NB MX-5 Hey, it's Minnie!

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Finally had weather nice enough to go to C&C (although it was a little too cold to have the top down. I'm an enthusiast, not a masochist). First time running her on the highway after my last round of work. It was quieter inside the cabin, although I felt there was still a little too much reverberation going on. A friend at C&C asked me why the muffler was offset, when I looked I saw it had moved to the left. That was down to the angle of the hanger I installed that was missing off the RB muffler for my year. I would have to go to a muffler shop to see about having a proper hanger welded on that lines things up.

Cruise didn't work, I figured I had left something undone and sure enough when I checked, I had neglected to put the vacuum hose on the actuator. That fixed that problem. That evening I installed the new brake caliper bleed screw caps I got off Amazon, the new ones had the little tail to keep them on the screw when you are bleeding so you don't misplace them. I also readjusted the rear brakes.

Next day’s weather was supposed to be great, but I had already committed to doing the brakes on one of our kids' cars. Hoped that wouldn't take too long so I could get some top-down time.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Gave another grandkid (son) a Miata introduction. Short jaunt to the store but he loved it (he was three).
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Finally stopped sitting on the fence and bought a Battery Tender, that showed up. Since my wife very rarely drives it since she has her own 'vert now, I needed to do something so I wouldn't have to get a new battery every year.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
My latest eBay purchase showed up:

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I sat on the fence undecided about this for a while but went ahead and pulled the trigger. More visibility is good, right? I had been trying to obtain a set of mirrors to paint and use for these (you have to drill a hole in the mirror housing to pass the wires through) but to date the used part resellers I contacted had not responded.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Got a few updates on the mirrors but would get to those later. I finally got around to swapping the clock spring with one I bought from SNS at MATG. I am happy to report that has solved my flashing airbag light problem. Now to see how long it would last...
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
I had been getting mirrors and parts for my marker project. After waiting on resellers I finally heard back from one. Then, I also got a message from someone who had swapped out their mirrors offering his old ones (much cheaper). Only thing was there was no glass. After some research I determined I would still be cheaper than another source so pulled the trigger. Ordered new glass from the dealer, ordered some paint from Automotive Touchup and waited for it all to arrive.

Finally got everything earlier that week. Opened the mirror box to find when they were Plastidipped the interior wasn't covered so that crap was everywhere.

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I wanted to try and remove the motor fixture from the interior. This required moving the mirror housing on the base to access the screws. I was not able to physically move the two pieces with just hand power (they are tough to do on the car, off it nearly impossible). I didn't have any spanner wrenches so made one up with a couple of pin punches and plier handles:

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That worked well, however I needed to move the base in the opposite direction so I could remove the other screw. Didn't pay enough attention, one of the punches moved too far into the base and this happened:

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Disappointing. After doing that I figured out I wouldn't be able to remove the interior bits in one piece due to how there is a pivot connecting the base and housing. I didn't see any sort of circlip so I was guessing it's a press fit. I did remove the motor and found something interesting about how the wires are connected. You would expect some sort of connector, but no:

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In case you don't know what you are looking at, Mazda used a vamp clamp arrangement.

Next up was cleaning as much of the Plastidip from the interior as I could. Peeled what I could then used BrakeKleen for the rest, like I did on the wife's car's wheels. End result:

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Here is a shot of the back of the mirror and the motor showing the four attachment clips that keep it together:

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Finally, what I used to glue the broken piece back in:

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Once that set I would fill in the cracks and prep everything for paint. I'm going to do these one at a time so I don't have too many parts floating around to get confused.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
I had been thinking about my lack of an amp reading when I was checking the car to figure out why my battery was dead, finally got around to checking my meter and sure enough one fuse was blown. Of course with no Radio Shack any more finding a replacement locally is damn near impossible, so Amazon to the rescue once again. Once they showed up I would be checking my amp draw with no apparent load again.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Put her up in the air and bled the brakes using my Motive bleeder. It had been more than a month since I changed over to Sport brakes and I wanted to be sure there weren't any lingering air bubbles.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Got a drive in on one of my favorite local roads. First since upgrading the Sport brakes, love the stopping power.

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Then I finally installed the LED footwell lights I've had sitting around. Almost got done, didn't connect the power wire yet as I didn't want to wrestle around under the dash any further and it was gonna be a PITA.

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chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
The weather was nice so I decided to go about finishing my footwell light install. One of the biggest PITA jobs I have ever done on this car (which is saying something). After multiple times in and out from under the dash I finally had the power wire connected. This was made difficult beyond just the location of the wire by the vamp clamp provided with the kit being a little too large to bite on the factory wire. I closed it up a bit and got everything working. Well, for a little while. After multiple tests the lights stopped working. Checked the fuses and found the room fuse blown. After replacing that I had the header light back but not the footwell lights. I was too tired of underdash work so called it a day.

