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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I figured that as this is going to be a long project, I might as well start a project page to detail the process along the way. Don’t expect it to be fast paced, I can see this taking quite a while given some of the things needed.

A bit of background if you’ve not seen my intro post. I’ve recently found myself the owner of a sort of barn find 1992 SE version mk1. It’s sort of a barn find because it’s been in my barn for 7 years as it belonged to my little brother who had to park it off road as it needed the sills doing and he planned to do some upgrades at the same time.

As projects often do, it slipped when he had kids and it just sat there for years. Very sadly, during the first lockdown last year, my little brother took his own life. It’s taken a year for me to get round to the Mazda and I’d like to bring it back to life as something to hold on to that was his as I have lovely memories of driving places in it with him.

As you can imagine after 7 years in a barn, it’s going to need a fair bit of work. Most immediately, I’ve found that mice have eaten into the wiring so most of the wires under the bonnet are damaged. I need to pick up a loom and try to replace all the various bits under there, hoping it will mostly be a case of unplugging and replugging the various sections. At the same time, I want to remove the alarm/immobiliser because the fob no longer works and I hate alarms anyway. He had a new set of shocks waiting to go on along with a full set of poly bushes.

If I can get the car running by sorting the wiring loom, then it would probably be a case of pulling off the shocks, brakes, wishbones and subframes. Blast and paint the frames and wishbones, replace all the bushes, fit new shocks and then refurb the callipers and might as well fit 1.8 size new discs and pads. Oh and new tyres because they’ve perished.

Cosmetically the car is in reasonable shape, the interior, despite a bit of surface mould on the seat should come up with a decent scrub some leather treatment and the hood needs a new zip out window section.

I’m expecting this to be a long process and, while it’s not ‘money no object’, I’m not trying to make a profit because I plan to keep it long term and just get it to a point where I can enjoy driving it on nice days and perhaps the odd track day and keep it going in my brother’s memory because he loved it.

I also know that I’m bound to uncover more things that need doing once I get started. I’m sure I’ll be in need to lots of advice along the way.


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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Ok, so I seem to officially have a project. Today I went out with the shop vac and removed years of mouse nests, dust, cobwebs, nuts and straw from the engine bay and gave it a good brush over. I can now see just how much of the loom has been nibbled away.

Last time my brother came down, he found the mice had eaten the HT leads so bought some more and those were stored on the shelf. Unfortunately, he didn’t stuff anything into the plug wells and they were full of solid corrosion. Took me two hours with a screwdriver steadily chipping away at it then blowing the bits out with the compressor and vaccuuming them away before I could get a socket on it and gradually get them all loose. I’ve left them in for now and have shoved shop towel into the wells to keep them clean. Also had to take the air filter and shroud off to get to worst of the mouse debris so shoved some shop towel into the air intake so stop anything getting in there too.

Once that was done I cleared out the boot, took out the carpet and gave that a good brush and vacuum. Theres a bit of light rust where the battery goes and where the jack is stored but it’s fairly surface and I’ll add that to the list of work as it’ll need wire brushing, treatment and then some sort of paint or sealant before the carpet goes back.

A quick vacuum through the inside and that was the car done for today so I put some spare shelves in the barn behind the car so I can start storing bits for it until they’re needed. I have another set of shelves to bring in from the other barn which has all the spares he’d bought on them so they can all come to one place.

The next job would seem to be trying to find a replacement engine bay loom for a '92 1.6 SE with anti lock brakes. I called Autolink and they said that looms are so different from model to model you really need to find exactly the same model to get a loom from which sounds like it could be a tough call. Anyone have thoughts on whether that’s true or would most mk1 looks be fairly similar?

