Tag Archives: NC Miata

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!

Miata Fiata Radio Meeting Daniel Cooper in Atlanta and Talking NC Miata’s, Track Builds, Experiences

Woo Hoo, we got our first real guest on the Miata Fiata Radio podcast: Daniel Cooper who moderates the NC Miata Group on facebook with over 1.3k members.

Daniel did a lot of work to his personal 2006 True Red Miata. The car looks absolutely amazing and very aggressive… it is primarily a track car at this point with plenty of laps around Road Atlanta and Atlanta Motor Speedway in this area of Georgia.


Miata Fiata Radio – Chat with Daniel Cooper in Duluth, Georgia… about NC Miata’s, Track Builds, Road Trips and Stuff

We recorded in Daniel’s garage looking out on our two cars parked outside… here’s some pix:

And the recording set up, a table we made with NC wheels:

And the best part of the podcast… dinner after at a local BBQ joint:

Mazda MX-5: Miata Lip Spoiler Installed in Daytona Beach, Florida

First order of business on arrival to Florida was installing my new eBay lip spoiler from Taiwan.

I think it looks great, even though I think I botched the install a little bit… there are a few places I would like to adjust it, although to be honest it looks far better than I thought it would.

Who knew something so cool could only cost $20 bux?

Pix:

First things first… a good hose down at a local Daytona car wash.

I first left it out in the sun for about 10 minutes so the spoiler softened in order to be bent to follow the shape and curvature of the trunk lid.

I wanted it to sit right on the very tip of the trunk, which posed a bit of an issue because as the lid curls up it creates an uneven area to which the flat bottom of the lip spoiler would have a hard time sticking. For this reason I think a tiny bit of the 3M adhesive on the back of the lip spoiler is somewhat exposed. But I think it’ll do just fine. We’ll see with time if it needs to be readjusted.

I used some painters tape to force the lip spoiler in place. It was probably not necessary as the 3M tape grabbed the trunk immediately and pretty vigorously.

I had some help installing it, so my approach was to start from left to right. I attached the center of the spoiler first, then had my friend hold the right side up away from the trunk, while I gently followed the curvature of the trunk to stick the spoiler to the left first. Then I returned to the center and went ahead to stick it to the right. I think I got the two sides to balance within 1mm (I think the left side sticks out 1mm more than the right side, but it isn’t noticeable) what is noticeable is on the very edge of the spoiler the right side seems a bit more exposed from the bottom on the right than the left.

It may sound confusing so I hope the pix will show what I mean:

I left the tape on for about an hour while we went to Ponce Inlet Beach, and then removed the tape to see how it looks:

This side especially shows how much it sticks out.

Took a little trip to the Daytona International Speedway for some more shots:

First impressions: I like it!  I like it a lot. It’s subtle but has a presence

Would I recommend it?

YES!

Go and buy one, for the price and the quick shipping, it’s a mod you’ll appreciate and enjoy. And if you don’t like it, the losses are minimal.

I’ll post an update to see if it helps with stability or gas mileage on the highway. I doubt it, but with multiple trips coming up within Florida I should be able to notice differences. I got up to 38mpg on the drive down here, so I think it is already as good as it gets.

Want to buy a Miata? There’s a ton of them at Wayne Mazda

Thanks for not ripping me off Wayne Mazda!

Though I am in the market for another Mazda, I didn’t buy the CX-7 or CX-5 I’m interested in. Thanks to breaking a little plastic cowl grille cap on my Miata yesterday, I was eager to find a replacement  ahead of another few days of heavy rain we have in the forecast.

The NC Miata facebook group was very helpful identifying the part I needed to buy. I posted there after following removal instructions on Miata.net and like many posters encountered the cracking of the brittle plastic cap myself. Someone kindly provided the part # and a cost estimate so I would have an idea of what to expect at the stealership. Then I called the three Mazda dealers within a 10 mile radius from where I live and got actual price quotes for the items they had in stock. Wayne Mazda came in the cheapest at the list price of $3.25 or $3.48 with tax. Ramsey Mazda didn’t have any in stock, while Lodi Mazda parts counter employee pulled a random number out of his ass and quoted me $6.71+ tax for the last cap they had in stock. I don’t know why I bothered calling Lodi knowing how shitty they treated me in the past… a sales guy wouldn’t even let me test drive a 2008 Miata on their lot when I was in the market, weird as fuck. So go Fuck Yourself Lodi Mazda and thanks to Wayne Mazda for not ripping me off, really.

