Mazda MX5 NB Mk2.5 Sport

Johnny_E

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Thought it about time I posted up to this sub forum - some pics and updates on my 2003 MX5 NB (Mk 2.5 Sport).

I bought this as a bog standard car back in 2013 when it was 10 years old with just 36k on the clocks. It had been waxoyl'd from a young age and was absolutely sound all over. Zero rust, even on the chassis rails. Paid a little over £3k, including a hard top which was a cracking price at the time for such a fresh car. Here it is on day one when I got it home:

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I always loved the MK2 interiors - the sport is nice inside with full heated leather:

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Plenty of sign of being cared for... waxoyl dripping from inside the doors is a good sign!

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Everything clean and unabused up front:

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I started with a few very mild mods back then - a stupid set of mousetrap "style bars" which are now long gone (do a google image search for miata mousetrap if you want to see why!). First PROPER mod, a nice rear box section from "Racing Beat". A lovely piece of work with a nice deep note without droning.

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Next - time to add some engine bay bling with a trip to Canavans Autocentre in Lurgan. Mark had a new chrome look powder coat which really brought up the strut brace and mounting brackets. Also added a K&N Typhoon intake. In hindsight, now I know better.... yeah... its sucking in hot air, I know! I've to remedy that - with either an enclosure or just go back to standard with a panel filter inside:

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Johnny_E

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Johnny_E
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That's pretty much how the car stayed for a while - added some IL Motorsports pedal covers and just enjoyed the car. Its a HOOT on the B roads - as you'll all know, not overly powerful with its 150bhp 1.8 VVT... but hugely entertaining.

I'd decided that the next step was to start up upgrade handling with the end goal of adding boost. So..... this happened!

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Just shows you how bad the chassis paint is on these. Bear in mind.. it's been a garage queen for years, only done 41k when these were taken. I took all the bits home and started work to put things right.

The plan was...

  • Add MeisterR CRD coil overs
  • Change bushes to IL Motorsport uprated rubber
  • Change the wheels (never really like the OE Sport rims)
  • Replace every old bolt with new genuine bolts
  • Seal as I go - with either Dinitrol or Bilt Hamber products
I've LOADS of pics of the progress but he's a few that show the scale of the mess.... I went for Bilt Hamber stuff and setup a de-ox bath in the garage to steep the parts. In the end, for the likes of the subframe, I had to go the full hog and strip to bare metal. In hindsight, I should have just handed the lot to Canavans for blasting and coating... but I'm a stubborn git! This was a DIY job....

Example of how crap the underside was - rear subframe after wire brushing:

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Into the bath we go....

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It did its job... but left the whole lot in a state I wouldn't have been happy to paint over. I needed the whole lot stripped (oh WHY did they have to remove the bite from Nitro Mors!!!.. its crap nowadays....)

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So.... paint stripping gel to the rescue...

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That's better now....

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Paint wise, I'm a massive fan of POR15 from frost.co.uk and have used it many time. Its a 3 stage process: 1. Marine clean prep 2. Prime 3. Paint. This stuff is brutal - you have to add subsequent coats before the last is dry, otherwise it wont bond as the surface seals so hard. Its great stuff. He's the end result:

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Johnny_E

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Johnny_E
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I tried DIY bush removal with mixed success - a welded bar with captive nut... and a couple of sockets... worked on the smaller parts, failed on the larger and was actually at risk of warping the arms. Ended up paying a few quid to a local mechanic to press them out (couldnt be arsed burning and drilling them out.. been there, done that).

Look at the state of this!
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End result was this...
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Now... time to get an Excel sheet at the ready... add up the shopping list and spend some cash!

New bolts sir? Yes please... this small box will sting you £195 for the privilege:
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IL Motosport (Germany) made these BEAUTIFUL adjustable droplinks... wee works of art they are!
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Everybody goes and buys TR Lane bars.. I just dont like the look of them! Tall.. awkward... GCFabrications are making big waves on the MX5 forum these days... fat bars... beautiful welds... so this arrived, complete with bolts, spreader plates, MSA certified.
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Now - wheels... thank goodness I use Photoshop. After hours of virtual try ons... I ordered a set of Team Dynamics Pro Race - with the proper spacing (no spigot ring needed) and a -20 offset. It'll add a BIT of poke, widening the track subtely.

