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Thread: Building a CSP Race Car (Blueiii build #2)

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  1. #1
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power Blueiii's Avatar
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    Building a CSP Race Car (Blueiii build #2)

    Hello MR.Net! Its been a while since I last posted anything on here. Getting married, buying a house, working 2 jobs, having a baby... all these things make for much less time sitting in front of a computer and posting pictures on a website.

    For the MR.Net "OG's," you might remember my first build thread: http://mazdaroadster.net/showthread....hlight=blueiii

    For those that don't like clicking, a recent pick of my first miata:




    The problem was, "Camber" was part street car, part race car. Koni shocks, functioning a/c, etc. I did okay locally (and actually won the class in 2016) but at pro events I was typically getting by butt handed to me. I was somewhat torn, wanting both a street car AND a competitive race car. Alas, compromises were needed for either.
    2012: Purchased Miata, Laid off 3 days later. 4th place overall (default!), NWOR SCCA (RTR)
    2013: Budget RTR build, massive increase in participation, 3rd place overall, NWOR SCCA (RTR)
    2014: Suspension and more active competition in STS. 3rd place overall, NWOR SCCA
    2015: Time for some "form" and vintage styling (while still racing NWOR, of course).


    Check out my Miata Journal: http://mazdaroadster.net/showthread....-miata-journal

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  3. #2
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power Blueiii's Avatar
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    Ultimately I decided that it was time to look at building something different. I wanted a more purpose-built race car. Having already gone down the STS path, and with class changes so that the civic hatches were included, I really didn't want to stay in STS. There are still a lot of places that miatas are competitive, and miatas can be build for STR (although the S2000s tend to dominate), SSM (big money!), D-Prepared (a local friend races a 1.6 in DP, and is constantly telling me to cut my windshield off), CSP, XP (like DP on steroids) or ES (with a 99 - 00 Sport.)

    I started researching options and wanted something that I could still drive to events, so DP was out. Then I started looking at "Mod" classes and lotus 7 kits. There are a number of different 7 kits that are built with a miata donor, and it turns out that "Fastcraft" is only around 2 hours from me. The wheels began turning...

    I started communicating with Fastcraft regarding their VortX kit car and read a lot of different kit car threads. The wife even gave me permission to start the build process, knowing that I have a need to tinker. What better way than with the ultimate tinker-friendly vehicle?





    I started putting together a plan to build a n/a mod car based on SCCA rulebook!
    2012: Purchased Miata, Laid off 3 days later. 4th place overall (default!), NWOR SCCA (RTR)
    2013: Budget RTR build, massive increase in participation, 3rd place overall, NWOR SCCA (RTR)
    2014: Suspension and more active competition in STS. 3rd place overall, NWOR SCCA
    2015: Time for some "form" and vintage styling (while still racing NWOR, of course).


    Check out my Miata Journal: http://mazdaroadster.net/showthread....-miata-journal

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    etikoner (11-02-2016),Greasemonkey2000 (11-05-2016),Phatmiata (10-29-2016)

  5. #3
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power Blueiii's Avatar
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    While coming up with my plan I started looking at copart for used miatas in the area as donors. I knew they could be found for around 1k, and it seemed like a possible source. After a few months one popped up that was less than 200 miles from me, and I figured I would see what it actually sold for. There was a minimum reserve of $750 but I pre-bid so that I would have the link to check later. I only bid $350, well under the minimum reserve. While watching the live auction, it received no bids. I received an email saying, "congratulations! You won! The seller has 24 hours to negotiate since you did not meet the minimum reserve." Right before leaving work I received another email, "Congratulations! The seller has accepted your offer. You have 48 hours to remove the vehicle until you begin to accumulate storage fees." CRAP!

    It was an interesting conversation with the wife that night... Sorry dear, I bought a car. She literally laughed at me when I told her it was a junkyard car, and told me that she hoped I "enjoyed my midlife crisis vehicle, because this is the only one I get."

    I ended up renting a u-Haul and drove out 2 days later to pick it up. A few pictures from the trip home:
    Cleveland-Bound!


    Are you following me?


    Rest-stop photo so I could brag on facebook!


