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Thread: Driven Daily NA (take 2)

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  1. #1
    2,000 rpm - light wheelspin, no bog here! drummingpariah's Avatar
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    '75 Datsun 280z (turbo), '97 MX-5
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    Manchester, NH
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    Driven Daily NA (take 2)

    Awhile back, I sold my Miata to exclusively on my hillclimb Datsun. With the first hillclimb coming back up, and the Datsun nearing completion (but not quite there), I needed something to drive so I wouldn't miss another season. Last night this showed up:





    On paper, it's a 97 with silly stretched tires and stickers plastered all over the inside. Under the surface, it's rust-free with unmolested suspension and a hardtop.

    As soon as the previous owner dropped it off though, it refused to start. Specifically, it refused to crank. I asked him about it, and found that the ignition wiring is the only thing he repaired on the car. I use the term "repaired" very loosely, because all he had done was replace the molex connector with loose spade connectors.

    I did a little bit of diagnosis and found that he hadn't even dug down to the root of the problem. At its core, the no-start condition was caused by the rotary switch on the ignition, not the wiring connectors. I didn't have time to tear it apart and check the connections inside, but let's just say I was not excited about spending the first night with the car fixing a previous owner repair.

    As soon as that's fixed, I'm moving on to the next step in hillclimb prep: The spec miata cage.

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  3. #2
    2,000 rpm - light wheelspin, no bog here! drummingpariah's Avatar
    Drives
    '75 Datsun 280z (turbo), '97 MX-5
    Location
    Manchester, NH
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    Last night was interesting. I'm colorblind, which means OEM wiring is my arch nemesis. Imagine trying to diagnose problems between the 'red/blue' from 'green/purple' wires ... and both looked identical from the factory. Anyone would have trouble with these 20 years later, but I generally have to take a photo of the wires, load them into an image editor, get the RGB code for the pixels on the wire, and look up what color that RGB code is.

    As you might imagine, most of my cars end up with from-scratch wiring harnesses. Luckily, in this case, a friend came over to help out.



    We pulled the ignition tumbler switch, disassembled it, lost the ball bearing detents (twice), somehow found them again, cleaned, and reassembled. Getting everything connected took a little while, but now the car runs reliably! I just need to find a good solution to keeping spade connectors firmly attached until I can find a replacement pigtail.


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  5. #3
    2,000 rpm - light wheelspin, no bog here! drummingpariah's Avatar
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    '75 Datsun 280z (turbo), '97 MX-5
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    Manchester, NH
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    Last night into this morning, I went from nothing to roll bar. I'm incredibly happy with the fitment, and this should pass tech at the hillclimb this weekend without any issues.





    The plan is to keep adding tubes as time allows, and eventually get this legal to actually race hillclimbs, without being subject to breakout times.

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  7. #4
    2,000 rpm - light wheelspin, no bog here! drummingpariah's Avatar
    Drives
    '75 Datsun 280z (turbo), '97 MX-5
    Location
    Manchester, NH
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  8. #5
    2,000 rpm - light wheelspin, no bog here! drummingpariah's Avatar
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    '75 Datsun 280z (turbo), '97 MX-5
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    Manchester, NH
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    I'm still waiting on the overfenders from Autokonexion (order placed May 9, and the tracking number still says it hasn't been shipped). In the meantime, I need to shave off some of the back of the bumper to clear these tires. Overfenders aren't going to fix that problem.


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  10. #6
    2,000 rpm - light wheelspin, no bog here! drummingpariah's Avatar
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    '75 Datsun 280z (turbo), '97 MX-5
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    Manchester, NH
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    Cage work started this weekend, and most of the 'rough prep' is finished now. I'm going to try to weld the main components in tomorrow, and take care of the finishing touches over the next couple of weeks.


  11. #7
    2,000 rpm - light wheelspin, no bog here! drummingpariah's Avatar
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    '75 Datsun 280z (turbo), '97 MX-5
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    Manchester, NH
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    Today was busy.

  12. #8
    2,000 rpm - light wheelspin, no bog here! drummingpariah's Avatar
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    '75 Datsun 280z (turbo), '97 MX-5
    Location
    Manchester, NH
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    After work today, I managed to chop up my fenders and quarter panels (they're pretty ugly right now), and popped some riv-nuts on to hold these overfenders in place.



    It's going to need some cleanup before the next race event, but they're fitted up where they should live from here on out. I just need to put the car up in the air, clean up my cuts, add a few more fasteners that I couldn't reach, and get the inner fenders out entirely.

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    Paul B (06-26-2017)

  14. #9
    2,000 rpm - light wheelspin, no bog here! drummingpariah's Avatar
    Drives
    '75 Datsun 280z (turbo), '97 MX-5
    Location
    Manchester, NH
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    I just brought my open trailer home for repairs, so it gets to live beside my race support vehicle (2000 e350 7.3liter turbodiesel dually box truck) for awhile. The CRX in the foreground is on the back burner for now, but might see some love this season.

    Last edited by drummingpariah; 05-31-2017 at 06:03 PM.

  15. #10
    2,000 rpm - light wheelspin, no bog here! drummingpariah's Avatar
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    '75 Datsun 280z (turbo), '97 MX-5
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    Manchester, NH
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    I can't promise that I'll be able to finish it before the next race event (two weeks from now) but I roughed-in the composite dash plug with cardboard for now.


