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My fun & affordable little toy: '91 Miata by Stubby79
Started on: 08-02-2011 11:13 AM
Replies: 32
Last post by: Stubby79 on 09-02-2011 11:44 AM
Stubby79
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Report this Post08-02-2011 11:13 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Stubby79Send a Private Message to Stubby79Direct Link to This Post
I thought I'd start a seperate thread for my "new" toy, the 1991 Miata that I ended up buying a few days ago after going out looking for a cheap new toy to drive as originally found here.
I could go to a Miata forum, but I'd rather not hear comments from a bunch of hardcore ricer trolls who think the first thing I should do is swap the engine and then strap a turbo on it. (Most of) you guys are more realistic, and certainly better company. So feel free to make constructive criticisms, comments or suggestions.

I'll start by summarizing the good and bad stuff I've found in the past few days, and regurgitate a few pics.
"Good" list:
1. Racing clutch (No idea on brand or stage)
2. Adjustable KYB shocks/struts.
3. Aftermarket long-pipe header.
4. K&N air filter.
5. Euro/clear/altezza tail lights.
6. Blaupunkt CD/MP3 player & speakers.
7. 15" American Racing aluminum wheels.
8. Silly chrome roll-bar.
9. Individual Toyota coil packs on each cylinder.
10. Optional drink holder.
11. Matching hard top.
12. Catalytic converter deleted.
13. Short shifter.
14. Power steering.
15. NGK Iridium spark plugs.
16. Almost new "Genuine Mazda" battery.

The not-so-good list:
1. Body & paint damage.
2. High mileage.
3. Missing & loose bolts in the power-plant frame. (That's PPF, not PFF )
4. Brakes not very impressive.
5. Needs new tires.

There's little things here and there to be done, but those are the real issues. I'll be going out in a few minutes to order parts for #3.

[This message has been edited by Stubby79 (edited 08-02-2011).]

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Stubby79
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Report this Post08-02-2011 11:16 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Stubby79Send a Private Message to Stubby79Direct Link to This Post

Stubby79

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Pics, from the original thread.
 
quote
Originally posted by Stubby79:













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Stubby79
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Report this Post08-02-2011 11:27 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Stubby79Send a Private Message to Stubby79Direct Link to This Post
As of the moment, I've done the following:
1. Checked over whole car.
2. Detailed the interior - Vacuumed, shampooed & armorall'd.
3. Tightened down PPF bolts.
4. Lubed locks, latches, windows, etc.
5. Put a K&N air filter in (the sticker on top of the air flow meter lied, so I fixed it).
6. Replaced leaky rad cap & refilled rad.
7. Punched out the dent in the rear quarter panel. (as best as I could)
8. Cleaned & polished the wheels.
9. Enjoyed driving it at stupid high speeds and through windy country roads. Whatta blast!
10. Gotten sunburnt several days in a row, in spite of sunscreen.

Right now i"m trying to decide how far to go with the brakes. The front needs new rotors and pads, the rear needs new pads. Do I go with good pads, normal front rotors and turn the rears, do I put drilled rotors on all 4 corners and the presumably cheap pads that'll come with 'em? or do I do drilled rotors, and the good pads?

[This message has been edited by Stubby79 (edited 08-02-2011).]

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Report this Post08-02-2011 11:54 AM Click Here to See the Profile for 8BallClick Here to Email 8BallSend a Private Message to 8BallDirect Link to This Post
Sweet!! You bought a Smurf! I love those little blue ones.

As for the brakes, go to http://www.good-win-racing....ce-Part/13-1033.html and order new rotors and hawk hp pads... It will stop on a dime when you are done.

Unless you I'll neon the track... Stock rotors and hawk pads.

[This message has been edited by 8Ball (edited 08-02-2011).]

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Report this Post08-02-2011 12:26 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Xerces_BlackthorneClick Here to Email Xerces_BlackthorneSend a Private Message to Xerces_BlackthorneDirect Link to This Post
You should swap the engine and turbo it

Someone had to say it....

Congrats on the find, looks to be in pretty decent shape. They make one helluva road carver, a lot of the hill climb guys and rally/autoX guys around here love those early Miata's, and they are pretty cheap to come by these days. Looked at one myself, but don't think I could fit in one (I'm 6'2 200ish lbs)
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Report this Post08-02-2011 01:31 PM Click Here to See the Profile for FlambergeSend a Private Message to FlambergeDirect Link to This Post
Very cool! Love the color!

