Lack of Running Woes Of My Karlino Miata

My lack of recent posting has been due to chasing down a P0402 engine error code in my 1999 Mazda Miata (I’ve named Karlino).  After I drove home this past Monday night, it would not start.  The motor turned over fine, but it was like there was no gas or spark arriving.

Sad Karlino Miata

Thus far I’ve made use of an OBD-II scanner to reveal the possible issues.  What was revealed were these 2 codes:

  • P0402 – EGR Flow Excessive
  • P1345 – Manufacturer Control Ignition System or Misfire

Doing research on, I decided to start with the intake manifold clean out procedure.  I removed the top of the intake manifold to clean out the gunk from a critical passageway.

Miata inside intake manifold top

Apparently that is something that one ought to do every 50 – 60K miles on Miatas.  I also learned that working on a car at or below 40 degrees makes for difficult removal of hoses & wires.  I used 1/2 a can of throttle body cleaner & about 15 Q-tips.  It got more open & cleaner, but I still could not see into the hole – there’s a bend in there somewhere.  I should have bought some pipe cleaners, oh well…

Once I got it buttoned back up, did it start up?  Hell, no!  I’ve since ordered NGK blue spark plug wires & NGK spark plugs – I’ll get those tomorrow.

NGK Spark Plug Wire set

I’ll see if that helps.  Then, to test the fuses with a multimeter.  I just picked this up from Harbor Freight Tools (my favorite “toy” store) for less than $3.00.

CEN-TECH 7 Function Digital Multimeter

Let’s see if I make headway.  What with all the cranking on the battery, I doubt it’s going to hold a charge for much longer.  Can’t afford a new battery, yet…jeesh!

Well, like a friend (a Most Interesting Man) recently told me, I’m saving money & appreciating the journey of working on Karlino.  But my wife finds cooperative car pooling a pain… Racing Ready just wants some relief, so we can continue blogging…


Busy Amateur Racing Opportunities Weekend

Tomorrow (Saturday, 20/FEB/2010) will be the beginning session for the Chrono-X Time Trial Series at Harris Hill Road.  I had planned to set up an AMSOIL vendor booth at the event, but that opportunity fell through – there will be NO vendors at all!  Damn…  Therefore, I’ll be there in blogger mode…

Sunday (21/FEB/2010) will be the SASCA 2010 Autocross #2, at the Blossom Athletic Center (just north of the San Antonio Airport).

Blossom Athletic Center - Google Street View

This should be a fun & interesting event for a number of reasons:

  • The weather will be at least 25 degrees warmer than our last autocross event – FrozenCross
  • There is a chance for some thunderstorms the evening prior to the event – should make for some interesting runs in the morning session, as the lot dries off…
  • I’ll be Eventmaster of this autocross.  This entails my designing the course (with excellent help & feedback from Ricky [SASCA President] & Jay [SASCA Co-Veep]) & being responsible for getting it set up, in a timely fashion.  I’ll give no hints as to the course layout, except to say it will run clockwise (mostly…)
  • As of this writing, there are currently 142 entries!  Holy smokes – that’s a LOT of entries.  This’ll make for busy day!

We’ll see what all happens when I get settled down into next week.
Till then, here’s Racing Ready saying, “See you out there!”


Gymkhana at H2R – Maneuverability w/Speed

H2R Gymkhana Panorama with Clubhouse

The Harris Hill Road Gymkhana event this past weekend was fun, but it wasn’t in the true tradition of a tight, small, precision gymkhana course like this vintage Mini Cooper video.

I had hoped for lower/slower speeds & a much tighter course.   I guess it’s true what they say…everything’s bigger in Texas!  One of the participants stated, accurately, that it might be best to call this an H2Rkhana, for their unique combination of maneuverability with speed & fun!

