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The Miata does it again - Equiraptor's Journal
The Miata does it again
At least it wasn't my fault this time.

The synchros on my transmission are going. They've been going for about a year and a half, now, but they're close enough to gone to be annoying to me, now, so I guess it's time to do something about it. Fixing it requires either a transmission rebuild or replacing the transmission. A replacement will probably be faster and cheaper, if I go with a used transmission, but requires me to find a transmission to put in the car. I'm not so good at the "scrounge for used parts off other cars" bit, but there is someone in the local Miata group who had a wrecked Miata, totaled according to the insurance, but she still has it and is (unenthusiastically) parting it. I should be able to get her transmission.

Dan drove the car, and I rode along, to see if he could trigger the problem. It was never stubborn for him, but I don't see much point in riding roller coasters anymore. They can't drift while flying around corners.

I've also been told to drive the car harder. The clutch in the car is supposed to be self adjusting, to an extent, and it should raise a bit over time. My clutch still disengages right on the very bottom of the range. If I drive the car harder, slipping the clutch, I'll apparently get that to move up a bit. I hadn't been trying to be easy on the car, but apparently I have been. Time for more autocrossing, I guess.
20 comments | Leave a comment
busychild424 From: busychild424 Date: May 26th, 2006 09:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
FYI, the 99+ trannies were designed differently and will never ever have the "stuck in reverse" problem.

I don't remember - do you have an NB differential on there?
equiraptor From: equiraptor Date: May 26th, 2006 10:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have the stock 94M differential, a Torsen. I've never had the stuck in reverse problem.
busychild424 From: busychild424 Date: May 27th, 2006 11:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Stuck in reverse only happened to me when the bushing on the bottom of my shifter had disintegrated.

You and I have the same diff - Torsen from a 94 M. Neet.

99+ Torsens have the 4.3 gearing... not that you need it. I'm waiting to get the 4.1 Torsen on my turbo car to see if I like the taller gearing more or less.
rossa From: rossa Date: May 26th, 2006 11:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
you should ask about this on the gearheads forum, I hear there are people there who know more about your car than even your car does. Perhaps more than your deity does! It's crazyness.

Slightly more seriously, I would advise against rebuilding your current transmission. Needle bearings are not made to be serviced by humans. They are packaged by oompa-loompas who never crush them. Willy Wanker sits upon his throne of gears and overseas that their work will always be beoynd the scope of a shadetree mechanic. Getting a transmission from someone you know is way safer than getting a junkyard one that was probably owned by atilla the hun.

Also, I've been told by mechanics to drive harder. Last time I took my car into the honda whisperer, he said "For the love of God, rev beoynd 3k every once and a while!"
equiraptor From: equiraptor Date: May 26th, 2006 11:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hahaha! Your comment makes me laugh many times over. :D

They rebuilt the transmission in the OMG scary Miata at least once, and I believe that transmission is still going (it's been sold to someone in California, though). Then again, they go through transmissions in that car by flat out having too much power (I think it was set at 21psi, compared with my 12, near the end of the time they had it). I'm eager to see what they do with the NC they have.

Also, why is it that my car starts behaving better every time I take it by the shop? Is it scared of being taken apart again? Does it not want to be left there for days on end?
rossa From: rossa Date: May 27th, 2006 01:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
21 psi on a 1.8, revving to 7,500 shouldn't be enough power to shatter transmissions... at least not in my happy little world. I blame a lot of transmission woes in recent years and RWD cars on the terrifying behaviors that some drift drivers suggest doing. Shift-lock and second-gear clutch-kicks are... well... Hell, I wouldn't do that shit in a rental car.

