We did some local running around on Saturday morning and on the way home we could both heard a weird sound once we got to stop and the Miata was idling. It wasn’t a rattle, but more a grumble. As we parked in the garage, the close quarters made the sound really noticeable. I thought it sounded bearing-ish, not main bearing, but maybe something in the valve train.
We started talking about what to do. I definitely didn’t want to drive it somewhere to have it looked at and my shop of choice would be Panic Motorsports about 50 miles away. They aren’t open on Saturday’s so I left a message to have them call me back when they get in.
Now, how do I get the car there. I called a local towing company and got an estimate; $240. Wow, seems high, but might be cheap if I try and drive the 50 miles and the car dies part way because then I still have a tow bill and maybe then a more serious issue. Next was to call a couple folks in the Miata club that have trailers for their racing machines and see if gas and dinner would be enough for one of them to get me there.
Call number one was a no go, not that the price was wrong, but they were heading out of town for a couple weeks on Monday. The second call was a little different. I didn’t get a definite no, but the days available for the trip were very limited. But Kurt volunteered to drive over from Augusta and take a listen to the sound to see I even needed the tow or it might be OK to drive it to the shop.
When he got here I started it up and before the engine could get too warm he laid hands on several placed to see if he could feel any weird vibrations. Feeling nothing, he then told me he wished he had brought over his mechanic’s stethoscope that he had just bought on a whim recently from Harbor Freight. Did I have one? I think he knew that was a rhetorical question when he asked it, given his knowledge of my auto wrenching capabilities (very little), but it was worth a shot, I might have won one in a raffle. He asked if I had any tygon tubing. “Nope,” I reply, “the closest to any tubing I’ve got is this extra piece of washing machine hose. So, using this poor substitute for the real this, Kurt announced that he was pretty sure that it is the bearing in the water pump making the growling noise. It didn’t sound too bad and I probably could drive it the 50 miles.
Both Donna and I agree, better safe than sorry, so we will probably have it towed. No sense in tempting fate. Now I’m just waiting on a call back from Steve at Panic.