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    Thread: So I bought a Miata. I'm moving to California. Now I want a...

    1. Member Fisherson's Avatar
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      10-05-2012 04:47 AM #1

      Lexus IS300, with a manual. Partial unicorn status. Low mileage examples are still $15k+.

      I want one. I love my Miata, if I got the Lexus, I'd have to get a 2005 so I could have a payment.
      (Or I could keep my Miata, which I love and is paid off. And a set of Dunlop Direzza DZ101s is $288!)
      But I secretly love 2JZ, they both come with 5-speeds, my Miata has an open diff, and they both come with double wishbone suspension at all four corners.

      And I love these seats.


      I need a powerplant frame alignment and my wheels to be balanced (which I cannot attend to between Chicago and LA). So, the clutch gets funky in traffic and between 68 and 74 miles per hour the chassis suffers a strange vibration which ruins the car for me, because everyone seems to travel between those speeds. Below those speeds the vibration isn't there and above it persists but is comparatively not noticeable.
      And I hate admitting it, but coming from a chipped '07 GTI, I miss torque.

      So, TCL (and TFL,) what should I do?
      Fix my car (once I get a job in LA), save up for a Mazdaspeed Miata, or save up for a manual, <60,000 mile IS300?
      Last edited by Fisherson; 10-05-2012 at 04:50 AM. Reason: Pics for clicks, as it were.

    2. Member BODH1's Avatar
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      10-05-2012 05:48 AM #2
      I'd save up for a MSM.

      Finding an IS300 with under 100K on the ODO isn't an easy task.

      Especially finding one in 5-speed that hasn't been smoked in or thrashed.

    3. 10-05-2012 06:06 AM #3
      The first thing I would do is get the Miata fixed b/c whomever or however you sell it, someone is going to test drive it and want to beat you up on price over the vibration issue. After that, I would wash and detail your Miata really well. Then I would see if you feel the same about the car after it has been fixed and cleaned up.

      If you still want to get rid of it then no big deal, you would have needed to do those things regardless. I'm not an expert on either car but I think you're going to have a really hard time finding an IS300 manual with under 60k. And the problem is, when you do find one, you're probably going to be forced to over pay for it, especially if the selling party is also aware of how rare the car is.

      If nothing else, I would at least go and test drive a MS Miata and see if it checks all the boxes on your want list.

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      10-05-2012 07:00 AM #4
      When I read the title, I thought it was going to say "So I bought a Miata. I'm moving to California. Now I want a boyfriend"
      "When you need to get somewhere quickly, I'd rather get there the fastest I can, looking the best I can"-Rutledge Wood

    5. Member Calcvictim's Avatar
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      10-05-2012 07:41 AM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by thetopdog View Post
      When I read the title, I thought it was going to say "So I bought a Miata. I'm moving to California. Now I want a boyfriend"
      so did I

    6. 10-05-2012 07:48 AM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by thetopdog View Post
      When I read the title, I thought it was going to say "So I bought a Miata. I'm moving to California. Now I want a boyfriend"
      It crossed my mind as well but I took the high road.

    7. Member
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      10-05-2012 07:49 AM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by sullie View Post
      It crossed my mind as well but I took the high road.
      I drive a Miata so I figured I was allowed to say it
      "When you need to get somewhere quickly, I'd rather get there the fastest I can, looking the best I can"-Rutledge Wood

    8. Geriatric Member AKADriver's Avatar
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      10-05-2012 08:05 AM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by Fisherson View Post
      between 68 and 74 miles per hour the chassis suffers a strange vibration which ruins the car for me
      Welcome to owning a Miata, here's your 68mph shimmy.
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    9. Member crushed20th's Avatar
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      10-05-2012 08:31 AM #9
      I've spent a good bit of time behind the wheel of an IS300. And this is what I took from it.

      take the exhaust off, just take it off.
      get used to the surprisingly squishy/soft oem clutch
      turn traction control off
      finally, do burnouts in supreme comfort.
      rev limiter sounds awesome

      but make sure you have no back seat passengers or small passengers. not much room in the backseat if the front seats are in a comfy position for the front passengers.
      Quote Originally Posted by VierSpeed View Post
      I can't believe you think it's worth compromising the spreadability of cream cheese just for 'mad stance.'

      You've ruined that bagel.
      Eple. RIP Miata 6/15/13

    10. Member DubNMiatafan's Avatar
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      10-05-2012 08:38 AM #10
      Dave you crazy fool, don't swap for a luxo-barge (in comparison to the Miata, it is damn it)

      Fix your issues, take it on route 49 from Mariposa to Coulterville with the top down, and tell me, with a straight face, you still want an IS300.
      ♪ Let's just drive, I wanna see what the wind does to your hair ♪

    11. Member zaYG's Avatar
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      10-05-2012 08:53 AM #11
      If you're moving to California, why wouldn't you keep the car that is more fitting in a California setting?