BTW anyone in the market for the flimsy plastic clips that are almost guaranteed to break when you try to access that area of the cowling under the windshield wipers, the cheapest option is from Amayama… their Japanese locations lists the part at $1.70+ shipping, while their United Arab Emirates location (who knew there was so much Mazda parts demand in Dubai? not me…) is selling the same thing for just a $1…. but shipping is $21 bux! Someone on facebook joked it would be a great item to buy in bulk… I’d rather pay $3.48 for the single one that I need than pay $1 x whatever number for the 10 cent piece of plastic. (eBay has a bunch of these listed at $5+ apiece, while online sales web sites list them at a discount for about $2.20 but shipping is $4.50 Yikes!) But all the venting aside I’m happy I was able to get one so quickly without waiting for the delivery.

And while at Wayne Mazda I was greeted by a whole fleet of Miatas. The row of NC’s when you first drive up, all in beautiful white, were totally unexpected. It is February but the weather has been favorable and I guess people are buying these little Roadsters before the mad rush of summer season sales… (is there such a thing?)

Check them out:

Lots of ND Miatas too, inside and out:

Including this gorgeous MX-5 RF… (retractable fastback)

Back home the new plastic cap was very hard to pop back in place… which only means one thing: it will snap right off the first time I try to remove it again to get to the screw under it. Oh well! At least now I know where I could get them and how much they will cost. I tried to offset my cost by helping myself to a fistfull of lollies on the counter at the Cashier window 🙂

Millenials Miata Meet Winter Jersey Shore Cruise & BBQ

Seems like everyone went down the Jersey Shore today!

Hard to believe the weather was so nice I actually put the top down while cruising to a familiar spot on the Garden State Parkway to join a bunch of Millenials Miata owners for one of their mid-winter get-togethers and a cruise to the beach for some barbecue. I may be exaggerating a little. Not everyone was a young millenial, and we didn’t quite make it to the sandy beach, more like a town that has “beach” in it’s name… or close enough anyway, but you get the picture. It was a whole bunch of young Miata owners hanging out and having fun. Many of them I’ve met before at the New Jersey Miata’s events held at the same Chesapeake Cheesequake rest area on the GSP (I previously posted Chesapeake which is actually in Virginia, I meant Cheesequake which is in New Jersey). But this impromptu event felt different. I felt like an old fart and it was kind of cool to hang out with the kids. Trying to see if we still have something in common… cringing at the sight of some of the car mods. Hoping the cops don’t show up when some started doing burn outs and donuts. But obviously connected through the common denominator of our car choice: the Miata. And agreeable foodie tastes: a BBQ joint for lunch! It was refreshing especially since it’s still February and many car events are months away.

Naturally I took a ton of pix:

The turnout was impressive… I was hoping a few cars would show up, but they just kept on coming and coming. I think I counted 28 Miata’s in total and about half a dozen other cars that came along. For the longest while mine was the only NC that wasn’t like all the other NA’s & NB’s, but after a while a beautiful ND showed up, so we had at least one of each models represented (though no RF yet and no 124 Spider or Abarth… yet).

A very appropriately labelled loud piece.

Not quite sure what Miatagang is but they came out in numbers!

This was one of those non-Miata guest vehicles… a beautiful Ford-powered Jag replica/kit car. Looked, sounded and drove great!

Don’t remember if I’ve commented about this before, but truck-nutz type toys hanging off lowered cars is definitely a “thing” nowadays… like this pink colored “poop” emoji plush toy.

Stripped!

Oh yeah… and no rear bumper is definitely a “thing” too now… this was one of three or four without the rear bumper.

If this is a true drift car, it is by far one of the cleanest I’ve ever seen (no dings, dents or scrapes to be found!)

And away we go…

Rice box?

Do all Millenials skateboard? I think so…

After lunch the majority of the kids headed to another car show a few towns over while I convinced a few North Jersey owners to detour our way home via Ocean Avenue… somehow I was elected leader and I fucked up several times trying to reach the correct Ocean Avenue, getting lost in places I got lost as a leader at previous events last year. You’d think I would have learned, but no! I know exactly why I made the same mistakes now I did last time. I convinced myself I knew where I was going, and instead of firing up the GPS and not looking like a fool, I totally embarrassed myself.

Oh well… ironically we didn’t really get to see much of the beaches driving up to Sandy Hook as the main road was a few blocks off the Boardwalk and heavy with traffic. So that was kind of a fail. My apologies to the folks that followed me. I should really improve on this considering how much I’d like to make this sort of thing a business one day with my International Motorsports and Miataland-like tourism ideas…

Miata Fiata Talk Episode 3: Chris & Russ talk about the Polar Bear Run with LVMOC, Bear Mountain Cruises and Road Rallies

Have a listen to our latest Miata Fiata Episode recorded right after the Polar Bear Run with Lehigh Valley Miata Owners Club in rural Pennsylvania.

