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Shadowravens Mk2 'best Of Oem+'

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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.

Laptop Ingredient Comfort Rectangle Lighting

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.

Gas mask Helmet Personal protective equipment Fun Mask

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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Build looks great and lots of effort gone in to this! I've got a Kraken low mount manifold to fit soon so I'm hoping I don't have anywhere near the same amount of fitment issues!!

Regarding the oil drain, is that not a bit low? It looks like it might be below the oil level in the sump but it might just be the angle?
Best of luck, I'd be interested to see how you get on.

It's the Flyin Miata recommended 5cm/2" below the top of the lip of the oil pan, hopefully should be ok. You need to be really careful about the height as the oil pickup line and one of the baffles is right there.

(this person went too high).
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Make sure you measure twice. The pan lip for me was 1cm deep, so I made a 4cm template to push up against the underside of the lip and mark the line for drilling. I does look low, but the oil doesnt actually sit in that part of the sump anyway, it sits in the much deeper section further back.

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I had the day off today to work on the car and get my oil cooler lines cut down. It pretty much went as planned, I welded some over engineered brackets to the cooler mount to support the lines and the cooler is now mounted, the lines are sleeved in corrugated plastic shielding, nothing touches or rubs, and the cooler is pre-filled with some oil. I'll get pictures later as it was dark when I finished. I also moved the wiring for the wideband as I wasn't happy with it being unsupported at the connector, it now goes over the transmission tunnel and joins the existing wiring harness that comes up the other side, secured both sides of the connector.

I'm basically there now, I just need fit the plug for the unused sensor port in the downpipe when it arrives, reinstall the under chassis bracing, and sort my exhaust. I did weld a washer to act as a stopper on the backbox hanger today, but when making the midpipe have warped the flange due to the wire feed issues I had at the time. Not sure how I'm going to sort that, I've been in a similar situation with the supercharger outlet and flattened it by hand on a flat surface but it took many hours over many days, and I can't handle an exhaust in the same way. I think ideally I need to get hold of a large belt sander and just flat it down, that should suffice with a gasket. It is tempting to just buy a 2.5" reducer pipe and vband it as well though, but the section is made of a few curved pieces, is close to a hanger, and the idea was to be able to maintain the ability to swap out to any off the shelf backbox in future.
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Looks great, glad it’s going as planned. What gauges have you gone for?
AEM afr gauge, prosport oil temp, and prosport electronic boost gauage with peak recall.
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Just for my records the celica has had it's annual oil and filter change at 134500 miles.
Just for my records the celica has had it's annual oil and filter change at 134500 miles.
Just for my records, the Celica waterpump has also decided to start grumbling..... the question now is £30 eurocarparts waterpump rated for like 30k miles, or £220 toyota pump rated for 100k...

Edit: genuine Toyota rated forever, apparently not a service item. Explains why my current one has done 18 years lol
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For my records the celica has had a new genuine water pump at 134500 miles. The old one seems petty ok, maybe the tiniest amount of play, enough that it's hard to tell if there's actually anything abnormal and I'm unsure whether it was a cause of the odd intermittent grumble I've now experienced twice, either way it likely won't hurt to have replaced. The old one looked to be a good high quality genuine toyota unit that was identical except for the impeller being plastic rather than what looks like billet on the new one
Looks like the water pump wasn't at fault on the celica. It started making a god awful noise, I think the issue is the AC compressor and the outer pulley which is meant to spin freely when it's off catching some how. It could be a bearing, something related to the clutch, or an electrical fault causing the clutch to engage randomly.
I'm just guna leave this here, for no reason in particular... move along please

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NBFL now has a 255lph Walbro fuel pump as per the tuners request, with direct power taken from the battery via a fused relay sat under the parcel shelf. The OE fuel pump wiring was protected with proper fuel resistant heat shrink (RW-200-E, stuff that can permanently be submerged, and it wasn't cheap....). I reused the OE fuel sock as it looked pretty much new and the aftermarket ones apparently aren't a great shape for when the tank gets low. Also reused the OE fuel hose clips and tube as they looked fine and were already the right shape/easier to install.

