Sunday, June 29, 2008

Filled up the Miata today. 28.5 MPG for the previous tank.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


OK, after figuring out my plan, I measured both my frames and then looked at some photos of Guy's frame. At this point I realized that I was wasting my time. The difference between my two frames was due to the fact that one was a SWB and the other was a LWB, not that one had been cut off. So now the plan is to just leave it alone.

Monday I went to the dentist to have my teeth filed. No charge.

Today I pretended like I was starting the rebuild of the differential for the '72 GMC. I was limited to pretending because I did not have a bearing separator to remove the old bearings from the pinion. Quick trip to the china store to discover they are out of lower dollar goodness. What to do, what to do?

I have been trying to get caught up on my school work but I don't yet see the end in sight. I think four of the ten weeks for the summer semester are complete. Note to self: work on time management skills, if you can find the time.

The '25 auction is rapidly progressing towards various stages of completion. It is currently 45% sold.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Saturday afternoon, I called up Brian (no not that Brian, the other Brian) to borrow his plasma cutter. As I told him then, "I have some plasma that needs to be cut". Some things seems funnier before you say them out loud.

My eventual plan is to replace part of the GMC's frame with part of another frame I have. Essentially my appears to have been attacked by a torch at some point in it past and I will be replace the foot or so with a section from the other frame that is in pristine condition.

The plan is:
1. Learn how to cut a straight line.
2. Determine where to make the cuts.
3. Mark the frames.
4. Make the cuts.
5. Weld in the piece from the other frame onto my frame.
6. Grind grind grind.
7. Amaze friends and family with my mad skillz.

Step 1 is complete.

Everyone needs to play with a plasma cutter at some point.
Ebay Motors is once again having a $1 listing special. Look for the 1925 Chevrolet truck to appear later today.
Drip Drip Drip

While rolling around under the Miata Friday morning doing a visual inspection, I decided that the oil leak from the CAS O-ring was not the only leak. There was a drop of oil on the front of the oil pan. (I cleaned up the oil pan while I was working on the clutch last week.) So it appears either the pan seal or the front main seal.

I thought I had replaced the front seal last year when I did the timing belt, but after reviewing last years write up, it appears I skipped it. I guess I didn't want to loosen the oil pan at the time for fear of creating an oil leak. Doh! Here's to hoping this is the only leak. I am currently debating whether I want to fix this one any time soon. The parts cost will be negligible but time wise it could kill a day.

I also had a drop of anti-freeze on the radiator drain valve. I had noticed this before also. I think the drain plug just needs to be replaced. This can wait until I replace the front seal, assuming I do, as the radiator needs to be removed during that procedure.

I keep asking myself why I am so obsessed with the car leaking. Why can't I be satisfied just sliding a pan under the car? Myself never answers.

About the time I was finishing up the inspection of my car, David arrived and we replaced the o-ring on his '91 Miata also. Having done the replacement on both a 1.6 and 1.8 liter engine, I believe the 1.6 is a slightly easier task. (It is actually possible to get the CAS out from between the engine and firewall.)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sixth Grade

Today I finished my eighth day of field experience in sixth grade at a local elementary school's summer school program.

The math teacher offered to let me teach a lesson. It seemed like a good idea to me so I agreed. This week I taught a total of 8 blocks. And since you only have to teach your very first lesson once ever, I have that out of the way. And that is one less thing.

Don't tell anyone, but I had a really good time being back in 6th grade.

(Common Miata Oil Leak)

While replacing the pilot bearing, clutch, etc. on the Lil' Zoom-Zoom I determined my oil leak was located somewhere high on the block, probably near the rear. Googling for common Miata oil leak clued me in to the CAS O-Ring. And the location was exactly in the general neighborhood of where the oil appeared to be originating.

This evening I replaced the Cam Angle Sensor O-Ring on the Miata. After removing the CAS a quick inspection of the underside revealed black gold. The sensor was definitely dripping oil. Jackpot! Hopefully this was my only leak. I will let you know.

The entire procedure took about 2 hours including a trip to the parts store and dinner. Actual under the hood time was probably between 20 - 45 minutes. The instructions over yonder say 10 minutes. It didn't happen like that here.

Total cost including two o-rings and one of this little mirror on a stick thingies was less than $5.

Why two o-rings? Because tomorrow David M. will be bringing his car over for a little More Miata Maintenance. I bet we don't get his done in 10 minutes either.

Odometer: 107K and some change.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Maintenance

This afternoon, in the extreme heat of the afternoon sun, I washed the Miata. (I had two helpers so it took a little longer than normal.)

While washing the car, I found a bunch of tar along the lower half of the car, especially on the drivers side. I happened to have some tar and bug remover so I made a pass at the tar. Unfortunately it leaves a residue so the car is ready for another bath. It will have to wait.

In additional to the wash, I cleaned the windows and applied rain-x.

Next was a quick 8 mile drive to drive to fill up the tank. Technically it should only be about a mile, but I often get side tracked by curvy roads when driving the Miata on a Sunday afternoon.

The fill up proffered a mileage rating of 29.5 per gallon. Sweet. Not as good as my hypermiling experiment but not bad for my lead foot.

Odometer: Just over 106,900, which is what was on the clock when I finished the clutch job.

Zoom Zoom Zoom

Friday, June 13, 2008

Woo Hoo! The clutch is done, tires are rotated, and the oil and filter has been changed. No more funny pilot bearing sounds. Yes, after disassembling every thing, I determined that the problem was indeed the pilot bearing. And it is all good now.

