posted on January 16, 2011 19:00
Last time we looked at cramming the Hayabusa's instrument cluster into the Miata housing, it proved to be a shockingly good fit. There was a very large unresolved issue of how to actually secure the Hayabusa cluster's circuit board, though. Here's how that project was finished:
At the end of the last installment, this was what we had. A circuit board rattling around in a mutilated Miata housing. It didn't take long to decide the circuit board looked too cool to cover up, but I still needed some way to hold it in place securely.
In its original home, the Hayabusa cluster was sandwiched into a plastic housing, with seven little plastic pins indexing into 7 holes in the circuit board to locate it.
Those holes were just big enough for a 5mm bolt. I used nylon washers on either side of the circuit board to keep the bolt from shorting something out, and threaded a long, coupling nut onto the end of the bolt.
That coupling nut left a threaded hole to use for mounting. Since the back of the Miata cluster housing was irregular, each bolt had to be a different length. Since there was nothing secure for the bolt to tighten the cluster up against, I used a short section of vacuum hose as a mount.
Each of these hose-based rubber mounts was also a different length.
To make assembly easier, after test fitting, each hose was glued down to the housing. Assembly is still a delicate operation, but once all seven bolts are in place, it's quite secure.
Things are less pretty out back, where a hatchet is required to open up a big enough hole to push the little button that releases the connector from the back of the cluster. From here you can also see the giant fender washer that was required behind one of the circuit board mounting holes when one of the 7 bolts landed in a big hole.
As always, all this ugliness is easily fixed with a little flat black spray paint. The magic can makes the ugly white plastic housing disappear into the background, and covers up all the glue we used to reassemble the housing.
Ironically, the Hayabusa's cluster looks dramatically better crammed into a Miata than it ever did in that cheezy faux-carbon plastic box Suzuki housed it in. I suspect the same will be true of the engine...
All the Miatabusa you can handle:
Sunday, January 16, 2011 10:09 PM
Dave, will you marry me? Half of all my nothing will be yours. To be fair, though, I may just love you for your possessions and skills.
Sunday, January 16, 2011 11:04 PM
That looks completely epic. This project is really shaping up nicely man, you're my hero!
Monday, January 17, 2011 3:51 AM
Best gauge cluster of all time? I think so! Love that you kept it uncovered to many people out there would have covered it up and missed out on its awesomeness.
Monday, January 17, 2011 4:54 AM
Engineers say form follows function all the time, but I think something that looks functional is cool looking in its own right. Like a circuit covered dashboard. Or a tiny 11,000 RPM engine in a tiny car. Or a Honda Z600 with a V4 bike engine and RX-7 suspension and a custom built transfer case made from solid aluminum. It's shit like this that makes this site kick ass.
Monday, January 17, 2011 6:17 AM
Having modded the clusters of my SE-R & Miata, I can really appreciate this work. The use of vacuum hose as a spacer is pure ghettofabulous!
Monday, January 17, 2011 6:38 AM
No cover = less weight, now that's the gram strategy at work! BTW this article shows that a car on a budget isn't necessarily a beater.
Monday, January 17, 2011 7:30 AM
Are you going to put the gauge cowl back on, or are you keeping the interior completely stripped to save weight?
Monday, January 17, 2011 8:09 AM
Using vaccum hoses as spacers remind me when people stick those things onto the hood-pin studs so that there is no play with the hood.
Keep it up Dave! I can't wait to hear this thing scream at 11000 rpm.
Monday, January 17, 2011 9:48 AM
That really does look cool with he circuit board exposed. That circuit board is actually nicer looking than a lot of the gauge cluster boards I've seen, which usually doesn't matter because they're covered up from the factory.
It really does look like it's made to fit though, or as close as you can hope for with a cluster swap from a completely different vehicle.
Monday, January 17, 2011 12:54 PM
this project miata-busa is by far the most interesting project article i've ever read. it is nice to finally able to read dave coleman's tech-writes again after the media giant killed off SCC. keep up the good work. =)
Monday, January 17, 2011 5:09 PM
I've been following this project and love it very much! Keep up the great work, Dave!
Monday, January 17, 2011 6:09 PM
The gauge cowl is actually installed in the last picture, you just can't see it because of the steering wheel and all encompassing darkness.
Monday, January 17, 2011 7:37 PM
This looks quite a bit like where I'm heading; but I prefer my starting point...
