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STS2 Miata - Project: Stronger Faster Lighter

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  • STS2 Miata - Project: Stronger Faster Lighter

    Well, apparently this was one of the things that Jack "nuked," so lets start fresh. I'll be grabbing the posts from what I guess I consider my 'main' forum, so if they seem a bit disjointed, I apologize. Try to keep up ;)

    06-30-2008
    This evening I realized that over the course of this season, I'm taking nearly 100 lbs out of the car. ~ 60 lbs of roll bar, ~ 30 lbs of power steering, 6 lbs of wheels, a couple pounds per seat, uber light weight lug nuts... That's damn close to 100 lbs. When I set out to do these things, I really didn't think about the impact that would have. When I got it corner balanced at the outset of the 2008 season, it weighed in at respectable 2130 lbs. Doing a quick and dirty number crunch, taking 100 lbs out of the car is shaving about 4.7% of the weight at the beginning of the season. In a car with ~105 WHP (give or take), that's pretty darn significant.

    Original power to weight: 2130 / 105 = 20.28 lbs / hp
    New power to weight: 2030 / 105 = 19.33 lbs / hp

    Given those 'goal' numbers, I really want to see what we're taking off the car. In an effort for accuracy, I will hopefully be picking up an accurate postage scale this week and weighing what has come off so far, and will continue to do so over the next couple months as the pounds drop. Once that's done, I can start on the engine rebuild and really see what this ol' girl can do!

    ~Andrew
    ~Andrew
    Atlanta Region SCCA
    D Prepared Miata

  • #2
    06-30-2008

    Lost some weight today, and will lose a couple more pounds next week.
    Installation was pretty simple once we had a plan. Problem with the 1st time you do it is that the plan goes through a few iterations before you finally settle on one that works. Part of the problem is that the seat isn't perfectly flat on the bottom. It's hard to describe the mounting, but long story short, these seats are about as low as you're ever going to get in a Miata with sliders. I love it! Seating position is lower, so the line of sight is no longer through the top of the windshield lol. The layback angle is the same as the Corbeaus, and as these aren't tube framed, they fit a ton better in the car. Unfortunately, I didn't think to take any pictures of the install, but we basically used 2 lengths of steel angle iron, and the seat is bolted down in 6 places along the bottom. VERY sturdy, and way sturdier than my Corbeau sliders that kept falling the F apart lol. The middle 2 holes we drilled directly into the top bracket of the slider and threaded those, and the 2 other pairs of holes (front and rear) are in the angle iron and use bolts, nuts and lock washers. Grade 8 hardware was used for everything.

    Before:


    After:


    Look how much room there is in there now LOL


    This is what they look like with no covers:


    I'm kind of sad to see it go, but it was a lot of weight up high in the car. It's a beautiful piece that will likely be for sale soon. It was right around 60 lbs, so my car should be less than 2100 lbs now!!!! It's probably closer to 2070 or so based on what it weighed at the tour. Extra bonus is that the kirkeys + mounting hardware come out to be about 5 lbs less (at 26 lbs once ballasted) than the Corbeaus. I'm very happy with the results. I won't have time to work on the car this week (my folks will be in town), however I'll take s'more pics when we do the 2nd seat. Now that we know how to do it, installing the 2nd seat shouldn't take more than a couple hours.
    ~Andrew
    Atlanta Region SCCA
    D Prepared Miata

    Comment


    • #3
      06-30-2008

      Ok, so I went ahead and put together an extremely technical drawing of what we did.

      Please keep in mind that I haven't done the passenger side one yet, so it may be a little different.