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Last but not least... these gorgeous MeisterR CRD's. Lovely things - 32 stage adjustable. Dual perch, so you can adjust preload and damping is managed independently of height control. Lovely:

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Johnny_E

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Johnny_E
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For the final putting together of all this - I have to concede that its now beyond my 1 man skills - I wouldn't be able to safely get that rebuilt rear back in on my own. I decided to send the car and parts down to the lads at MX5PartsNI and what a good call that was - can't praise them highly enough. I'll start with a grainy... but brilliant photo that they sent me on WhatsApp as things drew to a conclusion - my 1st view of the car on its new corners...

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I decided to add some Jass Performance frame rails while they had the car on the ramps. I've done so much at one time to the car, I can't quite tell just HOW effective these are in isolation - but combined with the roll cage, new bushes and coil overs... the car is absolutely rock solid now. Very little scuttle shake - like a kart on the corners.

Some pics of the underneath now..... plenty of Bilt Hamber clear in the cavities... black on the surfaces:

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Johnny_E

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Johnny_E
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So... my moment of truth 24th July 2020 - a shameful 4 years and 4 months after I pulled that rear end apart (dont ask!!!!) - it's back home:

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A tidy touch... spot the remote adjusters for the rear rebound settings?
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Now - 4 years of storage has had its price. Parts bunged in the interior damaged my centre console... so time to replace that and add a nice carbon gear knob my son bought me:

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Its hard to find one of these with a 6 speed shift pattern on it... this came from New York of all places!
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And finally.... up to last week... the seats. My black leather sports seats are IMMACULATE... but the car must have got wet in its early years with the roof down. There was always a fusty smell from them. I've tried many mould treatments but wasted my time - it must be in the foam. I don't mind really... its faint... but the missus smells it a mile off when I've been out in the car and in fairness, you DO smell that mouldy smell on the arse of your jeans after a drive.

So.....

Special delivery from England on a pallet! 8am in the morning it arrived.. on my week off while I was deep asleep...

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Full grain leather re-trimmed and refoamed seats which came from a Mk2.5 sport in silver just like mine. Fully heated, on the rails... an easy 4 bolts each to fit:

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Some nice embroidered details:

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The finished job - VERY pleased indeed...

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So, well done if you stuck with me to this stage!! That's me up to speed. The car now only has 41k on it and is in really nice shape now. Handling was always good... but now its REALLY good. Solid. Very solid in the corners now.

MeisterR recommend you set the car full hard, then start with -15 front, -20 rear. I did that and it was too wallowy in the bends. Went to -10F, -15R and that's the sweet spot for me. Surprisingly, they are MORE comfortable than the sport Bilsteins that the car came with, yet handle so much better.

I've been taking the car out every day this past fortnight - just to find a quiet B road and explore the car a bit better. Haven't had this much fun since my bike days.

Plans now are to just enjoy driving it. I'm setting up a shopping list and will start to accumulate parts for the front end to do the same level of work. IL Motorsport bushes, Racing Beat uprated front sway bar (and associated uprated bracketing), braided hoses and green stuff pads up front to match the rear.

This one's a keeper!
 

P2ULW

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Messages
670
Great dedication to the project, fantastic to see such an investment and restoration taking place, a true labour of love!
 

bennn

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Belfast.
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a bike
Have you been around holywood at all in this recently? Lovely silver one with a roll bar passed me a few nights ago when I was out on the bike with a good note off it and it made me miss mine big time.

Great example and the painting and suspension work will pay dividends.
 

Crow555

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How did I miss this thread? Absolutely love all the work done to this. Do you track it at all or is it just for road use?
 

Johnny_E

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Johnny_E
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Have you been around holywood at all in this recently? Lovely silver one with a roll bar passed me a few nights ago when I was out on the bike with a good note off it and it made me miss mine big time.

Great example and the painting and suspension work will pay dividends.

No - not me... I'm in Waringstown.

Hard top is on now and I delivered it to Bluehill Detailing today for 3 days worth of work!! Dent removal, paint correction, ceramic coating of body and wheels. Expect some juicy pictures at the start of next week from the LED lit booth!

