State Of The Miata Report - September 16, 2006

From: Ray Woods
Sent: Wednesday, September 13, 2006 2:17 PM
To: Rick McBroom
Subject: RE: RE: Request for miata advice

>> I'm an official Ford truck owner..when I have
>> a bad day & am tempted to kick the dog, I can
>> just bash the Ford with a 2x4 instead.. ];-)
> about...I'm surprised we got you this close
> to a Ford that you don't use for batting practice

OK, fair enough! :-)

Still can't think of it as a Ford, mind you. It's so much different than any Ford I've ever had any experience with...
The business end
>> That SOHC straight six that Pontiac
>> came out with in '65 or '66.
> hmmm..seem to remember a neighbor had one of
> those...your right..not bad for a six...

Friend of mine had a straight-6 Camaro at right around the same time. The Tempest would outrun that Camaro quite handily...

> someone once told me that it was not unknown
> to put the slant 6 in a triumph GT6..

As in MOPAR slant-6? Whoa! Cool!
> I think folks are getting wise to the gas price
> game...prices stabalize for a bit....then when
> the oil companies want to raise the price a little,
> they jack them WAY up first so that when they "come
> down" to what the companies wanted in the first
> place folks think they're still getting a deal.

That seems to be how it works, alright...
>> 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.
> hehe...does seem a waste to have those
> engines just running on display stands.....


Of course, in a Miata, a pushrod engine of any sort seems like a step backwards. :-)

BTW, a friend at work drives a red '99 MX5, and I gave him a ride Monday. I redlined it through the 1st 3 gears several times, and he was aghast. Seems he takes his to redline only once in a blue moon. I was like "Dang, dude, that ain't nothin'. You oughta see the way my pal Ray revs his.." ];-) This is his first 'modern' engine - iron pushrod Fords are his staple - so I guess I can understand why he don't know any better.. ;-)

>> ..the 1.8L Miata engine seems to be plenty
>> reliable in a 180 to 200 horsepower level
>> of tune, supercharged.
> yeah...but we're talking newer technology too...I
> would think that boosting the Miata motor up to
> about 400hp would be like squeezing about 120 out
> of my spitfire motor

Ah. Yeah, no doubt you could get that much out of the Miata engine, but no way it would live long. Even at 300HP I think you'd be way, way past what I'd consider a 'streetable' engine.
Interior is now 94%!
> ..I reminded him about the car, Pantera...big
> deal when I was in grade school.....wouldn't
> mind having one for the nostalgia factor if
> I won the lotery..

Sure, I remember the Pantera. 351 Cleveland mounted amidships. Cool car, even if it did have a Blue Oval mill. ;-)

The 351 Cleveland is my fav Ford engine, BTW. My dad was an auto mechanic by trade, and usually (almost ALWAYS) built his own cars. He picked up a '68 Fairlane, sans engine, when I was 15. It so happened that the first suitable motor he found a deal on was.. a 351C! Now, it was a 2-barrel truck motor, but that was still one runnin' sonofagun! I got to drive it a fair bit, before I got my own 'first car', and I embarrassed more than one kid who thought he had a Hot Car. :-) Indeed, I had a close friend who owned a '71 Nova w/ 307 2-barrel, and he undertook a whole hop-up program in an effort to beat Daddy's Fairlane. ;-) After an Edelbrock intake & 4-barrel, headers, and 3/4-race camshaft, he still couldn't keep up. ];-)

> actually, same reasoning for the AC
> Cobra...I remember a friend having one..

No foolin'? Cool! You had more upscale friends than I, obviously. ;-)

> ..saw something on the Super Bee the other day..

Always thought the front end of the Bee was butt-ugly. Mind you, if I found a deal on a decent one today..  ;-)

> ..a lot of the hemi engined cars had the engine
> sitting about an inch or two off center for clearance...

Interior shot #2
>>'d be pretty cool with a smallblock Chevy
>> stuffed in it..Hmmmm. Maybe a twin-turbocharged
>> Briggs and Stratton...  ];-)
> HAHAHA!!  Might not be as uncommon as you might
> think....944's are getting old...were pretty
> popular for a porsche....bunch of them out there
> ..for a porsche..

Yeah, and they never got much respect from the 'real' Porsche-Heads. Most such will admit than a 944 is a slight step up from a 914.. <grin> but that's as far as they'll go.