How's the leg and head room in that sucker with the top up?
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Stubby79
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Report this Post08-02-2011 02:23 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Stubby79Send a Private Message to Stubby79Direct Link to This Post
Thanks for the suggestion, 8Ball. I'll check out those brake pads. Maybe I should get a license plate with "PAPASMRF" on it?

Xerces: I'm 6'2" and 185lbs, more torso than leg, and I fit. Admittedly not perfectly...with the top up, I couldn't see the lights go green, and my hair brushed against the roof. So I got a hair cut and pulled off the sunvisors and no longer have either problem.
And yes, it makes a hell of a road carver, I must agree! I love how the back end comes around if you accelerate around a corner...the way it handles, it doesn't surprise me that the kid who used to owned it slid off the road into a ditch. You'd never know it was going to happen until the tires lost grip, since there's no appreciable body roll going through corners. I'm not used to a car that can accelerate into, in and out of corners! I'd best be careful!

Flamberge: see above for headroom -- I could cut some foam out of the seat for more, if I needed it, though...as to leg room: it can handle legs longer than mine(33" inseam), though not by much. My leg is straight out pressing in the clutch, but my knees are pretty close to the steering wheel. They don't touch it though, so all is well. Thick thighs would be a potential concern, whatever your height!

[This message has been edited by Stubby79 (edited 08-02-2011).]

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Report this Post08-02-2011 02:29 PM Click Here to See the Profile for KurtAKXSend a Private Message to KurtAKXDirect Link to This Post
How close is getting rid of the snow tires to the top of your list?
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Stubby79
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Report this Post08-02-2011 02:33 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Stubby79Send a Private Message to Stubby79Direct Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by KurtAKX:

How close is getting rid of the snow tires to the top of your list?


Moderately...mainly because they're worn down to the wearbars, not so much becuase they're winter tires. I'm keeping an eye out every day for a good deal on some all season or sport tires in a similar size. They'll do fine until fall though, when it starts raining.
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Report this Post08-02-2011 02:40 PM Click Here to See the Profile for PatrickClick Here to Email PatrickSend a Private Message to PatrickDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Stubby79:

They'll do fine until fall though, when it starts raining.



Oh, are we expecting a long dry spell between then and now? This is the west coast of BC, you know.

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Report this Post08-02-2011 02:43 PM Click Here to See the Profile for LuckyStrikeClick Here to Email LuckyStrikeSend a Private Message to LuckyStrikeDirect Link to This Post
dont they have a SBF swap for them?
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Report this Post08-02-2011 02:46 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Stubby79Send a Private Message to Stubby79Direct Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Patrick:


Oh, are we expecting a long dry spell between then and now? This is the west coast of BC, you know.


I laugh at what they call "rain" here in Victoria. It rarely gets past "drizzle", in my book. I grew up on the coast up north, where it rains(or snows) 9 months of the year...rather like you have in Vancouver, just colder! Even when the forecast calls for rain here, it blows over in half an hour, or you can drive right out from under it. Quite sad, really...so yes, the tires will be juuuuuust fine til october, probably!
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Report this Post08-02-2011 02:51 PM Click Here to See the Profile for PatrickClick Here to Email PatrickSend a Private Message to PatrickDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Stubby79:

I laugh at what they call "rain" here in Victoria. It rarely gets past "drizzle", in my book. Even when the forecast calls for rain here, it blows over in half an hour...


Yeah, I sort of forgot that Victoria is blessed that way. Even more reason for me to move to the Island some day. I really like it over there.
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Stubby79
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Report this Post08-02-2011 02:55 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Stubby79Send a Private Message to Stubby79Direct Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Patrick:


Yeah, I sort of forgot that Victoria is blessed that way. Even more reason for me to move to the Island some day. I really like it over there.


Yeah...I just wish it was easier(cheaper) to get off this rock when I want/need to...damned ferries.
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Report this Post08-02-2011 03:03 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Stubby79Send a Private Message to Stubby79Direct Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by LuckyStrike:

dont they have a SBF swap for them?


