NB MX-5 Hey, it's Minnie!

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Paint turned out well:



There were some defects but all would be concealed by the other parts of the brackets so for now it's fine. I will need to find a good paint stripper that will let me take everything off and then I will repaint everything.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Made a run to Ace to see about getting some button head Allen screws to replace the standard bolts provided for the wing mounts. They didn't have any long enough so I did a web search and bought some via Amazon.

Jacked the front end in the air, put her on jackstands and crawled underneath to take care of my exhaust clearance issue (hoping for the last time). Every time I have to drop the butterfly brace I am reminded just what a PITA it is. The benefits far outweigh that disadvantage though. First used a cut-off wheel in my angle grinder, then dressed things up with a regular grinding disc. Should be plenty of room now:



While I was on the floor I cleaned up the front bumper where some paint had gotten removed when I pulled the lip off. Put a little touch-up paint on there so I'll be ready once the parts are done at the painter's. Dropped her back down, started her up and no buzzing/rattling from the exhaust.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Bump stops showed up. Holy **** were those things stiff. As in, I couldn't compress them by hand stiff.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Called the body shop and they said parts would be ready for pickup later that day. I didn't have the CX available so told them I'd get the parts the next day.

Decided to do a little prep work and make a change I have been planning on while I was going to take the front bumper off. Pulled the inside trunk storage I have off, some of the adhesive had already come off but the rest was tenacious:







There was one small screw that went through the plastic backing I wasn't expecting so now had a bigger hole where it was. I removed the third brake and license plate lights, despite only being a couple of years old the brake light gasket already showed signs of breakdown. I'm going to have to see if I can get the license plate light gaskets too, one of those didn't want to come off and some of it tore off. Trunk lid is ready to pull in the morning.

Swapped ends, jacked her up and removed the undertray. Drained/pulled the radiator and addressed one of the small hoses that come off where the factory thermostat housing is located. With the modified part I had made up, the hose made a 180 degree bend which kinked it:



I did some research and found there is no way to bend a hose once it's been formed. Looked around for some other method and found Unicoils:



This allows you to put a bend in a hose that isn't there while giving it enough support to keep it from collapsing. I found that one of the small hoses for a NA had a nice 180 degree bend so ordered one of those. I used the Unicoil to change its direction and run it down to the connection at the water pump. Judicious use of a zip-tie to make sure nothing falls into the path of a belt, and I now had this:



I was going to replace my lower radiator mounts with ones that haven't been cut up (you may recall I cut mine up during my initial installation of the BRP supercharger, then found out later I just needed a different fastener), but apparently took those to my storage so that will have to wait until the following day.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Picked up my parts. Can you say beautiful? I can. Now to get it all installed...
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Got started by replacing the Zoom gas filler door. First you have to remove the door (two bolts), the gas cap, four bolts at the base of the filler and the nut on the door release. Be careful not to drop any of the small fasteners down either the gas fill pipe or the overflow hole (you can stuff something in there if you are concerned you might drop something).



First you have to attach the hinge with the two bolts that held the factory door in place. This is a royal PITA.



Next you slot the cup in place, I forgot to take a picture of this. It's held in by the four screws you removed from the filler pipe. You also put the nut back on the door release now. Finally you put the door on the hinge along with the spring that pops it up:



And voila, it's all done.



Next up I removed the trunk lid and installed the freshly painted one. This is pretty basic, four nuts and it's off/on. I put the rubber bumpers back on, routed the third brake and license plate light wire harness and installed the latch. I lined up the paint marks on the hinges for where the nuts were before, it was close but I had to finagle a little bit to get the gaps good. Installed the third brake light, when I went to put in the license plate lights I found contrary to what I thought, one of them did break when I removed it. Ended up using one of the ones that came with the new trunk lid. Installed the painted Mazda emblem and then went on to install the wing mounts. Note the outboard screw washer will be resting on the sealer, as that part of the mount is plastic you can put a lot of stress on it if you try to just tighten it down. I marked around the washer then used a knife to remove the sealer under the washer. That gave me a good mount.

 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
I put the mounts on the wing. Put it all in place temporarily because I was waiting on my new Allen head screws to come in.

Moved to the front of the car. I couldn't find my radiator lower brackets in my storage that morning, looked around the garage again with no success. Looked in my storage one more time and came up dry. Discovered I apparently need to have my eyes checked because they finally turned up sitting on my workbench underneath some stuff I hadn't moved earlier. Got those swapped out, installed and then filled the radiator.

Brought the front bumper and lip inside, my wife said something about this and I told her I needed to do it that way so things didn't get scratched up. This earned me a wifely look. Put the lip on the bumper, then put on my HD lip. Note that they no longer carry the type that I like, I found some of it at Lowe's instead (Frost King garage door seal). Bumper went back on and I buttoned up all the remaining little items (including the license plate light I picked up on one of my trips to storage).

The mail arrived and I got my new fasteners. I went from the standard hex bolts with lock washers that came with the wing, to Allen socket button head screws with nyloc nuts.





For me it's a much cleaner look, and it's easier to deal with just the nuts instead of a lock washer.

