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Mazda MX-5 Miata (2005 and earlier)



  • There is a whole page at on squeeks and rattles....

    Since juice brought up the subject of shocks, I have 78k miles on my '92 and it is riding a little ragged with the original shocks. Yeah, it is that time pry open the wallet and spend some more money on the car. But I'm trying to keep this as a fun, reliable, and CHEAP vehicle. Preventative maintenance by the book. I'll spend a little bit extra for quality and for sport. After some preliminary shopping, for shocks I'm looking at adjustable Koni's (they are on the wife's bimmer) or the OEM Bilsteins Mazda put on some of the earlier first generation sport package Miatas. Quotes I am getting are about $450-500 for the shocks. And about $240 for installation. I don't want to lower this car, so I'll probably keep the original springs. Anybody have any insight or thoughts on the subject? Thanks.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, it gets expensive. I may try to do this myself or get a friend to help me to it next time I head out to Summit Point.

  • kymikekymike Posts: 115
    Both choices are good ones. Another good option that may be cheaper is the adjustable KYB AGX. Several Miata.netters have these (me included) and are very happy with them. They may be a less expensive alternative (<$400 for the set)than the others you mentioned above.
  • thelthel Posts: 767
    I just put a deposit on a 1990 A-package with 123,000 miles. It's got a hard top and it is for sale at a Mazda dealer in Kansas City. Hopefully, since it's a Mazda dealer, the car will be as clean and fresh as the wind-driven snow. If so, I'll buy it for $4500 and sell the hard top...
  • thelthel Posts: 767
    I've spent the last couple of days checking it out and restoring the paint.

    1. I used Maguiar's #1 cleaner 2-3 times.

    2. Then I used Maguiar's #2 polish twice.

    3. Then I put on a coat of Nu Finish.

    Now the paint looks almost brand new and I've got quite a pile of reddish pink applicator pads and terry towels.

    I've also replaced the weak 20W original speakers to improve the factory head unit. That will go soon as well, but there are other priorities first.

    Namely, the soft top is horrible. It provides little protection from the rain and needs a good cleaning...oh well, I look at it as an excuse to get a no-zipper glass window top. My family used to have a professional upholstery shop, so I think we can probably install it ourselves.
  • justinjustin Posts: 1,918
    how is the Bose system in the 99 Miata LS? i am thinking about getting one as a 2nd car...

    outside of the #4 issue, anything else on 99 models that i should be aware of?

  • thelthel Posts: 767
    If you are into door rattling bass, the Bose will be disappointing to you. The Bose system in my 2002 was adequate for what I wanted but YMMV. You should take a couple of your favorite CD's with you on the test drive and see.
  • thelthel Posts: 767
    Since picking up my new MX-5 on Thursday I've managed to do the following:

    1. Restore the paint. A few of the body panels, notably the passenger side fender and all of the plastic, were quite faded so I went to Advance auto parts and got some Maguiars. I went to work with the #1 cleaner and used it 2-3 times. I then came back the next day and hit the car with the #2 polish twice. Finally, I used a coat of Nu Finish. After all was said and done, there is little difference between the once faded body panels and the freshly painted ones (driver's door and fender). I even did the hard top even though I still intend to sell it in the future.

    2. The coolant in the resevoir was horrifyingly brown and muddy. So I flushed the radiator and put in new coolant. This was remarkably less difficult than I had imagined it to be.

    3. Then I changed out the weak 20W factory door speakers with some mid-level 60 W coustic 6.5" units. The stock cassette player doesn't sound great, but it sounds much better than it did before.

    4. Then I tackled the soft top. It really does need to be replaced since it doesn't make a water tight seal with the doors and there are a couple of small worn out holes in the very top where the vinyl has little worn through. I plan on replacing it with a Robbins no-zipper glass window top as soon as one becomes available.

    Well, that's all for now. I'll post another update as son as I have time to do more work.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 24,945
    The top on my '01 (which I bought last winter) could use a good cleaning. I have washed the car a few times, but haven't done anything special to the top.

    Can you experts recommend the best way/product to use on it to clean off the dirt marks and protect it? I may spring for a professional detail this year, but will probably cheap out and do it myself. In any case, I want to do the top now to keep it from getting ratty.

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • thelthel Posts: 767
    The one on my 90 was horrible. I used Simple Green and a stiff bristle brush I normally use to clean my wheels. Then I wiped off all of the residue. Then I followed up with a copule of cleanings with Maguiar's vinyl and rubber cleaner / protectant. Looks like the top is in better condition than it really is after all of that.

    When I had my 02, all I had to do was wash it with the same car washing soap I used on the rest of the car.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    First things first, congrats on the re-acquisition of a Miata. :-)

    I tried to clean the old top on my '93, but honestly it had been neglected by the previous owner and stains had baked in permanently. A tooth brush and Simple Green didn't do much at all. But then it started cracking and tearing so I changed it.

    I have a Robbins with a glass window but with the zipper. It is a little heavier than the plastic so I take my time doing it, still it's not too much of a hassle and only takes me 15-20 seconds to get it down.

