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Discussion Starter #1
Got a buddy with a '97, who said after washing the car and engine bay, it was running fine, but the next day started running roughly with the CEL on, and now won't run at all, just continually turns over and acts like it wants to crank about once every 4th or 5th revolution.

When scanned, it shows one of the IAT sensor codes (can't remember which one I was told now, there's like what, 4 of them?) and the P0304 Cyl. 4 Misfire code.

I haven't gotten a chance to see the car myself, just trying to help from afar. Anyone have any ideas? I figure something got wet or shorted, and this will hopefully be a simple fix.
 

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Probably water in the plug holes, that will set misfire codes. The IAT is part of the AFM on the 97.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys!
Figured as much. Had already told him to remove the wires and dry everything out as best he could. Will forward info on the IAT as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
OK, here's the deal now.
I go and look the car today. He hasn't touched it for fear of screwing something up. I pulled the wires, and there was condensation on the # 4 (was worse on this one than the others, and you'll know why in a minute), 3, and 2 plug wires. I get all 4 cylinders dried out and use 4 new plug wires. Crank the car, and it runs, but there's still a hesitation/sputter to it. So I let it run for a bit to let it warm up and hopefully dry anything I couldn't/didn't get, and everything smooths out perfectly. Revs fine, idles fine, etc. So we drive it down his street, and about 20 seconds into the drive, it loses all the power, and will barely go. I shut it off and said "We're done for now." We pushed the car back up to the house, I open the hood and pull the #4 wire from the well, remembering it was a lot more wet than the others, and as I guessed, there was coolant all over and dripping off the wire, and a little on #3.
So I know it's time to replace the head gasket, but for a car that was running perfectly before the engine got washed, how in the hell did this happen?!
And I want to put something stronger than stock on there, what's a good replacement for the money for Miatas (I had a Titan gasket on my Saturn, that thing was awesome)? Also know that this car will always be a daily driver, and will probably never be modified past an intake and exhaust, if even that, it's still stock now.
 

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If I remember correctly the stock HG is like a 3-ply metal gasket, which is pretty stout. Off the top of my head I don't know of any really nice aftermarket ones.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Sorry to resurrect the thread, but I'm about to do the work on this car and I want to make sure that I cover all the angles on it. I've not torn down a Miata yet.
Anyway, I plan on replacing the head gasket of course, the valve cover gasket, CAS o-ring, and the intake and exhaust gaskets. What else should I look at replacing while I'm in there?
The car is in good shape, still less than 75k, and I'm still wondering how washing the engine did this to it.
Any input is much appreciated!
 

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IF YOU ARE NOT PULLING THE MOTOR:

Look into changing the timing belt while you have the head off (it should be about at the end of the service life). And go ahead and look at the front main (usually you don't get a lot of problems from the front main but while you have everything unbolted, might as well).

IF YOU ARE PULLING THE MOTOR:

Definately, rear and front main seals (wheather they need it or not). It's not a bad idea to consider the timing belt (It is about time for it to be replaced!!!). I would go ahead and replace oil pump gasket and possibly the whater pump gasket. Also check the clutch and flywheel. If they need it go for it if not leave it.

With it having as low miles as it does the internals shouldn't need anything but I would do a compression test first (to be on the safe side).

If i were to go through all the trouble of pulling the motor I would go ahead and do a full rebuild.
 

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Thanks. Motor is definately not getting pulled! Doing all the work from the top.
In that case, (this might be an obvious) but take the head off then pull off the intake manifold. Some of the bolts that hold the manifold on are nearly impossible to get to with if you have medium to large size hands.

Good luck with the work, let us know how it turns out.
 
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