Modified Chassis Brace for MX-5 / Eunos

27 04 2010

image

Well, after fitting my lovely shiny KG Works bar the other week, I had a spare standard vinyl-wrapped OEM chassis brace taking up space.

I was a little bored, so I wondered what it looked like under the squishy vinyl cover.  Out came the Stanley knife, and 10 minutes later I had a nice mild-steel bar that looked surprisingly presentable.

My mate Jon likes matte black things for his Eunos, so I ran a grinder over the pointy bits and powdercoated it a satin black.  A bit of over-baking, and this is the result:

I’ll take some more pics when it’s in the car.

…. Here we are:

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Poor-man’s harness? The CG Lock

20 04 2010

OK, I came across these via one of the Eunos forums.  I’m never going to fit a harness as I’ve not yet taken it on a track, and you look like a dick when you can’t reach the stereo controls without unclipping yourself.

I find myself bracing my knees against the transmission tunnel and the door cards when driving spiritedly – door handle digs into my knee and I’m generally spending effort keeping myself in the seat etc.

Anyway, I came across a reference to CG Locks.  A CG (Centre of Gravity) Lock is a simple mechanical device that you attach to the tang end of your seatbelt, and use to cinch the lapbelt tight across your lap when you’re going quickly.  This holds you in the seat, and leaves the top, shoulder part of the belt to move as normal.

They get decent reviews from advanced driving instructors etc – hmm, interesting…

www.cg-lock.co.uk/app/performance/

Basically, you bolt the device to the handle of the seatbelt tang – the bit that is attached to the seatbelt that you click into the retainer.  It doesn’t mark and it’s completely removable by unscrewing two allen bolts.  Takes about 5 minutes to fit, and in essence it consists of a mechanical spring-loaded roller that locks the lap and shoulder parts of the belt together so you can tighten the lapbelt – and it stays tight, holding you in the seat.

When you sit in the car, you pull across the seatbelt as normal, and with your left hand’s index finger press the spring-loaded lever on the mechanism to allow the belt to move normally and freely.  Push seatbelt in until it clicks as normal, then pull the upper strap going across your shoulder to tighten the lap belt.  Push down in your seat if you want a really snug fit.  Release the spring loaded lever, and you’re locked down.

Excuse the quality: cameraphone in the dark. I do all my mods in the dark, usually whilst drunk

So, what’s it like?

PRO: holds you really tightly in position.  All the subconscious bracing against the car that you do as you corner just…goes away.  Safer, better control, less effort.  All round it’s pretty damn good.  You can snug yourself in pretty tightly and whilst it’s not a harness, it’s proved excellent for a bit of back road thrashing (I can still hear the tink-tink-tink of my exhaust and brakes cooling down outside!).

CON: anyone who gets into your car will think “What the hell is this?” and have to ask you to explain that you need to press the lever on the CG Lock to allow the belt to fit them.

Overall: I like it.  I like it quite a lot.  They retail at about £50 but seem to be pretty commonplace on eBay for half that.  I can’t really see a downside – recommended.





Eunos Lockwood HVAC replacement

7 04 2010

This is the Lockwood replacement HVAC fascia. They’re pretty good: cheap, nicely made and available in several colours – including amber, which for some reason they don’t advertise.

Fitting is a bit of a pig of a job though involving taking the console out and cleaning sticky residue off the heater panel left behind.
And I forgot to change the AC button colour. Argh.





Car bling

7 04 2010

What do you think?  Should I do it? 

A chance request for my car to model a very nice KG Works brace / harness bar so the seller could take pictures to accompany his eBay listing over the weekend.  As soon as it went on I wanted it to replace my existing perfectly serviceable but dull black steel brace.

Should I do it?





Eunos / MX-5 shift boot and turret oil replacement

7 04 2010

My 94 mk1 has had a stiffish shift since I’ve had it. Perfectly serviceable, but not all that exciting, and I thought it should probably be a bit slicker.

