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· Banish a little rust a day people
5,525 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all! As it has been 2 years since I brought my mx5 and I have lost many, many days of my life to reading other people's thread I thought I'd start my own. This is mainly going to be a dumping ground for service history and the progress of the car. Now about that last bit... as I've said I have had the car 2 years now so I have pretty much got it to where I want it to be cosmetically with not much else left to do. As a result this first post is more of a catch up with all I've done over two years so isn't going to be in order.

The plan for the car is to go for a street tuned OEM+ look. By this I mean the best of the factory options from the various models and special editions, or close to factory parts with a few little extras thrown in to get it as close to 160bhp and maintain driveability. Currently the parts left include:


Mazdaspeed/stage 1 cams



Paint Lorbers

Alloy radiator

4-1 racingbeat header


Meister coilovers

Coolant reroute

Current to do list:

Repair hole at base of A pillar
Repair hole in boot
Repair chassis rails
Clean up front ARB mounts
Remove snapped bolt for power steering reservoir bracket

Tiny hole in rear arch

repaint/ new Passenger window A pillar
repair underseal and remove rust
new exhaust heat shield
repaint spoiler (professionally done)
new brake lines
new brake hoses
repaint engine bay
remove rust and paint brackets in engine bay
remove rust from metal behind bumper/ baby teeth
remove rust from bumper mount
remove rust from metal behind rear bumper

remove rust from power steering rack
remove rust and paint behind wings
add splitter (stops my lip scraping)

Make new number plate bracket, likely to attach to splitter

paint engine block (if can be arsed)

front wishbones (electrolyse and por15)
rear wishbones (electrolyse and por15)
trackrod ends (electrolyse and por15)
Poly bush ARBs only

OEM rubber bushes

New brake dust covers

Remove and shot blast/powder coat:
upper strut brace
under body bracing
front subframe
rear subframe
front ARB
rear ARB
Rear bumper support

Doesn't look like much on paper does it...

I don't have a picture of the car when I brought it, mainly out of embarrassment as it was a bit of a shed. Picture your typical rusty mk2 with bubbling arches, rusty sills, broken ARB links, rusty brakes, rotten exhaust, covered in filth and human slime with no brake pads, and I mean no brake pads; a fact that was omitted until after our first roundabout on the test drive. However the engine was mint at 65,000 miles, the cambelt had just been done, the softtop was new and it came with a hardtop. So a fresh pair of underwear and a haggle later I had my first mx5.

First things first I sorted a number of issues out:

Full service (plugs, HT leads, oil filter, fuel filter, air filter, new coolant, engine oil, gear oil, diff oil, brake fluid, clutch fluid)

cleaned up a few marks in the paint

Upper and lower shift boots

Fresh turret oil

rebuilt all 4 calliper with new pins, seals and boots (a few times as the quality of the replacement kits aren't great IMO)

Deep clean including a clay and collinite (buy this stuff its awesome!)

new hoses where needed

new thermostat housing

two new front wings (thanks JYD!)

decent tyres

Full alignment

POR15 underside

camcover seal


new abs sensors

I repaired the broken ARB links, put some cheap pads on it which I found in the boot, why they weren't on the car I have no idea but they looked like they had been in the boot a while. As the exhaust was rotten I found a number in the yellow pages and rocked up, it was literally a farm but the guy knew his stuff and built me a single piece 2" straight through catback exhaust with a 3" tip for £200. I asked for something that purr'd along but sounded like a Wookie's battle cry under load and the guy delivered, I'm really happy with it and will try and get a video at some point.

I also had the sills repaired at mx5restorer for peace of mind which involved driving it across country from Plymouth. A year later I took it to a local garage and had the arch done which looks amazing, I also got the front lip and skirts resprayed at the same time for free on the condition I did the prep.

I think this is the closest picture I have to when I brought it. You can still see the rust on the arch. The exhaust had been done and I had painted the wheels with halfords 'bmw sparkling granite' which is still holding up well now. I also painted the callipers on the car.

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For added VTEC points and to achieve maximum dampness of the ladies it also came with a honda fuel filler cap, mainly because I spotted it was missing and no others at the dealership would fit.