      The angle iron that we used was 1". It butts right up against the seat supporting the load on the front and rear very nicely. Anyway, the holes on the angle iron line up with the 2 stock holes on the ends of the sliders. We used 3/4" bolts on those. The 2 middle bolts go through threaded holes in the top of the slider. The front and back bolts have a washer on top of the seat, then use lock washers under the nut under the angle iron. I ended up using 2" bolts for those. The 1 1/2" could have worked, but was a bit skimpy on threads. 1 3/4" would have been ideal, but lowes didn't have any.. Note that the bolts holding the seats to the angle iron are inboard of the ones holding the angle iron to the sliders (towards the middle of the seat). That's the simplification I was talking about :p

      ===========

      So today I actually went for a decent ride with the new seats today to Advance auto (30-ish minute round trip) to order a part for the Celica and I have to say I'm VERY happy with them. The seats have basically become a part of the chassis. It's no longer "riding ON a seat IN a Miata." No, now it's something different. Now it feels like your *** is bolted directly to the chassis of the car. The communication of what the car is doing is simply astonishing. I figured there'd be some difference, but it literally feels as though you have become part of the chassis of the car, it's amazing and I love it :D
      ~Andrew
      Atlanta Region SCCA
      D Prepared Miata

      Comment


      • #4
        07-03-2008

        Well, I kinda sorta caught a break tonight and had some time to do a little more work with the seats. The passenger side to be a little more specific. I must have lost my stock passenger side bracket when I moved, because I couldn't find that thing anywhere. I picked one up from a local miata-graveyard type yesterday and went to town tonight. Putting together the seat bracket is pretty simple and just requires drilling 4 holes in the angle iron. Make sure you measure correctly as with the 2nd one I was just a hair off. The dremmel made short work of correcting that error.

        Pics:
        The bracket as it sits stock. I just used the 4 stock holes at the ends of the top 'rails' for the brackets




        Painted:


        You can see the front angle iron through the anti-sub strap hole. It lines up pretty much perfectly with that front crease. The rear of the seat sits nicely on the rear bracket for support.
        ~Andrew
        Atlanta Region SCCA
        D Prepared Miata

        Comment


        • #5
          07-10-2008

          so I finally got that postage scale to weight some stuff, and we got the other seat bolted in tonight. Pics of that to come.

          Weights:
          - 50 lbs - Roll bar + mounting hardware
          - 30 lbs x 2 - Forzas & bracketry
          + 25.4 lbs x 2 - Ballasted Kirkey
          ========
          -59.2 lbs

          So I overshot my estimate based on the weight that Mark from Kirk racing gave me on the roll bar. In either case, that's still a fairly significant weight savings :D. Now for the power steering and battery ;)

          Here's a few pictures of the install:
          Rear of the seat. The angle iron is butted right up on the bottom of the seat here:


          Front of the seat. Angle iron again providing support:


          Securely mounted ballast (2.5 lbs + hardware) (Todd, this answers your earlier question):


          Mounting complete. The outer middle row bolts are threaded directly into the stock slider:


          Installed :D:


          A few numbers:
          The stock bracket w/ angle iron bolted in was 7.85 lbs. The 'Naked' Kirkey is 12.15 lbs. Once the seat is bolted down (6 bolts, assorted washers, nuts, etc) and the cover's on, the whole thing (including the mounting bolts to the chassis) weighs 22.95 lbs. We added that 2.5 lb weight to the bottom to bring the whole shebang to 25.4 lbs.

          Any questions? :p
          ~Andrew
          Atlanta Region SCCA
          D Prepared Miata

          Comment


          • #6
            07-21-2008

            We got the manual rack swapped in this weekend and lost about 21 lbs (just over 20 lbs of hardware, give or take 1 lb for PS fluid) which is exciting, but less than 'advertised' by the masses. No real pictures because, well, it's just not that sexy ;). Old busted off, new hotness on. Unfortunately, no driving impressions yet because A) the alignment is going to be EFFED, and B) I'm waiting for a couple dust boots for the outer tie rod ends to come in from MazdaSpeed before I button everything back up. I'm calling one of our local awesome alignment places tomorrow morning to set up an appointment for next Thursday for the alignment.

            However, it's not all bad news. 20 lbs off of the nose of the car, ahead of the front axle line, is never a bad thing. Basically, we pulled the pump, reservoir, cooling loop and the bracket. The 2 big ticket weight items were the pump and the lump-o-metal bracket that holds it to the block. The PS rack itself was actually a couple of lbs heavier, so we lost weight just in that as well.

