Mazda Miata/MX5 Enthusiast's Shop Manual

Reviewed by: Greg Maiser -

Authors:Rod Grainger and Pete Shoemark

The organization is, at best, fair. The table of contents is not really sequential, it's more like a crippled index. Each chapter is listed sequntially, but then subsections are listed (by heading) in alphabetical order. But it completely lacks a comprehensive index.

It HAS proven itself useful in helping to figure out how to get things apart, and more importantly, back together again. But FINDING that information seems to take as long as doing the repair job itself. An index would have been a nice feature.

And some of the information is of questionable value. A case in point - removing the eyeball vents on the dash is (in my opinion) best done by fishing a string or wire through the front, and pulling them out. The guide describes PRYING them out with screwdrivers, and (admittedly jokingly) shows a photo where they appear to be using a crowbar to remove them. IN THE TEXT - they say it's a joke - but if I were to just look at the picture to get a quick idea of a job, I might be led into thinking this was an appropriate technique. As an afterthought, they mention that using string is another way you might use to get them out. Maybe it's in the index?

As one source of information, it could be of value. But I wouldn't want it to be my ONLY source. It created a step between total ignorance and the amount of technical expertise needed to use the factory shop manual. But I prefer the factory book.

This car needs a John Muir. There is an opportunity just waiting for someone to write a Miata equivalent to the "How to Keep Your VW Alive. The Compleat Idiots Guide."

These are the best books for the average do-it-yourself mechanics ever written. I have them for both air and water cooled VW's, Subarus, Datsun/Nissan trucks... But why not my Miata?? We certainly have a following that rivals the VW crowd...

    You heard it here first...

Reviewed by: David Hirsch -

Found it generally useful but with one glich.The front caliper mounting bolt torque specs are wrong.The manual quotes 58-65 lbs ft for this bolt,too high by about 35 lbs ft I was later told.Being a person who blindly follows manual specs,I stripped out the theaded section on both front calipers where these bolts seat and had to replace them.This was after changing out the pads and rotors 3 or 4 times.Since I know this is a widely read manual,I am wondering why this hasen't been noted and corrected.Anyone have any idea?

Reviewed by: Stephen Foskett -

The Miata/MX-5 Bible. Lots of photos and good information.

This book got rave reviews on the 'Net, even being praised over the Mazda shop manuals. I was very happy to get it as a Christmas gift. It is almost as good as everyone said! Very informative, and loads of useful photos and information! In all, I heartily recommend getting this book! Others have praised it well, so I will stick to the few areas in which it is lacking. I was a bit displeased in its coverage of certain areas: The radio/speakers section is mostly absent. There is no information at all about a few US things like the key/seatbelt warning buzzer or the third brake light. There is no real index and the page, section, and paragraph numbering scheme can get confusing.

Despite these areas, the Enthusiasts Manual covers most things very well. It is easily worth the money, it's just not the ONLY book one would need to work on their Miata! Combine this book with the information on Miata.Net and you're well on the way without putting down $100 for the shop manuals!

Reviewed by: Lester Seal -

First some background on myself.

In the US I have been in the auto repair business for 25 years, worked for a Mazda dealer for 12 years prior to opening up my own shop a year ago. My wife and I own 2 Miatas. A 1990 B and a 1993 LE both since new.

When I was asked if I would write a review on this book, I thought, why not? I had flipped through the pages in the past, but did not really take a good look at them. Hey, I may even learn something.

Jumping to the chase, this book is a must for every Miata/MX5 owner, whether you do your own work on the car or not. After reading through this book, I would really be hard pressed to find fault with any of the information given. The author actually disassembles his MX5 (he is from England) in a regular domestic garage without a lift, or a lot of specialty tools. Everything they do, most weekend mechanics could do with the help of this book, and if they think the work should be performed by a professional, they say so.

The two most exemplary parts of the book are the diagnostic sections and the very informative photographs of all the procedures performed (the book has over 1600 illustrations and photos). Being from England, the author's car is right hand drive, but this does not effect the information given on the car in anyway (in fact, the book was Americanized for it's audience market). The book is most handy for owners of 1990-1993 1.6L cars, but a lot of the information can be used on the 1994-1997 cars. Being English, these guys overhaul or repair many things that would not normally be attempted in the US. Things like window regulators, starters, alternators, brake and clutch cylinders. The book covers everything from changing a spare tire, to overhauling the engine and transmission.

A well written book, with much more information than the Mazda workshop manual. The photographs in the book show step by step, every detail of what is being done on each particular part, making it easy for the novice to "picture" what is being described in the text. Diagnostic sections with logical step by step instructions funnelling you
down to a diagnoses of a particular problem.

Oh yes, even a touch of that British humor (watch for Wally, the fictional technical adviser they blame all their mistakes on). After reading through the book, I did learn many little tid bits of information that will make my job easier in the future. I think the average Miata/MX5 owner will find it a wealth of valuable information.

Lester Seal.

Mazda Miata/MX5 Enthusiast's Shop Manual
By Rod Grainger and Pete Shoemark
Published by Veloce Publishing PLC.

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16 February, 1999