Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Weak are Killed and Eaten

Special thanks to my friend Greg, who gave me this shirt for Xmas. I am determined to wear it to every single racing event I attend this year. Yes, it'll look to my autocross friends as though I'm a filthy, unwashed philistine. Or at least like I have no other clothes, because I spend all my money on racing. Which isn't far from the truth.

To be imprecise, I spent more than $650 on parts for my Miata on the 2 weeks following Thanksgiving. A mere 3 days after I replaced my broken differential with a fancy-schmancy viscous limited slip one ($220), the clutch failed. I took a day off of work and my dad and I replaced the thing along with the rear main seal. I also found out that the oil pan gasket in the area just below the rear main seal was leaking, and had been improperly repaired before with Permatex gasket maker spread over the area of the leak. Once I found out that dropping the oil pan for a proper repair involved basically removing the entire engine, I opted simply to clean off the old stuff and reapply. It's actually working. ($200, including various chemicals and supplies)

After this, I put on my snow tires (with heavier 14" steel wheels) and am reminded of the scary vibration at higher speeds. Specifically, at 70+ mph. I had previously tried to chase down this problem only to get tired of spending money after balancing all the wheels, replacing a wheel bearing, and replacing an axle. I knew the vibration was coming from the rear right corner, but I couldn't figure out what component had failed until the day I was doing the clutch. I wiggled that rear wheel, and there was play at the top/bottom, but not left/right. And I could see the axle move with the play, whereas the upright was staying still. This could only mean that the bore for the wheel bearing was distorted. I ordered a new one. ($80)

The following week begins, and my car needs a jump to start at any temperature below 40 degrees. I replace the battery. ($100) Starting improves, but its still very slow to crank and not exactly confidence-inspiring. I replace the starter, fearing sub-zero jump starts. ($60) Starting is solid.

My dad had picked up a new clutch slave cylinder for me sometime during all this, because while replacing the clutch, we noticed the boot on the slave was destroyed. My brother, Brian, helped me install the clutch slave on the same day as the starter. ($50, but my dad paid for it)

My family had Xmas early this year, on the 19th. My dad got me a pair of subframe braces from 949Racing. After the festivities were over, he and I went out to the garage, replaced that rear-right suspension upright (also called a hub assembly) and installed the rear brace. I'll find out for sure once I hit the interstate if the vibration is gone.

That's been the big maintenance lately. Posts coming soon regarding a brake job on the ZX2, my new not-made-of-a-wire-hanger-and-duct-tape radio antenna, and my brother's car crash. Don't worry, he's OK. The car is definitely not.

For a few more photos and details on the differential and clutch job, click the picture below.

diff and clutch

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