Building a Track Car – Progress yes!

Time moves on and so does the project Miata. 

A lot of focus has been on getting the front suspension done.  The right side was torn down and the lower control arm was cleaned and its original bushings were pressed out to make room for the Energy polyurethane bushings.  It also would get a new ball joint bolted in, but first it had to be repainted.

Using a tool to pop out the old ball joint

The upper A-arm was tossed in favor of a lightweight tubular version from the folks a Flyin’ Miata.  The factory upper A-arm needed a new ball joint, but the stock design doesn’t facilitate replacement.  A new arm costs in the neighborhood of $240-$300.  For about $221 I could get the Flyin’ Miata tubular replacement that has a ball joint that can be replaced in the future.  Nice option.

Tired old parts

Flyin’ Miata offers tubular replacements for all the suspension arms, but unfortunately it was outside the scope of my budget.  Maybe later.

Flyin' Miata's A-arm

The new upper arms also come with polyurethane bushings so all I had to do was lubricate the bushings and press in the metal sleeve before bolting them up.

Spindle cleaned and painted

The spindle was wire brushed free of any surface rust and old paint and then it was masked, primed and painted with a satin black.

With the lower arm cleaned and painted I pressed in the new Energy polyurethane bushings and metal sleeves.  Then the new alignment bolts and excentrics were used to bolt it back in place.

Lower control arm bushings

The freshly painted spindle was given a touch of anti-seize in the tapered holes that the ball joints would be inserted into to ensure that things would come apart with very little drama if and when replacement was due.

Since the car was going to have a ride height lower than it came from the factory with I was a bit concerned with bump steer creeping into the picture.  This is when the angle of the tie rods is so severe that as the suspension moves up and down it actually steers the front tires.  To correct things I installed a special Miata tie rod end that was used back in 1993 on its type R Miata.  It will minimise bump steer by correcting the angle of the tie rods.

With the ball joints and tie rod end bolted in place and the castle nuts secured with cotter pins it was time to put on the big brake upgrade.

The splash shields had already been unbolted since the new rotors were too big to be accommodated by them.  New hub and bearing assemblies were bolted in place and the big nut torqued and staked in place. 

There had been a bit of a problem in that the first hub assemblies were incorrect.  They were the correct part numbers but the gear-like ring that ABS uses to sense the rotation of the wheel was mounted too far out for the sensor to pick it up.  I got with my friends at Auto Zone and they helped me acquire the hubs that were compatible with my car.  It took a couple of tries, but they were persistent and made certain I ended up with the correct parts.  I can always count on them.

It was time to mount the new big brakes.   On went the eleven inch diameter two-piece rotor.  It sure looks impressive with the aluminum hat and slots.  It was from the Australian company, DBA.  The calipers were Wilwood four piston jobs. 

The new brackets look and fit beautifully.  The Good Win Racing folks make an excellent product.

A minor hang up

When it came time to fit up the new stainless steel braided flexible brake lines there was a problem.  Things just were not fitting as they should.  A quick email to Brian Goodwin and then a couple of photos sent cleared up the mystery.  Brian said that although the packaging of the lines had the correct label, the contents were incorrect.  He was good enough to ship out the proper parts ASAP that afternoon.  You can have the best product and the best components, but if the customer support isn’t up to par it can be a miserable experience.  Fortunately Good Win Racing is all of the above.  Their customer support is tops.  Thanks Brian!

Almost there

While we wait for the replacements we moved on with the project.

Doug was able to provide some more time this weekend to help with the project.

We knew that we wanted to get the Flyin’ Miata Butterfly Brace installed, but we also knew that we had to get the exhaust system installed first.

Doug also wanted to install all the new coolant lines while the engine compartment was clear enough to get to everything.  So while he concentrated on doing that, I worked on a few small items to get them out of the way.

I went and installed a couple of the exhaust studs back in the head.  They had come out when the nuts holding the original exhaust header were removed.  I cleaned up the threads on those two and the other eight studs with a thread restoring die.   Its better to use a thread restoring die than a regular die that cuts new threads.  The threads on the studs were rolled originally, not cut, giving them more strength.  The restoring die doesn’t cut like a standard die so it preserves the rolled threads and their integrity while still cleaning them up.

Removing the old exhaust header

The two studs that were replaced in the head were coated with red Loctite prior to installation so they would stay in place in the future.  Then the exposed threads that the nuts would go on were all coated with a small amount of anti-seize grease.  This would keep the nuts from rusting in place over time and heat cycles.

Beat Rush header and new O2 sensor

With a new exhaust gasket in place we were ready to install the Beat Rush header that we had gotten from the folks at Go Miata.  This is a beautiful piece of engineering that fit like a glove.  Doug made certain that the torque was to specification on the nuts and we were ready to install the Magnaflo high flow catalytic converter.  Following right behind was the center pipe with resonator, also from Beat Rush and finally the single outlet muffler from Beat Rush.  This exhaust system was part of a power upgrade package from the folks at Go Miata. 

New center pipe and factory bracing in place

With it all in place I could finally re-install the factory bracing that was an upgrade that came with the M-edition Miatas.  It ties in the rear braces to support the pressure from the lower rear A-arms and therefore reduces a lot of chassis flex in that area.

Rear exhaust

You sharp-eyed folks out there can see from the photo that the exhaust system isn’t completely bolted up.  I decided to get some flange bolts and nuts to complete that portion.  So that won’t be completed until a trip to Ace hardware’s metric bolt assortment isle.

It is coming together folks.  The bench has a lot fewer parts waiting to be installed.  We still have the Butter Fly Brace to install as well as Frog Arm bracing that will go under the front fenders.  There is the engine work of timing belt and waterpump replacement, too.

Stay tuned.

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This entry was posted in Automobiles, Car Stuff, Care and Feeding, Cars, Life and Cars, Modifying Cars, Racing, Road Racing, Sports Cars. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Building a Track Car – Progress yes!

  1. Jim's sister says:

    “Since the car was going to have a ride height lower than it came from the factory with I was a bit concerned with bump steer creeping into the picture. This is when the angle of the tie rods is so severe that as the suspension moves up and down it actually steers the front tires. To correct things I installed a special Miata tie rod end that was used back in 1993 on its type R Miata. It will minimise bump steer by correcting the angle of the tie rods.” that is so cool!

  2. Bennett says:

    I was going to mention those tie rod ends, but I see you already had it taken care of.

    Top notch work as usuall.

  3. Howard says:

    Isn’t the Miata a girls car?

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