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build diary

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December 7, 2003:
An interesting cross-section of the Miata frame and bodywork.
entry 16
The front frame arms come off.
entry 17
The donor's in six pieces now.
RIP Miata. But it will live again, faster and stronger!
entry 18

December 12, 2003:
Yes, another photo of the carcass.
It's going off to the dump - almost all of it in one load! Meanwhile, I've asked CMC not to ship my frame until the new year so that I'll be able to go get it from the depot in Denver. My vacation over Christmas would make it difficult to arrange before then.
entry 19

December 15, 2003:
I was supposed to take delivery of the frame today, but a problem with the CNC plasma cutter that is used to cut the aluminum panels raised some questions as to whether it would ship in time or not.
I've asked CMC to hang on to the kit and ship it to me on January 5th, after I get back from holidays. This way, there's no chance of the frame sitting around a shipping depot in Denver for three weeks. It turns out the cutter was fixed in time and I could have taken delivery, but that's the way it goes.
entry 20

The garage is getting into shape for the build.
No, really it is! Consider that besides the Miata parts, there are also 4 extra Cadillac heads, a Land Rover head, differentials, steering boxes, random other parts and even a Cadillac 429 stashed around (or in the middle of the floor). Doesn't everyone have spare engines all over?
entry 21
The spring/shock assembly for the kit.
It's a 9" spring, and I'm thinking that a shorter spring could easily do the trick while saving some weight.
entry 22
The rear end for the Seven is ready.
It's a viscous LSD - not held in high regard by much of the Miata community, but it's what was in my donor. It's also 13 lbs lighter than the favoured Torsen setup and this one appears to be working nicely. I had a spare rear housing for the diff to replace the broken one off the donor.
entry 23
A trick for a little more stiffness in the diff bushings.
Shoe goo!
entry 24

January 6, 2004:
Well, the frame didn't ship yesterday.
Grassroots Motorsports has descended upon the CMC shop and is trying to put one of these kits together in a week. Somehow, this has prevented my finished kit from shipping out. I thought it was already boxed and ready to go given the reports I had received earlier, but I guess not. That's a little disappointing beause I was all charged up to get started as soon as I got back from holidays. It was bad enough that I'd decided to wait. The original quote for shipping time was the first week of December.

In the meantime, I have been given a cool Mountney steering wheel by my friend Eric. It should suit the car nicely! I can also do some refinishing on the suspension parts that I do have from the donor.
entry 25

January 8, 2004:
Madness at the CMC shop.
Here's why my kit didn't ship. I'm impressed - I had originally heard the GRM guys were going to do the build in a week. Instead, they took two days. Ouch.
entry 26

The new wheel for the Seven.
All I need is something to attach it to...
entry 27

January 9, 2004:
I had a good talk with Steve at CMC today.
The GRM build helped to work out a number of kinks in the kit and mine will be better for it. Thanks, GRM! But more importantly, my car will be in Denver at 8 am on the 15th. Wooohooo! The GRM built took two days with an average of 5-6 guys working on the car. Steve figures mine will take about 60 man-hours. He's not taking into account the fact that I'm using a different steering rack and will be wiring the car from scratch, of course, but that's a nice number to hear.
entry 28

January 10, 2004:
After a drive with the local Miata club (in the snow, with no heater in my stripped-out Miata), I took apart the suspension uprights and brakes to clean them up.
They're in pretty good shape, even down to some rusty but salvageable rotors. I'll need new pads and I'll probably throw on some stainless steel brake lines. I feel like I'm getting somewhere.

By the way, I just discovered that the photos page stopped working correctly in the last day or two. It's fixed now, so you can see more than the last 10 photos. Sorry!
entry 29

Crusty old brakes.
entry 30
Anyone who's disassembled a car knows this - keep everything well labelled and organised.
You will thank yourself down the road. The baggies make it easy to see what's inside and move things around without getting slimy.
entry 31
The various suspension parts get a coat of paint.
I'm wondering if black would look better - Krylon and I have different ideas of what aluminum looks like! A tip for those using Miata parts - a spray can cap is the perfect size to mask off the rear hub.
entry 32

January 12, 2004:
Well, I've got the suspension parts ready to install now.
They turned out glossier than I would have preferred, but that's what you get for doing an initial coat of chrome paint! I did have to pay to have the rotors turned to remove a spectacular amount of rust and I've installed new Porterfield R4S brake pads. The spending has begun but I figured both of those were reasonable expenditures. I am resisting the urge to put stainless steel brake lines on the car - at least for the moment.

Frame update: I've decided to have it shipped directly to my work instead of to Denver. This saves me a day of driving across mountain passes although it does almost double the cost of shipping. I think the total cost works out the same. It's being picked up tomorrow afternoon and should be delivered here on Monday if all goes to plan. Let's hope so.
entry 33

As you can see, I went with black suspension.
Serves me right for just using the paint I had around! The uprights and brakes are ready for the car.
entry 34

January 13, 2004:
It's been shipped!
Now it's all up to the trucking company. I've also found a 1.8 throttle body and TPS that I'm going to use. Since I'll be wiring the car from scratch, it's going to use the ECU from a 1.8 car. This gives me more options in the future if I decide to go with individual throttle bodies. It might not make sense now, but trust me on this.
entry 35

January 16, 2004:
No, the frame hasn't arrived yet.
It left the Memphis depot at 6:34 am on the 15th - not that I'm checking.

I have picked up the engine management for the car now. I'll be using a Link ECU similar to the one in my Miata. Those of you familiar with Flyin' Miata will not be surprised. The MAP sensor is from a 1.6 car so that it will fit the plug from the Miata harness. This will be a little atypical for most CMC builds as I'm going to build my own wiring harness. I've also grabbed a good Pierburg fuel pump. It's what we've used for years to feed high-power Miatas. The pumps are from an Audi, so they're extremely reliable. They're also reasonably quiet and weatherproof enough to use on a Seven. CMC now uses them on my suggestion and they work a treat. It'll also flow enough fuel to feed pretty much anything I can do to this motor - our Track Dog race car runs one and it makes 350 hp at the wheels!
entry 36

More exciting photos - the new engine management computer I'm going to wire in.
entry 37
The fuel pump is a Pierburg, capable of supporting a whole lot more power than I'm liable to need.
More importantly, it's ultra-reliable and well suited to hanging in a location that's exposed to the weather.
entry 38
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