    Got it home and started the engine. The motor fired right up! Putting it in gear to back it off the trailer, something wasn't right... it wouldn't actually go into gear. There was a reason they loaded it on the trailer with a forklift.....
    2012: Purchased Miata, Laid off 3 days later. 4th place overall (default!), NWOR SCCA (RTR)
    2013: Budget RTR build, massive increase in participation, 3rd place overall, NWOR SCCA (RTR)
    2014: Suspension and more active competition in STS. 3rd place overall, NWOR SCCA
    2015: Time for some "form" and vintage styling (while still racing NWOR, of course).


    Check out my Miata Journal: http://mazdaroadster.net/showthread....-miata-journal

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  7. #4
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power Blueiii's Avatar
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    Based on the pictures (I made the purchase from), the car didn't look too worse for wear. It didn't really make sense why it was totaled out at first, and even less sense why I was able to buy it for $350.



    The other side of the vehicle might give you a clue...


    She had cancer. In all seriousness, I have never actually seen a car that was this bad. Somewhere I have shots of the suspension / hubs. It started to seem like I was going to need a different donor car.

    I eventually found cracks in the frame where it had rusted through. There wasn't a whole lot of the car that I could actually part out, but I did end up making my money back on various parts that were in decent shape. In fact, I think I put a couple dollars in my pocket for the labor spent removing things.

    LOTS of PB Blaster, LOTS of sawzalling...
    This poor car!


    More blaster. There was oil all over everything under the hood...


    SO much rust!


    It literally took me a few months before I could pull the motor. This was the first time I had ever taken a motor out of a car, and I was constantly fighting rusted bolts.



    Is this thing even worth saving? Look at the rust on the crank pulley!
    2012: Purchased Miata, Laid off 3 days later. 4th place overall (default!), NWOR SCCA (RTR)
    2013: Budget RTR build, massive increase in participation, 3rd place overall, NWOR SCCA (RTR)
    2014: Suspension and more active competition in STS. 3rd place overall, NWOR SCCA
    2015: Time for some "form" and vintage styling (while still racing NWOR, of course).


    Check out my Miata Journal: http://mazdaroadster.net/showthread....-miata-journal

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    Greasemonkey2000 (11-05-2016),Phatmiata (10-29-2016)

  9. #5
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power Blueiii's Avatar
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    Part of what took so long to remove the engine was also removing other parts and trying to sell stuff. Racing season also started, so a few weekends were being used to actually drive instead of looking at a broken down chassis sitting in my driveway. I knew I had a running motor, but outside of that I was going to need a lot of parts to build a mod car.

    With racing season in full swing I started talking to people about my plans. I also entered bigger Pro-Solo races and started to pay attention to national level autocross instead of just local. As you might have suspected, a miata-based lotus wasn't going to be the most competitive car in the world. The mod classes are structured based on a displacement to weight formula, with miata-based 1.8 cars up against 2.0L with the same minimum weights. This means that a miata-based seven is up against a s2000 based seven. Suddenly the power-to-weight ratio debate won out. The Vortx was going to cost me $15-20k to build and wouldn't be competitive for the class.

    As I mentioned, a friend has continued to push me toward DP with my car, but its just too nice. I started looking at the rules to see if I could build a DP car that would still be somewhat streetable and discovered minimum weight rules were still doable if I swapped the 1.8 into my na6, as the minimum weight is 1,975 lbs or so. I started to toy with the notion of swapping the motor over, slapping on some carbon fiber doors and shedding a few other pounds. . . BUT then what would I drive in the summer just for fun? Would it still be safe on the street if I got t-Boned? Lots of questions...

    One of my fellow-racing friends posted to my facebook asking what I was going to do with the motor. I mentioned DP or the possibility of finding a clean na chassis for 2k or less to drop it in. Within 4 minutes another friend had posted a craigslist ad for a rust-free chassis in Michigan that wasn't running. The details are somewhat boring, but I ended up purchasing a car that supposedly made a "good candidate for autocross" (per the seller who had never autocrossed in his life) and had bad rings for $900, funded fully by selling the roll-bar, brainstorm fuel lid and (never installed) FIC-6 off my existing na6.



    2012: Purchased Miata, Laid off 3 days later. 4th place overall (default!), NWOR SCCA (RTR)
    2013: Budget RTR build, massive increase in participation, 3rd place overall, NWOR SCCA (RTR)
    2014: Suspension and more active competition in STS. 3rd place overall, NWOR SCCA
    2015: Time for some "form" and vintage styling (while still racing NWOR, of course).


    Check out my Miata Journal: http://mazdaroadster.net/showthread....-miata-journal

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    Greasemonkey2000 (11-05-2016),Phatmiata (10-29-2016)

  11. #6
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power Blueiii's Avatar
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    Bye Felicia....


