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Discussion Starter · #102 ·
A certain yellow FD would have been a prime candidate for a Tesla swap. Pry it back out of Jehan's hands.
LOL. Death won't even separate that man from his yellow FDs.

OK, so you're buying it back, right? As a former Miata owner I vote that you go for it.
As of right now, I have every intention to. We did this same dance in November. He told me he was selling it, we agreed on a price then he backed out. It didn't really bother me as when I told my wife about my plans, she told me she'd rather me put a deposit on a new Z06 than get back into the ****box as I affectionately call this thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #107 ·
I've been lightly looking into it and the best execution of this to me would be a direct drive Tesla motor swap. The challenge becomes I don't have the skills to fabricate anything like that. I wish someone made a replacement subframe to mount the motor between the axles. I'll need to find measurements and see what's possible. I wish the EV West guys could just modify a supplied subframe to mount the smaller Tesla motor into. I do think I can handle the rest of the fab work, just that one piece is beyond me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #108 ·
So, it happened. The Miata, or again as I like to refer to it, the ****box has returned home. The guy I "sold" it to just never used it. It really wasn't his type of car to begin with, I think he just took it as partial trade for restoration services because he felt bad about the big tab he ran up on the Olds.

Anyway, in true fashion, the ****box runs like ****. I always had a problem with the new motor starting, I just ran out of patience with it a few years ago. There are many culprits here, first being it's still running the 1.6 tune which has a different idle control valve, very different head flow rate, etc. If you cranked it and matted the pedal, you might get it to catch. At some points it also sounds like it jams or is ready to spin backwards. Then you have the header hitting the body as the motor shakes. And when I finally got it started, it ran on 3 cylinders.

My plan of attack is as follows:
1. compare the settings in Megasquirt between a 99/00 motor and what I currently have and, copy the startup and idle settings over
- already completed this. There were some significant changes. Although the car does not quickly fire up now, it seems to struggle less and I don't need to use the gas pedal to get it going. If there wasn't a misifre it would probably be fine.
2. throw in new plugs - these don't look bad, #3 is wet but smells funky, not like gas. For $6, i'll just replace them all.
3. get some fresh gas. What I had in there when I sold it was a 1.5 years old. It was supposedly drained a few gallons added about 6 months ago. Still, if the plugs smelled like that, it could use a fresh supply.
4. the idle control valve is just connected with crimp connectors, I never had a pigtail for it. I ordered that up. A firm connection certainly shouldn't hurt the situation.

Here she is coming off the trailer:


And I checked on her last night, looks like she's got a drug problem:
 

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Discussion Starter · #110 ·
Highly motivated this week / weekend. It seems plugs were the biggest impact to the running issue. With the NB settings in my current NA6 MSPNP the car runs great. It takes a bit to catch during crank but it'll idle steady for hours on end. I'd say 1-3 above are done. The ICV pigtail hasn't arrived yet otherwise i'd say it's all done.

Other things tackled this week:

0. Washed and vacuumed. It was gross!



1. Clearanced the body for the header. This is a Raceland header, when I bought it years ago I was fed up spending money on this car. I knew there was a chance of fitment issues, I didn't care. As it turns out, the header touching the body made the whole thing horrible to drive. The NVH was off the scale, even made cranking sound like the car was going to blow up. Header came out at least 5 times. Some bashing along the body and a few strategic hits on the header cleared things up. Next to the plugs, this was the best improvement to drivability so far.



Here's where things ended up, plenty of room!





2. Installed the R package lips I bought 4 yrs ago. Talk about delayed!





3. Tightened up the front bumper which was really squeaky. It wasn't even held on by anything. No pictures of this.

4. Got the radiator ducting in, I built this for the Rotrex kit with an over the radiator intercooler. I had to modify it slightly since the radiator is back in the stock location.





5. Put on the harness collars. This literally took 2 minutes, again not sure why i never got to it.



Off to a good start! I did drive it around the block a few times. I was instantly reminded why I loved this car. The BP4W is a torque monster compared to the old 1.6 in NA guise. And the 6 speed keeps you busy. Can't wait to get it registered.
 

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Discussion Starter · #111 ·
Had my registration appointment with DMV last Friday, the car is now legal to drive (and insured!). It was time to blow the cob webs out and see where things stood.

