September 20, 2009

Cars & Copters

It's been a while since I've had my car in a car show, let alone go to one. Today was the return of the infamous "Cars and Coffee" meet, only this time with helicopters instead! I'll let the pictures do the talking, but it was a nice event in Plymouth Airport. Thanks to Mike for the awesome pics of the car, awesome movie Josh, and great to see everyone!
NEPOC Cruise to the Show!
Mike's Gallery Gallery
Another Gallery
Someone from NASIOC Gallery
Another Random Gallery
Banilejo's Gallery

September 17, 2009

More Exhausting Exhaust Stuff!

Was feeling better yesterday and decided to play around with the exhaust for a bit with my buddy James at Oleg's house. We solved a few issues I was having, but created one big one in the end.
  1. We tightened the bolts from midpipe to header more and that helped seal the exhaust leak upon startup. It's very minimal now and barely lasts awhile when the car is warming up.
  2. We were curious if the piece that had broken from the midpipe would be able to come out if we tipped the midpipe or something. Instead, when we took off the OEM Catback..the piece came out from there. No more rattle!
  3. We tested the HKS Hi Power with this midpipe to see what the volume levels would be like. As awesome as it sounds, with the crackling and popping, especially at redline, it is still too loud.
The problem then started as we took off the HKS and put back on the stock catback. For some reason, every bolt we put back into the midpipe, was getting stripped, and then finally one of the bolts snapped inside of the midpipe. Wasn't a pretty sight... especially at 1am.

As I'm writing this now, just got a call from the dealership (James took the car in for me, big ups to James!) saying that it is all set. Big ups to Liberty Mazda for saving the day as usual! For now, it looks like I'm rattle free and exhaust leak free ( for the most part), but catback less. I think I'll be waiting for the BHR catback, as I have a good feeling about whats to come with it. Stay tuned.

September 14, 2009

Exhaust Update

Was at Liberty Mazda today to get my worn engine mounts replaced as well as my old OEM header to be installed again in hopes it'll get quiet and fix the exhaust leak. Engine mounts helped make the car a lot smoother, so that worked out great!

As for the exhaust, it seems I still have a slight leak when it is cold. The flange isn't warped like the other header though luckily, so it could be the old gasket warped due to the previous header. The annoying buzz is gone, and the exhaust is as quiet as stock, so I think I'm going to try the HKS back on the car again in hopes it won't be too loud again. I think it will work out fine, just need to narrow down how to fix the leak, and wait for BHR to release Ver. 2 of their midpipe to get rid of the occasional rattle.

Stay tuned.

September 13, 2009

Autopower Rollbar

Looks like I finally got to install my rollbar that has been hanging out in the garage for over a month! I want to give a big thanks to Oleg and Josh for their help in this little project, and thanks to James and Expo1 on how to install, tips for sealing and undercoating, the works. As you can see, the final result came out awesome and I was really happy that I painted the rear and bar flat black, as everything came out smooth and blended perfect. One of the added benefits of doing the interior the same color as the rollbar is that when we scratched a bit of the metal to install the bar, I just sprayed it after with flat black.

Below is my guide on how I did the install. I was recommended to do it one way, and read somewhere else to do it another, but so I'm glad to hear suggestions for other viewers but this way is how we approached it and it came out great!

Tools to have should be
  1. Power Drill
  2. Lubricant for the Drill Bit (we used PB Blast)
  3. 3/8 Drill Bit
  4. 14 Open End Wrench
  5. 14 Socket with Wrench
  6. Rustolium Underbody Rubberized Spray
  7. Black RTV Silicone Sealant
  8. Touch up paint (if you care about scrapes inside your car)
  9. Phillips Screw Driver
  10. Normal Tools to remove your wheels (socket, jackstands and jack, etc)
  11. Trusty and "overly willing to help" friend
  12. Patience and food
Now, we started off with the car already gutted (if you had read the previous post you'll see that my carpet has been removed from front chairs to the back and the rest of the rear is gone) so we had little to no prep work other than pushing the seats forward as much as possible. Once you're done prepping the rear by removing the rear seats, the side plastic coverings, and pushing the carpet out of the way, follow the steps below.

