April 5, 2012 3:11 a.m.

Hi, All

I recently purchased a '95 MX-5 from a friend's stepdaughter. Her fiance 360'd into a bush but the only detectable evidence is some very minor crinkles in the passenger panels. My quandry is this: I had to have some work done on it(replaced the rear rotors, brake stuff etc.) and all seemed well.

The problem is this now and it doesn't make sense to me(I'm not inexperienced when it comes to performance machines). The steering seemed sluggish and a bit stiff so I immediately suspected tire pressures as being a potential culprit.

I checked the the pressures and they were a bit low according to specs. All four tires ran from 18 - 20 psi when the specs called for(according to Mazda specs the optimal is 26 psi). At the off-spec pressures the driveability was good. When I increased the pressures to spec, the thing nearly beat my teeth out of my mouth at freeway speeds(65-70 mph). The front end vibrated like a - well, I leave that up to your imagination. Up to that speed the driveability was excellent after increasing the pressures.

I checked the tires over - did a visual inspection as well as running my hands over the tires to see if there were blisters or other abnormalities and found nothing. The wheels aren't bent - they're not even nicked, and I also did a visual inspection of the fronts to see if there was any obvious misalignment. Again, negative.

The whole situation is totally funky. I'm running Kumho 185/60 R14 82T's. I don't know how long they've been on the car or if that would even be a factor. I do know that the car had been sitting for about 5 months before I bought it. Maybe there's some dry rot or flat spot issues because of that. I don't know. If anybody has any ideas or advice, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Oh, and glad to be here,


petegossett UltraDork
April 5, 2012 5:17 a.m.

Welcome Jeff!

Miata are notorious for 60-65mph shakes. A re-balance of the tires might help, might not. Sometimes the tires need replaced to cure it, sometimes it takes a different set of wheels. Some cars just seem to be more sensitive to slight imbalances than others.

My advice? Make the 50-70 sprint as quickly as possible.

914Driver MegaDork
April 5, 2012 5:50 a.m.

Welcome! Have the tires rebalanced, a weight could have been knocked off in the 360 bush.


jstein77 Dork
April 5, 2012 7:16 a.m.

Also try switching the tires front to rear and see if the problem follows the tires or stays in the front end. That should help narrow things down.

DrBoost UberDork
April 5, 2012 7:52 a.m.

These three posts really hit it on the head. I just wanted to say you'll fit in here quite nicely. You already have a miata (there are posting restrictions on here for those not 'in the fold') and you did all the intelligent things before looking for help.

iceracer SuperDork
April 5, 2012 8:29 a.m.

Was there anything in the "bush" that might have bent a wheel ? Just something else to check.

Dashpot Reader
April 5, 2012 8:35 a.m.


Try to find a shop with a road force balancing machine so you can eliminate that variable. That machine will measure tread & rim runout as well, so you'll know if something's way out of wack.

Pulled my '01 out of 4 month storage and had the same experience as you. The tires had "gone square" despite sitting in a nice heated space @ 40 PSI. They did work themselves back into shape over the the next few miles.

curtis73 SuperDork
April 5, 2012 8:46 a.m.

I would also check the suspension bushings. The strong lateral forces that were put on them during the 360 (and any bushes that may have added to it) could have ripped or damaged a suspension bushing. If that's the case, a small vibration can become a huge vibration. The damping that was there before with a good bushing is now not damped by the damaged bushing.

AND WELCOME TO THE FORUM! We're kind of a big deal.

curtis73 SuperDork
April 5, 2012 8:50 a.m.
DrBoost wrote: You already have a miata (there are posting restrictions on here for those not 'in the fold')

Tell me about it... I have a van and a bunch of classic american iron, and all these folks tease me about is my hair. (they're just jealous)

N Sperlo UberDork
April 5, 2012 9:47 a.m.
curtis73 wrote:
DrBoost wrote: You already have a miata (there are posting restrictions on here for those not 'in the fold')

Tell me about it... I have a van and a bunch of classic american iron, and all these folks tease me about is my hair. (they're just jealous)

How's it taste? Btw, the last picture i saw, I believe it was quitea bit shorter.

Btw, welcome new guy. Just stepped in to threadjack.

curtis73 SuperDork
April 5, 2012 10:45 a.m.
N Sperlo wrote: the last picture i saw, I believe it was quitea bit shorter.

I've really been letting myself go

I guess (back to the topic) I'm interested to see what the bushings look like.

Cone_Junky Dork
April 5, 2012 11:05 a.m.

Four flat-spotted tires from the spin. Would definitely be more noticeable with inflated tires.

mtn PowerDork
April 5, 2012 3:43 p.m.

Does 26 sound pretty low for daily driving to anyone else?

Apexcarver UberDork
April 5, 2012 4:05 p.m.

I run 30ish on mine (205 RE11's) and 35ish on my snowtires (175's very narrow and probably on the high side)

That said, I could get away with pressures that low as far as wear on the A-X course, it was just slow. (30-32 is where it lives for A-X)

92CelicaHalfTrac MegaDork
April 5, 2012 4:07 p.m.
mtn wrote: Does 26 sound pretty low for daily driving to anyone else?

Yes, especially depending what kind of tires.

iceracer SuperDork
April 5, 2012 5:29 p.m.

what pressure does Maxda reccomend ?

DeadSkunk Dork
April 5, 2012 6:24 p.m.

I run mine at 26 with no issues. That's what's recommended.

mtn PowerDork
April 5, 2012 6:29 p.m.
iceracer wrote: what pressure does Maxda reccomend ?

Are they OEM tires? If not, why would it matter what Mazda recommends? I've always gone by what the tire manufacturer runs, and if I am not mistaken, that is what the owners manual says to do as well.

Apexcarver UberDork
April 5, 2012 6:40 p.m.

Meh, if mine are a touch overinflated I will see how they wear. If they wear alright, higher pressure = better fuel economy.

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