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361 Posts
I'm starting my own build thread since my project build has recently started up again.

I bought my MX5 4 years ago. I bought the car as a daily driver but also to do track days in. Over the first year I did basic mods before going on track days.

GCF Roll Bar

Meister R Coilovers

Sparco Sprint Bucket seats

Sparco steering wheel

Hel Braided lines

Mintex pads



I did my first track day and loved it. Did my second and hated it. I was at Donnington. The track was over booked, loads of red flags, people over taking both sides. Just not a good day with hardly any track time. It was also at this time I found the chassis rail rust. So I fell a bit out of love with the MX5 and the idea of doing more mods.

I also did a Caterham experience day at Silverstone, so for a while all I wanted was a kit car.


After that I just continued using my MX5 as it was for the next 2 years.

Last year I got a new daily driver and did another track day at Donnington and loved it. The level of driving was excellent and got loads of track time. Even at the start of the day I knew I wanted to make my car more track focused and wanted more power. As with many MX5 drivers have experienced, I would catch many cars through the corners but come the straights cars would pull away, then i'd catch them again in the corners.

So with my love for the MX5 back I started ordering bits for a turbo build.

First off was a new radiator from Tegiwa





This was a great job, really fun and great to be working on the car again.

Then more parts started coming in.


Coolant re-route kit


Intercooler and pipework



Then a friend of a friend works at a RX8 breakers so I got some yellow injectors at a good price and cleaned them up.



I also got an ME221 ECU installed.



After this I decided to start stripping parts ready to fit the AEM wideband and continue with turbo specific upgrades.






However when I jacked the car up to take out the O2 sensor, the exhaust was so rusty it either might not come out without the exhaust falling apart or I wouldn't get the new one in. Either way id be without a driveable car. So at this point I decided that if the car is not going to be driven I should get all the underside sorted before anything else. If I carried on and got it turbo'd it would be very hard to then park it for a month or 2 to sort rust and bushes etc.

So off with the suspension it was.




Then stripped down, sand blasted and powder coated.




I've ordered all new ball joints, drop links and rod ends. As well as a set of polybushes.

Next up Im taking the cleaning even further and I'm going to take off the front subframe. This will allow me to get the whole front sorted. There may be a few rust patches that need welding on the inner arches. I have a friend who can weld but at the moment I'm thinking I want to buy a cheap welder and learn myself. This will also allow me to do the rear sills and arches too later in the year.

So that's where I'm at today, due to shift work I won't be able to do much over the next week or so but i'll update when I make more process.



· Registered
361 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
At the moment I'm thinking G19 manifold and downpipe, TD04 turbo and BOFI clutch. I'm open to any advice and recommendations.

I don't know what to do exhaust wise yet, I spoke to Blink motorsport which is where i'll probably get it mapped, about de-cats and high flow cats.

Does anyone use power flow or similar any more? From my exhaust I want a neat install, quiet for track days and neighbours and good flow to make good power.

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455 Posts
Nice project. I've had the same regarding the track days, on a good day they're awesome but on a bad one with not enough power to get past slower cars it can get very frustrating! Even worse when you start chasing lap times.

A turbo will defintely help!

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361 Posts
I had a day off work yesterday and had a productive day. New axel stands arrived so I was able to get the car fully off the ground.


So made a start stripping the rear suspension arms.



Both rear abs sensor bolts snapped but apart from that it all came apart easily.


The passenger side however were not as easy. Both abs bolts snapped, and the long bolt on the rear was solid. 2 hours with a breaker bar, lump hammer and anything else I could throw at it only got it move a little bit. So that will have be sorted another day.


Then it was time to tidy up and press some more bushes out. The uppers came out easy. First bush on the lower was really tight and snapped the threaded bar I was using. So i'll end up pressing the rest out.


So I got all the bolts out of my neatly labelled bags ready for a vinegar bath. I'm sure i'll remember where they all went.


Also my new bush kit arrived as has all new ball joints etc to rebuild everything back up, which hopefully won't take too long. It depends if any welding repairs are need when the subframes are off.



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361 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Only a little bit of progress has been made, due to my daily needing a new gearbox.

The rear uppers I sandblasted and powder coated, and fitted new bushes.



I removed the front subframe, but unfortunately I can't sandblast and powder coat it. So it was 2 days of prep before applying the first coat of POR15 today.




I was hoping to have the front end all back together by the end of next week, but that doesn't look likely as the weather forecast isn't great and the daily's gearbox will need fitting at some point.

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361 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Only a small update. I applied a top coat on my front subframe of Simoniz under guard.


I have now cleaned up and painted the front end, I just need to do a few bits in the engine bay.




It was great to have it a clean and looking good.

Then it was a few more bits to powder coat.




Very pleased with these.

And also the engine mounts, the photos don't do the justice, they are like black glass.



I know have all the front end complete so it will all be going back on soon.

I decided to get the rear subframe off and get all the rear cleaned and painted before I started to put stuff back. I'm unable to get one of the PPF bolts out. Its out of the threaded insert but now its just spinning. I think I will remove the whole PPF with the diff so I can smack it out on the ground.

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361 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I know I've never had a car where the underside will so good.
I don't have a garage so all this is done on the drive. That's why it's taken so long because the weather hasn't been good.

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361 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Passenger side back together.



I'm going to get a full wheel alignment done when its all properly back together, any tips for set up to drive it somewhere. Should I just set the camber bolts to central?

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361 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Front end completely back together and all torqued up.


I then made a start removing the exhaust. All the nuts came off easily. There just the bracket that mounts from the gearbox I couldn't undo. The nut/bolt on the exhaust is too rusty and the bolts in the gearbox I don't have the right tools or space. I may just have to try chopping it off tomorrow.


I've ordered a manifold and downpipe from G19, and i've "won" a turbo off eBay.

I've also been looking at wheels too.

JR11's 15x7 ET30


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361 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
What width wheels do most people run on a turbo mx5? Most of the posts i've read seem quite old and with varying responses. It seems people either run 7j with 195's or an 8j with 205+. A wider rim give me more scope to run bigger and therefore grippier tyres, but if I don't run big tyres it's just a heavier wheel with no benefit.

I"ll be using it as a more track focused car but still on the road.

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188 Posts
Can't comment on wheel/tyre size as I'm still running stock power....

How do you find the Sprint seat? I still haven't got myself one, as I don't want to make the car uncomfy.

Are you using the jass mount adapters?


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361 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The sprint seats are great. The drivers side fits good, the passenger just sits against the door card. I managed to fit them quite far back with a decent amount of recline. I'm 5ft 8" so find them comfy even on longish journeys or all day on track.

I can't remember which brackets I used, but they are side mounts.
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