  1. Bring the rollbar into the car with your friend. Be sure to have one of you follow the bar into the car, climbing over the powerplant frame and out the other side. Just guide the feet through, and aim the top of the bar towards the rear of the car.
  2. Once the bar is in, position it so that the feet of the rollbar is on the floor and against the back of the rear seat molding? Not sure what you call it, but basically put the feet back as far as you can. That is where you'll want the rollbar in the end.
  3. Place in the legs into the rollbar. Line up the holes in the legs with the holes on the rollbar piping. Be sure that the feet of the back legs are set so the 2 holes are faced down and not up. (look at the backing picture below)
  4. Bolt in the the legs onto the rollbar. Be sure to use the neoprene nuts for the bolts on the legs.
  5. Once the legs are prepared properly, slide the rollbar back in the car as much as possible so that the feet of the hoop are against the frame where you saw before.
  6. We started drilling the feet of the hoop with the drill, doing one hole at a time. We drilled one hole on the right side, then one hole on the left.
  7. After the drill, we bolted those holes so it would help keep the rollbar in place during the drilling of the other holes.
  8. From here, we drilled so that it was a cross pattern like putting on a wheel. So if you do do the bottom right hole, you want to do the upper left hole. Be sure to bolt the holes after you make them.
  9. Once the hoop legs are done and bolted in decently enough to hold it in place, it's time to jack the car up to do the rear.
  10. Once the car is jacked up at the rear, be sure to remove the rear wheels, and rear wheel well lining.
  11. Go into the car and do the same as you did with the hoop at a time on each side, with a bolt right after to keep it firmly in.
  12. Once all holes are drilled, we took the nuts off the bottom of the feet to the hoop to prepare the backing plate. Spread RTV Silicone sealant all over the plate so that it will seal once you place it up against the bottom of the car. Place some nuts under the plates to hold the plates in place for the hoop.
  13. Do the same for the wheel well bolts now.
  14. Once plates are on all feet, under the car, its time to start really bolting in the bar. We started tightening the hoop first, getting one side a decent amount, then making the opposite side identically tight.
  15. After the two hoop feet are decently tight (not full), do the same for the rear feet in the wheel well.
  16. From here start tightening all of the bolts until you no longer can, evenly throughout the car. A final step we did to ensure the bolts were on as tight as possible was took the impact gun to the top of the feet (in the car) while another person used the wrench to keep the nut from moving under the car.
  17. After a couple of quick jolts, the bolts are as tight as possible. From here put on the remaining nuts onto the bolt so that the end result is two nuts per bolt (see picture of finished bottom)
  18. Once done and ensuring that everything is torqued nicely, spread RTV Silicone along the edges of the plating under the car. You'll notice that RTV has come out since you compressed the plate against the car, creating a smoosh effect. Just be sure to spread enough around the plating so that it's as sealed as possible.
  19. Once done with the sealant, the last step will be to spray the rustolium undercoating rubber spray all over the plating and bolts under the car, and inside the wheel well. This will ensure that everything is protected and sealed so you won't run into any rusting issues in the near future.
  20. Once done, patch the car back up and you should be done! Be sure to touch up any scrapes or scratches that may have happened while installing the bar.
To wrap harnesses around the rollbar, I followed this video from Schroth on youtube. I'm not sure if this is the completely correct way to wrap it, but I'm sure they know their stuff.

September 10, 2009

Interior Decorating - Part 3

The final step to this whole project was very time consuming, and not in the fun way like with the dry ice. I thought over the best way to really get everything painted that I wanted to, with the least amount of hassle. I originally thought of foam brushes and flat black Rustolium paint from a can, but decided that taping up the car with painters tape and spraying it down seemed the easiest way to go. I'm not really looking for immaculate quality in the first place, just something to change the 5 color scheme I had going on in the back and trunk. If you are looking to make the rear and trunk pretty and very well detailed, I'm not sure what it would entail in terms of maybe needing primer, or a better sanding then just the scuff pad I used, but for what I'm looking for it is probably above and beyond what I'm looking to do for just a simple touch up.With the help of my friend Lou, we took a couple of hours taping up half the car with the blue painters tape. We made sure that the wires, carpet edge, power plant frame cover, strut bar, seatbelts, seatbelt bar, door sils, and the plastic speaker covers were taped up nicely while taping around the edges of the trunk to focus on just the inside compartment and around it (not the trunk walls) and along the side of where the wheel well meets the rear quarter panels (which is usually hidden by the interior plastic that is the arm rest for passengers). The last thing before painting that was done was the removal of the OEM body braces (the two bright silver shiney braces that sit behind the passenger seats) so it would not be in the way and I could paint it separately.

Once that was all completed, I took some professional grade Rustolium flat black spray cans and went to town on the car. Didn't take too long of consistent slow motions along the areas that needed paint, and only took me 2 full cans. Just be weary of the fumes as even having everything open for ventilation and a mask, it still was very strong.

After letting the car sit in the garage for over 24 hours with everything open and the garage door half open, the paint was dry. Still a bit of a smell (that I used frebreeze on, silly as it sounds) but it should be okay enough that you can take away all of the painters tape. Becareful removing the tape from wires as I noticed it got pretty sticky and I thought I was almost going to yank the wire off if I kept pulling like I was. The end result was just what I wanted. Simple and clean. Not perfect as I noticed some small spots that were covered by a wire or something else, but as I mentioned, all I really wanted was to make it one color and make it cleaner. Time consuming, but this was a fun project with a good turnout. Looks like the car is now ready for the rollbar install! Stay tuned.

September 8, 2009

Interior Decorating - Part 2

Started the second part of the preparing of the car. I picked up from Home Depot one of those scrub sponges you use for serious residue on dishes for the kitchen, and a bottle of GooGone. I sprayed A LOT of GooGone on every tar residue spot (don't be shy, just keep spraying) and let it set for a good 15 minutes. From there, I scrubbed each spot with the sponge as much as I could to get out any sort of residue left from the tar or adhesive.

