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ClubRoadster.net Founder
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Well, before I commence on reading all the posts I missed while being gone for over a week, let me tell a little story.

The Gap was great! Great friends, great drives, great times.

While following Dave and the gang from DDM Works into Greenville, SC (my next stop on my trip), I noticed a strange intermittent thumping noise coming from the left rear of my car. I couldn't figure out what it was and it was hot as all Hell, so I made it to my friend's house and took a look and saw that I needed new brake pads for the rear. They weren't real bad, but I figured I would change them and see if the noise went away.

Got up the next morning and went to John Finger Mazda and saw Scott Pfister in parts (nice guy, btw) and told him I needed brake pads for the rear of my Miata. He said, "Well, you have two options..." and I said, "Yeah, OEM and the "value" priced ones. I told him to give me the OEM ones and he stated he was glad to hear someone who knew his parts!

Anyway, upon removing the caps from my BBS wheels, I noticed most of the lug nuts were not quite torqued down enough and one or two had actually back off a few threads! :shock: I had torqued them down to the proper ft lbs before leaving my house here in FL, but I guess all that crazy mountain driving loosened them. Anyway, I determined that the noise I had heard was due to that and proceeded to replace the brake pads. That went very smoothly and I was finished in under 30 minutes.

So, I leave to go back to FL on Wednesday morning and get to the south side of Columbia and hit bumper-to-bumper traffic. There must be an accident up ahead and there are cars stopped as far as I can see. Great. :x It's hot as Hell outside with a heat index of 108 or something ridiculous and I soon start to notice my temp guage rising. As I am moving very slowly down the hill, I decide to turn my car off and coast the two feet or so I cover every few minutes. I start the car and let it run for a few minutes just to get the A/C running again because I am miserably hot and sweating. Well, the fun really starts when the traffic starts to go uphill now and I am having to start my car more often to propel it up the hill. The temp is still pretty hot and I start to smell coolant so I pull over and pop the hood. OMFG - there's coolant everywhere and I can see it coming out around the waterpump. Fucking great...it's 100 degrees, I'm in stop-and-go traffic and my car just pissed itself all over I-26.

I soon decide that there's no way in hell I'm going to be able to make it home, so I decide that if I can make it back to Greenville (about 90 miles), I can repair this **** and get on with it.

Well, the SCDOT has it in their minds that they don't want ANYONE crossing the median because they have these steel-cable "fences" instead of guard rails in the median. There are NO breaks in the fence, not even at the overpasses, for anyone to turn around, not even "official use" vehicles.

So I start to drive down the right shoulder, which is very rough gravel. I have my hazard lights on and I'm sure I am pissing people off. They're probably thinking that I assume I am someone special to be driving down the emergency lane, passing all the people who are helplessly waiting in line, but I don't care. My car is hurt and I'm trying to get to the next exit and provide airflow through the radiator to keep from damaging the engine. I'm thinking to myself, "Please, someone give me a reason for road rage..." I finally get to the exit, which has no gas station or anything, so I turn around and head north to the nearest exit and stop to let the car cool off so I can take a look in the radiator. I eat lunch, pay $12 for a gallon of coolant at the truck stop :shock: and then fill up the almost empty radiator.

I make it back to my friend's house in one piece, albeit frustrated beyond belief and hot and sweaty too. I fill up the gas tank at the same place I filled it up before I left! That's right, I had gone 225 miles round trip so I had to re-fuel. UGH!

I park the car, borrow my friend's truck, and head to John Finger Mazda again. I had called ahead and at first thought to myself, "Hmm, since I'll have everything open and such, I should go ahead and change the timing belt, crank and cam seals, etc." Well, with only 85k miles on the car, I decide against that as I don't want this repair to last any longer than necessary. I can do that stuff later.

So I get a reman Mazda water pump for $66 and go back to my friend's house to start an evening of sweating my ass off, replacing the water pump.

