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Aging boy racer
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So I thought I'd start another thread in Members Rides about our 1997 Harvard, Mitzi, to run alongside the one charting the transmogrification of our Eunos, Little Blue, into a roadable track car.

My fiancee, Jane, and I bought Mitzi a couple of years ago. It was after a friend of mine had lent me his Mk.2 for a fortnight whilst he was abroad - I was hooked straight away, but it was another six months of idly scanning eBay before we found Mitzi quite locally to me. She seemed like too good an opportunity to miss, and that's proved to be fairly true, lack of regular previous maintenance notwithstanding.

We thought it would be nice to have a small but fairly practical sports car that we could go away for weekends in, so the decision was jointly taken and Mitzi became ours. So on reflection, I should really have titled this thread "Mr & Mrs Victor's 1997 Harvard", as it's about our fun weekend car (any chance of changing it, Mods?).

Mitzi is and will be staying pretty much as Mazda intended. Although she's in good condition, she is twenty years old and the paintwork is showing signs of its age. Our plans are to carry out a rolling restoration, and meanwhile enjoy her for the grand little sports tourer that she is!

Mark

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Aging boy racer
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Since acquiring Mitzi, she's had the usual maintenance jobs undertaken - regular servicing, gearbox and diff oils replaced, discs and pads at the rear and very recently at the front, too. She's had a replacement alternator and a set of good tyres.

Suspension-wise, we found early on that she had a weeping front shock absorber and a broken rear spring, so after much deliberation, she received a set of V-Maxx coil-overs. They were the simpler versions, which are adjustable for height only. They were absolutely fine, and she handled really quite well, although on rough roads she was a bit pitchy and bottomed out regularly. Plus, she would ground on my driveway!

All-in-all, I thought the V-Maxx coil-overs were excellent for the money, but in deference to Jane, last summer Mitzi returned to standard shocks and springs, and with a full alignment check, she's an absolute dream of a sports tourer now!

In the meantime, a slight twitch of the wallet and resulted in a rather lovely Nardi steering wheel gracing the cockpit, and a set of nice new black mats pending the day when new Harvard mats become available lol :D

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Ooh, very retro interior haha. Those black mats suit it way better than the red ones that were in there before.
 

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Aging boy racer
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Totally agree about the mats!

Mitzi came with the original Harvard Special Edition mats but they were really "tired"! Not surprisingly, new Harvard-logo'd mats are non-existent, so the red ones were an attempt at something close to original. Unfortunately, the red is way too bright! B)
 

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Aging boy racer
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Another recent "happening" has been the rather painful parting of the tail-pipe (as recounted in "What have done to your Mx5 today?"). Basically, it fell off one morning on the way to work. And as funny as that was, I felt I should replace it sooner rather than later.

However, finding a near-standard cat-back system in stainless steel proved more difficult than I suspected. I heard good reports of the Cobalt system, but I was put off by the diameter of the tip of the tail-pipe. After all, Mitzi is supposed to be staying pretty much as Mazda intended. In the end, I settled on the IL Motorsport system, and I'm really pleased with the result.

Its probably just the placebo effect, but with the new system, Mitzi does seem to breathe more easily and be more willing to rev. Most importantly, though, it gives a lovely sporty note (much better than the previous system, make unknown!) without being intrusive, and encourages me to hang on to the gears a bit longer. So I guess its helping to release the inner hooligan :whistle:
 

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Aging boy racer
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So, I was treated to a surprise weekend away in a b&b in Minehead! Nice little place run by a very friendly couple. Excellent breakfast!!! Fantastic dinner last night in a local Italian restaurant.

This morning before heading homeward, we spent an hour by the old harbour watching the sea as the weather alternated between bright sunshine and rain squalls. One of our favourite spots, no matter what the weather is doing :)

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I've been to Minehead before. Nice enough place, but man it gets windy on the seafront haha.

The IL Motorsport exhausts do look well made, but seemed a little expensive for a cat-back, but I guess you get what you pay for!
 

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Aging boy racer
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
TBH it's a nice little town. I just tend to remember it in it's less salubrious days, which does cloud my judgement a bit!

The IL exhaust isn't that much more expensive than other "known" makes, and its definitely good quality. I'd have no reservations about recommending it to anyone looking for an as near to standard as possible stainless system. Of course, Mitzi has the long cat, which narrows your options as well!
 