They have a "Whatever you can afford to stuff in it" swap for 'em. Various V8s have been put in 'em...though that's very much not what I want out of it. I like it how it is!

[This message has been edited by Stubby79 (edited 08-02-2011).]

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Report this Post08-02-2011 03:18 PM Click Here to See the Profile for PatrickClick Here to Email PatrickSend a Private Message to PatrickDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Stubby79:

Yeah...I just wish it was easier (cheaper) to get off this rock when I want/need to...damned ferries.



Hey, it's a LARGE rock... and a damned nice one!

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Report this Post08-02-2011 03:52 PM Click Here to See the Profile for jaskispyderSend a Private Message to jaskispyderDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by KurtAKX:

How close is getting rid of the snow tires to the top of your list?


snow tires? They don't look like what we drive up here, in the snow.
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Stubby79
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Report this Post08-02-2011 04:02 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Stubby79Send a Private Message to Stubby79Direct Link to This Post
This morning, I went out and ordered a few bits and pices for it and went to one of the parts shops to have a can of matching spray paint mixed to fix the quarter panel and paint the replacment rear bumper. When I got back, I put the hard-top on it. I wanted to see it again with it on and to see what it sounds like inside, since I haven't driven with it on.
After cleaning the hard top, inside and out, I took some pictures:






And a couple of interior ones too, seeing as I didn't take any when I first brought it home:



There we have it. I'll find out how it sounds inside on my drive to work tonight.
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Report this Post08-02-2011 05:09 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 1988holleyformulaSend a Private Message to 1988holleyformulaDirect Link to This Post
That looks pretty good with the hard-top on. I'm actually digging the interior as well, looks clean!

Any plans for the two-tone black/blue theme it has going right now? Like match the bottom half of the front and back bumpers in a flat black like the door is?
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Report this Post08-02-2011 05:56 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 8BallClick Here to Email 8BallSend a Private Message to 8BallDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Stubby79:

Thanks for the suggestion, 8Ball. I'll check out those brake pads. Maybe I should get a license plate with "PAPASMRF" on it?


You certainly won't be the first blue miata with that plate

As for the Curves.. Do NOT accelerate INTO the turn.. When you enter a turn in a Miata, let off the gas.. Then when you hit the apex of the turn and start to exit it, floor it.
You will take the corners faster and tighter that way.. And you won't kick the rear end out.

I would also remove the style bar behind the seats... It is NOT a rollbar.. And in the case of a rollover.. It WILL fold down on you and kill you. They are for looks only and generally not well liked in the Miata world... We call em Mousetraps...

[This message has been edited by 8Ball (edited 08-02-2011).]

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Stubby79
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Report this Post08-02-2011 10:49 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Stubby79Send a Private Message to Stubby79Direct Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by 1988holleyformula:

That looks pretty good with the hard-top on. I'm actually digging the interior as well, looks clean!

Any plans for the two-tone black/blue theme it has going right now? Like match the bottom half of the front and back bumpers in a flat black like the door is?


Thanks! And yes, you read my mind. I'll be going with the black/blue theme on the bumpers too. I'll find out how it looks with the rear bumper when I repaint the replacement bumper it came with, and expect to like it and do the same to the front one too.

 
quote
Originally posted by 8Ball:

You certainly won't be the first blue miata with that plate

As for the Curves.. Do NOT accelerate INTO the turn.. When you enter a turn in a Miata, let off the gas.. Then when you hit the apex of the turn and start to exit it, floor it.
You will take the corners faster and tighter that way.. And you won't kick the rear end out.

I would also remove the style bar behind the seats... It is NOT a rollbar.. And in the case of a rollover.. It WILL fold down on you and kill you. They are for looks only and generally not well liked in the Miata world... We call em Mousetraps...



Thanks for the driving tip! And yes, I've been warned about the "rollbar". I figure if I roll the car I'm dead anyway, with or without it. My question is: does it mount where a real rollbar would? (with the exception of braces) I've got everything but the steel required to build a real one.
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Report this Post08-02-2011 10:54 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 8BallClick Here to Email 8BallSend a Private Message to 8BallDirect Link to This Post
Actually.. These little Miata's more often than not keep the drivers alive in a roll over.. even without a roll bar. On the Miata forums, we have seen several roll overs due to aggressive driving. Usually the driver walks away. But if they have that style bar.... They do not.