Props to guys (David M, Brian B.) that helped me out. I couldn't have done it without their help.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Miata Clutch: A New Hope

This afternoon following a short two hour nap, I resumed work on the car. A gentle breeze and the afternoon shade made the garage cooler than it had been in several days.

I finished bolting up the transmission and hydraulic clutch lines. Next in was the drive shaft, followed by the complete exhaust system from the exhaust manifold all the way back to the tail pipe. Finally a couple of support bars.

At this point I need to replace the fluid and reinstall the shifter, however I don't have a small hand pump needed to pump the oil back into the transmission. One more part store trip is in order.

Since the car was already on jacks, I decided to rotate the tires and change the oil. Draining the oil and removing the tires was uneventful. Removing the oil filter however was another story.

The filter is difficult to get access to. The easiest way for me had been removing the right front tire and reaching in. Even with the tire off, I could not get the thing to budge. In the past I have just hand tightened it, unfortunately, I was not the last person to change the oil. I decided this would wait until tomorrow. It was 8:30 PM and I had not fed the kids yet. They had been so busy playing, they hadn't noticed.

Tomorrow after finding a hand pump, I will fill the tranny, install a new oil filter(assuming I can get the old one off), and fill it with oil. After putting the tires back on and doing a final bolt check, I will hopefully have the car out for a victory lap.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sixth Grade

This week I have been attending sixth grade summer school.

As usual, the education classes I am taking require some amount of field experience. This semester I am required to spend 8 days in a classroom. I requested placement in a middle school to get an idea what it is like to work with the younger folks.

So far so good. Today I got the opportunity to teach a mini-session on factoring and prime numbers.

The most striking difference I have noticed? Sixth graders get recess. Woo Hoo!

I am amazed at some of the material we have been reviewing. Some of this stuff, I did not see until 7, 8, 9 or 10th grade. Times are certainly changing.
Today the local blog critic awarded my blog the most boring blog in the neighborhood award. I guess he missed the geometric proofs from a couple of years back. And the lyrics for 'Oh, Yes Wyoming'. (If your interested, I recently proved the triangle inequality theorem for vectors.)

Then I remembered my blog wasn't really meant to be entertaining, it was intended to document my current obsession, whatever that might be, for example a Miata, a 1925 Chevrolet,rebuilding a 1972 GMC pickup, hoping to acquire an unspecified year Corvette or Volkswagen Beetle, building Furniture, hot tubing, auto body repair, camping, hiking, biking, welding, metal-meet, camping, Dodge Chargers, low carb dieting, school, procrastination, hypermiling, building a foundry, melting aluminium, state quarters, container gardening, MDF, STL, model railroading (n gauge), tenth scale RC cars, RC airplanes, Vertigo, slot car racing, Formula One, the US Grand Prix, attending car shows, Mini Coopers, ping pong, foos ball, chocolate chip cookies, fembots with a penchant for evil, cast iron skillets or even fried okra. Whatever. I feel so validated now.

Mmmm, fried okra.

iMike and Terry did not even get an honorable mention because their blogs are too interesting. Sorry guys.

Hello, Hello, Hola!
The clutch saga continues. Slowly. My total wait time for the rear seal for the transmission was 8 days.

Quick recap. Order parts at O'Reilly Autoparts, Some parts show up, but not all. Make another trip to pick up the missing stuff. Get home with it. Not the right stuff. Call back. "We can't get that stuff, go to the Dealer."

Go to dealer. Order parts. Go to pick up parts two days later. Some parts show up, but not all parts. This was especially painful this time because it was a Friday and I had hoped to reassemble the car over the weekend. (Mazda Parts guy called O'Reilly to see if they had the part. Ha! They sent me to the Mazda dealership.) Back to the parts store on Monday and get the missing seal.

At this point I am fairly busy with my mundane life and don't get a chance to really work on the Miata again until this evening. That is not entirely true. Late in the afternoon, I spent about an hour with the car hoping that I would somehow be able to lift the transmission back up myself. Even with a pair of jacks, this was more than one person could really do.

At this point I got on the bat horn and called in the calvary. With the assistance of David M. under the car and non-boring Brian controlling the jack, we managed to get the transmission lifted and bolted to the engine block.

I will not call the entire operation a success (prematurely). I still have to hook up the hydraulic clutch cable, re-install the entire exhaust system, fill the transmission, and re-install the drive-shaft(Famous Australian rock band) and a few other miscellaneous details before I am really done. Regardless, all the work requiring more than two hands has been completed.

While the car is on the jack stands and one of the tires is off anyway, I will go head with an oil change and rotating the tires.

The car should be rolling before the weekend is over. A mere 15 or 16 days later.

What did I learn? Order all the parts and have them in hand before getting started.

Regrets: None really. At least not so far.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

...Clutch Replacement...

Several busy days have passed and very little has been done.

Saturday we hit a British/Euro car show in the AM and spent the afternoon at the lake.

Since dropping the transmission, I have been trying to acquire the front and rear seal. Sunday I went to a local auto parts shop. They ordered them, available for pickup 9:30 AM Sunday. Long story short, they were available when they were supposed to be and when they finally showed up, they were wrong.

(Monday and Tuesday I stayed busy with school.)

Tuesday evening I removed the seals from the transmission. I also did some general cleaning and degreasing.

This morning I removed the flex plate and replaced the pilot bearing.

This afternoon, I stopped at the Miata dealer ship to order the seals. They will be in friday afternoon. I also replaced the rear main seal and re-installed the flex plate. And finally I did some more degreasing and general cleaning.

Total time involved, probably about 4 hours. Hopefully I will be ready to raise the transmission this weekend, Assuming the correct seals arrive on Friday.