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.

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