      Jeez, if I moved to Cali, a Miata would be too modern for me.

      Take advantage of the sweet Cali car scene and buy something vintage JDM or an aircooled VW.

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    12. Member grondie's Avatar
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      10-05-2012 08:55 AM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by Calcvictim View Post
      so did I
      Me too

      Anyway, I can only speak to the IS300..

      They are very reliable
      They are gas hogs
      They eat tires
      Fairly fun to drive
      Hard to find in a manual, especially the later years ..

      Good Luck!

    13. Senior Member Aonarch's Avatar
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      10-05-2012 08:58 AM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by thetopdog View Post
      When I read the title, I thought it was going to say "So I bought a Miata. I'm moving to California. Now I want a boyfriend"
      Same I automatically assumed it would be homosexually related.

      Le sigh.
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    14. Geriatric Member ByronLLN's Avatar
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      10-05-2012 09:09 AM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by thetopdog View Post
      When I read the title, I thought it was going to say "So I bought a Miata. I'm moving to California. Now I want a boyfriend"
      I was hoping for TCL mad libs. This was going to be mine too.
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    15. Geriatric Member AKADriver's Avatar
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      10-05-2012 09:12 AM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by grondie View Post
      They are gas hogs
      Sort of. Like Miatas, they just don't have the ability to really stretch their legs and get good cruising fuel economy if you baby it the way a lot of newer engines do. The 2JZ is an old design (just like the BP) with a lot more internal drag than these newer engines with lighter parts and fancy coatings.

      And to put it in perspective, the only other similar-sized RWD Japanese 4-seater has about the same horsepower and is far, far worse.
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    16. Member Accidental L8 apex's Avatar
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      10-05-2012 11:03 AM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by thetopdog View Post
      When I read the title, I thought it was going to say "So I bought a Miata. I'm moving to California. Now I want a boyfriend"
      Ditto. /Patrick Swayze
      A list of mods, all cars ever owned and something cribbed from a book, song and/or movie were all just here. Sorry you missed out on my unique, snowflake-like individuality.

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    17. Member Professor Gascan's Avatar
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      10-05-2012 11:21 AM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by SSLByron View Post
      I was hoping for TCL mad libs. This was going to be mine too.
      Glad I'm not the only one.
      Fires are the leading cause of fires.

    18. 10-05-2012 11:24 AM #18
      Put a 2JZ in the miata. Problems all solved!
      "This couldn't possibly break, I'll put it way the **** down there." -every German car engineer.

    19. Member sforsancho's Avatar
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      10-05-2012 11:33 AM #19
      When my 1997 Miata was proving a little impractical, I picked up a 1992 SC300 5-Speed. Great car, great engine. Very similar in layout to the Miata. Fairly agile, dead reliable, reasonably powerful, absolute fuel hog.

      I think I average 16-17MPG, and it doesn't get much better on the freeway. The '03 IS300 wagon I found for my sister is smoother, quieter, more powerful, and nets ~21MPG
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      10-05-2012 11:44 AM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by AKADriver View Post
      Sort of. Like Miatas, they just don't have the ability to really stretch their legs and get good cruising fuel economy if you baby it the way a lot of newer engines do. The 2JZ is an old design (just like the BP) with a lot more internal drag than these newer engines with lighter parts and fancy coatings.

      And to put it in perspective, the only other similar-sized RWD Japanese 4-seater has about the same horsepower and is far, far worse.
      Ehh, I wouldn't say you liked it until you drove one. The back seats are cramped, power is about on par with your Miata save for a little fatter power band, the handling on stock stuff isn't anything to write home about. In fact the handling stock is downright odd, at 7/10th's it is like a scalpel, at 10/10th's it is like a battle axe with pretty bad understeer. i also noticed it hits the bump stops rather abruptly over any large pavement ripples. Then theres the weird feel of the front dampening not matching the rears which just causes the rear to feel some what wallowy and disconnected.They guzzle gas like crazy yet still give Miata like acceleration. I always wanted one, my buddy got one. I drove it street and auto-x and now want nothing to do with it. I guess that's why they say don't drive your hero's and that is what happened at least 4 me.

    21. Member Mike!'s Avatar
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      10-05-2012 12:14 PM #21
      I love manual IS300s, but why on earth does it need to be a $15k one with <60k miles? There's nothing wrong with the $7k 120k ones I see around here. They're pretty reliable cars.