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oh..... and anyone calls me a hairdresser in this....

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How did I miss this thread? Absolutely love all the work done to this. Do you track it at all or is it just for road use?

Fast road use only. It's built to be at its best on our NI B roads - therapy!! I'm now accumulating parts to do the same work to the front end - IL Motorsport bushes, Racing Beat uprated sway bar and associated bracketing. Braided lines all round.

The plan has always been to end this job with "boost" but I'm currently of the opinion that I'll stop once the chassis and brakes are well sorted. 150bhp is plenty to have fun with - I can confidently drive it hard and have LOADS of fun doing so. I think if I added too much more power, it would take away from the dynamic of the car. Perhaps supercharging would be the way to go.... fatten up the power without changing the dynamic.

Problem is.... £3k for a charger kit from BOFI racing. That's pretty much what I paid for the whole car 7 years ago with the hardtop included!
 
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Gaz86

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I have a nice mirror polished TD04 for sale if you're interested ;) Would tie in nicely with all that chrome under the bonnet.

New CHRA, exhaust turbine and compressor wheel, balanced. Basically a brand new turbo (y)
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I will also be selling some braided Goodridge hoses in the very near future
 
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gav525

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This is class, car is looking great now and you've done some cracking work!

You've given me a lot of ideas for my own when I get stuck into it! Where did you get the brake disc backing plates from? Or are they the originals? Mine are crumbled on to the garage floor now 😂

Roll bar looks the ticket as well, must look them up 👍🏻
 

Johnny_E

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This is class, car is looking great now and you've done some cracking work!

You've given me a lot of ideas for my own when I get stuck into it! Where did you get the brake disc backing plates from? Or are they the originals? Mine are crumbled on to the garage floor now 😂

Roll bar looks the ticket as well, must look them up 👍🏻

Those are just the OE brake guards painted up. The lads over at MX5PartsNI.com have loads of spares if you need a new set - I'm sure they'd have some ok.

Rollcage is from GCFabrications. The finish is perfect - nice fat bars and integrated harness bar. Comes with spreader plates and it all fitted to perfection. I did a PDF doc of the process for GCF if you fancy a look to see whats involved: https://egewebdesign.co.uk/docs/GCFabricationsRollBarFitting.pdf

They're strong and MSA certified - each one comes with MSA certificate:
 

mr_s81

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I can't believe I've missed this thread. Great work and your efforts will hopefully reap dividends for years to come.

I've never driven a mk2/2.5, but I know from my MK1, that a MX-5 on a decent set of coilovers and wheels with decent is a hoot to drive without having to break the speed limit!
 

gav525

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Those are just the OE brake guards painted up. The lads over at MX5PartsNI.com have loads of spares if you need a new set - I'm sure they'd have some ok.

Rollcage is from GCFabrications. The finish is perfect - nice fat bars and integrated harness bar. Comes with spreader plates and it all fitted to perfection. I did a PDF doc of the process for GCF if you fancy a look to see whats involved: https://egewebdesign.co.uk/docs/GCFabricationsRollBarFitting.pdf

They're strong and MSA certified - each one comes with MSA certificate:


That's brilliant, cheers for that. Cage looks the ticket, will add it to the list!
 

Johnny_E

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Johnny_E
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I have a nice mirror polished TD04 for sale if you're interested ;) Would tie in nicely with all that chrome under the bonnet.

New CHRA, exhaust turbine and compressor wheel, balanced. Basically a brand new turbo (y)
View attachment 298034

I will also be selling some braided Goodridge hoses in the very near future

Just caught a look at your build thread. Good grief!.... That's some work! I'll get a proper read tomorrow.

I'd be interested in those goodridge hoses for sure.
 

Coog

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No - not me... I'm in Waringstown.

Hard top is on now and I delivered it to Bluehill Detailing today for 3 days worth of work!! Dent removal, paint correction, ceramic coating of body and wheels. Expect some juicy pictures at the start of next week from the LED lit booth!

50431397466_e8183d307f_b.jpg


50431403261_7c6ae3bfd7_b.jpg


oh..... and anyone calls me a hairdresser in this....