Next morning before heading out I figured I better check my taillights to make sure nothing had happened to them. Good thing too, as it turned out the passenger side brake light was out. All fuses were good so I figured it was just the bulb. I decided to go ahead and replace all the bulbs back there so picked some up. I replaced the backup lights with LEDs, of course I installed both backwards (some LEDs are polarity sensitive if you don't know) but after correcting that everything was good and noticeably brighter. For easy reference, the backup and turn signal bulbs are 7440, the brake/taillights are 7443 (dual element type).
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
I had been working on getting what I needed to install the LED foglights I bought during MATG. They are the 90mm Morimoto units sold by TRS. The guy I bought them from had already mounted them on the factory brackets so I just needed the wire connectors and some film for protection. Got all that a few days ago so started in. Here is a picture of the foglight:

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Here is the film I bought from Lamin-X. Since these are not a factory arrangement I had to get bulk pieces. I bought two 4 X 8” pieces for around $15.

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Their instructions say to wet the glass with water, I’m not sure how much good it did as the water ran right off. One sheet is enough for two so I had extra in case I screwed it up. After cutting one piece in half I laid it on the glass starting in the center:

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I worked my way around the film in a spiral pattern using a squeegee I had to work it. After a little bit of work it came to this:

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A little X-Acto knife trim later and we have a finished product:

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chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Next day I started in with the installation of the lights. There was some white or silver paint on one of the brackets so I cleaned that off, and put some shims under the two extra fasteners the LED lights use vice the stockers so that the lights were square to the brackets. After all the prep work I mounted the lights and ended up with this:

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Next I cut back the stock wires to solder on the new connectors (H11) needed for the LED fogs. I double-checked the polarity just to back up what I had read online, the factory green wire was positive and the black wire was negative. Connectors had a red and a black wire so I connected the red to the green. Got that all done and plugged in, but when I powered up the lights I had nada. I thought maybe it was because I had the headlights removed so went ahead and installed the second connector. While doing that I noticed after plugging in the light that the red input wire was going to the black wire on the light. Either the wires on those connectors are standardized or the Chinese worker who made mine was having an off day. Considered undoing the wires and resoldering but that would have made the wires incorrect. Looking at the connectors I figured I could get the individual wires out of the connector and swap them. I did this by inserting a small jeweler’s screwdriver to release the tab like so:

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The tab holding things in place was weak so I had to bend it up a little so it would hold once I inserted it back into the connector. It’s kind of hard to see but it’s the little piece sticking up by itself from the top:

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Put everything together, powered the lights up and voila! All was good. I zip-tied the wires to the factory bracket to keep things from flopping around:

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For the NB1 at least, you don’t have to cut anything for these to fit the bumper cutouts. The stock lights are somewhat deep and slide into the openings. These are much slimmer and end up just behind the back of the openings. The 90mm size is perfect to fill the hole in the bumper.

While I had the front bumper off I decided I would finally install the X-Pel film I had sitting around for the headlights. Had to sand/polish them to get a smooth surface because they looked like this:

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Pulled them off the car first because I had a film on the inside of the lens from gassing of the paint I used on the inner bezels. Swished some alcohol around to take care of that (didn’t quite do it all), while doing that noticed the driver’s side projector was moving around. Found the nut holding it in place had loosened so tightened that up and put some high temp silicone on top of the nut to act as a keeper of sorts. Did the polishing then installed the film, it was only slightly a PITA. Passenger side was done second and ended up a a little better than the driver’s side but overall good:

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I should note this job is very difficult due to the compound curves of the lens. I took my time and worked around the film using my heat gun on the low setting. The slight cloudiness is normal and should work itself out over the next two weeks.

I was hearing a chirping from the clutch slave so knew it was time for some lube. I had been thinking about a better mousetrap for this and decided to try a plastic washer to see how that worked out. I had some leftover material from a cone of shame so cut a piece out from that. Punched a hole in the middle using the arch punch set I got from Harbor Freight (hey, didn’t have a set before but I do now), shaped it with a little heat as much as I could and then installed it. Here is how it looked before installation:

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Ain’t the prettiest but should do the job. I am going to keep my eye out for some kind of cup that I can use, Teflon would be nice and I might be able to make one when I get back to work. I’ll keep everyone updated on how this works out.

To end up I adjusted the rear brake calipers. It was a nice day’s work.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
After some problems I had been seeing long term and a little combined research/cogitation, I decided to replace the alternator. Decided upon a NB2 rebuilt unit with 80 amp output (vice the 70 amp of the '00 stocker). Installed that, while I was underneath I creeped the length of the car while she was running to look for any leaks or out of the ordinary stuff. Nothing presented thankfully. After that was done I went for a drive and did some datalogging. My voltage stayed constant throughout which was good, however I had two alarm lights under different circumstances. After that I sent a message to the Megasquirt builder to pick his brain about what I was seeing.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Noticed that one of the CEL indicators on my log was the TPS. Checked out Rock Auto and found they had one for $10. I figured WTH, do a little research for the community. Received it and found the connector wouldn't snap locked. Comparing it with the factory TPS I noticed there are two divider pieces there are shorter on the stocker. Here are some blurry pictures that you can maybe see what I am talking about on:

Stock:

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Aftermarket:

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You are looking for the difference in depth in the dividers between the metal contacts.

