NB MX-5 Hey, it's Minnie!

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Made it home, only to have my laptop die the day after due to an accidental phone strike just above the hard drive (not my phone). Since I was using my wife's POS Apple desktop I had no pictures, but I had one of those fancy non-spilling funnels awaiting use as well as some rubber flaps to put on my fan shroud (what Flyin' Miata uses on their stuff). I ordered some new Rival S 1.5s to replace my 5 year old Rivals. Curious to see the difference in grip for that timeframe.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
The Rivals showed up on a Thursday. Stupid UPS guy put them directly in front of the door. How difficult is it for someone who delivers packages for a living to understand ingress/egress (rhetorical question)? I hadn't had a lot of time to work on the car that week due to preparing for a wedding, but I dropped them off with the wheels for mounting on Thursday. Picked them up Friday morning and had a little spare time so mounted them up. While everything was off I checked the brake pad wear, adjusted the rear calipers and checked all calipers to make sure they were free to move on the pins. There is enough free space to do this with the wheels off, just grab the caliper and try moving it back and forth. If it does great, your pins are lubed. I cleaned the tape residue from the old weights off and then mounted the wheels. When I dropped her down and was checking pressures I found the right front tire was flat. Pumped it up and then was off doing the last of the wedding preps I was assigned. I had my son check the tire later and it was flat again, so I told him to lift the car on the jack (I love that thing!). This morning when I finally got back home, I checked and pressure was zero. Put some air in it and using some Fantastik, I found air was leaking around the aluminum valve stem where it penetrated the wheel. Tightened that up and checked again, all seemed good. The only thing I can think of that caused that was if the tire guy loosened it to let air out of the tire (instead of removing the Schrader valve center like normal). Several hours later she was still holding air. These stems were an eBay purchase, but unlike the silver ones I bought these have worked for several years. Just to be on the safe side I went ahead and ordered a set of bronze 949 stems to replace these with.

Took the wife out to dinner to try out the tires. Didn't push too hard, she doesn't like that (and neither does my head when she beats on it) and I needed to get some miles on it to get rid of the release agent. Feel was good though. You can always tell when you have new sticky tires on by the sound of the little pebbles hitting the inside of your fenders.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
You may recall that JBP said I could have a problem with the snout pulley that might have caused the seal to leak. When I got home and could measure it, I ordered a replacement from Track Dog Racing. I was running a 60 mm pulley for what it's worth. That showed up finally after sitting at UPS over the weekend. I just got through swapping those out. If you need to do this you will require a puller (I got a set from Harbor Freight that works just fine). I used my 3/8" impact to remove the nut while holding the pulley with a strap wrench. Put the three-jaw puller on and removed the old pulley, then put the TDR pulley in place. One thing to note, the original (I'm guessing) pulley had lips on both sides of where the belt rides. The TDR does not. After that was buttoned up I put the slightly longer (by 5 mm) belt I bought previously and fired her up. Once running I checked and it looked like the belt had moved one rib on the snout pulley. I revved her up and checked again, nothing flew off. I got a flashlight to check with better lighting and found that it had not moved at all. Alignment was good, which made me a happy man. I'll find out when I go for a test drive in a bit if it is good. Time for all the boost!
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Since I was still waiting on my laptop (Amazon cancelled my order on the day it was supposed to be delivered and I had to order through a different company), I figured out how to use my wife's Apple POS to upload a picture. This is the same location as the picture from November sans hard top.

35751073641_5c317dd84a_c.jpg
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
I went to the body shop I used to paint the spoiler to see about getting some dings taken out. Their guy was supposed to be there but the job he was scheduled for fell through. So I decided to finally see about burping my radiator with the no-spill funnel that everyone raves about. I raised the front a foot or so, put the funnel on and started her up. Revlimiter has a great write-up with pictures so I'm not going to delve into that, but the thing works great. I actually got some air out of it. For anyone who might use one, my Koyo radiator took the size C adapter and the size B cap.

While I had the hood open I noticed a noise on start-up that I heard yesterday (it went away after a short time). I identified it as coming from the supercharger belt. It looked like the thing was moving around on the nose pulley. The noise again stopped for a bit, then it came back and sounded like the belt was slapping. I shut her off and decided to try the shorter belt (that is the one shown as correct from my searches). Started her back up, the noise was gone and the belt tracked straight and true. I guess the other one was just a little too long and the tensioner couldn't keep it how it should be.

I then ran the diagnostics on the cruise to see if I could find out why it won't work. I did the static checks ok but didn't have any luck with the checks done once the car is running. I'm going to do some more research as the instructions I found weren't clear on some of the steps.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
The PDR guy was in so I drove over to the shop for him to see what he could do. He removed the one in the driver's front fender I caused when I fell back with my elbow while working on another car. He got most of the big one out of the passenger door, he used a little popping tool with adapters he hot-glued to the door over the ding. He said if he could have gotten in behind it he would have gotten it all, but it was located right where the inside structure of the door tightened up on the front side so he didn't have access. The price was a mere $30.

