12.22.11 Spec Miata Progress

Posted: December 22, 2011 in Racing

Spent the last couple of days on the dashboard and gutting the interior doors.

Dashboard: With the dashboard I wanted to remove the passenger side airbag canister (thing weighs like 20 lbs and sits up high – high weight = bad in a racecar).  I could buy a $50 block off plate you bolt in or figure out a way to do it cheap with items I already had.  I decided to remove the airbag cover and figure out a way to bolt it in there but allow easy removal if needed.  I had to trim the back of the area to have access – just a minimal amount of cutting needed.  I found up using some bungees I had and stretched them to their limit.  Use the lower brace for the glove box to fashion a mount and a zip tie to hold it in place.  To remove will be easy – just cut the two zip ties and remove the bar and the entire thing will pop right out.

Door Panels: Next up was to gut the interior door sheet metal.  When I have a cage installed I will have easy access bars added.  These will actually give me more side room in the car and ease entry/exit.  They are also known as Nascar bars (the roll cage juts into the door area right up to the outer sheet metal / door panel.  This gives a bigger hole to get into the car and a seat to sit on while you get your legs over the top of the roll cage.  Before starting make sure you have the pattern you want / need b/c if you cut the entire inner door panel out it can make the door more flimsy and if you want to put in windows for travel / storage you’ll need something to mount them to (reason why I kept the upper portion).  Before cutting – mark the pattern you want.  I used a 5 1/4″ angle grinder with metal cutting disc and it ripped through the thin metal like it wasn’t there.  You can also use a body saw but it will take longer to cut – however it is much more nimble and smaller profile if you have a tight space.  Please note the bottom inside rear part of the doors have a small brace with two spot welds and the bottom front part by the speaker housing has 3.  Simple to remove by using a punch to create a dent in the spot weld then use a spot weld drill bit to remove them.   Make sure you grind down the cut metal so it’s not sharp.  I will also put in some edge trim to cover up the edges – will still be sharp.  Remove all the wiring as it is no longer needed – no more power windows or power mirrors (in fact side mirrors are optional in Spec Miata).

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Next project will be to cut out the hold exhaust (bolts are completely seized) and remove the wiring from the interior in prep for the roll cage.

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