As always, pictures:




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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So it’s been a little while, I picked up the steam cleaner and gave the engine bay a once over which revealed just how badly the loom is damaged. I’ve been trying to find a replacement loom but finding one with ABS is proving to be nigh on impossible.
The lovely people at MX5Mania have been trying to source one but they’ve not been able to find anything either. So there appears to be three options really.
  1. Pull the entire loom out and replace it with a standard loom from a 1.6 NA, I’d have to replumb the brakes and this option would leave me with no abs.
  2. Buy a standard 1.6 loom and then splice in sections of the new loom where the damaged sections are in the old loom. 1 cable at a time, soldering and heatshrinking everything. For sections of the ABS wiring, I’d just have to make up new bits from the remaining new loom peices. Turns out NA looms are built as a single piece, there are no connectors so it’s an all or nothing change.
  3. Just wait and hope for the correct loom to turn up on the used market but that might not even happen so let’s discount that.
Given I’m planning to up grade the power eventually. I’d really like to keep ABS as I think it’s one of the best safety devices on modern cars (despite learning to cadence brake many years ago) but it does sound like a really tough way of doing things and very time consuming. Plus I’d be left with a loom that’s full of repairs and solder joints so any future problems would be a nightmare to trace down I expect.
Any thoughts on those two options from the crowd?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
One thing I have bought is replacement brakes. Trying to move the car showed the brakes to be seized and I ended up having to drag the car with the tractor and a pulley system to get it back in the barn. So, for the sake of just being able to push it around within the barn it makes sense to sort the brakes out. I could refurbish all the callipers myself which is a bit of a sod of a job but I’d like to upgrade the brakes at some point anyway and MX5Mania had a very lightly used big brake kit that had just come off a car so that’s sitting here waiting to go on and I might as well fit some braided lines while I’m at it and that’s an entire new uprated braking system to be fitted with new fluid for the princely sum of around £300.
 

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One thing I have bought is replacement brakes. Trying to move the car showed the brakes to be seized and I ended up having to drag the car with the tractor and a pulley system to get it back in the barn. So, for the sake of just being able to push it around within the barn it makes sense to sort the brakes out. I could refurbish all the callipers myself which is a bit of a sod of a job but I’d like to upgrade the brakes at some point anyway and MX5Mania had a very lightly used big brake kit that had just come off a car so that’s sitting here waiting to go on and I might as well fit some braided lines while I’m at it and that’s an entire new uprated braking system to be fitted with new fluid for the princely sum of around £300.
I did this exact change to my mk2 and it was worlds apart, I think the braided lines made a lot of difference to the pedal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
OK, so here’s the state of the wiring loom, almost every single wire is attacked at some point, even the ones under the headlights. I really don't think repairing the wires is practical.
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Temple Wood Organism Sculpture Working animal
Jaw Automotive tire Wood Gas Automotive wheel system
Tire Automotive tire Tread Wood Alloy wheel
Automotive tire Hood Motor vehicle Automotive fuel system Tread
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Wood Terrestrial plant Gas Natural material Close-up

Motor vehicle Automotive tire Gas Circuit component Electrical wiring

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Automotive tire Wood Gas Automotive wheel system Rim

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I think I'm definitely leaning towards removing the abs. There's so much to do and repairing that would be a really long and difficult task. many of the wires are so short you'd have to remove them from the plugs to replace and that's bound to end up damaging the plugs beyond repair and then you're back to square one.

Current plan is to get it up on stands and possibly build a frame for the chassis rails to sit on rather than just have it on axle stands. Then in no particular order do the following.

remove wheels, brakes and shocks
remove bonnet
removes seats
remove interior carpet
remove front wings & bumper
use a suspension bar to support engine
remove loom
remove front subframe
remove suspension wishbones etc
remove rear subframe
remove abs system and all brake lines
strip bushes from suspsension arms and subframe
blast and powder coat suspension arms and subframes
repair rusted sills and possible rear wings if needed
treat surface rust on inner wings and coat with undersea of some type. Not sure which options to use for this yet.
treat surface rust in engine bay.
treat surface rust under car and wheel wells
treat surface rust in boot

fit new loom
new braided brake lines throughout
new poly bushes into suspension arms and subframe
new silicone hoses throughout engine bay
refit subframes and suspension arms etc
fit new suspension (coil overs already in hand)
fit new brakes (big brake kit already purchased)
refurbish wheels and fit new tyres
refit wings/carpet etc
see if it starts
service engine.
MOT
Drive it at last.
 
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