Ownership Verified: Oh no, they've got another one - leviathan's MX-5 NC

loose_unit

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Still clearing up the service history thing, but now that I've got an offer for the "proper" service that would get the car back on track, I don't like the numbers at all. Even if I can get the seller dealership to pay up for a part of it (which is questionable, but the effort is ongoing), it got me thinking. All the car really needs done as of now are spark plugs and oil changes (engine, gearbox, possibly diff)... I googled a bit, and those seem rather easy to do on the NC. Spark plugs I could do anytime in my garage, oil changes will need access to a minimally equipped shop (need something to raise the car far enough off the ground, a drain bucket, filter wrench, etc.), but that I can probably organize with some asking around.

Since the car already has a very patchy service history, is it worth the money paid to a shop to get it "back on track"? I doubt it'll change much for future resale value, as long as I document what's been done and keep the parts receipts. And being able to work on the car myself was kind of part of the reason I went for an MX-5 in the first place :) So yeah, thinking about taking at least the basic maintenance into my own hands. Haven't done this before ever, but how hard can it be.
Firstly, don't bother doing the oil change yourself, just go here: http://www.mac-oil.de/standorte/frankfurt - They will do it for not much more than the price you will pay for the oil.

The gearbox oil change is a bit of a pain on my NA, I have not done a diff oil change (I know, I know...) - But both of these should be doable with just jack + jack stands rather than using a lift.

Of course it's entirely up to you if you want to tackle these jobs yourself!

As far as getting the stamps is concerned, Mac Oil will give you a stamp with their logo for an oil/filter change which should be enough to show that the car is being maintained again, at this point you probably won't get much benefit having the Mazda stamps in the book, but getting the belts done with them might keep the value up :)
 
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leviathan

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Found a way to use one of my toys to benefit another today: 3D printed some parts for the MX-5 :) They are tiny parts, but still:


(not my pic)

The car was missing windshield screw caps on both sides. Apparently those get lost often. I randomly found the part browsing on Thingiverse: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2237341. 20 minute print, fits perfectly, no visible difference from the surrounding plastic, unless one really looks closely.
 

WDWBen

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Nice! My buddy's NC2 is missing one of those, but we lack a 3D printer. I imagine he'll grab one from a local Mazda dealer at some point.
 

leviathan

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Fixed the AUX noise issues with one of these:

61iCGJvyhPL._SL1500_.jpg

It's an inline ground loop isolator. No more RPM whine or random crackling, just clean audio; I think even the "mobile phone noise" that it used to pick up in areas with bad reception is gone. 10? well spent. Now I just need to take the radio out again to hide the filter and most of the cable length behind it, and the phone setup is finally all set... at least until the iPhone 8/X upgrade rolls around and I have to fiddle with Lightning/3.5mm adapters and whatnot.
 

leviathan

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Now that I've owned the car for over a month and some 2500km, a summary of my thoughs and findings so far, in no particular order:

- Fuel consumption has stabilized at around 8,1l/100km. More than I'd expect from a car this small and light, but still less than all my previous cars, therefore I'm happy. Also, I don't exactly drive it too economically :)
- Size is enough for 99% of my needs. I mostly drive alone or with a single passenger anyway, and rarely with more stuff than fits in the MX5's trunk. For rare exceptions, usually another vehicle can be procured in some way.
- It's really fun, which really was the main point of the purchase. I find that I'm looking forward to almost any drive much more than with previous cars. Except...
- Long Autobahn drives are unpleasant. Comfortable cruising speed is <=140 (as opposed to ~150-160 in the C-class and 170+ in the A5), and even then it's way loud and twitchy. I actually try to avoid highways if I can, but it's not always reasonably possible.
- Despite the high-speed loudness, soft top was the right choice I think, just because of how quickly it goes up and down. I try to have it down as much as possible, but if it's too cold or starts raining, it takes under 10 seconds at the lights or at the side of the road to get it back up and keep going, or to release and throw it back down if the sun comes out again.
- Xenon lights aren't necessary, it has the best halogens I've seen before by far. Probably because they sit so low they are not angled as far down as most other cars (but still aren't anywhere near blinding opposing traffic), and with decent bulbs I get almost as much light as the xenons produced in the A5. No night time visibility issues whatsoever.
- But lights from other cars are much more annoying, because one sits so bloody low. Especially high-riding SUVs and vans blind me every single time, either coming the other way or from behind via side mirrors.

All in all, so far I'm quite happy with the little thing. With the winter approaching, days shortening and temperatures dropping I don't get as much top-down time as I'd like anymore :) but I'm really looking forward to first snow. And probably even more to next year, when I'll get some proper grippy summer rubbers on it, and see how well it really goes in the dry.
 

WDWBen

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- Despite the high-speed loudness, soft top was the right choice I think, just because of how quickly it goes up and down. I try to have it down as much as possible, but if it's too cold or starts raining, it takes under 10 seconds at the lights or at the side of the road to get it back up and keep going, or to release and throw it back down if the sun comes out again.
For what it's worth, the hardtop deploys or retracts in just about 12 seconds ;)
 

Redliner

Y'all got any lamps?
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For what it's worth, the hardtop deploys or retracts in just about 12 seconds ;)
Yes, but those 2 seconds add up! :lol:

Seriously, glad to see you're enjoying the car, leviathan.
 

