1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata Long Term Road Test

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1997 Mazda Miata: Rattlecan

March 27, 2012

1997 Mazda Miata: Rattlecan

I got the opportunity to take our Project Miata out for a good spin through the Santa Monica Mountains. Normally I'm driving it home in traffic. This time I had an open twisty road. Going up the hills and through the turns I had a blast.

It wasn't until I was working my way back down the hill that I ran into trouble.

I was stuck behind a really, I mean REALLY, slow driver. On these narrow roads there are no pull offs, no alternate routes. Misery.

It was then, while using the gearing as a brake that I noticed an unsettling rattle coming from what I expected to be the exhaust pipes. It was the kind of piercing rattle that made your teeth itch. It sounded as if the pipes were vibrating on some suspension component during each sharp spool down of the revs. I tried to use the brake more often, but I still had to use the gearing with wuss in the Explorer ahead of me. By the time I got to the bottom of the hill, I just wanted to get out the car for some relief.

I got to a beach parking lot at the bottom of the hill and pulled in. With my cell phone flashlight app, I inspected the under bits. I looked for what I thought might cause the sonic terror, but I didn't see anything. Though at the same time, I'm not especially mechanically inclined.

I think this is part and parcel for a "project" car. Especially one we sourced so cheaply. Though it is fun to drive in my opinion, it needs a caretaker with greater compassion than I can provide.

Scott Jacobs, Sr. Mgr, Photography

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