My stock exhaust was very slightly tweaked, but in all honesty I really just wanted an excuse to upgrade. I went with the RoadsterSport Street Single. I like the way it looks, I like the way it sounds, and I like that it’s less than half the weight of the stock exhaust. I still don’t have my damn title in, so I can’t really drive it yet, but it sounds good at idle, lol.
As a side note the NC is likely the easiest car ever to change the muffler on. Two 14mm bolts hold the stock muffler on, then it's just the hangers. If they aren't rusted to hell and back, this is a 10 minute job.
I think it looks awesome, on the non-appearance package NC1 the exhaust cutouts aren’t super obvious, I think it looks damn near factory. Anyway, as soon as I can finally drive this thing I will get some audio clips.
I’ve been slacking on my good eats recipies, so here’s another easy one, Vinaigrette from S1E4 - Salad Daze. It’s a basic vinaigrette that’s a solid baseline for modification. Even as-is it’s pretty damn tasty. I made it with Sous Vide strip steaks, 131 for 2 hours then a sear in the cast iron.
The steaks were good, but this is a salad dressing recipe. So here goes. First, some red wine vinegar. (I was actually almost totally out, so I halved the recipe, but kept all the ratios the same) The only special equipment I used was a food service squeeze bottle, like these, though you totally could make this in any container with a tight fitting lid, like a mason jar.
Next we add olive oil and Dijon mustard
Shake it like it owes you money until it reaches a nice creamy consistency, then let it sit at room temp for an hour. It will look like this after said shaking.
After an hour, strain out the garlic and put it back into the container, it’s ready to serve.
I made a salad with baby spinach, red onion, and goat cheese. The dressing was a solid basic dressing. Much like a lot of the other recipes in the first season, it’s not anything fancy and it doesn’t require any special equipment or skills. It’s a great easy dressing to have in your arsenal, and I imagine it would be a great baseline for coming up with something you really like. Try different kinds of mustard, different vinegar, add some spices, whatever. Overall, a very good start.
While I’m waiting on the title to come in on the Miata, I figured I would check off some maintenance stuff of my To-Do list. First on the list is spark plugs. Since I’m doing it, I felt I might as well do a little tutorial, more for practicing my tutorial skills than anything else.
This is some pretty damn basic stuff, took me about 30 minutes with a coffee break included, and only requires basic hand tools. You’re gonna need:
We’re gonna start by popping the coil cover off. It’s going to look like this when you pop the hood:
Just grab the little plastic cover on your right hand side and pop it up. It takes a little bit of effort, but not much. Once you get it popped off it will look like this:
Next, you’re gonna want to unplug the connector by pushing on the tab that faces up, and then remove the 8mm bolt holding the coil pack to the valve cover.
Once those are done, just lift the coil pack off the spark plug and set it aside.
You should see the spark plug down in the head.
Use the spark plug socket, extension, and ratchet to remove the spark plug, then use the magnetic pick up tool to retrieve the spark plug.
You should check the gap on your new plugs as a matter of course, but mine were fine out of the box and they generally are. Use the socket and extension to put the new spark plug in. Do not use the ratchet yet, make sure you get it smoothly threading in by hand before you use the ratchet to put any torque on it. You do not want to cross thread a spark plug. Torque them to spec, which I didn’t bother looking up because I just torque them until it stops turning then give it a few extra degrees to snug it down, but do as I say, not as I do and use a torque wrench.
Once you have the plug in, put the coil pack back on and screw it down, then plug it back in. Do the same thing on the next two cylinders to remove and replace the spark plugs. When you get to the rearmost cylinder, you will notice you have a strut tower bar all up in your way. Luckily, Mazda made it very easy to remove. Two 12mm bolts, one on each side, the middle piece on.
With the nuts removed, the strut tower bar will lift straight off without issue and you can do the last cylinder just like the first three. Once you have it done, double check to make sure all your coils are plugged back in and screwed back down and then pop the cover back on.
Those of you who have been following along know that I’ve recently bought an NC PRHT Miata. It’s in really good shape for the mileage, but the steering wheel was totally trashed. Like, totally, completely trashed. I couldn’t imagine having to put my hands on that steering wheel every time I drove it. Something had to be done.
The install was pretty straight forward. Disconnect the battery, then look at the back of the wheel. There are little rubber plugs on either side spoke. Pop those out and you find a 10mm bolt on each side. Take those out and the airbag will fall into your lap.
Pull the white horn connector out, then you will have two weird round airbag connectors. Using a pick, pop the black part in the middle up and then they will slip out. Set the airbag aside. Next take the steering wheel itself off. Get it pointed as perfectly straight ahead as possible and remove the 21mm nut in the middle, Then use a steering wheel puller to pull the wheel off, or be risky like me and just give it a couple of good bumps from behind.
