street finds: remarkably beige rabbit


x3 vs. x7

i was originally planning on using the x7 complete front suspension on my wagon: crossmember and steering rack and strut assemblies as a direct bolt-in. direct after cutting and welding anyway.

after comparing the crossmembers it affirms what i was told months ago. im going to have to combine the parts from each to get it all mounted correctly.

the crossmember to frame rail mounting points on the x7 are a couple inches wider.


the mounting points for the LCAs are too, and those are different between the sets as well. x3 still attached to the strut assembly on right:


Toyota is good about making their parts very interchangeable, so disassembling everything should yield a relatively complete parts bin with some options for shifting the geometry as necessary.

on the drivetrain side, more work was completed on tearing down the engine and cleaning the inches of caked-on sludge and grime.




Spent the weekend working around this thing. Managed to get most of the removable stuff off the front/top/sides of the engine and soaked overnight to break up the caked-on crud. I made a day of pressure-washing and managed to get these things looking nice and shiny again.

The crank pulley is free, now I just need to continue the teardown. This has gone from a light refresh with a couple replaced gaskets to a full-on OEM gasket set replace everything that touches liquid kind of job. New water and oil pumps, timing belt kit and starter will be on order as well. As long as we’re going there, no reason not to replace the valve stem seals too right? Head gaskets and studs? Stopping just short of a rebuild seems logical, but might as well take a look at the bearings while I have the pan off…



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started teardown on this today. it was by far the dirtiest engine i have ever encountered. half a gallon of simple green and 30 minutes of 3,000 psi water got it just clean enough to get to the nuts and bolts.

it ran well enough before i pulled it, so here’s hoping it won’t take too much to bring it back to daily duty.



getting work done


street fd



donor beast

plucked from the carcass of this decaying beast: one engine crossmember and everything connected to it, minus the engine.


back to basics

i’ve owned my miata longer than any of the other cars in my garage/driveway/backyard. i bought it in 2007 to build into a weekend track toy, but it never set tires to tarmac. pulling daily driver duty, it’s been through two engines, two timing belts, two radiators, two clutches, a water pump, four sets of tires, two sets of brake pads and rotors… multiple road trips, three houses and four jobs. all with a minimum amount of fuss and zero drama. calling it merely dependable would be doing the car a major disservice.

stage 1.5 was bolt ons and cheap as free springs, and the car finally had the snarl and bark to match the semi-serious shark mouth. it was still lacking proper bite though, and so i set about giving the little guy some real teeth. pulling this engine is almost rote behavior. i had everything out within 3 hours, pressure washed in five and put away inside of seven. i was moving too fast to get pictures of anything, but i took a break and snapped this early in the day.


cleaner, redder, warmer

so with the holidays creating a nice little hole in my work schedule, i decided to put some time into my wagon. my plans were interrupted by family obligations, then an untimely onset of cold/flu symptoms, but i was finally able to break out the pressure washer yesterday and make some headway on the engine bay. i wish that i’d taken a before pic, but use your imagination to conjure up the image of 30 years of leaky 4M fluids and road grime congealing into an inch-thick layer of tar that wouldn’t budge with repeated simple green applications and brillo scrubbings.



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