It mounts in the same general location.. but it does not actually use the real mount points for a roll bar. I had planned to build my own roll bar too.. But a good professionally made and SCCA legal one was less than $500... I did not trust my own engineering that much.

If you plan to drive it aggressively than buy a REAL roll bar and install it. Better safe than sorry.
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Stubby79
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Report this Post08-02-2011 10:58 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Stubby79Send a Private Message to Stubby79Direct Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by jaskispyder:


snow tires? They don't look like what we drive up here, in the snow.


They're winter tires alright. "Made in Russia" it says on the side, "M + S" (Mud & snow) and also has the snowflake symbol they use here to indicate that they're legally approved for winter. They're also directional. They might be more of an ice tire than snow, though.

How are they different from what you have there? besides being worn down!
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Stubby79
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Report this Post08-02-2011 11:08 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Stubby79Send a Private Message to Stubby79Direct Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by 8Ball:

Actually.. These little Miata's more often than not keep the drivers alive in a roll over.. even without a roll bar. On the Miata forums, we have seen several roll overs due to aggressive driving. Usually the driver walks away. But if they have that style bar.... They do not.

It mounts in the same general location.. but it does not actually use the real mount points for a roll bar. I had planned to build my own roll bar too.. But a good professionally made and SCCA legal one was less than $500... I did not trust my own engineering that much.

If you plan to drive it aggressively than buy a REAL roll bar and install it. Better safe than sorry.


Thats all good to know. I'd not necessarily trust my engeneering skiils, either...that's why I'd find a real one and copy it, down to the same thickness tube and everything. I'd think a home made one would be better than none, and certainly better than the "mousetrap". And as of yet, I don't plan on driving it aggresively, though in the one rollover/accident I've had in my life, I wasn't driving aggressively either and still managed to.
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Report this Post08-02-2011 11:33 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 8BallClick Here to Email 8BallSend a Private Message to 8BallDirect Link to This Post
These little Miatas are VERY nimble... With their short wheelbase, they are nimble enough to get you into real trouble or to save you from real trouble. All depends on your driving skill.
I saw a Miata flip on the Dragon, because the driver hit loose gravel going into a turn, the rear wheel went off the road and hit just perfectly to flip the car. However, he walked away fine.

A homemade one would be better than nothing... assuming you can weld properly I would hate for 2.5" steel tubes to snap off and kill you!
Have a look at the Hard dog roll bar... http://www.bethania-garage.com/testimonials.htm They are the most used ones.
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Stubby79
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Report this Post08-03-2011 10:50 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Stubby79Send a Private Message to Stubby79Direct Link to This Post
Wanna know what it sounds like with the hard top on?

Noisy, that's what!

The hard top cuts out the wind-noise, but the firm suspension makes the roof gasket squeak with every flexing (bump) of the chassis/body. My Fiero's sunroof does the same thing on the same stretches of road, since lowering it. I may just have to turn the shocks down even farther for my drive to work. At least it only takes a minute.

Oh and without the wind noise, you really hear the exhaust noise - most of which seems to be coming from the resonator that was put in place of the cat. I was thinking of getting a direct-fit cat for it, but I'm not quite sold on spending a hundred-plus bucks on it if it's going to rob it of power!
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Report this Post08-03-2011 11:15 AM Click Here to See the Profile for 8BallClick Here to Email 8BallSend a Private Message to 8BallDirect Link to This Post
You need to buy the racing lock plates for your hardtop... It will cut a lot of the chatter out.
As for the exhaust, line your trunk with dynamat and your parcel shelf... It will only add a few pounds of weight, but will cut a lot of the noise out.

These cars were made to be light and nimble... Not so much insulated and quiet.. My Miata, with the supercharger was around 90 decibels at WOT and 75 at cruise. Needless to say, I wore earplugs.

Also Borla makes an awesome exhaust for these cars...

[This message has been edited by 8Ball (edited 08-03-2011).]

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Stubby79
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Report this Post08-04-2011 10:42 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Stubby79Send a Private Message to Stubby79Direct Link to This Post
I take it back...I think half of the noise is road noise from the tires. Just one more reason to replace 'em!
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Stubby79
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Report this Post08-04-2011 02:46 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Stubby79Send a Private Message to Stubby79Direct Link to This Post
Bad note: Sunburn!!

