TWO WEEKS TO AUTOCROSS
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!
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.
#1 OIL CHANGE
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!
#2 SPARK PLUGS
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!