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Mazda MX-5 Miata (2005 and earlier)

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  • Last week I traded my big and obnoxious Ram extended cab 4x4 for a superclean 97 Miata...Here are the following observations after week #1.

    #1. Soccer Moms in Expeditions look down and smile, point and say "how cute' when next to you at lights. Not the response I was looking for.

    #2. The wearing of coveralls and workboots just doesn't seem right.

    #3. Screwdrivers in back pockets and leather seats dont mix.

    #4. I never realized there were so many parking spaces available!

    #5. 12 mpg vs 30 mpg...nuff said.

    #6. golf clubs are passengers, not cargo. Buckle them in too...

    #7. Always memorize your parking space, you will never see the car from the front door of the mall. (Or invest in a helium balloon tied to the antenna and 10 feet of string).

    #8. Wash the Ram...30 minutes, Wash the Mazda...2 tracks on the CD. No step ladder needed.

    #9 Miata will fit in the bed of the Ram (bring red flags as it may stick out a bit....)

    #10 7 year old daughter liked to stick elbow out of the rams window while riding. 7 year old thinks Dads Miata is so cool and has been caught sitting in it while its garaged with top off. Elbow is still stuck out though.

    #11. Ram was bought used last year for 18k...I drove it 20k miles, developed a bad rear main seal, never got over 14 mpg, clear coat was peeling and blistering, tires cost $130 each, scraped the roof pulling into a hotel garage's underground lot, and rode worse than my tractor. Dealer said bye bye after 36k. I paid 13300 for the Miata with 35k on it, the finish and leather looks brand new, despite being driven like a mini formula one still gives me 26 to 28 mpg, car was Mazda certified so they replaced the brakes, tires, rear window and floor mats after a 2 hour inspection. At least I owned the Dodge and got a nice big check back after the trade. Oh yeah, and insurance is cheaper.
    So whenever I miss the Dodge I jump into my 82 F-350 Duelly and feel a little enviromentally irresponsible. At least the Miata eases my Mid-life crisis (36 last week, so I'm a little early)

    Happy motoring and glad to be aboard!!!

    Espo
  • Attention Mazda MX-5 owners. Thinking about a purchase,2000 model. Thought I would ask the experts first. Will use for daily commute,about 60 miles of highway driving a day,and just plain weekend driving fun.This will be my only car,for winter and summer,and everything in between. I hear they are really noisy on the open road?And how about snow driving?
    Would appreciate any advice or comments. Thanks
  • Congrats on your new 97 M-edition. I bought my 97 M-edition last Memorial day with about 22k on it. Loved it ever since. Long drives just for fun... taking the long way to work... top down... no worries...

    Mine came with the factory chrome 15 inch wheels and I recently bought dunlop sp5000... pretty descent tires. I'm going to order a grill this week (got one dink in my radiator). I'd recommend getting one. Roll bars look great and add safety but hurt resale values. I saw a black miata with the double cross bars by Hard Dog. Looks good although I don't think I'll be getting one. Next for me are a new set of shocks. I haven't decided but I'm considering spending the extra bucks for an adjustable set. Any suggestions? I've also started to save a little from each paycheck... thinking of either jackson supercharger or an entry level turbo from Dealer Alternative.
  • Mine is a daily driver too. Great car for it... good gas mileage and makes the drives too and from work fun. As with most convertables, road noise is present although it greatly depends on your tires and the traffic around you. Big rigs... are loud... open country roads are quiet... My factory Potenzas were a little noisy and my newer Dunlop SP5000 are quieter. If noise is still an issue.... get one with a hardtop. Hardtops add about 500-700 extra to the used car's price and add about 1500 to a new miata's price. For the winter.... you can run Blizzaks snow tires which I hear are great. My biggest concern for winter driving is snow since the miata sits pretty low to the ground..... but thats what my 93 Jeep YJ is for.... Good luck
  • Thanks for the info. I have another question. What is the droning they talk about at high speeds? And how about trunk space? One more,how are they on takeoff from a stop? Looking for a quick accelerator.MX-5
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,807
    Well Oscar, it's really a question of what you are expecting from an inexpensive (relatively) two-seater sportscar. It's supposed to be hard-riding and a bit noisy. This is the compromise the engineers built into it in order to keep it light and fast and responsive. It isn't a big heavy cruising two-seater like a Mercedes SL and so you have to live with the characteristics of a true sportscar I think.

