Practical 1.8l Engi...
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Practical 1.8l Engine Mods to Maximize Reliability/Durability

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Joined: 4 months ago
Posts: 8
Topic starter  

Hi folks.  New member here.  Also new Miata owner (old car).  i bought my 2000 Base to fill the gap between daily/weekend driver and HPDE use.  Tough goal but working at it.

My question: what should be done to maximize the Durability of the 1.8l.  I'm in the midst of replacing one blown engine (a different car) due to oil feed design issues.  The light bulb came on and said, "do you want to do this in the Miata, too"?  Obviously not.

So, are there inherent design/production items in the 1.8. that makes it more susceptible to poor engine durability when used in these varying driving situations?

I've read thru the club forum and Miata.Net, but have not come up with that definitive "do these things to overcome these issues..." list.  I've heard various folks talk about keeping the engine cool by adding oil coolers, but not much of anything else.

I'd certainly appreciate guidance and suggestions in this area, as I'm a complete neophyte with this car.  Although, it is fun to drive to work, the grocery store, ice cream, HDPE.........

Thank you in advance for your participation in my quest.

Love Mazda, Nissan, & Toyota
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 457

Don’t know but something is up. Every single club drive - there is usually not more than 1/2 NBs- if any. It’s usually this order: NCs/NDs/NAs. 

While it makes sense to have the most NCs bc of how long they were made, the  NBs should be more plentiful than NAs because of the age gap but they aren’t. I don’t know where they all are. 

- Jordan White
2016 Nissan Versa Note SR HB & 2020 Mazda MX-5 Club 6MT

Ken Hill
LVMOC Governor Moderator
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 65

The BP engines are very durable.  On your year of NB, weak points are ignition coils and ignition plug wires.  If you feel a misfire or stumble during acceleration, one of these parts will be the issue.

An oil cooler is not needed on a street driven car.  As with any car, make sure the coolant is no more then 3 or 4 years old.  NA and NB radiators use plastic end tanks which get brittle at they age.  If the top of your radiator is brown and not black, replace it.  Once the plastic turns brown from age and heat, it will crack at any moment.

NBs of your year were sold in California, PA, NJ, NY and MA with 2 catalytic converters.  One is in the exhaust manifold.  This first cat can clog, seriously diminishing performance and lowering fuel mileage.  Replacements are hundreds of dollars.  When this happens most people replace the entire manifold with an aftermarket exhaust header that eliminates the cat.  Yes, it is illegal, but PA inspection stations will not catch it.  The ECU will not throw a Check Engine Light (CEL).

If the OEM OEM shocks are still on the car after about 60K miles, they are dead.  Handling will improve quite a bit with new aftermarket shocks.  KYB, KONI and Bilstein are excellent brands.

There is a 60K mile service that includes a new timing belt.  Do this.  The belt can break if run over 80K miles.  Fortunately, if it breaks, no damage will be done to the engine.  You will just be sitting by the side of the road.

That is about it.  Enjoy your new car.

Ken Hill
2002 HZ Yellow
w/A few Modifications

CTt3MX5 and Zonker reacted