Miata Projects Under 100 Dollars

By Peter Lisker – Niagara Miata Club, Buffalo, NY


I'm always looking for small projects for my '95 Miata: it might be fun like a pulsar on the third brake light, replacing the wimpy horn or just something to pass a few hours on a sunny day. About a month ago I posted a request for projects that would cost at or under $100 and got some really terrific suggestions. I've taken them, removed duplicates and separated them by type: NA, NB & NC though some may apply to all models. Many thanks to everyone who shared there favorite project. I hope you have as much fun trying some of these as I have, enjoy!

Interior light upgrade.

Install armrests in a '95.

$9 project. - Remove visors and visor from oval mounting. Slightly enlarged the remaining hole and cut 2 copper sleeves to go into the hole. Purchased two small bulbs and ran wires down the "A" pillar to a switch for the driver's and passenger side at about knee level in the removable plate. Makes an excellent lap light and is somewhat adjustable. I did the same project using the lights and copper sleeves with grommets and a push pin switch to add lights to the trunk upon opening.

Flash to pass headlamps - Pull for brights and it raises the headlamps. ('93 and earlier only see http://www.miata.net/garage/flash.html)

Headrest speakers was my favorite under $100 upgrade.

http://www.miata.net/garage/sidemarker_turn_signals.html I was able to tint all the lenses, except the headlights for $14. I bought some paint called "smoke" from a local hobby shop used for RC cars, sanded and painted them. Then just put a clear coat.


Refinished my entire dash and all hard black plastic for about $50 worth of Duplicolor flat black plastic paint.

Disconnect the annoying buzzer or convert it to lights on – free.

Paint the windshield wipe blades, most of them are starting to rust by now - $5.00

Cool breeze scoop!

949Racing front and rear control arm braces.

Mud flaps.

Hella E-codes

Voodoo Shift knob.

MFSMTF (Motorcraft Full Synthetic Manual transmission)

Slat grill.

The Home Depot or Lowes. Purchase One piece of Frost King Garage Door bottom seal. It's an "L" shaped foam rubber piece that comes in a roll along with 3M double-sided outdoor tape (used for putting house numbers on the house). Clean the bottom of the front bumper, attach the tape to the rubber strip, and put it on the front to make a lip. Stays on with just the tape and you can remove it if you don't like it. Cost= $10

Mesh grill. From Lowes or Home Depot. Pick up a roll of vinyl gutter guard and a small package of zip ties. Cut the gutter guard to fit the inside of your radiator opening and tie it securely with the zip ties. Stays in very well and will stop most light debris. Cost= less than $10.

98 Lumina lighted rearview mirror. $6.00

Hard mounted garage door opener $2

Driving lights $18 at Wally World. Not to see with, but to be seen.

A short throw shifter.

The GPS with a 7" screen purchased on Ebay for $36!

Trunk release modification to disconnect the latch from releasing the trunk from the inside.

Foamectomy - This is AWESOME and 0 cost!

Any of the LED lighting options.

DRL's (daytime running lights) or moving the blinkers to the unused side of the front turn signals.

Polishing the lens on the tail/front/side lights (easy and cheap) Looks awesome and no more wax residue!

Nothing like a good tune up, plugs and wires...

New pads all around, make sure you can stop after all your "Power" mods... My favorite has been the LED driving lights mounted in the OEM turn signals. My version was borrowed from Moderator Don. I don't think I had $20 tied up in parts for this one

Don't forget the FREE security trunk lock mod. I'm pretty sure the write-up is still in the Garage section.

For those of us that don't unzip and fold our back window there's the pool noodle covered with a towel. But that's more like an attachment than a mod.

I think you can still get a used "real" oil pressure gauge and sending unit from supporting vendors for less than $100.

Change your valve cover gasket and paint the valve cover.

My wife has a bad shoulder and has trouble turning and reaching the seat belt. Installed a strap next to the seat and made her life much easier. See it on post 6 .

I use the cheapest Moss Motors rollup vinyl wind blocker. Not the prettiest but does the job. Don't worry about the clarity of the vinyl, you actually see over the top of the wind blocker when using rearview mirror. I also like that it's soft, easily attached and removed and stowed.

Looks like they have an even cheaper one than the roll up vinyl windscreen, now. The roll up vinyl is $69.99 ($59.99 last year, sorry) and a Basic model for $29.99. Lousy picture for the basic one on the website. Go to www.mmmiata.com "windscreens."

