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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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 Post subject: From STS to D-Mod
PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:29 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:56 pm
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Figured I might as well start a build thread as I usually do, while its a twinkle in my eye...

Me: 37 year old business analyst and part-time economics instructor. I've been married a bit less than two years, and met my (now) wife around the time that I was shopping for a miata to get back into autocross. I race out of the NWOR (Toledo, OH) region, and admittedly am not very good, but we're working on that. This year is all about seat time and I'll be racing 3 pro-solos along with picking up events at other regions. Last weekend I actually won my class, although none of the really fast drivers attended our season opener.

Current Racecar: I purchased my miata in 2012. Within 2 days of picking it up I was laid off from my job, so that summer was spent cleaning it up as much as possible and autocrossing whenever I could. At that time it had been 5 years since my last autocross, although I never spent money preparing a car; I was the typical occasional racer. The following year, re-employed, I began setting the car up for RTR. I started from the bottom, but by the end of the season was beating a few people and even took home a season trophy (4th place or something like that.)

In 2014, money started going elsewhere - specifically a couple of rings and a house. While my wife isn't a "car chick," she supports my hobby, or at least understands that it wouldn't be fair to take it away!

Image

During the winter of 2014-2015 I started working toward making the car a little more competitive, but also had some rust taken care of. This was taken a few days ago while playing with the idea of a meatball, although I removed it in the end:

Image

While I could keep building the car up, I've always liked the idea of building something from the ground up. I kind of landed in that in-between land where the miata is too pretty to not drive, so it needs to keep things like A/C. Its also somewhat competitive, but not full-blown race car. Lots of debate has occurred as I approach my 40th in just over 2 years:

1.) Buy an ND in 2 years... but I'd still have 20k in it before I ever touch a wrench to it
2.) Buy another NA and build a faster, more fun racecar. Budget's going to be about the same, though, and now I have two miatas of the same vintage. While enjoyable, they aren't always practical...
3.) Then I started looking at lotus seven kits. A lot. Too much. . . especially when I realized fastcraft, the MNR importer, was literally within 2 hours of my home...

So there you have the backstory, or at least some of it. We brought this little lady home from the hospital this past December:
Image

Fittingly, this is going to be a slow build and I don't plan to buy the kit until '17 (unless the stock market blesses me in abundance).

More on the latest acquisition soon....


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 Post subject: Re: From STS to D-Mod
PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:09 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2009 3:34 pm
Posts: 485
Location: Alberta
Blueiii wrote:
I started looking at lotus seven kits. A lot. Too much. . .

and
Blueiii wrote:
....I don't plan to buy the kit until '17

So are you building, buying a kit that's to much, or going with a MNR kit? If you don't want to start from scratch, cars regularly come up for sale on this forum, sometimes int he form of a MNR kit that hasn't been completed. Worth keeping your eye on with your schedule I'd think.

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 Post subject: Re: From STS to D-Mod
PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 10:04 am 
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Not too much money, but looking at them too often!


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 Post subject: Re: From STS to D-Mod
PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 5:38 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:39 pm
Posts: 53
Location: SW Missouri
I'm almost in your same boat, only I have started a book chassis and have a motor that needs work.

Been autocrossing an AP1 S2000 and wanted to go faster, and have always loved the 7. D-Mod is where I'll be in a year or two.


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 Post subject: Re: From STS to D-Mod
PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 6:30 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:56 pm
Posts: 9
Hi Kent2 - nice to meet you! I was reading through your posts a few days ago. Good luck this season!!

I was thinking I need to get my garage cleaned up and organized before I do anything, including building some shelves, improving the lighting and getting some foam pad flooring. (The previous owners painted the concrete and now its crumbling, making it extra painful on knees and even more difficult to find dropped anything.)

For me, a kit makes the most sense because I don't know hot to weld, nor do I have any desire to learn how. Maybe that will change someday, but as it is this is going to be a unique learning experience for me. Dismantling the car myself will include things I've never done before - pulling an engine, changing a clutch, etc. Nothing too earth-shattering, but for the most part my experience has been learning through doing. I'm going to have enough time invested in the basics as is!

And - I did a thing. I ended up somewhat accidentally winning an auction for my donor car. It was listed on Copart with a reserve of $750, and my bid was $350. I ended up winning the auction, but under the reserve. Later that day I received a notification - the seller had accepted my offer; I needed to pick the car up within 3 days... After u-haul, gas, tolls, and copart fees I ended up around $750-$800.

Image


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 Post subject: Re: From STS to D-Mod
PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 9:44 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2015 1:56 am
Posts: 123
Location: Morrisville, PA
Nice score, $800ish is not bad these day for an auction salvage.

But can you explain something, I;m not the most in touch person and avoid the new and hip things, but, what is "D-Mod" :lol:

:cheers:

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There is no shame in defeat, so long as the spirit is unconquered

My Build Log


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 Post subject: Re: From STS to D-Mod
PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 9:48 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2015 2:38 pm
Posts: 721
Location: Outside Hartford, CT
D mod is an SCCA class of vehicle, typically reserved for smaller engined, lighter weight vehicles.

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Driven5 wrote:
Forced Induction + Magic Spinning Doritos = EMod


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 Post subject: Re: From STS to D-Mod
PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2016 7:34 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:56 pm
Posts: 9
What 1055 said!

