Author Archives: andyismilesaway

I'm 26, work in IT and live in Buckinghamshire with my lovely girlfriend.

Important things are Family/Friends, technology, cars, keeping fit, snow etc etc

Tunnel top panels and starting main loom

25hrs + 302hrs = 327 hours

The easy and quite satisfying part here was the aluminium transmission tunnel panels, they needed a little fettling – but nothing much, and with rivnuts inserted some nice flush hex heads hold down the panels – some foam to stop any rattling, and the grommets in the big holes to neaten things up a bit and stop any chaffing :S

The beastly bit in the last couple of months has been starting with the main loom, hard to really be able to say much of value here. It’s taken an age, I’ve not a lot to show for it, and I’ve a long way to go with the wiring!

It’s gone from a box (or two) and is now somewhere laid out in the chassis. I have at least fitted the ECU, it’s plate etc, another nice rewarding little job.

Oh and made a blanking plate for the EGR system on the inlet manifold.

I’m now at the stage where I think everything that needs to be plugged in is. A few queries, answered in other posts and I don’t doubt there will be a load more head scratching.

Not long and fuel, water and electric can be added and it can be turned over 🙂 Need a garage door fitting first (on order)! and have the bodywork for collection early Jan.

While I can’t fire it up, nor fit any bodywork I will be doing the bits of main loom I’m confident with and I won’t live to regret when/if the thing doesn’t start!

More to follow… and happy Christmas all – especially those on WSCC who just keep helping


blanking plate car front on car top down loom in a box loom laid main loom tunnel top panels tunnel top panels2

Mystery wires solved

With thanks to the folks at WSCC (see post  )

So it turns out the female terminal near the coil pack is for the water temperature gauge (as opposed to the ECU feed now at the front of the engine).

And the male terminal sits just to the LH side of the coil pack cunningly hidden. A bit of multimeter action proved that this with continuity between the female and a terminal on the instrument cluster (I don’t recall which, 2J or 2L maybe!?)


The other wire… That comes from the gearbox electrics, so either a neutral or reverse switch. In this instance its a neutral switch.

Again multimeter and  continuity proved this. What has transpired is that it’s not required, it seems to earth in the gearbox – also the feed from the neutral switch gets OR’d with a feed from the clutch switch – so either youre in neutral OR the clutch is depressed to send this signal to the ECU, and the clutch switch is already earthed. Either way some testing with the multimeter shows I don’t seem to need the earth wire – nor did the mx5 I suspect.

A proper post to follow…!

Mystery wires…

Not really a post this one, but a placeholder for the immense knowledge of WSCC!

If anyone can advise on what these wires are…

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Rear wiring loom, moving house and turning the car sideways

30+272 = 302hours (blimey, over 300 hours now…)

Yes, I know, it’s been a LONG time since the last post, 5 months! Quite a hectic set of months though with some holiday, a house move, little ones first birthday to mention a few things. However a nudge from the forums has reminded me I have a blog to update too – you know who you are 🙂

Also a bit of another landmark of being over 300 hours – now well over double the time WF quote, maybe I read that in the, er, manual…

Main progress since the last update has been in wiring, in my case the rear loom, servicing the rear light clusters, fuel pump, sender, handbrake switch etc etc

I don’t profess to me much of an electrician but from A level electronics I have some idea – but it’s just shown me how rusty I am! Its also taken me a while to get my hear around a few principals that are isolated to auto electrics – like the car is a big negative earth terminal, no one ever spells that out.

And sill things like how do you choose the right wire size to add? As ever guidance on WSCC forum answered this, and it’s obvious, but a size bigger than the fuse in that circuit, again, makes sense, but not something ive ever seen spelt out – I guess clever people would rate the load on the circuit!

ps. learning ohms law was good all those years ago, turns out it applies here.

before I get onto the rear loom…

also moved house in this time frame – this is only of note because… old house had a standard size single garage. new house has a double length single width garage – great!


there is no garage door… the kind previous owners swapped this out for a 3ft wide pvc door 🙂

thanks to an excellent removal company, several burly men, my sister, piano moving wheels, ratchet straps etc the car was turned on it’s side, rested on it’s wheels and manhandled/wheeled through the narrow doors! when it’s road worthy I will have a nice garage door fitted – insert quip on when this may be.

rear loom… the manual is pretty good here, the first job is stripping off all the miles of insulation tape, excess crap etc. Unplugging from the main loom at the two connectors.

I then went on to label everything, which has since proven sensible.

add a handbrake switch cable, then work on the rear lights, starting to cut and route the cables.

lots of jiggery later and all the old, unnecessary cables removed. a couple of pics of the loom new and old wires – already quite a lot to go…

rear loom then trial fitted into place several times, with tape and convoluted piping in place

for the light clusters I’ve used some econoseal connectors, these seem pretty good – the ratchet crimper for these seems a must to get a decent connection.

for other crimping I’ve invested in a draper expert crimping tool and a lot of their connectors of various sorts – hopefully this should to 9/10 of what I  need.