I immediately heard a rattle at certain RPMs and for the life of me couldn't pin-point it. It sounded like a loose bracket or I dropped a wrench someplace. A few cycles of starting it, revving it, letting it cool down, I finally found the culprit. I left the O2 sensor socket on the O2 sensor. Oye. Getting old sucks.

So with that out of the way, I went for a spin. Car ran really lean so I took out the laptop and just upped the VE table by 3 clicks. I still think it's a bit lean for my tastes and will need to do this again.

On Saturday, I decided this car was no longer for me. I really didn't get much joy driving it around the neighborhood. Something about the tough steering, hard seats, harnesses, it just sucked. Feeling defeated, I told my wife I made a mistake in buying it back. On Sunday I had to move all the cars around and decided to go for another spin. This time, I loved it. There are a couple things at play here that I need to sort out for myself. First, I've only very briefly ever driven a naturally aspirated NA/NB. By comparison, it's slow and just "meh" overall. Second, in my head I've built this car up to be what it isn't. I was considering even selling the Lotus thinking this was all I needed. Truth is, if you find the right context, this car is great. Sunday's drive was that. It's a fun car to bomb around in locally. It's a great nice weather car that puts a smile on my face when the top's down and the roads are generally clear. It is NOT the performer like the Lotus, it is not the cruiser that the Lotus is either. If you don't expect the Miata to be, or beat the Lotus, you're good.

Now, do I buy another Rotrex kit and go down that road again? Do I just let this car be? Or do I sell it since the market is HOT?

Untitled by sicklyscott, on Flickr
 

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Were you the dude with the LFX RX-8? What happened to THAT?
 

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Discussion Starter · #113 ·
Were you the dude with the LFX RX-8? What happened to THAT?
I am that dude. I sold it, had no time to use it and wanted something nicer for the street. Bought a 2013 Lotus Evora S.

The RX-8 is down in Alabama I believe, dude tracks it regularly. First time out he killed the clutch which, in all honesty would have made me destroy the car out of frustration. No way would I have wanted to deal with that after all that money.
 

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I finally found the culprit. I left the O2 sensor socket on the O2 sensor. Oye. Getting old sucks.
This was sublime. One of us!!

I get a little anxiety when I read your posts about this Miata. You've put more sweat and effort into it than most people put into their fun cars, but I sense you just haven't bonded with car. I'm not sure you can compare it to the Lotus in any fashion, so that may be an issue. If you have two fun cars, but only need one, that's also an issue. Most people forget that every modifcation adds a cost to the experience. You identified two that can really destroy Miata experience - comfort and effort to drive. If it were me, I'd at least try it with a Lotus Elise seat for street driving. I think they're the best OEM+ experience you can have in a Miata. Ditch the harness and figure out power steering.

About the siren of more Power, I can't help you. I think there's a sweet spot for a NA Miata at about 180-200WHP. It isn't Corvette power, but it really makes the car work so well. At the end of the day though, I don't think a Rotrex Miata is going to unseat the Evora for you. Tuck it away in the shop for a decade and see how you feel then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #115 ·
The day I sold the car, I moved it out of the driveway and into the street. Started like it usually did (horribly) but without general issue. An hour later I went to start it and the battery was drained. WTH Miata?! Is this protest for sending you away??? Opened the hood and the headlight motor was smoking. Unplugged it, jumped the car, and peace out Miata. 2 years later, said headlight motor was still unplugged. Not really a surprise seeing as how the car was practically untouched. I bought a used, tested motor off of eBay and went to replace it last night. That's when I had a flashback to another problem. I cut out the HID ballast on my crusade to lighten up the car.

The headlight motor is an easy 3 bolts and a ball socket for the headlight arm. Once I took the motor out, I saw what killed the motor. It was trying to "close" and there was a roll of electric tape wedged under the arm. So with that out of the way and the new motor in, it operated just fine. I really should plug in the old motor and see if it still works, maybe I'll do that later.



Back to the HID ballast, I knew i put it somewhere. I dug through the box of parts that were returned to me and sure enough, there it was in all it's old-ass glory. Using the Driver's side as a model I was able to piece the puzzle back together. It wasn't the easiest, the PO must have installed this with the headlight buckets out. Things were tightly zip tied together, double sided tape was used, and overall rather tidy until I got involved. Now both headlights work, with high beams. The exception is when you turn them on they blink until the warm up enough. I should probably just replace them.....



This was sublime. One of us!!