And now, since I know everyone has been waiting for it, some pictures of the finished product:





 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
The Feal top hats showed up. I considered installing them, but wouldn't have enough time for a shake-down run before the next day's local Miata cruise. Spent that day washing, waxing and cleaning the interior up. I tried removing the double-sided tape from my trunk storage container but it's on there pretty good, so that would wait for another time.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
I had to pull out of the cruise. As I was getting off the freeway to the Columbus meeting point she died with no warning. The AFR gauge had started displaying E9 just prior to this (which I found out after I got home is low power supplied error), otherwise nothing else gave an indication it was about to do that. Got safely off the road and tried restarting but only got a clicking from the starter. Sent my son across to the group and one of the guys came over with jumper cables. That got her started but since I couldn't find anything that might have caused this I decided it wasn't safe for me to go. Thankfully I made it home with no problems. The battery has started the car several times since with no hesitation so it appears both it and the alternator are fine. I'm going to dig through the car and check all my chassis grounds to see if that might be the problem.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
I looked through my Tuner Studio settings to see if I could find anything wrong. Decided I would go ahead and recalibrate my TPS, IAT and check my AFR table to make sure it was showing the correct wideband sensor. TPS calibration was off for some reason. Went for a drive after that and my idle was down where it should be. Well, except for when it went into idle droop. I'll have to work on that.

I got around to removing the adhesive foam on the bottom of my trunk storage piece. Here is how it looked beforehand:



I got most of it off using a single edge razor blade. Sat down today to remove the rest, I tried some acetone but that didn't work as well as it has on other surfaces so I broke out the 3M specialty adhesive remover I have. Using that to soften it up and then rubbing with a thumb I got it looking pretty good after a final cleaning with denatured alcohol:



I used some industrial strength Velcro to put it back in place, figure that will be easier to remove in the future:



That was back in place and felt like it will stay in place pretty well.

I didn't get around to putting the Feal top hats on yet.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Finally got around to pulling the rear shocks. Let's take a walk through the procedure...

First thing to do is remove the shock from the car. Lots of information on this so I didn't document it. If putting on new top hats you should loosen the spring locking rings to relieve the preload on the spring before removing the shock. You can do it afterwards but it's a little bit harder. Once the shock is out you want to turn the damping all the way clockwise. Next is the removal of the adjuster using a 14 mm wrench (it just unscrews):



With that off you can see the reason for turning the adjuster all the way down. There is a rod running through the middle of the shock shaft that needs to be down so that you can use an Allen wrench to hold the shaft from turning while removing the top nut. If you squint you should be able to see the hex machined inside the shaft:



With that off you can disassemble the shock parts:



Notice there is a spacer on top of the top hat that fits into the bore on the top hat, one on the bottom and then another spacer that is machined. This lower spacer serves to locate the dust boot, it fits over a tapered section of the shock shaft. It needed some persuasion with a dead-blow hammer to get it loose off the shaft.

I couldn't find any instructions for using the Feal top hats with Ohlins. GoodWin says you can use them but the various spacers etc make it a little confusing. I ended up using the dust boot locating spacer along with the rubber spring isolator on the bottom of the top hat, and one of the provided washers underneath the lock nut on top. With everything put together I wasn't able to get the correct spring compressed length. For now I went back with the Ohlins provided top hats. I did replace their bumpstops with some cut-down Integra bumpstops as seen in the BBB (budget Bilstein ballers) thread elsewhere:



Note these are loose on the shaft but that shouldn't be an issue, they will just sit on top of the shock under normal circumstances. When I was messing around with the shocks I found that the spring preload on the right side was higher than the left side. I'm not sure how that happened because I recall checking those measurement several times when setting them up during my initial installation (and the locking rings were tight). In any case they are both even now.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Got my new license plate lights. The new ones are slightly different from the originals as you can see on the left (fixed) side of both:





The stopper on the new one has a flat area while the old one had a peak. The new one is much easier to get in and out. To remove either type you slide it to the right (follow the arrow imprinted on the plastic) and then gently pry up the other side. With the old style installing was easiest by putting the fixed (left) side into the opening and then pushing down on the right side. With the new one it is easiest to install the opposite of removal (insert right side, push over then push down on the left side).

Got some tuning done, she was running well although I still had the gas smell under boost. As for handling, it was probably my imagination but it felt a little more balanced side to side from how it was before I adjusted the spring preload in the rear so it was even on both sides.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Took my buddy to cars and coffee:



He loves riding in the Miata.

I was planning on doing a fun run autocross the next day, but a new issue had cropped up. Under steady throttle my AFRs start jumping around intermittently (going rich mainly) for no apparent reason. I don't know if this could be an ignition or injector problem but no performance driving until I got it figured out.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
I swapped out the coils to see if I could cure the erratic steady-state operation. Went to the post office, after leaving there everything was warm so I proceeded to get on it. At approximately 4000 rpm I got a stutter and power was not there. The exhaust note had changed as well. I backed off the throttle then eased into it again but it didn't go away. With a sick feeling in my stomach I limped her home watching the gauges and listening for any signs of an increase in the problem. Parked her in the garage and left her sit overnight.