Just the timing wheel to swap and it's done. Then I can move onto other projects 🤫🤫🤫
This weekend was an interesting one, and a good one. Spent the day at Jap Show at Santa Pod. The track car wasn't finished (more on that in a sec) so took the Celica. I did want to try it down the strip but it was £40 for 3 runs, book in advance only, and park in a dedicated zone rather than with the show groups so decided not to bother. However, they did have an autocross event, one that was free so I thought why not I'll give it a go. I just wanted to see how it did in some form of performance orientated driving against other cars (mx5s, CRX, WRX, IS200, some other celicas, GR Yaris etc). My expectations were low, I'm on original Meister Zetas from like 10 years ago, open diff, rainsport tyres, my alignment has been pulling to one side so had it checked Friday and discovered the cluster F of a setup as below with an inch of rake, etc etc. I was about the 3rd car out, practise run was nothing special and not timed, first timed run wasn't too bad managing a 42.6s and the organisers pulled some faces, I tried to get out of them how it went and they wouldn't say and only answered my question of not being last so I assumed the faces were due to the tyre squeal and fact my car clearly isn't setup for this type of driving, but I enjoyed it so didn't mind. Second run was a bit better managing a 41.00 and the organisers said I'd done ok and if I wanted to queue again for another go I could. We ran out of time for another go but while waiting I got curious and asked a few people for their times, the GR Yaris got 44 seconds, the other celicas 48, the IS200 44... sooo yeh, first ever autocross, in my daily, shit alignment, all season tyres, and I not only won, apparently I set a new record.... Not sure how that happened but i'll take it.

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This was the damage of 83 seconds of hard 1st gear driving to my Rainsports

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My alignment was suboptimal....

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Now about the track car. Got the timing wheel in this evening, fiddled with some ECU settings a bit, primed oil pressure and she not only fired right up, but idles very well right on 14.7AFR, and appears to not even be leaking! Super chuffed. Just a road tune to do now before a proper dyno tune on the 9th then I can finally get back on track.

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good result and cheaper than some others :p

Progress once again appears hampered by the kraken kit, this time the intercooler kit. As seen previously the car starts and runs, but the Kraken IC kit places it at the very very front of the bumper mouth, leaving a massive ~5" gap between it and the radiator and as a result any air that hits the intercooler basically then stands no chance of proceeding to flow through the radiator and is resulting in overheating. I previously shrouded the intercooler and radiator in an effort to mitigate as much of this as possible but left a few gaps to prevent anything rubbing. Sadly the issue is significantly worse than I had expected and I'm having to completely seal the intercooler to the bumper mouth and the radiator to stand any chance of managing temperatures at all (this is just pottering around, part throttle, only a few psi absolute max). I'm trying to do it in as subtle of a way as possible so it isn't obvious and have one more panel to make before I post up some pictures. It's not an ideal solution though, again because the IC is soooo far forward there's not much space in front of it at all, so I can't even extend the shroud in front of it to ram air through it and am having to make use of the bumper shape itself to do so.... I feel my solution will be fine and should be fairly in keeping with the understated nature of the build.

In other news, I purchased the below for the other car to go with the TD04 posted above. I'll say now the difference in quality and finish is tangible. I'm so much more impressed, all the runners are a consistent width all the way down, there's no sections that neck down dramatically, no sudden lumps of casting in the way of flow, all the transitions are so much smoother, the runners themselves are larger, the casting itself is so much better, there's no excess material in random places, it's a lot lighter, and there's greater attention to detail such as flat machined faces around the bolt holes for the nuts to sit on. Genuinely really impressed, it just feels like a properly produced product that's seen a good amount of R&D in it's design and would be my go to manifold if I were to do the other car again.

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No before pictures, but the Konigs were getting pretty grim from all the track abuse and aggressive brake pads. I decided to give them a clean up re apply some cermaic coating, I honestly thought they'd not be recoverable but they came up basically like new. The previous coating is still lasting 3 years on and made removing all the fallout and tar quite easy.

If anyone is interested it's the KKD r-evolve matte finish coating I use. Once I get new wheels for the celica I'll buy some of the gloss version, and tbh will apply it to these as well, the matte coating buffs off matte but goes on gloss and I honestly prefer the way it looks.

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Radiator and IC now fully sealed to the bumper mouth. Testing shows a 10C drop in coolant temps so well worth it. There's likely a few more degrees to be had with a proper undertray/splitter.



Shrouded and sealed all the way around. There's a very small gap at the top of the IC intentionally to allow a small amount of air over the PS line, and there are two small gaps between the bumper and the plates that seal the side of the intercooler which I need to get some foam for. But otherwise it's a massive improvement.
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EBC is now also working, meaning the car is fully ready for tuning. There was one slight mishap though when monitoring the new shroudings impact on coolant temps - I was on dual carriageway and some karen in a 500L tried to undertake me, obviously wasnt guna have that so accelerated, to about 5000rpm, boost picked up pretty hard and the car surged quite violently. Turns out the wastegate line had split and wasnt seeing a reference.... the boost gauge I have has peak recall, which when I checked showed 11psi... quite a bit above the 7psi wastegate pressure.... on an untuned car. EBC wasnt working at this point but totally by accident I'd left it enabled on the ECU which luckily had an overboost protection of 11psi set... I hate to think the amount of boost a 2860rs would have made with no wastegate if I'd not have had that enabled, certainly would of started with a 2 and my rods wouldnt be in the car anymore.
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Fuck Karens & conrods are cheap :p

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Fuck Karens & conrods are cheap :p


Con rods are the limiting factor on the car now, after that it's the gearbox. Everything else will cope with near 350hp.
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