Tech Talk
Here you will find articles that our members have submitted on maintaining and modifying your Miata. If you would like to contribute an article please contact our webmaster.

This page contains articles that our members have submitted on maintaining and modifying your Miata. If you would like to contribute an article please contact our webmaster.

This page contains articles that our members have submitted on maintaining and modifying your Miata. If you would like to contribute an article please contact our webmaster.

  • 02/09/2017 2:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Flyin’ Miata Hush-o-matic active muffler. Twin tips with a vacuum operated butterfly valve that lets more sound out when you are hard on the throttle, while being quiet in normal driving. 

    I purchased the muffler and the electronic control. The muffler installed easily and fits perfectly. The electronic control was a bit tricky to connect the wiring under the fuse box. However, being careful and not rushing was the key to my successful installation. 

    The result is outstanding! The Flyin' Miata video can't duplicate how nice the car sounds. In the quiet mode the sound is just slightly louder than stock. Just the right volume for a true sports car with a quiet idle and NO drumming sound at freeway speeds. In the active mode, the sound has a deep, throaty note that sounds so nice, especially on a twisty uphill with lots of gear changes. This is Miata number 8 for me. All generations, from street to track day prepared and this is the best sound I have experienced!

    -Ken Johnson
    2016 Ceramic GT

  • 02/09/2017 2:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I purchased and installed the front and rear bars plus the end links from Flyin’ Miata. Installed them myself. The rear took about 20 minutes. The front took the rest of the day! Flying’ Miata’s instructions were accurate and logical. Seems like everything in front of the engine hangs off the fan shroud, which has to be removed to change the bar. Being careful and taking my time paid off. Everything went well with the install. I set the end links to the middle position (there are three) and am happy with the results.

    By changing the bars but not the springs, the car rides normally on the road. No stiff ride or hitting the bump stops on rough roads. On the twisties, the car now handles like my previous Miatas. Corners flat, without suddenly breaking loose. Very predictable and worth the labor to install, in my opinion!

    -Ken Johnson
    2016 Ceramic GT

  • 11/26/2014 10:24 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I have never been satisfied with the stock radio antenna on “THOR”, my 2006 Nordic Green.  I finally decided to do something about it. I searched the internet and found the METRA 44 - PW32 miniature power antenna. It only takes up 8½ inches in height and fits in the space where the regular antenna is installed.  The installation does require removing the car jack, but it can be easily stored behind the driver’s seat along with the lug wrench and other tools required for a tire change. 

    When I installed the wiring for my CB radio, I anticipated upgrading to a power antenna, so I installed two extra wires from the trunk to the passenger side wheel well.  I found the best price for the antenna - $90 - at CarToys.  I was not familiar with the connections to the radio so I decided to have CarToys do the installation. It was reasonable at $120 + $10 for additional connectors. Here are some photos to show the results.


     

  • 11/26/2014 10:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Window Zipper Slides

    Has your window zipper been acting up? Sticking along the way as you attempt to get that top up in the rain? Usually this is not due to the zipper itself being damaged, but the slide has spread and fatigued to the point where it no longer feeds the two sides of the zipper together in a smooth manner.

    Mazda has finally addressed this problem and is now selling the slide by itself as an available part #. If this is something you need, call your friendly Mazda dealer and order a Zipper Tab, P/N NA01R1250B. Cost is $12.85 List. A bargain if this allows you to get more use out of your top and keeps you drier as well!

    Installation is fairly straightforward. Each end of the zipper halves are stapled together with two heavy brads. The end that must have the brads removed, before you can get the old tab off and install the new one is the one where the slide will be when the window is unzipped. Use a pair of needle nose pliers and put the top most of the way down while you pull them out from one side. They will straighten themselves a bit when you remove them, but use the pliers to bend them to a right angle so that the legs are like three sides of a square. This will make putting them back in much easier.

    Now remove the old zipper. Gently spread it from the center if it is stuck, being very careful not to damage the two halves of the zipper in the process or all is lost.

    Once the old tab is removed, you can then align the ends and slide the new tab into place. It will start zipping together the two side of the zipper as you go. Just get it on six inches or so for now. It's easier to work with if the top remains mostly down and you can see and work from both sides.

    Now comes the FUN part! Getting those two brads (staples), back into place. The holes are fairly easy to see and the straightened staples should go back in without too much of a fight. Be patient and get them through both layers of fabric. Once each brad is in place, fold the legs down to keep it there.

    Congratulations, you have a virtually new zipper that will last several more years.