I kind of figured since it was so cheap that maybe they got it wrong. Asked for a refund (which was given) and ordered a Walker replacement. That showed up and wouldn't you know it the damn thing had the same problem for the same reason. Rock Auto didn't have me send the cheap one back, so I decided to see if I could modify it to work. A little Dremel work and voila! Connector snapped home like it should. I then took the Walker unit and did the same thing to it. That is now installed and calibrated on the Megasquirt. Hoping the following day cleared so I could do a test drive with some data logging.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
I had some problems with overheating as seen on my datalogs. Did some troubleshooting, it appeared the primary (driver’s side) fan wasn’t coming on or was running at a reduced speed. Further checks showed the fan ran fine with battery power. I also checked the input from the ECU with the A/C running (so both fans should be on), I had full voltage at the connector. Looking at the connector (a Radio Shack piece) it looked like one of the pieces was out of place which could have caused an issue. Here are what the connectors I used looked like, and the one with the connection out of place:

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With that going on I decided to upgrade to more modern connectors as shown:

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Purchased from Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B014IU2EE2/?tag=m20b7-20) . They are pretty easy to use, you need to put the seals on the wires before attaching the metal connectors.

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There were instructions included showing the orientation of the metal pieces so they will lock correctly into the plastic piece. On the female side there was a red plastic piece that the instructions said you could use or not. I found I couldn’t use them as they wouldn’t allow the metal pieces to snap into place. I ended up cutting some back as shown, then they worked as designed:

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When you push the metal pieces into place, you can hear and feel them lock. Pushing the yellow wire seals in place required a little persuasion from a small flat blade screwdriver (I wouldn’t use something as small as a jeweler’s screwdriver as you might end up ripping the seal) but it wasn’t too bad. That was all done, I would see how things worked next time out.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
I had kind of been chasing my tail with issues. After swapping the fan connectors I again suffered from the cutting out that I thought was being caused by coolant temperature. After letting the car cool some she fired back up normally. I thought about it some more and realized this is what happens when the camshaft angle sensor is failing. So after some research I stopped by the local dealer and ordered a new one. That came in so I got that installed. Before I slapped that bad boy in I compared it to the old one, and found some change. New is on the left.

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You can see the differences. Whether or not this would improve performance over the long run time will tell. Another thing that changed is the part number, I got the one listed on Mazda Motorsports' site and it crossed to this one:

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Test drive afterwards didn't have any problem, but it was cooler out that day so it may not have been a valid test.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
Installed the battery quick connection for my Battery Tender since I was headed back to work soon. Easy job, I put the ring terminals underneath the bolts on the battery connections for good contact. Ran the end forward and up as there is a little opening between the body and the battery cover just made for it. Hoped the weather let me get at least one more drive in before I go.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
So, life intrudes etc. Got my travel arrangements and was busy getting stuff done before leaving, hence I didn't get to post a picture. I did shoot one just before I left because I know many of you need that physical proof.

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You can see where the battery connector comes up from the compartment. This was how she sat for the next period of time.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
After many long months away I finally got home New Year's Eve. Was supposed to be Christmas Eve but thanks to stupidity (and I'm being nice) that didn't happen. Got her out, coat of dust and all. The battery charger did its job and she fired right up. Did some driving, had to take her to a self-serve car wash to get the dust off since it was too cold for even me to hand wash. Point of reference, it takes about twenty miles for the tires to go from D-shaped to round after sitting for seven months.

Now that things had settled down somewhat, I was moving ahead with my next project. Had some front hubs with bearings ordered, already received the Redline CV2 grease I was going to use to repack them. Went to the dealer and ordered the front brake dust shields that I needed to match up with the Sport brakes. Figured while I'm in the area anyway I might as well put the right ones in. I also had a small welder inbound and a hanger so I could put in a proper fourth support for the muffler.
 

chiefmg

MOTM July 2015
:
'81 RX-7 GS, '00 Miata SE, '16 Camaro (wife's), '15 CX-5 GT AWD
This was a month ago but I was having trouble getting onto my photo sharing site so I could post pictures. I found a printed cam sprocket tool and bought it. When I got it I placed my FM tool on top to show how it lines up:

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The printed one is much wider so I expected it would stay in place better than the metal FM one. I don't have a timing belt job in the near future but thought I'd go ahead and pick this one up. If anyone is interested I can provide the link to the eBay auction.
 

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