Log in

No account? Create an account

Fri, Feb. 6th, 2009, 07:00 pm
jeisenne: Opinions

Hey fellow Miata maniacs, I need some advice. This might be tl;dr, so skip if you don't want to read the entire story.

I recently got my tax refund, which was fairly substantial, and my 1990 Miata (I love her, her name is Betsy) is having some cardiovascular problems. She'll start every so often, and other times I have to pop start her. I figure the battery is going bad, or it could be the ignition switch or starter... the Haynes manual gives several diagnostics to look at, but I really can't perform some of them. I do, however, have a reliable shop to take her to.

The other problem is that when she's cold, she will not get into gear. Four years ago I had her master and slave clutch cylinders replaced, and the hubby is thinking that maybe it's the fly wheels themselves that need to be replaced. My substantial tax refund is starting to look kind of small at this point.

I am her second owner. She has 210k miles on her, and I bought her five years ago when she had 189K. So I've gotten used to all her tiny whistles and knocks. In pricing parts and labor, without actually looking at her, the shop is quoting me around $1500 for parts and labor. My parents chimed in at this point and are telling me to sell Betsy for $1750 obo and then add in the $1500 I was going to spend on fixing her, just to dump it into another Miata.

Buying new at this point is out of the question, as I am still in nursing school and with all my student expenses and only working a part time job, I can barely afford anything past the mechanical repairs, and a new top for my girl. The top is optional at this point of course, since I do drive her topless quite often.

What would you guys do? Fix, or get her to where she can start on her own, offload, and try to get a different Miata?

Thanks guys :)

Sat, Feb. 7th, 2009 04:28 am (UTC)

First, I'd want to know exactly what that estimate claimed to cover. And a shop that'll give you an estimate without looking at the car? That's... worrisome.

Your starting problems could be an alternator ($150), as well as a bad battery ($50, and easy to do). A good shop can test the battery to see if it needs replacing. Mine doesn't charge me for this, but I've also spent many thousands of dollars at that shop. You may be able to get the battery testing somewhere for cheap or free, I'm not sure.

As to the transmission: My transmission is stiff about going into gear when cold. It's just because the fluid is cold. When was the transmission fluid/oil last changed? When was the rear diff fluid changed?

The transmission and differential use a lubricating fluid closer to engine oil than to the brake fluid the clutch system uses. They're self-contained and this fluid wouldn't need to be changed for the master and slave clutch cylinders to be replaced. However, these fluids should be changed every 30,000 miles. Since the transmission fluid is what provides lubrication to help the transmission "go into gear," getting some good, fresh, non-goopy fluid in there could be a huge help. Changing transmission and diff fluid is pretty easy - it's something you could do yourself if you wanted to, or you could have a Jiffy Lube or whatever do it. This may not solve your transmission problem, but it's a quick and easy thing to try.

Sat, Feb. 7th, 2009 05:02 am (UTC)

where do you get a $50 sealed battery? I just paid $100 for a non-oem one >.>

Sat, Feb. 7th, 2009 05:10 am (UTC)

Ask nugget. That's the price point he mentioned.

Sun, Feb. 8th, 2009 05:42 am (UTC)

Oh snap, I totally could have saved $50 on a battery had I known.