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Wingman's Flyin Collection of Thoughts

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  • Wingman's Flyin Collection of Thoughts

    I had someone asking me questions about the car the other day and I started to realized some of the details were getting sketchy in my mind. So I figured I had better write it all down somewhere so I can reference it in the future, and point people to it to get the nitty gritty details.

    Hi, I'm Wingman, and this is my 2000 NB.

    I bought the car in October of 2015. It was and is my only car. When I bought it wasn't even really a car guy- I would have been hardpressed to ID anything other then a Ferrari or Lamborghini. I had asked around my somewhat car inclined group of friends for suggestions- up till then I had been using the family's 2002 Nissan Altima, which burned oil, was slow, dirty, ugly, boring, and made me hate it more every time I drove it.
    I told my buddies I wanted RWD, stick, good gas milage, cheap, and fun. Someone tossed out "why not a miata?". A few minuets later after googling what a Miata was and my choice was made.

    A few weeks of searching craigslist later and I found this one at a local used car dealership- near perfect interior and exterior, worn clutch, brown radiator, and 110% stock- still had the original softtop. Just a hair over 69K on the clock, and I walked away with it for $5800 all said and done.

    I had a great deal of fun in the next few months- Other than changing all fluids, adding a water temperature gauge, and having Rspeed replace the clutch, I didn't touch a thing. I had no intention of modding the car, and it wasn't really anything more to me then a fun way to get to and from work.

    After a while, the white wheels didn't look as cool to me- so I did the stereotypical thing, I plastidipped them black. Looking back now I cringe, but at the time it was the coolest thing to me- I'd completely altered the way the car looked with $15 worth of plastic paint!

    My tan softtop was ratty and on the verge of leaking- I replaced it with a used black softtop and was again wowed by the appearance change- So much better! But then a hardtop came up for sale for cheap- $400 in somewhat rough condition. Only issue- it was 9hrs away in northern Missouri! And so I did my first long roadtrip in this tiny car- 19hrs of driving to Missouri and back, not an experience I was eager to repeat after returning home, but I now had a hardtop for el cheapo.
    It had some body damage, and was completely the wrong color- whatever, I JB welded together the cracks and spray painted it to match- kinda.

    I got a lucky break for painting- shortly after getting the hardtop, my driver's side door was scraped up in my work's parking lot by a lifted truck that didn't see me. Drivers door was scraped and dented in badly, and minor scratches to the front and rear quarter panels. Instead of repainting the entire car(settled outside of insurance) I elected to have the shop repaint/repair the top and replace the door- I took an automotive ink pen to the quarter panel scratches, and now had a perfect condtion hardtop for $400.
    Around this time I discovered the twisty fun of the north GA mountains- and so was planted the tiny, very tiny seed of going fast in the corners and performance driving.
    I spent my tax return on a rollbar- harddog with no diagonals so as to not block the rearview mirror, and spent 14 hours over two days hacking it into the car.
    The amplifier for the radio blew, but I ditched my plans for a thumping sound system when I installed a new exhaust and realized I wouldn't be able to hear anything over it anyway. So I pulled the entire system because weight reduction bro. At this point I was almost thinking along the lines of racecar- except I had no idea of the vast trackday community, had never heard of AutoX, and thought hearing tire squeal was scary.
    '00 Black NB, Track/Street car.
    It seems like the most powerful weapon in the universe is speed. Move something fast enough and it will obliterate anything

  • #2
    During this time I didn't really change much to the car- just minor comfort and cosmetic things, foamectomy, rear lip, bumper cut, ect.

    During November/December of last year I made a few trips up to the Dragon- and thought "wow, this is hella fun, I wonder how much funnier this could be with good tires and upgraded suspension..."

    And so I found a used set of Tein's for cheap on here and installed them in a day. And shortly after that a set of TR motorsports 15x8 wheels with DZ102's, which at the time for me seemed to have phenomenal grip and mind blowing cornering ability over the cheap noname unknown age tires the PO had on.

