Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Back from Thunderhill - we finished!

We made it back from Thunderhill last Sunday evening and unpacked everything on Monday. The weekend was great. In bullet-point format:

* incomplete cage welds result in four passes through tech inspection plus a lot of on-site welding on Friday once through tech inspection, judges rule our car a mega-cheater and give us a 1200 lap penalty!
* we emblazon our ride with “-1200″ and get ready for Saturday driver’s meeting at around 9:15am Saturday, basically don’t drive like a dick
* I’m first up (Peter), so first time in car on track, first time at Thunderhill, first time in wheel-to-wheel racing, first time racing on four wheels, etc.
* yellow for awhile, then green, crank out some laps
* about 1h15m later come in to pits, 17th place, but pinhole leak burned in heater hose from whacking against the manifold under acceleration, car ran great
* fix leak, put in new heat shield, Tim goes out
* drives around in circles, then loses it in turn three, goes off-track, gets black flagged
* Tim comes into the pits for reckoning, gets to follow the old VW bus around while we throw oranges at him
* Eduardo drives and sets a fast lap
* Brent drives and sets a fast lap
* Dinner with the Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys - thanks guys!
* Sunday driver’s meeting at around 8:30am
* Scott out on track first, does some good laps
* Zandr out on track, gets T-boned by RX-7, towed in
* We fix the coolant leak by joining tubes together with a socket, then notice giant oil leak
* Fix giant oil leak by shortening oil return hose, then Jim? from Saab team goes out
* I go back out, after about 25min notice big puffs of blue smoke under acceleration and ride it in to the pits oil return line is melted, scrounge up new tougher hose but not long enough so have to sleeve with the casing of an aluminum pen, tighten bolts to turbo
* Tim goes back out for a bit, but then back in with turbo loosening problems
* Eduardo goes out, sets good laps, back in and we have to tighten seat
* Brent goes out and finishes up the day
Totally a blast, thanks to everyone for a great time. See you at the races!


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Getting close, door bar, steering extension, etc.

Ok, we’re getting pretty close. All of the driving gear has arrived and yesterday we did a big push towards getting the car finished. We were able to get a door bar welded in, fit and bolt in the seat, extend the steering column back a few inches, drain the coolant, mount the fire extinguisher, and paint the numbers. Remaining items include finishing the electrical cut-off (need cables and wire to run iginition (blue) interrupt), a new battery, and getting supplies ready for transport up north. I also re-installed the windows so that we can run with the hardtop and heater on if we actually drive off-track for any reason.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Roll-cage is drilled and ready

Just got done using my cool new 90deg angle drill. It is super low-profile (I’ll get a picture next time I’m at the shop) and I can drill holes in hard-to-get-to areas. Specifically, the front and rear stays for the roll-cage were kind of hard to reach, but with the new drill it wasn’t so bad.

I also taped up the lights and mirrors. We still have a list of things to do, but it’s slowly getting knocked out. Race is coming up faster every day it seems (Dec 27th/28th).

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Roll cage padded, windows out

The last couple weeks before the big race are upon us. We’re going through the checklist for the race and hopefully will have everything more or less ready by the 26th Dec. We have to drive up to Thunderhill that morning, do an inspection, then race a little over the next couple days.

Today I put in the roll-bar padding and made a list of things to buy and fix. I also pulled out the side windows (super easy on a Miata) but am waiting for a ruling on the side windows if I can just tape them up.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Crazy Timmy strikes

Newly uncled-Tim has struck! Tonight he fabricated an intake from various parts laying around the shop, almost installed our seatbelts, quietly replaced a bolt he had “borrowed” for his wife’s Miata, and stress-tested a hard-top with a 70mph take-off and landing sequence. The pictures follow …
Intake fabrication
Airbox fabrication detail
Airbox installation
Broken glass

Friday, November 21, 2008

Ready for Thunderhill (I think)

We’re all loaded up on the trailer and ready for Eduardo to scoot up to T-hill. I’ll follow him and we’ll meet up on Friday morning at the track to unload and get the pit set up. If the car were registered I would have thought seriously of driving up - maybe next race. I cut out a little bit of padding today to allow the hardtop to latch on the driver’s side and then duct-taped a plastic sheet over the rear to protect from rain (and snow?).

