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Thread: 2000 Special Edition #2441

  1. #46
    1,000 rpm - releasing the clutch lifebyevan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dnaha View Post
    How do you like the Clearwater speakers? Worth the money? Looking to upgrade the speaker system in my Miata since I've been feeling like its lacking lately (more than usual)
    Funny you should ask because I recently did a little work to them because they developed a rattling sound after over 10 years of service. I’ll be posting about it shortly. Everything seems to be working great a couple weeks afterwards and is now rattle free.

    Overall I love the Clearwater speakers. The price tag does seem a high compared other options on the market but they some of the only speakers that properly integrate into the Bose system on NBs. I appreciate the fact that you don’t have to drill any new mounting holes to install the speakers, you can just use the factory provisions. I’d say they are worth it if you are really into OEM+ modifications and would like to upgrade the sound quality while also retaining the factory Bose system. I’m not a huge audio person and so the Clearwater speakers exceed my expectations when it comes to a sound system in a Miata. At higher volumes there is little to no distortion and everything is super crisp.

  2. #47
    1,000 rpm - releasing the clutch lifebyevan's Avatar
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    April 4th, 2021

    As I mentioned before, I love my Clearwater speakers in my car. The only issue is, ever since I got the car every now and then the speakers would rattle when playing a song a bit louder than normal. I took the door card off to inspect where exactly the rattle was coming from. I figured the rattle was from a loose screw holding in the speaker or something on the inside of the door panel touching the speaker. Turns out the speaker was separating from itself in multiple locations. The first area was the inner diaphragm, also known as the spider, which was completely separated from the frame. The cone had started to partially separate from the foam surround on top as well.













    I looked into speaker replacements that work with the OEM Bose system, and honestly, the Clearwater speakers seem to be some of the only plug-and-play speakers that integrate well with the Bose sound system. I know lots of people remove the Bose system and say it is inferior compared to modern solutions but honestly I have no complaints about the sound quality of the Bose system or the Clearwater speakers. I also plan to put a stock head unit back into my car so it only makes sense to stick with Bose system compatible components.

    Now normally I would just replace the speakers with new ones from Clearwater but after seeing the price tag ($300) it made me think twice about it. I decided to try my hand at repairing the speakers since they still technically worked. I reached out to a friend that works in the car audio industry and asked his opinion on what to use to adhere the speaker parts to their respective locations again. With a little bit of research and his advice, I decided to use some adhesive by a company called Simply Speakers called “Speaker Repair Adhesive”. It seemed pretty straightforward to me and for less than $10 I figured it was worth trying out. I also bought a blunt end syringe to better help me apply the adhesive in a more exact way since the areas I was working with were so small.



    One of the challenges I was first met with was keeping the spider off the frame while I laid down the new adhesive. The spider has tension pushing it downwards towards the frame the way it is designed and if I tried lifting it with my fingers I could only hold one side of it up at a time. I didn’t want to accidentally lift the spider after part of it had already touched the new adhesive. I ended up using four pennies to lift the spider completely off the area of the frame that it lays on. That gave me enough of a gap to be able to reach the syringe into the tight area and apply a nice bead of adhesive.







    Once that was done, I moved onto applying the adhesive around the outer edge of the cone to adhere it back to the foam surround. I ended up applying the adhesive all the way around even though it was attached in some areas. The tricky part about this area is that the cone wants to push away from the foam surround and that is not conducive to applying new adhesive. My solution to this was to take a round tupperware container I had, place it upside down without the lid onto the speaker cone, and set a few coasters on top of it to weigh it down just enough to allow the adhesive to set in place properly.





    I allowed everything to cure for 12 hours and then I reinstalled the speakers into the car. It's been almost a month since the repair and I have not had any rattling coming from the speakers. I can thoroughly enjoy blasting the music in my Miata top-down again.

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  4. #48
    1,000 rpm - releasing the clutch lifebyevan's Avatar
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    April 25th, 2021

    I signed up for a local autocross event in pursuit of some much-needed seat time. This was my first autocross event despite owning a Miata for several years. I was unbelievably excited to finally give autocross a try first hand. I did a once-over with the car the night before the event. I gave the brakes a quick bleed, since I put a few thousand street miles on the fluid, just to be safe. Checked the oil level, looked for any leaks, snugged up all the clamps, packed some basic tools and a bunch of snacks for the day ahead of me.

