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Rodan SuperDork
3/18/23 9:08 p.m.

In reply to jfryjfry :

Long lead time on the kit, so I don't expect the swap parts to be in until sometime in April at the earliest... we'll continue to run the car with the BP until I have everything in hand, and hopefully I can get the swap done over summer (when we aren't racing in AZ anyway).

Rodan SuperDork
3/24/23 9:23 p.m.

First real voyage for the retirement cruiser today... and the first time pulling the trailer.  

Hooked up and ready to roll...

Right at 300 miles from home to INDE Motorsports Ranch in Willcox, AZ for a PCA weekend.  

Maintained 65mph for most of the trip, and the rig pulled the trailer like it wasn't there.  Not quite as much oomph up the grades, but still able to easily beat the truckers into submission.  8 mpg, which was better than I was expecting! 

Forecast is for 26* F overnight, so the Miata went back in the trailer after tech.  Gonna be a chilly morning...

docwyte PowerDork
3/25/23 12:12 a.m.

What's it like driving something that long? 

Rodan SuperDork
3/25/23 9:21 a.m.

It actually drives very well on the highway.  Obviously, you have to be looking further ahead, because stopping distances are much longer and avoiding things on the road isn't as easy.  

Maneuvering on two-lane or in the paddock requires some thought, because turning takes up some real estate.  I haven't even tried backing in other than a straight line yet.  It's definitely cumbersome, but you just have to plan your route.  Google maps satellite imagery is your friend.

The other side of the coin is that it far more comfortable than our camper was.  I think we've lived in houses with less square footage.  LOL.

Sonic UberDork
3/25/23 10:11 a.m.

That has to be really close to the 65' combined length limit that many states have.  Looks like a lovely way to spend time at the track! 

Rodan SuperDork
3/25/23 8:27 p.m.

In reply to Sonic :

Over, actually... 42' RV + 24' trailer (+tongue).  The only state I've heard of being really nasty about it with RVs is CA.  Most places you can get an over length permit pretty easily.


TurnerX19 UberDork
3/25/23 11:09 p.m.

In reply to Rodan :

There are other places, not necessarily a whole state, that are really bad if you have no permit, and most RV people I have encountered around here don't bother with a permit and act all pissy when they get busted in Podunk.

Rodan SuperDork
3/30/23 2:34 p.m.

Quick project on the Touring today... steering wheel swap.  Wanted something OEM+, but retaining the factory airbag, so I found a vendor that re-does factory wheels (in Ukraine!).  Took a while to get it, but the results are very nice.

Original wheel:

New wheel:

Rodan SuperDork
4/4/23 6:13 p.m.

I realized today I hadn't really posted a report on the track weekend, other than the RV.  And it was a good weekend!  PCA AZ puts on a great event at INDE Motorsports Ranch twice a year.  We usually go in November, but were unable due to family stuff, so we signed up for the March event.

The car ran perfectly all weekend, except for the RaceCapture continuing to refuse to work, so times were captured on the RaceChrono app.  At least the data I had was from the same app, so comparable.  Previous best on the clockwise configuration we ran Saturday was 1:55.98 (in Nov 2021).  I managed to improve that to 1:52.57.  To say I was pleased was an understatement!  The only change to the car from Nov '21 was the control arm bushings and spring rates.

The data I was able to collect tells the story... speeds in black are peak speed before braking, and red is minimum corner speed.



I picked up most of my speed in the carousel before the main straight, and the high speed sweeper at the end of the straight.  The suspension changes were in part responsible for this, making the car feel more stable and giving me the confidence to turn in at a higher speed.  The carousel in particular requires a lot of confidence as it's uphill into a blind apex.

Unfortunately the app really doesn't like running the track CCW, which we did Sunday, so I got no data.  CCW, the track is even more technical, and higher entry speed onto the straight is a real equalizer compared to the high power cars.  INDE CCW is probably my wife's favorite track... excpet maybe Laguna.

Although my objective isn't to harass the P-car drivers, it is fun to get point bys from them, especially the 'GT' cars.  I was chatting with one of the instructors while we were packing up on Sunday, and he mentioned he got several comments from other drivers about how fast "that berkeleying Miata" was...  cheeky

In all seriousness, we really like running PCA events.  The drivers usually have better track etiquette than typical track days, and the organizers keep a close eye on things to ensure things run smoothly and safely.  Most of the attendees are true enthusiasts, and are very welcoming to us 'infidels' who aren't driving P-cars.  I met two new P-car drivers (GT3RS and Cayman GTS) at this event that live locally to us, so I'm trying to get them involved in the local social network.