I’ve just fitted an mx5parts upper and lower boot kit, and replaced the turret oil with MTL Redline and *wow*. It’s like a bolt-action rifle now.

Quick guide:

Center console out: two screws at the front on either side, two screws under the ashtray, and two screws in the rear locker. Remove gearknob, and lift out the console. Disconnect the ashtray light and the electric window connectors and it’ll lift straight off: you need to wiggle the back of it out from the boot release.

You’ll be left with some underlay-like sound/heat insulation which lifts off, and the upper shift boot which *will* have holes in it. There’s a 10mm bolt on each corner – unscrew, and lift off the gearshaft. Use a stanley knife to cut the boot off if it doesn’t want to slide up and off the shaft.

Underneath, you’ll see the top of the lower shift boot. There are 3 10mm bolts to remove this, after which the entire gearlever will lift out. MAKE SURE YOU ARE IN NEUTRAL FIRST! There is a notch in the 12 o’clock that lines up with a peg in the turret.

Lift gear lever out, try not to drip oil everywhere and take it inside and clean it up. To remove the lower shift boot, again a stanley knife makes this easier. Make sure you retain the nylon/metal disk around the ball of the gearlever: metal side goes to the top. Remove this and the boot, and clean up with a rag. If you’ve got the mx5parts kit, then you’ll have a replacement nylon bush for the bottom of the gearlever – I nearly chickened out of replacing this but in the end found the easiest way to remove was to stand the lever vertically on a block of wood (kitchen chopping board in my case!), tilt the lever to 45 degrees and then hit the outer edge of the nylon bush with a blunt screwdriver. Clean up the ball on the end, and fit the new one by placing it under the gearlever and giving it a tap with a hammer.

Whilst it was out, as I’ve an 8 ball gearknob I wanted to polish the visible section of the gearlever between knob and gaiter to a mirror shine – out came the Dremel and some Autosol – looks lovely.

To fit the new bottom boot: spray the gearlever with silicone spray or oil. Push bottom boot on first, it goes top down as far as you can get it – over the thickest bit of the gearlever until it snaps to form a tight seal against the thinner bit near the base.

Next, clean out the old oil from the turret. To do this, I used a turkey baster. The kitchen features quite heavily in my DIY.

Suck the old oil out and dispose of. I replaced mine with some MTL Redline which is cracking stuff, but standard gearbox oil is probably fine. If anyone’s doing this and wants 100cc of Redline to do it with then give me a shout and I’ll post some out in a bottle or something – it’ll save you spending 18 quid on a litre, like I did.

Top up to about an inch from top of turret, and carefully refit the gearlever. Make sure the boot is rotated round carefully so that when the gearlever goes back in it’s not twisted. I panicked slightly when it didn’t go back in very readily – don’t worry, just be aware that the nylon bush on the end is a very tight fit and has to go in exactly straight otherwise it sticks. Make sure you’ve a light wipe of oil on the bottom boot seal and bolt it in with the three bolts. Check the gearbox selects gears correctly at this point.

Now take your new top boot and slide it over and down the lubricated gearlever, again making sure it’s not twisted. Push it down until the white nylon captive washer is flush with the slightly flared bit at the bottom of the gearlever’s thickest part. Do up the 4 10mm bolts, replace the insulation over the top, and replace center console.

In my case I took the opportunity to fit a new gear gaiter whilst I was at it, which looks great and took all of a minute to fit.

All in all this took about half an hour. The difference was immediately apparent – much less effort to shift, much more satisfying changes, and generally a brand-new feel to the gearchange. Best mod to date, I think.





Adding an external thermometer to Mk1 Eunos / MX-5 /Miata

7 04 2010

As I’m a bit of a sucker for driving around with the hood down, I kind of wanted an external temperature gauge for my NA.

