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Old 10-08-2017, 10:31pm   #1 (permalink)
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Default Ugh. Went for a drive today -

I retimed the ignition and adjusted the cams for better spool today.

Unbeknownst to me, the harmonic balancer slipped 10 degrees, so I ended up putting 10 degrees more advance into it than I intended. That puts the car at 26 degrees of advance at 14 PSI...not good. It sounded, I don't know, wrong under load and into boost. Rough noises, kinda like a machine gun. Pinging/detonation I guess? First time I've ever heard it.

On a guess I dropped the timing by a few degrees and limped home to verify that I hadn't screwed up the timing. Pulled plug #1, turned the motor over, and saw the crank pulley line up with the 10 degree mark when the piston was at TDC.

Plug looked clean, not bent, and no pepper...so hopefully not too much damage. I'll get the endoscope back on Tuesday from my buddy that borrowed it to see what the top of the pistons / head look like. With any luck the two pulls in 2nd/3rd I ran didn't do any long term harm.
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Old 10-08-2017, 10:40pm   #2 (permalink)
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Hope you didn't hurt it. I guess it's time to upgrade the harmonic balancer.
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Old 10-08-2017, 10:41pm   #3 (permalink)
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That...sucks.
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Old 10-08-2017, 10:42pm   #4 (permalink)
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Well it's the original at 24 years old...so a new one is on the way. I can't stomach $500+ for an ATI, so it's another stocker.

Fingers crossed there's no pepper on the pistons. #1 didn't looked melted peering into the head, at least.
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Old 10-08-2017, 10:43pm   #5 (permalink)
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Well it's the original at 24 years old...so a new one is on the way. I can't stomach $500+ for an ATI, so it's another stocker.

Fingers crossed there's no pepper on the pistons.
Was it because it was 24 years old or because it's making "X" times more power that it slipped?
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Old 10-08-2017, 10:50pm   #6 (permalink)
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As much fun as it would be to blame that, it's just old age.
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Old 10-08-2017, 11:59pm   #7 (permalink)
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Do they bolt on or just press on? Is it like a Chev where the outter ring can slip on the inner one?

Next year......LS3?
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Old 10-09-2017, 12:06am   #8 (permalink)
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Do they bolt on or just press on? Is it like a Chev where the outter ring can slip on the inner one?
Bolt on, and yeah, same kind of design where the inner and outer ring are only connected by some rubber damping material.

If it damaged anything too badly when I get my endoscope back...methinks it's time for a real build. The transmission won't last at higher power, but with new rods/pistons I could be pushing nearly 300 WHP without too much work out of this little 1.6L. A stronger transmission is only $400 or so and if I wanted to go all-out there's a company selling straight-cut gears for $1200 that are good to 500 TQ or so.

If the pistons look bad I might rip it apart to swap the bearings just to be safe.
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Old 10-09-2017, 07:10am   #9 (permalink)
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Next year......LS3?
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Old 10-09-2017, 08:34am   #10 (permalink)
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Old 10-09-2017, 09:45am   #11 (permalink)
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Ouch... almost certainly pre-det. That super sucks for FI motors.
Hopefully the pistons didn't get any serious pitting and you just "forged" 'em a bit.

Compression test to check on ring integrity and pull plugs to clear potential debris from the top end would be on the short list.

Wishing for the best
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Old 10-11-2017, 12:04pm   #12 (permalink)
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Plugs all look great!

Pistons aren't visibly damaged!

No smoking!

Head/block not visibly damaged!

Compression appears to be okay (runs smoothly with the timing yanked back to where it should be), but I have a compression tester on order to confirm. Rings/lands are the only thing left to worry about I hope. Miatas tend to burn through them near the valve reliefs when running too hot/lean/advanced, but the top of the pistons were clean nearby. Valves looked okay, no obvious wear or damage.


Perhaps I dodged a bullet on this one. New harmonic damper arrives tomorrow.
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Old 10-11-2017, 03:08pm   #13 (permalink)
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Horseshoes where the sun don't shine!

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Old 10-11-2017, 04:35pm   #14 (permalink)
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Excellent news!
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Old 10-11-2017, 09:26pm   #15 (permalink)
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Good to hear the initial inspection looks promising
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Old 10-12-2017, 09:21pm   #16 (permalink)
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Wow. The new harmonic balancer (straight from Mazda) got here today. My old one? Definitely not stock, it weighs about 1/3 less than the new one from Mazda.

Sigh. At least my oil pump is in one piece.
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Old 10-13-2017, 03:33am   #17 (permalink)
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What year is that car? My wife's Miata had the short snout crank, and so the damn bolt stripped in the crank, of course, so right there in the car, I drilled and tapped the crank for a new/hardened bolt, and put red locktite on it....

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Old 10-13-2017, 05:20am   #18 (permalink)
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1993, long nose crank.
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Old 10-13-2017, 03:37pm   #19 (permalink)
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Compression came out even across all cylinders. New balancer is on and timing is set properly this time.
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Old 10-13-2017, 06:34pm   #20 (permalink)
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It should have more power now too huh?
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