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Thread: Jazz

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  1. #1
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power speedypenguin's Avatar
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    Jazz

    Hey MR,

    Seeing many quality builds and personal Miata journeys on this forum has inspired me to share my...friendship with my Miata. I've only had a "detailed" build post on my local forum, but the more I browse MR, the more I find how great this forum is. Let's begin shall we?

    Rewind back to high school. I was going through a frustrating time in school, and wanted to satiate my love for cars. In high school, my family acquired a Ford SVT Focus. I'm a huge fan of hatchbacks, and this was my family's 2nd focus. The SVT was my first exposure into "modding", but in reality, all I had on the car was a custom intake (since my parents bought the car, I didn't want to break the car by accident...I'm too cautious. )
    But I had the opportunity to attend my first autocross w/the SVT, and that was when I knew I wanted to modify a car. But when would that opportunity arise?




    Long story short, I ended up selling the SVT before I went to college. I go to school less than an hour away from home, so it was hard to justify keeping the SVT because it would just sit at home. Plus...the SVT wasn't very fuel efficient and drank premium...and I confess, not that fast. But to this day, it was one of the best handling FF cars I've driven. But the main reason I sold the SVT was so my mom could get a mid-life crisis car: a R53 Mini Cooper S. Can't complain, and to this day we still have the Mini and it definitely has a unique charm. Everyone smiles when they see it.
    The Mini is a great car to have fun with too, and I've autocrossed it a couple of times.



    Then, in August 2011, I decided to take some time off from school to work full-time. I had to commute to Silicon Valley each day from school...but I didn't want to bring our family's Mini to college...reasons being I didn't want to park the Mini outside, basically felt the car was too nice for a college kid, y'know? So, I decided I was going to pick up a 2nd hand car, something fun, daily-driver worthy, and cool. What car then? A Honda? Nah, stock=boring, modified=theft. An older BMW, perhaps e30? Nope, relatively expensive to maintain. I almost decided to search for a Mazda Protege 5, but my friend had just gotten a Miata, and something about it...just resonated with me. He had added basic modifications, but I was amazed how little changes could make significant changes with that car. So that was it. I wanted to find a Miata.

    I proceeded to post a WTB ad on CL, and I was literally flooded with people trying to sell me their...well-used Miatas for insane prices. Luckily I was patient, because I eventually received an email from a guy selling a '94 Black NA.


    The car came with a HDHCSD roll bar, hardtop, and some fancy 5zigen wheels. Overall, pretty clean, but there were interior pieces missing (side plastics, gauge hood, interior brace) and there was an exhaust leak after the cat. But brought the car to get inspected, and looked pretty straight, so I acquired the car afterwards. First thing I did was wash the car. I like having a clean car. It was at that point, that my journey with Jazz began.

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    Last edited by speedypenguin; 05-02-2013 at 10:18 PM.

  2. #2
    Individual-1 ☚ ☻ ☛ Agent☣Orange's Avatar
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    Jesus. When I was in school, I had to walk there in the dark, uphill, both ways, in the snow. After I graduated, I had to save up two years just to put a down payment on a horse. It ran away on my first day of college.

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    mrbelobrov (01-22-2014)

  4. #3
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power speedypenguin's Avatar
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    Jazz came with R-comps mounted on the 5zigens...those had to go since I was going to be daily-commuting. So the R-comps came off, and were replaced with a fresh set of Dunlop DZ101s.



    Then, the first "mod" I purchased for Jazz was a set of front and rear R-pkg lips. When I was browsing Miatas, I liked the subtle look of the R-package lips, and knew I had to get them for Jazz.





    Excuse the lousy pictures. Those were taken before I got into photography, and begin taking "better" pictures.
    Last edited by speedypenguin; 04-15-2013 at 10:40 PM.

  5. #4
    2,000 rpm - light wheelspin, no bog here! Pfunk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YellowYata View Post
    Jesus. When I was in school, I had to walk there in the dark, uphill, both ways, in the snow. After I graduated, I had to save up two years just to put a down payment on a horse. It ran away on my first day of college.
    No school like the old school!

  6. #5
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power speedypenguin's Avatar
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    I drove the car around stock for about two months. Then I managed to pick up a coldside charger. POWER!!....but wait. Although I was able to test drive the previous owner's car with the supercharger, I decided I shouldn't boost my car so soon. No pictures of the supercharger that I picked up, but I quickly sold the supercharger and spent the money to upgrade my suspension. I picked up a set of FM VMaxx coilovers and I'm glad I did. The new suspension felt much better and it was much more fun being able to chuck the car into corners.







    Jazz was sitting at 11.25" hub-to-fender all around. This would come back to bite me in the ass a few months down the road...
    Last edited by speedypenguin; 04-21-2013 at 01:45 AM.

  7. #6
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power speedypenguin's Avatar
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    Next modification was upgrading the exhaust. I managed to pick up a used Jackson Racing exhaust, and it is one of my favorite Miata exhausts. Not only was I able to upgrade the exhaust, but I was able to rid the exhaust leak problem. "Two birds with one stone"...?







    I drove Jazz with the JR exhaust and FM coilovers for awhile, until the next upgrade...

  8. #7
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power speedypenguin's Avatar
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    As mentioned earlier, Jazz came with a set of shiny 5zigen wheels. The 5zigens were nice and unique on a Miata (haven't seen many 5zigens on Miatas, a couple on CR), but I wanted to change the wheels. I happened to find a set of 949Racing 6ULs for sale locally, so off came the 5zigens and on went the 6ULs.





