Good design is an uncompromising blend of form and function. Why sacrifice one when you can have both, particularly if you can make them compliment one another. I had tons of holes in the firewall that weren’t going to be used. They were ugly and they’d have let fire through. What’s the point of a firewall that doesn’t effectively block fire? Idk, but now they’re plugged so no fire will get through and an eyesore is gone. The strut tops were also really quite ugly. That’s unacceptable. I triangulated them to the frame rails. That’s good, and looks really good.
If you’re thinking about shaving your bay…stop. Seriously, cut it out. Save yourself the agony. The process requires tons of mindless labor and will leave you feeling broken in the end. It’s a lesson on how much manual labor sucks, and makes me glad that I’m going to school. But then again, I got most of this work done in a single day. Who knows, maybe I won’t be so bitter towards the process later as I am now–just waking up with a sore back. 22 year olds aren’t supposed to wake up with sore backs. I’m normally far too youthful and robust for that. If you’re old, shaving your bay will cause you to become an alcoholic.
Anyway, check it!
I started by cutting out the sections of frame rail that were raised for the stock fuel, return, and evap lines. I welded new metal in place.
The previous owner cut a section out of the frame rail to clear the turbo. I patched that with some new metal.
I started on the strut tops after I got the frame rails cleaned up.
I made templates out of paper, cut metal to the right shape, twisted the metal to follow the controur, did a little bit more trimming, and tacked it in place. The center segment is entirely flat, but the sides required some light bending with my design.
The factory gussets weren’t exactly symmetrical from the factory so I had to weld in a wedge of metal to make both sides level. Now the gusset meets up with my plate.
This is what they looked like when they were nearly done. I’m certainly not the first to box the strut tops on a Miata, but as far as I know, I’m the first to go about it this way. Mine look the best…and are the strongest. Winrar!
I did the grinding with 60 and 120 grit flapper disks.
These will look amazing with the tiniest amount of filler and some paint.
Then plugged the holes in the firewall.
Because heaters are for those who do not have jackets:
Because AC is for men who carry handbags:
I also got rid of the two big holes that scary masses of factory tentacles run through. Welding in those cramped areas with poor lighting and no visibility was kind of tricky. My welds looks pretty lousy, but this isn’t structural.
This is how the bay looked when I went to bed. All I have left is the hole in the passenger side frame rail.
In other news, my Flyin’ Miata v8 sway bar came in yesterday. It looks good. My Sanderson ceramic coated block hugger headers came in a few days ago. They look good. I also picked up a Getrag differential from a local salvage place. 3.23, so second gear may serve a purpose if I have race tires on there, 4k miles, and I got it for a good price($250). Hooray!