All in all a great weekend. laugh

Rodan SuperDork
4/4/23 7:40 p.m.

I don't expect to see K Swap parts 'till the end of the month, but I have some other parts coming in.  Today, the AIM PDM32, Dash and CAN keypad arrived...


Rodan SuperDork
4/9/23 1:23 p.m.

More NA K swap stuff showing up...

Although I'm fairly comfortable with Megasquirt (the NA has been running on MS3 since I swapped in the VVT engine), nobody really uses MS on Hondas, so there's not much of a support community.  After a lot of research on options, online communities for support, and a discussion with the shop that will be tuning the car, I settled on LINK for the ECU.  Good support, plays well with AIM, and it was my tuner's first choice.

Rodan SuperDork
4/9/23 1:30 p.m.

While I'm waiting for swap parts to trickle in, it's time to tackle the suspension on the NB.  The NB hasn't had a lot of love lately, I've just been enjoying driving it since the paint job in early '22.  But the suspension needs some work, so I've got a pile of parts that I've been collecting for well over a year now.

When I got it aligned last, the shop couldn't get much negative camber on the right front.  Everything else was good, and I'm pretty sure the car had a right front repair at some point, so I'm making a guess that the right front lower control arm is slightly tweaked.  So I picked up a replacement on eBay a long time ago, along with new upper ball joints, and extended lower ball joints to ensure I can get the camber I want.  The NB currently rides on FM VMaxx coilovers that I bought waaaay back in 2012 for the NA.  When the NA got Xidas, the NB got the hand-me-down VMaxx.  Well, the bumpstops are trashed, and the springs settled over the years, so new bumpstops and springs.  Finally, IL Motorsports bushings all 'round.... that was the last piece, and they've been out of stock until recently.

Hope to get started on the project this week...

Rodan SuperDork
4/15/23 2:57 p.m.

Driveway pic of the fleet shuffle to get the NB in the 'work' spot in the garage...

Rodan SuperDork
4/19/23 5:07 p.m.

The NB is up on stands, and I started on the suspension refresh today.  Got things about halfway disassembled, and some more parts showed up.

I realized over the weekend that I had forgotten to order new eccentric (control arm) bolts, so I jumped on Supermiata/949 Racing's site to order some up.  They had a good price on the bolts, and I know from experience I would have the parts by Wednesday (today) with a weekend order.  On their site, I discovered the new Tecna coilovers were in stock...  

Now, let me say that there's two outfits I trust, really trust, for Miata suspension.  Flyin' Miata and 949/Supermiata.  Both have developed basically clean sheet shock designs for Miatas, and the top of the line are FM's Fox and 949 Xidas.  I have Xidas on the NA race car, and they are fantastic.   I would love to put FM Fox on the NB, but I'm just not going to spend that much on this car.  That said, it's becoming a really nice car, and it deserves good suspension.  Long before the 949 Tecnas were announced, I decided I was going to update the FM VMaxx that were on the car with new springs and bumpstops.  Now, VMaxx are OK at the price point, but they're nothing special.  These were "free" because they were a hand-me-down from the NA.  I debated long and hard over putting FM springs and Koni yellows on the car just to get rid of the complexity of coilovers, a decision I was still waffling on as recently as last week.  And then I saw Tecnas were in stock.  Early reviews have been very good, and I knew that 949's design brief for the Tecnas (real world street driving) is exactly on point for my NB.  So, "refresh" 12 year old shocks, or new ones that are built exactly for what I want...  It took about 60 seconds to make the decision, since good suspension is just about the best money you can spend on a car.

The car is about halfway disassembled at this point, and the rear VMaxx are out...

Tomorrow, I'll be dragging out the press and swapping bushings...

Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
4/19/23 6:10 p.m.

So, tell me why you're ditching the vmaxx, and what the plans for them are? Because ive been pondering a set. Ive never seen anything bad about them, so im genuinely curious. 

Rodan SuperDork
4/19/23 8:15 p.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael :

The VMaxx are a great option at the price point.  And if you buy them from FM, they allegedly spec some differences from the VMaxx available on the general market, so even more dialed in for a Miata.  That said, they are still a budget coilover.  After driving on really good suspension, you start to realize what you're missing.  When I acquired the NB, they were a cheap and easy upgrade, because I already had them.  Our NB is no longer just a 'beater' so it's time for something better.