    The 6ULs were both wider and lighter than the 5zigens (6ULs: 12.8lbs, 8" wide vs 5zigens: 15lbs(!!), 7" wide). I kind of wish I kept the 5zigens as my daily wheels, but I'm in college, so I can't keep everything...yet.





    It was at this point I picked up a camera, and started messing around with photos. This was a good point because I began to browse other forums for sources of inspiration of how to take pictures of a Miata. Through that, I began to take notice of the endless possibilities of modifications available for Miatas. I think it's reasonable to say I got bit by the "mod bug" then...

  9. #8
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power speedypenguin's Avatar
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    Jazz' stock steering wheels was really...crusty. Not pleasant at all. Luckily, I happened to see that many fellow Miata owners swap out for aftermarket wheels, and I was amazed how many choices there are available for our little cars.

    I decided to acquire a Nardi wheel: 360mm Classico(?) from Rod @Tetsuyagarage. Rod was great to communicate with and soon enough my steering wheel arrived from Japan:



    Right around that time, someone local was selling some BLOX shift knobs. Went with a BLOX 490g counterweighted shift knob, and it helped take some of the notchiness out of the shift.



    I got lucky and was able to pick up a Nardi hub from a fellow local Miata owner, and soon afterwards installed the Nardi wheel. To this day, this is one of my favorite additions to my car.





    But...I didn't consider that the new steering wheel would sit a bit further away...so I picked up a hub extender from Ken @Garagestar.



    Jazz was coming along nicely, and at that time I was introduced to a local Miata forum, and was soon going on group drives with other fellow Miata enthusiasts.


  10. #9
    Supporting Member Grip Driver's Avatar
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    Lookin good for a college car!

  11. #10
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power speedypenguin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grip Driver View Post
    Lookin good for a college car!
    Thanks a lot! It's been a fun experience so far. Hopefully I can find a job soon, and get more serious with mods.

    Around late March, Jazz passed the 150K miles mark, so I decided to get him a present. It also happened to be around my birthday...so I guess both of were happy.

    Good bye stock intake.



    Wait for it...



    Racing Beat intake! Sounds great, and I'd like to think it helps Jazz make more power (according to the ever-so-accurate butt dyno ) I still haven't taken the time to take a decent picture of the intake...maybe in the near future...ha.


  12. #11
    Individual-1 ☚ ☻ ☛ Agent☣Orange's Avatar
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    Wow, this is getting nicer and nicer.

  13. #12
    Supporting Member Dandy's Avatar
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    Very classy build.stay-classy.png

  14. #13
    6,000 rpm - mere mortals would shift I<3flippyheadlights's Avatar
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    Thank you for proving that a college kid can have a nice car! Seems like everyone makes an excuse in college to not have nice things.

    Good looking car man. Really enjoying the updates.
    1990 Miata, she was red but now she is Spirit Green!

    http://mazdaroadster.net/showthread....d-a-love-story <--- build thread!

    Also check out the facebook page http://www.facebook.com/IHeartFlippyHeadlights !!! Its a facebook page dedicated to the awesomeness which is flippyheadlights! Not me, but the actual headlights! High time someone noticed how awesome these things are; check it out!

  15. #14
    2,000 rpm - light wheelspin, no bog here! Left0verCurry's Avatar
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    lookin good

  16. #15
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power speedypenguin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YellowYata View Post
    Wow, this is getting nicer and nicer.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dandy View Post
    Very classy build.stay-classy.png
    Quote Originally Posted by Left0verCurry View Post
    lookin good
    Thanks all!

    Quote Originally Posted by I<3flippyheadlights View Post
    Thank you for proving that a college kid can have a nice car! Seems like everyone makes an excuse in college to not have nice things.
    Good looking car man. Really enjoying the updates.
    Thanks! It's manageable, just have to spend money wisely and once in awhile treat myself and Jazz.

    So...remember how I mentioned that Jazz' 11.25" ride height would come back to mess with me...? Well it did. I was driving around in San Francisco, and there was a lot of road works on the way out from SF. I was driving and came upon some massive metal plates (covering dug up holes I'm guessing) that were about 1.5-2 inches thick...I slowed down to 15MPH because I thought that would be slow enough...nope. There was a massive thud and Jazz shook insanely. Made it over the construction works...but then noticed a very noticeable "thunking" noise from the right rear of the car. At that time, I wasn't as knowledgeable with the Miata drivetrain, so I thought maybe one of the exhaust flange bolts sheared and fell out because there was also a noticeable exhaust leak afterwards. So I drove home to go to an exhaust shop back at home and while on the lift...saw this:





    See that? Yup, not only did one of the axle shaft boots tear open...but one of the diff arms sheared completely.
    At this point, I felt horrible. Jazz didn't deserve this...maybe I should have driven even slower? But then I realized...Jazz had gotten me back home from San Francisco...a distance of 50+ miles, essentially moving along with a mangled leg, on 65MPH freeways and got me to the exhaust shop...without breaking down. Not meaning to sound corny...but at that point my friendship with Jazz grew that much stronger. I decided. I would fix him.

    So I proceeded to drive from the exhaust shop to a friend's shop to leave Jazz there to get completely diagnosed while I returned to school. But about 2.5 miles away from the shop, Jazz's diff finally gave in. The axle ball joint (?) came out completely, thus Jazz couldn't move and we coasted to the side of the road. My heart was literally aching while I was waiting for a tow truck, but luckily, we were within a driving range to my friend's shop that my tow was free!



    I couldn't believe it. Jazz had gotten me so far, literally dragging a "lame leg" along, and finally tired out, just within reach. So off Jazz went to my friend's shop, to wait patiently till I could come back to fix him.

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