I used the Windblokker from Raceland on fleabay. About $40 to my door. Not 100% satisfied with the mounting brackets. But really like the way it calms the cockpit down. I'll figure out the hardware and then make a post. I want it a little higher so I have all my rear view mirror, still be able to use the boot cover and be able to put up/down the glass soft top. It's all geometry. Wished I hadn't slept thru school!!!

Air Horn (got mine on sale for $9.99 from Harbor Freight). A few hours of measuring & fabricating some brackets and wiring the relay; you got one LOUD horn!!!

A good clean and wax. Depending on whether or not you have all the nice, fancy micro-fiber cloths and what-not, this can be dirt cheap. I bought all my stuff new and including car soap, wax, and towels it was only around $50. Not bad at all and there are millions of combinations of things you can use to get your car all shiny, clean, and protected. Not to mention how fun and soothing spending a Saturday's afternoon getting your car all nice and clean is.

Let's see ... a few of my non-maintenance projects that can be done for $100 or less and don't have more expensive prerequisites. (A few have been undone due to conflicts with other mods.)

Chrome vent rings
Remove cup holder, install ash tray, install folding cup holder in more convenient location
ETX20L powersports battery (15 vs 20+ lb)
Color-matched mud guards (Craigslist)
Replace antenna with chrome sink plug from Home Depot
OEM antenna base + 7" Locustom mast
Driver-side trunk guard plate
DIY oil catch can from air compressor filter
Hard-wired HomeLink garage door opener
Retrofitted part of NB rear subframe brace
Moss Motors interior cabin lights + DIY reflectors
Front shock tower brace
1996.5-1997 radio center panel retrofit (DIN FTW!)
DIY boot/cover for soft top when the hard top's installed
Removed sun visors, installed black covers/plugs
Clear turn signals
TDR heat shield blanket
Radiator top cover
Leather parking brake cover
Leather shift boot

If I had to choose, the HomeLink would be my favorite, followed by the headrest speakers.

Velcro fix for the droopy eyeball vents, very common and very cheap fix.

Slow power window fix by greasing of the roller/rails

Repainting wiper blades

Bosch ICON wiper blades

Hella Vision Plus H4 headlamps

Stainless steel rechargeable cigarette lighter socket LED light by Coast

Replacement power antenna fix

Fram brass quick oil drain plug

6 surface mount LED fastoon bulb and white/blue Neo wedge LED for hazard/popup buttons.

Pair of 3-way Kenwood door speakers

Rubber replacement pedal pads

Vandal/Bulgin LED switches for misc functions

I just bought the wind blocker and a factory bra for the front end since the paint was chipping from the old owner scraping it. I Also changed the gauges to reverse glow blue really nice. Lists for $189 on Moss bought it off Ebay for $20. Nice throw shifter knob sliver and the gear pattern glows blue.

I think my favorite was installing an MP3 jack on the MSSS, so I don't have to carry a bunch of CD's and have it skip every time I hit a bump. http://forum.miata.net/vb/showpost.php?p=3657071&postcount=7 I think the total cost was about $20.

My turbo kit: $25 turbo, $20 dollar fpr, $ 50 bucks in pipe/flanges, 'Modded' fuel injectors.

CAS o-ring seal needs to be mentioned, as well as servicing your shifter well. These two things can make such a difference, and I'll bet together they don't cost 10 bucks, unless you need to replace your shifter boot(s). And that would ALSO be a good project.

Hella H4 headlamp conversion
Rosewood dash kit, shifter and brake handle
K&N cone air filter conversion
5.Rear seat belt anchor brace
Visor blanks
Trunk net and side guard
Rubber antenna
Horn upgrade
Infinity reference door speakers
Chrome gas cap cover
Arm rest pad
Plug wires, plugs, fuel filter

Duetto Motors colored leather steering wheel cover, $50 & stainless steel woven mesh Miata grill, $100.

Towel inserted in seat back for lower back support, $3

Racing stripes, $65 per roll.

McGard wheel lugs.

Ash tray coffee cup holder.