After two failed attempts at recording another Miata Fiata Talk episode, we finally got it done! (we recorded two episodes where the audio quality failed us miserably, and since Chris is a stickler for good quality sound, those were throw away episodes).

Fresh after a spirited drive through rural Pennsylvania at LVMOC’s Polar Bear Run we had a nice chat about the experience.

Sakshik has moved to Atlanta, Georgia so he’s sadly missing form this episode, but we do expect to get him back on by linking Skype and Audacity for some remote recordings.

Stay tuned for more and do share some feedback around this episode. Many thanks!

Mazda’s Test Drive Experience: $25.00 Complimentary SCAM?

I hate to go to a dealership where the sales people are clueless!

And it’s sad, because I was going to visit a local dealership in a really good mood. I had a promo in hand where Mazda advertised a $25 e-gift card for test driving any of their new vehicles. Great! I had just done one at a competing dealership, it was a smooth transaction, so I thought it was going to be nice and quick and hopefully give me a good baseline for my future Mazda purchase, be it a CX-7 which I’ve been wanting to get for my mom for the longest time, or maybe a CX-5 which a few of my friends recommended over the discontinued model that I actually prefer.

I was happy to see a few MX-5 Miatas lined up along Route 17 where the dealership is located. Makes sense seeing them there as it’s just about winter time and nobody would probably want a convertible in the weather we are about to get. (though it pays to shop now as I bought my Miata in December and got an awesome deal on it). There was a beautiful NC too on the lot in the used section. A Mazdaspeed3 someone must have either brought for service or that was for sale by another dealership because it had a Toyota dealer tag on it. And a beautiful white CX-7 with NJ plates that too was probably waiting for a service appointment.

I walked in and asked about the promo. The salesperson asked me a question whether or not I was actually interested in buying a Mazda then and there. I answered honestly. And it looked like the salesperson was just going to satisfy the criteria of the promo for me to get the gift card without actually test driving the car. He went off to chat with his manager who gave him some BS story how I must come back with a printout of the e-mail for them to sign. I pointed out that they had to enter the code on their end to whatever web site this promotion was offered from and that’s where we hit dead end. Nobody knew what the promotion web site was for them to punch in the PIN code for me to get the gift card. I spent a good 15-20 minutes waiting while my salesman was on hold with Mazda corporate and they didn’t hear about the offer either. Go figure!

Long story short, the salesperson took my name and number and promised to call back if he hears more about the promo. I told him that I’ll reach out to the people I know and see what they say to which he replied to inform him of what I find out because he’s curious (I kind of have to if I want to get the damn gift card, right?)

And I left it at that.

Directly across the highway there’s a sister Alfa Romeo / Fiat dealership so I figured I’d stop by and take a closer look to the single Fiat 124 Spider on the lot. That experience was even weirder!

For one, as soon as you pull in, amongst all the Fiat 500’s there’s a ginormous Dodge Challenger SRT-8 with a massive shaker hood sitting there. Walk into the store and there’s another SRT-8 Hellcat right next to a Jeep Grand Cherokee (possibly SRT-8 but I didn’t bother looking because they seemed out of place). An Alfa-Romeo 4C set prominently in the middle and a few more 500’s lined the other side of the showroom floor. One salesperson came out of the back somewhere hurriedly asking if I needed help. I asked if I could get a brochure for a 124 Spider and was declined because as the dealer put it: even though he sold 20 cars and got hundreds of brochures, they went quickly! He was in a rush to get back to his customer in the back of the showroom and said he was the only one working that evening, the other two salesmen they have were off. WTF? It all seemed super odd to me…. considering many people may come car shopping just after work hours and there this guy is alone in a store basically turning prospective buyers away! SAD….

My first job out of high school was with a local Toyota dealership. We had 10 to 20 salespeople roaming around the floor on any given day all hungry and eager to grab a customer walking in because it was our objective to sell them a car. Many people bought cars because we would insist on taking each and every person on a test drive which insured we got their contact details and a way to contact them to sell them a car even if they didn’t buy it on the first day.

Neither my Mazda or my Fiat dealership experience tonight was like that which makes me wonder, how the hell do they sell cars? Even when Mazda corporate entices random prospective buyers to drag their ass to the dealership with an offer of $25 bux via gift card, the dumbass dealership can’t even follow through because they’ve never heard of that promotion. Jesus Christ! What are they doing???

