My Miata nightmare

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My Miata nightmare

Postby Stinkbug » Sat May 17, 2014 2:33 pm

I bought my first Miata MX5 (2006) base model, a few weeks ago. After seeing so many Miata's at track days, and talking with the drivers about why I see so many Miata's, I decided to buy one for my daily driver ( I have a car that I use primarily for track days) so I could have some fun commuting to work, and maybe do an autocross or two. The car has 68,000 miles on it, and was not in in perfect shape, hence the reasonable price, a few paint chips here and there, and various imperfections in the interior. So, I bought the car from a guy that owns a shop, and has his dealers license, and sells a few cars on the side. After putting about 200 or so miles on the car, I decided to put H & R lowering springs on it. I had another shop do the work, because it was closer to where I live. He calls me on the phone and asks me to come to the shop because "we have a problem". I get there, and he still has the car on the lift, with the wheels off, to show me that 4 of the rear links were BENT! To say I was a little pissed, was an understatement. I had that mechanic put the wheels back on, and I would call the guy I bought the car from the next day. I called the dealer up, and he was very nice, and said to bring it to his shop so we could look at it. After looking at the rear suspension parts that were bent, he said he would replace them, no charge (the good part) and while he had it apart, would install the lowering springs, I would just pay the labor (still the good part) Well, he calls me in a few days, saying the car is done, aligned, and ready to go. He said he even drove it, and it felt better that it did before (I would hope so) I go to pick up the car and look at it, and it doesnt look any lower that it was before. He said, it would take a while for the suspension to settle, and it should be a little lower after a little driving. I got home and did some research on this site and a site "billswebspace" that had very detailed instructions on doing the suspension on his NC Miata, and read that the car should be on the ground before torquing the suspension bolts as to not bind the suspension. I called the guy that did my repairs and the lowering springs, and he said, he didnt think that they let the car settle, that they tightened the bolts while the car was still in the air (probably why the car didnt look lowered when I went to pick it up). So, I drove it that day, just to see if the suspension would settle a little on its own, it did not. Now, comes the bad stuff. My friend that drove me to pick up the car asked me how the car felt, my reply was, "I just didnt feel right, but it was hard to explain". Maybe I just needed to get used to it, I dunno. The next day, I drove the car to watch my first autocross, about a 40 minute drive. As I was ready to leave, walking to my car, I saw fluid under the car, on the inside of the drivers side front wheel. I looked under the car and there was fluid driipping from the front shock!! DAMMIT! What next??? I decided to drive it home carefully, knowing there wouldnt be any fluid in the front strut by the time I get home. I get home (yeah, it felt like I was driving a car with concrete tires)and jack the car up to see what might have cause this problem. I look at the strut, I decided to review the "billswebspace" article to see if I might see the problem. Well, the "monkeys" that installed the struts, put them on backwards" the collar for the spring stop was on the outside, not the inside!! Again, DAMMIT! I call the dealer back, and he said, its an honest mistake, bring it back to the shop we will fix it (by putting the new springs on the old struts) Oh, I'm not finished yet, I crawl under the rear to look at the shocks, and THEY were on backwards as well! WTF??? Ok, rant over, my question to you good people, is by having the shocks and struts mounted backwards, could that cause the ill handling, as well as the front strut to start leaking? After all this crap I have been with, I still like the car, I just want it to handle like its supposed to. Any input will be very helpful. and I do apologize for the long post, but I felt I needed to explain the brief history of "my first Miata" :cry:
Stinkbug
 
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Re: My Miata nightmare

Postby Brian » Sat May 17, 2014 7:54 pm

Wow, what an adventure....sorry to hear it. I can't imagine how what they did would cause the shocks to leak...but I also can't imagine how the rear links got bent. Hopefully the worst is behind and nothing but fun ahead.
Brian Goodwin
Good-Win Racing
www.good-win-racing.com
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Re: My Miata nightmare

Postby Stinkbug » Sat May 17, 2014 9:51 pm

Thanks for the reply Brian, my guess is, the car was involved in some sort of an accident, and the tow operator, just grabbed what he thought was the best thing to attach the hooks to, to pull the car out of what ever it was in, i.e. ditch, embankment, whatever, and bent the rear lower links. That being said, I hope this shop finally gets the suspension correct, because I am starting to lose my patience with them, although the owner is a stand up guy, I dont think the techs there know much about proper set up for suspension. Hopefully, I will get my new toy set up the right way for now. I do plan on getting Bilstein sport shocks in the near future, and putting the H and R lowering springs on them. We will see. I will keep you all posted on the progress.
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Re: My Miata nightmare

