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Jerry PowerDork
5/19/21 8:54 a.m.

Went to drive the Miata this morning, and upon starting I heard a bit of knocking.  It wasn't someone at the front door.  I didn't have time to check anything so I drove the Crosstrek.  I'll check the oil tonight, perhaps it's just low?

Or perhaps it's given up the ghost?  Then it's do I invest in major engine work or cut n run?  If I bail you guys will get first dibs.

EvanB GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/19/21 9:46 a.m.


I just gave away my spare engine though. Is it knocking or just ticking lifters?

Rodan SuperDork
5/19/21 9:47 a.m.

Good chance it's the lifters...

LOL - Evan typed faster than I did... 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/19/21 9:53 a.m.

Very different sounds - lifters are a fast rattle/tick, knocking is deeper and sounds a bit hollow.

A Miata that's had a lot of short runs such as being driven in and out of the garage over and over is prone to make some lifter noise on startup.

cghstang_chris Dork
5/19/21 10:27 a.m.

In reply to EvanB :

You can keep it at my house.

Jerry PowerDork
5/19/21 10:59 a.m.

I'll check tonight, I was really in a hurry to leave for work so I don't remember the exact tone.  Maybe I'll do a quick video if it's still doing it when I get home.

I was enjoying the car, mostly been driving to work and back a few days a week (35ish min each way).  I backed it out Saturday for a bucket wash and back into the garage, don't remember anything unusual.

Stay tooned.

Jerry PowerDork
5/19/21 6:39 p.m.


Pretty sure false alarm...  This is shortly after starting the first time, not as loud as I remembered this morning.  Maybe I was paranoid, it just sounded different this morning.


Started a second (maybe third) time, from inside.  Already seems quieter and not loud like I would expect a rod knock.  Revving makes it go away completely.  Probably starting to warm up and circulate, Saturday I did just back it out then back in after washing.

Sorry, hope to get at least a few more years out of this car!


Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/19/21 11:45 p.m.

They're only clackety when the oil is tired or the HLAs are tired. The former means you've either been autocrossing or the car has been run for a short period without a change to fully pump them up or it's time for an oil change, the latter are available cheap these days and are easily swapped.

AxeHealey GRM+ Memberand Dork
5/20/21 8:04 a.m.

Idle curiosity here (hehe). Are Miatas supposed to idle that high? All of my Miata experience is a much lower idle. 

Jerry PowerDork
5/20/21 8:23 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

The PO said the oil had been changed very recently, I've put maybe 2-3k on it since.  I was going to change it soon, decided now is soon.  Got it scheduled 6/1 and have them give it a once over to see what surprises are in it.  Drove fine this morning to work, putting the top down on the way home.  It's finally 80F+.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/20/21 9:21 a.m.

In and out of the garage for a car wash plus high mileage on the engine will make it prone to clatter. It happens occasionally. It shouldn't be constant.

Idle speed is 850 rpm on a warm engine. That one's cold.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/20/21 10:13 a.m.

I'm going to disagree with you there. The solid lifter NB engines have a little more clatter, but they're all much quieter than an LS is at idle and are not exceptionally noisy. If they are making a lot of noise at idle all the time that's the sign of a problem.

Jerry PowerDork
7/19/21 6:37 a.m.

Yesterday was the first car event I've done since July 2019.  Finally got last year's cheap Miata to an autcross.  I wasn't sure how the cheap off-brand tires would work, and it was pretty hot that day.  Turned out to be a joint event with SCCA and Miami Valley SCC so 70+ entries meant 3 run groups.

Off first, work second, run third = the worst combo I think.  Oh well, they forgot I was a safety steward so I worked starter.  Kinda glad, someone in a Mustang went head-first into the concrete barrier wall around the track.  I didn't have to fill out any paperwork!  (Didn't appear to be much damage, he eventually drove off under his own power, but he didn't do any more runs.)

It was different from the Abarth.  First few runs I was hanging the back end out on most corners, which was fun but I know it wasn't tidy.  By the 4-5th runs I figured out how much speed I could carry into a turn, maybe trailbrake a bit to rotate the car and then gas to even it out.  If we had a typical 4-5/4-5 run split for the day I probably could have done better by the end.

But my first run was a 60.1, I heard times announced in the mid 50s earlier and figured if I hit upper 50s I'd be happy.  Managed to get down to a 57.0 by the 5th run, and had a good time doing it.  Around the 3rd run I asked a similar Miata driver with better prep how far I was off, he had just turned a 57.0 himself, so I guess I was doing ok.

Now I'm curious about better 15" wheel/tires and maybe brake pads.

Oh, and that's my friend's 1970 Triumph GT+ he spent the previous 1-1.5 years rebuilding.  That was fun to watch.

Jerry PowerDork
1/1/22 4:33 p.m.

After the dashcam in the BRZ, I moved on to wheels and tires I bought on Facebook Marketplace Monday. I spent more time with a lugnut jammed in the socket than anything else.

$400 for 4 new tires and wheels seemed like a good deal. No more 6 year old rubber, and now some decent winter tires. Not really for deep snow, still have the Crosstrek, but I feel more comfy driving in the non-warm months now.

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