Targa Miata
June 10, 2008 - I don't know why I didn't do this earlier.
On 1994-05 Miatas, there's a plate that covers a big open area above the radiator. The Targa car didn't have one - and even the stock ones wouldn't be ideal, as they leave room for a hood latch.
So I made my own out of aluminum. It's nothing special, but it will perhaps convince some wayward air to take the productive route through the radiator instead of being lazy and simply going around.
entry 473 - tags: cooling
August 29, 2008 - Something else that showed up in the rereading of the regulations was that the car should not have antifreeze in the cooling system.
This is fairly common with race cars because antifreeze is really slippery stuff. I should have thought of that. So the coolant was drained and refilled with straight water and Water Wetter. It's a water pump lubricant (as per the regulations) that also drops the surface tension of the water to avoid spot boiling. According to the bottle it has all sorts of magical properties, and it really does work according to some testing we've done at Flyin' Miata. It's also the coolest color.
entry 522 - tags: preparation, cooling
February 24, 2009 - I investigated the blown fan fuse a little more, and check this out.
That's some crispy wiring. A wiring expert was trying to tell me I'd used too small a connector, but I reached down and tried to spin the fan by hand. No go. It was seized solid. I figure the motor must have locked up and the resulting load melted the wiring and tripped the fuse. Based on how the car was behaving, I suspect this happened right about the time I got to Newfoundland.
There was nothing to do but to replace the fan. Luckily, Flyin' Miata has them on the shelf. A new fan, a couple of new connectors and it's sorted.
I've been driving the car to work the last couple of days. It was raining today - I'd forgotten just how happy the car is putting down power in the wet. The suspension's working pretty nicely, so it's all just about ready for the long trip out west. I just need to fine-tune the toe settings on the car, and I might give it an alignment just to make sure nothing got battered out of position during the race.
entry 658 - tags: cooling, fans
July 16, 2010 - I've been working on other cars, and the Targa Miata has been sitting.
"Sure boss, I guess I'll drive the supercharged 2006 at the track day to see how it does" - that was actually a really good track day, as it poured rain. The combination of a powerful car on wide street tires and heavy rain made me work on some skills that could prove very useful at Targa.
But the car hasn't been forgotten. I've removed the 300 lb secondary springs to cut down on that initial body roll and sharpen up the car's reflexes. The radiator was removed as part of some cooling system testing and has ended up in Janel's street Miata. The differential is coming out so we can test a different unit. All of this should be on the track in a bit over a week.
But when I was working on the car, I discovered a problem. I know the Performance Friction PFC97 pads are hard on rotors, and I've been watching the slots on the rotor as a guide of wear. But when the wheels were off for something else, I took a closer look and was shocked. The rotor in the picture used to have slots! The outer face still has lots of meat and isn't showing dramatic wear, but the inner face is completely worn away. Both front wheels were like this. Yikes. I also discovered a cracked rear rotor.
So, what happened? Good question. The brackets on my brakes are from a source that often needs a bit of shimming to get them aligned well enough to clear the rotors, and even then my calipers are off-center on the rotor. I wouldn't think a 4-piston caliper would matter, but the brackets are being replaced with new ones that are perfectly designed and machined to keep the caliper centered. New rotor rings are on the way. Flyin' Miata is also testing a different brake kit that will be on the car for the next couple of track days, so there's no big hurry.
I have new rotor rings on the way to replace these.
entry 758 - tags: brakes, suspension, cooling
March 31, 2011 - The radiator was specifically designed for V8 conversions.
It's got the correct size inlet and outlet for the big motor and is a very efficient dual-pass crossflow design. The radiator mounts have to be altered to move the rad forward as much as possible. This involves cutting and welding the stock bits and lots of test-fitting. To avoid damage to the radiator, I wrapped a layer of cardboard around the core.
entry 803 - tags: cooling, v8
May 16, 2011 - Time to start with some of the plumbing.
First, an oil cooler. I'm setting this car up with both an oil cooler and a remote filter kit for two reasons. One, of course, is to keep oil temps under control. That's not liable to be an issue during the Targa, but it's pretty hot around here.
The remote filter is to move the filter up and out of harm's way. Otherwise it's mounted at the bottom of the engine and is just waiting for a Newfoundland rock to elope with it.
entry 823 - tags: cooling, oil
May 16, 2011 - The previous picture of the oil cooler showed the bracket I built to install it in the nose.
It should get a fair bit of airflow here! If it wants to vibrate around, I'll look at installing some braces on the bottom but there's not much to brace to really.
You can also see the amount of damage - I mean "patina" to the nose of the car here. Also, I had some fun with the bolt colors again, copying the Martini colors with a Classic Red, Mariner Blue and a Crystal Blue bolt.
entry 825 - tags: cooling, oil
May 16, 2011 - Lots of fun with braided oil line!
Bill put a similar oil cooler on Elvis a while back so I knew what collection of pieces I'd need, but I had to make the lines up piece by piece. Somehow, I managed to do this without puncturing my hand too badly. The best tool for cutting the big -10 line was a chop saw.
entry 826 - tags: cooling, oil
May 16, 2011 - I forgot to take a picture of this earlier, but the fans are in place.
It's an off-the-shelf setup from Flyin' Miata for the V8 cars, and it's really effective at pulling air through the radiator. Cooling should not be a problem.
I'll have the engine out again, so I'll get a better picture then.
entry 827 - tags: cooling