Postby morrisg » Mon May 19, 2014 9:35 pm

I hesitate to post this, but think it might be helpful to you. The leaking shock is done and simply switching it around so it is correctly assembled won't fix it. You might want to add up the cost of the H & R springs, a set of new shocks, and all the labor costs and compare this to installing a new set of Ohlins shocks from Brian yourself. The Ohlins come with a very nicely tuned set of springs (7k / 4k) which are absolutely superb on the street and do pretty well on the autox course, too. With the group buy and you doing the labor, you could have a top notch suspension for not much more money. My 2009 NC went from just ok ride and handling with the sport Bilsteins and springs to a really remarkable improvement with the Ohlins, much better handling AND much more supple and comfortable ride on the street.

Ok, I understand it looks hard to do it yourself, but look through the installation instructions on this site and talk with a buddy who might help you out. Labor is in the $100/hr range at a commercial place, so you can save a bunch doing it yourself. Take your time, budget a whole week to get the job done, study how to do it beforehand and you'll have a good time doing something you can be proud of.

And you'll have a great handling car when you're done!
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Re: My Miata nightmare

Postby SteveM664 » Tue May 20, 2014 12:59 pm

Before you buy anything contact Brian at Good-win, let him know what you want the car for and he will point you in the right direction. Good-Win did it for me. I got a 2006 MX5 for a fun car after 2 call to good-win I have a Complete new Exhaust, Progress Springs and Koni sport shocks. Everything went on smooth as silk and the car runs and rides great.
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Re: My Miata nightmare

Postby Stinkbug » Thu May 22, 2014 10:41 am

Thanks for all of your input on suggestions. Yes, I plan on doing some more reading, and talking with Brian on what he would do, considering my budget, and what I plan to do with the car. I am hoping that the shop will complete the repairs correctly, so I can drive it a while with the new lowering springs installed. I do plan on eventually going to coil overs, sway bars, and 17" wheels and tires, so I can do some auto cross. This will have to be a "step" process, because I already have a "trackday car" that is quite expensive to operate by itself. Hopefully, by this time next year I will have moved from my townhouse to a "real" house with a garage, so I can do most of the work myself.
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Re: My Miata nightmare

Postby Stinkbug » Mon May 26, 2014 1:22 pm

Update on the Miata, the shop was good on their promise of re installing the shocks and struts correctly, they put the lowering springs on the stock shocks, and aligned the car. It is better than it was, I'm sure it will be much better after I take off the garbage tires and put 17's on it.
Stinkbug
 
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Re: My Miata nightmare

Postby Stinkbug » Thu Jun 26, 2014 2:17 pm

Ok, so far the nightmare has ended! Yea! I have the suspension corrected, and found a nice set of wheels/tires from a Club sport, with less than 100 miles on them. Much improved handling, and even better in the looks department! Win Win! The next task was to repair all the water leaks. I went to the local music store and bought one of those trombone cleaning tools, and it works great on the roof drains. I used black silicone sealant on the rear tail lights, and where any cables or hoses coming through the trunk. The leak on the passenger side under the dash turned out to be coming in where the screw that holds the cowl down is ( the one that has a little black plastic piece that snaps in place over top of it) Much happier with the Miata now. A bolt in roll bar is next, even if I never track the car, just for piece of mind.
Stinkbug
 
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Re: My Miata nightmare

Postby Brian » Thu Jun 26, 2014 2:29 pm

Nice work!

Good save of a Miata that needed some saving.
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www.good-win-racing.com
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Re: My Miata nightmare

Postby Chuck H » Sun Jun 29, 2014 7:55 am

Stinkbug wrote:Update on the Miata, the shop was good on their promise of re installing the shocks and struts correctly, they put the lowering springs on the stock shocks, and aligned the car. It is better than it was, I'm sure it will be much better after I take off the garbage tires and put 17's on it.


Just be aware that the H&R springs are probably too stiff for the stock shocks, especially now that they're 8 years old and probably have a decent amount of mileage on them. If you have any money left for suspension upgrades, Koni shocks would be a good investment. They'll also lower your car at least another half inch, though, which may be too much with the H&R springs. If that's the case, you may look at Bilstein sport shocks as an alternative. They're not adjustable like the Konis, but they're better valved than the original shocks to handle the higher H&R spring rates.
2012 Copper Red Touring
Progress springs and sways
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