Someone Else's Problem: Oh no, they've got another one - leviathan's MX-5 NC

Modern cars baffle me.
This is nothing compared to my other car, where I've had to reboot the main screen while driving a couple times now :p You get used to it eventually...
On my old (2002) Nissan, to get the check engine codes, you had to :

  1. Sit in driver's seat
  2. Turn the key to the ON position(don't start the car)
  3. Wait 3 seconds
  4. Fully depress the gas pedal 5 times in under 5 seconds.
  5. Wait 7 seconds
  6. Fully depress the gas pedal for 10 seconds

The check engine light should be flashing, long flashes indicate the first digit of the trouble code, 10 flashes means a 0. Count the flashes and jot down the trouble code.

To erase the code, depress the gas pedal fully for 10 seconds for a second time.
Soo, the NC has been sitting around without much to do for a while now. I've driven it a couple times, and every time I did the desire to sell decreased sharply, only to then eventually build up again as it sits unused :)

Today, the first thing has gone wrong from no use: the A/C decided to not cool anymore. Not that I need it much since it's being driven almost exclusively top-down, but it worked fine the last time I needed it. Current assumption is that all the gas escaped and needs to be refilled. Will have it checked out some time soon, since it needs to be fixed either way, for myself or for a potential next owner.

Other than that little detail, the car is holding up nicely. No oil or other fluids escaping, soft top seems to hold water out of the interior nicely, battery is fine, engine starts up after long periods of sitting like it's nothing.
In fact I enjoy it so much, I've gone and rented a second garage spot for it :p Had notices hung up around the neighborhood for a while, finally a couple days ago someone called and offered an unused spot, in the same level where the Tesla lives even. Signed and got the keys today. Sure, the rent will cost me a bit, but fuck it - keeping this car and renting the spot won't bankrupt me any time soon, and I just don't feel like getting rid of it at all, so it stays. The car is fully paid off now, too, so no more monthly payments - the spot is ofc much cheaper than those were.

Now I also realize a thing: not having a parking spot was a major factor in not driving it much - I was often afraid I'd have to hunt for a close enough street spot forever after taking it out to somewhere, so I'd almost always opt for the 3. Street parking really sucks right now, with several constructions taking away many spots it's always packed. Not an issue anymore, so I think I'll actually drive the NC again every now and then :)

Went for a drive to wash it today before putting it in the garage, and enjoying what could possibly be the last >20°C summer evening of the season. Weirdly enough, during the after-wash highways blast with the roof up (to dry it off before opening again) the AC worked fine once more. I guess it's not out of gas completely but just down on it - could that explain AC working in mild weather, but packing up in proper heat? It was >30° when I last tried it, and the car had sat in the sun for a while.
I had an '08 NC for about 4 years. I don't know about in Germany, but the US model had a shared clutch/brake reservoir that on the car that I had (and others, as you can read about on NC forums) caused a problem where the clutch pedal wouldn't always disengage the clutch. There is a threaded plunger on the pedal that people adjust, but it's better to just bleed the system. Hopefully you won't need to know this, but if you leave it sitting for awhile and find that it's catching as you shift gears, this is probably the reason. I think that Mazda may have remedied this problem on later NCs, and I did notice that the shared reservoir on the ND is substantially different than what was on my car.
It's really amazing how having a parking space makes keeping more cars easier :-D

There’s that and then there’s “well I don’t have to finish this repair tonight” which makes repairs less stressful or you can procrastinate more. :)

Nice to see this’ll stay around.
I've gone and ran out of electricity.

No, this is not the wrong one of my two PyC threads to post this - the Tesla is perfectly fine :) But the MX-5's battery has decided that sitting for ~3 months without movement is too much effort, and died. Shame on me really for not thinking of this sooner and taking it out for a prophylactic drive every once in a while... but it did manage a couple 1-2 month long periods of sitting around during the summer just fine, and I never had this issue with any of my cars before. So yeah, I f'd up a bit.

Thankfully it didn't die all the way. The car still responded to keyfob presses and electrics all lit up. But the voltage dropped low enough that even the central locking wouldn't engage reliably, and starting the engine was completely out - just some clicks, and no turning.

Now I thought, not a big deal - here right across the garage I have another car with more than enough electricity in it to jump-start the Mazda, certainly. However, it turns out the 12V battery in the Tesla is kinda tiny and not rated to crank any kind of engine at all - apparently it delivers a maximum of 45 amps or something. The DC-DC converter that it has instead of an alternator is said to supply up to 200 amps, and people have successfully jumped other cars with a Model 3 before - but the 12V system is one of more brittle parts of the Tesla, and there's a real chance of doing some expensive damage if it goes wrong. So I ended up only using the Tesla to go and buy some jumper cables, and in the meantime mom helpfully arrived with her Mokka X to serve as a jump source.

