The only radio we listen to in the Miata is from RadioParadise.com. OK, occasionally on a Saturday morning I’ll tune to an NPR station to catch some classic Click & Clack, but 99.9% is an MP3 ripped from an internet stream and burned to a CD. Ten of those CDs sit inside a cartridge housed inside a Sony Disc Changer that is tucked into one corner of the trunk. It has been that way for the 9–1/2 years the Emperor has been in the family. This same changer even predates the Emperor for a couple years prior it sat inside the spare tire of the trunk of our previous Miata With No Name.
Recently this unit has been randomly powering off leaving nothing but static emanating from the speakers. I’ve checked all the connections and they all seem sound, wiggling any of them (especially the power cable to the changer) will not make it hiccup, once or twice a ride it will cut out for anywhere from a few seconds to around a minute. Annoying to say the least. Last week I decided to do something about it.
I ordered a GROM AUX-IN Adapter that that allows the use of an iPod and plugs into the back of the Miata’s head unit where the OEM Mazda disc changer would have went. We happen to have a 4Gig Nano that only gets used one or twice a year when Donna and I fly in an airplane, the rest of time it sits in a charger waiting patiently, this will give it reason to get excited for each new day.
The adapter arrived in the mailbox on Monday, so naturally the rest of the day was spent ripping out the Sony Disc Changer, reclaiming 5% of the Miata’s tiny trunk space. Then I needed to remove the OEM radio to get at the connector on the back. Using instructions found in the Miata.net Garage I made my removal tools from a coat hanger, but no amount of pushing/pulling/squeezing/ wiggling would get it to come out. After 20 minutes, a couple of cuts, several bruises and a blood blister on my left index finger I gave up. I guess I might have to breakdown and buy 2 sets of the official removal tools. I had disconnected the battery to take out the CD Changer, so I hooked it back up and set the time on the clock and even loaded a couple of the local radio stations as presets.
Tuesday morning when I got in the car to drive it to work the radio didn’t come on! Pushed the power button and it just bounced back at me, no click. The display didn’t even light up with the clock. There wasn’t any faceplate illumination either. Didn’t have time to do any troubleshooting, so we took the Sonata to work.
At work I called a couple auto parts stores to see if they had any of the removal tools and struck out. Then I tried a local car audio place and the guy there said just bring in the car and I’ll pop it out for you. After work I went there and lickity split he had the unit loose. Amazing what the proper tool for the proper job will do. I thanked him and came home. The radio fuse was fine. I pulled the head unit out and disconnected the harness. Got out my trusty Radio Shack Multimeter and with with the pin out diagram for connecter (thanks again m.net garage) checked for 12 volts. Unfortunately I had the correct voltage at the correct pins. I say unfortunately because that meant the radio was dead.
Hooked the radio back up, slid it back into the dash, buttoned it up so the interior looks good and wishfully tried the power button again (still didn’t work.) Now comes decision time, try and locate a very scarce used Miata Bose head unit keeping AUX-IN box or return the AUX-IN box and just buy a new aftermarket head unit with the iPod function already built in. Until a decision is made it’ll be kind of quiet in the Emperor’s cockpit.
The sound of silence will not be as hard to get used to as it will be to not see the time on the radio display…
The very same forum members who demand photographic proof, especially those on Miata.net, upon seeing this photo, would chime in with, “Now you need to get rid of that 4x4 look.”
Sorry kids, not everyone can live with the slammed stance you want me to have. I admit it does make the Miata look purposeful and bad-ass, but I have enough problems clearing roadkill squirrels and small plastic drinking cups as it is. Not to mention the stray driveway,
speed bump traffic calming measure and even the entrance to my own home garage. Anyway, put the two of us in the car along with our weekly provisions and the fender gap settles an inch or so making for a slightly nicer look.
Wheels and tires arrived today, so naturally the first thing I did when I got home was put them on the Emperor. But if you are a member of any internet car related forum, you might not believe me. As soon as someone posts about some mod or improvement to their car, invariably someone will chime in with, “Post pictures, or it didn’t happen.”
By the time I was finished it was too dark to take photos, so if you need proof, just wait here by your computer, it’ll eventually show up.
If you need a holiday gift for the Miata owner who has everything*, I’ve got just the thing — 1 set of OEM 15″ wheels from a 1999 with some very worn 205/50 General Exclaim UHP tires. Only $100 (pick up only) Don’t Delay! Act Now! Limited Time Offer!
*Because he has everything, he doesn’t need anything, so he won’t need these wheels, but you have to get him something anyway. And he will definitely appreciate these classic wheels that look good on any 1990 to 2005 Miata.
For the Emperor.
