Reassembly, part II

Final assembly day.  I had several odds and ends today.  Again its all pretty self explanatory.

Hood / Trunk Pins

I made lanyards out of 1/16” steel rope, and drilled holes in the understructure of the hood and trunk.  Then I pop-riveted the strike plates in place.

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Reassembly, part I

This is mostly a pictorial, its all pretty self explanatory.

Unveiling the Cage

It takes time unwrap a cage after being masked.  Lots of tape, and still sticky paint.  It took a couple hours to get it all off.  But, I think it was worth the wait.


Continue reading Reassembly, part I

Painting, Part I

Last weekend I primed the cage.  As I said then, I’d hoped to paint it on Sunday but the temp fell into the 40s.  This week 80+…tomorrow…55.  Ah Texas.  Anyway, painting…the theory is that it is easier to paint the cage first, mask it, and paint the floor/interior second.  Lets test that theory!

I’ve elected to go with Rustoleum Safety Yellow, Gloss for the cage.  I used brush-on.  In the end it took three coats to completely cover the primer color.

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Priming the roll cage, and odds and ends


One major task for this weekend, and several small ones.  I’d planned on trying to get the interior completely painted, but the weather on Sunday didn’t cooperate.  while Saturday was 75+, Sunday barely made it to 55.  Sure, you “can” paint when the temp is above 50…but, should you really?  Anyway, Saturday spent the day prepping and then priming the interior and cage.  So, I’d wanted to get “self etching primer”, many people recommended the NAPA brand primer, but none of the local stores had it in stock.  I called a Sherwin Williams and they had their “prep & primer”.  This stuff wasn’t exactly what I’d expected from talking to the guy on the phone.  Its called “prep & primer”, but from what I can tell its more like “prep”.  For bare metal with minimal rust, the recommended application method is to mix 1:3 with water, and brush or spray on with a squirt bottle.

So, that’s what I did.  I mixed it a little stronger than recommended…and then sprayed it onto all the bare metal.  I let it sit for 30 minutes, and then washed it off with water.  It left the metal very dull with a slightly whitish hue.  The surface was quite “rough”, not smooth and slick like bare metal.


Continue reading Priming the roll cage, and odds and ends

Roll Cage: Welded, window net, Dash, ductwork, and Fire patching

The thing missing from this post is “reinstalled exhaust”.  That’s because it won’t fit.  The catalytic converter is incompatible with my transmission tunnel notch.  Not sure what I’m going to do about that.  I’d really hoped to be able to install the cat for street use.  I guess I’ll have to find out if I have to pass an emissions test, or if I can pass it without the cat.

This is a long post-everything listed in the title is completed and chronicled in this post..  Bear with me.  I guess I could split it into multiple parts…but, it was one long weekend (3 days, by the way); might as well have a post to mirror the way it went down…..

Continue reading Roll Cage: Welded, window net, Dash, ductwork, and Fire patching

Roll Cage: Seats Installed, almost ready to weld


As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the spec miata seat is a short seat pan and leaves your legs feeling unsupported.  William Bonsell suggested elevating the front edge of the seat by about 1”.  I tried this last weekend and it makes a big difference.  So, today I bought some 1 1/4” angle, cut it to length, and then ground notches in it to get the seat angle “just right”.  To support the steel, I cut some small squares to fit under the angle, and welded them in place.



Continue reading Roll Cage: Seats Installed, almost ready to weld

Roll Cage: Trans Tunnel Patch, Driver’s Seat Mount

Hmmm….I’m ready to be done with the cage and move on to something else…like driving it!  Oh well, can’t get done if you don’t get started.  Onward!

As frequent visitors will know, I had to cut a notch in my transmission tunnel to move the seat far enough away from the upper door bar.  Well, in reality it is to move my HEAD away from the door bar.  At any rate, its time to patch the holes.  The side and bottom of the notch both have a curve to them.  So, cutting a single piece and hammering it to “fit” would have been a pain, and probably not very successful.  I chose to cut the steel into three pieces: one for the side, one for the bottom, and one to fill the front triangle area.

I used poster board to trace out the patterns, then cut the steel to match.  First, I tacked the bottom piece into place.  I did this by tacking at one end, and then bending it into place, tacking as I went. 


Continue reading Roll Cage: Trans Tunnel Patch, Driver’s Seat Mount

Roll Cage: Rear Cross-brace, passenger’s door bars

The first task of the day was to install the rear cross bar, and diagonal bar.  Simple stuff..these straight bars.  The idea is to cut and fit the diagonal bar first, then just cut the cross-bar to fit.  I like the look of the overlapping joints.



Continue reading Roll Cage: Rear Cross-brace, passenger’s door bars

Roll Cage: Driver’s Door Bars

Okay, so based on the traffic to the site recently….folks are getting bored with the cage install.  That’s okay, its almost done.  I ordered the last of the parts that need to be welded to the cage, today.  Accomplishments for the day: drivers door bars, and rear diagonal bar.

Windshield Bar (Round 2)

Okay, so last weekend I installed a door bar as the windshield bar.  Today I got to grind and cut it out.  Step one, put a brand new grinding wheel on the angle grinder to make sure I grind out nice and square.  Once it was down to almost base metal, I put the cutting wheel on and under cut the weld.  Then I used a hammer to knock it free.  Finally, I put an old grinding wheel (rounded and smooth) on and ground the rest of the old weld material off and the pipe smooth.

Next install the REAL windshield bar.  Not surprisingly it will a little quicker the second time around.  Unfortunately, it reveals the mistakes I made with the cage sides.  Apparently, I’ve left them a little wide, and cut them a little short.  Then windshield bar doesn’t reach all the way to the windshield frame.  Its not a structural issue, it just sits a little lower than it could.

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Roll Cage: Window Bar, Knee bar, Rear Down tubes

Today’s job was to finish fitting and tack in all parts of the main cage, if I could.  Everything always seems to go slower than you want!  Anyway, the things left are the Winshield bar, knee bar, and rear down-tubes.  I spent most of the day on the windshield bar.  The windshield bar and knee bar both fit between the cage sides that I finished yesterday.  The trick (if there is one) is that both bars need to fit tight between the sides.  Since the knee bar is straight its a little easier to fit.

Windshield Bar

The Windshield bar is another bar whose fit is rather critical without much room for error.  Also, like the cage sides I wasn’t sure of the exact geometry that I was supposed to follow.  Given the shape of the bends I began testing placements, angling various different ways from straight vertical towards the roof to straight horizontal protruding into the windshield space.  I settled on a slightly upward placement that is aligned with the back edge of the windshield frame, and weather-strip.  it fits tight to the sheet metal…and keeps the bars away from my head space.


Continue reading Roll Cage: Window Bar, Knee bar, Rear Down tubes