The short version is a '71 Europa with an '07-'08 R1 engine. Properly light and wonderfully twisted. And mine will go to 14, not just 11... :)
Tuesday, January 18, 2011 3:25 PM
I can save you the trouble of building that setup. The Europa is a favorite of mine to say the least but a bike engine using a bike transmission is a bad idea for anything but a pure track car. The sequential gearbox is not a street-able option even if it seems so cool at first. No flywheel, no reverse gear, a wet clutch and trans that share oil with the engine, and a trans. use life measured in hours not miles are real problems. The good news is that we here are Miatabusa are on it. Our next setup will be to make an adapter for Porsche/VW transaxles and that will allow for mid engine cars to take advantage of this concept. All the benefits and none of the drawbacks!!
Seriously, if you are in SoCal PM me and next time we track test the MetroGnome you can come out and see the reality of a bike engined car with the bike trans still in use.
Thursday, January 20, 2011 12:34 PM
Only bummer about exposing the circuitry is you have less contrast at night.
Looks cool though!
Friday, January 21, 2011 8:48 AM
Alex - check your inbox/alerts. I'm actually a "land of ice & snow" type but occasionally get to the coast. I do have some questions.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011 3:42 AM
Not to rain on anyone's parade, but are you guys changing the rear end gearing, because ~4000 RPM at 80 is geared pretty short already. My memory might be fuzzy, but I believe that was how fast is was going. With the bike engine gear down it will be somewhere around 6500 RPM! Since your changing over to hall effect speedo you might as well get a 3.90 rear end out of a 6 speed miata which would get the RPM to around ~6000, or a 3.636 rear end for ~5700. This of course is based upon the notion that you are going to drive this on the street, if however, this is going to be a track only toy, which I have no idea why it wouldn't be, I would say screw it and put the 4.3 in.
I meanwhile plan on screwing up the miata delicate balance by shoehorning in a barely muffled v8 and laughing demonically everywhere I go; though these write ups are tempting me very strongly to buy another miata.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011 4:08 AM
We'll probably change the gearing, but we plan to drive it first and see how 6500 rpm feels. Alex, who drives a CBR1000-powered Metro all the time, says 6500 rpm is really no big deal on that engine. We're not really sure if the same will be true with the bigger, 1300cc Hayabusa engine.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011 10:19 AM
One really needs to reset the way they think about these things when using bike engines. 3000 rpm is just off idle and you would never lug it like like that. 6k rpm is just when the torque starts to build so it should be the perfect level for high speed cruising.
Thursday, March 03, 2011 7:22 AM
when is the kit coming out i would love to try this in my ae86 i think it will sit well in there
Thursday, March 03, 2011 7:53 AM
This would be PERFECT for an AE86!
Development moves in fits and spurts largely related to LeMons race schedules, but also impacted pretty heavily by welding projects for railroad fire training. Seriously. This Miatabusa nonsense is complicated business!
We've made serious progress in the last couple of weeks, though, so there is some flicker of light at the end of the tunnel. I'm not putting a date on the kit coming out just yet, but we should at least see a major progress report in the next couple weeks.
Saturday, March 05, 2011 12:35 PM
I just want you to know that I started coming to Motoiq when I saw the Miatabusa story linked on Jalopnik. Now I come EVERY day looking for updates. Good luck with this project and I hope to see an update soon.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011 2:56 PM
Great work, as usual!
Friday, June 03, 2011 8:35 AM
Alex, the Europa is being built as a "proof of concept" for a future NASA ST1 race car build. If the concept works out I have a an inexpensive, road legal development mule to proof concepts for the race car. If not I can put just everything back to stock & keep or sell the Europa.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011 3:18 AM
whats next? When will she see the open road or a timeclock and cones?
Friday, July 22, 2011 5:54 AM
+1 to 4cylndrfury's comment. I'd love to see an update on this project.
Tuesday, August 02, 2011 7:05 AM
oh hai we can haz update?
Saturday, August 27, 2011 1:52 AM
I was so excited about this project. Is it dead in the water? Any plans to continue with this project? I can only assume a technical or financial obstacle has arisen...
Saturday, August 27, 2011 3:27 AM
Funny you should ask. We are literally working on the project this weekend and there has been major forward movement. Stay tuned for updates.
Thursday, September 08, 2011 3:36 AM
Excellent news! I've been following this one with interest.