Ok, I've decided. My Merlin (1991 as well, 5152) too will follow the dirt drop path! I was going to do it to an old Fisher Montare, but you've pulled at my heart that a build of this unique nature needs a strong heart. The 3.25 Ti hardtail Merlin will do nicely.
Looking forward to your lead to guide me out! Debating the BB to start with. Have you had yours done yet? I'm not sure I need to do anything there or not. How do you know?
For me it was easy. I've owned the frame for 20+ years and although the BB spindle still spun it wasn't exactly smooth. I figure I'm taking the time and money to do this right so I might as well get the essentials fixed up in the process. Also I'm fortunate enough to live in the San Francisco Bay Area and relatively close to Black Mountain Cycles. Mike, the owner, is a fantastic mechanic and works on a lot of bikes with various weird pressed in bottom brackets. He was able to service the greaseguard BB, replace the bearings, and install a new Phil Wood titanium spindle exactly matched for the Morati cranks.