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
Got home from work after four months, checked the battery to find it under 2 volts. Wasn't that old but went ahead and bought a new one at the local O'Reilly's. I find it amusing that their part number is MIATA. Got that installed, she pretty much fired right up and I took her for a drive. Only PITA is that while the CEL wasn't in evidence initially, about 10 miles into the drive it came on. So I still had to figure that out (running a MS2 so I can't just plug in a reader to see what it is for). Was going to keep an eye on the battery voltage to see if I might have some sort of constant drain.

I had gone ahead and ordered a CAS, CPS and coolant sensor from Rock Auto so I had them on hand should they be needed (since the two sensors are known failure points for NBs). Those were in hand, along with the QMAX reroute. I had to order a new thermostat for that, for anyone interested you can get one from Amazon for $6 and change plus shipping.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Washed her in the morning. Received the thermostat that afternoon, and swapped out the wheels for my special ones. Took a short drive that night, so much fun.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Installed the QMAX thermostat housing, all told it took me about three hours start to finish. I got lucky with the gasket on the old housing I was using, nothing stuck to the head so that reduced the time it took by a lot. Getting the snap ring holding the thermostat in place in the QMAX housing is a PITA. The arms on the thermostat interferred with the snap ring. I also had some trouble getting my pliers to stay in the holes of the ring, next time I do this I will get some larger posts to hold it better. Here is how it looks once in place:

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There are no gaskets on the QMAX housing, they provide a small tube of gray sealant. This is used on the housing halves like so (ignore the lumpiness, this was before I smoothed it out prior to assembly):

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The same sealant is used for the joint between the housing and the head, you do have to be very careful when putting that into place so as to not smudge the sealant. I left everything for a couple of days so it took a good set (also, I was sick so that helped). Filling up the system is easy with the bleed screw on the housing. You can hear the air escaping as you fill the radiator. After filling the system like that I also jacked the front end into the air and bled it further with the engine running. I did end up having a small leak from the O-ring on the new temperature sensor, I replaced that with an aluminum washer which is what you get from Mazda. The QMAX housing is very close to the configuration of the home-made housing I have been using, see these pictures:

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I had still been having a CEL come on, frequency had gotten worse. I tried changing the cam position sensor with no change. The previous day when I went to go for a drive she would start but then die immediately. Next day I decided to try installing the new crank angle sensor I bought. While pulling things apart I found one of the wires for the IACV connector was broken.

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Figured that was likely the reason for the engine dying after starting. Got my spare engine harness and cut off the connector, then spliced it onto the installed engine harness to take care of that little problem. Got the crank sensor installed and started her up, after running for a few minutes the CEL came back on. Went ahead and buttoned everything back up. Have been thinking about other possibilities causing the CEL so I put my head underneath the dash and looked at the wiring for the MS. Moved some around and looked for bad connections but nothing was apparent. Went for a drive, lo and behold the CEL never came on. Guess I would be pulling out the MS harness as much as I could to see what might be bad.

I also pulled the driver's front shock with an eye towards installing the Maruha extended tophat, but the hole on it is a lot larger than the shaft on the Ohlins, so I would have to do some figuring on how I could mate the two together.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Coming into the home stretch to get this fully up to date.

Finally got around to adding some lock nuts to the muffler hanger I added. When I looked underneath I found one nut had disappeared yet again. I was thinking about using Nyloc nuts but someone pointed out the nylon might melt if the temperature of the hanger got high enough. Solution was some all-metal lock nuts courtesy of Ace.

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Put those on to back up the regular nuts I had on there, shouldn't be any more issues with that.

I decided to pull the MS harness connections to see if there were any loose wires that might be causing the intermittent CEL. Didn't find anything abnormal, however when I was putting everything back together the power wire to the wideband pulled out of the StaKon. Fixed that with a new connector. Cleaned up my wire routing a little bit too, since I was already contorted it was a good time to do that. I'm getting too old for crawling underneath a dash. Had to do some driving to see if I took care of the CEL once and for all.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Got home mid-July and looked into some things trying to figure out the intermittent CEL I had been getting. Some research showed I never connected the white wire for the wideband gauge lighting to ground as instructions direct so I did that. While I was in there I slotted the upper hole for my Megasquirt mounting bracket to make it easier to get the thing in and out. I also pulled the connection harness between the factory harness and the MS to look for any problems with it but nothing presented.

