Tag Archives: NC Miata

New Jersey Miatas End of Season 2017 Meet at Cheesequake GSP

Greetings from the New Jersey Miatas end of the season meet at the Cheesequake Service Area exit 123 on Garden State Parkway.

The usual spot for the twice annual Miata meet that’s somewhat central to most New Jersey Miata owners and visitors from both Pennsylvania and New York. The event got rained out last week and our make up date was almost rained out as well… luckily the precipitation was limited to a mist mostly. Though that was enough to keep a bunch of fair weather Miata owners away. Nevertheless, there was quite a few cars in attendance… somewhere around 50 to 60 cars by my guestimate. And I’m happy to say many more NC Miata’s this time than any of the previous times I’ve attended. Sadly no Fiatas to be seen… Boo!

Here’s the pix:

Happy to see my buddy DollarBill!

Oooh… another Copper Red from Pennsylvania… an NC2

Aren’t all Miatas Powered by Unicorns?

Love how bright this Torch Red is

A very pretty shade of Blue too

Hey Chris showed up!

Best license plate of the event:

Soooooo British!

Hey Mickie showed up!

The profile of this vintage of modern Thunderbird reminds me a lot of the original Mazda Cosmo 110S

No meet would be complete without people swapping stuff, fixing stuff, etc… pedal covers do look cool, but are sometimes a pain to put on… especially on the small Miata brake pedal.

By the time Bill and I went to get a warm drink at the service area, most of the people from the Miata group left… it must have started raining while we were inside. So we decided to do lunch of our own… and some spicy Malaysian food was just what the doctor ordered:

Love this place! We had one in Lodi across from the Mazda of Lodi dealership on Route 46 but unfortunately the restaurant close. Their Edison, NJ location on Route 1 though was delicious!

Looking forward to my drive to Florida starting tonight…!

Until next time.

New Jersey Miatas and Modern Fiat 124 Spider End of Season Meet

First, forgive me for being a selfish prick and not sharing the news of the event sooner. I forgot to remember until… and of course the actual date (today) got rained out! So see you all next week…

The peeps behind this event seem to focus on two major events per year… the season opening meet and end of season meet like this one. Not sure if anything happens during the summer but I’m really glad they organize these ones. Often with prizes given away from vendors that support Miata events around the country like Moss Miata and Flyin’ Miata. (possibly others)

Anyway, I’m especially happy to see Modern Fiata’s invited to attend, and really hope to see one at the next one.

For me it’s going to be a crazy day next Sunday. I was scheduled to pick up a rental car at LaGuardia Airport in NYC and drive down to Florida for the Historics (HSR) races at Daytona International. But I don’t want to miss out on this little gathering. So I’ve re-booked my rental car for 8pm… which should give me enough time to chill down the shore, go home to park my Miata. Take public transport to the city, a shuttle bus to Hertz, and bring the rental home before leaving for the thousand mile journey first thing Monday morning.

Should be fun!

Come join us…

Day 3: Miatas at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – Driving the Circuit

The final day of Miatas at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was perhaps my best day in California yet because I got a chance (second year in a row) to drive a NC Miata around the circuit! WOO HOO! My buddy Peter with a beautiful NC2 Silver Soft Top allowed me the opportunity to drive his car after we lined everyone else up for the lunch time parade laps. We were the last car on track in the tail as the head of the parade lead by Moss Miata people caught up behind us. Apparently it takes 350 cars going somewhat swiftly to safely populate Laguna Seca two-wide.

I love this track… I really do love Laguna Seca, what a fantastic place!

I stand corrected on my previous claim of where Miata owners came from… turns out there were MX-5’s from as far as¬†ALASKA!

this is another gorgeous NC in dark green… emerald?

Oh look… my Miata!

Great view of the gorgeous AMG GT’s from the track experience…

My beautiful ride for the drive around the Circuit… this NC2 Sport

Shortly before our parade laps… all lined up!

Let’s go… oh wait more cars on the way!

A Playboy MX-5 Cup car, much like this inspired me to buy mine…

Fewer cars for the parade laps on Sunday compared to Saturday, which was great for going around the track a little quicker…

A gorgeous day for a drive around Laguna Seca!

Fin! The end to a wonderful experience…

Some more photos from the day in the paddock

Sad to see this beautiful NC from north of the border crash on Saturday… apparently the owner would have some explaining to do at immigration before crossing back into Canada

We adjusted the office set up to deal with the strong sun…

Maybe one of these days in the future I’ll get a ride around the track at speed in this official Pace Car (that was actually used next weekend for the Pirelli World Challenge/California 8 hour race)

More shots of the crashie:

Ouch!

…even the glass cracked ūüôĀ

Safety first!

