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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 12:31 am 
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Hack
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Location: Marietta, GA
After 2 years of research and reading, I'm pleased to say my build is finally started!

I purchased my donor today - a 1994 Mazda Miata B-package. For non-Miata folks, it's got the larger 1.8L engine, larger brakes and a Torsen LSD.

My example rear-ended a truck and took out most of the front end. Fortunately the bent frame only lightly kissed the mechanicals and there doesn't appear to be any major damage aside from a leaky valve cover gasket. I did manage to get the car started during the inspection, so I at least know it turns over and runs well.

The rest of the car is in excellent shape, especially the interior. I'm hoping to at least take a significant chunk off the cost of the car by selling off components.

I was like a kid waiting for Santa last night waiting for the car to be delivered. I think I must have set some kind of record for most posts without starting a build (212?). I'm happy to throw my hat in the ring and to start building and contributing more to the forum.


Attachments:
File comment: I'm calling him Winky for now.
donor_start.jpg
donor_start.jpg [ 187.36 KiB | Viewed 6445 times ]
wl_donor.jpg
wl_donor.jpg [ 217.16 KiB | Viewed 6447 times ]

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Last edited by weconway on Fri Dec 12, 2008 2:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 12:47 am 
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Looking at your pictures, I see the donor in your first picture, but already by the second picture there's another one parked in the background. Soon your yard will be full of them! Having a scarp yard is probably a good plan during a recession ( oops didn't mean to use the R word... ). Looks like you gained a child too!

:)

Good luck and look forward to seeing progress.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 12:06 pm 
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Sweet looking donor man! That's a nice score and will make your life a lot easier. Before you tear it down you should try to take measurements of everything and put them in Wishbone, just for the heck of it. I wished later I had done that and tried to do it after the fact with just the parts out of the pile.

Anyway, you've done well on the first big step of the build. Now you can on with the teardown. Which was my favorite part of the build. Label everything clearly and save everything that isn't broken. I threw out seemingly useless things and later saw them on Ebay for $20-50. :BH:

I look forward to an update on your +221" frame design. I don't think I've seen one.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 7:57 am 
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Hack
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horizenjob wrote:
Looking at your pictures, I see the donor in your first picture, but already by the second picture there's another one parked in the background. Soon your yard will be full of them! Having a scarp yard is probably a good plan during a recession ( oops didn't mean to use the R word... ). Looks like you gained a child too!


I guess there's a fine line between a donor and a daily driver! The kid came with the car. She was so cute we decided to keep her instead of putting her up on EBay.

By +221, I mean a mostly custom Gibbs-ish frame. I'm going to design the suspension first, so we'll see how it all turns out in the end. I'm not thrilled with the idea of doing fiberglass work. Going to a book chassis will make it a lot easier to get body parts.

Oh, and just for everyone's info, I bought the donor for $1500 including the original Miata wheels and tires and having the guy tow it to my house.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 10:04 am 
Excellent! With judicious designing of your center tunnel, you should even be able to use the seats...


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 10:16 pm 
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its finally started!




soon enough ill be able to drive by and tease you while you are dismantling :lol:

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 7:57 am 
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I've spent the last few days inspecting for damage. All the damaged body panels are off, and I've got the radiator out. That was fun trying to wrestle a damaged radiator out of a bent frame.

The good news is that the damage is pretty light all things considering. Everything on the passenger side is toast, but the engine is completely fine and none of the suspension has been touched. The funny thing is that the bumper doesn't have a scratch on it and the airbag system slept through the accident.

Next I'm borrowing a friend's battery charger so that I can test all the electrical components and fire the engine up for the last time. I'd like to see if it's blowing smoke or otherwise running funny.

I probably should have done a little more inspecting when I bought it, but I figure it's all coming apart anyway, and . I've seen a LOT of Miatas, and everything seemed to be ok. I hope I don't regret it later... :?