    2012: Purchased Miata, Laid off 3 days later. 4th place overall (default!), NWOR SCCA (RTR)
    2013: Budget RTR build, massive increase in participation, 3rd place overall, NWOR SCCA (RTR)
    2014: Suspension and more active competition in STS. 3rd place overall, NWOR SCCA
    2015: Time for some "form" and vintage styling (while still racing NWOR, of course).


    Check out my Miata Journal: http://mazdaroadster.net/showthread....-miata-journal

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  13. #7
    Admin / Pit Boss / Miataholic Phatmiata's Avatar
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    Very cool

  14. #8
    6,000 rpm - mere mortals would shift HarryB's Avatar
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    Wait...what?? You sent the silver one to scrappers without fully removing everything from the shell?

    Oh, and if you want some inspiration on what can be saved or not, take a look at UK forums...

    I am pretty confident you can build a 1,975 lbs 1.8 NA without any carbon fiber at all, just by keeping it simple and removing stuff you do not need. Eager to see more!!!

  15. #9
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power Blueiii's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HarryB View Post
    Wait...what?? You sent the silver one to scrappers without fully removing everything from the shell?
    If by "everything" you mean the interior, then yes. The seats really were the only thing left worth saving as the previous owner was a heavy smoker and the car had been sitting outside with holes in the top. I could have also saved the top frame.

    The "new" red car is a 90 A package, so its pretty light to begin with. Getting rid of things I don't need is a function of what the class rules dictate.

    Oh! I almost forgot... SCCA classing. So, I read the rules for lots of different classes before realizing that CSP is the class for me. Limited prep on the engine means, unlike DP, the engine life is measured in miles instead of hours. A CSP car is slightly less expensive to build than a prepared car and tends to be more reliable. (The friend that runs DP is making 172 whp on his 1.6... n/a!)

    In any event, the paint and body are a little rough and the car looked to be an eBay build circa 2000. I never tried to start it before bringing it home, but after arriving I threw a battery in it just to see what it would do. Motor turned over, ran really rough, but no blue smoke... interesting.

    Turns out the nology hotwires had been over-tightened resulting in the vc gasket compressing and leaking oil onto the spark plugs. Fixed this and it ran better, but still rough. I changed the oil to T6 and, sure enough, it was a stuck lifter, or so I thought. You'll notice that the car is on different sides of the driveway because, for a few weeks, I drove it.



    Still, it didn't run right... It eventually dawned on me that, being a 90, it might have suffered SNC failure. This was indicated by slooooooow acceleration until about 3k RPMs, then v-tech yo!

    At this point I spent a few weeks ordering parts, waiting for things to arrive, receiving incorrect parts (thanks Go Miata!), arguing with a vendor, and eventually getting the right parts to perform the loctite fix.



    I quickly discovered that this was a bit more than I had expected in terms of involvement level. I eventually got it buttoned back up, but it still didn't run quite right. There's a clattering - almost like loose pennies - coming from the head. Though it was still driveable I decided I would rather leave it "just" driveable enough to move it around as needed before I tore it down, hence getting the silver car out of the way as quickly as possible. (Plus, I only get so much time per week that I can play in the garage.)
    2012: Purchased Miata, Laid off 3 days later. 4th place overall (default!), NWOR SCCA (RTR)
    2013: Budget RTR build, massive increase in participation, 3rd place overall, NWOR SCCA (RTR)
    2014: Suspension and more active competition in STS. 3rd place overall, NWOR SCCA
    2015: Time for some "form" and vintage styling (while still racing NWOR, of course).


    Check out my Miata Journal: http://mazdaroadster.net/showthread....-miata-journal

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  17. #10
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power Blueiii's Avatar
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    One a random Saturday I went out to the garage around 9:00 AM thinking I would start unhooking things to get the motor out eventually. What started as a bolt here and an electrical connection there turned into a fairly short day. By 2:30 in the afternoon I stood up, looked at the car, and realized that the motor could come out. My brother was in town, so the next day he came over to help guide things up with the hoist.



    Then, having borrowed my father's power washer (for house-related things) I set about cleaning the engine bay of the filth that had accumulated for several years.

    Dirty:


    This is actually clean, but it just looked.... awful. Between spilled brake fluid eating away at paint and turning things rusty and general neglect, the poor girl was not going to just "clean up" to my standards.





