Sunday, March 31, 2013

Tips on installing a new Alternator on the Miata

Creating this short article to try and help out others who may be confused trying to setup the tensioner bolts. I've seen a few people in the pits struggling with them and a few people DNF when they installed them incorrectly.

When I was unloading the Miata after the last race, I noticed that the headlights seemed dim.  So I located my voltage tester and started the car to check the voltage.  Sure enough, voltage was around 12 volts measured at the battery terminals with the car running.  Should be about 14 volts when running.  So I went over the local O'Rielly's Auto Parts and got a new alternator.  Shiny. :)

Here is a pic of the tensioner bolts:

Here is a pic of the tensioner bolts positioned on the alternator off the car:

Here is a pic of the tensioner bolts positioned on the alternator bracket on the car:

Here I have positioned the alternator on the tensioner bracket and fed the bolt through the alternator.  Don't tighten the bolt that goes through the alternator too much yet as you still need to tension the belt properly.

In order to properly tension the belt, don't try to wedge a screw driver or something to put tension on the belt.  Instead, tighten the long bolt against the bracket using a 12mm ratcheting socket.  Don't overtighten.  The only purpose of the long bolt is to put tension on the belt.  Once you have the belt tight, tighten the short bolt that goes through the tensioner block and attaches the alternator to the tensioner bracket.  Don't overtighten this bolt either as it threads into the soft aluminum of the alternator.  Hopefully the following pic does a good job of explaining this visually:

Hope that helps.  Check to ensure that it remains tight next time you run or drive the car just in case....
Also make sure you install the air tube/intake correctly so it doesn't rub up against the alternator belt.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

2013 Racing Season Has Started!

The 2013 racing season has officially begun!

The 2012 season sucked for me.  I started a new job and didn't have the time to race.  I managed to get out and do 3 races.  However, my performance was rather poor compared to my friends from the 2011 SCCA Licensing School.  They were able to attend regularly (monthly) and their times and performance improved regularly.  My performance did not improve during the few races I did.  Seat time - Practice Practice Practice is what you need to improve and get ahead.

I did manage to get out to the San Francisco Region SCCA season opener last weekend at Thunderhill.  I did absolutely nothing to the car to prep.  I didn't even change the oil.  I just showed up, set tire pressures and ran.  I was expecting to have terrible lap times but was very surprised by my performance in qualifying.  I ran a personal best and consistent 2:14 lap times.  The best I did prior was 2:15s so I was stoked.  After this performance I was really looking forward to Sunday's races. :)  Here is a link to video from my qualifying:

I raced both Spec Miata and in ITA.  ITA races in Group 5 which is a mixed marque group of classes including some very fast cars from ITS and ITE and others.  Unfortunately, my Sunday races sucked.  I couldn't string together a consistent, mistake free set of laps nor could I match my times from Sat.  Oh well, I kept it clean and drove the car home in one piece.  Here is video from the race:

My video camera battery went dead so you won't see the closing laps of the race where I spun in Turn 3 and had to go both feet in.  :(

Next race Laguna Seca.  Going to change the oil this time.