Perhaps your car is afraid of mechanics. You should have a talk with her. Find mechanics that she trusts.
cowbert From: cowbert Date: May 28th, 2006 09:10 am (UTC) (Link)
a lot of it is limited by any useful 5spd box. The problem is say you redline, once you shift, you are like half that and so have a problem with continous acceleration. In a motor like a 130ish HP I4, the 0-60 time is hurt badly by having to shift into 3rd at the end of the run.
cowbert From: cowbert Date: May 28th, 2006 09:14 am (UTC) (Link)
then you might say "why not use taller gears", well then your top speed is limited in the final gear.
rossa From: rossa Date: May 28th, 2006 02:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
anytime you have a discussion like this, it's time to quit being a wuss and decide what your priorities are. You can't have everything in a car like the Miata. It's designed to be Ace of one or two things, and Top Speed (in my arrogant opinion) shouldn't ever be a priority in an open top car.

Realistically, to take a Cheap Quick and Light car like a miata, and try to make it the universal ultimate car is bad. Your Miata should always have a few glaring flaws, and you should embrace them just as you embrace your own shortcomings as part of who you are. if not, sell and buy a lotus elise.
equiraptor From: equiraptor Date: May 28th, 2006 12:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
The Miata isn't exactly a typical car. Redline in second (7,000 rpm) and shift to third, and you'll find yourself around 5,000 rpm. Really. Honestly. I can start the car rolling in second gear, shift to fifth around forty-something, and then make it up to... Well, if I had a safe enough place, something over 120mph. I think it would be gear limited at 152 in fifth.
cowbert From: cowbert Date: May 28th, 2006 09:11 am (UTC) (Link)
6spds are better, but then you only find those on the high hp cars, which usually have enough torque that you won't notice as much.
equiraptor From: equiraptor Date: May 28th, 2006 12:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
So the Miata is a high hp car now? Miatas have had a six speed option since... Somewhere in the middle of the second generation (148hp, IIRC). Then again, even the six speed isn't geared like one would expect.
cowbert From: cowbert Date: May 28th, 2006 09:13 am (UTC) (Link)
not to mention that driving around at 3K burns off deposits. So if you are getting higher-than-you-would-like numbers at the emissions tests, drive it around hard for a while before pulling in for the hot dyno test.
belleaire From: belleaire Date: May 27th, 2006 02:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Baaaaaaad Miata. If you can't get it fixed and can't find a replacement, try www.car-part.com, or call one of my buddies at 800-442-1031 and see if they can't locate a replacement tranny for you.

p.s. Cars always behave better when you take them in. The leak stops when the plumber arrives, and the pain goes away the instant the nurse says "the doctor will see you now"!
equiraptor From: equiraptor Date: May 27th, 2006 02:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. I'm sure that TejasMiata person still has her tranny, but I'm always glad to hear about places to look for parts. :)

So... I have a story about the car always behaving better... This mechanic replaced the brakes on my car when it was fairly new to me. Not very long after, I noticed an occasional squeak. I figured out that it was coming from the left front wheel. It comes only very rarely, but it was there, without question. So I took it back to him. I drove him around in the car doing all the things that should trigger the sound, and it never came. He was looking at me like I was hearing things, but I asked him if he'd please take apart that wheel - I knew there was something wrong. I sat next to the lift doing my homework as he disassembled it, and I heard an "ah ha!" He had found a part of the brake assembly that was worn to a shine that shouldn't have been.

He has never doubted me when I've described a behavior since, even if he can't reproduce it.
flightoftheowl From: flightoftheowl Date: May 30th, 2006 11:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Sad to hear about the car troubles, I hope you are able to get them resolved soonish. I sent you an email a few days ago, not sure if you recieved it or not. Hope everything else is going ok for you.
equiraptor From: equiraptor Date: May 30th, 2006 01:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
I missed the email. Could you tell me the mailserver it was from, or contact me via AIM?

I run my own mailserver, and it's possible there was a configuration error. If I knew the name of the mailserver (the part behind the @), I could search the logs and check. :)
flightoftheowl From: flightoftheowl Date: May 30th, 2006 04:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
It would have been from my hotmail account. I never know with them but it would have been from krimsonlotus@hotmail.com
equiraptor From: equiraptor Date: May 30th, 2006 04:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Looks like it was lost internally. I should have fixed the problem. Would you be kind enough to send it again? :)
flightoftheowl From: flightoftheowl Date: June 4th, 2006 10:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Sent again, hope it works this time around :)
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