Dressing up the Engine Bay

Jim Carroll - jims90miata@yahoo.com
MiataNuts of Hamton Roads

One of the reasons to own a Mazda Miata is that it is an easy car to have fun with. You can make a change and find out it's effect in short order.

My car, a1990 named "Gracie", has the original style valve cover acorn bolts. They have a great finish and accent the vave cover well. My only complaint was there were not enough of them! So like a dummy, I went to the dealer to buy some extras, because I had a check from a birthday burning a hole in my pocket. "No Problem", he stated, and ordered them for me. 6 days
later the wrong parts arrived from Mazda, because the bolts had been superceded by the later version used on the '92. And upon my refusal to accept them, I caught a lot of hassle from everyone in the parts dept., including the manager. They just couldn't seem to grasp the fact I wanted the RIGHT PART!! After vowing to never set foot in their door again, I started Plan "B".

Plan "B" involves the use of common sense, which in itself is a bit of a paradox - If it's so common, why doesn't everyone have it? I went to a local junkyard, U-Wrench-It, in Virginia Beach near Oceana NAS. As it turned out there were no Miatas to be found. But I did find a '91 Mercury Capri. And Lo and Behold, under the hood was a 1.6 liter Mazda DOHC engine! and the valve cover bolts were identical with the Miata's. So I bought the Valve Cover and bolts for $12, the Dealer wanted $30 for the wrong bolts! Also on the lot were 2 Toyota Corolla 1.6 GT's from the late '80's. And holding down the vave cover on these cars were 4ea. chrome plated acorn NUTS! These nuts I got for free, the sales people there are good guys.

The Valve Cover was cleaned up for a friend in the car club. The 11 bolts from the Capri were split amoung 3 users. One member was going to see if one would work on his '99, and lost or misplaced it. So I split the remaining 10 pcs. with J. Dan Cheche for his blue 1990.

Under the valve cover at the front, is a plastic cover with 4 ugly 6mm bolts holding it on. The Valve Cover Bolts replace these perfectly, and improve the looks!! The 5th bolt was used on the brake system's Proportioning valve. The acorn nuts were used for the Throttle Cable Bracket on the Intake Manifold, the Fuse Box on the passenger side fender, the Vacuam Tube Manifold on the Firewall, and on the Ignitor Mtg. Plate on the passenger wheel well. I also came across 2 more of the short acorn bolts from the front of the Valve Cover. I placed these on the Fuel Rail's Fuel Pressure Regulator.

Overall, these changes are small, but they really help to brighten things up. At Ocean View Hardware, I was looking for some Stainless Metric Bolts, and came across a drawer of specialty nuts. And I'll be damned if there weren't some metric acorn nuts in Stainless!! So that's when I lost it and began to spread these things throughout the Engine Bay. 8mm is used on the Master Cylinder, Coil Bracket, Thermostat Housing, Fuel Rail, and the Strut Bar. 6mm is used on the AFM Mounts. 5mm is used on the Ignitor, and the Intake Manifold's Air Valve.

These are all modestly priced items ($1.55 for the 8mm nuts), and after a good cleaning at the local car wash, are easy to accomplish "dress-up" for the average Miata Owner.

Back to the Garage

17 July, 2003