POR15 and clean up of the underside (a few months later, excuse the dirt)

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Once all that was sorted I started the modding. I took the stickers off the windows to give it a cleaner look and added a OEM strut brace I found cheap on ebay, to which I added a sticker (ALL THE BHP!!!!!!). I also started hitting the paint pretty hard and painted the throttle body, radiator retainers with calliper paint and the camcover with VHT paint and polished the scuttle.

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To the strut brace I attached a (badly) fabricated MC brace. It is a L shaped piece of metal with a few washers electrically taped onto the end to ensure correct spacing and prevent wear on the MC as I've heard using a bolt can cause.

Fairly recently the battery light came on while driving so I rebuilt the alternator and painted it (yup, red) but it turned out to be a faulty battery. It has lasted 17 years so overall I was ok about it. I went with a mazda provided OEM panasonic unit based off the back of this.

After that I had a leaky calliper so pulled all of them off for a proper rebuild. I took the opportunity take the rust off with a wire wheel, well 13 to be exact and repaint them properly off the car. It took a week and is not a job I want to do again. During this I replaced the pads with mtecs and added some mintex dimpled and grooved discs.

There were then a small number of things I attacked with paint. The reflectors where painted with badly colour matched halfords paint, I got a full refund but it being slightly darker has grown on me and fits the sleek blacked out look I'm going for. I also tinted the indicators using a fine mist of engine enamel then a coat of clear while still wet. The headlights were detango'd and the inserts painted black.

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Made a plate relocation bracket after seeing how good it looked from someone on here. Initially I had it a bit lower but I kept grounding it on bumps and multistory car park ramps so moved it. However this does mean I have about 1/2" ground clearance on speed bumps as standard. I also added a bit of plastic to the cup holder to stop cans falling over. I need to paint this black though as I dont like it in the current colour, it doesnt fit the look of the interior. Front and rear tow eyes painted in you guessed it, red.

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A foamectomy of the seats and new ebay special gear knob with a momo spacer occurred. The seats feel so much better. They actually feel like your sat in a seat and not just on a lump of foam. I sit about 3" lower and 2" further back with the benefit of much greater support, not enough for track use but easily enough for fast road use. I was pretty aggressive with the drivers side as you can see.

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I've added little red accents to a number of things throughout the car to try and bring the interior and exterior colour schemes together as best I can, such as the lighter indentation. On the subject of which, I painted the needles red, took the green backing off the dials and added LEDs. The lights not completely even but it's close enough and I'm not convinced you can get it much better.

Trip computer Speedometer Odometer Tachometer Gauge

Further in keeping with the red theme I added a set of footwell lights. These are wired into the map light with a custom harness using a spare set of map light plugs so it can be removed completely and no wire splicing was needed. Its set to come on and off when the doors open and close but I have two switches so they can be permanently turned off or turned on at will.

Got some mazdaspeed style seatbelt covers to add to the interior styling a little and compensate for just how much the foamectomy has dropped the seating position and consequently belt position. I am actually very impressed with the quality, they were £5 from china on ebay.

Finally I got a cheap spoiler, again off the bay and painted it ready for fitting. I'm not a fan of the 3 point mazda spoilers some of the mk2s came with nor the mazdaspeed one which is well out of my price range and rare as unicorn poop so I went with what I think is a copy of a 2 point mk1 spoiler, just with higher legs and more of a tilt. I was a bit unsure about it tbh as you dont see many 5s with aftermarket spoilers that arent BGW and I didnt want it too look to ricey.

When spray painting safety first kids.

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Its not easy to get a picture of it that doesnt make it look a bit odd. It looks great in the flesh though.

Right I think that brings me all up to date at current, only took 3 hours to upload and write it all...

Finally a few pictures of how the car sits currently

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· Banish a little rust a day people
5,525 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
A few weeks ago I saw a set of Lorbers on ebay. I really liked how they looked on my mk1 and had regretted selling the car with them still on but was unsure about how they would look on a mk2. So I made a cheeky offer for half the price advertised thinking it might be worth a shot if I could get them cheap and it was accepted!!! A mate has recently just finished shot blasting them for me so I should have them painted and the lip polished in a few weeks. I will see how they look and whether I like them which will determine whether I sell them on or keep them. I was really surprised with the condition of them, they were a little dirty but only one lip had a tiny bit of rash, the other 3 were mint and all 4 had center caps. Ideally I want to get a compressor and gun to do them with but funds might not allow.

