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Mazda Miata Problems and Solutions

Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
edited March 2014 in Mazda
Talk about Miata problems and share solutions with other owners here.

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  • miatamadmiatamad Posts: 1
    My 1995 Miata had only 3900 miles on it when I bought it in '97. I drive it only about 3000 miles each year and store it over the winter. About 4 years ago the engine developed a hiccup, especially at slow speeds. Also, there's a strong exhaust smell in the trunk. I put in new plugs in 2001, and the mechanic said I'm not "winding it up" enough. So I've taken it on longer (and faster) runs, but to no avail. Last year I bought a new battery. The inside of the trail pipe looks sooty. Any idea on what's causing the engine to miss will be appreciated.
  • cmoffatcmoffat Posts: 3
    I just bought a 2001 MX-5 AND I love it. However my roof top latch on the right side will not lock into place. I took it to the dealer but they said it would cost me $200 dollars and that it is not covered under the extended warranty. Should have guessed that, I was wondering if I order the part myself would a person with no car expereince be able to install it. Unless someone has some other trouble shooting ideas. Thanks.
  • My 2000 Miata with 52K miles is running fine. Last night the Check Engine light came on.
    Manual indicates an fan belt alternator issue.
    What else should I be looking for?
  • carlover3carlover3 Posts: 29
    I just bought a 1994-Miata with 92k miles.
    I am thinking to have Timing Belt and Water Pump replaced
    eventhough the user's manual recommends to change Timing Belt at 105k miles, is it too early to replace timing belt at 92k miles ?

    My second question: when timing belt is replaced, is it a good idea to also replace the tensioners (tensioners really exist around some belts ?) ?
    I am not sure if the Miata has any drive-belt tensioners or any timing belt tensioners ?
    One last question please: what can go wrong or get damaged if any of the tensioners fail to work during driving ?

    Thanks so much.
    Miata Lover
  • wooskiwooski Posts: 1
    my 1993 miata has a loud roar which is louder as you drive faster...i bought a difficult is it to install the new bearing.....can someone give me some steps to do this.thanks ...WOOSKI
  • doog1doog1 Posts: 1
    I just bought a 1994 turbo Mazda, and really don't know that much about Mazda'a per se. But what is important is to find out if any damage is done when the timing belt breaks. I also own an old Lexus, and they have a super owner's club. It turns out that if the belt breaks, you're stuck at the side of the road-but there is no damage to the car. Thus many owners have original timing belts with more than 150,000 miles. Right, miles. My 1994 Lexus has 109,000 miles, and an original belt. Runs like a top, but I had to have a convertible-living in Vegas.

    Tensioners should be fine. My advice is to putt along, until either the water pump leaks, or the belt breaks. Too often, preventive maintenance is used by mechanics, and especially dealers, to screw the owners. Last year, the A/C failed on the Lexus. I was told by a mechanic that I needed a new evaporator and stuff, and the cost was $1,200. I knew that the only obvious problem was a small plastic part that fell into the passenger side, so I asked him to reinstall that part, and that I'd think about that big repair. Cost me $200. The A/C is working perfectly now. If I wasn't such a dummy, it should have cost me nothing. Watch out for the crooks......
  • tran3688tran3688 Posts: 3
    I going to buy a 94 miata with 88,571k miles on the car. My mechanic said that the only problem with the car is that the oil pan begin to leak and it needs to be change. does anybody know how much will this cost to replace the oil pan or (gasket). and will the insurance be really exspensive because i'm a 17 yrs olds male.
  • I drive a 1990 Mazda Miata that the mileage is almost 110K, I plan to get a new car in early 2006. What is the life expectancy for mazda miata? I drive less than 500 miles per month. I just had a 100K service few months ago and it drives well. Any information will be appreciate it! :)
  • crashton6crashton6 Posts: 245
    Yep that's not a hard job. Buy the part & install it your self.

    Chuck :)
  • crashton6crashton6 Posts: 245
    With proper maintenance it's not unheard of for these cars to go in excess of 200,000 miles.
  • cappy4103cappy4103 Posts: 48
    I'm with Doog1...leave the tensioner alone. Basically, the tensioner is a spring loaded pully that puts pressure on your belts so that they don't slip or come off the respective pully(s) the belts are on. The most typical indication your tensioner is beginning to fail is a squealing sound. Occasionally, if the bearing "go", the pully will freeze or lock up and put alot of resistance on your belt(s). You will smell the burning rubber at that point.
  • tran3688tran3688 Posts: 3
    I had just purchased a 94 mazda miatas on 04/04/05 with 88k on it. I was wondering if a standard miata model have the rear window defroster, mine is plastic and its has some scratches in the rear window but the top are excelent condition outside, but inside there is a little rip by the zipper. I was planning of want to replace a brand new top, and it is hard to install the whole convertible top by yourself at home?
  • carlover3carlover3 Posts: 29
    Thanks all who responsed to my previous question
    ("What Tensioners replaced at 92k miles ?").
    I'd like to have another question:
    - if the timing belt breaks when driving on the Miata/94, what can go wrong to the car or the engine (consequences, etc.) ?
    or please advise me of some pointers (website, books, etc.) from where I can find out the reliable answer.
    I've learned from somepeople that certain car models/engines do not get damaged at all even when timing belt breaks.

    Thanks again.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 18,578
    it is hard to install the whole convertible top by yourself at home?