I think that’s if, just need to get my earths fitted into the rear diff gusset (looking to use Grahams technique of getting a decent earth (rivet, wet and dry, washer, rubber etc))

fit the loom with some cable tie connectors


pics below…


oh, and forgot… added the fuel tank earth and vent pipe

car on trailer car outside car under wraps connectors between front and back loom econoseal connectors excess wire from rear loom fuel tank earth fuel vent pipe loom power loom rear loom finished rear wiring loom

Steering, Fuel and Washer bottle

25+247 = 272 hours

Yes, me again, lunchtime, quick post. Sorry, another couple of months and no update to the blog, but there has been progress in the background, not a lot as ever, but a solid couple of hours a week makes a (albeit small) difference.

A few main activities in this time, the odd noddy job (washer bottle), steering column done and fuel system nearly finished.

Washer bottle was a pretty easy one, it has three holes for fixing, which are not attached into rivnuts into the passenger footwell/bulkhead. With the aid of a long bolt and a spacer (M6 I recall) this is now on and pretty solid- needless to say it’s a tight fit, but the engine bay is getting more and more rammed – I guess this will only continue.

Steering was fun, the end result is I’ve a steering wheel and the wheels turn when it rotates – for any car you take this as a given, but having put the steering system together it’s quite a nice lesson in learning and satisfying.

As many SDV builders have called out it’s best to measure the distance between the male splined end on the top column with the female end on the lower column to get the most accurate fit – I did provide mine to the mm, but when it came back it was about 5 mm out – I have no idea how they weld these so maybe that’s acceptable tolerances, either way, with a little wiggle and the play in the universal joints it all slotted together.

The bracket that holds the lower column in place was pretty straight forward too, ensuring to insert the sleeve – does make me wonder if that’ll wear? and it just about misses the inlet manifold bracket on the engine with about 5mm to play with – so hoping neither will move that much it’ll cause an issue.

The only slight bit of fun was the hole in the bulkhead for the middle column, even with a spline at one end (so didn’t need to open it up massive) it was near impossible to get this accurate – especially with the measurements in the manual 😉

I’ve ended up with a rubber grommet and some sealant on the part of the hole that’s not covered by this, the more sealant I needed to use the less I liked that solution so will probably use some rubber channel edging around the oval hole in the panel – amazingly the “car builder solutions” catalog had this solution in a picture – so I’ll steal it, creativity is not my bag.


After this achievement I’ve moved on to fuel, starting with the tank, which was a bit of a pleasure to fit, as per the manual, foam tape on the chassis and tank straps, drill some holes in the straps to line up with the rivnuts, on it went, quite a nice fit when lined up left to right.

Fuel pump and filter were next.

Fuel pump goes in a pacman shaped bracket with no clear idea how it fits etc, it transpires it’s just drilled a couple of holes through and in my case rivnutted to a chassis rail, the only fun was getting it to line up to avoid wishbone bolts as best possible and still be central in the rails, looks okay though.

Fuel filter was a new purchase from MX5 parts (OEM part) and then I found the bracket was still on the donor car in Devon, doh. After much perusing I found it near impossible to find a replacement second hand so took a punt on Littlewick green Mazda near me – £6 for a new bracket – some stuff seems robbery (gaskets, bolts) but things like that are very reasonable, odd. Either way, a shiney fuel filter bracket.

A couple of things of note here, I just fitted the bracket as per a few pictures, but if you look really closely on the filter there is an IN and an OUT, the manual of course doesn’t call this out, and in any normal mazda application you can’t get it wrong – for these builds you could…

In my installation of the filter I’ve then gone on to reshape (bend, kink etc) the pipe that goes in and out of the fuel filter to angle the very specific directions of pipe. Hopefully this should be fine.

Finally I’ve cracked on with routing the fuel hose, the front two are pretty easy – after buying some very long nose pliars – I don’t know how i’d remove the clips off the fuel rail without…

At the back, tank out, tank return, the right pipes, filter, pump etc could be a bit spaghetti but just trying to get the most sensible route, my first step was turning the fuel filter around!

anyway, here’s some pics…

next big thing is going to be electrics – that I am not looking forward to…


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245+2 = 247

The horns are on! nice easy tick box job!

connector realigned to point up


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10+235hrs = 245

This bit was fun, makes a nice visible difference and a nice opportunity to mess around with more silicone hose.

Again ASH hoses to the rescue with 90degree hoses with reduction in dia in them, allowing a 90deg from throttle body to air flow sensor, to air filter. A nice K&N jobby direct from them – interestingly they make million varieties.

All hooked up nicely looks good.

The only fun and games bits were the spurs required for the cambox cover vent pipe, and the throttle body IAC value feed. both provided by a self sealing spur from merlin motorsport – clever little things.

