With all the Miata updates on my Instagram page, it’d be fair to think I forgot about my 2002. I haven’t given up on this car, it’s just been slow going. My friend, and fabricator for this leg of the project, got injured at work and was out of commission for a few weeks. So priority was low on this project for a while. However he’s knocked out some stunning work so far.
Front end out of the car
The biggest thing he’s been working on is this new front end support. I know it's a point of contention regarding cutting the nose for an M20 swap. It's a structural portion of the chassis, so something else needs to go in it's place. The previous owner had cut the structure out, however didn’t put any new reinforcement in. It seems like most swaps just put in a single bar across the top and call it a day. But I didn't want to go with something simple.
My biggest request was to have the support be bolt in. The logic being that having it be removable will make future engine service be easier. By removing the whole support, it clears up a lot of room to pull an engine out. Realistically, I know the engine will be out a few more times over the course of this car’s life, so it’s best to plan for that sort of thing.
Another thing we discussed was adding the frame rail tie-ins. The stock sheet metal did run down to the frame rails and although you really only need to brace the towers together, it felt like a missed opportunity not putting the center supports in as well. This width allows for the radiator to sit in between as well. This gives the whole front end a great deal more strength.
He also took the opportunity to make a new bracket for my clutch reservoir bottle. I’m moving to this Wilwood unit, but the mounting hardware was just a hair too big for the stock bracket. He made a new bracket that mounts in the same place, and even has the same weld patterns. Once painted you’d hardly know it wasn’t the stock mounting location.
He also removed one of the rear brackets on the firewall. This held some useless relays that were no longer used on the car. They interfered with the rear most trumpet on my ITB setup, he chopped it off.
This week the trans mounts are getting addressed and I think the engine is finally coming out. The hood will be brought to him to work on the latch supports, and some other bits will be shaved/reinforced. Once this is all taken care of, it’s back to my house for some other improvements before I send it off to get the bay painted. Whether or not the rest of the car gets painted yet, that’s TBD. It will eventually, but life priorities>dream car sometimes. I don’t like it either but a clean bay and ratty car is better than nothing at all!