I have been shopping around for awhile for new tires for the Miata. Looking for deals on some Ultra High Performance Summer tires. This time to go along with the rubber I wanted some new round metal parts that hold the tires too. I have had my eyes on the Chaparrals that R-Speed sells for a long time (I even mocked up some in black 8 years ago) and turns out they were having an online Black Friday sale. I hemmed and hawed over color, the black looks sharp, gold would be a stylish add, but ended up going with gun metal as that fit better with the grayed-out headlight housings. Two hours after I entered my order, I got an email back from R-Speed saying that all they have, and are still stocking*, are the wheels in classic silver. I canceled the order.
*Might want to edit the web page to reflect that guys…
Headed back to the web to do a little more shopping. I found something completely different from the Chaparrals that I liked at Tire Rack, the ASA AR1, but it only came in silver and black and now I’m kinda set on gun metal gray. For the heck of it I price them out with a set of my preferred tire, the Yokohama S.Drive, and it is a little more than I was spending at R-Speed, but do-able.
Discount Tire Direct was doing a Black Friday/Cyber Monday Weekend with $50 off a set of 4 tires or wheels. Turns out they have a wheel pretty similar to the ASA AR1, the Drag DR-19 and it comes in Gun Metal. The tires are $10 more than Tire Rack, but the Drag wheels are 10 bucks cheaper than the ASA’s so that was a wash, but subtract the deal savings and their free shipping it was over a hundred bucks cheaper from Discount Tire.
Started up, went down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1182
They are building an office addition on the back of the plant and this where my department (Fabrication Engineering) and another (Product Engineering) will be moving into when it is complete. We were supposed to be in the building this month, but some of the HVAC units arrived well behind schedule, so it is looking more like January before it happens.
Yesterday and today they installed the new carpet on the floor. When I saw the color, I thought, “Hmmmm.” So this afternoon as the installers were wrapping up I went back and grabbed a couple of 24″ x 24″ squares of the industrial grade carpet. Because they just didn’t look big enough I also took a couple of 10″ x 24″ scraps. Good thing I did that because the Miata floor mats are about 18 inches wide and about 28 inches long.
I came home and used some duct tape on the back of the two pieces to hold them together. I then flipped the existing mats over and traced around them with a Sharpie to create the cutting pattern. Using a box cutter and a pair of tin snips I cut out my new free floor mats.
Because I traced around the outside the new mats are a little bit larger than the stock ones so maybe they won’t slip around as bad even though they don’t have a thousand little nubbies on the bottom. If they do move, my cubicle neighbor suggested getting some male-side Velcro to put on the bottom, that ought to grab a hold of the fuzzy OEM carpet (thanks for the tip Jim.)
I don’t even think they will need any binding around the edges. A cross-section of 3/16″ thick carpet reveals the bottom half is some sort of plastic/rubber material with short fibers embedded in it. It’ll shed a bit, but not enough to unravel unsightly. If anything, running a match quickly along the edge, would be ll it needs (Jim again.)
Started up, went down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 910
OK, we’ve had the new Robbins Streamline Top on the car for 4 months now, time for an update. The top has made well over a hundred transitions and it has stretched out just fine, making the raising and latching of the top a cinch. But putting it down is not the simple unlatch and throw it over your head the OEM was.
I still have to reach back and help the top (front) of the glass window down, by pushing slightly back and down. Doing the maneuver has become almost second nature and doesn’t slow down the operation (unless I fumble it, like I’m apt to do every dozen times or so.) My concern is to what this will do to the longevity of the top. I can’t help but think in a couple, three years that that extra push along with the aging of the fabric is going to cause a rip along the top or bottom of the glass.
One other little nitpick (and it really is a nit) is that the original top had a short strap that went from the edge of the top between the first and second ribs and attached to the frame which the Robbins Streamline top lacks. The purpose of this was to pull on that bit of the top, tucking it inside the well when the top was lowered. With the Robbins, the top folds up fine, but there is a little ear sticking out of the well that needs poking under when putting the boot on. I think I need a picture to better illustrate my point, but to do so might elevate the nit to a full blown bother.
Started down, went up, back down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 131
At today’s MMC Tech Day I finally painted the insides of the headlight housings. I have been wanting to do this since 2004 when the Mazdaspeed Miata came out and they had the same treatment.
Came out pretty good. The icky black glue that holds the lens to the back section left behind a couple of “strings” on the lens. After I had the light all together and back on the car I went to clean it with some Goo Gone. Big mistake. It cleaned the glue right off but it also took off some of the plastic lens. I just spent a couple hours with some 2000 grit sandpaper, toothpaste and plastic polish to clean up the lens. It is still not 100% clear, I might have to get some polishing compound to bridge the toothpaste and the plastic polish.
FYI, WD-40 will take the glue off lickity-split and not “melt” the lens.
Started down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/08: 86