  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    You sure you don't want my tan no zipper vinyl glass top? It's not Robbins but I found the name of the place through the main Miata website. I'll sell it cheap :)
  • thelthel Posts: 767
    How do you think tan with black interior would look? I kind of like the red and tan top combo, but with a black interior....I don't know. I don't plan on having the top up much at all. And with a black boot, it would still match. I just need a top that I can put up when parked to keep the weather and bird-doo out....

    Email me at and we will discuss! :)
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  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    Please email me at I attempted to email you at the above address and my mail was returned as host unknown. I tried to change my profile to make my email address public but for some reason it won't make the change. Thanks.
  • thelthel Posts: 767
    Done, you should have the message now. Let me know, I check my email several times per day.
  • thelthel Posts: 767
    After 5 days, the rain has finally let up a bit so down came the top. Between the lack of power windows and the zippered plastic window, dropping and raising the top is a quite a bit less quick and easy than with my 02. Also, without a wind blocker, there is quite a bit more wind as well.

    So far, I can see why many people have both an NA and an NB in their stable. The NB is far more enjoyable to drive and cruise around in, while the NA is just plain fun as bare bones, go-kart like driving goes.

    I think that the new turbo Mazdaspeed would make a great compliment to the NA, especially if it had cruise control. With the added power and the ease of use the NB's enjoy, you could have all kinds of driving fun in your garage.
  • I just finished the Washington, DC stop of the Mazda Rev-it-up competition. I was in last year's as well but I must say that the Mazda3's used in this years competition are far more fun to drive than the Mazda6's from last year. The 3's are more "miata-like" in the way they drive and it showed in my times. Last year I was 31st in 'club' class - this year I was 5th! All in all it's a whole lotta fun for $40...

    I did get to drive the RX-8 and boy was I disappointed, but that's another story.

    Keith R.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Good job, not too shabby. I bet a lot of experienced auto-crossers showed up, too.

    RX8 prolly felt like a bull in a china shop. I doubt the course was big enough for it.

  • cabstewartcabstewart Posts: 3
    kymike and others -thanks for the information on solving the rattle problems... sorry it took me so long to respond. I am in Greensboro, NC - is there a club here?

  • Hehe, I was 60th overall including all the "pro" drivers that do the entire Eastern leg of the tour. I was definitely very pleased with myself, especially since this was the first 'race' I've done since the rollover last year that erased my driving confidence. I've never autocrossed but have done some track events with the Mazda Sportscar Club of Washington (DC) and some karting in my youth. My friends that I've grown up karting with all are SCCA racers but I chose kids instead of race cars! :)

    As for the RX8 it was driven on the 'test' course, which was not at all like the race course. Things that I didn't like were the engine's lack of performance and general handling. It didn't help that the RX8 had to be retired early because of a clutch failure... Until I actually drove the RX8 it was my planned daily driver to replace my Miata. I think I'll stick to the Miata - more "fun" to drive!

    Keith R.
  • thelthel Posts: 767
    Does this mean you're going to check out the G35 aka 350 ZX? ;)
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    I think you should give the RX8 another chance. If the clutch was failing, that could have caused reduced engine performance. Every owner and magazine is raving about its handling and performance.
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    kind OT, but there's no way I'd buy an RX-8 right now nor recommend it to a friend/family.

    it doesn't feel like it makes rated power. drive it back-to-back with an S2000 as a comparison...

    the far bigger problem, though, is the fuel economy. no one is getting any better than 17 mpg and 11-13 is quite common.

    ps, would be a good time to have that "hide" feature back. ;)
  • kymikekymike Posts: 115

    Here is a list of clubs in the Carolinas.

    Have you made any changes as far as adding bracing? Did any of the braces help?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    RX8 is neat, but the back seat is tighter than a Mini Cooper S, so all that fuss over doors and it's still basically a 2 seater.

    Mazda can build a new RX7 and make it lighter, addressing the performance and really giving up almost nothing in usefullness.

  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    Huh?? I've been following the RX8 forum and people there are saying 16 mpg is the low if you drive all city and/or push the engine a lot. Most people are averaging 19-20 mpg and get 24 on the highway. Not good but comparable to some V6s. I never got better then 28mpg on my 1.6 Miata so there really isn't that much of a difference for the added performance.
  • muffin_manmuffin_man Posts: 865
    ateixeira - no way is the back seat of the RX8 tighter than a Mini. 4 people of average height (5'9") can easily and comfortably fit in the RX8.

    Ingtonge18 - not sure which RX8 forum, but on some non-edmunds forums, the numbers are a lot worse. (not that I have seen anyone claim 11 mpg)
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    I don't read the RX8 forums here but read some of their dedicated enthusiast sites. The gas mileage problem is widespread!

    Sent you an email to the address listed in your profile with an example thread since 1) we're OT here and 2) edmunds doesn't like participants linking to other car forums.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Dunno, muffin_man, I didn't dare climb into that back seat when I walked up to it at the auto show. I'm not sure I'd be able to get out!

    Maybe the seats are right-sized for 8-12 year olds?

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