H2R Gymkhana Panorama with Santa Rita turn in the background

My Miata buddy Craig, the 2009 Most Interesting Man of SASCA, lent his own special flavor of panache.  I was able to do a ride-along with him on his first run.  I hadn’t laughed like that is a while – it was good fun!  Here is one of his later runs from this event.

Also, as icing on the cake, Craig was encouraged to do one of his trademark burnouts (having a Line Lock on your car helps)!  And wouldn’t you know it, Bo Rivers (H2R Owner) welcomed this type of behavior. It was an event to see what additional challenges your car could experience beyond those of autocrossing, like e-brake turns, full on the rev-limiter IN REVERSE, purposefully hitting a cone, using cross track water drainage to your advantage (or peril) & so on…

Craig's Trademark Miata Burnout

Here’s the leader board, Top Gear style, after the event…  Of the 18 entries, you’ll see that 1/2 were Mazda Miatas, 1990 to 2009.

The Harris Hill Road Gymkhana Event Leaderboard

Racing Ready is looking forward to see how the versatile crew at Harris Hill Road will push the gymkhana envelope next time. Dan

EVO RoadRally Thru Snowy NY Southern Tier

Here’s a contrast – see how our amateur SCCA racing buddies in New York State play…

Finger Lakes SCCA frozen (traffic) snow cones!

This is an officially sponsored event being put on by the Finger Lakes Region SCCA.  It’s a RoadRally & here’s their introductory explanation of what this type of event is all about:

SCCA RoadRally & RallyCross

The Rally program runs year round and encompasses both Time-Speed-Distance events (RoadRally) and course-type rally events (RallyCross). Our TSD rallies include local events and series, Divisional events as well as National events. RallyCross combines the competition of SCCA Solo with the thrill and skill of competing off road.

RallyCross courses often include dirt, gravel and pavement and are prescribed by cones, like autocross. One car navigates the course at a time, with the lowest elapsed time from the start of the course to the finish winning.


All EVO Road Rally image from Finger Lakes SCCA

Here’s the description of their upcoming RoadRally to explain it all:

A rally of approximately 180 “interesting” miles using paved and unpaved roads in the New York Southern Tier. In keeping with the winter rally series format, this is an evening TSD rally run at speeds within the local speed limits.

Snow tires are recommended (all season tires may limit your speed group eligibility), tow rope/strap, and 90 minutes of flares or one DOT triangle are required to compete.

The Rally starts at Charlie Riedel’s Restaurant in Canandaigua, NY
on Routes 5 & 20 (Eastern Blvd). Finish location still TBD.

$35/car for SCCA members, $45/car for guests Equipped, Limited, Stock, and Novice classes.

Schedule: Registration 3:00 to 4:00 PM
Novice school 3:30 PM
Driver’s Meeting 4:10 PM
First car starts 4:31 PM

Flyer available:

RoadRally Subaru, carving through a frozen, unpaved corner at speed!

RoadRally Subaru, working a frozen, unpaved  course section at speed!

Ten days ago I was just about 70 miles east of the region where this RoadRally is planned to take place.  At the time, the roads were fully plowed (for those of you not “snow-experienced”, that means relatively dry & free snow/ice, with a variety of slush along the sides).  But Mother Nature is fickle & additional snow could come their way to make the trek that much more interesting.  Also of note, some of the roads are unpaved…

One other thing I’m curious about; why are they starting out SO late?  They’re only going to have about 1+ hour of light before the sun goes down.  Makes you want to consider mounting rally lights on a roof rack!

Racing Ready hopes to find  some posted feedback on this event to see how it all went.


These color photos are courtesy of – Nice work!

Stanford’s Robotic Audi – Pikes Peak w/NO Driver

The antithesis to driving/racing – technology is cool, but no one’s there behind the wheel & pedals.  There’s no personal challenge!  But for full disclosure, here’s what Stanford University is challenging themselves to do – driverless!

eShelly was named after the Michele Mouton, the first woman to win the race up Pikes Peak.

