Great day to work on the Miata this Memorial Day weekend. Sunny, 90 degrees… too hot to put the top down but quite pleasant in the shade. Bill stopped by for an oil change and to try running Mobil 1 high mileage 5w30 in his car, which I may do myself in the future.
Glad to see everything nice and clean on Bills car since the last time we did an oil change. One thing that stopped working though was the LED license plate bulbs that we replaced last July. Mine also burned last winter so I ordered some new ones. As soon as we plugged it in Bills car it started flickering, so we decided to go to the store and get a traditional non LED bulbs… which are surprisingly expensive at $5/ bux a pair.
Lickily the Walmart we went to had some Mad Mike ND Miatas in the toy aisle…so I bought every one they had. Will be since gift to someone someday.
It’s the little things that hopefully make a difference between a perfectly functioning motor and a blown one. Lately there has been a flurry of discussion on various social media channels about NC Miata owners blowing up their engines. And while some get all excited about a 2.5L swap to a Ford Fusion engine, I’d rather keep my MZR 2.0L purring like a kitten.
The obvious way to accomplish that is to keep track of the oil and make sure it’s at the correct level. The Ford or Mazda engineers that developed the original bullet design dip stick surely messed up. I don’t understand what dipshit thought that was a good idea but it’s hard as fuck to read the oil level at first glance. A more traditional design is also available and this week I shelled out $15 bux for it on eBay to get a little more peace of mind. (I paid much less after discount but the listing price is indeed $14.89)
Anyway, I like the result of this upgrade… though in these photos the bullet is more clear to see. That obviously isn’t always the case.
Besides the difficulty to read there have been reports of brittle plastic handle breaking (shattering in small pieces sending plastic debris into the engine) so hopefully my upgrade killed two birds with one stone.
Been a while since I did any work on my car. For most of the winter I didn’t even drive it. But after starting anew job it’s once again my daily.
So at almost exactly 5k miles I got to do my first oil change of 2018.
Car feels great with fresh fluids. Over the last 5,025 miles no oil was burned by the engine, it was still fairly brown and viscous which is great. I’ll be putting about 100 miles a week on it now going to work, so I’m assuming next oil change will be end of the year.
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)
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.
Finally! Took advantage of a 59F winter day to do some oil changes in the household. First the 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan which just hit 3,500 miles since the last oil change in August and the Mobil 1 synthetic I put into it looked awfully black. Happy I didn’t wait longer to say 5,000 miles because it would have been unnecessarily dark. The van is only used for short trips and the start/stop engine wear probably contributed to the condition of the oil (as opposed to say higher highway mileage). The Miata too got an oil change earlier than what I planned. It was about 724 miles short of the 5,000 mile interval I have determined to be ideal for my Mazda. Like the van the oil was dark. I used Pennzoil Platinum 0W20 on the last oil change so I’m going to speculate that my car doesn’t like this oil. It doesn’t burn it as in oil disappearing between oil changes, I never had to top off oil. But it certainly burns to change color from brown to very dark brown. It wasn’t all that black, but it was terribly dark.
Anyway, I’m excited about this oil change because finally I am using Castrol EDGE synthetic motor oil. I mentioned this oil several years ago when I first tried Mobil 1 and prior the time I started using Pennzoil Platinum in order to make an apples to apples comparison between the top readily available oils for my Miata. Sure there are other oils out there that some may consider “better” like Red Line or Royal Purple, but the premium trio: Mobil 1 / Pennzoil Platinum / Castrol EDGE are the most readily available and affordable options on the market here in New Jersey. So finally… Castrol EDGE is in!
My opinion about this oil will realistically be made about 5,000 miles from now when it’s time to replace the oil I just put in, but first impressions are good. There’s no difference in engine sound or feel since changing from Pennzoil Platinum to Castrol EDGE, so I’d say so far so good.
Here’s some pix:
It’s worth noting that I followed Chris’s advice and only hand tightened the K&N HP-1002 filter. Unlike in the past when I turned the 1 inch wrench to tighten it and noticed oil seepage on the top of the filter where it bolts up to the engine, there was none of that this time where Chris did the last oil change for me. So I looked at the way the filter say after he did it, and tried to match the same with my oil change. Looking up at the filter you see just the white side, none of the K&N stickers are visible. That seems to work best. It’s nice and tight by hand-tightening, and that seems to work well.
I also took the time to adjust my front license plate Cravenspeed mount. Lately after driving on the highway it seems the wind was moving the plate out of position (it was askew) so I lowered it about half an inch down to also match the way Chris has it on his car. I think it does look great. Hopefully it sits in place as it should.