    This January, someone here posted an advertisement for SCCA's first AutoX at Lanier raceway- I would be in the same area and figured why not give it a shot.

    Big financial mistake.

    Rode along in John Swan's Gulf colored, supercharged, tracked prepped NA- completely blew my mind the power and grip it had over mine, and got to fumble along in a safe environment, finding for the first time the limits of my car and learning basic car control and handling. From that point on I was hooked- this was more fun then all my previous hobbies.

    I also went to a few local car meets and got lots of compliments on how the car looked and sounded- and for the first time I took a real interest in cars- I had somehow built something that others could appreciate and enjoy as well, and could get attention(for better or worse) cruising down the street in.
    A few more AutoX events with AutoXAtlanta and I finally started to catch up with the car and could hang on the edge of grip with the DZ102's- it was about time to step up to something grippier. Around the same time I saw another advertisement on here to get on Road Atlanta with the SCCA's NTiA event, I jump on and found something even more adrenaline inducing than the 5 minuets of AutoX, as well as a chance to see and get ride alongs in exotic, expensive cars.

    I was also hit in a parking lot by a elderly driver- same side as before, severely denting in my drivers door and crushing in the rear quarter panel and bumper, but no structural damage. I bashed the door back out to get my window to work, threw some spraypaint on the scraped metal, and left it like that- I was tired of repairing damage(deer hit, aforementioned truck incident, and now this) and figured I'd just put the money into the car instead of repairing cosmetic damage.

    Ever since that incident I knew what I wanted out of the car. Not a boring pretty mint showcar, but something I could drive to work every day, and take to the track on the weekends to blow off stress and cash. And down the hole I started- expensive 200tw tires, non-autozone brakes, and constant maintenance on everything.
    It was also a good learning experience, I tackled my TB/WP job by myself, and actually completed it within 12hrs- except the waterpump gasket had slipped upon install and gushed water everywhere. Upon taking everything apart and fixing that, I forgot to bolt down the coil packs before I cranked it, not realizing those bolts were also grounds for the coil pack, and spent the next 24hrs redoing my timing and struggling to figure out why it would crank but not catch before I realized the coils were fried.
    Last edited by wingman703; 08-03-2017, 12:25 AM.
    '00 Black NB, Track/Street car.
    It seems like the most powerful weapon in the universe is speed. Move something fast enough and it will obliterate anything


    • #3
      And more track time and experience it was- having an absolute blast, and also learning what needed to be changed not to look or sound good, but to handle better and be more functional. A proper track rollbar with diagonals, Sparco seat and harness to keep me in place during those high G corners(lol) all found their way into the budget, along with some minor aero for maximum downforce.
      JTI AMP July 2017 42 Black Miata_012.jpgJTI AMP July 2017 42 Black Miata_028.jpg

      And actually in the JTI event pictured above, I blew up my transmission. It had had a hard life with the PO's I could tell, as trashed as the clutch was when I got it, and it would grind randomly and had developed a "ghost gear slot" between 3rd and 5th. It finally did its last lap at AMP, and refused to budge out of 3rd- I had this really cool reverse "C" pattern shifter from 3rd over to 5th, reverse, and 4th, all while remaining in 3rd. I managed to limp it two hours home with just 3rd- not a fun experience.
      But I gritted my teeth and tackled what was to me a huge job- dropping and replacing the trans with only jackstands and handtools. I got it done in 36hrs, although I enlisted a friend to help me slid in the new trans, and is by no means a job I want to tackle with a time crunch like I did that time. Getting it done was a huge moral booster though, if I could drop and work on the trans, there wasn't anything I wouldn't be able to do, short of pulling an engine, and that only due to lack of toolage.

