Friday, April 18, 2008

Miata runs!

It's been close to three years since I've even turned on the Miata, and last weekend I decided that was long enough.

A brief hunt for a new battery from BatteriesPlus was required. The first store I went to had one, but one of the vent tubes was broken. The next closest store was going to be closing right about when I would get there, but a quick call to them got them to agree to stay open a few extra minutes (and verified that they actually had a battery). While I was there, I picked up a replacement for the V-Strom as well (yep, I'm not driving for fun much anymore).

About a week later I actually get the time (while Sara is working late) to install the battery in the Miata (V-Strom is still waiting for a nice day) and, it runs! It took a lot of cranking, but the 3 year old gas actually burns! I let the Miata idle while I filled its four flat tires (though none of them appeared to be flat thanks to very stiff sidewalls) and I was surprised that the exhaust was clear, no smoke or anything.

The brake fluid appears to have vanished into thin air, but without any puddles, I can't be certain where it actually went. Does that stuff actually evaporate? I'm guessing not. I topped up the reservoir without checking pad thickness (it might just be all in the brake calipers and waiting to overflow when I replace the pads). Oh well, a turkey baster works well for pulling it back out again.

I think I heard a misfire or two in the few minutes it took the compressor to fill up so that I could pump up the tires, but I can't be certain. I was able to back it out of the garage, and though I have only comprehensive insurance and can't locate my '09 registration (I have it, but I think it's in the house somewhere), I decided I would give it a quick trip around the block to see how it runs.

It got me around the block, which is always a nice way to start. But it appears that there's a (big) miss at about 5k RPM, almost like fuel cutoff. I have no idea what the Link (replacement computer) is programmed for, so it could just be a configuration issue. Before the Miata went into cold storage I was working on tuning it for the newly installed wide-band O2 sensor, so this is probably just old gas and incorrect target lambda points (or maybe the boost control is messed up).

Unfortunately, the Link's keypad display was all messed up, which meant that I couldn't do any adjustments at the time. A trip to Radio Shack was necessary to pick up a soldering iron to re-do the cable connections going to the keypad before I would be able to use it again. I did that resoldering last night and verified that the keypad still works, so I have hopes for being able to get some adjustments made this weekend, and if it's nice, maybe even get in a little driving.

Then maybe I can convert the Miata to be my daily driver. But, that's a separate conversation.