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Mazda Miata race car | Tri-Valley Automotive, Dublin Ca.

Posted on 08/02/2013

My race car is a 1992 Mazda Miata. I compete in the Sports Car Club of America’s Solo II competition here in the Bay Area.

Solo (also called Autocross or Slalom) is a contest of driving skill. We run against the clock  on short courses that put an emphasis car handling and agility rather than speed or power. Speeds and hazards to spectators, participants, and property do not exceed those encountered in normal, legal highway driving. But it is a lot more fun!


Fuel Pump Repair | Tri-Valley Automotive, Dublin Ca.

Posted on 08/02/2013

Today a customer called and asked for a quote for a fuel pump replacement. They had just come home from a trip to Mexico yesterday and when they tried to start their Suburban this morning it wouldn’t go. After trying several times, it finally started. They took the truck to the Chevy dealer to be quoted a high price. At that point they decided to call around to see if they could fine a lower price. I was able to save them $300 so they decided to bring their Suburban to us.

After they dropped it off, we checked the fuel pressure. Sure enough, it was low. It should be between 55-62 psi and it was several psi below that, plus it was bleeding back, which means it wasn’t holding pressure like it should.

Replacing the fuel pump on a Chevy Suburban involves removing the gas tank…not fun. Luckily, the customer didn’t have that much fuel in the tank, otherwise it could have been messy…and dangerous.  The pump resides inside the tank, so the only way to get to it is to have the fuel tank down.

Once re-installed, the truck started promptly and had the correct fuel pressure…and it held it…Hooray!

The customer picked up the Suburban later that afternoon and was delighted to have their truck back.

Tri-Valley Automotive Repair

Water Pump Repair | Tri-Valley Automotive Dublin, Ca.

Posted on 08/02/2013

This morning a customer called me and said her Chevy Impala was acting up. She told me the charge light came on and the dash lights started flashing. I first I thought maybe it was the alternator that was causing the problem…until she said her power steering went out. When i questioned her about that, she said that it became very hard to steer. Aahh…a light went off in my head! Now I knew…the serpentine belt had come off. She immediately agreed to have it towed over.

When the car got here I popped open the hood, and sure enough, the belt had come off. Now I needed to ascertain why… I figured one of the pulleys seized up. It turned out the water pump had seized and stopped turning and that caused the belt to flip. Of course, when that happened, the alternator stopped turning, causing the charge light and the dash lights to go all wonky. The power steering pump stopped turning as well, causing the steering wheel to become very hard to turn. Suddenly, the car became nearly impossible to drive so she shut it off.

Good thinking on her part. If she had continued to run the car, it would have overheated due to the water pump gone bad.

We went ahead and replaced the water pump and the serpentine belt and filled the system with fresh coolant. The car is back to normal now and runs great.

Mazda Miata Clutch Repair | Tri-Valley Automotive, Dublin Ca.

Posted on 08/02/2013

Today, a good customer of ours called up to say his clutch was slipping on his 1990 Mazda Miata. After discussing with him the symptoms the car was displaying, I told him to drop it off with us. When he got here, I jumped in the car to verify his complaint. I did a quick slip test, where I hold the brake on, rev it up and drop the clutch to see if the clutch will hold and stall the engine (it didn’t), I pronounced it worn out. He gave us the “OK” to go ahead with the repair and asked when it will be done. “Today” I said, as long as we have no problems.

We pulled the transmission out and sure enough, the clutch disc was worn down to the rivets. The clutch pressure plate and the flywheel, both had heat spots on them, and the release bearing was worn out. The rear main seal on the engine, which is behind the flywheel, was leaking as well. We went ahead and installed a new seal to stop the leak which could have ruined the new clutch parts by getting oil on them.

We resurfaced the flywheel and mounted the new clutch parts. Like I had said before, the new parts consist of the clutch disc, the pressure plate, release bearing and a pilot bearing. After reinstalling the transmission,  we refilled the transmission with fresh synthetic fluid and a friction modifier additive to help promote smooth gear selection.

Tri-Valley Automotive Repair

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