            Now that we're mostly done w/ the weight reduction (well, battery... but whatever) we can start to make her move a little better. Granted, taking my 160k mile power steering pump off has to help at least a little...). This will be my first engine rebuild so I'm doing a ton of research. I know I can't overbore because the 1st factory over is .025, and the ST (well, stock really) allowance is .020, so that's out. It's really just going to be parts bin balancing the rotating assembly, getting the tolerances as tight as the FSM allows, decking the head and, if the FSM has a spec for it, the block, and get the head re-worked. The biggest question mark for me is what I want to do with the head. I'm still in the planning phases of that. It's going to come down to what the biggest bang / $$ is. If I can just get it pressure tested and some seals replaced pretty cheap if necessary, I'll go that route. The $ on a crazy *** valve job / replace everything in the head idea may be a bit more than I'm willing to spend for what won't amount to a huge gain on the B6.

            I bought an engine a couple months back, but really haven't had time to do much on it. I have torn the head apart and will start rebuilding the hydraulic lifters here at some point. I borrowed a hoist to get it off the crate on the floor to drain the oil, and to get it onto the engine stand (totally worth the hassle of going to pick up and re-building the hoist in the garage). After this I'll start tearing everything apart and see what kind of situation I'm looking at. I'll probably have everything acid dipped so I can start 100% fresh and not have to worry about a buttload of contaminants.

            FWIW, this will be my 1st rebuild, so I'm really stoked, so there will likely be a **** ton of pictures of that process once we begin. For now, you'll have to settle with this :p



            ~Andrew
            Atlanta Region SCCA
            D Prepared Miata

            Comment


            • #7
              07-22-2008

              wewt more progress. Got the engine on the stand tonight and made some progress tearing the thing down. I keep getting amazed once I tear into new things in cars how simple everything really is. As usual, no surprise, it's just nuts and bolts! Crazy huh? ;)

              FWIW, it looks like the oil pan has been off of this motor before, which raises an eyebrow, but I can't really find anything terribly out of shape, so if there was a repair done, it seems like it was done well because I can't find it. The only think is that I removed about 5 lbs of RTV from the block from that.

              I'm looking for a couple words of wisdom now though: Any thoughts on how to remove the front and rear 'plates' (the ones that hold the main oil seals)? I can't seem to figure out how to work them loose. I don't really want to start bashing stuff w/ a hammer b/c it's aluminum, so really, any advice is appreciated.

              Pics for Shawn:

              There is literally an ~1/8" layer of grime on the bottom of the oil pan. Nasty ****.


              Pics 'inside the head'




              Various stages of disassembly:




              EDIT: Other things that can and will be done now that I have the documentation:
              Head decked 0.2mm
              Block decked 0.2mm
              First factory overbore
              I should also be able to get the gaps on the rings as tight as the FSM allows. Pretty much every one of these things will help with power.
              Is it sad I'm getting excited for what may or may not end up being 10 hp? I'm going to cry if it makes the same as the engine currently in the car LOL
              ~Andrew
              Atlanta Region SCCA
              D Prepared Miata

              Comment


              • #8
                07-24-2008

                No real progress yesterday as I'm kind of stuck until I can get this crank pulley bolt cracked. I should be able to do that tonight. I'm borrowing my co-driver's compressor and impact gun (evil)

                However, you don't even want to KNOW how fast my toolbox is now!
                ~Andrew
                Atlanta Region SCCA
                D Prepared Miata

                Comment


                • #9
                  07-26-2008

                  So yes, where are we? The 'other' engine is totally torn apart, I'm more than likely going to have OPM Autosports in Cumming, GA (lol cumming) do the machine work on the block and head, and the maintenance on the head. I was marveling at the fact that the entire bottom end of this engine (not including the block and oil pan, but pretty much every damn thing else), in labled bags, fits in a 12x12x8" tupperware box. And the lid closes lol. For someone who's never done this before, there's surprisingly little there. I actually was taken back at the simplicity of the thing. We all know the principles of how an internal combustion works and all the components, but I guess for me it all seemed overly simplified until I tore this thing apart. You look at it and go 'nope... that really IS all there is to it' haha

                  This afternoon I finished up the work on the manual steering rack conversion. I took 'er out for a spin and it feels great! It's not very heavily weighted and feels really direct. I was actually surprised at how light it was sitting still in the garage. I have to say I'm very pleased with the results.