Disassembly goes well until I get to the damn waterpump. With the supercharger in the way, it's difficult for me to see that I can't just pull the water pump straight out because there's a hose attached. So I decide to just disconnect the outlet housing at the bottom right (driver's side) of the water pump. Sounds easy, right? Well one of the damn bolts falls in the motherfuckest of places it could have possibly fallen. It was like Miata Pachinko with that damn bolt as it somehow weaseled it's way in between the A/C mounting bracket and the engine block! I tried and tried to get that son-of-a-bitch out using a magnet, a coat hanger, and a screw driver. That sumbitch was wedged in there and was screaming "**** you, Tim - HAHA!" at me the whole time. I finally decide that the A/C compressor is going to have to be removed in order for me to then remove the A/C mounting bracket from the engine block to get that damn bolt out. Now some of you might be asking, "Tim, why didn't you just use another bolt?" Well, it was about 10 pm and I couldn't get one!

I got he A/C compressor off ok, but let me tell you: getting at the A/C compressor bracket mounting bolts with only a slight bit of clearance is a real BITCH! I finally got the bracket loose enough to get at the bolt that had, at that point, caused me so much trouble and a couple extra hours of work.

Smoke and beer break.

So, at this point I'm thinking the hard part is over, right? WRONG. Upon re-assembling the A/C bracket and compressor to the engine, the damn pulley doesn't line up and is touching the power steering pump pulley! :x

I decide to skip the pulley problem for now and start re-assembling everything. I get the water pump in and sealed up and I mount the timing belt idler and tensioner pulleys.

It's 2:00 a.m. now and I am drenched from sweating, exhausted, and hurting from head to toe, so I call it a night.

The next day, I sleep in a bit and start after lunch. I decide to start with the timing belt that I had removed from the cam sprockets in order to get the water pump out. I can't seem to remember the sequence of getting everything lined up and such, so I call Hector at R-Speed and he clues me in. He said it'll either work or run like ****. I proceed to re-assemble the front end and valve cover and button everything up.

Things are moving along smoothly, but it's getting late in the afternoon.

I go back to the A/C pulley problem. Hector tells me that there IS a slight bit of play in the mounting bracket that could cause the misalignment of the pulleys. I loosen everything up and follow Hector's advice that the long 12mm head bolt in the FRONT of the bracket be tightened down on the dowel first, then tighten the 14mm head mounting bolts. I wrestle with the compressor mounting bolts and get everything tightened down and whaddya know...it's lined up perfectly! YAY! =D>

I get everything buttoned up and fill the cooling system. The engine starts on the first try and there are NO LEAKS!! YAY!! =D> I guess the timing was set right!

I take the car out for a test drive and everything checks out fine.

The next morning I leave to come back home and everything is running fine. No leaks, and the temp is holding just to the left of the 12:00 mark.

Well, there you go. My post Gap woes, in FULL detail no less!

What a pain in the ass.
 

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bad mother f......
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woah, at least you are one of those guys who knows how to do your own work. that could have been an expensive mishap!

Im suprized about the water pump. mine started to drip at 130k miles so I replaced it right away
 

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ClubRoadster.net Founder
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Discussion Starter #3
woah, at least you are one of those guys who knows how to do your own work. that could have been an expensive mishap!

Im suprized about the water pump. mine started to drip at 130k miles so I replaced it right away
Yeah, AND I just happened to have brought my Miata "bag o' tools". I didn't have to borrow or buy anything to help perform the surgery!

Now I can use the money I saved on chiropractic fees and Band-Aids!
 

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Funny your water pump should pack up at the same time the one on my LE did. Mine went last week So I ordered parts from Flyin' Miata. I figured I'd do the Timing belt and seals too.
So I got evrything apart yesterday including 4 trips to sears for various sockets and extenders and breaker bars. I decided to call it a might around five because i had to be at my mom's for dinner. I started again todat at about 11 and tings were going great untill i tried to get that damned woodruff key out of the crank. it was a no go. SO i decided I'd get the waterpump done and start buttoning up. I worked on putting it back together till about 6 when I decided that i had had enough for the day and I was too exhausted to continue working in the blazing sun. so I hope I'll fisish it up tomorrow. All i have to do is put the accessory belts on and put the radiator back in.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Tim - I got your vmail - was this the orig h20? And timing belt?
I'm not positive, but with only 85k miles and the condition of the car, it's possible that it was the original.