So basically the promotion I posted earlier was a SCAM. It wasn’t malicious… but it was plenty useless based on the ignorance of the parties involved. I’m sure I’ll probably have the dealership reaching out to me later trying to sell me something just based on my contact details that they grabbed from me based on this promotion that I signed up for. But the experience just reinforces my previous attitude of not wanting anything to do with these clowns in the future. I’d rather buy a used car from a private party and save myself the headache….    Of course I must say: your results may vary!

Here are some shots I took today:

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It is a bit ironic, I remember driving past this dealership all summer and there was nothing but SUV’s parked out front… now for winter time they roll out the Roadsters… not smart.

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This NC3 in the USED side of the lot looked pretty sharp!

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This CX-7 is EXACTLY what I’m looking for to buy for my mom.

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However, a few people I know have now complained about visibility issues out of that truck and that the CX-5 is a much better option. Though I didn’t drive one, I got to sit in a few CX-5’s on the showroom floor… both in front (driver and passenger) and in the back seats and I agree they feel fairly comfortable. I also sat in the newest CX-9 SUV and hated the driver’s quarters… AS much as I like the idea of everything wrapping around the driver, I also like the freedom to not feel encroached especially on longer drives. The CX-9 has the same issues that my Miata has, the stupid door cup holder on my Miata has a sharp edge that has a tendency of cutting into your leg when it rests against it for a long period of time on a trip. The window switches control area on the CX-9 has the same feeling, and the huge center console pushes from the other side, so you have to maintain a perfectly straight position when driving, which isn’t always comfortable. Not a fan…. also upon closer inspection of the front grille area on the CX-9 I really can’t stand it. I don’t see why the hood has to protrude what seems like a foot beyond the furthest point on the bumper. What is that all about?

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The sole Fiat 124 Spider… the Fiata greets you when you arrive at the Alfa/Fiat dealership across the highway from the Mazda dealer.

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First thing that popped out at me being way out of place was this massive Dodge Challenger R/T sitting among all the Fiat 500’L’s It wasn’t a customer’s vehicle it was clearly being sold by this dealer, and there’s no fucking reason a Dodge should be sold by Alfa/Fiat!

I do understand the news that many Fiat dealerships aren’t doing so well and are being closed with car inventories being shifted over into Chrysler/Dodge/Ram stores. That makes sense. I have no issue seeing Fiat at Dodge dealers. But the other way around feels wrong!

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And there were two more Mopars inside on the showroom floor. I came to see fucking Abarth there not Mopars… come on Fiat, get your shit together!

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Hard to look at an Alfa-Romeo as a halo vehicle when all of it’s performance figures are absurdly dwarfed by the Hellcat across…

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I think the best part about Fiata’s appeal if the relationship with Mazda doesn’t work out, will be their cost. Already the window sticker is priced lower than a similarly equipped MX-5 at the dealership across the highway. Notice also the scale of how much of the car was build where… 75% Japan, 20% Italy what’s the other 5%?

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I left home happy with the prospect of test driving a Mazda I potentially will buy in the near future… and score a few bux thanks to a promo. And came home fucking disappointed. That’s really not the way a dealership experience should go. Oh well!

Mazda MX-5: Jacksonville Miata Mini-Meet on my Florida Road Trip

I’ve been trying to organize a Florida Miata get-together ever since I bought my car and nothing seemed to pan out, until now! I finally managed to meet up with a local MX-5 owner in Jacksonville on my way to Daytona Beach, Florida… yay!

I’ve been communicating with the owner on Miata.net for a little while now, following on mods he’s been doing to his car and sharing information on my little projects. This opportunity to meet up and share ideas over dinner was great. I especially liked checking out the stuff he’s done in person… like the $38 eBay trunk lip spoiler which I’ve been considering doing myself. Or the larger windshield washer tank that is only available in Canada and not the US. Or his most recent mod: the hood struts which standard Miatas don’t come with. Or the custom steering wheel that is almost double the girth of the original. It was pretty neat!

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If the car looks a lot like my Miata, it basically is… both are 2007 GT PRHT models… same exterior in Copper Red and same interior in Camel Brown or Orange or whatever the hell it is. But this car has a Manual Transmission while mine is an Automatic. It also has a cone K&N filter while mine is stock…. and the few things I mentioned above that I wanted to see to decide whether I should get them too.

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I do really like the idea of the hood struts, that makes things easier.