A few days later I changed the supercharger oil. I had noted some leakage past the snout seal so wanted to check on how much was left. Strangely enough I got 4 ounces out of it which is what is called for. Combined with the fact that I only had 2 ounces remaining in the bottle the rebuilder sent me, the logical conclusion is that the rebuilder overfilled it. I used some AC/Delco oil I got off Amazon. I had also purchased a replacement ‘charger mounting bracket from FFS to see if there was any difference between it and the original BRP bracket. There was not so I went back to the original bracket. I was able to remove one of the washers I used for a shim to space the ‘charger snout away from the crank.

I did an oil/filter change, adjusted the center butterfly brace part to give me some more clearance, and adjusted my steering wheel after trying different things to clear the blinking airbag light (unsuccessfully). Thanks to some things coming together I was headed for MATG again that year (2019).
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
She gave me some trouble on the way down, again with an intermittent CEL and one time with the battery light coming on after which I was unable to restart her for about 15 minutes (had stopped at a rest area). Other than that she ran pretty well the whole time there. I did more driving this year than last, met new people and reconnected with old friends.

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While there I was talking to member from another forum and he suggested looking into leaks from the FO injector seals as a cause for my fuel smell under boost. After considering this and other possible problems with the fuel system, when I got home I ordered a new fuel pulsation damper along with some injector O-rings/seals. I did see some leakage from the ‘charger drain/fill plug so ordered a new one of those as well.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
I was driving to the store one night after getting home and heard a clicking noise that sounded like it was coming from the stereo. After some on-the-fly troubleshooting I realized it was happening when I used the clutch. Suspicion was it was the green plug for the upper clutch switch. When I got home I looked and there the old one was in pieces on the floor. Luckily I had an extra from when I was trying to fix my cruise control problem so got that fixed quickly.

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chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
All my parts came in so I set about pulling the supercharger and upper intake manifold. Got about 3 ounces of oil out of the supercharger so that needed doing. There was some oil residue in the charge air piping, not sure if this was a result of my using different oil or not.


When I removed the upper intake manifold and the injectors, I saw signs there was leakage past the O-rings on the #1 and 4 cylinders. Pulling the injector spacers showed the O-rings were collapsed:

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I was given two sets of O-rings after sending the injectors out for checking, I used the larger set as they seemed to fit tightly but it looks like they were too tight. No way O-rings should have a flat cross-section after just a couple of years. I cleaned everything up and installed new O-rings and head seals using the lubricant provided. Installed the new fuel pulsation damper as well, just in case it was a contributing factor.

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The results on a quick test drive? No more overpowering fuel smell under boost. Had to do some more driving to see if that also took care of the CEL.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
About a week and a half previous to this I took a drive to visit a friend from several forums. After a nice visit I drove home with a part in my possession. Good thing too as the one I was using was on its last legs. What might that be? One radiator fan shroud. First, a picture of the Lexan one I removed:

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You can see two of the attachment points had broken off. After some aligning and drilling of new holes for my fans, the installed shroud looked like this:

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It is a Mishimoto shroud, fits great and now I didn't have to worry about fatigue failure (at least as much) of the material used.

I had gas smell under boost again, but the injector O-rings were not leaking so it should (hopefully anyway) be down to a tuning issue. Heading back to work end of that weekend so that would have to wait for my next time home.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Finally got back home. Picked up my second set of wheels and brought them home (the ones with the S-drives, my winter tires). Pulled the alternator that morning and dropped it off at a rebuilder. The place has been there for 48 years, I used them for another car's alternator maybe 30 years ago. Kind of weird in this day and age to see that sort of longevity in a business. I did some research while I was away and the symptoms I had experienced points to the alternator going bad. It would be tested, although that might not be a good indicator of the problem since it only seemed to crop up after several hours driving (presumably heat related).
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Jet lag had hit me hard the past few days so I was a bit behind. That Saturday morning I went to see a guy about a set of footwell lights. He sells these on Miata.net and is local so I figured why not? It's a very nice kit so if you think you can use more light in your cabin, get a set:

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While I was on my way home I got a call from the folks who were looking at my alternator saying it was done, so I stopped in and picked it up. They said everything looked fine inside. It didn't appear the unit had been opened but it only cost me $10 so I just figured they ran a diagnostic.