    Remember, always unlatch the top first, then unzip the rear window after the tension is off the top and in reverse, put the top up with out latching, then zip the window in and finally latch the top down. These precautions will keep the zipper and tab working well for many years to come.

    Bonus for '99+ owners: Don't try to find you rear window zipper, there isn't one! :-)

     

  • 11/26/2014 9:58 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Transmission Fluid Change on the NB
    by Terry Worrell

    Here are some helpful tech hints based on my "experience" of changing the transmission fluid on my 2000 NB during this past 4th of July weekend. The point of this article is not necessarily a "how-to-do" but more of a re-cap on the mistakes I made and possible improvements. And Eric will add his comments, (in italics), to make this more complete.

    This process was competed on my NB, but is the same for an NA.

    I educated myself on how to do this operation by first visiting the following web site to get the "basics."

    www.blueridgemiataclub.org

    This site by the Blue Ridge Miata Club does an excellent job of providing the background, and it has pictures which are quite helpful. Be aware, the site covers the whole territory of changing the shift turret oil, differential oil, etc. So first read the Transmission Oil Selection, Tools and Other Parts Needed section, briefly review the other sections, then center your interest on Transmission Drain and Refill. I ended up making a copy of all the sections, plus the pictures, and I suggest you do the same.

    I decided on changing my transmission oil from OEM to synthetic (Redline MTL). Suffice to say that selection of the correct transmission oil is very subjective process. I suggest that you use the "Search" function on Miata.net forums and do some research on this subject yourself, buy the oil of your choice, and proceed as follows:

    1. The first step is jacking up the car and safely supporting it with jack stands. For my operation I already had the front end on jack stands to change the engine oil. Therefore, I assumed I would simply elevate the front end higher for the transmission oil change. That was incorrect. I suggest you elevate the rear end as well with jack stands. Just having the front end elevated was too confining, and you will need room to maneuver around. After doing a solo in installing my Racing Beat Header I should have remembered how much room you need when working underneath the Miata. Also if you read Step 1 of the Differential Drain and Refill section of the web site, you will note that they suggest using all four jack stands. I missed that particular point.

    2. So next slip onto your crawler and scoot underneath your Miata with a 14 mm open end wrench to loosen the square nut of the fill plug. Well that sounds easy enough on the web site but, darn, that nut was tight!! My guess is that it was the thread compound the factory used. Anyway, my 14 mm wrench could not provide enough leverage, so I needed a "breaker bar" to initially get it loose. Next there was the problem of my RB header exhaust pipe being just enough in the way, that I was forced to use a 10" adjustable wrench for most of this operation. So be prepared for tools that provide more leverage. (I always use a large crescent wrench for this task. Square sockets do exist, but are usually expensive.)

    3. So with the fill plug off, we next concentrate removing the 24 mm drain plug. This one was quite easy, so make sure you have your oil pan ready. Note that this plug is magnetic, so be sure to clean all those potential metal filings off the plug. I did a visual on the washer and determined it was okay and did not need replacement. Your choice.

    I choose to loosen both the fill plug and the drain plug w/o removing them, then after placing the drain pan under the holes, I remove the drain plug, followed by the fill plug. The oil will drain relatively slowly until you remove the fill plug and allow air into the transmission.

    4. After the OEM fluid is drained, it's time to replace the drain plug and torque it to 29-43 ft-lbs. There is plenty of room to do this operation.

    5. Well the remainder of Step 4 brings a smile to my face. It says simply "Fill the transmission with 2.1 quarts of new transmission oil, using an oil transfer pump or similar." Well to use a favorite Eric expression when I make real bad email suggestion: LOL (Laugh Out Loud)

    To me this was the toughest step of the process. My first suggestion is wear safety goggles in this fill operation. I used a Mityvac (approx. $15) , and it didn't work well at all. I had to cut-to-fit the tubing provided. It took both hands to operate the pump and hold the quart bottle of MTL. The whole process was cumbersome, and the fill tube kept slipping out of the transmission fill hole getting small amounts of oil all over me and the floor. Not a pretty sight. The next time I will use masking tape or equivalent to secure (temporarily) the tube in the hole. Oh, and another suggestion, have plenty of paper towels handy for potential mishaps.

    For my next transmission oil change I plan to use a transfer pump (#37739, costing $10 @ Harbor Freight). It appeared too hefty for this operation originally, but now I think it might be much more adequate.

