Tag Archives: mazda maintenance

Mazda MX-5 Miata Maintenance Day

This father’s day my friend Bill and I decided to fix another issue both of our NC Miata’s were having… my rear stabilizer links were making a clicking sound ever since we installed the Bilstein shocks. His Miata seemed to have aftermarket end links where one of them was ripped out of it’s socket because of possible incorrect install to his massive Flyin’ Miata rear stabilizer bar. So Bill ordered the parts online, came over and as soon as we got the car up on the RhinoRamps it started raining… so we went to the Diner for breakfast. On the way we also stopped by at CarQuest to pick up some more new end link nuts because the old ones on my car were showing signs of wear and I didn’t want them to get stripped. He paid $3.30 apiece at the Mazda dealer… I paid $3.30 for a box of 4 Dorman aftermarket pieces. They looked the same.

Fast forward to some better weather and replacing the end links turned out to be a rather quick job. We did Bill’s car first. Taking them off was easy. But placing new ones on seemed to look weird because they went in on an angle when attached to the stabilizer bar… I was worried if we fastened them in this condition, it was possible that they might fail again.

Luckily we had my car nearby to see exactly what they were meant to look like in correct condition, as installed from factory.

So another idea was to take mine off. Replace them with new ones. And use my old ones as guinea pigs on Bills car to see if they would last. If no failure happens after a few weeks of driving we’ll go ahead and replace them with the new ones. So that’s what we did.

Ironically though, the clicking didn’t stop once we installed new end links on my car. Turns out they were not the problem I was experiencing. Instead it appears that the actual stabilizer bar was bending in such a manner that it was making noise when the chasis of the car twisted on various road conditions, particularly when going onto uneven surfaces, like up a driveway or into parking lots, or hitting pot holes.

I was disappointed that the problem didn’t get fixed, but as we were tinkering under my car I discovered that my differential was covered in fluid and grime. It turns out that the last time I did Castrol Syntrax flush to replace the Mobil 1 75W90, I did something wrong. It’s possible I didn’t tighten the bolts enough. Or that I overfilled the differential. Or that my car didn’t like the Castrol product. I was so concerned about it, I ordered another jug of Mobil 1 since it was proven to work well for a good 20k miles, and did the flush later on in the day. So far after the test drive the car feels smooth. There’s no whine at cruising speeds. And all is well. What I’m concerned about now looking at the old Castrol that I drained from the diff, is a bunch of small aluminum shavings. That doesn’t seem normal to me.

But I guess time will tell if there’s a bigger issue.

Today was a very productive Sunday!

Mazda MX-5 Miata Maintenance Day

Today was a good day!

After the post maintenance test drive my toddler nephew exclaimed: “Oh look it’s Mia and Tia!”

Last week at the Woodcliff Lake Cars & Coffee my buddy Bill with the NC1 Copper Red Soft Top said he needed an oil change, so I volunteered to do it for him. Great! Today was the day to do it, perfect weather… lots of time since it’s the weekend, and besides the oil change we flushed the rear diff too.

Bill’s NC is pushing 104k miles, so it’s got a few more than mine. The area where the trans pairs to the engine was a bit covered with oil, which I guess may be normal for that age. It certainly looks similar as my high mileage Ford Explorer that my mom drives. There was also a lot of grime on the engine cover so I spend much of the time cleaning as the actual oil change took very little time. Actually, it took us the longest to figure out where to jack the car up correctly since his has an Appearance Package with side skirts that stick out beyond the pinch welds that I normally jack my car by.

Here’s some pix:

(first shot with my new Samsung Galaxy J3 6 “budget” smart phone)

Bill’s Miata:

The dreaded Sports Appearance package side skirts… look good from a distance, make the car seem lower to the ground, but a bit tough to work with especially when jacking the car up (and having to remove the jack leaving jack stands in place to lift the other side).

I don’t know if these openings are supposed to look like that or the previous shops/mechanics cut a piece out to get to the jacking point

The wet spot at the joint of transmission and engine

Bill lowered his car 1 inch with Flyin’ Miata Stage 2 kit, so we definitely had to use 2×4’s to get the front high enough for my jack to slide under

All done, first test drive to Advance Auto to recycle old oil and to buy gear lube to flush the rear differential.