I just realized that we forgot to cover the positive post of the battery so I have to remember to bring that up. Also, Eduardo had a 10′x10′ tent with plastic sides so we’ll have a pit area to work on the car if needed, you know, to block out all that sun

See you at the races!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Total lack of progress

Due to lack of progress in the last couple months, I’ve decided that the best way to address that issue is to document the many things that remain to be done before we can actually race. I’ve added to the Todo list on the spreadsheet in the hope that it will motivate us to complete our task before the last possible minute. We still have lots of things remaining and we really need to do a shakedown run or two.

Wish us luck!


Monday, September 22, 2008

Vanagon headlights at Magnolia Garage

Remember, we've moved!

Vanagons need headlights

Just last night my brother and I installed more powerful headlights on my Vanagon (and bled his clutch). Believe me, if you have a Vanagon, please upgrade your headlights. It is so much nicer to be able to see where you are going at night :)

Unfortunately, the problem that I was having with a supposed blown fuse is still around. All of my interior lights and radio are not working, but the fuse is ok. I checked out the fuse block last night while we had it out, but couldn’t see anything amiss. Next up is to trace the wires back to the radio (aftermarket) to see if there is something loose back there.

Talk soon,


Monday, July 28, 2008

Dead Smurfs have moved to their new garage

Hi all,

We just rented a shop space at 35th and Magnolia in West Oakland CA. Our blog is relocating there (virtually) at: Please come and visit!

See you at LeMons!


Thursday, July 24, 2008

5-pt harness, roll-bar padding, sold seat-belts, shop space!

Long time no post, sorry but we all got busy with other pieces of our lives for a little while. In the meantime we ordered up a 5-pt harness and roll-bar padding from Safe Racer which we might get to install this weekend.

We also just sold the seat-belt receivers to Rob whose seat-belt receivers no longer were actually securing the seat-belts. It's great fun to own a crappy car, but even more fun when your friends do too :)

Last, we finally rented some shop space! WOO-HOO! It's cool, 2500 sq-ft inside, 2900 sq-ft outside, heavy power, industrial chic without the chic, and walking distance from Home Depot. Watch out, we may end up fielding yet another LeMons team - "The Red Piglet". Just wait, you'll understand ...

Ok, off to dreams of Miata-engined Bugeye Sprites ...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Shakedown run for Sunday complete

I took the Smurf out today up in the Berkeley and Oakland Hills for a couple hours to see if I could get it to overheat, break something, or melt something cool. Fortunately (or unfortunately) nothing untoward happened and it was a blast to drive around the twisties. The power is pretty good and comes on strong at about 4200rpm. I have to put some heat shielding around the brake lines as they started to get soft after running hard for a bit. The engine temp never moved off of the center and I listened hard for any sounds of knocks in the engine, but it seemed to go pretty smoothly the whole way.

Next up is to get some monitoring on the engine. We need a boost gauge, maybe a knock sensor, maybe a few more temperature sensors, and probably more things.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Super bad, I mean good, I mean ...

Please excuse me if I revert to my Southern Cal roots, but ...

Duuuude, this Mia-tah is gnarly faaast duuude!

We got the intake all plumbed up today, subjected it to a sophisticated kiddie-pool leakdown test and coupled that with the Fl├╝gelhornwasserbruder regimen (I don't recommend looking that up). We then drove the car backwards off the ramps, into the street, and into hyper-space. Maybe I'm just used to it being slow, maybe I've been driving a Vanagon for a bit too long, or maybe the Fl├╝gelhorn made me a bit light-headed, but once the Smurf hit 3500rpm I was glad I tightened the seat bolts all the way.

Of course, at the end of the run the throttle got stuck, something made a loud noise, and now there are a bunch of leaks in the exhaust, but hey, that's what weekends are for, right?

More to come I'm sure ...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Intake madness

Well, though previously we thought the intake was complete, it leaked quite a lot. We received a bunch of interestingly shaped intake parts the other day and after picking through them, we may have found a solution. This probably will involve some cutting, some bead-making, and swearing.