I found this on http://www.dealextreme.com (if you’ve not come across these guys then you’re in for a treat: electronic gadgets and tat direct from Hong Kong with free postage!):

http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.15553

Cost a grand total of $3.29 delivered to the UK. It’s a small, battery powered temperature gauge with about 1m of wire with a sensor on the end, and it looks like this:

Using a flat blade screwdriver, pry out a blanking plate near your foglight. To do this, prise at the outer part of the blanking plate, not the central bit. It’ll pop out.

Push the thermometer’s wire into the hole so it appears on the other side in the footwell. With the driver’s door open, thread it through the gap at the side of the dash near the hinge:

Sorry for the blurry cam, it’s dark and it’s cold.

Now feed it under the rubber seal for the door, and arrange it so that it sits in the void at the top of the bonnet, near the wiper mechanism. A blob of hotglue will fix it in place nicely.

I wrapped the metal sensor in tape to weatherproof it, and applied a dab of hot glue from a glue gun to hold it in place.

Now back to the thermometer end. Feed it into the hole – it’s a pretty snug fit. I wanted to be able to revert to factory, so I removed the blanking plate and blanking surround – you could leave the surround in place and file the hole a little squarer if you wanted to make it snap straight in. The LCD display has plastic snap-in feet on. As I was doing it without the surround, I applied a couple of blobs of hot glue again and pushed home:

Job done: 10 minutes to complete, in the dark, in the cold.

Hope you like!

Ric

P.S. Whilst you’re at Dealextreme, I can recommend this little rechargeable torch that sits in your cigarette lighter, too (needed a spot of insulation tape on barrel to fit snugly in my NA)

http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.21472

and this to give you a USB socket in the cigarette lighter:

http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.34040

They also do a good line in cheap iPod leads etc.





De-tangoing front lights – MX-5 / Eunos / Miata

6 04 2010

Been meaning to do this for a while – so thought I’d post a guide with pics.

Basic idea is to

1) Make the front lights look clear

2) Swap the indicator and sidelights so that the larger 21W bulb is the sidelight where the indicator used to be, and the old sidelight becomes the 5W indicator.

Tools needed:  wirecutters, chocblock connectors, electrical tape, screwdriver, oven, orange 5W 501 bulb from Halfrauds.

OK, first off, remove the sidelight/indicator cluster – 2 screws, twist to remove the two bulb fittings, and it’s out.

Looks like this:

If you look inside, you’ll see the orange filter for the indicator, which we’re going to remove.

If you look here, you’ll see the sticky mastic-like glue that holds the housing together:

Next step, make sure the missus is out, and fire up your oven to 100-120 degrees.  Place the whole fitting inside, and set the timer for 10 mins.  Wine optional.

When it’s done, take it out and stick it on your workbench, or chopping board in my case.

Using a broad flat head screwdriver, carefully lever apart the lens from the grey plastic back.  The glue should be a chewing-gum consistency: don’t get it on the inside of the lens or you’ll have to clean it off with isoprop or meths.  Or in my case, alcohol-based handwash gel.  Don’t knock it, I was contemplating using gin.

This should happen:

Inside, you can see the curved orange reflector, which has two screws to remove:

– the bit you’re removing looks like this:

When done, stick it all back together.  If you’ve taken it slowly you might want to warm it up again first.

Result?

Much better.

For the wiring, you want to swap the positive connection to sidelight and indicator, so that the old indicator lights up as the sidelight, and the old sidelight flashes as the indicator.  You’ll need to swap the old sidelight bulb for an orange one so that your indicator flashes orange – you’re after a 5W 501 orange bulb, which cost me about £4 from Halfrauds.

Alternately, if you want to retain the original light positions, swap the old indicator 21W bulb for an orange one, or for extra bonus points a chromed orange one which looks silver, but lights up orange.

What does the result look like at night?  Surprisingly bright.  Indicators clearly visible, sidelights actually useful:

Make sure you wrap your wiring up in electrical tape once done.

Hope this is useful, it’s about an hour’s work and I think the result looks great.

Ric