    Rattle-bombed engine bays usually bother me. It always just seems.... sloppy. In this case, though, I needed to seal some surface rust and I wasn't about to spend money trying to color match the original paint inside the engine bay. Satin black it is...

    Last edited by Blueiii; 10-29-2016 at 05:06 PM.
    2012: Purchased Miata, Laid off 3 days later. 4th place overall (default!), NWOR SCCA (RTR)
    2013: Budget RTR build, massive increase in participation, 3rd place overall, NWOR SCCA (RTR)
    2014: Suspension and more active competition in STS. 3rd place overall, NWOR SCCA
    2015: Time for some "form" and vintage styling (while still racing NWOR, of course).


    Check out my Miata Journal: http://mazdaroadster.net/showthread....-miata-journal

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  19. #11
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power Blueiii's Avatar
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    Almost forgot to mention this! I opted to separate the trans from the motor. Since the silver car wouldn't go into gear, I figured it safer to use the transmission from the na. The previous owner said it had been gone through before he bought it and though there weren't a lot of miles put on it, that the clutch and flywheel were about 10 years old. I literally threw this in the junk pile and later thought better... some online research proved to be a worthwhile use of my time!



    Turns out its a Fidanza flywheel - perfect for a CSP build with a 1.6L clutch! It probably didn't even need a new friction plate, but at $40 and since it was already apart I ordered one anyway.
    2012: Purchased Miata, Laid off 3 days later. 4th place overall (default!), NWOR SCCA (RTR)
    2013: Budget RTR build, massive increase in participation, 3rd place overall, NWOR SCCA (RTR)
    2014: Suspension and more active competition in STS. 3rd place overall, NWOR SCCA
    2015: Time for some "form" and vintage styling (while still racing NWOR, of course).


    Check out my Miata Journal: http://mazdaroadster.net/showthread....-miata-journal

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  21. #12
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power Blueiii's Avatar
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    The gist of the CSP class is that the engine must remain "stock," however you may use any engine (in its entirety - no swapping pistons, block / heads, or components.) Given that the silver donor had 158k on it and didn't appear to be well cared for, and since the motor was already out, I decided it would be a good time to learn more about our favorite vehicle.

    For me, this was completely new. The most I have ever done is basic bolt-ons, but I had popped my motor-pulling cherry and had come back for more. While working on the 1.6 I had all but done a complete timing belt job, including the front main seal, timing belt and indexing cams. I think that process actually saved me a lot of trepidation, even if it didn't really work out in the end.

    With the motor out I disassembled it down to the short block, including removal of the head and oil pump. Both the head and block were taken to a machine shop about 2 hours from my place after the recommendation of a fellow OMO'er (Ohio Miata Owners Group.) The block as disassembled and inspected, new piston rings were installed, cylinders were honed, block and deck were shaved to minimum speck and the head was rebuilt. Parts were cleaned up as well. Total came to $650 plus parts shipped from MazdaSpeed Motorsports under the racers discount.

    Things took longer than I expected, however from what I understand waiting 10 weeks for a machine shop is fairly normal. Plus the price was reasonable, at least in my mind. While a true national level car would likely call for a vvt motor, I have the bp4w and, from looking at dynos, it shouldn't put me at a huge disadvantage.

    In any event, the motor came back as an assembled short block and head. The block was still scaled with rust, and given what I'm planning to put into this build I saw no reason to leave it looking ugly.

    First few pictures are a little dark. I didn't have a good overhead light in the garage, however that has since been remedied after a trip to Walmart.







    I got really friendly with the block and a wire brush for a day, then let my inner ricer begin to shine!











    Sometimes you do things upside-down when you don't have a helper...




    Oil pump and water pipe on, but I hit a snag. Apparently there are a few miata oil pumps available. The one I ordered required a "blind plug." I ended up ordering one, but it takes a week or so whenever I order from MazdaMotorsports.



    Learning things! First, I didn't know that NBs had an oil cooler! Second, the larger sensor you're looking at is oil pressure sensor from a 1.6L. The DP racer ended up giving it to me from his "I won't use this" parts bin. I also mocked up the oil cooler only, and ordered a new gasket along with a handful of hoses.



    Putting the head on was a little intimidating, but it went on with ARP studs. Note that the cam gears are missing? They were still installed when I dropped the motor off at the machine shop, but were returned in a box of parts (including old bearings.) Needless to say this resulted in a momentary freak-out of nervousness (I don't know what I'm doing!!!) but this is meant to be a learning experience for me as much as it is a race car build.