The timing belt, crank seal and cam seals looked good with no leaks and I didn't have the time to take off the crank pulley and do that as well, but when it gets cooler here I'm going to replace the belt and the seals, etc.

I've done several timing belt swaps for friends. Hell, I've even done a few engine/tranny swaps as well as interior swaps, etc. My local club refers to me as the "Destruction expert!" haha

After all, I AM the Toolman! :mrgreen:
 

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Way to go man. That was a great story and I'm glad to hear that you got back on the road okay. I had my fair share of post Gap woes, too.

While blasting through US129 Brad noticed a little puff of blue smoke everytime I shifted. I checked the oil Sunday morning and noticed it was a quart low so I fill'er up (had just done an oil change the day before I left for MATG). I figured all that hard mountain driving would burn some oil so no biggie. I get home after 10+ hour drive and park the car. On Friday when I went back to my shop I checked the oil again. Hmmm... a half quart low. I just filled it up? Weird. Start her up and she smokes like crazy for about 30 seconds and all I smell is burning oil. That's not good. I had someplace to be so I drive away. It smells like oil every time I stop or go slow or backup. There are no obvious oil leaks - it must be internal. So I've either got bad rings or a bad valve. I'll have to do compression/leakdown tests to see. I'm hoping its a problem with the head since I've got a spare I've been wanting to build up with "the works". Otherwise it's a crate motor from Mazdaspeed. Either one blows my beer budget for a while. Perhaps it will miraculously cure itself if I take it to the auto-x and bang it off the rev limiter a few times?
 

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I've done several timing belt swaps for friends. Hell, I've even done a few engine/tranny swaps as well as interior swaps, etc. My local club refers to me as the "Destruction expert!" haha

After all, I AM the Toolman! :mrgreen:
Any tips on getting a stuck woodruff key out?
 

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Mufasa in Training
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woah, at least you are one of those guys who knows how to do your own work. that could have been an expensive mishap!

Im suprized about the water pump. mine started to drip at 130k miles so I replaced it right away
Yeah, AND I just happened to have brought my Miata "bag o' tools". I didn't have to borrow or buy anything to help perform the surgery!
Yeah, but the flare wrench you let me borrow wouldn't have helped fix the MSM I bumped into over at Fontana :lol:
 

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ClubRoadster.net Founder
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Discussion Starter #14
No, but I could have removed the bumper and knocked out a dent had you made one!
 

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Now I can use the money I saved on chiropractic fees and Band-Aids!
no doubt. Everyone knows that broken down miatas will never run again without a blood sacrifice.
Funnily enough, I also need to the same sacrifice, the latest being gashed knuckles while fitting new heater hoses this weekend.


As for premature water pump failure; Mazda waterpumps are normally pretty reliable. Its possible though that a PO has used silicate-containing antifreeze, which destroys the seals in most Japanese waterpumps. An OAT antifreeze (the pink stuff) is now recommended to extend water pump service life.[/i]
 

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Discussion Starter #18

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Fucking great...it's 100 degrees, I'm in stop-and-go traffic and my car just pissed itself all over I-26.

Well one of the damn bolts falls in the motherfuckest of places it could have possibly fallen. It was like Miata Pachinko with that damn bolt as it somehow weaseled it's way in between the A/C mounting bracket and the engine block! I tried and tried to get that son-of-a-bitch out using a magnet, a coat hanger, and a screw driver. That sumbitch was wedged in there and was screaming "**** you, Tim - HAHA!"
I was LAUGHING OUT LOUD at those comments :lol: :lol: Oh man thanks for sharing and glad it runs now w/o pissing on itself :D 8)
 
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