On Saturday, my girlfriend and I took a road trip with the new Miata in order to go check out Solvang, CA, a town founded to preserve Danish culture in the US. This was a 260 mile round trip adventure and included some twisty roads, beautiful landscapes, and a good road test of the new purchase.
The day started out great with a check engine light coming up right at the start. It was a flashing light, indicating a misfire of some sort. Certainly not good news. Well the car ran normal enough so I just hooked up my obd scanner and read a code for Misfire Cylinder 2. Either way, decided to push on and see how the trip would go. It did idle a little bit rough so it’s likely fuel or spark, which I’ll get around to troubleshooting later this week. The “unsmoothness” was definitely intermittent and with dismissing the code, it stayed away for the whole trip.
Also of note, I filled up the tank with 91 octane and the car ran much better. Definitely felt faster overall and was quieter and smoother in every way. The previous owner had mentioned he ran 87 or 89 most of the time, which the car can do. But it will retard timing and run poor economy for sure. This was nice to know that simply putting in proper gas improved the car.
Setting off, the journey began with a drive up CA 23 through Filmore in order to get a scenic Vista, some orange groves, and twisty roads. Got stuck behind a semi truck the whole way through the pass and it was misty/foggy and almost cold out. So with the top down, it required some heat and the windows up (yeah I’m that guy with the top down and windows up).
Then we continued on CA 126 to CA 150 all the way to Ojai. The weather remained about the same, but with less mist as we continued on. The roads weren’t wet so it was really just like driving through clouds rather than proper rain fall. The trees and orange groves in Ojai were the main destination. This was a real treat and if it were sunnier, we would have stopped for some pictures for sure. Either way, it was well worth the detour for the fun windy roads and the scenery.
After another 2 hours of driving, we made it to Solvang. We originally thought it was a German town but quickly discovered it was Danish! The windmills and Danish bakeries certainly solidified that knowledge.
It was a great stop to just walk around and enjoy the sun that had finally come out just before arriving in Solvang. It was finally some top down weather to end the first part of the drive and enjoy a long walk. Stopped for pretzels at a brewery and some Cinnamon crisps at a bakery.
Continuing home afterwards, we took the coastal route the whole way back, enjoying the sun at our backs as we headed back Southeast on the 101. The car performed beautifully and reminded me of the joy of top down motoring in a Miata. Hills reminded me that I can’t just leave the car in top gear and expect to accelerate (like the STi) but passing people at highway speed was still a breeze thanks to the gearing. The check engine light didn’t come back so I was happy to note that as a “fix soon” and not “fix immediately before driving”.
I ordered new NGK wires and copper plugs to see if that just fully solves my issue. The plugs have been changed twice in the last 50k or so and the last wires were done about 20k ago but they were Denso wires and it was also about 3 years since then to now. Having all of those records is pretty sweet! The list of maintenance from the seller also listed the injectors having been replaced in 2016, but I can’t find a receipt for it. So if the plugs/wires don’t clear it up, injectors will be next. I’ll wait until this is assuredly fixed before throwing on my exhaust. Otherwise, I can keep driving as usual. It’s bound to be bad for the cat but im throwing out this one anyways.
Drive went great though and I've started watching tutorials on applying vinyl wrap so I'm not too concerned about the mechanicals right now. I'll sort it out soon enough!