    MODERATOR

  • REdline fluids aren't really modifications, I guess, but after my experience with them over the past 4 years, I wouldn't be without them. In the transmission I was especially able to notice the difference on the shift from first to second, smoother and no need to force it at all.

    The diff. fluid made no noticeable change but was highly recommended (Mita.net) and has served me well.

    The plug wires (I used the blue NGK wires) have been reliable and effective -- I changed at 24k several years ago -- but it's hard to tell what effect they had on performance as I made two other changes at the same time. I advanced the timing to 14 degrees btdc -- no, it didn't require me to switch to higher octane gas. And I added the K&N filter charger ($180). And I DID notice this combination of changes in the quicker responses of the engine.

    I was also going to change to more aggressive shocks -- you may remember this from several hundred posts ago -- but was ready for new tires and couldn't afford both tires and struts at the same time. I bought Toyo T1S 14" tires and now won't buy the new suspension components for awhile because the tires have added so much to the handling that I want to wait before changing anything until the driver :) can keep up with the tires!

    The Enthusiast's Manual is excellent! It's available via nearly every aftermarket dealer listed in the marketplace on Miata.net. It is for the British version of the Miata so I also bought the Haynes manual (also available via the aftermarket dealers) and the two have always had enough information to help me out with the minor mechanical activities I'm able to perform. For anything fancier, I'd need the complete shop manual and, given my level of "ability," I'd need to have my head examined!

    Hope these experiences and recommendations help out!

    Take care.
    Joe W>
  • Joe, you've obviously changed the tranny oil and I would guess you did it yourself. Those pics available at Miata.net show the removal of the shifter boot, etc., to change fluid there. I suppose this is a separate reservoir of oil specifically for the shifter, and has nothing to do with the gear oil within the tranny housing? Can you elaborate?

    I'm just a little leary of handling heavy weight oil inside the car - I can only imagine the mess if it spilled onto the SE's carpet.......

    Jim M.
  • What a weekend! I took the long way everywhere I went! I cannot get over how well this little car handles! The only complaint I have is that I didn't get to shift very much because I never had to slow down for corners, just turn the wheel and apply the gas. Well, now I can't wait for next weekend. This is awesome, SCCA app is in the mail. Skip Barber here I come!
  • For those who are not familiar, the 5-speed Mazda transmission's turet is not connected to the transmission, and need to be lubricated too. On high milage Miatas, the rubber shift boots (two of them) may be ripped too and cause imprecise shifts and the turet may be dry.
    To change the fluid there, use a turkey baster (don't use the one for Thanksgiving turkey). I think it takes about 90ml (I think, don't quote me on the amount)
    For the 6-speed transmission made by Aisin, the turet is connected to the transmission and will not hold any fluid, so changing the transmission fluid is enough.
  • Karl, thanks for the above information. I wasn't sure about that "turret" oil, and since mine is a 6 speed I don't have to worry now about that oil in the passenger compartment.

    I haven't obtained any service manuals yet - the one's I've come across only listed thru '99. They are probably still valid, but I would prefer the inclusion of the '00.

    Jim M.
  • Another option is:
    1)Funnel
    2) ~ 3ft. of clear plastic tubing available at most hardware stores.
    3) ~2" of 1/2" copper tubing, and a 1/2" copper elbow.

    Slip copper tubing, with elbow attached, into one end of plastic tubing.
    Put funnel in other end.

    Under hood, snake plastic tubing, copper end first, down to tranny.

