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  • Andrew 6:17pm on Saturday, May 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Front   

    Front Camera Installed 

    Hi Folks,

    For those with a ND (Club or GT), MX5 ThIngs sells a front camera that works with the display.

    I did this install today in about 2 hours. After already installing the rear OEM camera and Airplay, taking apart the dash took perhaps 15 minutes, could have done it faster.

    The camera is a nice option for those worried about hitting the curb or wall. In my case its my kayak in the garage since it lies below sight once you get up close. You can clearly and easily see any object. The attached photo is my garage door. At this position I am approx 16″ from the door. and you can see the 6″ concrete footer at the bottom of the screen. I also have the mirror control (not yet connected, waiting to see that the camera works without issue). The AIO box also came with a turn signal alert if I leave it on for more than 20 second a LOUD beeping sound is heard.

    I did have to lengthen the wires by 16″ to mount the AIO box behind the passenger side front panel and to allow for room for the cables.

    Contact me if you have any questions.

    Here is the link for the kit: https://store.mx5things.com/item/front-camera-switch-mirror-controller-universal-kit


     
    • John Morris 6:25pm on Saturday, May 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Congratulations Andrew!! You are very creative and brave.

    • Mark Gilbert 8:04am on Sunday, May 19, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Nice work Andrew. I think you are MX-5 Things best customer.

  • Andrew 2:25pm on Friday, April 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , driving, performance,   

    Gulf Coast Autocross and Performance Driving 

    If anyone is interested and care to join, I am heading out the following Saturday, May 4th to begin autocross/performance driving training. The GCAC offers a monthly novice class training at a very reasonable price as well as autocross racing. My goal is to learn the limits of the car and improve my overall driving abilities.

    Here is the link to their website (doesn’t work very well): http://www.gulfcoastautocrossers.com/

    I have been in email contact with the operator and pretty excited about making this next leap. They have helmets and most of the things there on a loaner or purchase basis. You will need sunscreen as this is an open field, no shade. Not sure how long we will be outside, but expect several hours. I don’t plan to compete, just to learn more about performance driving and how my car behaves and how to recover when pushed to the limits of traction.

    Its a 130 miles trip one way so I will be leaving around 6AM to make it before 9AM. Waiting now for its online registration to open up to simplify the process. Novice class starts 9:30AM sharp.

    Contact me in interested in attending so I know to look out for you.

    Andrew

    PS: Doug, I believe you have been there, if so, please chime in and give us some feedback

     
    • Robert Burr 2:35pm on Friday, April 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Sounds great. Some of our members have done it in the past and loved it. Take some photos and post a review on your return

      • DJ 6:40pm on Friday, April 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        One of the best things you can do with your car. So much fun! Bring water and sunscreen. I am planning on going. I have been to almost every one this year. I use to go every month years ago, prior to doing track days.

    • Steve and Tracy Dillon 9:22pm on Friday, April 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I should be there also, probably in the white 2016. Its a great experience.

    • Andrew 11:09pm on Saturday, May 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I had a great time today at the event. Lots to learn and practice. Plan on going again on June 1st; its sure is worth the time and trouble to get there. For about $40 in fees, food and drink (all provided at the place) plus one tankful of gas, I was able to spend quality time with an instructor and gained valuable experience, one of which is I need to practice and practice. Not easy trying to understand “cone” language.

      I especially want to thank Steve for taking time to show me around and taking a couple of test runs with him in his car.

  • Andrew 11:12am on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    classic car videos on Amazon Prime 

    It’s too bad I could not attend these events. What beautiful cars! Maybe next year.

    On Amazon Prime, there are classic car videos, one of which I saw last night was about Jaguars and Aston Martins. There are others on Ferrari, Maserati and Alfa Romero which is the oldest company of the three. Sad thing is that all of the main Italian cars (including Ferrari) are currently owned by Fiat/Chrysler. Lamborghini is owned by VW, the Jags by Tata Motors an Indian (India) company. Aston Martin is held by investors and so on.

    It kind of makes it special that my Miata is still owned by Mazda while all of the exotic cars now have “mixed” ancestry. All the other car companies appear to be making cars aimed at specific price $$$$ markets instead of a car for the enthusiast.

    Enzo Ferrari built road cars primarily to finance his racing passion. However that was not sustainable.

     
  • Andrew 7:50am on Thursday, February 28, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags:   

    Another Modification 

    I love to build things like models, furniture, bikes, landscape, etc.. My Miata is no different and even somewhat special as I can enjoy the benefits of a modification every time I drive. Since owning the car, I have made many changes, mainly for safety reasons, some for esthetics, comfort and others for performance or maintenance. Generally most of the modifications are not immediately noticeable.

