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New Flex Pipe In

January 6, 2024 by Matt

Took advantage of the trip situation to rent a car for my wife and take the exhaust section in to work for the guys there to cut and weld in the new flex pipe section. Here it is before:

The flex pipe is about 1.5″ shorter than it should be, and visibly askew. This had the net result of pulling the rear of the exhaust forward, stretching some of the rubber hanger donuts and making it so that the tips were too tucked up under the bumper cutout:

So the guys at work welded in the new flex pipe, adding the length back:

I hit the welds with some high-temp POR-15 last night:

And got it installed back on the car no problem:

Have I mentioned lately how nice it is to only have two O2 sensors and one cat instead of four and two, respectively, with the OBD2 setup?

The tips sit where they should now:

If I’m honest, I’d like them to stick out a bit more, but all the hangers are positioning the exhaust exactly where it should be, so I’m not going to mess with it any more, but just get a muffler shop to weld on some longer tips if I decide to go that way eventually.

So why not just ditch the pre-cat piping entirely and go with a set of headers? Well, a few reasons:

  • The exhaust is in perfect condition
  • Aftermarket headers rarely fit properly
  • I’m 100% satisfied with the sound of the car at the moment
  • Headers almost always eliminate the cat, and I’d like to keep it
  • Money

The next time I modify the exhaust will be if/when I decide to add a turbo and go for much more power, which will entail a whole new system. Stay tuned!

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Another ’90s Friend

December 30, 2023 by Matt

Nori and a new friend having a chat in front of the local ski shop where my daughter and I picked up our equipment for a ski trip.

The Stealth was there when we dropped off the equipment also (must belong to one of the owners or employees), and they must’ve been working on it since one of the doors was open. However, the door opened upward; i.e. it was a lambo door (!).

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New Wheels in the Offing

December 28, 2023 by Matt

Picked these up for a song over the weekend. NC Miata wheels, 17″ x 7″. Only 17lbs each. Found them on FB Marketplace by searching for “Miata wheels.” The seller was about 1.5 hours away, so I drove Nori and it performed admirably on the highway, smooth as silk at 70 mph.

A couple have some curb rash, and one has a small dent on the lip that I’ll need to get looked at, but for $200, I couldn’t pass them up, especially since these go for more than that for just one wheel on eBay.

Best of all? My ’94 “old Mazda logo” centercap snap right in:

(As an aside, weirdly, the ’93-’94 and ’95-’97 centercaps are not interchangeable despite the wheels having exactly the same dimensions and basically the same design)

Test fit:

So the OEM wheels are 15″ x 6.5″, ET45, and the new wheels are ET55. I thought about getting 10mm spacers and longer studs or shouldered nuts, but just decided to bite the bullet and get 20mm spacers. The hubs have to be removed to replace the studs (a lot of work), and the extra 10mm of poke will give the car a nicer stance as well.

Just need tires (thinking 215/45-17s) and lowering springs to avoid the monster truck on wagon wheels look. I’m strongly considering Vogtlands or Teins. Will keep you posted.

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2024 Calendar!

December 22, 2023 by Matt

The calendar I designed for the MX-6 Facebook group came in! I solicited submissions from members, chose the best ones and put it together. The paper and print quality is surprisingly good, especially for $20.

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E-Spec Mirror Prep and Paint

December 18, 2023 by Matt

Finally got my E-spec mirrors prepped and painted. These are the ones I traded my A-spec taillights for to a gentleman in Poland.

The A-specs were in good shape:

…but I like the 2-piece design of the E-specs, and think they look more premium as well.

I started by de-pinning the connectors and taking them apart:

Then I wet-sanded them with increasingly finer grit sandpaper (250, 500, 1000 then 1800):

Masked off:

Primed and wet-sanded again:

I then gave them several topcoats of high-gloss plastic paint:

I had trouble getting the paint to adhere, since the garage was so cold, so there was more wet-sanding between coats, and I eventually had to bring them inside the basement to warm up whilst drying.

I then matched up the wire colors to get the power mirror functionality working:

And installed them on the car:

The finish isn’t fantastic, but you can’t really tell unless you’re looking for it, and I’m hoping a few rounds of polish and wax will help smooth out the orange peel.

In any case, I think they subtly elevate the car’s look:

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Paint Chips

November 29, 2023 by Matt

Thanks, dump truck! I gave you a ton of room, but whatever. Sigh.

Alternate caption: Reason 93752032734 why having a black car is nice (touchups are so easy).

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November 28, 2023 by Matt

Couple of gratuitous snaps from work yesterday.

Nori is running absolutely perfectly. A few observations, though:

  • Even after the alignment, the steering is still a little off-center left when tracking straight. Given the computer says the alignment is on the money, I’m inclined to think it’s tires. The ones on the car—like the wheels—belonged to Megumi, and they’re 10+ years old. Need new tires soon for sure.
  • There’s a buzzing sound coming from under the relay/fuse box in the engine bay. It doesn’t seem to affect the way the car drives in any way, but it sure is annoying. I’ve tried to diagnose it a couple of times now, but still can’t pinpoint its source. Pulling the 40A IGN fuse makes it go away, so it’s related to something protected by that fuse. More investigation required.
  • Made a little progress on the Euro mirror swap as I managed to match up the power mirror wire colors. I’ll have to lengthen the pigtail a bit, but that’s no big deal.

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November 16, 2023 by Matt

Well, they didn’t change much. Only thing really out of range was the left front toe angle. Still—feels good knowing that it’s all set. As it happened, only 1 out of the 4 techs there today could drive stick. Said it was nice to experience an “analog” car again.

The reason for the alignment was really just to have a baseline. I have new outer tie rod ends to install, and Megumi’s steering rack to clean up, and I contemplated whether or not to install them first, but realistically, the rack swap is going to have to wait until the engine comes out. The FSM specifies removing the rear engine mount as part of the process, and that’s legendarily difficult. Heck, it was hard enough to remove with full access when pulling Megumi’s engine.

I really want to order the timing belt and clutch kits to continue the engine refresh, but barring a windfall, those will have to wait until after the holidays.

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Black Thoughts

November 7, 2023 by Matt

Do I miss Megumi’s green? Yep.

Was black my first choice? Nope.

But it’s growing on me. I will say it makes Nori look more “sharp” than the green did on Megumi, if that makes sense.

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