Last week I had a new EGR valve and gasket installed, she's been throwing a P0401 code for a few weeks now. Only effect I noticed was a slight decrease in MPGs. While she was under I had the leaking VC gasket replaced.
For Christmas, Santa brought me an Ultra-Gauge. I have yet to play around with it and set it up.
Finally back home. Picked up my second set of wheels and brought them home yesterday (the ones with the S-drives, my winter tires). Pulled the alternator this 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 have experienced points to the alternator going bad. It will be tested, although that may not be a good indicator of the problem since it only seems to crop up after several hours driving (presumably heat related).
Jet lag has hit me hard the past few days so I'm a bit behind. 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:
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):
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. Today I finally got her started and went for a drive. It was short but sweet.
Went to take a drive yesterday but the battery was pretty flat. Looks like I need to do some testing for a parasitic drain.
These showed up today:
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 need to order a master cylinder and decide on the rotors and pads I want to run.
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:
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'll post pictures of them installed once I get the bushings I have ordered.
More deliveries set for tomorrow, then the fun begins.
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 going on, there is nothing that is pulling down the battery in that manner. Might be looking at getting a replacement alternator after all.
So today I received a couple of packages:
Unfortunately I think the brake master cylinder I received is for an ABS equipped car so it isn't going to work for me. I ordered a new/rebuilt one from Rock Auto to correct that problem. Just for shits and grins I mounted up one of the front calipers and rotors to check wheel clearance. I am happy that it all looks good. No pictures until I get everything installed (patience is a virtue). Looks great though, the bigger Sport rotor really fills things up.
After more research, it appears 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 the other day. Slight size difference between the new and original as seen here:
Shouldn't be an issue though.
It was a bit warmer 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).
I had cleaned/lubed the hubs the last time I did the brakes, there was some corrosion present in spite of that:
A little work with a wire brush and then lubed them again:
Driver's side is done except for bleeding, will finish up tomorrow. For comparison here is the difference between the 1.8 brakes and the Sport brakes.
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.
Finished the brake caliper/rotor install today. 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.
After the cutting:
I'm not showing what the driver's side looks like. It's pretty easy to just push back the shields on the front wheels to get the clearance needed. Whenever I replace the 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 tomorrow and bed in the new pads.
Went out this 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.
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:
There are four nuts, the lower left one is shown in this picture:
Once the booster is out you will see a sort of gasket on there:
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):
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:
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 is 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 will be done tomorrow when I have my helper.
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 is 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 have 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'm calling that good. I will do the bedding procedure again next time I take her out as I cannot now be certain they were good the first time.