> ..and most probably need expensive work right
> about now.....I bet there's probably a porsche
> 944 forum out there somewhere on the web that
> has step by step directions for such a project.

Maybe. My gut feeling, though, is that a 944 V8 swap would be very, very difficult. Hmmm. <Googles '944 engine swap'> Nope, don't see any such swaps right off the bat. The most popular 944 swap seems to be dropping in a 968 engine.

However, I did turn up a Rover V8-powered Miata!

Cool beans, huh?! Here's his summary:

"So, what’s it like mister?"

"So far, excellent. Handling appears to be exemplary. I seem to get just over 20mpg. The standard rover V8 is about 150 bhp. With my cam, carb & exhaust I have 220bhp. The rover block can be bored and stroked to 5.2 litres (latest range rover) and over 350bhp. The V8 is very smooth & pulls reasonably from under 1000 revs so it’s easy to potter. When you want to hurtle 2nd catapults you to 70odd & if you want 3rd does it again up to 100! You get the wonderful TVR noise (only a V8 can sound like this). At 4krevs+ it snarls in a most agreeable way. A pukka gearbox improved things vastly, the T5 box is notchy but precise & feels good with a very short lever. I’m impressed by how solid and unflappable it feels. It actually feels tighter (less sloppy) than a standard mx5, I put this down to slightly lowered suspension, lowered centre of gravity and a slightly higher rate anti- roll bar at the front. I’ve had a go in the TVR Griffith 500 & that is such a frightening machine; by comparison this is easy to drive & altogether a pussycat (nowhere near as fast mind)"

He also goes on to answer the question "How far can the 225CI GM/Rover V8 be punched out?", you'll note. The answer, apparently, is 317CI (5.2L). We're talking an easy 250 reliable & tractable HP at that point.. 350 HP if you hop it up. Monster Miata, indeed! I know you can get that kind of power from a 5.0 Ford, but the Cool Factor of having an aluminum V8 in your Miata would be priceless!

> this?
> probably montego blue though...the first one was
> a special edition color

That looks like de one! 'Montego blue', huh? I likes it!

>> 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?
> that's my opinion..."real" roll bars have cross
> bracing to prevent that and actully will save your
> ass if you somehow manage to flip one of these cars...
> can still get roll bar protection with style bar looks though...

$685+? Holy cow! They're proud of them! Nice, though...
Interior shot #3
> cool....loosing the air bag I take it?

Yup, both of 'em. Going to engineer hinge brackets for the passenger-side airbag cover which will allow it to flip out and become sort of a 'tray table'. And, of course, the space formerly occupied by the 'bag is quite commodius. That will become the 'entertainment center'. I'll eventually have XM Radio, MP3 player, and GPS in there. Oh, and Pam wants a gameboy or some crap, too. :-) The idea is that this mod will be totally stealthed - IOW, when the airbag door is closed, no one will rip off your fancy electronic goodies, 'cause it'd never occurr to them that they're THERE in the first place. ;-)

>> 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.  ;-)
> for the way I ride the FJR is WAY more
> bike than I'll ever use..

Yeah, 'bout '97% of the time 's the same with me an' the ST1100. Once in a while, though...  ];-)

> but I'm hoping that it will help...ummm...
> expand my abilities...

I'm betting it will. At least I feel like I'm a better rider since I switched to the ST(s)...

> hehe...when the gas hit $3.00 I was thinking
> about one of those micro cars too.

FWIW, I wasn't kidding about the twin-turbocharged-Briggs-and-Stratton-in-a-Porsche-944 swap. I recall reading an article about Smokey Yunick doing such a swap on a '79 Capri, back in The Day, and that thing got something like 60 MPG @ 55 MPH. Top end was around 75, as I recall. And the Cool Factor of driving a B & S powered Porsche.. Man, that'd be priceless! Almost as cool as an aluminum-V8-powered Miata...  :-)

> Messerschmidts are about weird enough for my tastes there...

Why not stick with a Mazda?

Or, maybe a Subaru. A co-worker actually owns one o' these:

BTW, that museum is in your neck of the woods (Madison). We need to check it out one of these days!

>> We got it back on the road this weekend.
> GREAT..ready for another run at te Gap?   <grin>

Not quite yet. But soon!

