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I decided to take the Volvo back home and put it in the garage while I figured out what to do with the flaky transmission. Unfortunately, on the way home from the shop, another malady has appeared to rear its ugly head: the engine appears to be running on three founders late cylinders and not the full compliment of four. Nuts. Well, any further diagnosis and work is just going to have to wait until I return from Alaska…

When I got my Mustang back, the shop had installed the Maier Racing subframe connectors, z-brace, and panhard bar, and modified the OEM-type replacement exhaust I had gotten from National Parts Depot. However, clearances were tight, and in order to fit everything, the rear end of the car had to be lowered with a 1″ block in order to provide clearance for the driveshaft, and the exhaust had no clearance in several places, making contact with the z-brace.

After calling Maier Racing, I was informed that, yes, the car needed to be lowered about an inch in order to use the z-brace on the car. I suppose this is as good a time as any to go ahead and lower the car a bit and stiffen up the suspension some, with a 1″ drop all around and doing the Shelby drop for the front upper A-arm, which also nets me a better camber curve for the front wheels.

In the meantime, though, I had to do something about all of the clanking about when driving the car on the street. I finally decided that the easiest solution would be to simply remove the z-brace.

So that’s what I did tonight. Kinda sucks to spend money on a part, then more money on having it welded in, only to remove it two days after getting the car back. But I’ve got just two and a half weeks before the car leaves for Seattle, so simple and quick fixes are the name of the game now.

I’ll drive to work tomorrow and see if things have improved. I can’t imagine that they haven’t. Next up: fixing all of the electrical gremlins that have suddenly popped up on the car after the turn signal switch was replaced…

Hooray! I’m getting my Mustang back today! Drove it for the first time in about two years. There’s still plenty of work to be done, though…

First day back at work after returning from China. Long day and not many cars left in the lot at the end of today, but that’s okay. One thing I’m happy about is that I’m driving again — and no longer and subject to a world where drivers are in fourth gear by the time they hit 20 mph…

I ran the Fiesta ST at a local autocross event a month ago when it started overheating again in 67 degree weather. Immediately after the event, I called Demmer Lincoln and asked to schedule a time for them to look at my car, as their engine tech, Jessica, is apparently the tech for all things Ford hot hatch. She was swamped with work, so the service writer told me to come in next week.

Two weeks ago, I proceeded to drop the Fiesta ST off at the service department. Then… nothing. The car waited and waited in the service queue while several other cars in front of it were undergoing engine replacements or engine work.

Finally, there was a break in the action, and by that, I mean “the service tech had to wait on parts for all of the cars she was working on.” So the Fiesta ST finally rolled into the shop and got a diagnosis.

And the diagnosis is… a bad thermostat. Thermostat replaced, and the car was ready to be picked up. The car spent two weeks sitting outside, only to be buttoned up in an afternoon once it got into the shop.

I do wonder if this thermostat really is the solution to the problem. I suppose I’ll find out at the next autocross. Or perhaps I’ll not bother waiting to find out and just go ahead and replace the car with something else…

Yeah, I’m biased, but the NC chassis Miata, the red-headed stepchassis of the entire Miata bloodline, is still the best platform for a cheap track car. Sure, NA and NB Miatas are everywhere and cheap, but NC Miatas have great suspensions (once you get rid of the shitty spring rates), more space for a driver, and can fit a lot of tire. Here’s a cheap local example for not much more than you’d pay for a nice NB: a 2007 NC in dark metallic green with 81k miles and an asking price of $6800. https://detroit.craigslist.org/wyn/cto/6630087252.html

Finally got around to installing the new rear bumper cover on the Miata, replacing the cracked red original bumper that got damaged when the previous owner’s codriver accidentally put the car backwards into a jersey barrier. (BFG Rivals + standing water on the highway = lots of opposite lock to save the car from spinning.)

All of the body panels on the car that are plastic are now silver, and everything that is metal is still red. I’ve got several cans of silver plastidip and will try to integrate the silver with the red.

I also replaced all of the trunk plastics with pieces that haven’t been scratched to hell and back from toolboxes and jacks and jack stands rattling around in the trunk. Fresh trunk plastics don’t make the car go any faster, but I’m doing my best to restore the car from “absolute hooptie” to “hooptie.”

Progress on the Mustang continues. Part of the exhaust has been fabbed. Next step is the installation of the panhard bar and then the routing of the exhaust through the panhard bar. And, of course, to top it all off, subframe connectors. I should be getting the car back sometime next week…

Time to replace the rear bumper cover and the cracked rear tail light. I’ve never taken the rear bumper cover off before, so this is a new view for me…