    Until the 2019 models, you could not get the Club specs along with the GT features; the 2019 gives you both in the GTS. I opted in 2016 for the GT figuring it would be cheaper to add the Club specs (Bilsteins, LSD and STB) improvements later as needed vs the other way.

    Between this past weekend and yesterday, I added the STB (shock tower bar) to the GT. There is no clear definitive answer on the forums as to whether it improves steering response (mostly vague “feelings”), but since Mazda includes it on its Club model and Long Road Racing list this modification as standard on its Ultimate MX-5 spec, there must be a performance reason.

    If you have the ND GT and thought about adding this, it is an easy install only requiring hand tools. The cowl bracket has to be changed since the GT bracket does not have the two bolts needed to secure the brace. That part cost about $60 and up plus shipping depending on where you get it. I got mine from Amazon for $60 shipped and that was the cheapest I could find by at least $30. Its an OEM part from Mazda and uses the existing bolts from the old cowl bracket. Install is around 30-45 minutes.

    Adding the bar takes another 15-30 minutes. You need to know the torque specifications to avoid breaking the two cowl bolts. Note: If you have a Club, you can easily just change out the bar for another one.

    The brace (bar) comes in many flavors and price ranging from $90 to over $500 for the LRR brand. I did not bother with the OEM bar. They vary in materials and construction. In the end I choose the cheaper one from Mega Racing (out of CA and Japan) mainly on price. Picked it up from Ebay for $90 including shipping.; normally list for $120. Its well made, light (aluminum) and fits perfectly. There are several positive reviews on Miata.net regarding this model, but nothing that stands out. Other reviews on STB in general tend to state it reduces NVH in the ND (noise, vibrations and harmonic sound) front end, but they could not notice if it improved handling. All the more reason that I went with the lower cost option. I am betting that the construction of the Megan bar provides at least the same benefits as the OEM stock bar but with a nicer appearance in the engine bay.

    See attached photos.

     
  • Andrew 10:14pm on Saturday, February 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    Back Up Camera and CarPlay Install 

    If anyone is interested, today I installed both Carplay and the OEM backup camera in my 2016 GT. Overall it took about a few hours requiring only fours screws and two 10mm bolts to be removed. The rest of the dash comes apart like a Lego set. The bumper requires cutting with a utility knife and drilling of the dense foam to make space for the camera.

    The two scariest parts was doing the firmware update (could brick the CMU) and cutting the rear bumper for the camera. Note, the OEM camera requires a much larger hole than the Ventura camera.

    Saved myself a bit of money as the dealer wanted $400 plus tax for the Carplay and probably another $200-$300 in labor for the camera. If you do the Carplay, you really should do the backup camera since you have already removed all the parts you need. To me, that was the easiest thing to do.

    Ordered Carplay parts from Ebay (Mazda OEM parts) for $155 including shipping and the camera and cables from Amayama for around $326, although is could have been $16 cheaper had I waited another week or two. Both arrived within 2 weeks.

    Last weekend, I added sound proofing material to the trunk and rear bulkhead wall. About a five to seven pounds of material yet it makes a significant difference in reducing noise in the cabin with the top up, about 5-7 dB per my meter. That doesn’t sound like much, but it is quite noticeable. Planning on doing the floor boards and doors soon.

    Andrew

     
    • Robert Burr 10:45pm on Saturday, February 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Wow, what difference to use google maps and waze rather than the MX-5 built-in navigation system. And, the upgraded USB port charges the phone much faster. I’d like to see it at the next meeting.

    • John Morris 7:32pm on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Andrew that sounds like some precision work. I hope you can be at the next meeting and tell us all about your installation. Looking forward to seeing it. I also installed a new radio unit in my NC. I put in a Pioneer with car play,siriusXM radio and a backup camera. I did not install it myself. I have a great radio installer if someone is not as brave as you.

    • Andrew 2:08pm on Thursday, February 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Hi John,

      I plan on being at the March 10 meeting and willing to go over the procedure for anyone interested. The install of both items was fairly easy to do, just requiring a bit of care and taking your time. Its mainly plug and play. I held off on both items as I was weighing the difficulty of self install vs dealer cost.

      I could not justify paying the dealer and with the help of many on the forums who have posted videos and detailed instructions, I took the shot. I think the videos and instruction come across being more difficult than it really is. Don’t get me wrong, one can easily make a mistake and break or scratch a part due to the wrong tool, being impatient, etc..