I get a little anxiety when I read your posts about this Miata. You've put more sweat and effort into it than most people put into their fun cars, but I sense you just haven't bonded with car. I'm not sure you can compare it to the Lotus in any fashion, so that may be an issue. If you have two fun cars, but only need one, that's also an issue. Most people forget that every modifcation adds a cost to the experience. You identified two that can really destroy Miata experience - comfort and effort to drive. If it were me, I'd at least try it with a Lotus Elise seat for street driving. I think they're the best OEM+ experience you can have in a Miata. Ditch the harness and figure out power steering.

About the siren of more Power, I can't help you. I think there's a sweet spot for a NA Miata at about 180-200WHP. It isn't Corvette power, but it really makes the car work so well. At the end of the day though, I don't think a Rotrex Miata is going to unseat the Evora for you. Tuck it away in the shop for a decade and see how you feel then.
I will tell you, I absolutely love this car but, I'm struggling with this "I'm too old for this ****" feeling. People will tell me I shouldn't care what other's think however, I'm at this point in life where rolling up to work in a clapped out, race prepped Miata isn't good for my image.

The comfort and effort pieces I just need to get used to again. I love the responsiveness and communication the car provides. If you're not used to it, it's very tiring. I just need to get back into it.

Before the 1.6 blew, I had the rotrex tuned to 195 whp. It really was a blast. Great balance between handling and power. At the local track I could drive the snot out of it, do some great passing and not be a sitting duck like the N/A setup. I feel like I need to get back to that in order to enjoy the car. I've never owned this one without forced induction so, it's built in to the expectation.
 

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The comfort and effort pieces I just need to get used to again. I love the responsiveness and communication the car provides. If you're not used to it, it's very tiring. I just need to get back into it.
Not trying to be a dick but it almost sounds like you are trying to convince yourself. I feel like a car you truly gel with isn't something you need to force. I'm almost kind of afraid you might be falling into the sunken fallacy trap.

Like for example I just did a bunch of mods to my TLX and it is more fun to drive. But something is up with the front end. I'm hoping it just needs some new LCAs. If it's something inherent to the chassis then I'm prob gonna give it another year and move on. No harm no foul. To me every car is an experience with a beginning, middle and end so sometimes it's best to move on to other things.

Plus you have a damn Lotus which gives you hella communication w/decent comfort. Im not telling you how to feel or what to do but just know if there's a part of you saying "meh this might not be worth it" then it might be worth listening to IMO. I could be completely off so disregard if necessary.
 

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Discussion Starter · #117 ·
Not trying to be a dick but it almost sounds like you are trying to convince yourself. I feel like a car you truly gel with isn't something you need to force. I'm almost kind of afraid you might be falling into the sunken fallacy trap.

Like for example I just did a bunch of mods to my TLX and it is more fun to drive. But something is up with the front end. I'm hoping it just needs some new LCAs. If it's something inherent to the chassis then I'm prob gonna give it another year and move on. No harm no foul. To me every car is an experience with a beginning, middle and end so sometimes it's best to move on to other things.

Plus you have a damn Lotus which gives you hella communication w/decent comfort. Im not telling you how to feel or what to do but just know if there's a part of you saying "meh this might not be worth it" then it might be worth listening to IMO. I could be completely off so disregard if necessary.
That makes perfect sense. Right now this is a project car that I like tinkering with. It allows me to do things cheaply rather than digging into the Lotus (can't leave anything alone). I was just explaining this to a friend. Truth is, this is a $5k car, it's a minimal investment compared to the rest of the stable. I'm ok if it ends up just sitting.
 

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OK that makes sense.
 

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I will tell you, I absolutely love this car but, I'm struggling with this "I'm too old for this ****" feeling. People will tell me I shouldn't care what other's think however, I'm at this point in life where rolling up to work in a clapped out, race prepped Miata isn't good for my image.
I think there's smoke here that bears deeper reflection. I can totally respect your situation, I really do. This isn't judgment, just observation of a familiar feeling I had/have. As car guys there are two sides to the coin of a thriving car enthusiast life - on the one hand, you like to have a shiny valuable thing that has a relative correlation to your life stage VS I built this thing and don't care what people think.

Last perspective on the Miata - there's a a sweet spot of Miata ownership where you have modified the car just enough to get more out of it without completely deteriorating the ownership experience. A Miata was always meant to be a pleasurable, simple driving experience that makes you feel good. You don't have to agree with that, but it is still part of what makes the Miata ownership experience so rewarding.

Good luck with the next direction.
 
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