Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Autocross Countdown



Here in the frozen north, we're in between snowstorms for the moment, so we've started counting the days to the first autocross of 2021. The NMS-North team (me) will focus on the Metro NY Region Porsche Club of America events, and they'll average about one per month from March to November. Like everything else in life, your mileage may vary, and your  mileage will also be based on COVID conditions. 

Last year we were happy to compete just two times on the autocross trail, so getting to drive a full season in 2021 would be just about the greatest thing since sliced bread. I really don't know why sliced  bread is so great, but I'll guess it's because without sliced bread, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich would be HUGE on two loaves of bread!

Prep wise, we'll need to get the 18 inch OZ wheels back on the car, adjust those tire pressures like Goldilocks (til they're "just right") and then torque the bolts, check the brakes and gas, and get ready to ride. On autocross days, there's a bit more to do, but that's just mostly remembering to bring all the essentials. Sometimes it's the "remembering" part that doesn't go perfectly, and sometimes it's the "essentials" part that needs improvement, so I'm planning to stick with my handy NMS Autocross Packing Checklist, so that I don't forget my helmet, or the head it attaches to. 

Speaking of helmets, my new Zamp helmet is mighty white and plain looking, so it will be good to start getting it dirty and covered with obnoxious stickers. Covering things with obnoxious stickers is kind of what auto sports are all about. The only difference for the professionals is that they are getting paid to put obnoxious stickers on their cars, and the rest of us do it for fun, or to pretend we're professionals. Regardless, each sticker on your car is equal to a gain of 5 horsepower!

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Who Sold the Most Cars in 2020?


According to this article from CNN CNN Auto Sales  Toyota sold the most vehicles world wide in 2020. For the previous few years, it was Volkswagen, and before that, Toyota. And way back in 2012 or so, it used to be General Motors. 

Up here at NMS-North we've done our part, at least in years past, since we own a Toyota (Camry) and a VW product (Porsche Cayman.) In the past we had a grand total of three VWs (2 Rabbits and a Fox, something about the animal names maybe?) but the Camry is our first Toyota. 

We tried to help Chrysler by buying a couple of Plymouths back in the day (Plymouth Neon, Plymouth Voyager mini-van) but heck, you can't buy ANY new Plymouths anymore. We had a few Fords (Mustang, Aerostar mini-van, Fiesta, Focus, etc) as well. Down at NMS-South they are supporting the Mazda/BMW/Chevrolet folks, but no VWs or Toyotas right now. 

Auto sales overall were down in 2020, I'll give you three reasons: Covid, covid, and COVID!

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Miata Maintenance

Believe it or not, it gets a little chilly in South Carolina. Well, in an unheated garage on a rainy day it gets chilly. But, that wasn't going to stop NMS-South in getting some basic maintenance done on the Miata. The team completed 3 basic bits of work that can keep your car running like a champ. On a safety note, the car was safely jacked up and supported with 4 jack stands. Let's get started.  


Not really hard to do, but important to keep on top of regular oil changes to keep the inside of your engine happy. Also, in extreme cases, to keep the inside of your engine ON THE INSIDE! As in, keep it lubricated so it doesn't BLOW UP! Here's a look at the engine bay of the Miata. If you're used to driving mid engine or rear engine cars, don't be confused, the Mazda folks put the engine in the FRONT of the car! 


On the Miata, spark plugs are fairly straight forward to do, with the job made easier with the engine in front, and the spark plugs on top of the engine, and with out a million intakes and other engine bits in your way. Just pull the ignition wires, and you're ready to get in there with your spark plug socket. Miatas are 4 cylinder, so only 4 spark plugs to do. Here's an "after" picture if you're in the market for some used spark plugs. We'll sell these CHEAP! 


The old starter wasn't exactly firing right up all the time, and we knew it was probably older than any item in the local grocery store (whatever that means), so taking out the old one and putting in a new starter was just the thing to help spend a rainy cold day in the garage. Besides, with only 3 bolts and the electrical connection, how hard could this be? 

OK, like just about any car repair you watch on a YouTube video, it's super easy to unbolt the old thing and bolt in the new thing. The FUN part comes in when the starter bolts are WAY down there behind the engine and just a little bit hard to reach. Now, if you're a professional mechanic and have those three feet long ratcheting wrenches (I'm sure someone makes them, if not, I'll go invent one) to make this really easy. But, in our case, it was reaching way down behind the block with a little non-ratcheting wrench and start taking the bolts off one itty bitty turn at a time. There just wasn't enough room to get the ratchet in there. Did we mention the starter bolts are pretty long too? So anyway, it took a while, but finally Brian took off the old starter and put the new one in. 

Here's a new and shiny Starter!

Here are two starters. Maybe you can tell which is the old dirty one? 

#4 FINAL TEST     

Now comes the moment of truth, with our oil change, spark plug change, and new starter installed, will the car actually start? Please, no wagering!