And that’s a wrap. What a fantastic event. So proud to be a part of it. Thanks again to Rick Weldon and the whole crew for welcoming into the volunteer fold. I am super thankful! I highly recommend this event to everyone that would listen. And would love an opportunity to come back and participate again in the future… if I can.

Mazda MX-5 Miata Maintenance Day

Big day ¬†working on my friend Bill’s Miata today.

We were planning on changing his spark plugs to NGK Laser Iridium plugs as well as put in his new rear end links and replace the license plate light bulbs to the new LED ones I ordered online from Taiwan. The day started early for Bill with a trip to Ramsey Mazda to help diagnose an air conditioning leak… which they spent many hours looking for but couldn’t find.

It was a very wet start to the day. I had to run some errands before meeting Bill at the dealership (to also pick up my rear sway bar bushings) and it was tough to get around with multiple highways flooded. But we managed to meet up, went to have delicious Korean BBQ for lunch and the day suddenly cleared up and became sunny!

So here we go…

I first vacuumed and then blasted the top of the engine with compressed air to clear any debris from the area we were going to work on…

and there was some debris, especially from the underside of the engine cover that left a fine sand-like crap over the wiring

I’ve done the spark plugs on my car at around 50k miles so it was interesting to tackle Bill’s car which has over 100k miles on his and presumably these were his original spark plugs…

Getting to them was easy, instead of unplugging the coil packs I just moved them upwards and out of the way

Most of the holes were clean except for the one next to last, which had a visible amount of oil in it

Shiny new plugs… while undoing the old ones we quickly were faced with them being stubborn and not turning as freely as you’d want them to… so Bill went ahead and sprayed them with PB Blaster… and while they soaked we moved on to doing some other repairs

So we proceeded to changing Bill’s rear end links. I had him using my old take offs as a temporary solution to see if there would be any issue. The shop that did his suspension install used some cheapo aftermarket ones and we quickly discovered that one of the end links had it’s ball ripped out of the housing. So it was nice to see that the OEM pieces held up and we replaced them with new ones.

After this we took another crack at turning the spark plugs and all were loose except for the very first one closest to the front of the car, so we blasted it again and moved on to installing rear sway bar bushings on my car hoping that would stop the clunking… spoiler alert… it didn’t! But now I have new bushings in the back. Oh well!

My old bushings looked fine. We lubed them up with Mobil 1 grease not that long ago. But I was hoping against hope that they were the culprit of my clunking noises. Now I’m not sure what it is. We put on new end links, new bushings… ¬†what could it be? Bad shocks? But bad shocks would surely show wear. I am stumped!

Back to finish the spark plug change:

With enough lube all came out effortlessly. In fact they came out with much less effort that I did on my car doing the dry swap.

The hole that had oil in it was showing clear debris left when the spark plug was removed, so I cleaned it out nicely before installing the new one

All done! Started up no problem. No engine noise. No vibrations. Perfect!

After a short test drive we proceeded to the last job of the day… changing the pesky license plate bulbs on the trunk lid… one of Bill’s burned out and that was the reason I ordered a bunch of them from Taiwan to replace mine as well

I already knew how to approach this change. Pulled out a bunch of fish line and started working my way along the backing of the light unit. The rubber piece that touches the metal trunk lid was very much stuck to it. So the reason for using the fishing line was to break it loose and then the light unit slides to the left and pops out by pulling on the right side of it. And so that’s exactly what I did.

All the plastic tips in tact, nothing snapped or broken. Nothing brittle

Interesting observation the soft top Mazdaspeed spoiler has a little area cut out for the Mazda logo… who would have thunk?

I asked Bill to bring his new ramps so we could change the rear end links, and they fit very nicely into his trunk. Taking up all the space!

The LED’s look perfect!

What a difference a couple of hours make. It was a perfectly sunny day for Bill’s drive home… I had an awesome time working on this car looking forward to another excuse to do something else in the near future. Thanks Bill!

Sahlen’s 6 hour at the Glen 2017 the debrief

As is usually the case, I started writing several looooong paragraphs took a deep breath and deleted them because many things I said there would get me in trouble. So instead I’ll just tone it down to this: I had a generally great experience this Independence Day/Fourth of July Weekend at Watkins Glen.

The Sahlen’s Six Hours at the Glen proved to be everything I expected it to be and then some. The weather could have put a damper (? not sure if that’s the right word here) on things but it didn’t. Tent stayed relatively dry. Racing was relatively good. And people I was hanging out with were super friendly. I would say I got the VIP treatment from RSI but that would imply that they somehow treated me better than they treat others, which isn’t accurate. I’m genuinely satisfied with the way everyone behaves at RSI that I come in contact with and for me that’s a huge plus, I appreciate the positive vibes and positive attitudes.

