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91 Monster Miata - 302 carb - t5or6

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Old 07-21-2013, 10:30 PM
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Default 91 Monster Miata - 302 carb - t5or6

Starting this thread to keep track of my Monster Miata conversion. I have been wanting to do this for a while and made the leap today. First a look at the car.

91 Miata, white, bad engine, bad body, bad top.


I bought the car because the guy that had it said it had a bad engine. I thought that would be perfect because I wouldn't be paying for anything that I didn't need. The body is rough. I don't think there is any panel on the car that isn't dented. But I got two good doors with the deal (not on the car). The car has a good transmission, clutch and rear end. Upgraded springs, strut tower brace and borla stainless race exhaust with header. I noticed later that the rotors are slotted and drilled. New stereo and speakers.

Got it in the shop and looked it over really good. One thing I didn't notice before is that the passenger side rocker panel is dented. That is irritating because I'm pretty sure that is a structural piece (feedback and suggestions highly welcome). Looked at the engine and it had no oil in it! So I figured what the heck. I'll throw $30 at it. Went and got a filter, oil and oil stabilizer and did the oil and filter change. Started it up and once the oil pumped up (about 3 seconds), the knock went away. Yay! Don't get me wrong, I don't think it's fixed, I'm pretty sure the damage was done. But it sounds much better and the engine, tranny and rear end may bring a little of my money back when I take them out and sell them (recommendation on what $$ to ask for on these pieces would be helpful).

My plan is to get the Monster Miata DIY kit and transplant the built 302 (approximately 320 hp) from my 68 Mustang into this car. Put a new Tremec 5 or 6 speed behind it and upgrade the rear end. Then get the Monster Miata body kit along with new, wider tires and wheels. Then upgrade the safety equipment (seats, belts and roll bar) and go have a blast at the track.

I have a somewhat aggressive timeline for this build and hope to have it ready for the track in the next 3 months. I don't know if that is possible, but we'll see. I look forward to this build and getting to know a lot of you here. I will post up more pics this week.

I will be keeping detailed records and notes on what has been done and what has been spent. I will post up as much as I can. If you would like to know anything that I haven't posted, just ask.

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Old 07-23-2013, 02:25 PM
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Since the engine I'm putting in is coming out of my old 68 mustang, the transmission is the old 3 speed manual. I am actually really surprised it lasted the entire time I drove it. I really was hard on it and it never failed me. I guess those old trannys are pretty darn strong. But I'm not going to limit myself with it so I just picked up a T5 with bell housing with a Hurst short throw shifter (I didn't want to drop another 2-3k on a T56, especially when I found this deal on the local craigslist ... $250). Should be plenty strong for this engine .... for now. I am hoping that the Centerforce clutch that I already have will work in that setup, but I couldn't find anything that would tell me. I guess I'll just have to see after I pick up the trans.
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Old 07-23-2013, 02:33 PM
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You may want to change the ratios in that T5 to those of a T5-Z.
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Old 07-23-2013, 02:57 PM
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I am quite the novice at the trans thing. Are you talking about going from the 2.95 first gear to the 3.35?
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Old 07-23-2013, 03:21 PM
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Actually, I may have gotten that backwards. But to clarify my situation, I purchased a "T5" that is out of a 79-93 5.0 Mustang. After doing some research on that line, all transmission codes listed for that year range and engine size have the 2.95 first gear ratio. According to other research, the ones with the 2.95 first gear are known as the T5-Z. So, I guess that is what I have. He just listed it as a T5. I was paying more attention to the fact that it had the proper input shaft and bellhousing. The hurst shifter and the gear ratio is a bonus!

If any of my rambling does not pan out, please point it out. In no way am I claiming that I know what I am doing. This is all research and can always be wrong.
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Old 07-24-2013, 08:59 AM
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Old 07-24-2013, 09:44 AM
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Actually, I have spent days researching T5's and kept coming across that little piece of information. But it is incomplete and was driving me nuts. My transmission is a 1352-065 and is not on that chart. This chart on the other hand has a complete list of T5 numbers starting at 1 and was very helpful.

