Making a Miata Mobile

David S.
Update by David S. Wallens to the Mazda Miata - Sunburst Yellow project car
Dec 8, 2012

Check it out, our Miata runs.
How did we turn it into a runner? A functioning timing belt helped.
We yanked the a/c, yet before installing our new radiator we rewiring the fans so both will now function together.
This much smoke is usually a bad sign, but in our case it meant that the engine had finally come back to life.
Before taking off for the gas station, we poured some CRC Motor Treatment into the tank.

More good news: It went down the road straight as an arrow. Nothing fell off or blew up. It drove like a stock Miata.


After some detective work, head scratching and old-fashioned trial and error, our Sunburst Yellow 1992 Mazda Miata has come to life after about six years of silent slumber.

So, what happened? First, we believe that the Ungo Box alarm was stopping us in our tracks. Sometime during the startup process, however, the timing belt’s teeth let go. Basically, we were chasing two problems.

Totally removing the alarm took some work, but replacing the timing belt was rather straightforward. While things were apart, we also replaced all of hoses plus the alternator belt. We also replumbed the steering rack to eliminate the power assist.

Since removing the radiator facilitates replacing the timing belt, we also replaced the radiator. We figured it was a couple of bucks of cheap insurance. (And yes, the thermostat was also replaced.)

Before totally buttoning things up, we figured we’d make sure we were heading down the right path: We jumped in, turned the key—and—were greeted by a running Miata engine.

We buttoned up the rest and took stock of the situation. Yes, the engine ran. Smoothly, we might add.

The hydraulic lifters were making a racket, however. Plus the exhaust belched a ton of smoke. We dumped some CRC Motor Treatment in the tank and did the next logical thing: Drove the car to the corner gas station to fuel up. By the time we got there, the engine had quieted down and the smoke had disappeared.

More good news: It went down the road straight as an arrow. Nothing fell off or blew up. It drove like a stock Miata.

What’s next? We’d like to go through the brakes and clean up a few things. We also need to reinstall the hood.


CRC Industries

Good-Win Racing

Red Line Oil

Redline Performance

Sports Car Club of America

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View comments on the GRM forums
mistanfo UltraDork
12/10/12 4:57 p.m.

And the villagers... rejoiced!

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/10/12 5:02 p.m.

We did.

RHCorley New Reader
12/10/12 9:24 p.m.

A round of applause from the desert southwest. Good job!

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/11/12 4:16 p.m.

Thanks. More updates to come.

1/10/13 9:47 p.m.

You have leopard-print carpet in your garage. Not sure what that says, but it sure says something. ;-)

1/13/13 6:48 a.m.

Can you be a little more specific about how you depowered the steering rack? I'm in the process of doing it to my '99 Miata. Thanks.

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