    You can take it from there. '99 5-speed calls for 2.1 qts.
  • I was going to post the steps I used (and are listed w/pix in the Enthusiast's Manual you asked about) when you reminded me that you have the 6-speed. I wouldn't trust my directions w/o some confirmation that the set up is the same -- if you find it is, email me and I'll be glad to let you know how it happened ... not a big deal at all.

    take care.
    Joe W>
  • Thanks to everyone who responded to my questions about the miata mx-5. Sounds like a great car. Just read the report on the 2001,can't wait to see one in person. Any idea about price on the base model? I heard that the blizzak snow tires wear out very quickly,anyone go any info. Thanks
  • I'm going to call a dealership tomorrow and see if I can gain any further information on the 6 sp. Karl's response seemed rather surefooted so I'm assuming he is correct on his information.

    I'm purchasing jack stands to compliment my ramps. The Miata won't climb my current ramps due to the angle vs the car's air dam. I plan to jack the car up, then slide the ramps under the front end. I'll support the rear with the jack stands. I'm not real crazy about sliding under a vehicle supported solely by jack stands. The Miata might not weigh much, but it's definitely more than my chest can support should something fail. The ramps will give a measure of confidence.

    I could have the dealer do all three oils for a quoted 1 hour of labor ($65) if I supply the oils. I'm not leaning that way, but it would help as to documentation should I find some particulates a bit too big stuck to the magnetic plugs.

    Think I'll go with the Redline oil for the tranny and diff. I can purchase it for $7.99/qt. locally. It won't need to be replaced for quite a while, as the Miata is not my daily driver. I'm planning to use Mobil 1 in the engine and stay with 7.5K changes. Redline is a little too pricey ($8/qt) for that frequent a change.

    Any recommendations on a filter? The Purolater book indicated they don't make a Pure One filter for the Miata, and I couldn't find a Mobil 1 book to determine if they make a filter.

    Jim M.
  • Jim, the information I've received suggests that you should stay with OEM Mazda filters. The company has apparently designed in a valve in the filter so that an aftermarket may "fit" and look exactly the same, but ...

    while it may work okay, most people seem to agree that for the buck or so difference it makes sense to play it safe.

    My local dealer charges $5.25 for filters, also available by mail order via the aftermarket suppliers.

    RE: ramps -- check out the rhino ramps sold by Moss motors & other Miata suppliers. Their angle is such that the low clearance doesn't bother them and, obviously, would be less of a pain to use.

    Take care.
    Joe W.
  • First, use head.......

    Use ramps on rear axle, jacks in front, so parking brake is available to keep vehicle from rolling!!!

    Duh.

    Joe, Thanks for the advice on the filters.

    Jim M.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,258
    There's no doubt that the Miata is lots of fun to drive. However. . .my first one stranded me one day with a transmission that wouldn't shift out of reverse. The dealer wasn't the slightest bit surpirsed and fixed the whole thing under warranty. This was a '91.

    The '94 ("R Pkg") was completely troublefree.

    Both were a blast to drive, but no more so than my '65 MGB (which leaked oil & had generator "issues" regularly), or for that matter than my current Lincoln LS.

    Fun is where you find it, and in this hellhole desert (Phoenix, AZ), the Miata doesn't realize its full potential.

    Enjoy yours!
  • i'm looking for a 2000 mazda with a hard top, ABS and automatic. What is the best price for this?? and how much should i expect under msrp??please help!!
  • did i say it was a mazda miata that i wanted?? :)
  • The best price I can think of is free ;-)
  • For those of you who are interested you can now subscribe to Miata Magazine directly. Look at miatanet.com for the links. Evidently there is a dispute with MCA and members may not receive the latest issue anyway.
  • lateralglateralg Posts: 929
    My experience & info. from reading:

    Blizzaks are excellent for Miata on snow AND ICE until the tread wears a modest amount. Then the little micro pores that grip the ice are gone and you're left with a reasonably good snow tire.

    If you get them, treat them very gently to prolong their ice-gripping ability.