    It's easy if you have four arms. Seriously convertible top installation is a complex task involving extensive fitting, gluing, measuring and stretching.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • thelthel Posts: 767
    I replaced mine myself last summer. It was an unpleasant but not impossible task. Be sure you get a new top with the rain rail already installed to save yourself some hassle.
  • cappy4103cappy4103 Posts: 48
    The information you received is correct. On some cars, if the timing belt breaks while the engine is running, you can cause extensive damage to the engine. Basically, on some cars, when the timing belt breaks, a piston can come into contact with the valves and damage both, the piston(s) and valve(s). Some engines are not configured this way and won't be damaged in the event a timing belt breaks. Unfortunately, I don't know whether or not the Miata engine will be damaged. Two suggestions. First, make sure you change your timing belt at the recommended interval(s) in your manual. Second, check your manual or contact a local Mazda service department. They should be able to provide you with this answer to your question. Happy motoring!
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
  • thelthel Posts: 767
    You'll need to be towed, but your engine will be fine. No timing belt, no drivey.

    I bought my Miata with 124,000 miles on it and I have no idea when the timing belt was last replaced (if ever). Someday, maybe I'll get in there and inspect it, but it's not something I'm freaking out about. Now if it was a Honda....I'dve had it replaced months ago, just to be sure.
  • rkskirkski Posts: 1
    I have a 2001 Miata with 56K miles. Recently I began hearing some chatter coming from the transmission area while the engine is running, clutch is disengaged, and in neutral. I had a similar noise coming from my S-5 pickup and it was the throw out bearing's lack of grease. Does the Miata have a grease fitting on the bell housing somewhere to grease the throw out bearing mechanism?
  • fergie1fergie1 Posts: 5
    Does anyone have any information on the new zipperless tops with glass window. I currently have a zipper top with glass window and find it very difficult to put the window back up.
  • thelthel Posts: 767
    are the way to go. There are many vendors that can be found in the "marketplace" section of
  • carlover3carlover3 Posts: 29
    Hi all,
    I have a 94-miata and it is running fine now.
    It's about time to replace its timing belt and water-pump.
    I already bought the parts from Mazda dealership, I am debating whether to pay some mechanic to do this job (labor cost of $195) or do it myself.
    I am not an auto-mechanic but I could be very handy when fixing things around the house and minor things on the car. I bought a Miata workshop book which has all the detail instructions to replace timing belt and water-pump.
    My question is:
    - is it worth (time, effort, and any risk of damaging the car ?)
    to do this job myself instead of giving it to a mechanic ?
    - if you had experience of doing such a job please share what you
    learned from it (what to watch out for ?, what to not overlooking ? ).
    - I expect that this job will take at least 5 hours (for me-), it is about right?
    Thanks much in advance!
    Miata lover.
  • tran3688tran3688 Posts: 3
    Someone stole my fender liner in school on the driver side so does anybody know where i can get another fender liner for cheap. I went to the dealer and they said it cost about $90 dollars for the fender liner and the screws are $5 dollars each.
  • carlover3carlover3 Posts: 29
    Also try - several choices for new top including Robbins.
    I am also looking for a bargain deal on the Robbins top with glass window.
  • thelthel Posts: 767
    To do your timing belt and water pump, you will need some special tools like a timing light. Balance the cost of these tools and the aggravation you may encounter doing this yourself with the $195. Personally, I think that the timing belt and water pump is ~$400 I'd just as soon shell out to a pro.

    If you are really considering doing it yourself, let me recommend to you Keith Tanner's Miata projects book. In it he has details / photos on how to do the job. Buy it and read it and decide if its still something you want to mess with.
  • ericspoericspo Posts: 1
    I'm trying to replace the small gasket that attaches to the stick and bolts to the top of the transmission. I need some help on how to remove the old one and put the new on on.
  • thelthel Posts: 767
    Just cut the old one off with a box knife / scissors.

    BTW, it'll help to lube up the new boot with some motor oil (or whatever you're using for turret oil) before trying to slip it on.
  • cioccciocc Posts: 1
    Mine broke at 90-something thousand miles. The engine just shut down on the highway. I didn't know what was wrong at the time, so I pushed in the clutch and then let it back out again while I was still going pretty fast to try to restart the engine. It sounded terrible. Turns out, it was the timing belt gear at the end of the crank shaft chewing up the notches on the belt

    I don't remember the website now, but I found one that said the Miata has a 'non-interference' engine. In other words, it has enough clearance so the valves don't pound holes in the pistons when you do what I did.

    It took me a while to figure out the belt was the problem. It didn't really break. It just lost a bunch of the notches on it. When I took the cover off the cam-sprockets and turned the ignition and they didn't move, I knew what was up.

    I read all sorts of horror stories about how hard it was to line the cam sprockets, the crank gear, and the belt. Every site said to be sure and mark all these or even split the old belt in half down the middle before taking it off to maintain this alignment while putting on the new belt, but my alignment was already toast. The instructions I got in the little nothing pamphlet that came with the belt (I think I got the Gates kit with new tensioners from O'Reily Auto Parts - part # TCK179) helped the most. They said exactly how to line everything up with the marks on the engine.

    My Miata runs great now. :D I've put another 20k miles on it since then. I love it...unlike my wife, it never talks back!
  • chaplainchaplain Posts: 16
    My 99 has about 85K miles and is not running or sounding too great. I can feel a pretty stout but fast vibration in the gear shift while accelerating. Also, the engine while accelerating, is coughing and while climbing a hill the other day it sounded like it backfired. It will also miss if I am just revving the engine and it only does it at the very beginning. Could this be as simple as a fuel filter?
  • I have a 91 MX-5 and need the panel that is between the rear bumper and the trunk cover. It is about 8 inches high, contains the key lock for the trunk, and is shattered in my car. I also want a source for new convertible tops for the vehicle. Does anyone know how to describe the body part I need? what is its name or where I can find a picture that shows it? Maybe a link to an exploded view of the body parts?
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