bit delinquent, but given my website statistics, I think I’m the only person
who’s noticed. The past two years have been pretty uneventful car-wise, so I’ll just touch the highlights here in reverse chronological order.
Adding Even More Lightness
The Odyssey PC680 in the Westfield was beginning to die, and since Lithium batteries are coming down in price...I picked up a 16 cell Ballistic EVO2 battery through Amazon. Before going through the installation hassles though (I plan to relocate it, so will need to mess with the cables and build a new battery tray/hold down setup) I wanted to test it in cold weather to make sure it is up to the task of how I use the car. The other afternoon, with the temps in the mid 30's and falling, I rolled the Westfield out of the garage and let it sit on the driveway to acclimate to the colder outside temps. When checking back over 2-1/2 hours later, an infrared thermometer showed the battery had equalized with the current air temp at 31F and the block was a warmer, but still chilly, 37F. Next it was time for the big test, so I inserted the key and turned...the engine fired right up! I immediately switched it off and then repeated that process two more times, and the result was three back-to-back startups around the freezing mark with zero issues. Not too shabby for something that tipped my postal scale at
3lb 4.5oz! For comparison, the PC680 on the same scale came in at 14lb 10oz.
I've been toying with putting a decent stereo in the 993 since buying it 5 years ago. The cheap aftermarket head unit matched the interior, but wasn't a sonic masterpiece, while the factory speakers suffered from age related rot, so they...well, sucked. Since Christmas is always a good time to spend wastefully, I picked up a new head unit locally (Kenwood Excelon KDC-x995), and then went to Rod Birch of Rennlist fame for speakers (Focal 165 V30) and amp (Arc Audio KS125.2 Mini). The tweeters on these particular Focal's are small enough to fit in the factory tweeter housings with just a little persuasion from a Dremel, so other than the head unit, the system looks stock. The amp is a class-H item which is really, really small and light, and fits perfectly under the passenger seat. It was a pretty big project
that took almost an entire weekend, but the results are impressive.
The Miata came with a poorly installed, tacky-looking silver head unit that was *really* out of place in the otherwise nice interior. Given there’s now an innocuous-looking, black Clarion from the 993 sitting on the shelf, I made the swap. It’s not a sonic improvement over the outgoing Sony XPLOD (no really, that’s the name Sony’s branding brain trust came up with after countless focus groups and hundreds of hours of market analysis), at least it looks a lot better.
I have always hated my tool cabinet. It's too
small for my tool collection and the drawers slides aren't full extension, which is a poor design that always seems to hide the tool I’m trying to find. I've read a lot of really positive comments about this tool cabinet on Garage Journal, so decided
to buy it while it was on sale for $350.
Speaking of everything, the garage is also a little short on space for those
things, so I installed new, adjustable shelves over the tool cabinet. (that’s the new shop dog, an 11 month old Great Pyrenees who doesn't like
to pose for photographs).
Let There be Lift
Although our garage has a pretty big footprint at nearly 20’x36’, the ceilings are just 8’ high. This means a proper lift won’t fit. Enter a BendPak MD6XP mid-rise lift. It’s tall enough that I can work under the car in a seated position and limits the need for me to bend over when doing most jobs. Simple ramps made from stacked 2x12s enable all the cars
to drive over the lift.