Sunday morning I was out in the garage to install the alternator. Completely removed the splash guard then tried putting the alternator on with no success. Got back out from under the car and looked at the thing, it appeared that the sections were not aligned properly (see through bolt in this picture):

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As you can see it looked like the bolt was crooked so I just figured the bolt holes were off a tad. I corrected that and then tried to put it in again. No luck the second time so came back out from under and had another look. That was when I noticed the threaded hole for the pivot bolt was not lined up with the hole on the back side. Whoever assembled the alternator put the two parts together 180 degrees off. After some choice words I removed the four through bolts and then tapped the parts into proper alignment. Once that was done it went in right away. I was pissed so didn't take any pictures of the bad assembly.

After doing some cleaning on the bottom of the engine below the supercharger and putting the splash guard back on I put the other wheels with the S-drives on. The battery was dead since the car wasn't started while I was gone so that went on the charger. I finally got her started and went for a drive. It was short but sweet.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Went to take a drive but the battery was pretty flat. Looked like I needed to do some testing for a parasitic drain.

These showed up:

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Sport brake calipers. After talking to a few folks I figured this was my best and cheapest route to larger brakes without having to sacrifice my wheels. None of the breaker vendors I spoke to had any on hand so I just went with the easy button and ordered overhauled calipers from Rock Auto. Spent a bit extra and got the coated ones. Still needed to order a master cylinder and decide on the rotors and pads I wanted to run.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Last time I autocrossed I used the larger front sway I have. When I swapped back to the MSM bar I found the larger one had been moving side to side, resulting in damage to the bushings. The larger bar does not have any stops to prevent this from happening. Solution was to source a couple of split collars to use as stops:

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I bought the first one from Amazon for $7.29. It was the last one so waited a day or two to see if the stock came back up, but it was going to be 2-3 months before they were back in stock. After some searching found the same one on a different site, this time it was $28. Overall cost was $35 which isn't bad for a set of precision stainless collars. I would post pictures of them installed once I got the bushings I had ordered.

More deliveries were set for the next day, then the fun would begin.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Finally got around to checking for a parasitic electrical drain. To do this, you connect a multimeter between a battery terminal and the cable out (I did it using the negative terminal to keep from worrying about any shorting issues) and then put the meter on the max amp scale (in my case this was 10 amps). You need to make sure nothing is turned on when you do this as you want to measure anything that shouldn't be there. For additional info see the following video:


It is very thorough and should be easy for anyone to follow (even without any electrical background).

My result? A whopping 0 amp flow. Whatever I may have had going on, there was nothing that was pulling down the battery in that manner. Might be looking at getting a replacement alternator after all.

I received a couple of packages:

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Unfortunately I thought the brake master cylinder I received was for an ABS equipped car so it wasn't going to work for me. I ordered a new/rebuilt one from Rock Auto to correct that problem. Just for Sh*ts and grins I mounted up one of the front calipers and rotors to check wheel clearance. I was happy that it all looked good. No pictures until I got everything installed (patience is a virtue). Looks great though, the bigger Sport rotor really fills things up.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
After more research, it appeared I received the master/booster from a MSM which has ABS (despite my telling the recycler that I didn't want ABS). I then managed to order the wrong master from Rock Auto so that one went back and I'm now waiting on the replacement.

Received the new front sway bushings. Slight size difference between the new and original as seen here:

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Shouldn't be an issue though.

It was a bit today so went to the garage to start my brake swap. Front went on without too much trouble in about 1/2 hour. The rear though was a bigger PITA. I tried bending the splash guard but had no luck so had to cut it down some. Didn't get a picture of that, will do so when I install the other side. The rubber seal for the caliper hinge pin in the back didn't want to go on with the caliper in place, so I removed it and put the seal on the caliper (it was easier to put it in the bracket side in place).

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I had cleaned/lubed the hubs the last time I did the brakes, there was some corrosion present in spite of that:

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A little work with a wire brush and then lubed them again:

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Driver's side was done except for bleeding, would finish up the following day. For comparison here is the difference between the 1.8 brakes and the Sport brakes.
Front:

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Rear:

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One thing to note with the coated calipers, it's a good idea to run any fasteners through the holes before trying to install on the car. There was a little bit of overspray, just enough to make it difficult to get the bolts started otherwise.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Finished the brake caliper/rotor install. The cutting of the passenger side rear shield went much better, largely due to cutting in the direction that my aviation snips were made to cut.