> yep...that's what I figured...lucky the
> subframe wasn't bent...but then the control
> arms would bend first...

Took some careful measurements, and the LRU arm is definitely tweaked. Don't think the subframe's hurt, but won't know for certain 'til we replace the arm. <crosses fingers>

> shoot...when we bought the first stereo...a 125
> wat rms monster at $200 off list price, judy didn't
> like it because it didn't match the woodgrain
> cabinets on the rest of the stuff we had...

I can top that. Pam cooked a Morroccan meal last weekend (cous-cous, stew, kebabs, etc.) and went out and bought a new tableclotch 'cause she didn't have one that looked 'North African' enough! ;-)

>> of, nay THE the most fun 4-wheel commute I've
>> had in 16 years. Quite bike-like, really!:-)
> <heavy metalic breathing>...he is truely one
> with the dark side now!


Not far off.. the weather was fine, and normally I'd have ridden the bike. At least I did ride today, though...

>> 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. ..a subtle thing!
> alignment...

God, I hope so. Mind you, I could live with it just the way it is. But there is something amiss with the handling, subtle a thing as it is. And if I can't get that LR wheel straightened out, my tire life on that corner will be atrocious...
Lookin' good!
> Miata suspensions are VERY specialized and tuned...even
> something as simple as the normal overlap of the belts
> in the tires (except tires like Toyo that use a continous
> belt) can set up all kinds of harmonic vibrations that
> usually manifest themselves as the dreaded 65 mph shakes.

Right, we discussed that a bit, remember?. 'tis the reason I chose Toyo tires, in fact, though I could've saved over $50 on a set of Falkens.

> The reason the car didn't act like it did before was
> there were two of you in the car the last time...

Doh! I should've realized that!

> Miata suspensions can be very touchy to get
> right...but when they are ...YEE-HAW!!!

I know! After riding shotgun on your banzai run through the Gap, BELIEVE me, I know. <BSEG>

> also...before getting the alignment done...look up the
> special alignment faq on have some
> thoughts and specs for alternative alignments that you
> might want to look at.  They also stress that the
> alignment needs to be done to MUCH tighter tolerances
> than are normall called for....even by Mazda to get the
> most out of the car.

Already ahead of you there! Pam printed it out, and she'll take it with her to get the alignment done. Dustin has some contacts.. shoot, he did it for a living himself. He's working at Gwatney Chevrolet at the moment, and he'll probably do ours. He's not doing alignments at Gwatney, but says it shouldn't be a problem for him to use the machine after hours. With Mama lookin' over his shoulder, we're bound to get a good alignment.. ];-)

I've heard that for the Ultimate Alignment, you should sit in the car while it's done. If you did it with only the driver, you'd be optimized for solo driving. But that would throw it off a wee bit when you're two up! Whaddaya say?

>> Later, my Brother From Another Mother.
> damn...I'm honored....I think....

Think? 'tis the highest compliment there is! ;-)

>> p.s.- for new pics, go to:
> OK...first thought...get the lowering springs..

knew you'd say that! ;-)

> ..sheesh!! could park a bus in the wheel
> well opening in the rear!!

Aw, c'com. It ain't THAT bad! I kinda like the ass-high look. Makes me wanna put on bellbottoms, smoke weed, and go cruisin', like back in the seventies. ];-)

> Looks like my Miata did before I got the new
> springs...definatly needs will
> be amazed at the difference..

Amazed at how often I bottom out on speed bumps and dips?

> I was....especially at the the speeds I
> was going I would have been doing 360's at every
> curve with my old suspension!

Ah! Well, maybe I'll get it lowered AT the Gap, if your pals from N'awlins show up next year.


Zoom Zoom!

Late addendum- just got through installing the left rear upper control arm and - Yippee! - that did the trick. Wheel's now straighter'n a Baptist preacher. We'll get an alignment done on Monday and, at that point, it is Deal's Gap ready! :-) As you can see from the above photos, the interior is pretty much done. Just need a radio, and install the center A/C 'eyeballs', and we're good to go. Except for the Entertainment Center mod to the former passenger-side airbag. Oh, and the new steering wheel, which hasn't yet arrived. And the hitch, strut tower brace, roll bar.. ACK! Will it never end?!!!  

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