Today we re-installed the oil-line to the turbo, this time complete with crush washers to prevent those unseemly oil leaks. Tomorrow Tim is coming over and hopefully we can put together an interesting intake.

Also, we pulled some nice big brakes off of an ex-race car (thanks Rick!) so we will be installing those sometime soon as well.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

It lives!

Whew, got the car running again with the turbo, but it took some doing. We did have spark, the fuel pump was working, the alarm-ectomy was successful. However, it still wasn't starting. To debug it, here's what I went through today:
  • check spark (ok)
  • check fuel pump and flow (ok)
  • check for engine codes (none)
  • check for blockages in the intake plumbing (none)
  • sit and look at the engine for awhile (thinking ...)
  • take off all intake and install old Jackson intake (bypass turbo and intercooler) - It runs!
  • put back on some intake pieces (turbo in-line, bypass intercooler) - No dice!
  • put back on one intake piece (bypass turbo and intercooler but AFM in right place in terms of intake length) - No dice!
  • tighten the crap out of the hose clamps - It runs!
So, here's the deal. It turns out that the silicone connectors for the extra shiny aluminum tubing we have sitting around don't quite fit right. This means that even if you tighten the clamps up pretty tightly, they still have lots of air leaks and the AFM gets really confused. So, after hooking up all of the intake tubes again and tightening the crap out of the hose clamps, it finally ran with the turbo, but even then there were still lots of leaks. Oh yeah, and I almost burned through a heater return line with the new exhaust placement.

Maybe tomorrow I'll figure out a better way to connect up the intake tubing. I'd really like to take it for a test-run and see what breaks.


Sunday, June 8, 2008

Intake complete, turbo oiled, but no spark?

This weekend was reasonably productive. We took some existing parts and pieces to do up one half of the intake (intercooler to throttle body), and some new shiny aluminum tubes to plumb up the other half (charge tube to intercooler). We undid the spark plugs and cranked the engine a bit to make sure that the oil was getting to the impeller housing (it was) and draining back to the sump (it was). However, after hooking the spark plugs back up and connecting the air flow meter, the engine turns over but never catches. Unfortunately it got dark, I got tired, and the problem still remains.

Is there spark?

Is there something obvious unhooked?

Did Zandr's foray into the alarm nest-o-wires disconnect something?

Coil plug wire?

Fuel pump working?

Stay tuned ...

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Alarm-ectomy, exhaust, makin' money

Zandr came over today and scraped out the alarm from the car (see picture). It's a pretty impressive set of extra wires designed to make the car not run. We're glad they're gone.

We also contorted ourselves just enough to install the downpipe from the turbo. It involved a bit of limb re-arrangement, but now we can reach nuts and bolts from pretty much anywhere. We also clamped up the current exhaust as it was resting on the rear sway bar.

Last, we sold an arm rest to RobK for $10 - his was all ripped up.

Unfortunately we didn't get the intake fully plumbed up so we were unable to start the car. We may need to dip into our sponsor pool for ideas, or break down and buy something.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Roll-cage is mostly in

Got the roll-cage almost complete today (thanks Walter!), just a few things remaining. We need to bolt in the front and rear plates, and finish up a couple welds in funny angled places. Note that the hard-top in the picture is not for the race, we just thought it looked cool :)

Wow, $12.94!

If you ever need some extra cash, just look in the hand-brake-well of a Miata - we found $12.94 there today (and counting) while pulling up the carpets to do some welding of the cage.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Removed and sold the convertible top

In preparation for welding up the roll-cage tomorrow, we removed and sold the convertible top to RobK. His convertible top is rusty, has holes, and generally wasn't really a "top" anymore. We'll install his new one on Sunday, probably along with new carpets.

I'll probably post a bunch of stuff about our welding and such tomorrow if I'm not shattered by the end of the day.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Cleaned up and sold outer shift boot

This weekend hasn't been super productive (yet) but we did end up cleaning up the cars and scoping out some more parts for sale. One of our friends (Rob) has a 1990 Miata that needs a bunch of assorted parts and pieces to make it nice again. He dropped off his car for a couple weeks so that we can sell him whatever is better on ours for a reasonable price. We spent most of today figuring out which parts were better/worse - it looks like there are a few mechanical things (like power steering and convertible top) and a bunch of cosmetic things (arm-rests, some body panels).

