Miata Sim Rig: Painting and Reassembly

Spoiler – it turned out AWESOME

The last big task before tearing it down for paint was to build a floor. I used 3/4″ plywood since it was available in the scrap pile, which is why it’s in two pieces.

I added another unistrut crossbeam, since this is where the pedal force will be concentrated. A with that, it was time to paint! I tore everything down to a bare metal frame and hauled it outside.

Spray painting the steel and staining the wood.

While I eventually plan to put carpet down as the flooring surface, I thought stain would look nice and seal the wood until that phase of the project.

More painting. Here you can see the structure I added to support the center console and shifter.

While the paint was drying, I set about cleaning up the interior. It had 20 years of skin oil, grime, and fast food particles stuck in every crack. When Simple Green failed to do the job, I got out the pressure washer.

The center console, cup holders, any anything else I could disassemble to bare plastic got the pressure washer treatment. I did not use it on the foam part of the dash since it would probably soak up water, and it is fragile from years of UV exposure.

Attaching the pedals to the freshly painted frame

Once I could tolerate the level of offgassing, I brought it in the shop and started reassembly. I mounted the pedals using M6 hardware from our hardware pantry. The hole pattern for the Logitech pedals is essentially random, so it took a while to measure and drill corresponding holes in the floor.

Detail showing how I mounted the shifter to some unistrut, which in turn bolts to the center console frame structure.

I’ll need to add a shift boot later. The one that came with the car was disgusting and beyond salvage. With the dash in place I started adding all the newly-clean controls and trim pieces. People keep asking “is the radio going to work?” … well… yeah. But later.

Assembling all the trim pieces.

There’s lots of potential for later add-ons to this. Working lighter socket, AC controls operating a blower out of the air vents, night illumination, and the radio hooked to speakers and connected to the computer via bluetooth. But all that’s later.

A trim panel to hide the ugly side.

With the seat mounted and everything snapped in place, I got to take in the final result:

It came out AWESOME!

The “ready to play” result came out better than I’d hoped. It looks and feels pretty comfy! I will note I ended up taking it apart later to bend more of an angle in the mounting plate for the wheel.

The cup holders are a nice bonus to all this. It also won’t look nearly as ugly as the first try.

The “back” of the dash.

The back side is pretty ugly and won’t exactly look at home in a living room, so it will need some beautification later. Next challenge: getting the whole thing inside.