If you need/want ride height adjustability, and want to spend less than $1k, I still think the VMaxx are a good option.  For a street car, I think the FM springs with yellow Konis are a pretty good option for a little more money.  Once you get over $1k, most of the choices were generic two-piece body coilovers, until you stepped up to Xidas or FM Fox at over $2k.  Now the Tecna is available in the middle, at the price point of the generics, but specifically engineered for Miatas, by Miata experts.

My VMaxx takeoffs will probably go up for sale locally.  With the current costs of shipping, I don't know if I want to deal with shipping them.

Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
4/19/23 8:45 p.m.

That makes sense. I appreciate the feedback! I wonder if they would be an upgrade or lateral move to the hard s bilstein with 750/550 rates. Which actually ride on the street way better than stock did. And are ok at my level of driver development on track. Im definitely not in the 1.5-3k suspension range yet.

Rodan SuperDork
4/19/23 10:44 p.m.

I've never driven on the DIY Bilstein setup, but from everyone I've talked to that has, just about anything would be an upgrade.

I can say that the VMaxx don't have enough spring rate for Super 200s or R comps, and the dampers probably couldn't deal with spring rates that high anyway.

Rodan SuperDork
4/20/23 6:39 p.m.

More progress today.  I remember the days when something like this would be a one-day 18 hour thrash... not anymore.  Getting old sucks!

Got the rears done... bushings swapped out, new shocks and sway bar endlinks installed.  The HF 12 ton press I bought when I did the bushings in the NA once again made it mostly an easy job.

I'm using new eccentric bolts all around, as these are consumables on a Miata.

Another add-on was squirting some black caliper paint on the calipers.  This car got all new calipers in '21, and I should have painted them then, but I didn't.  And in 6 months they all had rust and looked like crap.  In Arizona!

All together...

Hopefully getting started on the fronts tomorrow, but I have some other tasks over the weekend so it may be Monday.

CAinCA GRM+ Memberand Dork
4/20/23 7:11 p.m.

You didn't paint the calipers red? Isn't that like a 5hp upgrade?

Rodan SuperDork
4/20/23 7:23 p.m.

In reply to CAinCA :

LOL...  No, I did that once on another car and they just looked crappy after a while.  Powdercoat is the only way to go for bright colors on calipers.  Black looks better longer.  

Rodan SuperDork
4/23/23 1:29 p.m.

Trip prep this weekend.  Yesterday brought the NA home for it's pre-event inspection, filled it with fuel and washed the trailer.  Today, filled the motorhome with fuel and water.

Now that I can calculate the return trip mileage, the two-way average over the 600 mile round trip for our last event was 7mpg.  

Kona didn't really like the motorhome the first time she rode in it, but she's getting used to it...

Rodan SuperDork
4/25/23 7:42 p.m.

Not a lot of progress today... got the front right torn apart and discovered I need new outer tie rod ends.  Should have looked at those sooner and ordered the parts.  At least the HF ball joint tool still works great...

Had a lot of trouble getting the bushings installed in the lower control arm, and trashed one of the bushings pressing it in.  Looks like there's no way of getting a replacement in any reasonable time frame, so I ordered a stock bushing for that particular location.  Shouldn't even be noticeable in the long run, but frustrating nonetheless.

All that used up my available time today, so I didn't even finish the corner...

After that, it was a little prep work to get the RV ready for our event this weekend.  


Good news for the day is KPower says my swap kit should ship late next week.  laugh

Rodan SuperDork
4/28/23 9:17 a.m.

Incremental progress...

Right upper ball joints was pretty ragged...

Right front back together.

Now I'm waiting for parts so I can do the left front and finish.

Rodan SuperDork
5/2/23 9:16 a.m.

While the NB is waiting for parts we went racing...

The event was at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway in Desert Center, CA.  Truly the middle of nowhere... 50 miles West of the AZ/CA border and 60 miles East of Indio.  Surrounded only by desert and solar farms.

This would be our first time at Chuckwalla, and we were looking forward to it!  The weather wasn't really cooperating, though... the previous weekend:  mid -70s... next weekend: 80s.  While we were there:  103!  It was HOT!  

First, the facility...  nice big paddock area, with fuel available, bathrooms/showers, and a limited number of RV electric hookups (of which we had one).  I griped about the price when I reserved it, but it was worth every penny to be able to run the A/C all weekend and get out of the heat without having to run the generator.  They also had an air conditioned classroom, a large tented area with picnic tables, and even a dog park.  Cabins are available for rent as well... good thing, since the closest motel room is 50 miles, one-way!

We rolled in Friday evening and had a relaxed evening before getting our pit set up Saturday morning.

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