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And the finish looks like it came from the factory like that.

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Come winter time I’ll probably wish I had this larger Canadian washer bottle.

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As much as I like the idea of a fat steering wheel, the fact it cost over $400 to ship and install, I can say it is nowhere near the top of my wish list.

I’m really grateful for the opportunity and for my new friend shouting a tasty seafood dinner… not something I was expecting but hopefully I could repay the favor in the future.

New Jersey Miatas End of Season Meet and Cruise: GSP Cheesequake Service Area to Sandy Hook

What a beautiful day for a little drive with the top down to a Miata meet and cruise down the Jersey Shore. Big props to the organizers of another truly wonderful New Jersey Miatas end of season meet at the Garden State Parkway Cheesequake Service Area (exit 124) and especially the cruise down the shore for some amazing food.

I had such a blast!

First, the turnout was excellent even though there were apparently other events happening on the same day around New Jersey and the neighboring states. Nonetheless several dozen cars showed up including a big convoy of Miatas from NYC. Lots and lots of NA’s, a bunch of NB’s and a handful NC’s. No ND’s that I saw… I parked next to a beautiful NC1 Blue soft top whose owner I never got to meet. But the other cars that pulled in I got to chat up the owners and we ended up going on a foodie tour of the shore instead of heading with the rest of the group directly to Sandy Hook.

The plan was BBQ but while driving past a Mexican place we couldn’t resist the amazing smell of their sizzling beef… I think most of the table ordered burritos which were extremely tasty. From there some of the folks in the group broke off to head out home, others went for a little drive and a group photo shoot… more people broke off after, and about six of us continued along the shore towards Sandy Hook… I think it was my first time seeing one of the draw bridges open for a fairly tiny boat coming in from the Atlantic Ocean… there were several classic car and bike shows along Ocean Drive, but otherwise the cruise was nice and scenic. Really enjoyable to watch the architecture of the various summer homes people have close driving distance to NYC and other parts of New Jersey.

At Sandy Hook we had another small photo shoot and instead of standing around talking about cars went to a little seafood place right in the bay at the foot of Atlantic Highlands. The view of New York City in the distance was crystal clear as we rolled up via one overpass, but there was no good place to pull over and take a good picture of this view.  The seafood dinner at the restaurant was finger lickin’ good! The patio seating outside with boats bobbing in the marina was pretty neat. The moon rise was really nice to watch and more plans were made for future MX-5 get togethers.

Awesome Sunday through and through.

And of course here’s a million pix from the day:

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Does MGB stand for Mazda Great Britain?

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And the cruise….

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I should have brought more 1,000,000th Miata stickers, what a great idea to get everyone to sign a few of them.

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Finally at Sandy Hook with two 2007 Copper Red GT’s

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…one more thanks to the organizers, I had such an amazing time!

Can’t wait to do this again.

Mazda MX-5: NGK Laser Iridium Spark Plugs Replacement ILTR6A13G

Today’s project was to replace the original FoMoCo spark plugs at  52,800 miles to new NGK Laser Iridium model: ILTR6A13G #3789.

There was absolutely nothing wrong with the old spark plugs. The car ran fine. There was no missfire. No rough idle. No issues with the fuel mileage. I didn’t have to do it. But I changed them because the price was right. I managed to score a set of four through eBay for $27 dollars shipped (after a $10 discount code). Which made it a good deal, and I’m happy I got that taken care of.

The old plugs look to be in fantastic shape. Although I did have a bit of a hassle removing two of the four plus, specifically those closest to the firewall of the car, the second from last spark plug was especially noisy when coming out making a very faint clicking sound as I turned the wrench, so I gently rocked it back and forth tightening and loosening it in the process. When the plug came out there wasn’t but a spec of aluminum maybe one millimeter in size on the thread that I assume was causing this noise. I’m glad I got them done now closer to 50k miles and not at 60k or 75k like is recommended because surely the spark plugs would have been tougher to get out with use.

Restarted the car after the install and it purr’s like a kitten. Not sure if it’s any quieter than it was with the old plugs, but I’m looking forward to finding out if it improves my gas mileage. I have been getting 33 to 34mpg’s consistently on recent road trips.

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I’d say this is a very quick 10 to 20 minute job with all the right tools, there’s only an 8mm and a 16mm socket required for the coils and plugs, and a 12mm socket for the brace to gain access to the very last plug along the firewall. Glad that this piece of maintenance is completed. Going to have a road trip to Lime Rock in a few weeks to test the gas mileage, I do expect to get there and back on one tank.