I have to say I'm digging the black wheels on this car. They work well with the black hardtop. I'm thinking a small ducktail spoiler on the back might work well now. These wheels weigh only 10.4 pounds so the car feels great. I don't know how much grip to expect from these tires, so I'll be taking it a little easy until I get a feel for them.
Wednesday, December 09, 2015
Saturday, September 12, 2015
Saturday, July 11, 2015
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
I'm picking this project up sort of in the middle here, because I've already got the engine out and on a stand. When I last had the engine out in 2012, the cylinder bores looked very good, so I think I can get away with a simple hone and re-ring job, with new crank and rod bearings. I plan to use a Flex-Hone rotary brush type honing tool. These are inexpensive, can be done by hand with a drill, and provides a high-quality finish with the proper cross-hatch angle to ensure a good seal by the rings. I've torn down a spare 2002 engine block we had at the Gorilla Garage and I plan to use it to practice my honing technique. I also plan to use the pistons from that engine to take advantage of the 10:1 compression ratio enjoyed by the 2002 Miata engine. This will be a true budget-build, because if the block looks and measures ok, I'm going to get by without doing any machine work. We'll see if that pans out! The head only has maybe 35k miles on it, so I'm hoping to leave it alone at this time.
To sum up part 1 of this series, here are my goals for this project:
- Rebuild engine bottom end
- Inspect head and correct any issues (don't expect any)
- Refresh suspension
- Install soft top
- Install Flyin' Miata frame-rail braces
- Detail engine compartment
- Repaint hardtop
Monday, January 26, 2015
As usual with my blog, this is not a how-to. It's a you-can. There are plenty of forum posts and blog entries elsewhere that will tell you everything you need to know to complete this maintenance.
I started with an order of parts from ECS Tuning.
- Genuine BMW Remanufactured Water pump #11517838118
- Genuine BMW Radiator #17102228941
- Genuine BMW Thermostat #11531318274
- Water pump gasket #11517831099
- Thermostat O-ring #11531318402
- Water pump O-ring #11537830709 (qty 2)
- Coolant pipe O-rings #11537830712 (qty 2)
To start I removed the lower engine shield, fan with clutch, fan shroud, intake filter housing, hoses, belts, and finally the radiator. The lower radiator hose was impossible to get loose from the rad so I left it in place and removed both through the bottom of the car. You have to move the oil cooler out of the way but you can leave it attached. Support it with something so it's not hanging by the oil hoses.
When removing the thermostat housing there's a coolant pipe that runs between the housing and the bigger pipe that runs to the back of the engine. It's about 2 inches long and machined from aluminum. It is sealed with O-rings (#11537830709) on both ends. Mine pulled free from the engine end, not the thermostat housing end, and thus the whole housing was too big to remove from the space it occupies. I had to work for quite a few minutes to get the pipe loose from the housing side so I could remove it. Most write-ups I've seen don't tell you to remove that pipe at all, but there is an o-ring on the engine end that you should replace as well, so it's just as well that it came out that way.
Once the thermostat housing and thermostat are out of the way, you can unbolt the water pump. A firm pull disengages the pipes on the back side and it easily comes out.
At this point I assessed where I was and decided I needed a few more parts to do a more thorough job. Again from ECS, I ordered:
- Radiator Fan Clutch #11527831619
- Aux fan switch O-ring #13621433077S
- Expanding rivet (qty 4) #17111712963
- Heater hose #64216902679
- Heater hose #64216902680
- Hose #64216902678
- Air filter #13721730946
- Cooling fan blade #11521712058
Once I had the hoses replaced, everything went back together quite quickly. Access to the cooling system on the M3 is very good and doesn't require many contortions (except for those three hoses under the intake manifold). While I was in there, I also replaced the main serpentine belt tensioner spring and pulley. I had bought them a long time ago so they are not listed in the parts list above. The bolts that hold the water pump to the block should be tightened to 7 lb-ft of torque. That is NOT VERY MUCH. I don't even have a torque wrench that will read that low. I used a 1/4-inch ratchet and very gently torqued these bolts down. The bolts that hold the pulley to the water pump snout are also torqued to 7 lb-ft. Be careful!