The story starts with the installation of an AEM AFR gauge in the Miata. I had recently finished installing the wide-band and t-ing into power for the controller. Before tucking all the wiring away and out of the passenger’s footwell, my girlfriend and I went for a drive. As we were coming back into the garage, as she got out of the passenger seat, her foot must have tugged at the wires. The positive cable touches the chassis (no carpet, interior stripped), the AFR gauge goes off, a fuse is blown. Well, not the biggest deal. Push the car into the garage since this happened a few foot outside of the garage. Go and buy a new fuse, tuck the wires, get everything nice and snug. Fixed?
The car wouldn’t start, because the battery wasn’t able to crank the engine hard enough. I asked a Miata Facebook group if someone could jump the car and later that weekday night someone was there to help me get the Miata started. VROOM, it was alive! After a few days, the battery issues came back. Car failing to crank. So I walked over to Costco and got a portable battery jumper hoping that I wouldn’t have to replace the battery. This worked for a good amount of trips, but it was obvious that the battery was the issue now and needed to be replaced.
With the only car in the garage being the Miata, grocery runs are pretty frequent. And it was time for another grocery run with the sketchy Miata. It happened to also be the weekend of Black Friday. There were a few deals that were too good to pass up knowing that sketchy Miata may not be able to make it back. So we got an electrical fireplace and a new car jack. Circling back to how Miatas are small… they’re small. The fireplace couldn’t fit with the groceries and the jack. So I left my girlfriend at Costco with the fireplace while I went to the house and dropped off what was currently in the car. Then it was back to go pick her up, stop by a store on the way home to pick up a new battery and get the car in the garage.
But where would the fun in the story be if things started going according to plan? I come back to Costco, pull into the loading area. Throw the hazards on and help get the fireplace in the trunk. The box wouldn’t fit. So we took it out of the box and put the individual pieces in the car. It took awhile, and while it was taking awhile, Miata dies.
Random Costco family to the rescue, get a jump start, car is running again. Driving down highway 99, a few blocks away from home. A truck in front of us slams on their brakes. I slam on mine, car dies (most likely battery terminal issues). Won’t start. Middle of the highway on an overcast, rainy, Seattle day. Not ideal.
So I call 911, let them know I’m broken down and have no hazards. The police car pushes my Miata down the street to the next parking lot. Conveniently the parking lot of a chain car-parts store. I bought a new battery and took it to the car to swap it out, the electric fireplace in the way. Using their 10mm ratchet I was able to disconnect the battery, but the bolts snapped while taking them off. Instead of buying bolts from the store, I managed to use clamps to connect the terminals (one-sided clamps) and drive back home to tidy things back up.
My Miata has been quite the learning experience for me. But in a great way.