State Of The Miata Report - September 12, 2006

From: Ray Woods
Sent: Saturday, September 09, 2006 10:50 AM
To: Rick McBroom
Subject: Re: RE: Request for miata advice

>> Come on now! You didn't think I give

>> up my Mopars and Hondas, did you?
> no...I guess not...
Good.. 'cuz 'tain't happenin'!  ;-)
> still surprised we got you this close
> to a Ford though....<grin>...
Heh. It ain't THAT close! :-)
Besides, dude, you forget that I'm an official Ford truck owner - '77 F100, baby!
Hood up, as usual :-)
I keep it around 'cause, when I have a bad day & am tempted to kick the dog, I can just bash the Ford with a 2x4 instead.. ];-)
> Still not sure who had the engine first though.
> Have heared different stories...some say Buick
> designed it..others say Rover did then sold it
> to Buick only to buy it back later....
Never heard that Rover designed it. 'twas my understanding that it was a GM design, and they sold it off because of the escalating size/weight of American cars meant that a 225 CI engine without much potential for bein' bored and stroked was destined to be underpowered.
> Did hear about someone who took off the oil pad
> and oil pump and replaced it with an aluminum
> plate with pick-ups for a dry sump and put it in
> an Indy car or something....
Nope, but I ain't surprised. It really was a featherwight, compared to a full-sized iron V8.
Know what other engine I always thought was cool as heck? That SOHC straight six that Pontiac came out with in '65 or '66. Friend of mine had a Tempest with that motor, and it was bad ass (for a 6).
> ..of course the trend back then was to make
> everything bigger....
But of course.
> ..kinda like the way things were going with SUV's
> over the past few years.....until gas prices went
> thru the roof...
What's amazing is that, while sales are down a bit, they're STILL selling a boatload of gas-guzzling SUV's! I thought the bottom was gonna fall out when gas hit $3/gallon...
 State of the Mazda
> holy shit...just checked out the second
> link.....a mini BLOWER ENGINE!!!!   AWESOME!!
Tol' ya'! ;-)
Now, imagine a 213 CI scale-model of a Mopar Hemi.. with blower! Such a mill would weigh a LOT less than an iron Ferd 5.0L, yet have *more* power.
>> There's something to be said for taking a small,
>> efficient powerplant and getting the most out of
>> it. Making it really RUN! It appeals to my Inner
>> Engineer in a way that simply throwing cubic
>> inches (and money!) around never will...
> problem is you push them that far and they don't
> hold up.
Sure, if you go too far. But the 1.8L Miata engine seems to be plenty reliable in a 180 to 200 horsepower level of tune, supercharged.
> Got a small corner piece of a Spitfire block
> in my junk that I used as a paperweight.  I
> had traded my 1147 cc motor to a guy for his
> G production race car.
What, you forgot to torque the con rods?  ;-)
>> If I was gettin' a cost-is-no-object
>> Ford, it'd be a GT40.
> Yeah..that new one is sweet too...I think that
> would be my first "lottery car" 
Once again, "Great minds think alike".  ;-)
State of the MX-5  
> as for "bastardized backyard contaption!"..
> ..well...yeah.....and your point is?
Oh, nothin'. Most of my Mopars have been bastardized backyard contraptions, too.  ];-)
> years ago sprint sent me to Reston Va for training.
> Long before I ever moved there.  Was wandering around
> the back streets of Alexandria with a co-worker one
> weekend and found a small car shop.  The guy was working
> on an old Maseratti race car for some guy.  The thing was
> still in the same shape as the last time it was on the
> track....un-restored....rode hard and put up wet...they
> also had put a racing corvette motor in it.  Story was
> the Maser motor blew so they stuffed in what they had
> and went racing...was still sweet...
Sounds like a cool project.
My (step)son has a Porsche 944 that he picked up cheap. Body's actually in great shape, and the interior is real decent, too. Engine problems, though, and you know how Porsche parts/repair prices are. Anyway, it's been rotting in his driveway for well over a year. Told him this weekend that I'd trade him the Neon for it. I mean, he blew his truck up & I'm letting him borrow the Neon, anyway. I might as well get something out of it. ;-)
Dunno what I'd do with a silly GERMAN sports car, mind you. I think it'd be pretty cool with a smallblock Chevy stuffed in it, though. But given the car's layout, that would be a problematic swap, I'm sure. Hmmmm. Maybe a twin-turbocharged Briggs and Stratton...  ];-)
State of the Mazda  
> There aren't too many early model Miatas
> in yellow.  Most are re-sprays.
And mine's a re-spray already, so WTF?
However, the smart thing to do, no doubt, would be to go back to the original shade, which is a darkish medium blue. That way all the underpinnings (hood, trunk, engine bay, door frames, etc.) would match. Pam kinda likes that blue, so we'll probably go that way. And, shoot, I like blue cars, too. My first-ever new car was SCREAMING blue...
> Everyone loves the yellow Miatas though.
Me included!
>> But roll bars are mostly for style, anyway,
>> right? I roll that SOB, I'm gonna give myself
>> Last Rites as it's goin' over, no matter what
>> kind of roll bar's on it...   ];-)
> nope....a REAL roll bar will keep the ground
> off your head.  Style bars will mouse-trap ya..
Ack! OK, 'mouse-trap ya' paints a vivid picture. Ye've convinced me! :-) You'd probably be worse off with a stylebar than no roll bar at all, huh?
>> What you got against carbon fiber?! :-)
> too many squids with nothing but carbon
> fiber on their car thinking they're fast.
You'll be pleased to know that I didn't go with the carbon fiber steering wheel, then. :-) I ordered this one on Saturday;
$28 shipped
That one tasteful enough for ya? <grin>
 State of the silly Japanese sports car..  ];-)
>> ..I'd get me a 'round-town hooligan bike before
>> I got another Miata. One o' these, perhaps:
> not bad...kinda why I got the that
> one but slightly more "pratical"...<grin>...
Naw, a 919 has far and away more hooligan potential. I'm talking something that, when you snap the throttle open in 1st OR second, it wheelies instantly.  ;-)
> I think I'd like to have a Citroen in my 100 car
> colection though, just FOR that bizarre factor..
> a ride in one once...REALLY smooth....
You're sick!  ];-)
> sometimes it's better to not know....<covering my eyes>...
ROTF! Yeah, I know the feeling...
> Oh well...could be ought to talk
> to my chiropractor.....he's got a guy working
> on an Eagle Talon for would have
> shot the guy by now....
We got it back on the road this weekend. Still got a few odds 'n' ends to install - door side panels, interior windshield trim, engine splash shield, one inner fender shield, etc. But it's officially a roadworthy car again!
Oh, and you were right. We couldn't align the left rear tire. Got a tweaked left rear upper control arm. Already found a good used one, $25 +shipping. <sigh> I dunno. I added it up this morning, and at this point I've got $5,300 and change in the thing. Not too bad considering that's including the new clutch kit, Toyo tires, KYB struts, dash/heater core/airbox/yadda yadda. And the interior really looks sweet with the new dash!
 Dash 1
Dash 2
I dunno, I think we did OK...