We also sold the outer shift boot to my brother's girlfriend for $10 - she has a '93 Miata.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Roll-cage in progress

As you can see in the attached photo, we've started on the roll-cage installation. The first phase of installing the main hoop went relatively smoothly. It involved removing the stock seatbelt mechanisms, lining up the hoop properly, drilling a few holes through to the wheelwells, removing the inner mudflaps, and then bolting in some plates. Next we started tacking the other bars in place and everything seems to fit rather well. We still have to trim off some metal for the rear stays, and then we have to buy a lot of pizza and beer for my brother's professional welder friend :)

We also found another $0.12 and sold the airbag, the battery, and have a few other parts on-queue to sell. This was sneakily achieved by convincing my brother's girlfriend that she really wanted a Miata, specifically one that was missing many of the parts that we just happened to be willing to sell. I think that's one of the marketing tips in business school about how to create a captive market ;)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The roll-cage has arrived!

Thanks to Bill at Flyin' Miata and Tom at Bethania Garage for the sponsored roll-cage. It just arrived today (all 92lbs of it) and we will soon be welding away to get it turned from pipes into protection.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Secondary Fuel Regulator

We didn't have a lot of time for the Miata this weekend (got my brother's Ghia running instead) but we were able to get the secondary fuel regulator installed and hooked up.

I was a bit of a bonehead and removed the fuel line from the injector rail instead of from the much easier to access hard return line, but this gave us the opportunity to install new fuel hoses everywhere.

We have exhaust hookup bolts and hi-temp liquid gasket, so at some point soon that will get hooked up. We're still waiting on some crush washers to show up magically for the turbo oil-line, but that's just an excuse while we mock up the intake. It's a bit more complicated and fiddly than I originally thought.

Also, saw the first couple hours of LeMons at Altamont this weekend - pretty cool.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Sold the handbrake trim for $10

Zandr was able to sell the handbrake trim for $10 the other day. This meant that we had to find a new button, but luckily one was laying around his house so we now have an ultra-chrome high-performance handbrake button. Watch out LeMons!

Oh yeah, Zandr's friend made an awesome embroidery for our team uniforms.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sold the wheels and door panels for $90!

Got rid of the door panels and steel wheels today for $90 - a bit more and we will be close to getting even. I also bought a banjo bolt for $4.95 from Kragen today plus a bunch of clamps for $10. The oil line now is connected but the intake plumbing will take some more work. I also added in the cost for the intercooler as it wasn't in our calculations before. Looks like we have about $150 to go before we are back to the $500 budget for the car. I think we should be able to hit it, definitely without the turbo and intercooler but that would take all of the fun out of it :)

Friday, May 2, 2008

Intercooler and intake mock-up

Today we hung the new Jackson exhaust, bolted up the cat and downpipe from the stock exhaust, mounted the intercooler, and mocked up the intake. We are still waiting on the special banjo bolt for the oil feed for the turbo, so it's not clear when we will be running again, but hopefully by next weekend for LeMons at Altamont just to show off.

My brother and I will make a parts run to get some liquid gasket for tightening up the exhaust system and a few extra bolts (unless we find them laying around) to connect the exhaust stub from the turbo to the downpipe.

Steel wheels for sale - $50, tires 185's in good shape

We have some steel wheels for sale (thanks Rick for the nice 15x6.5's). They are in good shape, the tires are decent, and we used them to drive around a lot until we installed the new wheels and tires.

$50 or trade for cool parts, a good story, or maybe we should keep them as an extra set of wheels for the race ... hmmm, let's see what kind of offers we get ;)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Exhaust manifold in, intake manifolds are next

Whew, that was a bit of a pain. However, the exhaust manifold for the turbo is now bolted down. Unfortunately it's too dark to really take any pictures now, so I'll take some tomorrow morning. Looks like we may actually get a chance to plumb up the intake this weekend too! My main concern at this point is mounting the intercooler, but maybe that will be easier than I imagine.