    Most auto parts stores sell bottle pumps for this task, usually for < $5. They screw into the oil bottle and have a hose attached to allow pumping in awkward situations. Mine is for a particular brand and doesn't thread into the Red Line bottles, but it works fine just slid in the bottle and not threaded. This makes this job much easier. If the car is level, I usually add oil until it comes out of the fill hole. This is considered general practice.

    6. So once you have 2.1 new quarts of transmission fluid added, it's time to install the square end fill plug. But don't forget that you must apply a gasket sealant to the back threads. I used NAPA's Sensor-Safe RTV Blue Silicone Gasket Maker. This worked well for me in my previous oil pressure sensor installs. Again I found this plug to be rather tight in the process of re-installing it. And I needed the 10" adjustable wrench to adequately finish the tightening to the gasket sealant.

    (The fill plug is a tapered pipe thread and the sealant is optional. Just be sure to tighten it securely.)

    That said, I was quite happy with the results of this operation. No leaks and now I have smoother shifting. Previously I had a rather "notchy" 2nd gear. and for now that has disappeared. And it got even better when I did the "Turret" oil as well.

     

  • 11/26/2014 9:53 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Product Review
    Hard Dog 1.25" Hitch for 90-97 Miata
    Thule Hitching Post Pro Bike Rack
    by Martin Brown

    I wanted a bike rack for my 1995 Miata, and I wanted one that would easily fit into the trunk of the Miata when I wasn't using it. I tried a strap-mounted trunk rack but it was a disaster. After a lot of inquiries, the combination of gear I came up with was a 1.25" receiver hitch (in this case, from Hard Dog/Bethania Garage) and a Thule Hitching Post Pro. Here's how they've worked out so far.

    HARD DOG 1.25" HITCH

    This was about $140 plus shipping, and to the casual observer, such as my dog, it's practically invisible (see highlighted area).

    Hitch

    Hitch

    The installation of the hitch was straightforward. The hitch is cleverly designed to utilize the bolts that secured the rear tie-down hooks of a 90-97 Miata. (Since those hooks were only used during the original shipping of the Miata, there's no harm removing them.) When I really really really scrunched under the car, I found that the hooks could be removed and the hitch assembly installed without any jack stands, using only standard ratchet wrenches. It took me about an hour, though someone more mechanically inclined, or in possession of jack stands, could probably do it faster. I did need to expand (using a drill) one of the holes in the hitch assembly in order to make a really square fit. Now it's connected with 8 bolts, and seems pretty darn solid. Since it's unobtrusive, I'll just leave it on there permanently.

    Here's two closer views. This is kind of a dog's eye view:

    Close-Up
    And here's the view of the hitch you would get if you got drunk and fell down by the Miata. (Some paint has chipped off the hitch).

    Close-Up

    No problems with the hitch so far. The bike rack (see below) has a bit of play in this hitch, even when bolted in tight, but so far there has been no perceptible motion while driving, which is what counts.

    THULE HITCHING POST PRO BIKE RACK, 1.25" VERSION

    This cost $130 at Rack Attack in Portland. I bought this rack partly on the recommendation of the salesman at Rack Attack (he said it was a solid rack for the price) and also on my calculation that without much trouble I could get it in my Miata's trunk. It is attached to the receiver hitch with a strong bolt and split washer (a wrench is included with the rack). Here's what it looks like on the car:

    Bike Rack

    Bike Rack
    I've highlighted the area that holds the bikes. The cradles for the bikes are simple to use and secure. Driving with a bike on the rack on both local roads and the interstate, I was impressed with stability of the whole arrangement. No jiggling or banging or wiggling – it was solid, using just the standard hardware provided with the rack.

    Note how the rack extends a good distance from the back of the car. The bikes stay well away from the car, so there's no problem with them banging against the paint job, if you care about that kind of thing. It's easy to get access to the trunk without moving the bikes. If you want even more access to the trunk, you can tilt the main post down..

    Bike Rack Down

    Bike Rack Down

    Now the part that's really important to me. I wanted it to fit in the trunk without dominating it. After a three-minute disassembly (I timed it), using the wrenches included with the rack, here's how it fits.

    Bike Rack Trunk

    Bike Rack Trunk

    Sorry about this photo's overexposure, but you can still tell the rack takes up hardly any room – there's lots left for helmets, gear, picnics, or in my case, detritus from local maple trees.

    Hope this helps.

     

  • 11/26/2014 9:52 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    PCV Valves and Grommets

    Many Miata owners change their oil and filter regular as clock work, but how many of you have replaced the Positive Crankcase Ventilation, PCV, valve?

