Saturday, January 29, 2011
Nothing significant about this photo other than playing with the HDR app.
The driver seat is getting a bit tatty.
The bottom cover is held tight by six elastic straps that hook on the bottom of the seat pan. Then a drawstring-like cord ties in the back. I routed it through a hole in the seat pan. This photo is before I was quite done tying things up.
The back cover is held tight by these big velcro flaps. Installation is an exercise in trying to pull them tight from both sides while sticking the velcro.
Pretty much done.
Back in the car.
For a slipcover, these are amazingly nice. You can tell they're slipcovers if you're looking for it, but when sitting in the car it's just like the seats were meant to be that way. No more tatty seats!
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Saturday, January 15, 2011
HERE is the third post about painting my hardtop.
Here's what the smoked parking light looks like installed. I really like it. It's a nice update to the Miata's 20 year old styling, and not too ricey or cheap looking. The lights themselves are exact copies of the factory lights. Perhaps the plastic is a tiny bit thinner, but every detail of the fixture is identical to my eye - with the exception of the lens and reflector, of course. They even came with new mounting screws, wiring harnesses, and light bulbs. We'll see if they fill up with water or melt or something.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Just got a pair of these to replace my old tired cracked parking lights on the '94. They might not hold up to sylistic scrutiny but for now I like them. They are NOT made in China. Rather, Taiwan. I know, not much better but at least it's not China. At least Taiwan likes us. They were about $35 for the PAIR on that online auction site. I couldn't justify over $100 for OEM.
Saturday, January 08, 2011
The supercharger only stuck around for a couple years. I really didn't enjoy it very much and as a result I never drove the car. In the year 2006 I put less than 1000 miles on it. Once I got rid of the supercharger the car became my primary commuter again, and my (then) Corvette and my (now) M3 became my "nice" cars that I only drive when I want to look good or be comfortable. Now I'm putting well over 10,000 miles a year on the car. So that's the back-story and why I'm putting a bunch of work and probably a bit of money into a 17 year old car that's probably only worth $3500 or so.
Today the project began. One of the worst problems the car has right now is a water leak into the trunk due to a leak in the rain rail. I'd like to fix that but I don't want to install a new soft top. The current soft top was installed in 2001. I just realized that was 10 years ago. HOLY CRAP where does the time go?
... now where was I? OH YES, the soft top is leaking into the trunk. Leaning up against one wall of my garage for the past year has been a hardtop for my ex's Miata - the white one with black stripes that you see elsewhere on this blog. She doesn't use it because it rattles and she likes to put the top down a lot. I can't use it because it's white with black stripes and would look ridiculous on my red car. I want to get my car painted but I'm not ready to do it yet, so I figure that if I can do a relatively quick DIY paint job on this hardtop and just paint it black it will be passable for now and buy me some time until I can get the whole thing painted red again. Putting this top on will stop the leak into the trunk and also make the car look a bit racier. I never put the top down anyway so I may completely remove the soft-top and bolt the hardtop on. So I've ordered some black paint and clearcoat and I'm going to have a go at painting this hardtop in my garage. It will probably turn out awful but it should be fun and cheap so I'm diving in.
So the black stripes on this white hardtop were applied with vinyl. My goal for today was to remove the vinyl and prep the top for paint. I thought it would take an hour, maybe two. Since nothing in automotive life is simple or easy, of course it took way longer.
When the vinyl came off, it left a metric CRAPLOAD of adhesive behind on the paint. Not just any old adhesive, no, this stuff was tenacious! After experimenting with an array of household chemicals and mechanical means to try to soften and strip it, I arrived at a workable solution - mineral spirits and a medium stripping pad (the kind you use to strip paint or varnish from wood). It worked, but SLOWLY.
The next step was to sand the top, getting the last remnants of the adhesive off and prepping the surface for primer. I'm doing this job on the cheap but I want to try hard for a good result and hopefully learn a thing or two. I've done paint work before with mixed results and continue to have an interest in learning to do it well. I sanded the top using a rubber 3M sanding block with 320 grit dry paper. I also used a little 150 grit where the vinyl adhesive was being stubborn. Tomorrow I'll lay down a few thin coats of sandable primer and finish that with a 600 grit wet sand. Then I'll be ready for the base color coat. HERE and HERE are the follow-up posts to this one.