UPDATE: Just added the pictures with the impeller and exhaust stub installed.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Banjo update

After paying visits to all of the fine nuts and bolt establishments here in Oakland and Berkeley, we realized that we'd actually have to break down and order a $4.95 banjo bolt online. Berkeley Yamaha came the closest with a 10mm 1.25mm thread, but we need a 10mm 1.5mm thread. Once this part arrives (ETA: 2 weeks) plus crushwashers, we'll be ready to move on to the next turbo problem.

Actually, I think we're just going to install the turbo anyway because it's going to take awhile to hook up all of the intake plumbing. In fact, before we do that, we just noticed today that the manifold doesn't really fit that well. We will first try a few intimidation techniques to get it over the bolts, and then we may have to move to more radical maneuvers like measuring things first.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Turbo installation: Stage 1

The exhaust system that came with the smurf was relatively easy to take off. We enlisted the help of some local Oakland beavers to help chew through the badly welded header system of unknown origin and then extracted the remaining bits through the main engine cavity.

All looks set to install the turbo, right? Unfortunately, the oil pressure pick-up from the engine block requires a special banjo bolt which didn't come with our special low-buck Greddy-in-a-paper-bag turbo kit. So, I guess tomorrow I'll take my beavers and look around for the bolt.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Registration and wheels

Sold the Daisy wheels/tires the other day for $70, but then registered the car for $73, so I guess it works out to even minus a coffee.

We've been running around a bit with the new seats - we think that they might need a bit more rake to them so I'll try out some bigger spacers this weekend.

The last remaining part that we really need is a downpipe for the turbo. Well, the last remaining part that we know of ...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Seat test

We now have some nice used (thanks Zandr) seats successfully mounted with most of their bolts. We were able to modify the stock Miata seat adjusters to fit to the driver's side seat, so we will still have adjustability for the different drivers. We still have to take out the carpet to get to our buried treasure (see last post) but the car can be driven once more!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The mother lode!

Check it out - mucho money found inside the carpeting. We haven't taken it out yet, but I'm sure there is enough to buy another turbo, or maybe even a burrito :)

We (Tim and I) also took off the door panels today and tried to mount the racing seats. We are trying to keep the sliders working so it's a little bit of a pain to get them sized right. Unfortunately we weren't able to get the seats finished today, but I think we have the right mounting technique. We need some 12mm head studs so that they clear the seat rails (13mm gets hung up).

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Wheels and tires

Got some pretty slick wheels and tires for the Smurf. 15x6" sport Miata rims from a '97 I think. We wrapped them in Falken Azenis 205/50R-15's and the thing handles like it's on rails. I was under the impression that wheels are considered part of the safety equipment, but I think we might have to read the rules carefully because in very few videos do I see nice wheels on the LeMons racers. Anyway, I'll enjoy them until forced to take them off :)

UPDATE: It does indeed seem that wheels are part of the safety equipment (see rule 4.2). Wow, I wonder if we could somehow embed little motors in the wheels and have powered hubs ... hmmmm ...

PR Motorsports strikes again

Rick is a cool guy.

We dropped by his shop again on Friday and he always has some words of wisdom for setting up the Smurf. He also tends to have spare parts laying around that might come in handy. Our main problem will be making sure that they fit within the LeMons rules, so the entire following list of parts may not appear on our LeMons vehicle: front strut tower brace, replacement shock tower mounts, 15x6" wheels, Jackson Racing exhaust, bunch of brake pads, one rotor, and ideas about how to build an extractor hood.

Did I mention Rick was cool?

Also, Zandr brought up his old racing seats which are undergoing a bit of refitting for the Smurf. We're going to try and set them up with seat rails from some stock seats. If that doesn't work we'll drill some holes and secure them that way.

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pictures from last weekend (13 April 2008)

This is the before picture - note the Jackson intake, power steering, and air conditioning.
Go fast voodo from Jackson.
This PS / A/C belt didn't have much longer to live.
Zandr preparing for dissection (note the high buck hood prop).
This belly-pan has seen better days.
A/C compressor, soon to live again in Zandr's car.
After the guts are gone. Note the water-pump intake extension - part of the Jackson intake kit?
Don't get Zandr mad at you or you may receive the same treatment as these power steering components.

Tax weekend take-down!

