View Full Version : Trade for Miata fix, Fremont

05-17-2009, 10:24 PM
My brother has a 1997 Mazda Miata stored at our house in Fremont and I haven't had time to get into it, but now I have time thanks to our company's cost cutting efforts. According to my brother before he moved out of state, the car had smoke coming out of the tailpipe and one cylinder was misfiring. I can change the engine oil and filter, but need a mechanic to help diagnose the problem and fix it.
I can offer my Grendel P-10 for your labor. I'll pay the $35 PPT fees at Irvington Arms, which is nearby. If any parts are needed, I'll ask my brother to pay for it or I will. The car is currently NonOp and it needs to pass smog to get registered, so that's what I'm shooting for. I don't need it to be running like it was brand new, just well enough to pass smog and not stall out on the road.


05-18-2009, 8:00 AM
the question is what color smoke is it.. if its white smoke its going to be radiator fluid, blue smoke means oil... im gonna have to gues its something with the head if its smoking. probably either head gasket,valve guides,valve guide seals, or worst of the bunch cracked head...

05-18-2009, 8:05 AM
without seeing it or looking at it my quess would be a headgasket. mazda's are notorious for blowing headgaskets when they have high milage. something you may wnat to look into. If I were closer I would be willing to help you work on it just for a dinner...Notice I said help not do it for you. but that is a moot point since I'm all the way up in norcal near SF.

hope this helps

05-18-2009, 9:51 AM
DWTT, I've got a buddy who is a mechanic by trade and does side work. You can PM him here. His screen name is Mr. Mildot. He doesn't check Calguns that often, but I'll give him the heads up.

05-18-2009, 11:41 AM
PM Sent. I hope he likes small compact .380's.

05-18-2009, 3:35 PM
I am a factory trained Ex Mazda Guild Technician[17 years], granted it's been years since I worked at the dealership. I have never seen a Miata with a blown head gasket ,that's not to say that it can't happen though.

What was very common though is spark plug wire failure causing the engine to drop a cylinder. If the smoke out the tailpipe is black, then likely you would want to start with a set of NGK spark plugs and a plug wire set.

If the smoke is Blue then likely you have some other more serious problem like a broken piston or rings.[not common at all]
If the "smoke" out of your tail pipe is actually steam and whitish in color and smelling really acrid then likely you have a head gasket failure and/or a cracked cylinder head. [not common unless overheated]
Was the vehicle overheating or running hot? did you or anyone else have to add coolant to it before it started to run rough?? Has it ever been low on coolant? Do the cooling fans for the radiator work?? Is there coolant in it now and is the radiator full and the overflow reservoir filled to the proper mark with green coolant [not rusty water]? Is the engine oil normal looking or does it look like butter scotch pudding? Is the underside of the oil fill cap on the valve cover look like it has butter scotch pudding on it? I would be more than happy to take your gun for my time to install four spark plugs and a set of wires, but for anything else you will need to do a lot better!!! LOL. You will need to supply more info to me and maybe I can point you in the right direction.

05-19-2009, 9:34 PM
Those are some tough questions because I can't get the engine to turn over. There's a stupid alarm system that has disabled the starter. Anyway, I'll see if I can get some more info on how it ran before it was put into storage.

05-20-2009, 9:52 AM
Throw a new set of plugs/wires on as per his advice - it ought to be pretty easy and cheap. Sounds like he's leading you in the right direction. Check the oil dipstick for milkshake.

Hopefully Wilit's buddy can help ya out and not ream you on the price. Good luck!

05-20-2009, 6:35 PM
Also one other thing that can happen is a valve cover gasket leak in to the spark plug holes into the head[very common]. If you pull your plug wires out and any of the plug boots are covered in oil or there is liquid oil residue/sludge on the ends of the boots plan on replacing the Valve cover gasket [easy] along with your plug wire set and plugs.

As far as the alarm goes,just pull the steering column covers and remove that POS and butt splice your ignition starter motor wires back together again. I have removed hundreds of those things over the years.

Really though I need my questions answered if you want my help. Most of my questions do not require the engine to start.

05-20-2009, 7:12 PM
sell it to me - I love those cars :thumbsup:

05-26-2009, 8:30 PM
I had a chance to look at the car today and asked my brother about the Miata before he parked it at my house. He doesn't remember which color the smoke was, but the car didn't overheat when it was driven. The coolant level is normal, between the high and low marks, and the oil doesn't have any brown sludge stuff in it, it looks like dirty oil. There doesn't seem to be a coolant related problem, so I'm going to look at putting in new plugs and wires.