Stanford’s Robotic Audi
To Brave Pikes Peak Without A Driver

The Center for Automotive Research at Stanford has developed a new contender for the Pikes Peak course: A robotic car that drives itself.
(By Christine Blackman, a science-writing intern at the Stanford News Service)

We’ll have to wait till September 2010 to see how this all works out…

Racing Ready is both skeptical & curious – what do YOU think!


Racing Ready Synthetics, AMSOIL Dealership

New Independent AMSOIL Dealership Launched

Racing Ready announces the launch of it’s new Independent AMSOIL Dealership that caters to the needs of the amateur motorsport enthusiast & participant.   We are your synthetic lubrication solution for your motor vehicle.  Be it a racing machine or a daily driver, all vehicles deserve proper lubrication protection.  In addition to the ease of ordering product directly online (& looking up AMSOIL products that are correct for your vehicle’s application), Dan will be taking Racing Ready Synthetics to many of these racing events, car shows & other motorsports enthusiasts venues, offering quality synthetic lubrication products to support the performance goals of amateur motorsport racers.

This sales endeavor is: Racing Ready Synthetics

Dan Scanlon, editor of Racing Ready, promotes, supports & showcases motorsport participants in a variety of competition venues.  These range from spirited local autocross competition, to high performance drivers education (HPDE) events & even road racing competition. Also featured are up & coming talented individuals climbing the challenging ladder of racing involvement.

For more details & answers to your lubrication questions, contact Dan here.  To conveniently order, the Authorized AMSOIL Dealer link is on the left side of this page.

AMSOIL Authorized Dealer logo for Racing Ready Synthetics

This is the announcement Racing Ready has been alluding to for the last few weeks.  I am looking forward to a variety of promotional opportunities for AMSOIL products.  Please consider these superior & cost effective synthetic lubrication products I offer for sale.


1st Ever H2R Gymkhana

Over the past 1.5 years, when I’ve researched autocross outside the US, the term Gymkhana has continued to appear in my searches.  Here in the US many have been awestruck by the artistic driving antics of Ken Block.  Well, here in South/Central Texas we’ll finally have a chance to experience & compete in a Gymkhana in person!

Gymkhana T-Shirt

Harris Hill Road is inaugurating their 1st Ever H2R Gymkhana.  Here are all the details, provided by Eric Beverding, of H2R:

Gymkhana is a gymnastic test of your driving skills and your car’s  abilities. It’s not so much about speed–imagine stunt driver (you) meets daily driver (your car) in a series of challenging events requiring quick thinking, lots of sudden, simultaneous control inputs and a cool-headed command of situational awareness.  From a standing start to test your best launch through a carve versus slide 180, down to an either or, inside or outside line snap decision, through a 360 degree pivot, then an optional slalom followed by a high-speed lane change and a blind, random asteroid field of mini-cones. Don’t hit those, but a must-topple, late apex murder cone follows, and a downhill, limited adhesion garage parking maneuver requires a full stop, then select reverse and back uphill 100 yards through a coned gate, stop, relaunch, around a gate, miss the garage and take your checkered flag.

Sound easy? Think again. Fun and challenging is the name of the game and by the last run of the day, you and your car will have a closer personal relationship.  Guaranteed.

Cost is $40 for members and $50 for non-members.
All registration is going through Club

Eric Beverding
2840 Harris Hill Rd.
San Marcos, TX 78666
512.692.7190 (Austin)
210.807.4570 (San Antonio)

Register here:
Login/sign up and select”

  • Organization->Race Track
  • Club->Harris Hill Road
  • Event Type->All

To give you a taste of what maneuvers are used in a Gymkhana event, here’s a video from the UK I’ve posted before.  Talked about ballet on wheels…

Racing Ready will be there to witness this event.  I’ll admit I’m too chicken to compete – maybe at the next one…


P.S. – “Reverse and back uphill 100 yards?!?!?!”  Wow, that’ll be a sight!