Happy Tax Day everyone!

So, instead of productively spending our time last weekend, we decided that it was time to start really taking some weight out of the Miata. The day's primary objectives were the power steering and air-conditioning along with assorted plumbing. Next up is to take out the power steering rack and de-power it. However, we think we might have found a swap with a gentleman who would like to purchase our power steering in exchange for his already defectively sealed rack. Also, Zandr had been shopping for A/C and might get a great deal on our newly extracted A/C sytem.

Some photos soon to come!


Thursday, April 10, 2008

List of things in the mail or to pick up

After some serious scavenging mixed with polite begging, we seem to have lined up the following pieces and parts:
  • wheels (15"x6.5")
  • more turbo parts (intercooler, various intake plumbing)
  • advice - seal up around the radiator to make sure all air goes over it, don't lift the rear of the hood to vent as it's not designed that way, used extractor hood
  • roll cage
  • decals from cool sponsors
  • seats
  • brakes
We have to go help dismantle some cars to obtain our booty, but thanks to the constant need to upgrade, we bottom-feeders have a nice supply of slightly used parts to dig through.

More info on these parts and pieces as well as specific thanks to the suppliers to come.

This weekend should see a bit more wrenching.


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Cool, free Smurf parts have arrived!

Thanks to Skip Cannon from we now have more parts! Thanks for clearing out your garbage bins Skip!

It's not exactly clear where to put them (yet), but I'm sure we'll find a place for each and every one. A quick glance shows that we have a water pump, some intake plumbing, engine mounts, a diverter valve, and plenty of connecting hoses. Now it's time to connect stuff to things ;)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Nothing happened this weekend

After all that talk, nothing happened this weekend. The Miata still has power steering and still has A/C. My brother drove it around a bit and had fun in the sun, but c'mon, we're not about having fun ;)

Hopefully all of this pent up constructive energy will unleash itself next weekend upon the little smurf and we'll start moving forward again.

Talk soon,

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Greddy Turbo

Tim (my brother) found a good manual for the Greddy Turbo online. Reading through it was quite instructive. Some highlights are that it was designed to run with a completely stock Miata, no drilling or bending or breaking of existing parts. It runs at 5psi and the kit includes an interesting fuel regulator just past the injectors to maintain fuel pressure at boost (I think). Last, it is CARB exempt and is legal in CA to run on the street!

Yesterday we also went through what is necessary to take out and plug the power steering. This is not a huge deal, though some people go all out and hollow out the whole thing. I think for our purposes, just removing the pump/reservoir and re-routing the lines should be enough. We also removed the airbag (don't forget to disconnect the battery) and are looking forward to finding a nice cheap steering wheel.

We also took a quick glance at the A/C. I've been reading up on how to remove the condenser as well as the heat-pump itself. The biggest challenge looks to be just removing the lines cleanly.

More to come soon I hope!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Wheels for sale - $100 OBO

If anybody wants some ultra-medium performance all-original Daisy (14x5.5) wheels, let us know.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Sold the seats!

Our all-original, black cloth, beautifully worn-in seats were sold today for the low low price of $125!. That still leaves us with a ways to go to get back to $500 (assuming we install the turbo), but it's definitely a step in the right direction.

If it doesn't rain this weekend in our garage with no roof (sometimes called the driveway), we hope to do a bit more carpet removal and possibly, just possibly installation of the race seats. However, it might make sense to wait on those while we explore the possibility of spraying the interior with truck-bed liner.

By the way, the seats were sold to our good friend Rob who has decided to retire the only-slightly moldy seats that cushioned his journey through the streets of SF. If we're lucky, we will be able to foist a few more parts off on him too. His Miata is also in need of doors without dents (while ours could use some dents) and possibly a fender or two.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sunday (March 09th, 2008) carpet madness

The other seat came out of the car today along with a bit of the carpet. It's in remarkably good shape and now ready for a bit of cleaning and slicing for our new funds generation idea :)
Also, I was checking out the suspension and it looks like it was reasonably well set up for the track once before. I think it might behoove us to get a couple new sway-bars and maybe a strut-tower brace, but overall it handles quite well as-is. We probably should get it out to the track for a day just to dial it in.

