this weekend. That seems like a big milestone, I'd like to drive it out of the garage rather than push it and I really need to get the E21 home so I can have it ready for Schenley. Busy day of family stuff tomorrow though so I'm not holding my breath. 

AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/28/22 9:53 p.m.

Headline: SVEN RUNS! 

(Will he be able to make this embedded video work? Probably not.)

Yesterday, I put water in the radiator only to come out a few hours later with it steadily dripping from the t-stat housing. I tried sinching the bolt down on the side the leak was on but no beans. Long story short it turned out the threads just had some gunk in it not letting the bolt seat but I had already pulled off the sticker gasket and used RTV so I had to wait 24 hrs.

My wife grabbed a couple gallons of gas for me this afternoon while running errands. On one of my short work breaks, I put the gas in the tank, re-hooked up the upper rad hose and connected the battery. On my last little break I flipped on the kill switch, turned the key to on and the fuel pump primed and, uh, just kept running. I'm guessing the relay is stuck?

Then the fun started. I turned the key to start it and...nothing. Forgot the engine ground to the firewall. OK now it cranks. Cranks and cranks and cranks, very quickly actually, but doesn't start. Eventually I thought I swapped the return with the feed line. Nope.

I then heard one pop, then another then running... on what sounded like 1 cylinder. At this point I was pretty down on myself thinking I somehow got the timing 180 out doing the belt.

Got back to it a couple hours later after dinner and getting the kids to bed and poked around at the coils, plug wires, any thing I thought I could have not plugged in, etc. I then started it again and that was the video above. 

It's now run again after that video and is much more smooth although it's got some ticking on the intake side.


Working assumption at the moment is some valves were/are stuck. That's why it spun so fast - little compression - and wouldn't run to begin with. I'm also thinking there's a chance that ticking I hear is a sticking valve but it may just need an adjustment. 

TLDR - car runs, fuel pump relay may be stuck, valve may be stuck.

AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand Dork
6/30/22 3:13 p.m.

A total of three bolts broke off when disassembling the car. One for the rubber shift boot and the other two for the passenger fender. I got those two drilled out and re-tapped last night. 

Work breaks today have consisted of exhaust work. Pie cuts are cool, right?

My welding. Sometimes may be good, sometimes may be E36 M3. 

Next is figuring out the best way to fix the muffler that has separated from impacting something, probably the ground. 

AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand Dork
7/1/22 9:54 a.m.

So I got the muffler welded up. No pictures because, frankly, I'd like to forget about it. I decided just to try to weld the (1/8"+) separation shut rather than putting a patch over top. That was the wrong decision. Picture how pipe welders fill in those huge valleys but replace it with boogers. Oh well.

Next I went for a little job and used some safety wire so I don't lose the kill switch key. 

Hatchet is coming home tomorrow so I can prep it for Schenley which means Sven needs to get out of the garage. It should probably look more like a car, yeah?

Oh and it's now running really smooth. There are exhaust leaks everywhere and some of the old hoses/clamps are leaking at junctions but the ticking is gone and it seems to hold temp.

AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand Dork
7/3/22 8:45 a.m.

Well Sven is running awesome but not drivable. My wife and I spent 25 minutes yesterday trying to get the clutch bled to a point that it would disengage enough to get into gear and no beans. 

My mityvac tubes/fittings wouldn't seal.They really never seem to. I tried having her push it down, hold and I cracked the bleeder. Had per pump it first and then hold, cracking the bleeder then. The clutch line in the Miata is like Healey in that it comes down below the master and then up and over the engine so there's a lot of room for air in the system but sheesh. We put almost a whole MC reservoir-worth of fluid through it.

I think I need to go back to clutch and brake bleeding school because pushing a running car through my backyard is not something I enjoy. 

AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand Dork
7/5/22 5:46 p.m.

I've got a pressure bleeder on order but have still tried a few times to get the clutch slave bled (albeit by myself with the mityvac). Nope. I also had the reservoir cap off with the bleeder open all afternoon and absolutely nothing came out. 

To top it off I cannot get the banjo fitting on the brake master cylinder to stop leaking. After about a week it has developed enough fluid to drip.

Me and brake/clutch lines do not get along it would seem.

AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand Dork
7/6/22 2:03 p.m.

Pressure bleeder worked great! It took a full on 2 or 3 seconds to get fluid to the bleeder. No kidding. 

I hopped in the car to drive it and...still no disengagement. Hm. Called one of the guys I race with who suggested adjusting the rod for the MC and BOOM! We have a drivable Sven!

It has brakes, goes through at least 3rd gear and has reverse. Win.


EDIT: I also looked up the torque spec for the banjo into the brake MC and it said between 9.4-16 ft.lbs. I did it to 14 and could see it snug down a bit more. Fingers crossed. 

AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand Dork
8/10/22 8:54 p.m.

OK. Lots of car stuff going on but I want to get Sven to an autocross on the 20th for a shakedown and then race with ChampCar at Pitt in October. Time to get this thing finished. At very slow speeds, usually with the wheels turned there is a rotational clunking. After some poking around I thought it had to be the driveshaft/yolk hitting the PPF and, although it's not aligned with the cutout in the trans, There are really no witness marks.

Anyone have thoughts on this? I loosened the PPF bolts this afternoon and attempted to adjust it a bit but it made no change. I do think I know that there is some Mazda-outlined process to aligning the PPF but in the handful of times I've put one in, I've just bolted it up and it's all good.

My next idea is the downpipe bracket the downpipe is not bolted to. It definitely could be the sound but it really sounds like something rotating.

AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand Dork
8/14/22 8:51 p.m.

I still have been unable to figure out the clunking. I've got a Miata friend coming by tomorrow to put a second set of eyes and ears on it. In the meantime, I started into the totally hacked rear arches. This is after 5 min with a strip disc and body hammer. 

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