      Over the last two weeks, I gave it the ultimate endurance test- a two week trip out to California and Wyoming for a vacation. While I was out there I had to hit up the local tracks, so it ended up being 7,000 miles in 11 days, including two track events at Willow Springs and Laguna Seca.
      She did wonderfully- the only issue I had was on day 1 when the #2 sparkplug vacated the head in mid Arkansas. Plug was fine, head was stripped out(still not sure how this happened- I'm always very careful not to over tighten the plugs, and it hadn't been running hot or lean). A delay of two hours at an Orileys was all it took to cut new threads into the head and install a helicoil.
      Other then that she did fantastic- I took it easy due to distance from home, but still managed to wear my pads down to metal in my second to last session at MRLS, so I suffered and got a ridealong in an FM swapped LS3 NA. Definitely a grin inducing experience, keeping up with Camaros and BMW's down the straights!

      And that's how she stands as of today- I do have some more plans for her in the future, but I'm a full time college student working a fulltime job, so spare time is in short supply.
      I did have plans to go FI long ago in the past, but I abandoned them after seeing what it would cost and the need to keep the OEM reliability.
      For now, I just attend AutoX/Track events whenever I can find the spare time and money, and upgrade/fix components as I wear them out/reach their limits.
      I'll keep this updated with pictures/changes/upgrades/ as I make them- I guess kinda like a build thread, although its more a "keep track of how much money I'll never get back" thread for me.
      Attached Files
      Last edited by wingman703; 08-03-2017, 01:02 AM.
      '00 Black NB, Track/Street car.
      It seems like the most powerful weapon in the universe is speed. Move something fast enough and it will obliterate anything


      • #4
        That was an awesome read - great way to start my day!
        '01 BRG #2807 FS: 4 nice black Chaparral's, $400

        Build log:


        • #5
          Jesus, a coast to coast roadtrip with two trackdays is a hell of a trip. It's nuts what these cars can handle. Keep up the good work!

          Also, I just noticed that you are the guy I sold my old suspension to! I am glad to see they are working out for you.


          • #6
            Originally posted by DavidC View Post
            That was an awesome read - great way to start my day!
            Hats off to you if you sat down and read it all in one go good sir!
            Originally posted by friday View Post
            Jesus, a coast to coast roadtrip with two trackdays is a hell of a trip. It's nuts what these cars can handle. Keep up the good work!

            Also, I just noticed that you are the guy I sold my old suspension to! I am glad to see they are working out for you.
            Yessir, they are still working well, nothing is leaking or broken yet despite a good bit of abuse.
            '00 Black NB, Track/Street car.
            It seems like the most powerful weapon in the universe is speed. Move something fast enough and it will obliterate anything


            • #7
              Wonderful story! Thanks for sharing that. Congratulations for the initiative to learn and maintain your Miata and pursue your developing passion. I think everyone should drive coast-to-coast at least once in a car they like. It's a great experience. :)


              • #8
                2000 SE #558


                • #9
                  Great, great thread. Nice!


                  • #10
                    Awesome, awesome story!
                    The only thing that oughta be hella flushed is a toilet.


                    • #11
                      Thanks guys- its encourageing to hear everyone enjoyed that.

                      As I get time I'll add in the mods I've done to the car- nothing spectacular, but I need to put it all down before I forget what all I've done.
                      '00 Black NB, Track/Street car.
                      It seems like the most powerful weapon in the universe is speed. Move something fast enough and it will obliterate anything


                      • #12
                        And another satisfied reader here!
                        2018 Forester 2.5i 6MT
                        2017 NV3500


