Custom retro electric window switches

3 12 2010

I’m quite proud of this mod.

I like the Nielex retro electric window switches and thought it’d be interesting to make something similar.

I ended up with these:


I’ve posted pics up on a few of the MX5 forums and given the interest thought it worth doing a post on how you can make these yourselves.

What you’ll need:

* 1x stainless steel plate, cut to a rectangle 66x52mm.  The radius of the corners is exactly the same as a UK penny coin.

* 2x toggle switches.  You need Double Pole, Double Throw (DPDT), ON/OFF/ON momentary switches.  I got mine from Parts Express and a friend shipped them to me in the UK but i”ve since found them here:

EDIT: just noticed these are OFF-ON-OFF which isn’t correct – you need ON-OFF-ON switches.

* 2x toggle switch hoop guards.

* 12 ring or fork crimp connectors and some lengths of 10 gauge automotive wire.

* A Mazda plastic blanking plate from a manual-window NA Eunos Roadster/MX5 or Miata, or a spare electric window plastic switch panel that you will need to cut up.

* A couple of nice nuts and bolts.


Starting off

Remove the center console.  There are two screws either side of the gearstick on the sides of the console, and a screw underneath the ashtray, and two screws in the rear cubby hole.  Unscrew the gearknob and lift up the console from the front and guide it forward over the boot release levers.

Disconnect the ashtray bulb and the existing electric window switch and remove the console – you can work on the rest of this inside in the warmth!

Take your plastic blanking plate, or your spare electric window switch panel.  I used the latter, which required the switches removing and cutting out all the excess plastic to give me a flat plate.  I used a small drill bit and some pliers to drill and snap the excess plastic, which gave me this:


I would imagine if you start off with a manual-window blanking plate this would be even easier.

I then cut a couple of cardboard templates to match the stainless steel plate, measured up the placement of the holes and then used a pin to make matching holes on the second piece of card.   One of these pieces became the template, the other had holes cut in it so I could test fit the switches and hoops to see what they looked like.


The toggles need a 12mm hole, the hoops a 3mm hole and the caphead bolts I used a 6mm hole.

I used some flat head screws and screwed the plate to a plank so it wouldn’t move, centerpunched the hole locations and then drilled – leave the stainless plate protective film in place when you do this!

Once I was happy with the result, I test fitted the components to it like this:


The two caphead bolts go through the plastic of the original bracket.  I flattened the plastic so the nuts could sit properly using a soldering iron to melt the plastic.

Once happy I took everything off and gave the plate a polish with a Dremel and some Autosol polish.


A test fit looks like this.  All looking good so far.  Now for the tricky part – the wiring!

Wiring the switches

I’m not an electrican at all, so I found this a bit of a challenge.  I found an excellent and very helpful post on by Jnshk here;

but at least on my ’94 Roadster the wiring colours didn’t match.  I worked it through and made some changes to fit my car.

I’ve posted the resulting wiring instructions here:

Once you’ve wired this up as per the instructions you’ll end up with something like this:


As I was butchering a spare electric window switch to reuse the wiring and 6 pin connector, I ended up with this plug-and-play replacement for standard – note cut plastic bracket is attached:


If you don’t have a spare window switch to play with you’ll be pleased to know that the connector on the car side has spade terminals that are exactly the same size as normal male spade connectors, so you can just attach your new switch direct to these using female spade connectors.  I recommend you do a trial plug in of your new switches now, turn on the ignition and check the windows operate correctly.  You realise you’ll lose the one-shot up/down on the driver’s side?  Good, thought so.

Assuming it works correctly, take it out of the car and we’ll attach it to the center console.

Turn your original center console over and remove the three screws that hold the OEM switches in place and remove.  Fit the new retro switches in place and secure using the same 3 screws.  The new stainless plate will be sandwiched between the bracket it’s bolted to, and the plastic center console, holding it firmly in place.



Refit the center console, and check it operates correctly.  It should look something like this:



Job done!


I’m happy to help with questions on this project – and no, currently I’m not planning on doing these to order!


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…

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.