Jump starting was uneventful, and apart from the battery the MX-5 still seems to be in perfect working order. I took it out for a nice long recharge drive - at 14°C and with the sun out despite this still being January, I even took the top down for a while. Back home, the voltage reported through OBD-II (with engine off but ignition on, so still some load pulling power) is at 12.45 V - good enough so I can let it sit again for a little while. I'll definitely be taking pre-emptive voltage checks every week or so, and will take it out again as soon as weather permits as it did today.

For longer periods of sitting in the future, I'm considering just disconnecting the battery, or even taking it out altogether and getting a trickle charger to keep it topped up at home. I can't connect a charger to the car in the garage - no power available there, sadly.
Yeah, I didn't expect this myself. Though it hindsight in makes sense - there is no reason for an EV to have a high-power 12V source onboard. The tiny low-rated 12V battery is easily enough to maintain all "normal" electrics it has while being constantly recharged from the DC-DC converter, and it's probably both cheaper and lighter than a normal battery would be.

The Tesla still has jump points that are accessible - apparently you might need to jump _it_ if the 12V battery dies (e.g. if the main battery is drained down to undervolt protection, or if the DC-DC thing breaks) to allow the computers to power up and the main battery to charge. A suggested "safe" way to use it as a jump source is to connect it up and let the Tesla's 12V system recharge the other car's battery for a while, then disconnect again before attempting to crank the engine. I considered doing that, but it'd mean having the Tesla parked in front of the NC awkwardly blocking a large bit of the shared underground garage - something the other renters might not find very agreeable.

Are there any places you could mount a small solar panel outside and run a cable to the MX5?
Not really doable. It's an semi-underground parking garage with ~100 spaces over several levels, and both spaces I rent are quite a bit away from the main entrance or any windows.
I typically disconnect Luigi's battery when it is going to sit over winter, I have also pulled it and charged it before taking him out for the next season.

Since I replaced the battery a few years ago I have not needed to charge it, but I disconnect it just to be sure :)
It's winter as well. Even an underground garage will get colder in winter and nothing finds a tired battery faster than freezing or near freezing temperatures.
I disconnect my NC every winter, and then every few months run it up to temp and get some charge back in it at a fast idle for 10 mins or so.

I also do this with the spare Mondeo, Mustang, Corsair, Anglia, Fiesta, Fiesta and whatever else I haven't used for a while... Keeps me busy for a morning!
next birthday, ask for a drip charger ;)
Been driving the NC once every week or two since the battery incident, seems perfectly fine now. Maybe it took some lasting damage, but not enough to be noticeable at this rate. Will keep monitoring it, but not worried anymore.

Other things that have happened in the meantime:

- Went in for an oil change today. It was quite a bit overdue on time, but a good bit under the usual mileage due to all the sitting around. Decided to do it anyway - it's cheap enough and serves the peace of mind somewhat.

- AC is still broken. Went in for a discounted AC service at Euromaster, was told that a) it seems to not hold pressure, but they're unsure because b) they don't have the necessary equipment for the kind of gas this car uses at that specific location -.- Booked an appointment next week at another location instead that should have the necessary stuff, to diagnose and refill if possible. Not having AC is not a big issue for a convertible in the summer, admittedly, but it makes long drives rather uncomfortable - I prefer to have the roof up when going on the highway for acoustic reasons.

- Got it a new wind break (finally found one off a scrapped car on eBay, 30€ good as new instead of >100€ for a new OEM part), and a new shifter knob, since the old one started literally falling apart. OEM part is again way too stupidly expensive, so I browsed IL Motorsport and found this:


It's one of very few NC-compatible knobs that have the 5-speed pattern on them, and looks and feels good in the car. I noticed it getting a bit warm after long periods of driving, especially on the highway where the transmission does tend to heat up - but it's not uncomfortable or anything.

- Also a new slight issue has cropped up, possibly related to the battery incident. The driver's door lock won't unlock via central locking anymore. It will lock via fob just fine, and does the right noises when unlocking the car via fob, but won't open ~4/5 times, requiring me to use the key. The issue has started when I had the battery run flat - maybe running the solenoid at too low voltage has caused some sort of an issue in there, I don't know. Will probably take the door apart and see what's what some time soon.


Also, on a sadder note, I finally decided to put it up for sale. Even though it's properly parked now and I don't worry about it sitting out in the street or anything... it's just not being used enough, I don't drive enough to warrant having two cars. It still does this thing to me where I want to sell it more and more and then when I do drive it the desire kind of goes away; but it's the right thing to at this time. Someone else will have more fun actually using it as intended. And I will definitely get another convertible/roadster toy some time down the line, when I have a private garage space to be able to work on one properly.

I've put it up for a decent price, not going to low-ball it as I'm definitely not in a hurry. If someone takes it off my hands at a good price, I'm happy; if it takes a while, well, I get to occasionally drive it for that much longer, which I'm also happy with :)

If anybody is interested or knows someone who could be interested:
Last edited:
I'm really sad to read that you want to sell it, but given how you barely use it since you've got your company car, I understand it. Well, just a bit.

When you get the itch to buy a roadster again, an ND will be inevitable except if Boxsters become affordable by some miracle. :D I may have something for you then. :)
Last edited: