Hitting the Easy Button: Miata Heater Core Replacement DIY October 09 2013
I put this one off for quite some time, and frankly it was because I loathe these kinds of projects. The heater core went out sometime in mid December and spewed deliciously sweet, steaming hot, coolant all over my legs. Since then I've simply removed the heater from the cooling system as a sort of punishment for her bad behavior and frankly, it didn't get cold enough to need a heater in Texas. But enough was enough, and after fighting off the desire to just strip out the HVAC system (she's a sophisticated lady) I finally decided to bite the bullet and just get it over with. Just in time for spring, but hopefully this DIY will be much more useful to you now that the weather is actually cooling down.
Most of the other write ups involve the torturous process that is removing the entire dash; nightmares of broken plastic tabs kept me turning in bed at night. But I figured out I could do it without pulling a single tab, and I was right.
Introducing Mia - Project NB Mazda Miata September 12 2013
We were beckoned outside with the sound of the wimpiest horn you could imagine. It was Pops with the top down and beaming with joy. His mid-life crisis had kicked into gear (no pun intended) and this was the product of that transformation. After he took Mum around the block, I hopped in and we went for a cruise around town. It was like nothing I had ever experienced. A sensory overload, the wind, the sound, the smells, and the sky became the headliner. It was as if I had never ridden in a car until that day, and all other drives up to that point were just transportation.
I still hadn't learned how to drive, but I was pining for that day when I would be able to take her for a spin. I would wash and polish her to a mirror shine, and then sit in the cockpit, rowing through the gears imagining the two of us cruising through the forest, or dropping down into the corkscrew at Laguna Seca.
When I started to learn how to drive, it was in our big mammoth of a Jeep. Nothing at all like the Miata, and a somewhat excruciating experience because I was so close, but yet so far from actually driving her. The time finally came though and expectedly, I stalled. It was nothing like what I imagined. There were no smokey sideways drifts to be had, nor was there any wind in my hair that day, but I got better. She was as patient and forgiving as could be, and pretty soon rev matched, double clutch downshifts became second nature.
Fast forward to college, and was in need of a car. I started looking around for a beater, but when Dad casually suggested I take Mia, I was ecstatic to say the least. Spoiled, would also be another descriptor of me, and it wasn't just because I had been given this screaming red convertible. Everything about her was amazing, but I didn't have a clue. The chassis, light, balanced, and extremely communicative, paired with that amazing gearbox. She set the bar, and it's in the freakin' stratosphere.
Since I've had her, we've diced through cones at autocrosses, hit apexes at Texas World Speedway, and all without missing a beat. It's not just that she's only fun on the track, but I really can't have a bad day whenever the top's down (and it's always down).