timing belt, waterpump, etc.


Asked by Mar 21, 2010 at 10:16 AM about the 2001 Mazda MX-5 Miata SE

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Hi Guys,
this is my fourth Miata.  this one is a 2001 SE, 6 speed, with 39k.  she has had regular maintenance at the dealer.  I recently acquired her and decided to drain fluids in trans and rear end and put in redline.  In addition, I flushed cooling system and am now running Mobil 1 which i will of course continue to use every 5-6k.  My concern is that the car, while well maintained, alwayts garaged and in excellent condition is still 9 years old.  Should i be concerned with replacing the timing belt at this time even though the dealer who inspected the car said it was in good shape and suggested that 60k would be soon enough.  the vehicle will probably not get more than 5-6k per year.  I have 3 other vehicles and they are all well maintained (old school BMW standards) and stored in doors when not in use.  thanks you for your insight.  

2 Answers


First of all, congratulations on a terrific purchase. As for your question, the best thing about the timing belt is that it's hidden inside the front cover of the engine, so there's no risk of UV damage as there is with other rubber components, including tires. The only stresses a timing belt gets are heat and wear from being driven. So on the one hand, you're safe staying with the factory spec of 60k. And at the same time, I understand wanting to get it all done at once. So it really amounts to whether your total peace of mind is worth the cost of a timing belt and water pump replacement, just to know you're starting fresh. If you're planning on making any long trips (the Miata party at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca next month, perhaps? Miatas at Moab later in the year? Just some thoughts :-), I for one would feel better in the middle of nowhere knowing that my timing belt had only 147 miles on it. Still, you should be clear that the money is mostly spent for you, not the car; it'll probably run for two more years without touching the timing belt. One other note: my local Miata guru (Eddie Nakato of Adrenaline Racing) has commented that the Miata clutch hydraulics (especially the slave cylinder) have about a two-year lifecycle. Fortunately they're fairly inexpensive, so if you don't have receipts for the last time the clutch cylinders were changed out, it might be a good time to take a deep breath, dig deep into the credit card balance, and have those done at the same time.

2 people found this helpful.

Hi Scott, Many thanks for your sincere and knowledgable response. I bought the car here in north Florida, Jacksonville area. I called the dealer that has serviced the car, in response to your comments. The Service manager is a real nice fellow and when i asked him about the slave cylinder he commented that as long as it isn't leaking he would leave it alone. That being said, he suggested i bring it in and have him pull the boot back and make sure it is not leaking. He did say that when replacing the slave, it's not a bad idea to consider the master cylinder as well since these age at about the same rate and if one is prone to leak the other certainly is at risk. Furthermore, he said out of about 400 Miatas, his experience in 18 years as service manager and tech at the same dealership, he has seen only 4-5 Miatas that have had leaky slaves or masters. I am taking this beauty back to my home in northern Vermont (I'm a 65 year retired builder, car guy and snowbird) at the end of April, so i will take your advice and not do the T belt, water pump, etc. at this time. It will be a summer driver only and properly put up for the winter in my garage, so i anticipate having this jewel around for a while. Knowing me, by the end of the summer i will no doubt have done all of the items discussed here and perhaps a few nice modest upgrades to boot. Thanks again. Happy motoring! Will

3 people found this helpful.

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