How To Paint A Hardtop – DIY Style

Yesterday, John and I got cracking on my hardtop. So it went a little like this, This hardtop started off in a glossy red.

We got to work masking the seals and window before wet sanding with 800 grit paper.

After we were happy with the finish, We cleaned the hard top with wax and grease remover thoroughly and stripped the masking tape. We then re-applied some fresh masking tape.

This is halfway through painting the hardtop, You can see John getting all the little dust particles off the wet paint with a toothpick.

A few coats later, This is the finished result.

Here’s what it looks like on the car.

It took us about 4 hours from start to finish, We used only one sheet of wet/dry 800 grit sand paper, And four cans of Dulux flat white exterior paint. We used other things like tarps and masks to avoid overspray and inhaling toxic fumes from the paint. I’m going to let the paint harden then  I’ll wax it to seal the paint. Take your time with masking and sanding, The finish is all in the prep work!

I’m still waiting on my hardtop bolts before I can rock it permanently. Once they arrive ( Or I find some locally) I’ll strip the soft top.


Front Bumper Hybrid In Production

Autokonexion are currently designing a new front bumper for the NA series Roadster. It consists of a NA bumper, And an NC bumper grafted together. Yep, sounds odd but it’s looking quite promising!  Check out the thread going on at here.

Miata Journal – Issue IV Out Now!

After a long wait, Issue IV of Miata Journal has just been released! This issue features a Lemans inspired NC, Shintaro’s immaculate NA, And yours truely. Check out the new issue here.

Beatrush PPF Brace

Last week, I ordered a Beatrush PPF brace direct from Laile themself. Three days later, It arrived at my work. Just yesterday I managed to get around to installing it. The quality of the brace is exceptional, good welds and great machining with a solid design. Laile supply spacers too, Just incase your exhaust design hangs low, Or you wish to keep the factory bracing that the NB’s have.

Installation was a little harder then I thought. You need to remove the two PPF bolts and two bolts on the rear subframe. You use the OEM bolts for the PPF, And the bolts Beatrush supply for the subframe. If your doing this on jackstands, Prepare for a very tedious installation, As it’s very awkuard with the lack of room. Make sure you have your factory jack handy too, As you’ll need to raise the diff in order to line the PPF bolts up for reinstall. With the install complete I found the car to be less “gittery” whilst turning, Which is what I wanted as the locker causes alot of movement within the drivetrain. The only problem I had was that the subframe bolts didn’t like up 100%, Which is a shame.

There it is, The finished result for now. It hangs rather low and I don’t really wanna scratch up the PPF brace, So I might cut the OEM bracing in order to raise the PPF brace. Seeing that the bolts don’t line up I might use a smaller bolt & nut combo so they can sit flush with the brace, And not protrude as seen above.’

I’ll need to take the car for a good drive to feel the effect the PPF brace has created.

iConcept Tie Rod Install

So yesterday I installed the iConcept tie rods. I did some research over the web to see what I was getting myself into and then decided to have a crack at it. This tutorial helped me grasp what needed to be done, Be sure to have a look at it too. Anyway I jacked up the car (that’s a mission in itself, I really need to get a slimline jack), And took the shrouding off to get better access to the steering rack. I then took the wire and clamp holding the boot and slid them all to the left. Look what we have here. 

I used a screw driver and rubber mallet to remove the safety lock on the OEM rod (the square thing with bent tabs in the above picture), And then started unscrewing the OEM rod. Now was the perfect time to do a comparison on both the OEM and iConcept tie rod. See below. 

As you can see, The iConcept tie rod is a much more superior piece then the OEM rod. It’s much thicker and allows a longer thread on both ends more adjustablity, And the option to run a spacer to further increase lock. 

I installed the new rods the hard way, I screwed one end into the ball joint (which is bolted to the steering knuckle) and then screwed the other end into the steering rack, It was a pain in the ass this way, As you needed to get the tie rods ball joint aligned perfectly for it to screw into the steering rack. The easy way would be to remove the ball joint which is bolted to the steering knuckle, Screw the tie rod into the steering rack and then refit the ball joint. 

Anyway installation was pretty smooth sailing, I did have one hiccup though … The passenger side rods was slightly threaded at the end, But nothing I couldn’t fix with Mr. Angle grinder. Here’s a snap of the tie rod in its new home. 

Make sure you get a wheel alignment as soon as you can, As the toe will be all over the place and the car will steer like utter shit! So the moment you’ve all been waiting for … How much extra lock do the iConcept tie rods offer, I’ll let the pictures speak for themself. 

OEM Tie Rod 

iConcept Tie Rod

The pictures are a little different regarding angles etc, So I apologize for that, But you can still see how much lock is achieved with the iConcept. These tie rods are a great option for the NB guys now that Secret Element do not plan to make any more NB tie rods. You can get these babies from Yahoo Japan, Or contact either Jesse Streeter to source you some.

Just remember, You’ll need to have a lowish offset wheel to be able to utilize the extra lock. Don’t think you can gain extra lock with stock wheels, As you’ll be hitting chassis and suspension components. Just as a rough guide, An 8 inch wheel with +25 offset will just cut it, It might rub from time to time though.

Not much left for me to do before the next event. I might change the oil and fit that camera mount tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Camera Mount On It’s Way!

Well I’ve been wanting to record footage of previous events for quite a while now, But I’d always forget to get myself one. I spoke to Barry at Camzilla on my first event about them all, They look to be a very solid design, And are able to move to any position you desire. So realising that the next drift night was coming up fast, I bit the bullet and bought the rollcage clamp mount assembly so I could get some in-car action!

Miata Journal – Issue III out now!

That’s right guys, Miata Journal’s 3rd issue has just been released. For those of you that don’t know about Miata Journal, It is basically a FREE online magazine that focus’s on the worlds most popular sports car, Which is released each month.

This months features include the Goodwin Racing NC, and mental LS6 NB. Check it out here.