Tuesday, April 21, 2015

99 Miata Build, Part 10

The BIG WEEKEND! Things kicked off Friday with a trip in the NMS Ranger up to Winston-Salem, NC to Hard Dog Fabrication's new shop to pick up a rollbar for myself and fellow autocrosser, Harlan.
The Ranger: It's old and wimpy, but gets the job done again!

The Miata was loaded up with the parts that were piling up for the last few weeks and everything was moved over to good friend of NMS and SCCA racer, Chuck's shop.  We've had the Miata over there before and he was kind enough to let us use the lift and shop space for the big project.  Huge thank you to Chuck and his time, space, tools, and expertise.
Trunk full of parts ready to go!

The plan for the weekend was to replace the shocks (including bump-stops) and front sway bar, then install the rollbar, followed by replacing the clutch, and then put all the finishing bits back together. Unfortunately, we ran into a few problems once we started pulling apart the suspension.  One of the new shocks came damaged and is awaiting replacement and we also uncovered a damaged upper control arm from either the accident in 2005 when it was totaled or early last year when the previous owner hit a guard rail (and damaged that fender).
Building shocks: Once removed from the car, the new yellow shocks get installed in the old springs and assemblies

The team got to work removing a seriously bent bolt with some big hammers. Then the team had to get even more creative and break out the welder.  At the end of the weekend, friends Kyle and Philip chipped in huge and got the transmission back in the car with the new clutch, helped finish getting the rollbar installed, and mostly completed the sway bar.
Hammer Time.  A bolt holding on the control arm had to be smashed straight enough to slide out.

It was a long weekend with a lot of help from friends.  We completed a good deal of work and even diagnosed a sticking front brake caliper and leaking radiator hose that was previously not noticed.  More parts are now on order and the team is ready to jump back into it on Thursday when everything arrives to keep the #86 car on schedule for autocross with SCR on Sunday.  Check back for the dramatic conclusion and some more details of the install process.
Even after liberal application of large hammers, the bolt was bent just enough to need a little more persuasion.

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