50349927708_1cf28eb870_b.jpg



Fast road use only. It's built to be at its best on our NI B roads - therapy!! I'm now accumulating parts to do the same work to the front end - IL Motorsport bushes, Racing Beat uprated sway bar and associated bracketing. Braided lines all round.

The plan has always been to end this job with "boost" but I'm currently of the opinion that I'll stop once the chassis and brakes are well sorted. 150bhp is plenty to have fun with - I can confidently drive it hard and have LOADS of fun doing so. I think if I added too much more power, it would take away from the dynamic of the car. Perhaps supercharging would be the way to go.... fatten up the power without changing the dynamic.

Problem is.... £3k for a charger kit from BOFI racing. That's pretty much what I paid for the whole car 7 years ago with the hardtop included!

That's exactly it. It's quite something to have a car dialed in to exactly the way you want it to be without compromise.

Even with 115bhp it was amazing what my wee MK1 would sit with on a back road.

7/8 years I spent getting mine the way I wanted before deciding it was time for more power. The ECU alone cost twice what the car did lol

If you're stripping the front end give the chassis legs a good poke. Horrific design on the MK2's!
 

warren

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That is a fantastic effort, really looks the part! Im not sure on the power front, I had a 1.8 NB about a year ago and Ill agree its fun that you can thrash it absolutely everywhere and its fine.... but Im a total child and the thoughts of turbo whistle, blow off valves and mega torque added to it does sound fantastic.

I do wish I could have kept mine longer, it was just a bit crashed and rusty and I lost heart in it :worried:
 

Gaz86

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Just caught a look at your build thread. Good grief!.... That's some work! I'll get a proper read tomorrow.

I'd be interested in those goodridge hoses for sure.

Thanks Johnny. Mine started off as a fairly straight forward missile car for chucking around Kirkistown and kinda spiralled out of control :joy:
 

Johnny_E

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Heres a good going one being road tested. Must feel like a bit of an animal.



That's a serious bit of kit!! At least 10 points on that drive where I'd have been facing the wrong way lol.

The child/hooligan in me says "Yes". Massive fun... great noises.

My issue: Car price + Chassis and brake upgrades + Boost. You're looking at a hefty price tag on all that and if I'm spending that.... I'd be more inclined to buy something else. The beauty of my car as it stands is it costs peanuts to run. If I cross the boosted line, I reckon I'll need to put at least another £3-4k in. We're talking clutch and 3" exhaust on top of the conversion... ME221 management, although I see these Ardiuno based systems are reasonable.
Thanks Johnny. Mine started off as a fairly straight forward missile car for chucking around Kirkistown and kinda spiralled out of control :joy:
Yeah... I can see that!! I'm paying labour for most of my work now on the car... so the cost would probably outweigh all sense for me. I'd have a nice SL500 on the drive for less than ir'll cost to boost my 5 (using for example a BOFI Racing kit + uprated clutch + labour for building)
 

Coog

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That's a serious bit of kit!! At least 10 points on that drive where I'd have been facing the wrong way lol.

The child/hooligan in me says "Yes". Massive fun... great noises.

My issue: Car price + Chassis and brake upgrades + Boost. You're looking at a hefty price tag on all that and if I'm spending that.... I'd be more inclined to buy something else. The beauty of my car as it stands is it costs peanuts to run. If I cross the boosted line, I reckon I'll need to put at least another £3-4k in. We're talking clutch and 3" exhaust on top of the conversion... ME221 management, although I see these Ardiuno based systems are reasonable.

Yep totally agree. Plus they're reliable as they are as well. I enjoyed smashing mine around as she was for nearly a decade and had to decide whether it was time to part ways or just get the turbo sorted. There's every opportunity to go mad and before you know it you're properly set-up Skyline money in a MX5 with absolutely no chance of getting it back... short of breaking it. Then there's insuring it. To be honest I've gone down the budget path so I'm importing turbo parts from China, using cheaper ECU and second hand parts where I can. It's still going to be a couple of grand on top of a couple of grand already spent on upgrades. On a car that originally cost a couple of hundred lol.

As it happens I've one of the Arduino ECU's coming from DIY EFI. It's the CORE4 and came with the wideband sensor, IAT with loom, leads, TPS & adaptor for less than £500 all in. I don't know who's going to be able to tune it though... so may regret that decision!
 
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