                        • #13
                          The first mod I ever did to the car was a water temp gauge- I had done lots of reading about the various issues these cars can have before I had even bought mine and saw how useless the stock temp gauge was, and how disastrous it was to overheat the engines.
                          I used to have a radio and cassette player, but these are both long gone now- I deleted the cassette player because I haven't even held one in 10 years, and 8 months later the amplifier blew, so instead of replacing the system I just deleted it. Which gives me the center console I have now:
                          The blanking plates were made pretty cheap, they are just 1/4 thick sheets of plexiglass pressed into place and held in with rolled duct tape in the backside, painted only on the rear side to give it that deep glossy look while maintaining a smooth exterior.
                          The other screen mounted there came later- Its an UltraGauge, and I love it. It reads all the information the stock ECU can(via the OBD port)- water temps, intake temps, throttle position, load, ect. It also reads/resets ECU codes, and I have alarms setup for extreme intake/water temps. Its well worth the ~$70 I think I got it for, and comes in handy on the track as I can check up on everything in just a quick glance- or not, and just hope I notice the warning alarms screaming in time(yet to have that happen).
                          The water temp gauge is tapped into the heater core return line. I used to have it in the line from #4 to the heater core, but the weight of the brass "T" caused the line to sag and the EGR tube burned a hole in the line over a few months.
                          Looking at that picture, I also remember I have the wilwood proportioning valve- more on that later, but in short I mistakenly thought it added pressure to the back lines, so for 4+ months I ran it with what was probably a 95/5% front to rear bias.

                          As for the rest of the interior, nothing special- Sparco Sprint seat on a PCI fixed mount(That I really need to figure out how to get an extra inch of headroom out of, my helmet still hits the hardtop), Takata 4pt harness, and Harddog hardtop double diagonal rollbar. Still the stock passenger seat/belt and stock wheel- both are on my list of things to change, but just very, very far down the list. 95% of the time I'm the only occupant- the rest of my family/friends find the car to small or to scary to ride in.

                          Engine bay-
                          I've done a ton of deletes and re-routeing- nothing I would consider a "tucked" or "showcar" bay, but its less cluttered and a good deal easier to get to the important stuff now. Except the oil filter, that thing is still a royal pain.
                          Working front to back, Ebay aluminum radiator. Its at least a year old by now, and still holding up fine. Only had to do minor hammer work to the AC cooler tabs to get it to drop right in. Stock fans, stock wireing, no top ducting.

                          PS delete- actually kinda was an impulse thing that I started over a weekend when I was bored, and turned into a two day job. I've done it the most hack and worst way possible, the lines are nether looped nor the seals removed. I started with the intention of completely taking apart the rack and doing it the proper way. Buuuut after 5hrs, I was unable to get to the main middle seal, I tried every method I knew how to crack loose the nuts on either side, but to no avail. So I was forced to put it back into the car(as I had to drive it in the morning)... and that's when I remembered I had gleefully cut all the lines in such a way that I wasn't really able to loop them... so I sealed up the ones I could with silicon, but had to leave some open to prevent compressing air and pressure buildup inside the rack. Soooo I think I have 1-2 ports that were left open... I think I might have put the stock hollow bolts inside them to somewhat limit the open space, but I'm sure dirt will still have found its way in over time... whenever it gives me issue I'll find another donor rack and do it PROPERLY, but till then... yeah.

                          I deleted PS, but I wanted to keep AC. I don't even really use the AC, even in the summer, but as I'm sure you already know, its INVALUABLE to defog the windshield when it rains. And its really nice on long roadtrips.
                          I tried one method of keeping just the PS pump and gutting it so it acted just as a pulley, but that didn't really work. Without the fluid constantly moving in and out of the pump, it overheats and eather backs out the bolts holding it together, gushing hot PS fluid everywhere, or it just sezises up and acts as a drag on everything. Both of these things happened to me before I figured out that wasn't going to work(and the PS delete pulleys are HELLA expensive, IF you can even find one...).
                          So what I did instead was find an old thread about getting a shorter belt, then spacing the AC compressor to put the proper amount of tension on said belt... and it works like a charm. Zero issues as configured, its just more complicated to change or remove.
                          Last edited by wingman703; 08-08-2017, 11:39 PM.
                          '00 Black NB, Track/Street car.
                          It seems like the most powerful weapon in the universe is speed. Move something fast enough and it will obliterate anything


                          • #14
                            Intake- this is actually the third or 4th iteration and placement... and I hope final. The first time I did what everyone does- a hot air intake right next to the headers. Hated that for obvious reasons.
                            Second I snaked the intake down and put the filter right behind my passenger side foglight, then pulled the freshest air possible by removing the foglight. This spot worked fantastically, the only disadvantage being there were so many twists and bends in the intake it had to be super restrictive... oh, and as I found out later, it also would ingest water during heavy rains, and eventually make its way up to the AFM and freak it out. So I relocated it to its current position and it seems to be doing well- only 15-20degrees above ambient when moving, but it skyrockets when stuck in traffic. With the removal of a few unused grommets to vent the firewall, it pulls air from the highpressure area by the windshield, same area the HVAC does as far as I know. I'll do some hood modifications later to the underside with a hammer to allow more air in at some point.

