Changed out the faulty O2 sensor yesterday and it would have been munch easier if I had my very own lift in the garage, but seeing as we didn’t win the half-billion PowerBall jackpot on Wednesday…
Last Sunday I ordered the sensor and a wrench. PartsGeek shipped the sensor via the USPS from California last Monday. Harbor Freight shipped the wrench via FedEx from California last Wednesday. Friday the sensor arrived on my doorstep, the wrench was still in transit in Clarksville, Arkansas (ETA Thursday the 19th.)
Friday evening when we went out to do our weekly grocery shopping I stopped in at the Advanced Auto that was on the way to Krogers and bought an O2 sensor wrench. There were two kinds on the rack an offset wrench and a socket type, because the socket one was $11 and the offset was $14, and I’m cheap, I bought the socket style. As a side note these are the same two styles available from Harbor Freight, but the socket style from them is two dollars more than the offset wrench, so that is why I have a offset style wrench in Graysville, Alabama as of yesterday.
When we got home I went out in the garage and pulled the Miata out of the garage and pulled right back in aiming to park it towards the right side of our little one car garage to give the hydraulic jack better access to the driver’s side of the car. To get to the electrical connector inside the car for the sensor you need to remove the driver’s seat and pull back the two sections of carpet under and behind it. In preparation for Saturday I pulled out the seat, easy peazy, 4 bolts and the seatbelt electrical plug, then jacked up the side of the car as far as the jack would go to place a couple of stands under the car. I then crawled under and squirted penetrating oil on some bracket bolts and the sensor to ensure their easy removal tomorrow.
After lunch on Saturday I figured it was about time to do some actual work on the Emperor, so I started with the easy thing first, disconnecting the 4-prong electrical plug to the sensor. I flipped up the back piece of carpet, but when I tried to pry up the piece on the floor I couldn’t get it peeled back enough to get to the connector. I unsnapped the sill plate to get some slack in the carpet, but that wasn’t much help. Next step was to remove the center console so there would be more unrestricted pressure on the carpet.
Calling what lines the interior of this generation of the Miata carpet is exceedingly charitable. What it is is 1/16th of an inch thick plastic with the pliability of cardboard and a slightly fuzzy side up.
Once I got the carpet pulled back I still couldn’t see the connector. Because of this unfortunate downpour incident the 1/2 thick fiber padding that used to be under here was replaced with a nicely sealed covering of foil backed bubble insulation that needed to be carefully un-taped to gain access. Finally, there is the connector, but how does it separate? I pulled and pushed. I tried to both lift and push down on what I thought was the release tab, but it remained stubbornly joined together. I poked at both ends with a little screw driver and finally I managed to get it apart.
Now for the hard part. Crawling under the car I used the 10mm socket to remove the two brackets that keep the sensor wire in place and away from the exhaust. I twirled the wire through a spring-like contraption that further served the same purpose. All that was left to do was place my nifty O2 sensor socket on the sensor and…crap. I could get the socket on the sensor, but the PPF was in the way of putting the handle on the socket. I tried putting the short extension on it, but that was too long by an inch or so to allow the handle to get on it.
Fortunately the drive to Advanced Auto and the wait on a Saturday afternoon to exchange the socket plus three bucks for the offset wrench was short, so I was back under the Miata in about 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes later I was jacking the car down. Five minutes later the driver’s seat was in and I started it up. I ran horribly at first and I had to back it out into the driveway because of the smoke generated from burning off the penetrating oil. By the time I finished putting away the rest of the tools and swept out the garage, the Emperor had warmed up and was purring away with an unilluminated Check Engine light.
Started down, went up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1463