                  Only a couple minor issues cropped up... the manual rack had outer tie rod ends, but the dust boots were in crappy shape. Getting them off wasn't terribly difficult, but as the ring that seats the boot on the ball joint of the rod end is rigid, and makes for a VERY tight fit, getting them back on is best described as a royal pain in the balls. The problem is, it's nearly impossibly to get it seated using 'standard' hand tools. So, I figure I'd RTFM and see if I couldn't garner any wisdom from the FSM. Well, there's a SST (special service tool) that's used with a press to get these things on. Great... now you tell me...
                  Now I have to go out and pick up one of these schfancy SSTs :(
                  And by schfancy SSTs, I mean a $0.56 PVC 3/4 > 1" PVC fitting. Because the fitting was smooth on the inside, it wouldn't risk tearing the boot like a metal 6 or 12 pt socket would. The 1" fits pretty much perfect over the boot, and the smaller 3/4" side fits over the stud on the rod end, and is an excellent surface for hammering ;). About 5 minutes on the work bench and I had re-greased and re-booted the tie rod ends.

                  Also, during my 1st drive I noticed that the steering wheel was about 1/3 turn too far to the left. I mean... it LOOKED like we had the rack straight when we put it on, so wtf? LOL. Oh well, lesson learned... put the steering wheel on once the wheels are on the car so you KNOW, not before. I removed the wheel, set it straight, and got it 99% right. Any other corrections can and will be changed via the alignment. My options were either a hair to the left or a hair to the right, so it's REALLY close.

                  In my short drive, the alignment didn't feel terrible, but I could tell it's not 100%. The toe is WAY out. I'm heading to GTE for that on Thursday. We'll see if they can't squeeze some more caster out of this thing. After they get that done, the only thing left to do is bolt the engine splash guard to the bottom of the car and autox it on Sunday (drive2)
                  ~Andrew
                  Atlanta Region SCCA
                  D Prepared Miata

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    08-01-2008

                    OMG sex. Today the manual steering swap was completed in that she got put on the alignment rack and dialed in. The product of just slapping the new rack on the car and calling it a day without even an eyeballed toe adjustment was a VERY vague / twitchy car.

                    After getting it up on the rack, it appears that was the product of having 1.8 INCHES of total front toe out HAHAHAHAHA. Apparently the car this thing came off of was WAY off because everything's right where it was when I bought it. Anyway, we dialed in a touch extra camber all around while we were there, and I think this'll help settle the rear down some while giving the front a little more bite. The rear camber was a compromise b/w myself and the co-driver, as he's having a bit of a... spinning... problem. Hopefully it doesn't settle it too much or it'll be going right back to where it was, as I like the car a touch loose (he likes it with a touch of push, so...). Anyway, the car feels great. Haven't exactly driven it in anger yet, however the manual rack is DEFINITELY more connected than the powered one. I've never street-driven a car w/ manual steering, but it's a huge difference. It's obviously weighted heavier than the powered rack, but the biggest difference is simply how much feedback you have. Totally awesome, and I'm really stoked about it.

                    Now... if I could figure out a way to tow this thing to Alabama this weekend so I can autox it. Problem with the new seats is that I've got about an hour, hour and a half max range in them before they become painful. I really need to look into making a couple of foam inserts to fix the *** / lower back area.
                    ~Andrew
                    Atlanta Region SCCA
                    D Prepared Miata

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      09-26-2008

                      Finally getting started on this thing. I've had the motor back from OPM for like... weeks at this point. Everything looks great, and I've been taking care to occasionally spray down the freshly bored cylinders w/ WD-40 to keep any surface rust from building up.

                      Last night I finally went through with the HLA cleaning procedure (I've got a pic of all the HLAs sitting out to dry on my phone, it may be up next week some time as I'm out of town for the weekend) which took about an hour and a half. HLAs 1-15 came apart just wonderfully... #16 literally took us half an hour to separate, which was incredibly frustrating, but regardless I eventually got it.

                      We soaked them for 5-6 minutes in a tub of that car-cleaner solution... the kind that were you to forget a rubber gasket in your carb would dissolve it. I think on the side of the can it says "don't touch, breath in, drink, or look at this stuff, because it will kill you and your family". It's nasty stuff. But on the plus side it got everything squeaky clean. I used a spray bottle cap to make a make-shift parts washer to rinse everything in brake clean to get that crap off of the parts and have set everything out to dry.