Thanks to the great deal at Advance Auto I posted about earlier I got a chance to use both Castrol EDGE and Castrol EDGE Extended Performance + K&N HP-1002 filters on Bill’s oil change and mine…

Back in the air and leveled for the diff flush.

I was hoping that the Castrol Syntrax I used in my car’s last diff flush was going to work out but it seems to me that the quality of Mobil 1 is better so I recommended Bill get Mobil 1 instead.

Discovered one of Bill’s end links had broken off it’s mounting point to the sway bar, so he is going to order some new ones. These are the same pieces that make the clunking sound on my car ever since we replaced my stock shocks with OEM Bilstein’s.

Off on another test drive to get a feel for the rear end of the car… all Good!

Thansk for stopping by Bill!

My car is next, this time I tried the Castrol EDGE Extended Performance to see how it compares to Castrol EDGE I used for the past two oil changes. I’m assuming there will be no difference because I really don’t intend on running the car for 15k miles before the next oil change. In fact I was about 500 miles short of 5k on this one and I have no regrets, I’d rather change it more frequently then less…

This is my 3rd oil change this year, not sure if one more will be necessary before winter time… depends how many races I volunteer.

Mazda MX-5: K&N Air Filter Recharge Kit #99-5000

Took advantage of the beautiful weather this winter day to do some maintenance on the Miata. Today’s project was to clean and recharge my K&N air filter. I bought the K&N #99-5000 recharge kit some time ago with a nice discount from Advance Auto Parts, but didn’t want to do the recharge too soon. Some said it shouldn’t be done before 25k miles others 50k miles. But since I don’t drive my Miata nearly as much as other people with K&N filters on their daily cars (anotherwords that 25k or 50k miles would take me forever) I decided to do the cleaning today.

I’ll say upfront that I didn’t put the K&N panel filter back into the air box after cleaning it, instead I popped the WIX paper air filter back in that only has about 5k miles on it, and left the K&N in the box so that the oil nicely absorbs into the cotton fabric of the filter.

I also took a look at my throttle body and it doesn’t look too oiled up. So that’s a good think, the biggest complaint about K&N air filters is that the oil goes all over the place causing problems. It doesn’t.

This job is fairly simple, though I decided to unscrew a few things to get to the filter easier.

People say that if you don’t take the car offroading than it’s OK to keep the filter in for 25k to 50k miles without cleaning. I obviously never went offroading in my car. But looking at this air box shot and under the hood in general you can clearly see a ton of grime that made it’s way into the engine compartment and that fine grit definitely finds it’s way into the air box.

Interestingly enough there were two large leafs inside the air box.

Doesn’t look too bad, you can see a bit of oily residue on the edge.

The most visible stuff on the dirty side of the filter were dead bugs

The 5k mile WIX air filter went back in while I was doing the cleaning, and it will likely stay in the car for a while, I’ll explain a bit later on as to why…

I followed the cleaning instructions. First I used a soft tip paint brush to get some of the dust and larger debris off the filter before spraying it with the cleaning solution. Left it outside for ten minutes and went in the basement to rinse it off. I used a bucket full of water to dip the filter in first, and then rinsed it under water. But looking up to the light it was clear there were tiny bits of dried lefts still stuck to the metal mesh.

I did not want to leave those little debris in there, so I got a soft plastic stick and gently picked those debris out of there, without poking through or anything just gently brushed up the debris out of the mesh and cleaned it against a rag. Was very happy I did that because I didn’t see any of the YouTube tutorials talking about this.

The tutorials suggested to let the filter dry outside for about an hour. But since it was still a cold day and getting colder towards the evening I decided to leave it outside for a few hours until it was dry.

Final step was straightforward but a bit worrisome for me. How much oil do you actually spray without over spraying? It’s definitely not good practice to put too much oil because that oil would end up in the MAF and throttle body. Which isn’t good… So I gave it sufficient (I think) but not overwhelming spray on each side of the filter. Then put it in the box and will let it sit for a while so it soaks in well before I put the filter back into the air box. I figured this is how the filter was when it was sold to me, who knows how long it sat on the shelf before I bought it, so I’ll leave it out of the car for a while, until I use up my WIX filter and throw it out when I put the K&N back in the car… (probably after the Florida road trip).

Easy peasy!