Two Phillips head screws in the air bag cavity hold the rear cover on, then two on each side on the back hold the steering wheel controls to the wheel. If you’re using a factory replacement style wheel like I am, save all that stuff as it will be reused. The wheel shows up bare, like this:
Like I mentioned before, you bolt all the stuff back on the new wheel.
Then bolt it back on and hope it’s straight. Mine seems to naturally line up as long as you left the clock spring straight up and down. Putting the steering wheel on crooked basically resulted in the clock spring rotating and it was obvious it wasn’t lined up.
Pop the airbag back on and put the bolts and covers back in, then reconnect the battery. If everything has been done right your steering wheel controls will still work and the airbag light will go off after you crank the car.
I am still awaiting title, so i haven’t gotten to drive it other than in the parking lot, but it definitely looks and feels a LOT better than the stock one, even if it wasn’t all jacked up. I went with the Autoexe wheel from Mazmart because I wanted to keep the airbag light off and the steering wheel controls on. I’m happy with that decision. The materials are much nicer than the stock wheel and I love the thumb grooves. Overall, quite an improvement. Now to get that damn title back so I can drive it.
Too bad I failed my ass off in terms of taking pictures of the installation. It's pretty straightforward though, and they have videos on their site, so I'm pretty sure you guys can figure it out if you really want to. I'm pretty impressed with it so far. Sound quality is about as good as bluetooth gets, which is totally fine with me. Installation was pretty straightforward, pull the stereo out, plug stuff in, put it back together. I've only made one test phone call so far, but Daisy said it sounded pretty good. My steering wheel controls work too, so that's a big plus. Here are some borderline useless photos.
Now the long wait for the rebuilt title begins. The paperwork was sent off yesterday, 3/29. Generally takes 4 to 6 weeks. In the meantime, I have a round of housekeeping planned. The Engine, transmission, and differential are all getting new oil. The spark plugs are going to be replaced along with the air filter. I have a pure bluetooth car kit that was just delivered today, it will allow me to do handsfree calls and stream music while retaining the stock radio.
I also ordered an Autoexe steering wheel because the factory wheel is pretty ragged. After that I'll dive into suspension and exhaust and other fun stuff, stay tuned.
Should be painted by the end of the week. Now it's time to start buying fun parts.
With... A Miata. I've had my 96 Miata for a few years now, and I've taken it from a basket case to a pretty solid little car, but I just never really drive it. I've gotten old and it's a pain in the ass to drive, the Hard Top is nice but it's a pain in the ass to take off and put on, so I miss out on one of the coolest parts about a Miata, the open top driving. On the other hand, I've been spoiled by having a hard top. It's so much quieter, more secure, and (in my opinion) better looking than a soft top.
So in looking for a new car, I went with the obvious, an NC Miata with the Power Retractable Hard Top.
I picked this one up online from a salvage dealer. I will update this post when it's fixed later this week, I already have some parts coming in.
I'm going to keep this one super mild and reliable so I have a fun car to drive while working on other more extensive projects. My plan is to replace the worn 140k mile steering wheel with an AutoExe wheel, put some revlimiter gauge faces in just because I like them, a RoadsterSport Street Single exhaust, and some kind of suspension, probably either the MeisterR coilovers or the FM setup. Aside from tires, thats about it. We'll see if I can manage to actually do that or if it suddenly sprouts a 2.5L swap.
Last week I wrote a post about how great the Nintendo Switch is for travel, and mentioned I had ordered a travel adapter on amazon. The next day, people starting saying that using third party travel adapters with their switch after the software had updated to version 5.0 was bricking their Switch. Needless to say, I didn't use the adapter. I returned it to amazon, and ended up going a totally different route.
For roughly the same price as the adapter, I bought a travel case for the whole thing
Specifically, this one. It holds the switch, the controller that comes with it, the power cable and HDMI cable, and an additional controller or pro controller. Also has a little bag for game cartridges and memory cards. Not near as portable, but at least keeps everything together and neat, and has a 0% chance of bricking my console. It still annoys the shit out of me that Nintendo not only refuses to make a compact travel dock, but also seems to be making it more difficult for third parties to make a product that their customers obviously want, but at the end of the day, that's not a hill I'm willing to die on. I'll just deal with it for now.
Target actually has the official dock on sale for roughly $60, so I am considering just picking up one of those and keeping it in this case so I can just just grab the console and the controller, throw them in the case, and go. For now we'll see how just using the travel case and moving everything goes. I'll update after my next trip.
Mikel Sigler. Car nerd and general nerd.