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Whole lotta Miata - Senor_Taylor - 05-08-2015

EDIT: This thread is VERY long. If you want to just see the pictures and short descriptions, you can look at this album: <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""></a><!-- m -->

Howdy everyone! As you may know, me looking for a Miata turned into a fiasco with hundreds of Craigslist links and a thread spanning almost 10 pages. It is now over.

I rode down to Durham today and bought a white 92 with 153k on the clock. Manual everything but it has AC and PS. Top is in great condition. Just a tiny tear on the plastic window less than 2 cm. Interior is an 8/10. All of the fabric and everything look fantastic. Only flaws is that the radio is fitted poorly and you see space around it, the glove box is missing a hinge, and the guy broke the driver side window cable yesterday. It even came with one of those roof covers that snap on when the roof is down!

The guy was nice, but he was firm, so I couldn't talk him down, but I didn't care after driving it. Engine and transmission are strong. I even spun tires backing out of his drive way because I am less than spectacular at driving stick. Driving through Durham in afternoon traffic helped me improve quite a bit, though. I looked it over and it is practically rust free for a 22 year old car. Even the exhaust bolts are sparkling clean. Only thing I noticed was the rivets where the soft top meets the package tray are a little corroded.

Okay, I'll cut to the chase.

Super fly NB wheels
Brand new clutch and fly wheel
Interior is fantastic
Engine is strong
Headlight motors still work
No rattles or squeaks
Roof is great
Brand new Batter
Paint is <2 years old
A/C blows cold

Driver side window doesn't roll down
Got hit by two tiny rocks on the drive back, so now I have 2 little cracks to fix before they spread
Shift boot has a small hole in it
Glove box is missing a hinge
Driver headlight doesn't close all the way
Speakers are about blown
Small hole in the plastic window
Needs brakes (badly)
Needs tires to pass inspection
Airbag Diagnostic Module is bad (92's use a cheap one)
Roof cover smells like gear oil
Radiator probably should be replaced eventually
Missing paint on the hood
Hood release doesn't work properly (Fixed that when I got home)
Wet oil around valve cover gasket and CAS. PO says he took the valve cover off to replace something with the thermostat, so I'll clean to oil off and see if it comes back.

Probably some other stuff. I should have it on the road by mid June when my summer classes let out. I'm just too excited. I love my truck, but I've dreamed of owning a Miata since I joined MM. I'll finally be able to do Auto-x, cruises, Track stuff, everything. I can be 100% MM and be a true car guy. I'm over the moon.

I also got a sick sun burn from driving all the way back with the top down Wink

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Re: Whole lotta Miata - rherold9 - 05-08-2015

Was waiting for this. Where's Kaan?

Glad you picked it up man. Congrats. I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun with it.

Re: Whole lotta Miata - Kaan - 05-08-2015

El oh el

Please tell me you didn't pay more than $1k for that thing. "Fresh paint...practically rust free... Missing paint from the hood"

Hunt eBay/spec Miata forums for all the missing bolts and crap on the inside

Re: Whole lotta Miata - Senor_Taylor - 05-08-2015

Let's just pretend I paid $1000 so y'all will be happy. I feel fine with what I paid. It was within my budget and that's all that matters. You can't put a price on the feeling I had driving back from North Carolina in MY Miata messing around with my best friend on the roads coming back into Virginia on a beautiful day.

Re: Whole lotta Miata - BLINGMW - 05-08-2015


Re: Whole lotta Miata - Jake - 05-08-2015

Looks good! Those look like the 14" NB wheels so tires should be cheap. Even 15" aren't too bad. I routinely bought sets of (good, sticky) tires for my 15" Koseis for like $280 shipped.

Aftermarket radios fit like doodoo in the 1.6 because of the "tomb stone" width. Deal with it.

Brakes are cheap. Do blank rotors from Rock Auto, you can do cheapie pads if you just need something to pass inspection. Can't remember how much the "good" brakes were. I had various compounds of Hawk on mine. HPS would be good for you as a street/autocross pad.

Shift boots are cheap, or you can just ignore it. Speakers are a standard size (I forget what) and $40ish will get you a decent new set. I recall having to drill new mounting holes in my door metal to make them bolt on, but who cares, the door panel covers it.

Congrats! It should be a fun car for you.

Re: Whole lotta Miata - Jake - 05-08-2015

Oh, and take off that stupid pinstripe. Should just be vinyl. A hair dryer and JAC card will make quick work of that.

Re: Whole lotta Miata - Senor_Taylor - 05-08-2015

Thanks for the tips! Where did you get your license plate mount? Since this is an NC car, there's no holes to mount a plate, and I don't want to drill any.

Re: Whole lotta Miata - ScottyB - 05-08-2015

nicely done. any 23 year old car is going to need some love.

its pretty played out but if you need a cheap shift boot just find someone who polished off a handle of crown royal. the felt baggies they come in are very easy to fabricate into a boot. on my subaru i actually used the felt bag my corsair power source came in because i couldn't stand the squeeky vinyl stock boot.

Re: Whole lotta Miata - Jake - 05-08-2015

Senor_Taylor Wrote:Thanks for the tips! Where did you get your license plate mount? Since this is an NC car, there's no holes to mount a plate, and I don't want to drill any.

