Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hella FF50 Driving Lights

This may be the worst installation write-up ever, as I pretty much didn't get any pictures of how I did the installation. It's quite straightforward, though. You just need to know how to crimp end connectors on wire and build a basic harness, as the kit doesn't come with a complete harness. It just comes with about 25 feet of wire, a relay, and a bunch of end connectors. To the kit I added an in-line fuse holder so I don't burn the car down, but most of what I needed was included with the kit. I cannibalized some nice wire loom from a harness that came with an old light set I had but never used.
I mounted the Hella FF50 lights in the mouth of the Miata, using existing holes in the bumper cover. Wiring involved installing a relay which is energized by a 12V source in the engine compartment that is hot when the ignition is on. In turn, the lights are powered by a feed directly from the main power feed at the fuse box, with a 30-amp fuse in-line (which was not included in the kit). The relay is mounted just outside the main fuse box to keep the wire runs short. I spent a lot of time tucking wires and running them through wire loom to protect from abrasion. As a result, there is very little wiring visible from the engine compartment. That's why I'm not showing a picture of it.
They come on with the ignition and are aimed very low so as not to blind other drivers. The right one is angled to the right to light side of the road.
The headlights are Cibie H4 e-code lights. The Hella driving lights are a nice compliment. I've decided I need to be able to turn them off, though, and raise the aim so they extend farther down the road. Right now they light the foreground too much, which actually hurts your ability to see farther. My main reason for installing them is to have them on during the day as daytime running lights.
Here's the light pattern from the driving lights with the headlights off. They are basically spot lights, so you can aim them exactly where you want them. There's a bit more scatter than the e-codes but as long as they aren't pointing into oncoming traffic they should be ok. Once I get the switch installed I won't use them at night unless I'm not in traffic.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Photo update.

Just a pic of the car as it sits right now. I'll be painting the hardtop soon but it won't look much different. It is going to be flat black, which should look interesting. The other outstanding tasks are installing the new Hella driving lights, the Flyin' Miata frame rail reinforcements, and rewiring the horn so it works. When I ripped out the airbag wiring, I forgot that the horn wire runs through the same harness. I'll need to locate the horn relay and run a new wire to the clockspring connector at the steering column.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Camshaft Fix and Finished Paint.

This weekend I swapped out the incorrect BP06 exhaust camshaft for the BP4W. The engine runs SO much quieter now. It virtually purrs. I'm very glad to get this sorted out because I thought for a short time that the engine overhaul had been a failure.
I can't express how good it makes me feel to not have those noisy hydraulic lifters anymore. They are a real scourge upon the owners of '90-'97 Miatas. Some cars never have a problem with them, but mine were noisy and getting worse for years.
I finished wet sanding with 1500 and 2000 grit paper, and then cut with Griot's Garage #1 polish, followed by their #2 polish and show car wax.
There are flaws in the paint, but it's still 99% better than it was and I only spent about $500 on the paint job. I like the color better than the original Mazda Classic Red. As long as it stands up over time, this is a win.

Monday, January 02, 2012

New Steering Wheel

MOMO Tuner wheel. I really like it.
Here it is in the car. The previous wheel lasted 12 years but it was time for a new one.
One of the next projects - Hella FF50 driving lights. I'll do a blog post on the installation.