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 ;)