Home Depot. Buy some large L-brackets that you'd use to like hang a shelf or whatever. Mine were probably 3" for each part of the "L" shape. Nut, bolt, couple of washers, done. You only need one L bracket to hold the plate on but mine came as a two-pack.

Re: Whole lotta Miata - EclipseTurbno93 - 05-09-2015

Aw man congrats!! Can't wait to pick one up later this summer you're making me jealous lol

Re: Whole lotta Miata - Senor_Taylor - 05-09-2015

Thanks, Jake!

And yeah, the shift boot is actually in great condition, it's just a tiny tear for now.

Sorry James, good luck finding yours!

When I get off work today I'll go buy the stuff to fix my windshield and the stuff for the license plate

Edit: The guy flushed the radiator before I picked it up and put in a rust remover that you need to run for about ~500 miles. Checked the overflow this morning it was about an inch of rust in the bottom of it. So... replacing Radiator is on top of my list at the moment. Need advice.

Should I flush the radiator a ton of times, then put the new radiator in? Or put the new radiator in first then flush it a ton to not put more rust in the coolant passages? Or should I try to save this radiator for the time being?

Double edit: How would these tires fair? Don't need anything crazy; just something to get around for now.

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Re: Whole lotta Miata - JPVA - 05-10-2015

Congrats Taylor!
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Re: Whole lotta Miata - Scott - 05-10-2015

Senor_Taylor Wrote:Airbag Diagnostic Module is bad (92's use a cheap one)

A mid '90s Ford Taurus module is the same as the Miata's, and significantly cheaper.....

Senor_Taylor Wrote:Wet oil around valve cover gasket and CAS. PO says he took the valve cover off to replace something with the thermostat, so I'll clean to oil off and see if it comes back.

That is very suspect since the thermostat isn't under the valve cover, it's in front of it..... I could just replace the gaskets as well as the CAS gasket, simple and cheap to do.

Re: Whole lotta Miata - Jake - 05-10-2015

The issue you'll encounter with the 14" wheels is that it's impossible to get good tires for them now. Selection is far less than a 15" tire. I looked at what Tire Rack has, and I might lean toward the Kumho Sense instead... Only because I've had several sets of Kumhos and been happy with them. Reviews for those and the Generals both look good though, and for under $50 per tire, either ought to be fine. Just know that when the time comes for summer tires or anything resembling grip, you'll want 15" wheels.

That said, the only thing more fun than a Miata on super sticky tires is a Miata with cheap all-seasons...

Re: Whole lotta Miata - navin - 05-10-2015

Found this while searching CL (don't ask..): <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href=""> ... 53072.html</a><!-- m -->

Maybe he has some things you need?

Re: Whole lotta Miata - Senor_Taylor - 05-10-2015

Looks good, but that's over a 6 hour drive for me. I know a person with a great junkyard I'll check out tomorrow and start scouring early 90's fords.

Re: Whole lotta Miata - Senor_Taylor - 05-10-2015

Today I made a little head-way. Filled the chips in the windshield with resin to hopefully keep them from spreading. They look way less serious now.

Took out the thermostat and flushed the coolant SEVEN TIMES. Went from black, to brown, the cleanish, back to black, etc. Then flushed with distilled water, then refilled with with new green 50/50 mix. Idled the car for 15 minutes and the fans never cut on. Got worried so I romped it down my road (I live in the middle of the woods with a great curvy road with straights to leads to nowhere. Great for test drives) and the fan didn't cut on until I got back. These engines refuse to get very hot. Thermostat leaked a little at first, but went away after a while. Guess the gasket maker took a minute to set in. Overall, it took a good 2 hours to flush it all those times. Coolant looks fantastic now, so I'm happy. Also, somethings rattling at 2100 RPM. Doesn't sound too serious. Sounds metallic.

Tomorrow I'm going to call around and price some tires. Then I guess I'll drive and hope to not get pulled for no inspection and get the tires mounted. Then I'll look around some junk yards for a diagnostic module, glove box, battery tie down, and a window cable.

Question: Are these batteries supposed to have those tubes hooked up to them? Mine has tubes stuck under it, but I don't know what they're for.

Re: Whole lotta Miata - Goodspeed - 05-10-2015

Senor_Taylor Wrote:Question: Are these batteries supposed to have those tubes hooked up to them? Mine has tubes stuck under it, but I don't know what they're for.

From the factory Miata's had AGM batteries with vent ports & tubes to avoid trunk corrosion and gas buildup - if your battery has these ports the tubes should be hooked up.

Re: Whole lotta Miata - Senor_Taylor - 05-10-2015

PO put a Advance Auto gold whatever-blah blah. I guess this doesn't have vent ports, or at least I don't see any. Once I get this pile fixed up, I might take the Optima Gold top out of my Truck and swap them.

Since tomorrow is my day off,
To-do list for tomorrow:

Take driver side window regulator apart and see what's happening there
Clean. Everything
Go to a junkyard and find regulator parts, glove box, airbag module, battery tie down, expansion tank(current is rust colored on the inside) speakers (if they don't look too bad when I'm pulling the regulators odds and ends
Driver seat foam-ectomy
Try to get this damn headlight to sit flush with the hood

After reviewing the budget, tires can wait for a bit. I think my brother-in-law might be buying my brakes for me. Lucky me.