    This valve regulates pressure in the upper part of the engine and should be replaced every 30k miles as a preventative maintenance item along with the rubber grommet that fits into the cam cover. 

    This is found on the intake manifold side of the engine. It is pushed into the cam cover and has a 10 mm hose running from the PCV valve to the intake manifold. Simply grab hold and pull the hose away from the cam cover and the valve will come out of the grommet in the cam cover. You can now remove the grommet from the cam cover with a pair of needle nose pliers and remove the PCV valve from the hose. Install the new grommet into the cam cover and then the new PCV valve into the hose and re-attach them. Don't try to fit the valve and grommet into the cam cover together, the combined diameter is too large to easily press in. Trust me, I tried. :-) 

    Expect to pay under $25.00 for the Mazda parts and about half that for generic ones.

  • 11/26/2014 9:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Fuel Filter
    [Author Unknown]

    I have often been surprised by how many Miata owners assume that the fuel filter needs replacing every 30k miles. In actuality, it is only scheduled every 60k miles.

    This is only a 20 minute job if you have the correct tools to do the job, but precautions must be taken since you will be working with the fuel lines and a small amount of gas will spill regardless of the precautions you take. Remember, the fumes are most flammable, not the liquid gasoline. Fumes can travel along the ground for amazing distances, so take appropriate precautions and remove any possible ignition sources such as heaters or open flames of any kind as well as ensuring that the area is well ventilated. If your gas furnace is in the garage, DO NOT PERFORM THIS PROCEDURE IN THE GARAGE! The starting furnace or the pilot light, depending on the model, can cause an explosion. This will most likely damage your Miata, and ruin your day too. The same is true of any electrical appliance. If running it can be an ignition source. Washers and dryers, if off, are safe, but if in use are not. It only takes one spark, so please be very careful.

    Start by removing the locking lug nut from the right rear wheel of the Miata. Then break loose, but do not remove the other three lug nuts. Now jack up the car using the differential base as a central jacking point and place the rear of your Miata on jack stands. Be careful not to apply jacking pressure to the Power Plant Frame (PPF) that runs forward to the transmission. If you have any doubts about the correct locations for the jack stands, please refer to your owner's manual. Remove the right rear wheel and set it aside out of your way.

    Now you will have access to the area where the fuel filter resides. Using the Phillips screwdriver, remover the plastic screws and pull out the plugs that secure the plastic cover just forward of the wheel well and inboard. This protects the fuel filter from damage from road debris. Hint: If the plastic screws are stubborn, apply outward pressure to the plastic cover while unscrewing them and the threads will bite in better and unscrew.

    Now that the filter is exposed, you can unbolt the filter bracket from the car. Do not unbolt the filter from the bracket, this is not necessary. Once this is done, clamp the rubber fuel lines, using the hose-clamping pliers, on either side of the filter as close to the filter as possible without clamping on the metal tube inside the line. Now slide the Mazda hose clamps off the rubber lines and onto the metal lines at the filter. Now you are ready to remove the rubber hoses from the metal lines of the filter. Be careful to avoid getting fuel in your eyes, safety glasses are recommended. Once the filter is free it will continue to leak fuel for a while depending on how it is placed so put it in the drain pan and move it away or outside to avoid the fumes.

    Install the new filter just as you removed the old one. Don't forget to put the Mazda hose clamps on the new filter before you attach the rubber hoses. Hoses first, then clamps, remove the hose clamping pliers that have been preventing pressure and fuel loss, then bolt the filter & bracket to the car and replace the cover. Those pesky plastic screws can be just pushed straight in w/o using the screwdriver. Replace the wheel, lower the Miata, and replace your locking lug nut and finish tightening all the lug nuts on the wheel.

    Now you can forget about this for another 60k miles. Or start on the timing belt.

  • 03/19/2014 9:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Boot Folding
    by Paul Menzel

    It has come to my attention not every one has figured out how to properly fold and store their boot. As you go through the pictures here you should be able to figure it out. Just remember, having the folds line up with the breaks in the plastic it the key. The pictures are from an M1 but the same steps apply to the M2.

    Start
    Start with the boot unattached from the car.

    First Fold
    The first fold is across the full width of the boot.

    Second Fold
    The Second fold is at the breaks near the top latches.

    Third Fold
    The third fold is into a triangle. I personally skip this one.

    Last Fold
    The last fold in right down the middle.

    Storage Position
    If you use all the folds, it fits nicely in the trunk.

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