    I was placed in the Novice class for obvious reasons. I walked the course layout three times with my friend who was an experienced autocrosser, who happily gave me a few tips and tricks along the way. The most important thing I was focused on was looking ahead as they say. Autocross can be quite confusing to some with all the cones, and it’s easy to get lost in “the sea of cones”, so the best thing to prevent this is to look as far ahead beyond the element you are about to pass through. Here is a picture of the course layout for the day:



    I spent my first two runs with my experienced friend who helped me along the way and gave me feedback after each run. The first run was exploratory and the second I picked up the pace. Third and fourth runs I ran solo. I did a bit worse by myself. I was a bit too aggressive with my inputs, not taking the cleanest line, and also locked up my fronts a couple of times braking too late. At this point, I was learning that with my setup my car had a heavy bias to understeer in the corners. This was mainly because in the recent past I did a tire rotation, putting the much more worn rear tires in the front and vice versa. Pretty sure the previous owner(s) did not rotate the tires very often because there was a significant difference of tread from the front and rear. Nonetheless, the event continued. For my fifth and final run, I focused on being a bit more smooth with my inputs (mainly the brakes) so as to not upset the balance of the car as much. The fifth run was my cleanest of my runs. On my first run, I did a 35.6-second run and by my fifth run, I managed to finish with a time of 34.4.









    We finished the event a little ahead of schedule so we had time for some “fun runs”, which are not recorded for the results posted online but still timed. At the start of the fun runs, I had a really experienced Miata autocrosser drive my car with me in it to show me what it was capable of. He put down a much quicker time of 32.4 with my car. Once I got back into the driver’s seat, I was able to lower my time to a 34.1, and the following run I was able to do a 33.8, which was over half a second better than my best during competition. What really made the difference on those fun runs was being able to clean up my line and be a bit more smooth with my inputs.

    I had a friend record most of my runs from the sidelines that I made into a small video for Youtube. The video starts off with my 3rd and 4th runs where I drove with no instructor for the first time. I hit a couple of cones on my first time out solo. The next two clips are from when I was driving during the fun runs.



    One thing I was battling with besides the understeer was locking up the fronts because I don’t have ABS. Having no ABS will be a learning curve, but hopefully, I can do my best to learn on my stock wheel and tire set up that way I don’t flat spot a set of nicer, softer compound tires. I really enjoyed how much I learned as a driver in such a short timeframe by going to an autocross event. I do plan on attending a few more events and working on my driving skills before going to a track day. Compared to a track day, autocross seems to be significantly less strain on the car and it is a lot less expensive.

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  6. #49
    1,000 rpm - releasing the clutch lifebyevan's Avatar
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    June 30th, 2021

    I started the teardown process for doing a timing belt job along with a bunch of other maintenance items. I told myself when I got the car since it had just over 65,000 miles and it had missed the recommended 60,000-mile timing belt and front engine service that I would get it done by 75,000 miles. Now it has been over a year and the car has just shy of 73,000 miles and I finally have a new daily driver so I can take my time and do the timing belt job. While I’m tearing the front end of the engine, I'll also be servicing some other components as well.

    I used all new Mazda seals and gaskets and Gates timing belt and water pump kit plus a bunch of other extras for the car. I ended up sourcing all my stuff through my friend Sergio at Track Prep Performance who was willing to source everything for me including some upgraded items while I was already spending money getting most of the maintenance settled. He is just starting off with his parts distribution company so I figured it would be good to support a semi-local Miata enthusiast.

    The first order of business was removing the supercharger because that will also be getting a minor refresh. After 18 years and over 60,000 miles of service, it is in need of some much-deserved love. Plus, removing it will allow for more room in the bay to work. With the belt removed, the top two mounting points loosened, and the one lower support bracket removed, the supercharger came right out in no time.







    Removing the radiator surprised me because it turned out I did not have a generic eBay radiator; it was actually a Track Dog Racing Radiator! I purchased a replacement crossflow radiator beforehand but it is nice to know someone spent money on a good aftermarket radiator years ago. There was not a speck of rust in the cooling system when I drained it which was a relief.



    I am glad I decided to do the timing service at this time because the more I tore things apart, the more it was apparent that everything was due for a change. The camshaft seals had just started to slowly leak oil onto the backside of the upper timing cover backing plate. The front main seal seems to have started to slowly leak, which was collecting a bit of grime around the timing gear. Mazda recommended service intervals are dead on. Every part that came off the car was thoroughly cleaned before putting it back including, which was really satisfying. I feel like this type of effort really helps the car feel new and refreshed. It separates those who just want to get the job done vs those who want to do it right and care about the car long term.











