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dherr HalfDork
1/27/20 10:28 a.m.
Professor_Brap said:

What's a Miata adventure without issues and breakdowns?

History repeats itself.... Mazda copies (and perfects) the British sports car and 30 years later Miata owners are discussing their breakdowns and adventures in taking long trips. 

spacecadet GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/27/20 1:00 p.m.


weekend recap time. 

I got in friday night late to Mazduece house. 


Ronald and the golf ball greeted me when I arrived. 

Saturday Seth and I ran down to MSR Houston for the day to help Brian shake down his RSX ahead of the Grlidlife GLTC race at COTA next month. 

We took separate cars because it made sense. 

about 20 minutes into the drive i heard a TINK and a whack of a bolt against the floorpan.. but nothing changed on the car, no new noises.. no lights. 

so i assumed i ran over something. 

upon arriving ar MSRH i downshifted aggressively and the belts started squealing pretty bad. 

but we parked the car for a while and helped Brian during morning sessions. 
when we left for lunch, it was squealing more than seth was expecting, but then stopped and so we ran out for lunch and then it got worse on our return trip.. and upon opening the hood we discovered that the lower alternator bolt was missing. 

Seth and I ran to lowes and got a new bolt to put in

M10x1.25 100mm length

thats what the replacement bolt is. it will stick out 10mm beyond the alternator. 

when i was tightening it down we determined that the threads inside the alternator were not in great shape. I was planning to buy a nut to go on the backside Sunday after the autox i was attending. 

car drove around fine all day saturday and I grabbed new belts as a precaution. 

Sunday morning I got up, packed the car and went to the autocross down at Grandsport speedway. 

when i got there the car hit a buddle and belts started squealing bad.. once i opened the hood to investigate.. 

the new alternator bolt was missing.. WELL, thats not a good start to the day. 

I was able to borrow a truck from a friend and run to Lowes to grab a new bolt. I grabbed two  bolts this time and nuts to go on the end of them and loctite. 

installing new bolts and belts on the car, threaded the new bolt in.

then when we were putting the nut on the end of it, as we applied torque, we heard a loud POP. what i can only assume was the last of whatever poor excuse for threads was left inside of the threaded hole on the alternator died a valiant death. 

got everything bolted back together and no more squeal and everything is happy. 

Took my first run in the miata after lunch, no issues, just lots of westlake sideways action. 

went out on my second run and when I tossed the car into a set of offsets, I turned in, heard a BANG, and then all of a sudden felt something let go in the front end and the rear of the car came around. 

brought the car back to the grid and then stuck my head under the car... 



Removed what remained of the endlink and just called it a day for the autocross. 

I ran a few errands on the southside of Houston and grabbed new endlinks from autozone up at the mega hub on the west side of the city. then ran up to my buddy Matt's house and threw the endlinks on. 

Then Matt and I grabbed dinner and I pointed the car north back to DFW. 

Made 2 extra stops along the way to check the oil level because Ronald does burn oil, but it was very manageable burn and the drive was very uneventful. 

the car is definitely happier no higher than 70mph on the freeway. the car starts to feel more nervous as you pick the speed up further. But the noise levels in the car are great. 

The radio works really well and I listened to it for the last 90 minutes of the drive from Waco to DFW. 

Some fun times lie ahead for Ronald and I, but I am most definitely going to pick Hazmat back up soon, I am definitely knocking down the right path on Hazmat, although my plans may change.. and I think these two cars will do well in my stable. 


spacecadet GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/27/20 1:17 p.m.
shagles said:

Any plans to bring Ronald out to DFW rallycross when it gets going (hopefully) in March?

yes, rallycross being all over Texas now made it important for me to have a car to do it in.

shagles Reader
1/27/20 3:38 p.m.

In reply to spacecadet :

Awesome. It'll be nice to have someone there that I sort of "know" and that I know actually has a clue. 

spacecadet GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/28/20 9:57 a.m.

