Finally home this week and I started tearing down the car to see what clues I can find.
Unfortunately, I'm starting to think there is something wrong with my 3rd gear shift fork. From what I can see, the shifter will run through all the gears without the clutch, but it does hit every position (so there's no missing linkage). I verified by removing the airbox and shfiting through the positions at the tranny then looking into the car to see that the shifter changed position.
So now it seems the issue is inside the transmission after all. I was really hoping this wasn't the case. After reading a few threads about the 02M, it looks like I had some typical signs-
occasional difficulty getting into 3rd gear / grinding - even with clutch fully depressed - and only on 3rd gear.
At this point I'm really bummed. Chiefly because I don't want two project cars. The TT has (oddly enough) been my reliable DD while I work on building up my Miata. I can't help but think how much I could do to the Miata with the money I'll have to sink into the TT.
That said, the TT was an affordable "dream car" for me when I bought it 8 years ago. I still love the way it looks and do the whole "look back" every time I park (even as a bone stock example.)
I figured starting small with a shift kit and some odds and ends that would upgrade as they reached their end of life (which at 80K miles, seems to be quite a few things) would be a fun way to continue enjoying the experience.
With a little help, I can probably get most of this done at home - like dropping the transmission and taking it to someone for a re-build -or tackling it myself in the garage - so sure, it doesn't have to be super expensive. But in the meantime, I'm stuck driving the truck to work and I'm getting that much further behind on the Miata... Not to mention the itch I've been having for a new car lately.
It's funny that just before new year, I was considering selling the TT and using some of those funds to finish off the Miata. Tonight, I'm looking at the Miata and thinking I can sell it to fix the TT. Haha - weird situation this has become.
At this point, the decision is coming to this:
1. Extensive repair - upgrade and fix everything. While I've got the tranny out, take the engine out. Go nuts.
2. Basic repair - just get it running again ASAP.
I have a feeling that if I choose #2, it will easier to say "we've had our fun for 8 years, it's time to move on." And if I choose #1, I will probably never sell this car - and you will see me drive into financial ruin through the course of this thread
Here's to possibilities