Next up - reading about how to take out an airbag (safely) and then pulling the rest of the carpet out, hopefully in one piece.

Oh yeah - I almost forgot, we found another $0.60 in change (2 quarters, 1 dime) under the driver's seat, so we're slowly but surely getting back to our $500 limit :)

Idea for funds generation

So, we're thinking of a novel way to generate funds for our operation. We're thinking of selling small squares of carpet for $5 each (100 or so squares) with going to UNICEF (who provided our video inspiration. In fact, we'll probably do something cool and put a picture of it up on the website with pointers to each piece so that you can see which one you bought!

Thoughts or comments on this appreciated. We hope to induce a rule change for next year :)

Saturday (March 08th, 2008) update

Well, the Miata drives pretty well around town. I've been using it to do local errands and the odd Berkeley Hills banzai run with no big problems. The only funny thing is that since we removed the shift boot there is very hot air that comes blowing up through the hole around the shift linkage.

This weekend my brother and I removed the passenger seat in preparation for installing the cheaper and more useful beat-up old race seats. We also repaired a bit of the vinyl on the passenger seat so that now we can sell the pair. If anybody is interested, they are actually in quite good shape. Maybe I'll buy them and install them in my Ghia, it hasn't had seats with padding for quite awhile ...

I also insured the car and will probably register and smog it sometime this week. Though at first we thought the tires weren't holding air, they seem to be fine now. Next up is selling all of the various pieces and parts. You can see them in the For Sale section of our spreadsheet. Next weekend we will probably take out a few more things and maybe dig out the power steering and A/C.

Talk soon,

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Saturday wrenching session

Zandr and I got together today (Sat) and decided to futz with the Miata a little to see what we were getting into. My brother Tim came by too to add to the confusion and help break the other cars that were in the vicinity.

Below are my notes from the day:
* checking out turbo, verifying that the waste gate works
* looking at the header, is it a European model? looks stock, lower exhaust welded together
* removed Hella H4 headlights and sold, replaced with old crappy ones that were laying around
* water pump looks fairly new
* stock swaybars, has aftermarket rear subframe brace, Koni yellow shocks
* front is lower, cut springs perhaps?
* extra foglight wiring (now removed), alarm (not yet removed)
* it has headrest speakers, maybe we can sell those too
* not a limited slip differential, smooth housing
* the Jackson intake should be street legal, as is new exhaust because it has a catalytic converter
* need to replace shift boots
* found $0.25 in change!
* timing was severely retarded, we adjusted and it runs much better, set idle to 850rpm
* still runs rough when cold
* pulled out foglight wiring and extra speaker wiring

Friday, February 29, 2008

Pahrump race is canceled

Well, unfortunately the race that we were targeting in Pahrump was canceled. So, we're now trying to figure out if we can get to Altamont in time (registration closes tomorrow), or have to wait until the winter. Zandr's looking into a few other possible events that are similar in style.

Oh well, tomorrow is wrench day. If you want to help out, come on by my house around noon.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Things not to do

Don't put heavy items on top of your Miata's convertible top overnight.

Don't let other people put heavy items on top of your Miata's convertible top overnight.

Turbo time

Zandr and I found a used (5000mi) Greddy turbo kit for sale on Craigslist and jumped on it today for $500. This means we'll have to sell a few bits and bobs off the car, but between the extra wheels, doors, air-conditioning, seats, console, exhaust, intake, headlights, and maybe other pieces, we should be able to find the money to make this worth it.

Here is the original ad:
1.6 greddy miata turbo - $590 (palo alto)
Reply to:
Date: 2008-02-26, 4:36PM PST

all parts installed on my miata for less than 5k miles and i bought the kit for 1600 plus shipping and professional installation. the turbo was broken in properly and had the oil changed a total of 4 times in its life, so it's still in perfect condition as are all of the other parts. email w/ questions or give me a call if you would like to set up a time to check the parts out. thanks, Brian 650 424 1229

Greddy turbo, no shaft play
Greddy exhaust manifold, relief cuts made
Greddy down pipe
Vortech Fmu, w/ stainless braided fuel lines

* it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

PostingID: 587978689

Monday, February 25, 2008