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$200 Miata: Part 7

I spent the long weekend doing some work I’d been putting off on the Miata. Subframe has been pretty badly bent for as long as I’ve owned the car. Looks like the previous owner jumped a curb or something. The ears around the driver side control arm were folded over and caused binding in the far end of droop travel.


First problem I ran into was that literally every fastener was hard seized in place. You can imagine how bad it was from the crustiness on the two photos above. I’ve never snapped off so many m12 bolts in my life. Thankfully, the lift helped a lot with giving me extra leverage on stuck stuff and dropping the subframe.


From there I had to take somewhat drastic measures to free the few fasteners and components I needed to reuse. Here’s an example of how seized everything was and what I had to do for disassembly.


The assembled rear subframe I pulled off the 1.8 swap donor car went in without issue, its a torsen LSD too! Way less crusty, and nothing seems to be unservicable.


From there, everything on the rear end went in pretty easily. The PPF is always a little annoying on Miatas, but I’ve had this one off so many times it didn’t pose any problems.

Picked up a free set of coilovers a while back that I’d been putting off due the the rust on pivots and damage to the rear subframe. I didn’t have any problems until I got to installing the front shocks. Bolts here were frozen just as bad as the ones out back, but without a spare subframe to throw on I had to work with what was there. Worst one was driver side lower shock mount.


Turning the bolt, just spun and tore the bushing inside the shock body. Had to enlist the help of a friend to get it out. It took 15 minutes under a propane torch and two 4.5lb sledges simultaneously from both sides of the arm. What came out looked like this, the shiny areas are where it had fused to the inner bushing.


I retapped it and reused it... because why not?

Rest of the job went pretty fast. On reassembly, I coated everything in gallons of a fancy ceramic anti seize I heard about from a friend.


Final thing I did was throw on a hitch that I’d picked up a few months ago.


Was a little rusty, so I gave it a paint job before install. Green/black colorshift that I wasn’t going to use on anything else. Probably the nicest looking thing on the car.


This should make picking up more project motorbikes and spare engines a lot easier/cheaper in the future. Has about a 2000lb tow capacity, so a small trailer will be just fine.


Taking it out for a drive, the suspension is a lot more compliant than I was expecting. I’m used to cheap coilovers being ultra stiff “feel the difference between a penny and a dime on the road” These are just a little bit stiffer than stock, and not blown, so far better. Probably going to drop another half inch after I see if it has more settling to do, I don’t want to lose travel before bump stop.

Project Accounting
Car $200

Clutch $100

Clutch Hydraulics $40

Door $40

Battery $40

LSD and spare rear subframe $250

Set of Stock Wheels $20

2x Federal 595 tires $80

Extra exhaust $70

Plug Wires $25

Front Brakes $104

Roll Bar and Avid 1 wheels with Toyo T1-R Tires $300


Long Tube Header: Free

Raceland Coilovers: Free

Lightweight Hardtop: $200

Some unknown catback: Free

Vanity Japanese Front Plate: $10

LED Headlights: $60

Trailer Hitch: $100

1994 1.8L Swap with trans, torsen diff, and assembled rear subrame $400

Total $2039

Hopefully, the next big update is the motor swap!

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