      I actually wasted over an hour trying to figure out why the camera was not displaying, taking things a parts and rechecking everything. Had to walk away to check the forums and found out that the CMU had to be reset by holding down three buttons on the center console for 20 secs, not the 3-5 seconds I was doing. Others had to disconnect and reconnect the battery cables for the same thing.

      So, live and learn from other people’s experiences.

  • Andrew 3:07pm on Saturday, December 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , repair   

    Dr. ColorChip Review 

    With all the fun we had driving the Tail of the Dragon, my car came home almost without any insult from the road. The PPF did its magic, but since there is no film on the doors, I did sustain three very small scratches; I heard the rock hit (graze was more like it) while on the highway).

    Anyway, the point of this post is to demonstrate the value of Dr. ColorChip. From what I have read and viewed on YouTube, its only designed to color in the chip/scratch and not give you a blemish free repair. For that you will need to sand/fill and spray paint the area.

    The primer coat of the Soul Red paint is white as you can see in the photo. I did 3 applications of the paint in an attempt to fill in the scratches. its goes on very easily and a bit scary when you first put in on as you essentially smear small dots of paint around and over the damage area. You end up over painting quite a bit. That is how it is applied, without any precision and minimum skill. Then after a 2-5 minutes to dry, you wipe over the area with the sealant to remove all the access paint using the enclosed lint free towel and using a flat light wiping action. You wipe with light pressure to remove the extra paint while not pulling the paint from the scratches.

    The process worked as instructed and took the access paint off while leaving the damaged area painted. Afterward letting it dry some more I applied my detailing spray to remove any remaining sealant and leave a high gloss.

    I had a hard time finding the scratches afterwards to take a picture. Although the shot is a closeup where you can still see the edges of the scratch, once you step back a foot or more, you can’t see it. The high gloss on the door creates enough reflections that makes the scratches invisible; it filled in the white primer paint.

    I plan on doing another 2-3 applications in a month or so and see if I can do a better job. Overall, I am very pleased with the product. I bought the basic kit and added the small squeegee, approximate $49 with shipping/sales tax. There was a 15% holiday discount that helped.

     
    • Anonymous 3:18pm on Saturday, December 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I also used Dr. Colorchip on my RF. It works great. Like Andrew said, it doesn’t fill the chip completely but covers it so the chip is almost unrecognizable. Great product!

    • Robert M 7:37am on Thursday, January 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Where do you buy it. I have chips on my reflex blue, only black shows thru on the rear bumper

      • Anonymous 11:56am on Thursday, January 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Online via their website. Google them. You will need the color code found on the label located on the driver’s side door frame.

  • Andrew 3:55pm on Thursday, July 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: error, failure, , Screen   

    Alert – Infotainment Center Issue 

    Heads up for anyone with a ND:

    On Monday, I noticed that the LCD screen on my 2016 GT was displaying 4-7 white thin horizontal lines (see attached photo). It is most prominent on startup and fades a bit with use of the applications. I noticed when I was using the Nav and saw that parts of the map was broken up by the lines.

    I usually set the display to off unless I am using the Navigation system or listening to music. So perhaps it might have started earlier. The car is garage kept and although I was driving it for about an 1hr in the sun, the display was not too hot to the touch.

    Off to the dealer I went, knowing that most likely the display will need to be replaced (not in stock) under warranty. On a computer system its either the video card or the monitor. Plus the dash will need to be taken apart to replace the unit (it would be nice if I could get them to pre-wire the display for a backup camera – wishful thinking).

    Anyway, I’ll keep you posted on the outcome. There is some chatter in the MX-5 Miata forum discussing the screen going completely blank. This has not happened to me, but for anyone with a hack, I would start to consider on a way to remove it should the need arise to have the display replaced. Not sure if they would argue that the issue is due to a hack and voids the warranty. I have not hacked my system, its what some were saying on the forum.

    The entertainment center still functions it’s just the lines are annoying and indicative of pending failure.

     
    • Robert Burr 4:12pm on Thursday, July 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, will keep an eye out for such issues.

    • Andrew 10:02am on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      July 10 Update: All fixed; zoom zoom again. Gunther replaced the display unit (list for approx $1100 plus labor) under warranty and they did it an hour. Yesterday I received a call from Teri (service rep) advising they received the part. Set appt for 8:30 today, arrived early and it was done; no hassle or issue.

    • Mark Gilbert 6:25pm on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Glad you got it fixed without any issues. Guess Cathy made it there without a problem.

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