                      Next week I'll be able to fill each of them with oil properly and get them all back together. After that it's only a matter of installing the cams to have the head back together, and phase 1 will be complete.

                      Next comes assembling the piston / rod assemblies. That should just be loads of fun, what with the little (but stiff as hell) clips that sit in the groove on either side of the wrist pin. They were a pain in the *** to remove, I'm not looking forward to installing the new ones. After that it's a matter of putting the new bearings in where they belong, dropping the crank in and and piecing this thing back together. I'm really looking forward to having a new drivetrain in this thing for next season :D
                      ~Andrew
                      Atlanta Region SCCA
                      D Prepared Miata

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        09-29-2008



                        Kinda neat how many pieces it takes to make these things tick (edit: heh, a miata that ticks? no wai!). Additionally, inside the 'small' plunger (just above the springs), there are an additional 3 parts (cap, ball, spring).

                        These should all be getting pre-oiled and going back together tomorrow night. Yay forward progress! :D

                        If anyone's curious on how these work (as opposed to more traditional rocker arms:
                        http://www.miata.net/garage/hla/index.html
                        ~Andrew
                        Atlanta Region SCCA
                        D Prepared Miata

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          10-06-2008

                          Been a busy night. It's been a minute, but I was finally able to take a night for myself to move forward on this.

                          Tonight I got around to lubing and assembling the HLAs, and getting the head pretty much back together.
                          In the back-ground half of the HLAs have been completed, in the foreground I've got the 8 inner/outer plunger assemblies lubed and ready to go into the 8 main 'cups'.


                          Got them all done. Got to play in a bucket of oil in a quest to get all the air out of the HLAs. Basically you fully submerge each assembled lifter into oil and work it several times until air bubbles stop coming out.


                          Assembly lube looks pink in the flash. No idea why, it's actually red:


                          Starting to come together: the exhaust cam, seal and gear are on. Only thing missing's the CAS.


                          The intake cam goes in.


                          And: Completion after putting the new seal and the cam gear on.


                          Now all that's left is to borrow a smaller torque wrench that measures in in/lb (I've already requisitioned it, I'm picking it up @ my soccer game tomorrow) and to torque everything to spec. It's pretty much 'hand' tight (w/ a ratchet). The torque spec on these is 100-126 in/lbs, or ~8.5-10.5 lb-ft. WTF?? You'd think they'd use real bolts for this stuff, not some puny 'sneez and you'll snap 'em' specials.
                          ~Andrew
                          Atlanta Region SCCA
                          D Prepared Miata

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            10-08-2008

                            Hot pimpness. I picked up a set of long, quick-start lug studs from Applied Racing Technology.



                            I should have them by early next week :D. I could stand to re-pack my hubs anyway, so I'll do these while I'm doing that.
                            ~Andrew
                            Atlanta Region SCCA
                            D Prepared Miata

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              10-10-2008

                              I had a few hours to myself tonight before I had to pack up the miata for tomorrow's event, so I went ahead and made some headway on this. I got the bolts on the cam shaft caps torqued to spec, got the pistons assembled (the damn clips that hold the wrist pin in are a pain in the balls), installed the oil squirters and got the crank, main bearings, thrust metals and main caps installed and properly torqued.

                              Assembled pistons. Need to keep them in order because cylinders were machined to the exact size of the piston.


                              Got the 'top' main bearings in, and the crank dropped in:


                              Taking main cap #4 off because I put the thrust metals in *** back'erds.


                              All together. Just waiting on the pistons, but that's another job for another night. I don't think I'll have time at all next week (soccer game tues night, going out of town wed-thurs for work, and have some guests coming into town that weekend), so this may be it for a little while. We'll see if I can't steal some miata-time away on Monday night.



                              PS: Anyone curious what Un-Shaved Bridgestone RE-01Rs look like after 190 autocross runs, and about 5000 street miles?





                              All things considered, I'm going to have to say that's not half bad!
                              ~Andrew
                              Atlanta Region SCCA
                              D Prepared Miata

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