                            Ducting- This was all done with sheets of PVC, same stuff campaign or lawn signs is made out of. Nothing extreme, but enough to direct most of the air into the heat exchangers and not under or around them. Works really well, and along with the bigger radiator, keeps things pretty cool. I was able to do 25-30 minute sessions in 110degree heat at willow springs(going easy on the brakes and coasting) before I would start seeing temps hit 210/212, at which point I would pull in, let it cool for 15-20min, and go out and do it again.
                            For an undertray I have the LRB Speed aluminum tray- the car came with only half the stock tray, and the half that was there was in pretty rough shape.

                            The aero I have is all front focused(except for that rear lip, but that's more cosmetic then anything, its to small to have any real effect). I find I'll understeer before I oversteer, and I would rather have it the other way around.
                            First steps I did was adding a "stock"(ebay) lip and Trackdog splitter. I wanted a splitter that mounted to the chassis in the rear, but I couldn't find anything I was willing to drop that serious amount of cash for. So I got the Trackdog, and have made it as sturdy as I could.
                            I also did some homemade wheel shields/diveplanes out of some aluminum. I actually feel a large difference with these, and if I have my shock dampening set very soft, they will actually pull the entire front of the car down enough the front tires rub at speed, so I know they have at least SOME effect... plus they help give the front end that aggressive look.

                            In the future I want to add some hood vents, both for additional downforce in the front(I'll see hood lift if I'm hit by a gust of wind while going above 80, so I know there's enough high pressure under there to make it worthwhile), and for the added cooling. I'll probably have to block off part of the radiator in winter, but my goal is to have zero overheating issues in any climate, at any track, in any conditions.

                            And a few more minor details-
                            Car was the "sport" package. "upgraded shocks"(long gone) buuuut has an LSD!!!!! Woot woot!
                            ISR Exhaust(stock header/downpipe, keeping my eye out for a Jackson or RB)
                            Garagestar Delrin door bushings(didn't really feel any more "stiffness" when I added these, but I was on stock suspension when I installed them)
                            205 Dunlop Star Specs on 15x8, eventually I want to move up to a 225 on a 15X9(again, its on the list, just way down it).
                            Harddog rollbar doesn't fit with the hardtop side latches/strikers- I made some strips of aluminum to tie the sides down instead.
                            FM stage 1 clutch with a lightened flywheel, IIRC its in the 16-18lb range? Nothing to crazy, but makes it a little easier to blip when downshifting.
                            97' tranny replaced my stock trans when I blew it up at AMP- I think the shifter turret may be slowly leaking as it was dry as a bone when I got back from my two weeks in California- or perhaps I forgot to fill the turret when I installed it(less likely).
                            Put down 125/116 on a DynoJet a few months ago. I hope to break 135/120 whenever I add headers and an Exintake. I don't plan to MS unless shes still around and kicking in 8 years, or I manage to move to a county that doesn't require emissions.
                            Last edited by wingman703; 08-08-2017, 11:29 PM.
                            '00 Black NB, Track/Street car.
                            It seems like the most powerful weapon in the universe is speed. Move something fast enough and it will obliterate anything


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by wingman703 View Post
                              Intake- this is actually the third or 4th iteration and placement... and I hope final.
                              I like your CAI. I don't think I've seen one like it before. Nice job!
                              '01 BRG #2807 FS: 4 nice black Chaparral's, $400

                              Build log: