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Old 11-30-2009, 02:55 PM   #1
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Default Newb from Huntsville

First off, I'm fully planning on getting laughed at on these forums which is fine. I'm a pretty technical guy, I've restored a 77 280z, rebuilt an engine on a 1st gen Mr2, I am currently doing a full frame off restoration on my Lotus Europa. I have designed and built majority parts of our schools small Mini Baja and Formula SAE startup teams. Etc etc. I'm an engineer for NASA, I'm part of the group that does structural dynamics for the new Ares I (that may get canned ).

All that to say that I really don't know enough about engines obviously to own the car I have. Last ~May I bought a 1996 Miata Turbo (my third Miata) basically on a whim. I thought it would be a fun, reliable toy to have while I restored my Lotus, which has been true until Thanksgiving, when I was driving it to my girlfriend's brother's house. I got on it a bit and afterwards it started running rough (like on three cylinders) when under load. I put the clutch in and it revved fine, but under load not so much. At this point I figured it had just fouled a plug, so I found a nice stretch of road to see if I could clear it out. So I punched it again, only after this time it wouldn't even run right without a load on it. I then pretty much coasted it to her brother's house.

The next day I went over there and pulled the spark plugs, they were tan colored but didn't have any deposits ( I could only get to 3 of the 4 b/c of the strut bar though). I then started it up again, it ran the same - bad - and I noticed there was white smoke coming from where the BOV filter is right before the intake manifold. This confused me quite a bit, I can't understand why there would be white smoke coming out of the intake, unless it had a stuck valve or maybe the seal on the turbo when out.

Other notes: The boost gauge still seems to show boost building when I revved it ok ( I obviously didn't take it up to full boost) and the richness'o'meter was lean fluctuating between 15 and 16.

Anybody have any ideas? I'm not really in a huge hurry, but I would like to get it home, do you think it would be ok to drive it the ~20 miles to my house? Its not really practical to work on it at her brother's house.

Thanks for any help,
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Old 11-30-2009, 03:07 PM   #2
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Sounds like a spark issue to me. I never really got my stock setup running well until I replaced EVERYTHING.

I built a coil-on-plug-spark setup shortly thereafter. Never looked back.
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Old 12-02-2009, 04:54 PM   #3
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Thanks, I'll definitely look into that. I did get it home Monday night so I can atleast work on it now.

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