    I used a camshaft seal/main seal puller kit that I borrowed from a friend that worked flawlessly on the first try. It is virtually impossible to scratch any of your sealing surfaces with this tool. I highly recommend this over the traditional axe-shaped seal pliers or the barbaric self-tapping screw and pliers method. Most of the time this tool can be had for less than $50 or you can spend $50-$100 for a kit that includes the main seal remover and installation tools. I opted to use the remover from this kit and then used the Flyin’ Miata installer tools for the camshaft and front main seals because it takes all the guesswork out of the equation. Be sure to install the seals with a light coat of oil on the inner edge of the seal only to help with installation.













    A new Gates 3D water pump and gaskets went on the car after cleaning all the mating surfaces. I chose the Gates pump over OEM because of the more robust cast impeller design. New Mazda O-ring for the water neck, cleaned up the upper timing cover backing plate, and then it was time for the Gates timing belt kit with the new belt and idlers.

















    After the car was all timed with the new belt I went ahead and put on the plastic timing covers. My lower timing cover was rubbing against the crank pulley boss it looks like, so I replaced it with a brand new replacement through R-Speed. They claim it is more durable than the OEM unit. I did have to paint the timing marks white and I also trimmed a little bit of excess plastic on the edges to exactly match the OEM one.





    Next was the water pump pulley (don’t forget Loctite on these, they love to come loose) and then the alternator can go back into place along with the new belt. A fresh OEM valve cover gasket and the engine is looking a lot more complete now!




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  8. #50
    1,000 rpm - releasing the clutch lifebyevan's Avatar
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    Throughout the job, I did find a couple of areas on the engine harness that needed some repair. The plastic loom for the alternator power wire had started to fall apart. I went ahead and removed all the old crusty loom in that area, replaced it with some fresh loom, and finished it off by wrapping it in some high-grade 3M Super 88 electrical tape. The loom around the two wires for the air intake temperature sensor was awfully hard and heat damaged. When I removed the loom I found that the actual insulation for the wires themselves was cracking and deteriorating. I went ahead and replaced the section of wiring by splicing in new wiring using some OEM style crimps. They also got fresh loom wrap and tape treatment.

















    In the past, when boost leak testing I had been getting a small leak around the EGR valve so I took the time to replace the gasket with an OEM one. I figured this was a good time to do it since I was on a roll fixing a bunch of small random things for the time being.


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  10. #51
    1,000 rpm - releasing the clutch lifebyevan's Avatar
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    It was time for me to move on to refreshing my M45 Jackson Racing supercharger. I purchased new supercharger fluid because I have no record of it ever being changed since 2003 and the supercharger has been putting in work for 60,000 miles. Eaton advises that you change the fluid every 30,000 miles or once a year if you push the supercharger beyond the stock recommendations (higher boost or track use). The fluid and coupler were both supplied through Track Dog Racing. It’s nice because they provide a pre-measured amount of Magnuson supercharger oil and a new plug and o-ring. If you were wondering how much fluid is provided, it is exactly 146ml of fluid. I also got a replacement coupler for the supercharger as well. This part connects the dowel pins on the backside of the nose pulley to another set of dowl pins that spin the supercharger rotors. The holes in the coupler are known to oval out and create unnecessary play as well as a rattling noise while the supercharger is spinning. I didn’t have any of these issues but it is something I decided to do while I was already working on the supercharger.

    With the supercharger off of the car and the pulley already removed and sent off to get powder coated, I taped off the outlet of the supercharger and scrubbed the outside of the supercharger with some degreaser to clean it up. It really did wonders for the whole unit. I even scrubbed at the outlet manifold and got it looking brand new by using some degreaser, soapy water, and scotch-brite.







    I opened up the supercharger using mainly a rubber mallet once the bolts on the nose of the supercharger were out. I was really only trying to open up the nose end of the supercharger, but as I was hammering on it, the rotor pack also started separating from the main housing. At this point, I decided this short refresh was going to turn into a full-on inspection and documentation of this M45. I didn't want to deal with redoing the sealing surfaces when putting it back together but there's nothing I can do about it now, oh well lol.





    The inner housing of the supercharger had light scoring, a bit more than I expected but not nearly as bad as most of the housings I’ve seen online. The rotors themselves looked exactly as I expected. They have very light scoring on the edges and one lobe of one of the rotors is missing some of the teflon coating. Despite the wear internally, I’d say for 60,000 miles, this supercharger is still in great shape. All the light scoring is mainly caused by the needle bearings in the back of the inner housing developing some play but I am not hard-pressed to rebuild the supercharger anytime soon. I think it has plenty of miles left in it.





