So in the fall of ’08, during the period between graduating from Cornell and moving to San Francisco to study at AAU, I paid a visit to my good friend from Cornell who lives upstate (NY). I got to take a ride in some of his toys and do a little rust work on a known problem-area of my miata: fender drainage.
This is my buddy’s buggy he built. I believe the frame was a kit, which he welded together himself, and dropped in a Chevy crate motor!
Here’s their Austin Healey 3000 MkII. This thing was a blast–felt like I was riding through British countryside in the 60’s 😀
Picturesque! I got my first experience riding a motorcycle on that little 2-stroke on the left. I was about to take a NYS-certified class to get my motorcycle license at the time.
Where did the Healey go?
Needed to remove the fender to get to the problem area. This was way harder than I expected, thanks to a couple bolts tucked way down at the front where it attaches to the front bumper cover.
My fender had rusted out at the bottom, where crap collects from the road and drainage from the windshield. Basically sand, leaves, and dirt sit there and hold water between two steel surfaces–>RUST.
Made use of his angle grinder and some Rustoleum to try to stop the rust from getting worse. I hope it works!
Finally putting things back together.
The last time I was in Mexico City, I purchased a couple souvenirs related to El Santo, a famous Luchador there. One of them was a little figurine called “El Hijo del Santo,” or “The son of the Saint.” The problem is the little guy has a fat head and falls over really easily, so I thought I’d make a stand to secure him to. I modeled it after a wrestling ring so he’d feel right at home!
Here’s the CAD model I created from scratch, using a block-out model of the figurine as a size reference.
I then uploaded the model to Shapeways, this super company that will 3D print your CAD models in a variety of materials, and even sell them to other people through their website for you!
My first 3D printed design! El Hijo looks right at home 🙂
I embossed his name in the ring floor. My original model was sent back because I needed to thicken up the font a little.
Now accepting challengers!
Now that I had a system down and everything, I thought it’d be a good time to do the rest of the rear bushings! Also, I’m a glutton for punishment :/
Decided to convert the miata into a hovercar instead 🙂
This pretty much sums up the kind of project this is going to be. That’s my father’s now busted breaker bar. It’s called that because it’s supposed to do the breaking. This is also photographic evidence of what happens when you add too much leverage to your handle, e.g., sticking a pipe on the end.
Anyway, I bought him a new one. They’ve wised up since whatever decade my dad bought that thing and that joint is beefier now. I believe it’s also forged instead of cast. Badass!
I drilled a hole in the right-rear-lower control arm as a access port for trying to beat the bolt out of the RR shock. It didn’t work. Those lower shock bolts were probably the worst from this or the lowering springs project. And believe me, that’s saying something!
Made use of my extra scissor jack to hold the lower control arm away from its mount to get at the bushings.
Besides seizing to every surface possible, those lower shocks bolts are a pain to get to (thanks Mazda). Here you can see the nut, which I slathered in anti-seize. Good foresight? Just wishful thinking? Time will tell.
You can see how much more meat the new bushings have on them. I could have gone with some fancier/stiffer competition polyurethane bushings, but the car is pretty old and honestly harsh enough over bumps as it is. If you take out too much energy-absorption, things can start breaking…
The engineer in me enjoyed the opportunity to make a real-life exploded view! 😀
Lubed up and ready for entry!
Inboard bushings are done, time for the two outboard bushings, which are conveniently mounted using a single, foot-long, bear of a bolt.
Heat and beat!
As you’ve probably figured out by now, these two bolts (left and right lower outboard) were a huge PITA. I sheared one, and the other was so bent–not by me, surprisingly–that it took one of the bushings with it!
I sanded and painted the bushing surfaces to give the new ones a happier home.
Thought I’d go nuts and give the whole thing a good wire brushing and a fresh coat of paint!
Time for another exploded view!
Nice, by-the-book, definitely-not-sketchy jacking job 😉
To summarize, that sucked. But at least with new bolts and bushings in the rear, and new camber bolts all around (this project was immediately followed by a professional alignment), the car is in better shape for the years to come!
Am I going to change my oil, replace my brake rotors, replace my brake pads, refinish my brake rotors, replace some wishbone bushings, or replace my fuel filter? Answer: all of the above, over the course of about 5 days :S
Isn’t it beautiful?
Starting with the front right corner. Here I’ve got the brake rotor and caliper off.
A zip-tie and a c-clamp will keep that caliper out of the way.
Fresh front rotors and pads!
Left Rear corner is ready for a refreshed rotor and new pads.
Here you can see that the pads weren’t wearing evenly (old on the right), so I lubed the caliper pins a bit.
Rear rotor before (shiny!)
Rear rotor after some healthy sanding with emory cloth.
This image is showing that I slid the muffler back on the exhaust pipe to move the tip out from the bumper. (The exhaust hangers now hang straight down.
You can see the exhaust tip sticks out a bit now. When it was flush it would blacken the bumper and I got tired of cleaning it off.
OK, time for the bushings.
The control arm is off. You can see that it has shifted the outboard bushing as well.
A close up of the shifted outboard bushing.
The patient is on the table.
This is the setup I devised to get the old bushings out. It consists of a piece of PVC pipe that is exactly the right ID, a c-clamp and a big-a$$ washer.
Now removing the old bushing from the upright.
Soooo it looks like other things have shifted as well. Time to get the pry bar!
Next week I’ll be replacing the bushings in the other 3 rear wishbones.
This protective plastic cover is located under the radiator and engine to protect them from unwanted debris and probably plays an aerodynamic role as well. Needless to say on a car this low it tends to take a beating, not to mention it’s missing a bunch of fasteners. Time for a replacement!
It’s still missing fasteners…
A couple days later I discovered this:
The red arrows indicate the gap (now filled with grease) and point of contact (small arrow) that shouldn’t be there. This A-arm, the rear upper right, has worn down its bushings enough to slide on them and has slid forward (away from the camera), creating those gaps.
That’s going to be a decent-sized project. Time to order some parts!