It worked great, just a big mess of black thick goo after though. Clean it all up with paper towels after, and vacuum it up for good measure. I could have gotten a bit more adhesive on the floor, but it is so strong it would have taken me a lot longer when it was something so small anyways. I figured since it was still light out after doing this, I would start sanding down the parts I was ready to paint. I used about 6 multisurface scuff pads to lightly sand down all of the trunk, the backing of the rear passenger area, floors, and the sides of the power plant frame. Lastly, another vacuum pass to get out any of the dust from the sanding. Tomorrow will be part 3! Stay tuned!

September 7, 2009

Interior Decorating - Part 1

I was feeling a little better today so I decided to move forth with one of my other projects; preparing the rear of the car for the rollbar. I wanted to modify the carpet so that there was no longer carpet in the rear, as it really looked half done and not appealing. Then, I wanted to remove the sound deadening tar for weight savings, as well as having it so that the rollbar bolts down to metal directly and not metal – to tar – to metal.
Big ups to Lou for helping me out with this project as I got to see some of his handy blade work. We removed the carpeting first with careful cuts due to the wires under the carpet around that area. After that, we removed the foam that was under the carpet. Then we went over the cuts to make sure it looked as clean as possible. Once done there, we were ready to remove the tar, so we went on over to Brookline Ice & Coal for some dry ice.

WARNING For those of you who don’t know, dry ice can be fatal. Try to avoid breathing in the fumes of the dry ice, especially from the core as those fumes are the most poisonous. Don’t touch it with your skin as it will be instant freezer burn. If you’re handling it with gloves and you feel a hot sensation, not the typical cold feeling, immediately drop it as whatever protection you are using is not thick enough. For the project you’ll need
  • We Bought 10 lb of dry ice slabs (above) for the entire trunk, and a bit of the rear floor with some left to spare.
  • Hammer or Rubber Mallet
  • Chisel
  • Thick Leathery Gloves
  • Painting Mask
  1. Break up the ice into decent sized pieces and settle it on top of the tar
  2. Try and cover as much tar as possible with the dry ice, and if you need more just break it into smaller pieces. NOT too small as it will evaporate faster and be less effective
  3. After 15 minutes you’ll notice the tar start to turn light in color, meaning it has become brittle. Here is where you want to remove the ice and place it on another piece of tar, and grab your trusty hammer
  4. Beat on the tar with the hammer in various spots until you notice it to start cracking and shatter
  5. From there, I used the hammer to loosen the tar from the metal if I had to, but the rest of the way I used the chisel or back of the hammer to pull at the tar
  6. Repeat this process for all the various tar patches in the car
  7. For the tar patch that goes from the trunk and ends at a slant behind where the passenger seats would be, set as much dry ice as possible near the edge. The fumes will do a waterfall effect over the edge and slowly work into the tar, making it brittle enough to remove with a chisel after. Will take longer than the usual 15 minutes (took us 30- give or take)
  8. For the floor tar, you want to save this one for when you have other things to do right after. I say that because this one took the longest for us, as we needed roughly an hour or more of thick blocks to stay on the floor tar, allowing you to do other things meantime. We’re not sure why it took so much longer, and even then it was still a bit of a pain to remove. It had all sort of extra adhesive to it that I had to chisel out which took me some extra time.
Once you’re done you’ll notice there is a bit of residue left over from the tar patches all around the car. I’m saving that for part 2, but I think a wire sponge and some adhesive remover (maybe industrial googone?) should be able to do the trick here.

After the project though, we weighed how much the bag of tar was along with the feeling of how much heavier the shop vacuum became after taking all the little pieces. Give or take, we shaved off 15-20lb, and there is still plenty under the front seats that run along to the front of the car! Stay tuned for Part 2 of this project, that I'm hoping to start tomorrow.

September 6, 2009

Renegade Miata 6th Event

This event didn’t go exactly to plan as I wasn’t used to the concept of cold pavement with cold tires. It was roughly 55 degrees out, and my tires were like ice skates when they weren’t warmed up, not really allowing me to do much other than take it easy and learn the course as much as possible on my first few runs. I really wasn’t into it the event at all, regardless of how fun the course was.

I think I was mostly bummed about the exhaust ordeal and not being done yet, as well as lack of sleep due to getting very sick over the weekend. I still placed decent though, but I would’ve liked to see myself with lower times. At least I know where I was going wrong, ontop of being sloppy with late turning, not looking ahead, etc. Finished the day with consistent 1’24’s. Results are posted here. Thanks to Kai for the pics!

September 1, 2009

Hey everyone, sorry for the lack of updates but it’s been pretty quiet and I just got back from a well needed vacation. I was able to get together with James and Oleg to put in a few replacement parts that I mentioned before were giving me problems. The airbox got replaced (thanks for the part Alz0rz!) with one that has screens for proper MAF readings now, and the exhaust midpipe got replaced by a new one from BHR in hopes that the header flange to midpipe will seal better, as well as the rattle to go away.

To top it off, we were able to slap on a nice banner from one of my sponsors, We’ll see how this midpipe turns out, but the idle is great now, and the banner blends in just right!