Got Dish??

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· Banish a little rust a day people
5,525 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Looking good man.

Something needs to be done with the 'wood' trim though :p
Cheers. I did think that initially but it's kind of grown on me, when it catches the sun its quite a deep red so ties in with the rest of the car a bit. I also like to think of it as a reminder 'not to rice', lol.

· Banish a little rust a day people
5,525 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Nice clean work you done there :) not a fan of the new wheels but each to there own.
Yeh I'm not sure either, i think its the width of the spokes and how plain the lines of them are. They can be made to look quite nice though, here's a pic of a set on the mk1 when I had it.

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Ideally I want a set of rays GN-Rs but they are stupidly rare. There was a set on ebay a few weeks ago, very badly advertised (just as 15" alloys) buy it now for £100 but I decided to see if I could get them cheaper through bidding and they were taken down on the 4th day. I'v been kicking myself ever since.

· Banish a little rust a day people
5,525 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I got mine off a local breaker so I cant say for certain but it looks to be the same

· Banish a little rust a day people
5,525 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
So the last few days have been a pain in the arse.

I went to replace the intake cam with a BP5A cam only to find it already had it. Not amused. The timing marks had then rubbed off so I had to pull literally everything apart and battle the cam belt to sort the timing out. I dont have a timing light so am hoping my eye with it has been good enough.

While trying to do the belt I had to take the crank pulley bolt off, this was difficult enough but being used to a ratchet you can switch the direction of by way of a lever on the back of it I failed to notice the one I was using needed to be taken out and flipped physically, it therefore fouled on the anti roll bar and couldnt be removed. So I had to drop the antiroll bar on both sides to get enough clearance to remove the bolt and ratchet which took forever and involved a lot of rusted bolts and a lot of swearing.

I finally got it out to find the bolt is bent and stripped. I really hope I havent stripped the crank itself, a new bolt is on order so we will just have to wait and see.

Gas Flooring Decoration Incense Event

I did manage to repaint the cam cover and the water pulley though, so some progress has been made without a colossal co*k up. Also gave the wheels a coat of high build and gave them a cheeky test fit, no pictures Im afraid but they dont look too bad. A friend is going to powder coat them for me as I can no longer afford to buy a compressor and gun to do it myself so I should have finished pictures within 2 weeks.

Red Gas Bumper Auto part Font

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· Banish a little rust a day people
5,525 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Forgot to mention I attended mazdabeat which was great fun, one of our convoy had a little spin on the way there but no harm done.

Overall it was a great day, I got to see Cerberus' Whisper and Claire from crap engineering's V6 in the flesh, both of which I've been wanting to see for nearly two years now, the music was pretty decent and it was generally nice to just be able to be a proper car person and nerd out all afternoon with like minded people.

I wont upload a load of pics as some of the owners may not be happy with it but I will leave you with this of our convoy.

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· Banish a little rust a day people
5,525 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Today has been less stressful. A while ago I noticed one of my rear callipers was leaking so I gave it a wipe and clean around the seals on the car until I visited home where I had the tools to tackle it. When I went to do it today however it appears to of stopped leaking which is a win. I did notice one of the slider pins was a little corroded and its seal was damaged. As I had some spare I swapped them over.

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I also lined up the wheels and took some pictures, mainly for my reference.

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That brings me close to nearly having completed all the work I set out to do this week. It just needs putting back together (if possible :s) and a service comprising the following:

Engine oil

Gearbox oil

Air filter

Oil filter

Diff oil (maybe)

· Banish a little rust a day people
5,525 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
The new cam pulley bolt arrived yesterday thanks to mx5parts next day delivery. I tried fitting it by hand under the advice of some people on here, however it wouldn't go. I used a wrench to gently tease it in, but it started to get rather stiff so I bottled it, took it out and rang the AA today. After a few hours it was dropped off at a local garage who ran a tap down the crank as I was too much of a wuss to attempt it myself and bolted everything back together. Not bad for a Saturday afternoon.

