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Noisy Mazda Miata Speedometer Cable – Eliminate the wobble.


girl on speedometer gauge

 

Miatas are known for speedometer cable noise and associated needle wobble.  The obvious symptom is a loud clicking sound that varies with speed, and a bouncing or wobble of the speedometer needle when driving.  You may find it is worse when hot, or when cold.

The standard fix is to simply replace the cable.  The cable is relatively inexpensive ($80), and can be changed fairly easily.  If you check the regular Miata forums, you will hear that it is impossible to lubricate an existing cable.  I will admit that buying a new cable is a sure fire way to fix, and that most lubrication efforts fail.  However, if you want to give it a try, this is what I did that worked.

First, disconnect the speedometer cable connection from the transmission end.  Carefully unhook it from the two tie downs that hold the cable against the transmission tunnel.  Then gently pull the cable into the engine compartment.   Inside the connector is a round pin with a tang on it that spins.  This drives the cable that goes to the speedometer.  The pin is in a small little cup.  What I did is strap the cable vertically so that you can fill the cup with oil, and let it slowly drain into the cable sheathing.  I used a small amount of used synthetic motor oil.  I filled the cup up about fives times over 30 minutes.  Take your time, I think the longer you leave the cable end higher than the speedometer, the better your results.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

Parts required to rebuild Mazda Miata Shifter Turret


girl mechanic working on mazda miata

After 140K miles,both of my Miata’s rubber shifter boots were rotten and ripped.  I decided while I was replacing them, I would also perform a full shifter turret rebuild.  There are many guides that document how to perform the actual rebuild, however there seems to be confusion on what parts are required.    I replaced all bushings, this consists of two bushing shells, the half-moon side bushing, and the tip of shifter bushing.   In addition, I replaced both wavy washers, and both rubber boots.  I used the NC style inner boot and it fit perfectly.

Some of the guides show a shim washer that can also be replaced.   My car contained neither shims, and I did not add them.  After rebuild, the shift feel was noticeably better, less slop and more feel.  This is a cheap, easy and well worth project on any Miata with a couple miles and years on it.

miata shifter bushings

Official Mazda Miata Parts list for Transmission Shifter Turret Rebuild

BOOT,DUST (R501-17-47Z) 
BUSH (M501-17-515) 
BUSHING, SHIFTER (0398-17-462A) 
INSULATOR (NA01-64-481B) 
INSULATOR,LEVER (M501-17-501) 2 required
WASHER,WAVE (M505-17-482) 2 required

 

miata turret rebuild parts

Verizon FIOS box keeps beeping and red battery light is on


Battery-Girl-2

So you suddenly notice that your FIOS box, usually mounted in your basement or garage, is beeping. On closer inspection, the red replace battery light is on. If you call Verizon, you will also learn that they will not replace the battery, it is your responsibility. They will sell you a new one, but it is not cheap.

Now that you know this, you have two options that will save you a lot of money. The first is to simply reset the unit. It seems that the FIOS box will often erroneously report that you have a bad battery, when you actually do not. To do this, unplug the FIOS box. Then open the battery compartment. Inside will be the sealed battery with two wires coming from it. Remove either the black or red connector, it may be easier to do if you slightly remove the battery by pressing down on the two plastic clips holding it place. Then wait for a minute or two after unplugging the battery. Then reconnect, close up the panel, and plug the box back into AC. At this point, you most likely will notice that the red light goes out, and no more beeping.

If this does not work, it means your battery is bad. You can buy a replacement locally, or order from Amazon here.  To install, remove power, open box, and remove both connectors.  Remove the battery and replace with the new one.  Make sure you hook up the red lead to the positive battery terminal, and the black lead to the negative.  Close everything up, and turn back on.  Congratulate yourself on saving some bucks and eliminating the annoying beep. Verizon FIOS Battery Backup

fios battery backup

A simple way to monitor for any changes in your Node.js application and magically restart the server


computer girl success

In most of my Node.js application servers, I add a simple section of code at the end which watches specific application files, and terminates the server if any are changed.  In tandem with PM2, this allows the code to restart automatically when either pushing a new version, or directly making changes to the code.

There are other applications like nodemon that provide similar functionality, however I feel that PM2 is a better overall process management system.  This capability was not available, so I just added it directly into my applications.

In my application, I perform a simple process.exit(), however you may prefer to raise a signal in your application so you can gracefully shutdown.

console.log('Starting filename watch');

function restartServer(event, filename) {
    console.log('event is: ' + event);
    if (filename) {
        console.log('filename provided: ' + filename);
    } else {
        console.log('filename not provided');
    }
    process.exit(0);
}

fs.watch('jobs_processor.js', restartServer);
fs.watch('lib/hercle_jobs/lib/hercle_jobs.js', restartServer);
fs.watch('lib/hercle_jobs_v2.js', restartServer);
fs.watch('lib/ims_utility.js', restartServer);

How to Rotate Logs using PM2 Process Manager for Node.js


girl reading service manual

Pm2 is a great utility for keeping your Node production applications running.  It  provides high-level process management, and consolidates all your logs into one common location.  In addition, you can view those logs in a real-time manner using the PM2 logs command.

I now use PM2 in all new Node installations, heavily depending on its ability to capture all Node output into easily organized logs.  One feature lacking is the built-in ability to rotate your log files.  This can create some pretty large files if you are not careful.  Because PM2 does not accept a signal to rotate the log, you need to use the copytruncate capability of logrotate.   Simply add the following in a file called PM2 in /etc/logrotate.d. You can change the frequency (daily, weekly, etc),  number of copies to keep (rotate 5), and you can use the compress option if you want the logs to be compressed when rotated.  I usually skip this step, I prefer to easily be able to access the files without having to uncompress first.

Let me know if you have any other handy tips for using PM2.

/root/.pm2/logs/*.log {
daily
rotate 5
missingok
notifempty
sharedscripts
copytruncate
dateext
}

 

Node.js – fs.open/fs.writeFile, mode, file permissions, umask, and how they interact


Girl Reading Book
While working with Node.js recently, I ran into a situation with the mode parameter used in several functions; fs.open, fs.appendFile, fs.writeFile, etc. When trying to create a new file and specifying a specific mode parameter to allow user and group writes, I found that the file would get created, however would have the wrong permissions.  After much experimenting, I realized that the Linux server’s umask was getting applied, and preventing the creation of a file with the permissions I wanted.

The work around turned out to be fairly simple, although it does create a slight security hole, and should only be used in cases where you can control access to the application.

I simply wrapped the file create calls with the following code :

oldmask = process.umask(newmask);
fs.open(path, flags, [mode], callback)
process.umask(oldmask);

This only needs be performed when the open (or other method) will create a new file.  Let me know if you have experienced a similar issue, and if you have found other solutions to resolve.