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After the cutting:

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I'm not showing what the driver's side looked like. It's pretty easy to just push back the shields on the front wheels to get the clearance needed. Whenever I replace the rear wheel bearings I'll get the correct shields and install those.

My oldest came over to help me get things bled. Hoping to get out the next day and bed in the new pads.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Went out in the morning to bed in the new pads. That turned out to be interesting as the pedal was very soft. Had to pump it a couple of times to get it to stiffen up, then the next time I went to brake it was the same. Apparently bleeding was not complete, first time I have had that problem. I was able to get them bedded in despite this.

Back to the house and I put her up on the QuickJack to swap the master cylinders. Had to pull the cowl plate, shock tower brace, cruise control actuator and 'charger inlet piping off to make things easier. The old master cylinder came out without too much trouble, then it was in to the cabin to remove the booster nuts. I had to remove the ECU in order to access those, that made it pretty simple with using a couple of extensions and a universal. First thing to remove is the connection pin between the brake pedal and booster yoke:

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There are four nuts, the lower left one is shown in this picture:

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Once the booster is out you will see a sort of gasket on there:

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I think this is probably like the isolators on the shock top hats to minimize noise. I pulled it off and transferred it to the replacement.

There is a lot of info around on the difference between master cylinders and boosters so I won't rehash all of that here. In the interest of making life easy for folks, here are the two boosters to see the differences (Sport booster on the right):

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The masters have differences in length where they fit into the booster so you can't really mix and match those. Also the Sport master has an O-ring to seal where it fits into the booster.

One thing that I did was to use the proportioning valve mounting bracket off my 2000. The Sport valve is mounted vertically below the master cylinder, which would have impacted how I run the intake tube. Here is how the stock 2000 unit is mounted:

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This meant that it was a little more fiddly getting all my brake lines hooked up, I had to mix and match some of the old lines from my original master but it was done. One word of caution if you do this, be sure not to cross-thread the flare nuts when attaching the brake lines. It may take a bit but better to make sure things are lined up instead of using brute force.

Bleeding would be done when I had my helper.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Spent a big part of the day in the garage, mostly on my back underneath. While I was off doing training I ordered a set of urethane bushings for the steering rack. First order of business was to install those. Well, to try and install them. The passenger side goes on without trouble, but the two on the driver's side are a different story. You have to remove the rack completely in order to replace those (without beating your head against the wall), and I didn't want to go down that rabbit hole at this point. So the passenger side was done and that was it.

Then I tried installing the bigger (1 1/16") front sway with the new bushings and split collars I bought. That didn't work out either. The bushings and their brackets weren't a great fit, and the collars wouldn't clear the relocated radiator brackets (moved back due to my intercooler). So for now the MSM front sway I had been using went back on.

Next I removed the center section of the butterfly brace to see what, if any, change that makes in perceived chassis stiffness. Finally I moved my way along the exhaust to see if I could figure out why it was resonating inside the cabin with the top up. Turned out the 949 rear subframe brace (that I had previously clearanced) was being contacted by the exhaust. Guess the Roadster Sport midpipe is just a little too big back there for it to work. I removed the brace and will see if that was the problem or not.

Final job was bleeding the brakes, once my helper came over. Went round and round a few times, got a lot of air out of the system except for the driver's rear. It didn't seem like anything was coming out to the point where I was concerned that the caliper was faulty. I put my Mityvac on it and sucked for a few minutes until some fluid appeared. That did the trick because afterwards bleeding went normally. At this point I think the problem I had while bedding the pads was a bunch of air in the line to the driver's rear caliper. After everything was back together I moved her over so the wife's car could spend the night in the garage. Brake pedal stayed rock hard so I called that good. I would do the bedding procedure again next time I took her out as I could not be certain they were good the first time.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Had her out and bedded the pads again but it didn't really change how they bit. The battery was basically dead as I mentioned before, charged it several times and would be dead within two days. Searched everywhere but couldn't find the receipt for the damn thing. Thanks to my work log I knew when I had bought it (and from where), so I took it up to see what could be done. I bought it at an O'Reilly's, they scanned the bar code on the battery and cross-referenced it with my phone number. I walked out with a brand new battery, since the last one was less than a year old.

I bought something from eBay, I would wait to reveal just what until I had hands-on and could post a picture.