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  17. #11
    2,000 rpm - light wheelspin, no bog here! drummingpariah's Avatar
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    '75 Datsun 280z (turbo), '97 MX-5
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    Manchester, NH
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    It's nothing to write home about, and the audio quality is painful, but here's the race footage from one of our runs at 2017 Ascutney 1:


  18. #12
    2,000 rpm - light wheelspin, no bog here! drummingpariah's Avatar
    Drives
    '75 Datsun 280z (turbo), '97 MX-5
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    Manchester, NH
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    Updated video URL:


    Most of my day was spent welding the cage tubing that Ian and I had tacked in last weekend. The makerspace really isn't set up for automotive welding, so it took a long 50a 220v extension cord, some heavy lifting, and a lot of uncomfortable positions ... but all the tubes that are in the car are in for keeps now.

    I also spent some time trimming the front fenders. They still rubbed on the front and rear, so I took the death wheel (angle grinder) to them a fair amount. In the fenders, I found three 12mm sockets.


    The dashboard saw a bit of love today too. The stock unit isn't going to be able to go back in, so I'm working on a fiberglass mold to make a composite replacement. I roughed it in with some cardboard, and Mike started fleshing out the design with expanding foam. He didn't get very far though, so I think I'll revisit that tomorrow.



    Finally, the cage is missing critical side intrusion protection. Our rules require at least *three* forms of side intrusion for a non-X (caged) car, and the stock rocker and door bar each count as one. We're required to have a sill bar, but the OEM seat mechanisms prohibit fitting one neatly in this car. My solution: Chop off all the ratcheting parts for the recliners and weld them in place. The seats still slide, I have space for the sill bar, and I have less pressure to put proper fixed-back seats in at the moment.



    The sill bars are nicely fitted, but I haven't started welding them in yet. I want to plan out my door bars a bit more, in case they affect the sill bar location. Right now, the plan is to combine NASCAR door bars with standard Rally X door bars. That is to say that both NASCAR upper and lower bars would touch along their entire parallel portion.



    I'm essentially copying David Dennis' design, but with a much narrower chassis.



    My X bars will extend into the doors, giving a little extra space for the occupants. Unfortunately, this means I need to replace the window regulators. Even if I retained the regulators, there's no way to use the manual rollers with door bars in place. Power windows give a few extra options, but I'm going to have to have snap-in windows on my daily driver. I'm very open to suggestions on how to design this.

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  20. #13
    2,000 rpm - light wheelspin, no bog here! drummingpariah's Avatar
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    '75 Datsun 280z (turbo), '97 MX-5
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    Manchester, NH
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    The Miata has seen a lot of love this weekend, but let's start with today's adventure first. A friend was clearing out their garage while moving, and had to give away the last few things that they hadn't sold off. I wrapped up a few final projects on my box truck and made a trip down there. I came back with a bunch of tools, and (at least as exciting) storage!



    I finally have a toolbox that can live in the race support box truck out of the deal too (this was the main selling point for me to head down).



    After unloading it, everything was a disaster. I unloaded the truck and pretty much dumped everything wherever it could fit. I went out for dinner, then came back to tackle the first stage of cleanup.



    After cleanup, it's still an unusable shop ... but all the filing cabinets are empty. Once I label them and organize stuff into them, I should end up with most of the bay back in floor space!



    Miata Happenings
    I'm required to have FIA harnesses and an FIA seat, but our sanctioning body doesn't care if I have a dashboard or not. That means the dash has gone on the back burner, while seat mounts are priority 1. Removing stock seat risers is always a pain, since you need to drill out the spot welds. On top of that, the Miata transmission tunnel comes pretty far into the driver's seating space so it requires a fair amount of massaging to make room for a 'proper' seat. It doesn't help that this weekend was abysmally hot (some ridiculous number like 85F). I need to add plates to the side, drill holes, and add plates and weld-nuts to the chassis (as per FIA recommendations) but I'm pretty happy with the seating position this gives me.*



    I'll need to move the steering wheel down a bit lower, but once I do that I'll have a pretty aggressive seating position, which keeps me away from any of the tubes in the roll cage. With the seat in, I'll just need to trim the door a little bit for the shoulders.



    Finally, I disassembled the shifter to see why it felt like stirring a bowl of wonton soup when I was shifting. It turned out that the (typically worn down) nylon cup bushing that sits on the bottom of the shift lever ... was missing entirely. Not even there. I replaced the entire shifter assembly with a cheapo eBay kit, and it feels surprisingly nice now.



    If anyone's wondering, that's a no-name basic delrin shift knob. I've been annoyed by heat soak in metal shift knobs before, and have found delrin to be nice and temperature neutral. In a daily driver where you aren't always wearing race gloves, that's an awesome feature to have.

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  22. #14
    2,000 rpm - light wheelspin, no bog here! drummingpariah's Avatar
    Drives
    '75 Datsun 280z (turbo), '97 MX-5
    Location
    Manchester, NH
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    150
    Thanks Given
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    Thanked 108 Times in 61 Posts
    I'm going to pilot this thing up Mt Washington next month!


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  24. #15
    2,000 rpm - light wheelspin, no bog here! drummingpariah's Avatar
    Drives
    '75 Datsun 280z (turbo), '97 MX-5
    Location
    Manchester, NH
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    150
    Thanks Given
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    Thanked 108 Times in 61 Posts
    Prep is well underway. I picked up a spare gearbox, cleaned it up, and replaced the front and rear seals, as well as rebuilding the spare clutched limited slip differential.


    I picked up some new 245-40R15 tires from Maxxis.


    I put the car into what I call "service mode"


    Air conditioning and power steering came out, dropping a lot of weight off the front of the car.


    Then it all came back together for a bit more fender trimming and basic aero mounting.

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