    2012: Purchased Miata, Laid off 3 days later. 4th place overall (default!), NWOR SCCA (RTR)
    2013: Budget RTR build, massive increase in participation, 3rd place overall, NWOR SCCA (RTR)
    2014: Suspension and more active competition in STS. 3rd place overall, NWOR SCCA
    2015: Time for some "form" and vintage styling (while still racing NWOR, of course).


    Check out my Miata Journal: http://mazdaroadster.net/showthread....-miata-journal

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  23. #13
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power Blueiii's Avatar
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    A lot of the engine assembly has occurred in a cyclical way:

    Turn wrenches
    Realize more parts needed
    Order parts
    Wait for parts to arrive
    Go back to turning wrenches

    This weekend I indexed the cams, added the timing belt and a few other small odds and ends. Closer inspection of the lower timing belt cover revealed that the gaskets were mangled and the old pulley had chewed it up a bit. So, back to waiting.

    It appears Mazda changed some parts, including the crank pulley to a new steel design that uses a shorter bolt in place of the cast iron pulley and a spacer plate on the front. I tried salvaging the cast pulley with rust dissolver, however thought better given the rubber components.

    In any event, a few pictures of the weekend's progress. . .

    Coolant sensor (green) transferred from 1.6. It didn't dawn on me that the wiring harness attached to the fuel rail would be re-used at first, but about 15 minutes of staring and head scratching and this now makes more sense...


    Kind-of a useless picture, but this is a single-spade connector, also for coolant temps, positioned behind the rear waterneck (or thermostat housing that doesn't actually contain a thermostat. I can't perform a coolant reroute for CSP.) Not the best picture, but you get the idea... I believe I will need to lengthen the harness for this connector.


    Covers mocked up but not secured. Just wanted to see what it will look like as I move forward.


    Filthy transmission was filthy, or more specifically covered in oil. Copious use of degreaser and the powerwasher and it looks much better for sitting underneath the car where I will never see it.


    This was one of the CSP cars that races at the national level. He's usually trading positions with Bob Davis in his local region, but my reason for taking these photos was because of the spoiler and splitter, which (if I recall) came from either Joefis Racing or ISC. I like the use of the knobs so that it can be easily removed while driving to and from events.

    2012: Purchased Miata, Laid off 3 days later. 4th place overall (default!), NWOR SCCA (RTR)
    2013: Budget RTR build, massive increase in participation, 3rd place overall, NWOR SCCA (RTR)
    2014: Suspension and more active competition in STS. 3rd place overall, NWOR SCCA
    2015: Time for some "form" and vintage styling (while still racing NWOR, of course).


    Check out my Miata Journal: http://mazdaroadster.net/showthread....-miata-journal

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  25. #14
    2,000 rpm - light wheelspin, no bog here! modernbeat's Avatar
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    I'd understand not taking these out of the silver car since rust was an issue, but you will want the entire front subframe, arms and spindles from an NB for your CSP build.
    Jason McDaniel

  26. #15
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power Blueiii's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by modernbeat View Post
    I'd understand not taking these out of the silver car since rust was an issue, but you will want the entire front subframe, arms and spindles from an NB for your CSP build.
    It was considered. If everything didn't look like it could have been found in "The Little Mermaid" (read: under the sea) I would have saved it. I talked about this with several CSP racers at Pro events this year about this. It comes down to time and money. I'm not trying to win a national championship, so this won't be built to the very pointy end. Pointy-end CSP cars can push 25k very quickly. (Danny Kao likes to tell people he bought his car for practically nothing, but rarely mentions that he then dropped 20k on it.) I'm budget-bound to around 10k, of which around 1/2 will be suspension, wheels and tires. This is also being built for the 2018 season, although I'm hoping to get it on the road in early stages next season where I can develop both car and driver.
    2012: Purchased Miata, Laid off 3 days later. 4th place overall (default!), NWOR SCCA (RTR)
    2013: Budget RTR build, massive increase in participation, 3rd place overall, NWOR SCCA (RTR)
    2014: Suspension and more active competition in STS. 3rd place overall, NWOR SCCA
    2015: Time for some "form" and vintage styling (while still racing NWOR, of course).


    Check out my Miata Journal: http://mazdaroadster.net/showthread....-miata-journal

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