Since the last thing I did was change the coils, I put the other set back in. Checked the spark plugs as I went, and sure enough the #3 cylinder showed signs that it wasn't firing. Started her up and everything was back to normal. That was a big load off my mind. I've already ordered a new set of coils off Rock Auto so I can be sure that everything is up to snuff.

FYI, a Miata running on 3 cylinders sounds like a constipated Subaru.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
New coils came in, I sanded down the sides so they would fit within the valley on the cam cover and installed them. Fired her up and even before she warmed up idling was lumpy. I put the other Toyota coils back in and she ran fine. Signed up for an autocross on Sunday, ran her around town on Saturday and was getting that intermittent weird change in the AFRs with the rough running. That shot the autocross plans in the ass. I didn't really mess with her over the last few days outside of thinking about possible causes and what I could do about them. Figured I should get a datalog so ran an errand tonight to do that. Unfortunately I didn't set it up properly beforehand so the data was not saved. On the plus side, I did buy Megalog Viewer so I can have a look at things when I do get a log and hopefully see what is going on.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Had some input from a friend about my issue, so tried reducing the nominal dwell setting for the coils down to 1.8 ms. Had a drive, did some tuning and then took a datalog. Haven't looked at the log yet but she ran pretty well. The AFR gauge was doing a little dancing but the car wasn't jerking as it was before. I may be onto something here...

Picked up my most recent eBay purchase from the post office today. Love it:

 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
After some research I changed the dwell battery correction table in Tuner Studio to match my COPs. Since that I have not had a repeat of the issue I was seeing with the AFR weirdness. I'm not ready to call it fixed just yet though. I did find out that you have to start a log from the menu at the top of the TS page. This will give you a file with a .msl extension and shows whatever parameters you have set to record. I was doing it through the Diagnostic and High Speed Logger tab at the top of the gauge panel, however this only records specific parameters in a .csv file. I'll be taking another log the next time I go out.

Since I was already on the garage floor this morning changing the oil in the CX-5, I decided to try changing out the exhaust hanger at the back of the mid-pipe for a urethane one I had lying around. First time I've used those, and damn are they hard to get into place. It didn't help that it was slightly shorter than the rubber one it replaced. I used WD-40 for lube and ended up having to use a large screwdriver in the slot in the middle of the hanger to lever it up enough to get it over the chassis mount. It is holding the rear of the mid-pipe very nicely now, no more chance of it moving around allowing contact with my rear subframe brace.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Had done some tuning over the past week. Swapped over to the S-Drives on Friday, with temperatures being consistently lower the Rivals weren't happy. While I love my special wheels better, I have to admit the silver ones are growing on me:



Had to wash her, before I did that I got underneath to find out if there was any residue from a dead animal I had to run over the other day. It cleared in the front but I heard/felt a good whack from the rear. I thought it had hit the exhaust, but looking between the 949 subframe brace and the factory bracing I saw a blocked area. Ended up having to work a piece of stiff plastic in there to get the chunk out. Lesson learned on that one.

Thanks to my wonderful wife I got the go-ahead to try something. It's going to take some work and I'm not even sure if it will be a success or not, but watch this space...
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
I was having some trouble while filling up with gas with the nozzle shutting off. I read there is a problem over time with a check-valve located in the fuel filler pipe. I ordered one the other day, it came in yesterday so I went to put it in today. Found out I don't have one so that shoots that theory in the foot. I'm going to do some more research to see if I should install it or not.

While I was working on her I delved into the fueling problem (which reared its head again a few days ago). I decided to swap out injectors to see if that solved the problem. When I pulled the fuel manifold I notice some residue on the connector for the #1 injector. Turned out the O-ring on the top of the spacer that plugs into the manifold was slightly damaged. It wasn't leaking much but maybe enough to cause a problem. No pictures as it was hard to see where the damage was. I replaced the O-ring and buttoned everything back up. Short drive didn't reveal much although I didn't see the problem. Longer drive to follow as soon as I can.

My surprise noted previously was a driver's seat from a ND (Launch Edition). I set it in place, if I'm going to make it work I will have to figure out how to modify the mounting brackets as the factory ND ones won't line up. It sure did look pretty sitting in there though, I'm hopeful I'll be able to make it work.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Apparently Mazda did not include the check valve in the fuel filler pipe on my car. I pulled the fill pipe out this morning and there were no signs of anything ever having been in it (and based on diagrams I saw on line the type of pipe I have did not have one installed). While I was in there I removed the vent pipe to check it. Blew through in one direction and had no flow. Blew through in the other and had flow. Blew through it from the original way and had flow. Hmmm. Shot a light through the hose and it was clear. I didn't hear anything hit the floor when I blew through it the second time, but it appears something was blocking it. I'll find out next time I fill up if the problem is solved or not. Here is my filler pipe, and the small hose on top in the other picture is the vent hose:





I also swapped the Delrin door bushings side to side to see if the doors would close better. Seemed to make a difference in the passenger side while not changing the driver's side. I'll see how my passengers do with it before I decide if I need to shave the passenger one or not.
 
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