    At this point all I really did was wipe down the inner surface of the housing. I was very cautious of what product to use in this scenario when cleaning the internals of the supercharger. I saw people suggest not to use any harsh chemicals, especially on the teflon coated rotors. Some suggested using throttle body cleaner but the information was a bit unclear so I didn’t risk it. I first used a generic blue shop rag to wipe the inner surface of the housing and then I used a microfiber towel lightly misted in soapy water to finish it off. I did the same thing for the sides and edges of the rotors. One thing you want to be sure of is that you don’t wipe off the grease in the needle bearings or the end of the rotors where they sit in the needle bearings. Especially since the internals were not very dirty. I used a clean microfiber towel to wipe off the old oil in the nose of the supercharger where the oil is housed. I fit the new nose coupler in place. The old one had no play in it but the new one did fit on a bit more snug and required a bit of persuasion, which I suppose is good news.



    Reassembling the supercharger was the most nerve-racking part for me because I really did not want to mess it up. I did plenty of research and decided to use Permatex Anaerobic Gasket Maker since that is the same stuff that reputable supercharger rebuilders like Jon Bond Performance uses. One word of advice I can give is that be sure you are putting the rotor pack in the correct orientation, they do fit in the opposite way but the bolt holes won't line up perfectly. Don’t make this mistake like I did and waste a bunch of gasket maker and time redoing the gasket. I did my best to lay down a nice and even bead on the sealing surfaces and went around both sides of the bolt holes for good measure. When I was done bolting the assembly back together I took a cotton swab and removed a little bit of excess gasket maker that made its way onto the tips of the rotors from the innermost sealing surface. I just went in from the outlet of the supercharger and was able to rotate the rotors around by hand and get it all off before it cured. I bolted on the newly coated pulley and the supercharger was looking less like an engineering experiment and more like a supercharger again. The pre-measured supercharger fluid from TDR went in the next day after I let the new gasket maker cure. The nice thing about the kit from TDR is that they also include a new fill/drain plug and o-ring. The last thing I did was replace the rubber caps on my throttle body since they were dry rotted. With the throttle body and outlet manifold bolted up, the supercharger refresh was complete.















    Another part I had done at the powder coater was my new Koyorad cross-flow radiator. I had the end tanks powder coated in a flat black finish. I think it ties in the OEM+ look I’m going for since it replicated the look of the original radiator with the plastic end tanks. It has always been a pet peeve of mine that all the aftermarket aluminum radiators are so shiny and that they are the first thing that grabs your attention when you look in an engine bay. I was beyond pleased with how the finish came out.



    Before fitting the radiator into place, I had to repair the OEM fan shroud for one of my fans. The outer around was cracked and looked like it had contacted the fan blades a bit. A quick couple of holes with the drill and a trusty zip tie solved that issue for me.







    The fitment of Koyorad was a little less than ideal. I had to bend the mounting tabs for the AC condenser pretty far back because otherwise the bolt and bracket for the AC condenser hit the radiator core. It was all pretty unexpected and slightly upsetting because I don’t like having to do this type of modification especially when I buy a quality part. Plus none of this had to be done for the TDR radiator I had in place prior. I got the condenser moved far enough forward after bending both mounting tabs. For the condenser, since the brackets are quite thick, I used a c-clamp to hold onto and bend the bracket using the additional leverage the clamp provided. The ones on the chassis were easy to bend by hand.





    After I had gone through all this trouble I found out that in the Flyin’ Miata install instructions for their variation of the Koyorad with a solution to the condenser issue. They say that on some ‘99-’05 cars there is no bracket and you can just move the condenser on the other side of the mounting tab on the chassis, but others (like mine) with the bracket and mounting tabs at different heights, that you can reverse the brackets so that they move the condenser forward. Next time I’m in there I will mess with the brackets and see if what FM says will work.

    While I had access to the area in front of the condenser I also pulled out the aftermarket horns and put an OEM horn and bracket I had laying around. This cleaned up the wiring and just the overall look for me. I actually don’t mind the stock horn and think it works well.



    A new low-temperature Gates thermostat went in along with a new OEM gasket and thermostat housing to finish up the cooling system. I bought a new thermostat housing because I know they are prone to breaking around the bolt holes as they get brittle from constant heat cycling over time. With that, the cooling system was ready to be reassembled.





    I cleaned up some of the engine bay where I had a little more access while doing all this work and then bolted everything up and got it ready to bleed the cooling system. My fluid of choice was some PEAK Original Equipment Technology Coolant for Asian Vehicles 50/50 prediluted mix.











    The car started right up and the only leak I had was from the plug for the optional water temp sensor port on the radiator. Seems like it was not tightened all the way down after getting powder coated. Some fresh thread sealant on the plug and the Miata was leak-free.

    Last edited by lifebyevan; 09-07-2021 at 08:00 PM.

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  12. #52
    6,000 rpm - mere mortals would shift HarryB's Avatar
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    I always find these maintenance posts really satisfying; you did a great job!

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