Acclaim headlight levelers – I knew it was worth going ginger….

When repairing the A-post I managed to catch the pipe for the headlight adjusters with an angle grinder. Bugger. I checked the workshop manuals I have and they all said that the whole system requires replacement. Bollocks to that. If it can be replaced then it can be played with.

First remove the headlight to find the actuators. These are held in by two 10mm bolts.

At the back you’ll find a small screw which you can use to fill up and bleed the system. Don’t remove the pipework as it’s 5mmm very small ID and a pain in the arse to get back on – I assume it’s been made hard through age and its contents.

Inside the car you’ll find the actuator control. I have a Troimatic and I don’t know how the manual cars tidy away their system. On mine you can remove the trim with four cross head screws. Two are on either side and two are hidden underneath the actuator knob plate. The knob can removed by carefully prising it off and the bit behind it covering the screws pops off. The bracket holding the control is held onto the bodywork with two 10mm nuts. Behind the unit you’ll see two pipes going to it which are independent and not joined together. You’ll also find two more screws which you can use to feed the system.

Remove the screws from the control, attach something containing the fluid you want to add, remove the screws on the actuators and then fill the system until it comes out of the actuator. Get someone to put the screw in to make the system sealed at that end, remove your filly bottle and put their screws back in. Jobbed!

I used anti-freeze as it’s pretty much what was in there in the first place. And for filling it I used an old hair dye bottle.


Well, it’s in. I was right to be concerned by the gauge position as you’re looking through the gap between the faces and the dashboard, but it’ll do for now. Space is very limited and I haven’t found the solution to not using the original Mazda pod. Nor have I found the desire to mess with it right now. I’m planning on driving it around for a good while yet whilst I formulate some kind of plan, then mk2 will be made and with a lot more care. More than anything I’m testing ideas and seeing what shapes and colours will work.

I gave up on using vinyl as it was impossible to stretch over the big gaps but the ash tray and switch backing panel still have it on – nope, the colours aren’t even remotely similar. Not bad for a blast over a bit of plywood with a rattle can.

Michael Barrymore

Did some tweaking to the car such as tidying up the wiring under the bonnet and tap out the transmission tunnel where the propshaft UJ was rubbing and then took it out for its first proper test drive. Boy does it shift! The MX5 seats have made a huge difference to the way the car feels too. Everything feels more complete and secure. I think I’m going to enjoy this!

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Sadly the test drive threw up some more items for the snagging list. The handbrake needed adjusting, the speedo cable snapped, the brakes needed another bleed and the temperature gauge wasn’t working. The gauge was a simple case of the wire being disconnected I hope, I can’t test it properly as the car hasn’t got any water in it right now. All the sensors have the correct resistances and the fan operates when it should so it’s not any major worry. Quick heads up for anyone with the RAC MX5 Mk1 book, ignore its section on the temperature gauge sensor as it’s completely wrong and the sensor it refers to is for the engine fan.

Checking the speedo cable revealed it had snapped on the section I was worried about – not making a gearbox tunnel yet was a wise idea. The speedo gear housing in the gearbox has now been shortened as has the key on the end of the cable which goes into it. Actually a completely new one was made! Photos later.

When it came to bleeding the brakes I noticed the differential sounded a little unhappy. I had concerns over the diff as with the old Cherrybomb on there I couldn’t, hear what state it was in. If it was slowly dying a noisey death I’d never know until it fully expired. Almost doubling the power going through it made a little voice in the back of my head louder. I umm’d and err’d for a while then bit to bullet and removed it. When I topped it up with oil three weeks ago it was almost empty and straight away nice clean oil leaks out. This said two things at the time – it had no oil in it and it was very leaky! I already had new shaft seals for it so to make it safe I though it best to whip it out, do an inspection and replace the seals. Less than mouthful of oil came out when it was removed! The video below has the noise in it.

On strip down the thrust washers were found to be worn. Another interesting thing thrown up – the ones the manual tells you to measure aren’t available in different sizes, they’re also made out of copper and not bronze and the ones you can buy in different sizes are all out of stock. Simple, make some then!

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Whilst that was happening a pinion seal, gasket and new Polybushes for the rear were bought and then it was thrown back together after a drain had been tapped and drilled.

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Yes, it’s all white. The reasoning for it is that it’ll show up leaks far more easily than a black one, I had lots of white paint kicking around and it’ll add 15bhp at the wheels. One thing I did notice when putting it all back together was how much of a difference the new bushes have made. Getting the spring back in with a 1″ lowering block was a nightmare. Normally I can do it on my own quickly, but this was a right faff as the diff is now sitting at least a 1/4″ higher – the old bushes were that badly worn. Also means the car will be that much lower now, which is good.