And no, it turns out my is not a T5z but it does have the 2.95 first gear.
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Old 07-24-2013, 05:54 PM
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Well, a couple small updates. I ordered a set of AeroCatch flush locking hood latches yesterday. Have been trying to get in touch with Martin at Monster Miata since Monday and got a call back today. Talked to him for a bit but I guess he had better things to do because the conversation felt quite rushed. I will email him with my questions and hopefully should have the primary conversion kit on order next week. And the big news of the day is that my awesome T5 deal fell through. Drove 25 minutes out into BFE and the bastard wasn't their. He called me when I was all the way back to work. I told him to keep it, quit wasting my time. Went to SummitRacing and picked out a Hurst T5.

Hurst Driveline Conversions TCET-4615 - American Powertrain Tremec TKO 500 Manual Transmission
Part Number: AWR-TCET4615

Can handle up to 500 ft/lbs. Should be good for a while and will bolt right up to my engine. Will order it the week after next unless I get a wild hair.
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Old 07-25-2013, 09:08 AM
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Did you look at this:http://www.summitracing.com/parts/fms-m-7003-z I think you might find that it has a more "useable" 1st gear.
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Old 07-25-2013, 06:18 PM
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More usable in what since? This car will spend most of it's time on the autocross track or road coarse. I honestly don't know what gear I will be in most of the time but I'm assuming second. I don't have any experience with this type of setup so any input is appreciated.
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:49 PM
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Spent some time in the shop tonight and started to clear everything from the engine so in about a week my brother will be in town and we are going to remove the complete drivetrain from the car (engine, transmission and rear end).

I started by clearing the radiator and fans. Then began working my way around the engine labeling wires as I removed them. Also removed the headlight assemblies so I can get to the fasteners for the front facia.

Here are some pictures of the progress.









And a quick question. What is this little thing that was tucked up under the hood latch?



And what is this vacuum driven device that pushes and pulls a cable that goes behind the gauge cluster?



Thanks for the feedback. I'm having a blast planning this out and finally getting to do the work.

Once Martin (Monster Miata) gets back from vacation, I will have the kit on order. Should be about the time I get this car emptied out.

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Old 07-26-2013, 08:04 AM
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Airbag crash sensor & cruise control servo.
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Old 07-26-2013, 01:27 PM
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Ah, thanks for the info.

A nice little piece showed up today to add to the parts to be put on later.


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Old 07-26-2013, 11:25 PM
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Another night in the shop. Today was productive, but irritating. I first removed the power steering pump and A/C compressor from the engine. Then I figured I would remove the front facia (bumper) to make it easier to get to the condenser. So I worked my way through that slow and painful process (bolts are hard to get to). Then I found this:

The front crossmember that is hidden between the bumper and the condensor is damaged like someone hit something at one point and just replaced the bumper to cover it up. This is a shot of it from the drivers side.


Here is a shot straight down at the frame rail that would normally be under the light on the drivers side.


This explains why the hood was not fitting right. I knew something was up but couldn't nail it down. Now I know. The part of the frame that the drive side light is mounted to is bent in toward the center of the car. So that was pushing the headlight into the hood. Also, the hood hinges looked tweaked. Most likely when the collision happened, it shoved the hood and bent the hinges. Well, now I know what is going on. So now I can fix it. The good thing is that it just looks like I'll need to replace that crossmember and straighten the tip of the drivers side frame rail. Nothing else looks out of wack (yet).

Onward. So I moved to the trunk just to do something else. And.... Under the carpet .... What the heck is this crap?


A black tar like substance that stinks like a paint can.

Then under the battery where it appears is a nice little bracket that holds the battery I find the first rust I have come across on the car. The picture makes it look worse than it is.


But the bolts were so corroded I wasn't able to get them out ... yet. I loaded them with penetrating oil and left them for next time.

So I commenced to cleaning the black crap out of the trunk.


I plan to put dynamat throughout the interior floor so I guess I'll throw some back here too.

After inhaling the black sludge for a while, I figured I would start emptying the interior starting with the seats.

