OrangeRazor New Reader
Feb. 19, 2012 12:35 a.m.

Howdy folks! I'm the happy owner of a '99 base model Miata (no power nothin', but it does have A/C!) that has given me many miles of trouble-free motoring over the past year of ownership. I have some very long-haul trips ahead of me and I'd love some input on making adequate preparations.

As it stands the mee-otter has a tick over 76,000 miles on it, but in the next few months I'm planning to put over 7,000 miles driving all over the dang country from California to Texas, Texas to Washington (state) Washington to Kentucky and finally to my first duty station in Arizona.

My plan is to give it a good tune up (plugs, wires, air filter, fuel filter, oil change and coolant flush) which is needed anyway and to go ahead and change out the timing belt and water pump since they're both due. The tires have more than enough tread and all still hold air well.

I may drop some dough on the Audiovox cruise control since my car was not blessed with a factory unit. Any input or other suggestions? Any advice is appreciated

92CelicaHalfTrac SuperDork
Feb. 19, 2012 8:53 a.m.

Watching intently, doing this same thing next summer.

Stealthtercel HalfDork
Feb. 19, 2012 10:18 a.m.

There's apparently something you can do with sound deadening behind the seats that helps A LOT with ambient noise, which you're going to get a lot of for 7000 miles. I'm sure somebody else here will know the details. From what I recall it's relatively simple.

Feb. 19, 2012 10:46 a.m.

As a veteran long haul driver in a 90 Miata, there is really nothing to do other than load up the tunes and splash on some sunscreen. The car itself is going to yawn at this trip.

The cruise control is a good idea, if for nothing else, I use it when in a known speed-trap area to control my baser insticts.

Keith SuperDork
Feb. 19, 2012 10:58 a.m.

Sound deadening: I put some under the carpet on the rear deck and bulkhead. I use a generic insulation from JCW that's got a blueish pad.

Mechanically, just do your maintenance and have fun. One tip: get everything in the trunk, nothing in the cockpit. Makes life much easier when you want to drop the top or jump out at a cool stopping point.

On marathon driving days, I wear earplugs. Keeps the noise from wearing you down. I do the same on airplanes.

OrangeRazor New Reader
Feb. 19, 2012 11:21 p.m.

I hadn't thought about the sound deadening; that's a pretty good one, thanks!

Not sure I could do earplugs...I'd get more distracted by the lack of noise and be more likely to fall asleep.

chaparral Reader
Feb. 19, 2012 11:33 p.m.

Winchester shooters' earplugs don't completely kill the sound; you aren't going to fall asleep due to them. I have a pair that I keep forgetting when I ride my motorcycle.

If you're planning on replacing any suspension bushings anytime soon, replace them before the trip. Less wandering gives you an easier time.

RossD SuperDork
Feb. 20, 2012 7:20 a.m.

A full size spare will take up a lot of room, but you'll be able to drive more than 50 miles/50 mph. A trailer hitch with a small lockable box might be helpful if you're trunk is too small. I like Keith's idea of having everything locked up and not laying in the cockpit.

Something like this with a lockable container bolted down to it:

Keith SuperDork
Feb. 20, 2012 10:25 a.m.

The earplugs I wear are custom ones, same sort that shooters wear. As chaparral says, they don't completely cut out noise. But they sure make a difference to your fatigue level and the custom fit ones are comfortable enough for all-day wear. You can get them at places like Cabelas for very little:

Basically, they'll cut the noise level down to that of a good sedan.

I've also worn noise suppressing earbuds plugged into an iPod - they're like earplugs but they make musics!

The trick to packing the trunk is to treat it like a suitcase. Don't pack bags and put them in the trunk, pack the trunk I've driven cross-country in a Miata with two people and a tent and we had nothing in the cockpit or hanging off the back.

OrangeRazor New Reader
Feb. 20, 2012 9:43 p.m.

I do have a pair of earbuds that block out a lot of noise...I mean a lot! My old roommate would have to throw things at me to get my attention, because with these things on I couldn't hear anything else.

I REALLY like the idea of packing the trunk like a suitcase! It's so simple I shoulda thought of it before I'll probably have an overnight bag with a few days worth of supplies in the passenger seat since no one's riding with me, though.

The trailer would make sense if I really wanted to take ALL my stuff with me from KY to AZ...but the idea of driving 2000+ miles in the Miata with a trailer makes me a bit uneasy.

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