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Thread: Used Mirages aren't cheap enough yet! So here's my new $1k car (1990 Miata)

  1. #1
    Administrator MetroMPG's Avatar
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    Used Mirages aren't cheap enough yet! So here's my new $1k car (1990 Miata)

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    My latest turd-bucket is on the road!

    It's a 1990 Mazda Miata MX-5.

    I've wanted one since the day I drove my relative's brand new Miata, also a first year model. It only took 27 years for the price to come down enough to suit my budget!

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    The biggest problem: the driver's floor was rusted out -- not because of salt (it was never winter driven), but because the ratty convertible top leaked and the carpets were always wet. Bad!

    And it didn't help that it sat for a couple of years in the grass.

    Fortunately it wasn't so far gone that some welding couldn't fix it! I'm a mediocre to terrible welder, but my work was apparently good enough to pass safety inspection. I just wish I'd had access to a lift - it would have made the job so much easier.

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    After the floor repair, some brake work (rusted from sitting for so long), a new radiator (OK, a used one from my pile of Swift/Metro parts), one stablizer bar end link, and a few light bulbs, the car was on the road for a few dollars below $1k, all in.

    Of course, being a hardcore fuel economy nut, I've also been modifying it for better MPG. The latest two fills: 44 & 45 mpg US in mostly scenic route relaxed driving, engine-off at stops etc. (A Mirage would be getting ~60 mpg driven similarly, I'm sure.) My goal is 50 MPG.

    It's super fun to drive. Very light (about the same as a North American Mirage), RWD, quick-ratio steering, addictive short-throw stubby shifter, great exhaust note (OEM).

    If you ever get the chance, try one!


        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2014 Mirage base ES 1.2 manual: 54.0 mpg (US) ... 23.0 km/L ... 4.4 L/100 km ... 64.9 mpg (Imp)


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  3. #2
    Moderator Eggman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
    My latest turd-bucket is on the road!
    Pictures (on the road) or it didn't happen.

    Congratulations!

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage ES 1.2 manual: 50.1 mpg (US) ... 21.3 km/L ... 4.7 L/100 km ... 60.2 mpg (Imp)


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    Senior Member Top_Fuel's Avatar
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    I've always been a Monster Miata fan, but that kind of defeats the high fuel mileage purpose.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage ES 1.2 manual: 51.4 mpg (US) ... 21.9 km/L ... 4.6 L/100 km ... 61.8 mpg (Imp)


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    Administrator MetroMPG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Top_Fuel View Post
    I've always been a Monster Miata fan, but that kind of defeats the high fuel mileage purpose.
    Ooo, yes, there's a Miata 5.0 around here.

    The one thing I covet from those cars is the super tall rear end they make for the V8 conversion. That'd drop my cruising RPM! This thing is geared crazier than a 5-speed Mirage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eggman View Post
    Pictures (on the road) or it didn't happen.
    Ha! OK, I'll post one when I get a few more mods on it. I'm going through coroplast at a good rate.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2014 Mirage base ES 1.2 manual: 54.0 mpg (US) ... 23.0 km/L ... 4.4 L/100 km ... 64.9 mpg (Imp)


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    Administrator MetroMPG's Avatar
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    on the road pic

    Here ya go:

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    And now there's a little bit of Mirage in it!

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    I put Enasaves on the front wheels. They came off Rival Autosport's 2014 Mirage (RIP).

    They're slightly narrower than the stock tire (165 vs 185) which improves aerodynamics. And they've presumably got much lower rolling resistance than the tires that came off (though I still want to do a coastdown test to confirm that).

    I didn't put Enasaves on the drive wheels because I went with an oversize wheel/tire combo to raise gearing/reduce cruising RPM.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2014 Mirage base ES 1.2 manual: 54.0 mpg (US) ... 23.0 km/L ... 4.4 L/100 km ... 64.9 mpg (Imp)


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    Administrator MetroMPG's Avatar
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    50 mpg Miata: Enasaves helped

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    My last 2 tanks in the Miata came in at 50 & 51 MPG US (4.7 & 4.6 L/100 km).

    The Mirage's Enasaves helped measurably: I actually did a low speed coast-down comparison against the tires the car came with (GT Radials @ 185/60R14), and the rolling resistance improvement with the Ensaves was pretty big.

    Of course, I did a whole bunch of other ecomods to the car to help it get to 50 mpg (see my EcoModder thread if you're interested).

    Also note: my driving style contributed a lot to the result too. Amost all driving was relaxed cruising on scenic routes & back roads with a max speed limit of 80 km/h = 50 mph. And I was always using eco-driving techniques (including shutting off the engine when stopped, or when approaching some turns/slowdowns).

    A Mirage would have done better, of course. I bet I would have seen 60 - 65 MPG US driving a manual (unmodified) Mirage on the same roads in the same style.

    But the Miata is now parked until next year. The weather has changed for the worse. Oh, and the water pump started leaking last weekend. That's what you get for buying a crappy $1k car!

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2014 Mirage base ES 1.2 manual: 54.0 mpg (US) ... 23.0 km/L ... 4.4 L/100 km ... 64.9 mpg (Imp)


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    Senior Member Top_Fuel's Avatar
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    What is that material you are using for the air dam and wheel covers? I'm looking for a rigid, weatherproof material that can be easily cut. I want to use it to make a grill block.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage ES 1.2 manual: 51.4 mpg (US) ... 21.9 km/L ... 4.6 L/100 km ... 61.8 mpg (Imp)


  10. #8
    Administrator MetroMPG's Avatar
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    It's Coroplast (corrugated plastic)... and meets all your requirements. You can get it at places like Home Depot or sign shops.

    Same material I used to make the temporary ecomods on the 2014 Mirage:



    From thread... Mirage aero mods for better fuel economy: 4.5% improvement @ 90 km/h / 56 mph

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2014 Mirage base ES 1.2 manual: 54.0 mpg (US) ... 23.0 km/L ... 4.4 L/100 km ... 64.9 mpg (Imp)


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    Senior Member MightyMirageMpg's Avatar
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    I refuse to use store bought ramps too. Way to dangerous.

  13. #10
    Administrator MetroMPG's Avatar
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    Yeah, those are actually boat stands (welded steel). The boat usually that sits on them weighs about 10k lbs. The main reason I used them was to get the added height so I could work under the car more easily -- they're more than 2x the height of typical ramps.




        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2014 Mirage base ES 1.2 manual: 54.0 mpg (US) ... 23.0 km/L ... 4.4 L/100 km ... 64.9 mpg (Imp)


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