The owner of the garage had a very nice 1969 chevy stingray which was discussed at great length. I didn't have my phone on me so no pictures but to give you some idea it was pretty identical to this stock image from google:

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The 5 runs and feels fine to drive atm, however there is rather a lot of tappet noise which I assume is due to disturbing the cam and having it sit for a week. I have a 250 mile drive tomorrow to give it a shake down and see what it's like after. If it persists I will buy a torque wrench and do the cam bearing caps up properly to spec rather than guessing by hand (might be a tad loose and causing the valves to fall out of spec), some feeler gauges and fresh oil to sort it out. The car has now done 86k so a valve clearance check is due anyway, probably a good idea regardless as although I look after the car very well and dont rag it about, I do run it up and down the rev range constantly.

· Banish a little rust a day people
5,525 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
This weekend was pretty epic, I went to the Hilton classic and supercar show curtsey of a friend and the hospitality of castrol oil. The food was great and my god were there some cars there. There were literally £100s of millions of pounds worth of cars at the show (there were around 8 Veyrons alone) and it was much larger than any of us had been expecting. I took around 200 pictures which I reckon covered about a third of all the cars that were there, which ranged from everything from steam locomotives, Maclaren P1s, Lamborghini Diabolo GTs and many many more. It of course also included the new mk4 mx5.

Seeing the mk4 in the flesh was a nice surprise and I must say I am a huge fan. The lines are nice, the front is well styled with a very low front to the bonnet and in person the rear arches pull in really well towards the boot, something that photographs make look a little odd. I still think it could benefit from some sports packages being available with a more aggressive front/ a lip and side skirts, but looking at the previous generations I expect my wish will be answered in due time.

I will post pictures of a few of my personal favourites from the show below. But first my car. I am always nervous about driving the car after it's had work done to it, especially if it's not done by me, I duno why I just always am. However it appears to be fine and managed the 250 mile round trip back to Uni without a problem. The tappet noise is nearly all but gone and is only slightly present after it's warmed up, no more than before so all is well and there is no need to pull the cam cover off for valve clearance checks currently. There is no news about my wheels either but I expect that to be complete within the week.

I think that's about all, bit of a dull update but moneys short and I am having second thoughts about staying with NA tuning. My main reasons for wanting to keep it was for response and that I do use a lot of the rev range (its just my driving style and did not amuse my GF when I had to borrow her C1 last week) so was worried about cooking a turbo. I have also gone off the idea of a supercharger due to the low economy. However as I am never really below 2500rpm I would always be in boost with a turbo mitigating my concerns about lag, I wont have to worry about ruining an engine with work put into it and all parts are bolt on really. Either way no decisions need to be made until it has had the work planned for the winter sorted and I have got myself a mk1 as well.

I shall leave you with the aforementioned promised pictures.

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· Banish a little rust a day people
5,525 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
A very boring update:

Rear calliper (the one which was leaky) bled, no air.

Handbrake adjusted at pads and handle.

It seems the handbrake needs adjusting fairly regularly, any idea how frequently it should be?

· Banish a little rust a day people
5,525 Posts
Nothing exciting to report just that at near enough 87k miles I have done a service:

Genuine mazda oil filter

Air filter

Mobil 1 2000 10/40w engine oil

Castrol axle EPX 80/90w GL5 for the diff

I have some castrol syntrans 75/90w GL4 for the gearbox on order and will get it changed as soon as I can acquire my getto oil pump.

The only exciting thing that happened was that the engine oil (which was a black as tar, mustn't leave these things late again) overflowed the top of the oil drain pan and made a huge mess of the garage.

· Banish a little rust a day people
5,525 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Nice build :) for reference, the Lorbers fitted to a mk2.5 (mine):


You've reminded me, I think it's almost time to service mine :ph34r:
ooo thanks for that, they do look rather nice, got the width I am after. Mine are still at the powder coaters and not due to be finished any time soon, but its being done for free so I cant complain. It does however explain why this occurred today:

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(excuse my particulars drying in the background)

I again made a really really cheeky offer which was accepted and well it was too late to back out. Overall they aren't in bad shape at all, a bit of a sand and some new paint will have them looking mint. I dont think I'm going keep the polished lip though, I'm just not much of a fan. The paint on them currently is in good nic and there is no corrosion so I'm very happy. I did try for a test fit but the studs I have are too small to tighten by anything other than hand so new ones will be purchased at some point. I did put them on the hubs just to see and I must say they look epic :p
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