    22. Geriatric Member ValveCoverGasket's Avatar
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      10-05-2012 12:28 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by thetopdog View Post
      When I read the title, I thought it was going to say "So I bought a Miata. I'm moving to California. Now I want a boyfriend"
      yup, same

    23. Member thebanker's Avatar
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      10-05-2012 01:10 PM #23
      Same here too!
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    24. Geriatric Member AKADriver's Avatar
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      10-05-2012 01:24 PM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by bob12312357 View Post
      They guzzle gas like crazy yet still give Miata like acceleration.
      I don't think you meant to reply to me but, a manual IS300 is about a second faster 0-60 and 1/4 mile than an NB Miata.

      It's a car with a lot of flaws, unfortunately there aren't many other cars like it, unless you're willing to buy an out-of-warranty German car (I'm not), buy an RX-8 which handles a ton better but makes the IS300's fuel consumption look like a Prius, go for a G35 which is a good car but I never warmed up to it, or give up on rear wheel drive completely.
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    25. Member Pf3il's Avatar
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      10-05-2012 01:42 PM #25
      get your wheels balanced on a Hunter GSP9700 and tell the tech that if they can't achieve <10 lbs road force variation to index the tires.

      http://www.gsp9700.com/search/findgsp9700.cfm

      PPF alignment?

    26. Geriatric Member AKADriver's Avatar
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      10-05-2012 01:53 PM #26
      Quote Originally Posted by Pf3il View Post
      PPF alignment?
      The NA/NB Miata has a big C-beam connecting the transmission to the diff (like a 'vette). Mazda calls it a Power Plant Frame.

      According to the service manual, if you remove the PPF for some reason (for instance for a diff replacement), you're supposed to replace the bushings inserted into the diff housing that locate the PPF to the diff, and then align the assembly. I've never heard of anyone actually doing this. But, supposedly, a twist or tweak in the PPF exacerbates the 65mph shimmy.

      My car used to have the shimmy but it went away after getting good tires, properly balanced; I wouldn't screw with the PPF unless you know something's wrong.
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    27. Member Pf3il's Avatar
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      10-05-2012 02:30 PM #27
      Quote Originally Posted by AKADriver View Post
      The NA/NB Miata has a big C-beam connecting the transmission to the diff (like a 'vette). Mazda calls it a Power Plant Frame.

      According to the service manual, if you remove the PPF for some reason (for instance for a diff replacement), you're supposed to replace the bushings inserted into the diff housing that locate the PPF to the diff, and then align the assembly. I've never heard of anyone actually doing this. But, supposedly, a twist or tweak in the PPF exacerbates the 65mph shimmy.

      My car used to have the shimmy but it went away after getting good tires, properly balanced; I wouldn't screw with the PPF unless you know something's wrong.
      i know the PPF, just wasn't aware of an alignment issue/procedure, or that it was a contributor to the shimmy.

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      10-05-2012 03:37 PM #28
      Quote Originally Posted by AKADriver View Post
      Welcome to owning a Miata, here's your 68mph shimmy.
      Came to post this.

      Leaving satisfied.
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    29. Member Fisherson's Avatar
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      10-06-2012 02:41 AM #29
      Quote Originally Posted by AKADriver View Post
      I don't think you meant to reply to me but, a manual IS300 is about a second faster 0-60 and 1/4 mile than an NB Miata.

      It's a car with a lot of flaws, unfortunately there aren't many other cars like it, unless you're willing to buy an out-of-warranty German car (I'm not), buy an RX-8 which handles a ton better but makes the IS300's fuel consumption look like a Prius, go for a G35 which is a good car but I never warmed up to it, or give up on rear wheel drive completely.
      So, I've arrived in Vegas, finally got the wifi password at my buddy's apartment.
      The Miata, like I am, is a little worn out. Although, today, cruising at close to ninety for hours through mountains I averaged 28mpg, on 91, which is terrible gas.

      How do people get by on 91?!
      Hahah.


      Thanks for all the responses guys.
      I am going to get the Miata checked out and fixed once I get to California (on Sunday).
      And from there, I will make a decision about what to do next.
      (I also have to get a job, though I have six interviews lined up and I've put out over 100 applications and have connections I will utilize upon arrival.)

      Either way, tomorrow morning I will be making a thread with pictures from the trip.


      Maybe I'm just spoiled from having worked at an Audi/VW dealer for 4.5 years. Driving Audi's all the time can make a Miata with competition motor mounts and diff bushings feel like a bit of a rattletrap. Hahah.

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