Good note: 28mpg on first refill; slightly better than any of my other vehicles, in spite of my heavy foot and the perky engine.
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Report this Post08-04-2011 02:52 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 8BallClick Here to Email 8BallSend a Private Message to 8BallDirect Link to This Post
Yes, mandatory Miata gear includes a hat and sunscreen!! You should have seen me when I flew to Florida, bought my miata and drove it back!! I was a lobster!!
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Report this Post08-04-2011 02:58 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Stubby79Send a Private Message to Stubby79Direct Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by 8Ball:

Yes, mandatory Miata gear includes a hat and sunscreen!! You should have seen me when I flew to Florida, bought my miata and drove it back!! I was a lobster!!


My head sticks up too high for a hat; it would just blow off! I've been weareing SPF50 since the first day, but anywhere I don't get it on thick enough stings, and even where I do get enough, I end up sinkissed and tingly. Not managing to peel, though!

It didn't hurt that I had a pretty girl in the passenger seat, either. She wasn't expecting me to show up in a convertable and quite quickly discovered she loved it.
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Report this Post08-04-2011 03:00 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 8BallClick Here to Email 8BallSend a Private Message to 8BallDirect Link to This Post
How about a do rag? That is usually what I wore..that or my outback hat with the string around my neck.

Chicks LOVE Miatas...

[This message has been edited by 8Ball (edited 08-04-2011).]

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Report this Post09-02-2011 11:44 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Stubby79Send a Private Message to Stubby79Direct Link to This Post
I went for an early morning cruise a few hours ago. It was a lot of fun, especially seeing as I haven't had a chance to just go out and drive for the enjoyment of it.

It was notably quieter too, and not shakey/vibrating at high speeds like it used to be. I got a set of almost-new (95%+ tread left) tires for $60 and replaced the worn out rears with them. Its also a hell of a lot quieter(for road noise), and doesn't feel scarey doing 100mph. Still haven't had it over that, though, seeing as I run out of straight road by that point!

I replaced the brakes a few weeks ago when the parts arrived. I've got a dispute going on with the seller, seeing as one set of brake pads wasn't even for a Miata and the other set wasn't made of what it was advertised for/what I paid for. Either way, the rotors and front pads have been replaced, and I'm going to go buy the right ones for the rear soon, once I'm sure if said seller is going to send me the right ones or not. As of the moment, the front brakes are somewhat notably better/stronger than the rear, and the rear pads are almost worn out anyway.

When I went to take apart the front brakes, I found one of the slider bolts broken off inside the bracket. I broke an extractor off inside it trying to get it out (didn't expect it to come out anyway), so I called around and found a bracket with sliders the next morning for $25. It was a good half an hour drive out of town to get it, but I wanted it cheap and I wanted it now so I had it in my hands by 10am and the brake job finished that night. The sliders were all dry/greaseless. Doesn't anyone know what brake lube is? And what ever happened to getting a pack of it with a set of brake pads?

I haven't gotten around to finishing the body work yet, but I finally decided to have a more thorough look into why it was having problems indicating to the right. I assumed it was a problem with the flasher unit, but nothing was amiss inside that. So I traced and tested the wiring, found high resistance on one of the three wires going to the light. I couldnt test every inch of the wiring between the light and the flasher unit without a hell of a lot of work, but decided to see if I could find other wires with the same coloring. I found them going to the DRL module, and inside that I found two solder joints with hairline cracks in a circle around the wires to the components. Resoldering them fixed it, much to my relief! Fixed it without costing even a penny.

What's left...hmm...I ordered a magnaflow direct-fit catalytic converter (For reletivley cheap) this morning. The expansion chamber type stright-pipe is a bit noisy, and radiates a lot of heat, so I'm expecting both of these issues - plus the carbon buildup at the tailpipe - to improve at least a little. If I find it particularly restrictive or anything like, I'll just chop off the flanges and use it elsewhere, or resell it for what I paid for it.

Oh, and too bad I discovered I could have done a bigger-brake upgrade after I had already ordered my brake rotors by simply replacing the brackets with ones off a later model, allowing me to run a larger front disc. Oh well, I'll wait and collect the parts to do it if I think it's worth it.
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