In this case, I would be competing against other tube-frame type cars up to 2.0L and a minimum weight of around 1420 lbs. That's wet, so getting down to minimum weight with either of the kits I'm leaning toward (MNR Vortx or possibly a GBS Zero - depends what windshield solution Tom comes up with) is going to be difficult. The other issue is that the really fast guys in the class typically use a F20C (s2000) for their build. I ended up going with a miata because a.) its what I know (kind of) b.) easier / cheaper donor c.) parts are available and cheaper and d.) I'm familiar enough with the miata community and vendors, and have a good reputation in the Ohio miata communities that I am a part of.

On to the car... its a pile! She lived a hard life here in Ohio, the salt capital of the world. There is very little I can re-sell off this thing because its so rusted. The rust also concerns me on salvaging some of the parts. Thankfully, we have a small miata salvage company a few hours away, as well as there are people parting these all the time.

Issues:
1.) Car runs but doesn't drive. It appears that the clutch is non-existant. $299 from Goodwin Racing with a lightweight flywheel.
2.) Wheel locks, but no key. Dangit! I got one of them loose by pounding a 20mm socket onto it, however I stripped the wheel stud and the lock is now permanently stuck in the socket. I really don't want to buy 2 more 20mm sockets just to destroy them...
3.) I had already planned on a full belt / gasket / waterpump replacement. Ended up paying for that already - $150.00 from a fellow Ohio Miata owner.
4.) I plan to be on the safe side and replace all the clutch hydralics ($59 - $79) and rear main ($20) while I'm at it.
5.) CEL is on, however I'm assuming that's because the secondary O2 sensor is dangling from the suspension. The actual sensor looks like its lived under the ocean for 10 years, as its covered in rust.

From what I can tell, this car was probably owned by someone who cared about it at one time. The brake fluid is probably 2-3 years old, there's a new radiator, the hood was repainted at one time. The springs aren't completely rusted out and there are aftermarket dust covers on the shocks, however these are completely rusted. I also spotted aftermarket bump stops and ngk wires.

Last night I started to remove items for sale, and realized that its going to be more hassle than its worth. With the car in the driveway, a baby in the house, and a full race schedule this summer (I believe I'll be averaging 3 races a month) I'm guessing I'll be better off getting this sorted for parts instead of trying to make $10 - $20 here and there.


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 Post subject: Re: From STS to D-Mod
PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2016 8:40 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 8:12 am
Posts: 1220
Location: 4AGE in S.E. Michigan
Wheel locks, but no key. :BH:
I've found the easiest way to remove the wheel locks, is weld a large nut thru the ID on to the wheel lock. The heat will also helps in the removal. Dave W


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 Post subject: Re: From STS to D-Mod
PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2016 9:46 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:56 pm
Posts: 9
I hear ya'. In my case, though, I don't weld... or have welding equipment, which is why I'm going with a kit. Honestly, though, pounding a 20mm socket onto the lug key worked pretty well. I just need to find another 2 sockets on the cheap.


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 Post subject: Re: From STS to D-Mod
PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2016 9:57 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2015 1:56 am
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Location: Morrisville, PA
Blueiii wrote:
I hear ya'. In my case, though, I don't weld... or have welding equipment, which is why I'm going with a kit. Honestly, though, pounding a 20mm socket onto the lug key worked pretty well. I just need to find another 2 sockets on the cheap.


EBAY. i just bought 4 17mm to make a special Subaru cam tool for less that $20 shipped. And the are Crapsman. If they break i can exchange them

1055 wrote:
D mod is an SCCA class of vehicle, typically reserved for smaller engined, lighter weight vehicles.


Thanks 1055! :cheers:

_________________
-STu

There is no shame in defeat, so long as the spirit is unconquered

My Build Log


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 Post subject: Re: From STS to D-Mod
PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2016 12:23 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:56 pm
Posts: 9
Looks like 12 pts don't work for this, but 6 pts. do! Need to return a 12 pt later, but only 1 wheel is still stuck on.

Also picked up a label maker while at Walmart. Seems like the smart thing to do when tagging all the electrical stuff for later. Having never actually removed a miata engine before, I found this write up which looks pretty comprehensive: http://did-it-myself.com/removing-a-miata-engine/

I also talked to a fellow miata racer (that keeps asking when I'm cutting the windshield off of my nice miata to race in the prepared class with him) and he has a hoist I can use.


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 Post subject: Re: From STS to D-Mod
PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2016 5:05 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:56 pm
Posts: 9
Harvesting the donor has reminded me why I spent so much time looking for a rust-free, pristine miata (at least underneath) to start my STS build...

Image

:BH:

Caliper bolts are now free with the help of blaster. I don't yet have a compressor, but its on the soon-to-purchase list.

It appears I can salvage and rebuild the calipers and uprights, however the hubs may not be worth saving. I'm instructing on Saturday and racing on Sunday, so I probably won't make much progress this weekend.


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 Post subject: Re: From STS to D-Mod
PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2016 5:37 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2009 3:34 pm
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Location: Alberta
That will buff right out! :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: From STS to D-Mod
PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2016 11:28 am 
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Joined: Sat Feb 08, 2014 10:47 pm
Posts: 234
Trochu wrote:
That will buff right out! :lol:


The frame right above the sway bar mount won't!

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