Up to this point I have been rather amazed that I have done pretty much all of this work with just 10, 12 and 14mm sockets and wrenches (except the A/C lines) and everything has come off rather easily. The seats changed that. I fought with every bolt and won each battle until the 7th one (out of 8). It was stuck and I managed to round the head. So I drilled the head and was going to chisel it off. But when I started to chisel it, I discovered that the heat that drilling it added, it broke loose and I was able to get it out. But during this journey to the carpet of the car, I found another surprise.


This is the bottom of the drivers seat (sorry about the blurry picture). The whole bottom of the seat was rusted away. The entire seat tray was gone. And to my surprise, the seat cushion was wet on the bottom. Nice

But I got them both out and here she is seatless.


And one last item. I see that this is a common issue but under the car on the drivers side, this is what the framerail (if that is what you'd call it) looks like.


I'll tell, tonight was like getting a decently wrapped present and unwrapping it to find a turd (I hate it when that happens).

After these discoveries, I have come up with a couple questions for suggestions. I was thinking about replacing the seats anyway with some that would accept a harness, but was worrying about finding some that would fit. Suggestions? Also, I have seen where people are putting the frame stiffeners that basically bolt over the stamped rail on each side. Thoughts? Suggestions?

On my way home I thought it would be a good idea to wrap up each entry with a summary of hours spent so far on this project.

My Time: 8 hours
Friends & Family: 0 hours
Paid labor: $0

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Old 07-27-2013, 01:33 PM
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And one last item. I see that this is a common issue but under the car on the drivers side, this is what the framerail (if that is what you'd call it) looks like.


Technically, that's a floorpan stiffener. The frame rails are part of the rocker panels, the pinch welds that you see hanging down along the edge of the car are the edges of the unit construction "frame" rails.

Those stiffeners take a lot of abuse. Speed bumps and off-road incidents can
be hard on them; sometimes they get jacked upon, which is what looks like might have happened to yours. They can be straightened enough to cover up with reinforcements. V8 Roadsters sells some nice reinforcements, as does Flyin Miata, or if you're so inclined, a local sheet metal shop can bend some up for you. It's a relatively simple hat section.

The reinforcements are a good idea not only because they look better than what you have and make the car stiffer, but they also provide a place to hang the transmission crossmember. Again, the crossmember is available from V8R and FM, or see some of the build threads here and on Miata.net for ideas as to how to make your own.

Mike
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:50 AM
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Please keep up the posts including the hours spent. I'm picking up my Miata this week with no engine/trans and plan on using Martins kit also. Was wondering if it"s possible to mini tub the rear to fit a slightly larger tire.
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Old 07-30-2013, 01:50 PM
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cvx20: "Floorpan Stiffener". That's funny. Not that I doubt what you are saying, that's just a funny thing to call them. I appreciate the info.

caymantrackrat: Must be nice not having to remove the engine and trans. When you get started, do build thread so we can see. I will definitely keep mine up to date. It helps me keep track.
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Old 07-30-2013, 02:33 PM
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EBay bastards. Even when you think through and decide what your maximum bid is and set it to that, it still bugs the crap out of me when people sit there and out bid you with 5 seconds left. I wouldn't have paid more anyway, but grrrrrr!
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Old 07-30-2013, 10:38 PM
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A little more done tonight. I figured first I would remove the front fenders and the doors. This wasn't bad. It just took a bit. One of the bolts on the bottom rear of the passenger fender actually broke the head off. I will have to deal with that later. A couple of pictures:



Oh, another rookie question. What are the two devices under each fender? You can see the cable running to the passenger side one in the picture above. They are labeled LH and RH.



Then I figured I would remove some more of the interior. I'll tell ya what, this experience shows me why I never buy old used cars to just purchase and drive. This car is just plain nasty. I started to pull the carpet and on the drivers side under where the seat was, there were a ton of ants.



I took the carpet up, seen the ants, ran to get the camera phone, when I got back, half of them were gone and that is what you see in the pic, then I went to get something to kill them and when I got back (less than a minute) they were all gone ....WTF!! Hopefully the heavy cleaning that will occur after the engine is out will take care of them.

This is the interior after most of the carpet is out.