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Aging boy racer
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Finally, I've found the source of the annoying rev-related buzzing! :)

The exhaust down-pipe has what I can only describe as a sheath around it, and a spot weld at the back adjacent to the cat has parted, allowing said item to open up and rattle/buzz on the actual exhaust pipe inside.

I'm guessing that this a form of heat shielding, but as Little Blue doesn't have anything similar, I imagine that it's not entirely necessary?

Can it be removed without taking the exhaust system to bits? If not, I'll have to find a way to clamp it up tight again until I sort out the manifold. Perhaps a big jubilee clip or a twist of locking wire.....
 

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Aging boy racer
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So I attempted to cure the vibration buzz of the down-pipe heatshield.

As a temporary fix, I wound a length of soft iron locking wire around it and twisted it up tightly. It cured the vibration buzz and so proved the point, but being soft iron wire, my temporary fix was all-too temporary. I've since tried some stainless steel ties, but as they're really difficult to tighten up one-handed its only partially stopped the noise.

The only real cure will be replacing the down-pipe.....
 

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Aging boy racer
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Last night, I fitted one of DaveFab's brake stoppers.

Its a beautifully-made piece of kit that incorporates brackets for the throttle cable and brake proportioning valve. The design is really neat - it fixes to the two studs either side of the master cylinder, and bolts to the un-used captive nut just behind the suspension top mount, which means you can easily fit a shock tower brace as well.

I'd like to say that it really makes a difference to the feel of the brake pedal, but under road conditions I can't honestly say that I can really tell :) Without it, you can see a bit of flex in the fire-wall, with it the flex has gone, so it must be an improvement.
 

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So I attempted to cure the vibration buzz of the down-pipe heatshield.

As a temporary fix, I wound a length of soft iron locking wire around it and twisted it up tightly. It cured the vibration buzz and so proved the point, but being soft iron wire, my temporary fix was all-too temporary. I've since tried some stainless steel ties, but as they're really difficult to tighten up one-handed its only partially stopped the noise.

The only real cure will be replacing the down-pipe.....
Mine was rusted/flapping around causing the same issue....just removed the offending bit....kept manipulating it till it broke away ...problem solved! I've never had any issues since.
 

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Aging boy racer
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408 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So I attempted to cure the vibration buzz of the down-pipe heatshield.

As a temporary fix, I wound a length of soft iron locking wire around it and twisted it up tightly. It cured the vibration buzz and so proved the point, but being soft iron wire, my temporary fix was all-too temporary. I've since tried some stainless steel ties, but as they're really difficult to tighten up one-handed its only partially stopped the noise.

The only real cure will be replacing the down-pipe.....
Mine was rusted/flapping around causing the same issue....just removed the offending bit....kept manipulating it till it broke away ...problem solved! I've never had any issues since.
When I first discovered the heatshield was the culprit, I actually started doing that. But then I had one of those aaarrrrggggghhhhh! moments and thought better of it.

Its good to know it won't cause any issues, so next time I'm grovelling around under the car, I'll do the same!!! :goodjob:
 

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Had similar buzzing sounds from down pipe heat shield, same as above i twisted and pulled off the offending metal - sorted!
 

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Aging boy racer
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408 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Changed the engine oil and filter today.

I was going to replace the sump plug with one of the magnetic variety but (and there had to be a "but", did't there?) the sump plug has been modified with what I can only describe as a threaded sleeve, which effectively increases its diameter. I can only guess that at some point, a ham-fisted neanderthal has stripped the thread in the sump, and to effect a repair the drain hole has been enlarged and re-tapped.

All part of life's rich pageant, you know.....
 

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Classic. I've found some shoddy work in my car from the previous owner, left side respray and radio wiring have been done by someone completely incapable.
 

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Aging boy racer
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408 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Not achieved much progress with Mitzi recently, but this morning I treated the leather seat facings with Leather Genie, a leather food balsam.

Terrible product name, but it seems to work pretty well. Smells nice, and brings out the colour of the hide. The only down side is I found a couple of small tears in the driver's seat ????

It's good for shoes, too ????
 

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So, are they legal? I assumed they needed to be reflective which I assume these aren't?
 
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