Miata Build: Major Upgrades and a Rediculously Long Post – Part Two

Oh wow, it just occurred to me that I haven’t posted anything in a LONG time. I’ve been fairly busy for the past couple months, but I do have enough content to share with you on how my build has been progressing.

Trust me, if you haven’t seen the Miata in the past couple months, you’re in for a treat.

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Addendum: This post was supposed to go out a lot earlier, but right before I was about to take updated photos, someone hit my car at my work’s parking lot. This is definitely the longest blog post I have had sitting in my drafts for some time, haha.

I last left off with the installation of a driver’s side seat, roll bar, and some suspension refreshments. Since then, nearly eight months have come and gone, opps! But don’t worry, I got a lot of cool stuff to share with you!

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The next area to be addressed was the sound system. When I purchased the Miata, the car came with a factory premium sound system; this included the silver headunit with the Mazda Sensory Sound System. What this basically meant was that the OEM seats had built in headrest speakers along with a “sensory module” in the backrest that would vibrate to simulate bass.

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While this was a cool feature, the head unit had a malfunctioning CD player, the door speakers were blown, and the car essentially needed to be brought into the 21st century. Queue new parts! As soon as funds became available, I purchased a new headunit, door speakers, door speaker baffles, and a thin self-powered 8″ subwoofer unit. In addition, I opted to install a Stack boost gauge modified with a green light gel to keep an eye on boost levels generated by my MP45 supercharger.

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After updating the sound system, my new harnesses and second Recaro seat arrived and were installed immediately with the Hard dog harness bar. In addition, I swapped over my 360mm Nardi Classic steering wheel over from my Nissan 240sx. For the steering setup, I mounted the wheel with a MOMO collapsible hub along with an NRG Quick Release.

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Just as I completed these modifications, Winter 2013 started. And in California, winter is the start of our rain season. In retrospect, it wasn’t that much of a rain season since we are currently in one of the worst droughts, but I digress. Once the rain started, I started noticing a leak in my trunk. Eventually I traced the issue to the soft top’s rain rail and I opted to pick up a black hardtop equipped with a defroster instead of just fixing the rain rail… HAHA.

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Next, I opted to help my car’s engine fart a bit easier and replaced it with an exhaust. Usually I would go for something like one of the rarer RS-R exhausts, but experience from my high school years have taught me that the exhaust is one of the easiest things to get damaged on a lowered car that frequents back roads and mountain passes. For all intents and purposes, I ended up picking up an “SR*S N1 Exhaust” from eBay with 2.25″ piping to pair up with my MP45 supercharger. From what I can tell, it has the style of Apex’i’s N1 Exhaust with a butchered RS-R “brand.” Either way, I won’t be sad if this thing gets shredded from bottoming out.

Fart cannon mounted!

Fart cannon mounted!

Sadly, the exhaust brought on a new problems, but that didn’t surprise me since I did buy a knockoff exhaust. The first was the silencer. It looked ugly and sounded crappy. And for some reason, cheap Chinese exhausts like to stick in silencers into an exhaust that didn’t like coming out.

Knockoff silencers suck. Using a heat gun to expand the exhaust tip sucked even more.

Knockoff silencers suck. Using a heat gun to expand the exhaust tip sucked even more.

After multiple attempts to remove it with a slide hammer, I decided to just ditch the silencer entirely, use a dremel to cut it at it’s weakest point, and bend it out with the slide hammer. Minutes and many sparks later, success!

Chinese silencer 0, Dremel 1

Chinese silencer 0, Dremel 1

The second issue that came up after my first day of driving in bumper to bumper traffic. Basically, the exhaust temperature and the positioning of the exhaust hangers caused the exhaust to melt my bumper! Oh man, that wasn’t a fun discovery when I got home. I have since installed a JetStream carbon fiber bumper exhaust shield. It looks cool, but after a couple months of daily driving, it’s already starting to look beat up.

JetStream? Oh you fancy.

JetStream? Oh you fancy.

I’m thinking of switching exhausts again. Maybe a Racing Beat? Either way, I ended up spending more money than actually saving. I should have gone with an Enthuza budget setup or a custom straight pipe to make ears bleed.

Flyin Miata's Clutch Happy Meal

Flyin Miata’s Clutch Happy Meal

By the time I got my exhaust problems sorted out, Spring 2014 began! Sadly, more issues starting arising after a couple months of owning the car. I wasn’t too surprised though since the previous owner was still in his teens and probably did not have enough funds to repair things as they came up. After daily driving the car for a few months and after a few clutch kicks, I ended up having to replace my clutch. For the replacement, I went with the Stage 1 kit by Flyin’ Miata! This kit included an organic clutch and pressure plate capable of holding up to 300 HP along with a 10lb flywheel. Sadly, more issues were found once the tranny was removed and I opted to have the transmission rebuilt. After a couple hundred bucks later, it’s now sitting pretty!

Refurbished 5 speed transmission.

Refurbished 5 speed transmission.

The next thing to go were the Hawk HP Plus pads that came with the car on the front pair of calipers. As someone who like’s do a lot of things in a big batch (Eg. This blog post is a perfect example.), I ended up replacing my whole braking system with brand new Hawk HPS pads, new blank rotors, and stainless steel brake lines. Ironically enough, one of my rear brake calipers failed due to a seized piston. This was replaced promptly thanks to re-manufactured parts from AutoZone. Who would’ve thought they would come in handy?

New caliper, new brake lines, and old caliper mount, ha.

New caliper, new brake lines, and old caliper mount, ha.

And by the end of spring, I ended up installing a DDMworks Cold air box and air filter along with Moss Miata turn signal intakes. The kit itself was pretty fun to install. It gave me some hands-on time in the engine bay that I haven’t had since I started parting out my Nissan 240sx. With the kit installed, ambient intake temperature dropped and my butt dyno felt a bit of a stronger pull at the top end. It’s also pretty to look at too. I’m thinking of powder coating it black to make it blend a bit.

Parts in a box.

Parts in a box.

Kit claims to drop ambient intake temperatures by 30* C!

Kit claims to drop ambient intake temperatures by 30* celsius!

So what do you all think? Neat, huh? I have a few more stuff I’d like to share, but I’ll hold onto those for a later blog post. Since I have many parts sitting around the house just waiting to be installed, expect a new post soon! Photos from Palomar will be up this week as well!

Bonus:

In the process of someone backing into my car, he/she destroyed my passenger side tail light and cracked paint on my bumper.

In the process of someone backing into my car, he/she destroyed my passenger side tail light and cracked paint on my bumper.

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