We did have a few massive smash ups that I personally got a chance to respond to. A driver left in a Medevac unit which nobody ever wants to see, several others ended up in the hospital also, and the race was red flagged. It was an incredible experience and one I will definitely learn from.

There were moments I really liked. Like all the star and stripe and patriotic liveries many cars were wearing. Some things I didn’t like… the weather – mainly. But also the performance of the Mazda prototype team which keeps playing this underdog role that they really don’t deserve anymore. It was nice to see one of the cars end up on the podium, but that happened only because so many cars didn’t finish, including the other Mazda prototype. So that’s that.

Favorite little car that was an actual underdog was this yellow NC:

It still uses NC1 tail lights… just like my car.

Interestingly enough the #25 car had a smashup this weekend running it’s traditional Freedom Autosport livery, and suddenly it re-emerged wearing #25 under Murillo Racing orange livery. Wish I had snapped a photo of it. But my station was too far to the grid so I had to boogey down in order to make the start of the race.

Here’s the previously mentioned 4th of July liveries I did manage to get a snap of:

And here’s a few cool NC Miata’s I ran across in town at Watkins Glen and at the track:

There was a convoy of about five of various vintage Miata’s parading around Watkins Glen on Wednesday that I waved to while driving in the opposite direction, but I’m not sure what club they were from or what group it was that organized that cruise… it would have been nice to join them but I saw nothing about this event posted online.

Back to the track..

I got to flag from Station 3 on Thursday which is at the top of the Esses. Station 4 on Friday which is the next station after the bridge leading up to the Bus Stop… and Station 9A at the exit of the Boot on Saturday and Sunday.

The major smash up I experienced was Porsche GT3 Cup behaving very NASCAR-like… in fact I had worked an event for NASCAR when we had an identical full-track-blockage incident on the same station. This one however was far scarier. One of the Porsche’s completely lost it’s front end… wheels, suspension, frunk… everything!

On GTD qualifying I had a weird experience with the two Lexuses. They had back to back, identical incidents within seconds of each other, where one vehicle recovered the spin with damage and the other planted it into the guard rail causing a small engine fire.

So all in all it was a pretty active weekend. Lots to see. Lots to do.

I loved it!

Thank you Watkins Glen, and I hope to see you next year.

 

Post Card from the Sahlen’s 6 hour at the Glen Grid Walk

I got pretty excited about this event because there was an RSI e-mail sent to all the persons that hadn’t worked an event at Watkins Glen this year (which I have not) stating that as form of punishment instead of flagging on regular stations we’ll be required to work in the paddock… SWEET! I thought, that’s like the best punishment ever… but alas, I was put on station all four days of the event. And as luck would have it the station (9A – exit of the boot) was just close enough to take a sneak peak at the Grid, but not really long enough to take many pictures. In fact for the Conti race I only got as far as the very last car on the grid, and then had to run back to get to my post in time for the start of the race (and buy lunch on the way back so I could wolf it down during the sighting lap)… it’s like that time I bitched about Lime Rock where you got one of two options during lunch either take pix of cars or eat lunch, but not both… well this was the same scenario. But I got to have my cake and eat it too… check out all the awesome pix I took for my private collection:

I lied, I snuck a shot or the second-to-last car on the grid too…

How I wished I would have worked paddock for this event ūüėČ

After the first day of racing on Saturday, we went in town for some tasty seafood dinner at the Marina… what a view!

looked like someone took a chunk out of my fish before it got to my table… hmmmm!?

And of course nice to spy a Niseko Miata in the parking lot.

Next morning back to station, sadly couldn’t drive trackside to get to it but was able to cross the actual track at Turn 5… going counter.

Same story on Race Day! We were technically not allowed to leave station because it wasn’t fair to every other marshal on other stations. But I was busting to use the bathroom and I had to buy lunch, so off to the paddock area I went, which was right next to the Grid… so I snuck in real quick:

As usual the grid was very crowded… and whatdyakno… there were other flaggers there taking pictures like me. But also lots and lots of kids which is really awesome to see. The Prototype area was super crowded but the GT field, especially GTD was nearly empty, and in my view it had the most variety. Acura, Audi, BMW, Lamborghini, Lexus, Mercedes-AMG, Porsche, holly-cow is that field awesome!

Also lucky for me Mazda qualified like shit… taking the very last spots on the Prototype grid… which meant I could get some shots without a bunch of people crowding two inches from the cars.

and back to my post I ran… (taking more pictures on the go)

the parking area was interesting too, not just the grid…

Oh look a True Red Miata:

a debrief coming soon…

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 ūüôā