Attachments:
File comment: Frame is tweaked pretty bad.
081025_frame_sm.jpg
081025_frame_sm.jpg [ 83.36 KiB | Viewed 6209 times ]
File comment: Radiator pushed back a little
081025_crash_sm.jpg
081025_crash_sm.jpg [ 82.32 KiB | Viewed 6204 times ]

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 9:00 am 
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Hack
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My donor moved under its own power this weekend. The trip wasn't just to hoon around my neighborhood. I've never actually driven the car, so I wanted to see how it did.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBMQa8fO0G4

The good: Clutch seems very good. Shifter was very very fluid, but the synchros seem a little balky in 1st and 2nd (I only got to 3rd). That may be because they're cold.

The bad: There seems to be pretty bad HLA knocking. I'll have to have those replaced or cleaned.

The ugly: White smoke coming out of the tailpipe. The 3 mile drive after the collision (with a busted radiator) must have toasted the head gasket. Hopefully it's just a gasket and didn't warp the head.

I'm making very good progress disassembling the donor. I took most of the interior apart yesterday. I'm trying to recoup as much as I can, so I'll probably spend the rest of the week on EBay and CraigsList.

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Last edited by weconway on Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 9:58 am 
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Just take the HLAs apart and clean them. They aren't cheap. The oil in them cannot escape and breaks down. Also, the previous owner may have been using the wrong oil weight, causing them to not pump up properly. There is a service bulletin where the hole size was increased so the engine would be less sensitive to the oil viscosity, but those HLAs cost about $40 each, last time I checked.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:56 am 
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Hack
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Miatav8,MstrASE,A&P,F wrote:
Just take the HLAs apart and clean them. They aren't cheap. The oil in them cannot escape and breaks down. Also, the previous owner may have been using the wrong oil weight, causing them to not pump up properly. There is a service bulletin where the hole size was increased so the engine would be less sensitive to the oil viscosity, but those HLAs cost about $40 each, last time I checked.


I've heard that they can be ultrasonically cleaned. Supposedly this is very effective. Not sure where I'd take them to get them done, though.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:15 pm 
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weconway wrote:
The bad: There seems to be pretty bad HLA knocking. I'll have to have those replaced or cleaned.


Okay...I'll probably slap my forehead as soon as I hit "Send," but what's an HLA?

-dave

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:26 pm 
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Hack
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dhempy wrote:
Okay...I'll probably slap my forehead as soon as I hit "Send," but what's an HLA?

-dave


Don't start slapping yet. It's Miata-speak for hydraulic lash adjuster. On higher-mileage cars they start "ticking" loudly.

In other news, long story short is that I ended up only paying $1200 for my donor. The guy didn't take the full amount since the deal included an extra set of wheels and tires and he didn't have them at delivery.

We were going to settle up at a later date, but it's been several weeks now and I'm assuming he's running away from the car as fast as he can. I'm considering the deal done.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 2:01 pm 
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Yep, just a different way to make a hydraulic lifter.

You can do it at home.

http://www.miata.net/garage/hla/cleaning.html


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 1:45 pm 
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Hack
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Want to see what a free Miata looks like? I broke even on my donor today!

Image
It's not very pretty, but it sure is easy on the wallet. I've put quite a bit of time into stripping the car and selling off parts in the last two months. In the process, I've learned quite a bit of how Mazda builds cars. I had some friends offer to help strip the whole car in an afternoon, but I wanted to go slow and learn as much as I could. I'm glad I did.

Image

Aside from the advantage of labeling everything, stripping the car by myself has given me the opportunity to ponder how I'm going to address each of the hundreds of things a car needs to go down the road. This is especially true for the little things, like keeping the OBD-II and Mazda diagnostic connectors or ditching the switch for dimming the dash lights.

I've updated my project cost excel spreadsheet (see the "Donor Vehicle" tab) to reflect the parts sell off, in case you want more information.

Even though I'm at the break-even point, I plan on selling off as much as I can. I'm really curious to see how much of the project Winky will fund. Still, I'm anxious to get the stripped hulk out of my garage so I can park my daily driver in a warmer spot for the winter.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 2:33 pm 
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Congrats on the break even! It looks like I might not even make that and my donor was only $500. Guess I'll have to resort to ebay now that I'm 18 and Im able to get a PayPal account.

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