>> Damned piece o' crap Yamahas...  ];-)
> no...just her...most of my other Yamahas
> have been great....the RD was a gem..
Yeah, yeah, I know. I like me Yamahas, too!
> ..the FJR is amazing....the Virago was ok but had
> it's quirks...of course they may have been better
> if they had been ridden more too....
I was kiddin', dude! ;-)
My favorite ex Yamahammers, roughly in order...
>> Uh huh. But our glove box is black. May or may not
>> paint it. I want to see what it looks like first,
>> and it's a piece of cake to pop it back out if it
>> doesn't look right in black.
> problemo
And, I gotta say, it looks A-OK to me. Pam's still on the fence. Women. <shakes head>
> I'm here now taking care of her for a couple
> weeks...sis' husband is going in for surgery
> on his arm next week so she needs the help...
You're a good man, Ray.
> So I'm up here with the laptop stealing WiFi
> service from some neighbor named "susan"..
> ..and am getting a REALLYweak signal..
> ..right on the edge....<sigh>...
But :-( for that..
[five hour break]
Well, just drove the Miata to and from work. Must say, 'twas one of, nay THE the most fun 4-wheel commute I've had in 16 years. Quite bike-like, really! :-)
OTOH, I'm in sort of a quandry over the car's handling. Pam says it "floats at 65". Dustin agrees in principle, but insists it's more like "twitchy at 65". Pam insists that this wasn't there when she initially test drove the car in Picayune. Fair enough, but she never got the car past 50 on that drive!
I dunno. I test drove the car last night, and told 'em they were both out of their minds. Felt fine to me! Those 4 brand new & freshly-balanced Toyos mean that it's smooth, where on the way home from Picayune the out-of-balance rim-protectors nearly shook me fillin's loose. So I dunno, maybe I just couldn't get past that huge change in tire balance. The SOB felt tip-top on the WAY to work! But 'twas dark and I seldom exceeded 70, 75 and, know what? On the way home, I think I see what they mean. :-(
To me, it's not "floating" or "twitchy" so much as, that when only small steering inputs are needed, the feedback (and action, to a certain and lesser extent) is what I'd call 'vague'. And this only occurs in the.. oh, for me, 70+ speed range. And 'tis a subtle thing! I dunno, I just don't know.. It has NOT been aligned. Shitfire, we know that the alignment is WAY off 'cause it has the sodding bent LRU control arm! So I'm hoping that's what I'm feeling. Damn, dude, I really need you to drive this car, tell me what's up. :-/
[another break]
Pam arrived home while I was writin' that last paragraph. I told her I thought the car wasn't nearly as floaty/twitchy as she and Dustin were sayin', told her about my 'drive it like it's a bike' theory, then took her for a drive to demonstrate. And it felt fine. Even to her, after we swapped! I'm sooo confused!! Obviously, our next step will be to replace that control arm, then get a good 4-wheel alignment. Cross your fingers!
Later, my Brother From Another Mother.
 State of the li'l car
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