Remove visors, build your own plugs
Eemove slack from throttle cable
Timing bump
Tow hook removal
Cool breeze scoop

Jareds Ebay interior led light are < then $100
I think you could probably replace the unreliable air in your tires with vastly superior nitrogen for less than $100. May also want to consider chrome valve stem tire caps in place of the inferior flat back plastic jobs.
Oh yeah, another good one would be stickers, lots of stickers.
LED interior lights...turn front side marker into turn signal turn rear deflector into real working side marker.
Clean intake manifold, egr valve, etc, those wont cost too much money but it requires a lot of labor/time. I have done minor work on the interior. http://www.cardomain.com/ride/3307044

Paint the cam cover, FM or a Lanny alignment, custom shift knob from the Knobmeister, detail motor, pull seats and clean underneath, run some Techron through motor.

Real oil pressure gauge

Automatic Dimming Rearview Mirror I purchased the 36500 Auto Dimming, Compass, Temperature & Map Light Mirror for $150, but you can find the 36500 Auto Dimming Mirror for under $100.

I also am going to wire the "map lights" into the dome light, so they come on when the doors are open. I did have to purchase an additional patch wire to make this work, but it will be well worth the extra $7.50 to get the better lighting when getting in the car when it is dark.

Mazda6 Shift Knob
Added rear side markers
Wired all side markers into turn signals
"Chrome" gauge rings with a Silver Sharpie
White gauge lighting instead of ugly green

For me it was an alignment. It didn't cost me anything since I borrowed stuff from the shop and did it myself in the driveway. Now the car tends to do what I ask of it in an autocross, though sometimes I ask it to do the wrong stuff.

You can tighten the throttle cable. It will give you a little more response. Get rid of the door buzzer. Remove your spare tire for weight and put a can of fix a flat in its place. Want a little more travel on the passenger seat? Remove the stopper at the end of the seat bracket.

I have made a weighted shift knob 2" mild steel ball drilled tapped and had it powder coated (under $40)
Interior LED footwell lights similar to Jared's ($15)
CB mount for K40 antenna polished aluminum ($10)
Camera mount ($15)
Custom intercooler for my old JRSC includes rad cowl ($60 IIRC)
Dual fan for old JRSC ($ 90)
LED trunk lights (about $10)
Cold air cowl intake (about $50)
Trailer hitch (about $30)

Clutch pedal extension
Shaved lenses
Lamin-X headlight covers
DIY coldside intake
Raceland SS header (actually like $106 shipped)
Miata.net supporting member decals

Turtle Wax Ice about $20. Prior to buying my NB last summer, I had not waxed a car in over 20 years. Too much effort and time involved to do a good job. I have just been satisfied with giving my vehicles a good wash and just relied on the clear coat for the shine and protection. These newer synthetic "waxes" are so easy to use. It is like applying baby oil on a baby. May not have the deep glow of natural carnuaba wax, but much easier to apply and no residue on rubber or plastic. BTW, a few drops of Ice on the foam applicator will do the whole hood. I used less than $2 of Ice to shine up the whole car.

Painting brake calipers
Chrome fuel door
Interior trims (swapping out dash trim is the most popular)
Swapping antennas (S2000 antenna is a favorite)
New Shift knob
Paint fog light bezels aluminum (or buy official replacements for 4x as much)
De-badge (free! Cleans up the rear of the car)
Put in GOOD (fully synthetic motor oil)
Nautilus or other aftermarket horn
Cool Breeze Scoop
Roll bar covers

One of the biggest bangs for the buck is to paint the muffler black.

Gas pedal mod and lowering the back of the driver's seat cushion + donut spare

Zeta arm rests (center & sides).
Painted wheel hubs
Lowered license plate
Trunk insulation
Brake Light Pulser
Roadster badge
Tinted windows (light chrome)

Although most will do both, each end is under a $100 each - splash (mud) guards.
Paint the plastic engine cover to match the car
Chrome trim around front grill opening
Chrome rings around main instrument cluster

I rewired one of the useless speakers between the seats to run as an extension speaker when I use a CB. Total cost was less than $10 (CDN!)

I posted these pictures last year but they seem to apply to this post, so here they are again. The silver dash trim and the stainless lower valance trim come from Moss Motors and are each under $100. Easy to apply.

Racing Beat radiator screen.

An "precision alignment project" (performed by your local alignment shop) or a "GL4 transmission oil change project", or even a "synthetic oil change project" would all come well under $100. I guarantee you that these will give you the best bang for the buck.