In reply to shagles :

yeah, my schedule this next 2 months is wild. so not sure when I'll make a rallyx.

spacecadet GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/28/20 10:00 a.m.

I fired up the parts cannon last night. the new sway bar links are a very old design really not suited for this Racing beat bar and how much force it puts on them.

I ordered new front links from Flyin Miata because well.. they had them and Keith has always been super supportive of Seth and I when it came to Miatas. there's also a popping from what appears t be the right front, usually under braking right before coming to a stop.. but not always.. going to need to find the source of that.

I also ordered a pair of excentrics because why not. they're cheap from FM and Having them around didn't seem like a bad idea.





mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
1/28/20 11:46 a.m.

I had diagnosed that as the end links wallowing about in inappropriate holes when not snuggled with the force of Zeuce. Now that you've creatively eliminated that possibility, I'm interested to see what it really was. Though now that you say braking, be sure to check the caliper bolts and what not. I did have to replace those in the fairly recent past though I'm certain the noise pre-dated that repair. 

SpeedTheory Reader
1/28/20 12:43 p.m.

Pfft, Miatas. I really don't get the appeal.

Would predict noise is from endlinks, but also check + reset bushing preload and condition (LCA and UCA up front). And make sure there's no eccentric movement. 

spacecadet GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/28/20 12:55 p.m.

In reply to mazdeuce - Seth :

yes the popping was still there when i had the bar disconnected for 70 miles.. 


spacecadet GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/28/20 12:55 p.m.
SpeedTheory said:

Pfft, Miatas. I really don't get the appeal.

Would predict noise is from endlinks, but also check + reset bushing preload and condition (LCA and UCA up front). And make sure there's no eccentric movement. 

I'll message you to learn more about how to check the bushing preload. 

spacecadet GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/28/20 1:47 p.m.

I also wanted to mention how much this silly car puts Hazmat into perspective.

The clatter when it cranks over and fires is amusing to me. it's a happy little car that settles into itself quickly. once I get the few bangs and pops handled.. it will be a truly great car to drive.


The westlakes are actually a pretty solid tire for here in TX. when the temp drops and it's wet I'm sure they'll leave something to be desired.. but I've been very pleased with the grip I have on our roads. Now that said, we favor concrete heavily down here for freeways. so I definitely know that plays into the grip I have vs other people.

bobzilla MegaDork
1/28/20 3:37 p.m.

I can verify the westlakes in cold and wet are horrible. But they're roundish and hold air so..... 

Patrick MegaDork
1/28/20 4:25 p.m.
bobzilla said:

I can verify the westlakes in cold and wet make drifting fun and daily driving an adventure 

FTFY bob

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
1/28/20 5:27 p.m.

That guy, one post higher, he knows what's up. Drift commuting is the best commuting. 

spacecadet GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/28/20 5:54 p.m.

For the 2 autocross runs I got in Ronald at Grandsport, man the car will rotate under braking and on the westlakes is just a BUNCH of fun. 

Professor_Brap GRM+ Memberand Dork
1/28/20 6:00 p.m.

Still gonna say it. Westlake rp-18 is the best tire ever. 

spacecadet GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/29/20 7:23 a.m.

well we had a random small hailstorm hit my office yesterday at work.

just big enough to ruin Seth's Vinyl job between the windshield and the hardtop

spacecadet GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/30/20 4:35 p.m.

Ok, so let's talk the oil pressure sensors on these early miatas


Seth cleaned the contacts on the sensor and the wire. so it actually shows pressure.


when cold it shows 30psi idle and then 45-60psi when driving.

once the car warms up it seems to top out at 30psi while driving at freeway speeds and even when revved doesn't seem to go higher.

a new sensor is $180 from standard motor products on rock auto(HOLY berkeley). so that's a backseat option..