    I suggest you visit Tirerack and Discount Tire websites for more info.
  • Thinking of purchase of Miata MX-5, How are they in the snow? Also has been suggested to use Blizzak snow tires,How well do they work? Anybody?
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    I don't have a Miata, but it is a light rwd car. Snowtires would help, but think about ground clearance. If you live in Virginia or so and get a couple of inches of snow, you'll be okay. If you live in New Hampshire like I do, a sportscar stays in the garage.
    I drive a Subaru with Blizzaks on in the winter. They seem like a good tire. Not much wear after 2 winters.
  • You know, I had my exact next car picked out -- a Milano Red 2001 Prelude, base, 5-speed, with spoiler. But then I finally read all 900+ messages on the $25K sports car topic, and I feel myself getting sucked inexorably towards test driving a Miata.

    I like the 200 HP engine in the Prelude, but my number one priority is how much fun a car is to drive -- and that means responsiveness and handling as well as acceleration. The Prelude definitely scores high in all of these areas, but you guys do seem to be having a lot of fun with your Miatas...

    What I want to know is, how practical would it be to have a Miata as my only car in Boston? I don't care about cargo space, since I do my grocery shopping over the web. But I would want to be able to drive in snow/ice (with good snow tires). Will the Miata's heater keep the car reasonably warm, even in sub-zero temperatures?

    Is it worth getting a Miata even if you're going to be driving it with the top up 6 months out of the year? Is it still fun-to-drive with the top up, or would I be better off with a Prelude?
  • lateralglateralg Posts: 929
    I drove my '99 through one winter in the Ann Arbor, MI area. Experienced heavy snow on two occasions. No problem at all with car equipped with Blizzaks, except to beware of deep snow; the low ground clearance can get the car 'floating' on the snow.

    A very much appreciated feature is the Glass heated backlight. With the plastic version that some others have, it would have been very unpleasant.

    Heater performance is completely adequate.

    In my opinion, the Miata provides more fun/$$ than anything else on the road.

    I'm a Ford retiree, and at the time I bought the Miata, I could have bought a Mustang GT for essentially the same price. I went for the Miata & have no regrets.
  • Blacktalon, you said it yourself: test drive a Miata before you choose between it and the Prelude; you can't decide anything before then.

    I own both a Prelude (a pristine 1988 2.0Si with 116,000 blissful miles) and a Miata (brand-new 2000). The Miata is a blast, and I love it for top-down motoring, but if I had to have only one car, it would be a Prelude. It does more things exceedingly well than any other car I've ever owned.
  • WarpDriveWarpDrive Posts: 506
    I'll put in my two cents....

    I probably would not buy a Miata as my ONLY car. A two seater is a bit too limiting for me and I do have to carry largish things every once in a while (like a bicycle) But since I have the space and finance to pay for it, I am fortunate enough that I can keep another sedan around and I have the best of both worlds. If you don't have a passenger, you can carry some pretty big items around.

    However, LOTS of people have their Miata as their only car. It's do-able and you may have to make some attitude adjustments to pull it off. Driving the car in the snow is NO problem as long as snow is not more than a few inches (around 5"?) deep and you have good snow tires. Check out tires like the Michelin Alpin, Nokian Hakkapellita, or Blizzaks. These are all tires that will allow the Miata to handle the slipperiest of conditions. The balance of the car is excellent and any sliding is fun and easy to control. The softtop will wear a bit over time but this is expected.

    The Miata is easily the most fun car I've owned. I've driven faster coupes like Prelude, Corrado and Acura Integra Type R, and BMW 323ci etc. And none of them approach the back to basics sportscar feeling that a Miata offers. I tell everyone that "Everybody should own a Miata-like car sometime in their life" If you can pull it off now, then do it!!! Some people are in the perfect situation to buy a car like a Miata but opt for some more practical car instead. I think I should have bought a Miata 8 years ago but instead I opted for a Corrado. Now I wish I bought the Miata instead.
  • WarpDriveWarpDrive Posts: 506
    As for the question: Is it the Miata worth it if you have the top up 6 months out of the year.

    YES.

    I actually store my Miata away for the winter and I do only get to drive it seven months. And the top is up at least 1 of those months.

    It's is worth it, the Miata is fun to drive even with the top up (once you get used to its blind spots).
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