And you can see the dash is still in. My original plan was to leave it in. Mainly because I am planning on using the Miata harness. I should be able to get away with this because I am not using an engine with a computer. Mine is an older one with a carb. Very basic electronics. But after seeing that the carpet goes under the console part of the dash, I may have to take it at least part of the way out. Also, I haven't received the build manual from Martin yet, so there may be a reason in the mods that will force me to do it anyway. We'll see. Feedback and input welcome....

I then jumped to the trunk and was able to get the battery tray bolts out now that the penetrating oil had some time to work.





I then jumped back in the inside and pulled the seat belts and other trim from the rear (behind the seats). Then I figured since I am going to be running the Monster Miata body kit and I am most likely going to run a shelby type gas cap, I went ahead and pulled the fuel door. I went ahead and removed the fuel door release mechanism. In the process of doing this I opened up the maintenance panels over the fuel tank to get to the cable. I'm glad I did. That area was as bad as the rest. There were nuts and crap in there like a squirrel or mouse had made a home at one point or another.

You know, this car is nasty, but it is just going to make me that much more proud of the final product.

And the good news of the day!
A total of $7.63 found in the car so far!


Add another 3 hours of my time for the day.

My Time: 11 hours
Friends & Family: 0 hours
Paid labor: $0

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Old 07-31-2013, 09:05 AM
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(Oh, another rookie question. What are the two devices under each fender? You can see the cable running to the passenger side one in the picture above. They are labeled LH and RH.)

Those are the left & right crash sensors. The components associated with the AIR BAG system are molded in BLUE PLASTIC or are attached with a BLUE WIRE LOOM CONDUIT. The system requires that 2 of the 3 sensors engage before the air bag deploys. If you plan on retaining the air bag system, all of the stuff needs to remain intact. There is also a LARGE CAPACITOR for the system that is located under the dash. This can deploy the air bag even if the battery is disconnected.
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Old 07-31-2013, 09:24 AM
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tbone, once again, thanks for the information. Even if the battery is disconnected ... how long will that hold a charge? and how sensitive is this air bag system. The only reason I ask these questions is that I do believe I am going to have to take heat and a sledge hammer to the driver side of the frame and I would hate to set this thing off. But now that I think about it a little more, I will most likely remove the sensor from that side and sit it on the floor since I will be applying heat.
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Old 07-31-2013, 10:28 PM
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Just landed a hard top for the project. Yay!
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Old 08-01-2013, 08:39 AM
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Cool!!
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:57 AM
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I think I have decided to remove the soft top all together for now. The top is trashed. I think someone actually tried to paint it :/ I will keep it for later use and have new material added to it (the frame works well). But for now I think I'm going to stick with the hard top only.
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:02 PM
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A short night in the shop. Still just preparing for the engine removal this weekend. So I figured I would get that smashed front core support out of the way (not sure if that is the proper name, but close enough). It is no wonder the hood and lights weren't fitting right. The core support was twisted and the beam that goes behind the bumper is just fubared. So since I am not the type of person that just covers up a problem and hopes nobody ever sees it, I regrettably removed all the messed up pieces so I could get to the frame to fix it.

Here you can see that I had already hacked the core support rail out and started to peel the bottom piece away one weld at a time.





And here it is all gone.


Here is where someone went weld crazy just trying to make all this crap stick together. This is the passenger side. The drivers side is not as bad.


Here you can see the frame rail on the drivers side. The good thing is that it is in front of anything structural. I looked at the frame behind this point and can't find any sign of damage or anything out of alignment. So it appears to be just the tip of the frame rail that supports the body work.







I thought long and hard about what to do about this. I have decided to remove everything that is in the way (which I have) and then slice the frame rail open to allow me to straighten it out. Then once they are straight, weld them back together.

The only thing I have to figure out now is where to get a replacement front (core support and bumper thingy). My only thought is to go to the junk yard with a sawzall. Any thoughts or anyone have one laying around? lol, yeah right.

Oh, I also removed the rest of the seatbelt items from the interior and in the process found another 50 cents and a putt putt token.

Add another 2.5 hours of my time for the day.

My Time: 13.5 hours
Friends & Family: 0 hours
Paid labor: $0

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