Flyin Miata has nothing for sale related to the 1.8 oil pressure sensor.


moss miata sells a kit to convert the dumb sensor cars to "real sensors" for about $90 for the 95+ 1.8 cars.. can this be used on the 94 to replace the OEM sensor?

my brain has a hard time dealing with this cause I'm dumb and overthink things..

who has advice on what I might do?

this is a 187k mile miata. it does have some oil leaks..


Patrick MegaDork
1/30/20 4:43 p.m.

$10 sunpro oil pressure gauge mounted to the hood in a pod like the old pontiac hood mount tachs

spacecadet GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/30/20 5:22 p.m.

In reply to Patrick :

I'm not against this..

spacecadet GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/30/20 5:23 p.m.

I might also call up my buddy from HS. he works for autometer.

spacecadet GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
2/2/20 10:57 p.m.

Good weekend of small victories on Ronald. 

Friday at work I decided to order a cassette to aux adapter.. Amazon said I could have it by 8am saturday. so I took their bet  sure enough it arrived as promised. 

plugged it into my Roav Bolt and BOOM! I got Bluetooth in my 94 Miata.. without removing the awesome stock radio. although it made me realize I'm literally working off ONE speaker.. and Ronald is quiet enough that the one speaker is enough. 

my video will not embed it seems... not sure why...



Friday night I was seeing idle oil pressure drop to nearly zero when warm... I'm like.. that's NOT right. 

Did an oil change and looked at the connector on the oil pressure sender.. almost no friction to come off, and it's definitely been replaced before with a crimp connected holding the new wire with connected on it. I'll need to pull that connector and crimp connector off at some point and properly solder a new wire on with a newer connector and put heat shrink over the solder joint. 

but for now.. 

mission success. cold idle jumped to 45psi just by reseating the connector.

once the car is hot I'm only seeing like what I call 32-35-ish psi while driving.. but I'm happier now. 

the temp cam up a bunch today in DFW. so I starte during the AC. which since the new belts went on.. chirps every time the AC engages. 

took a few minutes today once I finished moving tightening the accessory belt and now the noise is gone. 

another nagging issue has been the fact that the passenger side headlight makes noise when it goes down.. I looked at stuff the other day and determined that the plastic bezel was making contact with part of the chassis inside that corner. 

pulled the bezel off tonight to confirm and sure enough I can see witness marks where the bezel has been making contact. 

so I'll hit it with the dremel at work tomorrow and try to make it all fit together more happily. but for now.. just pulling it off means the lights go up and down with no noises. so that's nice. 


also I determined that the steering rack is leaking..easy answer is to ignore it and just keep adding fluid. so that's what I'm going to do. 

this is what every online resource I could find said to use for a type of power steering fluid on this car. 

but last and certainly not least! 

I'm officially moved into my new place today! 


mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
2/3/20 7:12 a.m.

This thread has me doing some introspection. I usually get cars and spend a bunch of time fixing stuff. Little things, big things, deferred maintence, just stuff that the PO has let slide as they used the car. I've thought some terrible things about past owners while doing this. Consequently, I usually (unless they're unfinished projects) send cars on with relatively few issues. The Crappy Miata is a clear departure from that. It had a bunch of stuff that probably should have been fixed that I just didn't car to do. I did my absolute best to tell Spacecadet about everything but I had just gotten so used to a few things (like the belts) that I didn't even think to mention them. Am I the bad PO now. I think maybe I am. Not sure exactly how I feel about that, but not good, that's for sure. 

spacecadet GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
2/3/20 11:17 a.m.

In reply to mazdeuce - Seth :

eh, life moves on. unlike my last miata.. you sold me this one reasonably priced with the expectation some things would not be perfect.. unlike the last one where a lot of flaws were hidden and I missed red flags. 

I am very happy with my Ronald purchase. I'm just working through the wear and tear of a 26 year old miata.. comes with the territory. 


spacecadet GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
2/3/20 11:10 p.m.

new Flyin Miata front endlinks went in tonight. Looking at the sway bar I thought there might be a chance that was the popping still.

Pulled out of the driveway and Popping is still there.. I don't know what in the hell it is!! 

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