That afternoon I decided to give installing the Feal top hats on the rear shocks another shot. This time I left off the thick bottom washer provided with the top hats, along with the rubber spring isolator Ohlins provides. I left the bottom washer in the shock because it has a bevel that mates with a bevel on the shaft. See the picture for what I mean:

30456795655_76229f631e_c.jpg


Once that was all together I adjusted the overall length back to where it was, preloaded the spring and put it all back together. Ride height is where it was, everything looks good. I'd give it a good test the next day.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
The 'charger belt was staying nicely in place and I was seeing 10 psi of boost. Unfortunately I was back to having the gas smell under boost, it appeared my tune was off. I had to wait for another hard disk to arrive to cannibalize so I can get all the data from my failed laptop's drive. The Rivals handled great, I think I have all the mold release agent scrubbed off. The rear shocks seemed to be working better with the extended top hats as it seemed to float over bumps that were harsh before (you wouldn't know the difference unless you had experienced it). I did need to get an alignment.

When I installed the top hats I left out the extra insulation I had put in the sound tubes between the trunk and the cabin on each side. I wanted to see how levels were with the RB muffler. It was definitely louder without the insulation so I decided to put it back in. You can see what I am referring to here:

36052914785_9df146bd29_c.jpg


36010498646_8db4110dc1_c.jpg


Here is the insulation used:

36010498226_6ee05a4b99_c.jpg


Yes, that's a lowly foam pillow. A local guy turned me on to this and I had been running with them in place for several years (I'm pretty sure I documented this earlier in this thread). Here is how it looks once they are in place:

36010497886_b10c9aa3f0_c.jpg


36010497486_b7dcf98bed_c.jpg


You can remove the gas filler pipe for more access on the driver's side, but my masochistic side arose and I just pushed the pillow around it. FYI there are a lot of fasteners and steel pieces sticking into those spaces so it's really easy to cut your hand if you aren't careful.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Had my youngest help me bleed the brakes and clutch. I also calibrated the O2 sensor and inspected the bottom of the car. Finally, I did some prep for installing the flaps on my radiator fan shroud. I'll have some pictures of that once I get around to doing the job.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
A job helping a friend of my wife's move got postponed so I decided to go ahead and install the fan shroud flaps. First step was to determine how large I wanted to make the opening. I settled on 5 mm less tn the bottom and sides, and 10 mm less at the top. This would give me overlap for sealing, as well as allowing me to bolt it at the top. These flaps come with rubber fingers that are meant to hold the flap in place, but I'm running a Lexan shroud which is a lot thicker than the normal metal shrouds these are used on. Once that was done I cut a template and laid it out:

35327752004_0aaa287d90_c.jpg


35327750574_0bbe771be0_c.jpg


Next step was to drill holes at the corners of the opening, this provides stress relief while cutting the Lexan (and it will also stop any crack from propagating should you do something wrong):

35327749714_1e5bf25e0c_c.jpg


I then started to cut along the lines. Initially I tried using my Dremel with a cut-off wheel, however it was just melting the Lexan. Next I tried this:

35327748634_6efe4ec7aa_c.jpg


That did the trick. There was still some melting but unless you are using some sort of cooling fluid or going exceptionally slow I don't see how you can avoid this. Got both openings cut out and then needed to clean things up.

35997749832_77eda30a2b_c.jpg


I tried using a single-edged razor blade which worked, but at some damage to my fingers. I then figured I'd try my straight cutters:

35997748502_3585c728c8_c.jpg


Those worked great. Once I had the edges trimmed I used a sanding wheel on the Dremel and a file to finish the clean-up.

Since I was going to be bolting the flaps in place I wanted something to spread the load out to avoid cracking of the Lexan and to positively hold the flaps in place. I have some thin aluminum lying around so cut four strips out of that. Drilled three holes in each, located the strips on the shroud and drilled the holes in it. Finally I put it all together with some M4 screws and nyloc nuts. The hardest part of this was getting holes punched in the flaps, the rubber used is pretty tough. When all was said and done, I ended up with this:

35997747332_cfc936305c_c.jpg


It wasn't the prettiest thing I've ever done, but I found cracking on the attachment tabs on the shroud so I wasn’t sure how much more life it had anyway. I doubted anyone would be looking at it that closely in any case given the location of the flaps on the shroud.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Got an alignment. Went with the 949 racing dual duty specs. Of course the front could only be set to -1.8 degrees (spec calls for -2.5). As this is a factor of the suspension geometry, there was nothing else to do for it but buy a set of extended lower ball joints. Those were now headed my way, didn't know if I would receive them in time for installation prior to MATG.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
I mentioned calibrating the wideband sensor the other day. Yesterday it was acting worse, I ordered a replacement sensor but decided to try calibrating it again. It is now worse than it was. Cleaning the sensor did nothing. I did notice that the connection cable between the sensor and the gauge had a bulge on the connector that I didn't notice before, that is usually a sign of overheating and could be the cause of the problem. Sucks I didn't see that before ordering the sensor as I could have gotten both together and saved some money. In any event the cable was now ordered and I should have everything by Monday. Also got my hard drive so I would see if I could change out parts to gain access to my old laptop files (which includes all my Tuner Studio stuff).
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Found out the new hard drive I bought had smaller Torx head screws than what was in my friend's kit that I borrowed. I stopped by Harbor Freight, lo and behold they had a 34 piece screwdriver set with a T4 bit so I was set for that job.

My new wideband sensor was delivered, but there wasn't any point in my installing it until I got the cable. As MATG was drawing near I figured I should do another job I had been planning for. When I installed my new soft top I wasn't able to replace the stripping located on the back side of the window weatherstripping channels. I wasn't even sure of what the material was. I ended up using some double-sided tape on two of the three pieces on each side just to have a seal there, however this doesn't work well if you need to make adjustments to the weatherstripping (which I did). I did some searching last week to see what sort of foam tape was available. I found some neoprene tape on Amazon so bought a roll.

36231582225_93d215de0f_c.jpg


Here is the original material on one of the pieces I didn't touch:

36097829151_8b47f12cc8_c.jpg


As you can see this is pretty much neoprene tape. The stuff I bought is 1/16" (1.5 mm) thick which is basically the same thickness as stock. I pulled all the channels off, cleaned off all the old tape, cleaned up the residue with some acetone followed by denatured alcohol. I cut strips of the tape to 19 mm width and then applied them to the channels. A little work with a Exacto knife to open up the screw holes and here was the result:

36097830221_d3fb6a9886_c.jpg


I was very pleased with this. Channels would be installed after I cleaned up the surfaces they rested on.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Channels were installed. I used the neoprene tape to make some cushions for the soft top latches. Mine were gone from the passenger side latch so on those rare occasions when I didn't have the boot cover on it would rattle. It was a little hard making a template for them but they got the job done:

36114855301_6b24a82e0a_c.jpg


The O2 sensor cable came in the mail so I jacked her up in the air and proceeded to change out the sensor and cable. Running the cable up the A pillar is a PITA, I used a piece of safety wire as a snake to get it into where I wanted it to go. The new sensor had a longer pigtail so I ran the cable further across the firewall so the connector ended up above the transmission. It was well clear of any hot surfaces and couldn't rub on anything either. Got it all buttoned up, fired her up and everything was back to normal. Now I had to get some tuning done with the new sensor.

Here was the damage to the cable connector (excuse the blurriness in the second picture, the camera kept focusing on my hand):

36114854611_655e4705ce_c.jpg


35856220310_a2cd05633f_c.jpg


The white stuff inside the connector oozed out of the inside of the connector. Not good.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
I washed her and did some detailing. Adjusted my alternator belt, first time using the Gates Krikit tool I bought the last year. It worked great. I had a hard time finding the correct tension to use (lots of speculation on it). After some searching I found this site: https://www.gates.com/~/media/files.../tech-tips-and-tsbs/belt-tensioning-sheet.pdf. That should answer any questions about it.

My wife decided she really didn't want to go to MATG (this was in 2017), I figured I'd put the Recaros back in for the trip. They would be better suited for spirited driving than the leather NB2s. Retrieved them from storage and did the swap, including moving the air bladder over on the driver's seat. Went for an errand, everything was fine until I started her to head home. I heard an unusual noise coming from the alternator area, and for some reason the temperature gauge was showing higher than normal. Got home and checked the alt belt tension, it was pretty tight. After she cooled off I loosened it up a little and then went for a test. No strange noises and all was back to normal.

I also checked the cruise control vacuum motor using the test procedure from the FSM. Both my original and a spare I have checked out (I had thought I might have blown the diaphragm on the original from boost). With that result plus what I found on the switches, it's starting to look like the culprit might be the control module itself. If I feel motivated I might perform the checks on that tomorrow.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Did some general prep work for the trip. First thing in the morning I adjusted the window seals (find out in the morning how well they seal now), then oil/filter change, polished the headlights, cleaned/treated the interior. Packed up some tools and have all that in the trunk. I had to get myself some directions printed out so I could figure out where I was headed. I wasn't able to dive into the cruise control further, somehow my electrical manual had gone missing.