DanRoM

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You need to practice roof action. :p The NC has basically the same mechanism as the ND as far as I know...
 

narf

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Indeed - "under 10 seconds" is what my electric Beetle roof takes... an MX-5 should beat it by lots.
 

leviathan

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Yeah, "under 10 seconds" is including winding the windows down, turning AC on/off as needed, putting the wind deflector up/down etc. The roof movement and lock/unlock is done in a couple seconds.
 

WDWBen

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Yeah, "under 10 seconds" is including winding the windows down, turning AC on/off as needed, putting the wind deflector up/down etc. The roof movement and lock/unlock is done in a couple seconds.
I'm actually intrigued that you actually flip the wind deflector up and down. Mine always stays up; it doesn't interfere with my line of sight out the back even with the roof is up. Also, I should admit that the power top drops the windows for me :)
 

loose_unit

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- Despite the high-speed loudness, soft top was the right choice I think, just because of how quickly it goes up and down. I try to have it down as much as possible, but if it's too cold or starts raining, it takes under 10 seconds at the lights or at the side of the road to get it back up and keep going, or to release and throw it back down if the sun comes out again.
Wow, you need to stop? I can get mine up when doing around 80kph by myself, obviously opening it at 90-100k can be risky but it's doable too :-D
 

leviathan

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I'm actually intrigued that you actually flip the wind deflector up and down. Mine always stays up; it doesn't interfere with my line of sight out the back even with the roof is up.
It's in the way for the hand to grab the roof to pull it up, so has to come down.

Wow, you need to stop? I can get mine up when doing around 80kph by myself, obviously opening it at 90-100k can be risky but it's doable too :-D
Actually never tried it in motion, really - only pulled it up once while rolling in 2nd in a slow traffic jam. Not sure if I want to try it faster though.
 

DanRoM

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Up to about 70 kph it's no problem on the ND, and people have been doing it at even faster speeds. I can't imagine it's particularly good for the mechanism though...
 

leviathan

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Had the day off, and went out to scout some more local B-roads, while the autumn weather still permits:

2017-11-003.jpg

2017-11-01 16.09.10-002.jpg
 

leviathan

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So... has anyone removed a driver's seat from their NC? Because I might need to do that to retrieve a certain garage key that went under the carpet earlier tonight -.-

It's not really urgent or anything, I'll get a copy key made for now, it's an underground garage with god knows how many keys anyway. But eventually I want it out of there. Especially if it starts making noise or something, or if there's a chance of it falling through the underbody and out below the car (shouldn't be possible I think, but not sure).

Checklist so far:

- Disconnect battery (because airbag)
- Remove seatbelt
- Remove four bolts on corners of seat rails
- Disconnect seat electrics, remove seat
- Remove carpet as far as needed
- Retrieve key
- Re-assemble in inverse order

Am I missing anything? Does more interior trim need to come off to remove the carpet? The key went through the cable hole in the carpet underneath the seat, and should be sitting somewhere in there. Can it possibly fall through and out below the car somehow from there?

Might also try sourcing a "bendy stick with a magnet" somewhere and retrieving the key with it through the same hole...

Update Just found a second garage key in the apartment, didn't even know I had two. So the urgency has actually been reduced to "very low, unless it starts rattling down there or something". Still need to get it out some time...
 
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leviathan

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Made today a "car day" to do some stuff on the MX-5 that's been planned for a while:
  • Went to Mac Oil and got an oil change. Thanks loose_unit for the recommendation! I didn't even know drive-through oil changes were a thing. Had to wait about 30 minutes (some Google reviews promised up to 2 hours waiting on a Saturday), then 15 minutes for the change itself, all without getting out of the car, and for a very reasonable price.
  • Replaced windshield wipers with frameless ones (Ashuki Flex from IL Motorsport). Look better and definitely wipe much better than the old ones.
  • Replaced headlight bulbs. Right one went out a few days ago, so this was a good time to upgrade to more powerful bulbs that I used before on the C-class (Osram Nightbreaker Unlimited). Mazda sure did a great job making them a pain in the ass to replace though... had to remove the washer fluid reservoir on the right, and the interior fuse box on the left side to make some room to get to the bulbs. Some people apparently even take off the left front wheel and wheel well cover, and access the bulb from there... took me some half an hour with a lot of swearing for a job that should be really done in a couple minutes.
  • Replaced side indicators with clear ones, with orange bulbs on the inside (also from IL Motorsport). Much cleaner look, and really cheap and easy to install.
  • Washed and cleaned both exterior and interior. Exterior wash won't hold for long given the winter weather, but I still prefer doing it from time to time, just to see the original lighter color of the wheels every once in a while :)
The car now has done about 5000km in my possession. Glad to report I'm still rather happy with it. It's definitely a fine daily driver for my purposes, and seems to have no issue with winter conditions. Soft top is wind- and watertight, heater works really well, heated seats add comfort, and RWD is quite fun on wet surface with traction control off (though perfectly safe with it on). All issues I've gathered so far were resolved today (apart from the abovementioned key thing), so here's hoping everything will be fine through the rest of the winter.
 
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