If I were being super pedantic I would perhaps rethink the position of the spur for the IAC attachment, as the fitting is quite close and the 90deg bend is pretty tight.

Also a bracket was needed as the air filter is a little wobbly on its own. I’ve made an ali bracket that goes from the bolts holding on the blanking plate on the front of the engine (where thermo was) to the conveniently threaded female holes on the air flow sensor.


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Coolant Reroute

220+15hrs = 235hrs

Again, I have not fallen off the edge of the planet, updating the blog has become something that gets slotted into a sleep for the little one, when I am not catching up. Averaging 2 hours a week of work on the car, so slowly slowly catchy monkey. On the subject of Monkeys my little 7 month old has another cold 😦 garage time could be used for sleeping in the garage.

I digress. The much talked about coolant reroute, it’s documented in numerous places, links below, but more pics and description cannot hurt. The stock mazda coolant layout has the thermostat at the front of the block where the top rad mount takes the hot water, through a nice case ali fitment. The water enters through another cast piece on the front, lower section of the block, with a few spurs to take water of to the back of the block, ultimately for heater type uses. Here comes the need to a coolant rethink – the stock mazda fitment has a heater, a hose takes water off the back of the head for routing around the heating system – the WF has no heater, hence no coolant flow to the back of the head.

The concept of the reroute is AFAIK similar to that used on the mazda 323 and quite well documented for WF and non-WF blogs

some links I squirreled are here:

So my reroute is following exactly these principals, with a few things of note. I blocked off the front block opening with a piece of aluminium plate – the I’ve fitted the temperature sensor normally fitted to the back of the block here – wire to be extended. Also fitted a bleed screw at the top of the new blanking plate as that seemed a sensible
Hoses were from AshHoses, who with their 15% off (code = ashhoses) have been excellent. I’ve never dealt with silicone hoses before, I knew they looked nice, but no dealings-they’re quite pleasant to work with, pretty forgiving, and choppable with a sharp Stanley blade and a hose clip to get a straight-ish edge.
For the rear of the head I’ve sealed the new fitting (1.6 housing) outlet that’s not required. a M16 (I recall) fine thread bolt was located on ebay to fill this gap – and some sealant and a copper washer.
now with the original casting that was on the front of the engine now fitted where the water pump inlet is it just needed plumbing up.
rigid ali pipe used along the length of the chassis rail and some nice blue hoses from ASH to fill the gaps. they also provide some ali joints with spurs of different dia attached, saved a welding convo with someone…
pics below! quite a satisfying job. Only a couple of notes:
The rad lower outlet is pretty close to the steering rack rubber covers – the hose is pulled away appropriately with cable ties.
If/When I fit a water temperate sensor to go with an aftermarket gauge where will the sensor go? I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it:)
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Engine mounts, gearbox mounts, clutch slave, handbrake, propshaft, steering rack, radiator, fan

25hrs + 195 = 220hrs

If you read all the things done really fast you might get the impression I work fast – then you’d see this is the first update for 3 months :S Car work has gone on, just a bit more sporadically. After several bouts of ‘I’ll just sell it’ the lovely wife has made me make a couple of hours a week to progress things. That said my lovely little 4 month old (today) is rarely giving me a spare second – but that’s more than fantastic in itself 🙂 look forward to giving him a drive, (or him handing me spanners?) Happy 4 months Joshua…

I will defer to a lot of pictures to show progress, some key things to call out though, in roughly time order…

Engine in, getting this sat in the car was’t too hard with wifes help and an engine hoist, not too much scraping :S

As ever the engine mounts weren’t in the right place, par for the course, and everything takes longer than expected when it comes to drill holes in awkward places.

Nice to get it bolted to the chassis though

Gearbox mounts were okay, stupid thing #1 was not getting the gearbox mount mounting plate on the gearbox while it was out the car, instead I struggled to get the right bolts, threads and location, nothing like making a job for yourself…

either way, not too difficult… the tip from someone around taking a picture from beneath to align holes was a good one, included is a comedy photo I too of myself, I think I had the phone around the wrong way, obviously tired – I look it.

A nice picture of a problem several have had, clutch slave banjos not mating to clutch slaves, this I found was because the after marked clutch slaves are crap. I had two from MX5 parts, one from Autolink, all had the female thread on the cylinder way off parallel to the outer circumstance. After being annoyed at this, I did come around to the though on the MX5 application the hydraulics don’t match with the same type of banjo bolt (straight not off at 90deg). hey ho, a genuine mazda one was the way forward. look after the pennies, suffer major inconvenience.

Once on quite satisfying to have another functional pedal though…

Handbrake was pretty straight forward, it went on and off 20 times to get as little scraping on the chassis rail as poss, some nice captive rivnuts to make it removable. The one PITA was getting a drill and rivnut tool into the chassis tunnel, with the side panels on. In the end I went with cutting a hole in the ali panel to get at it, not nice, and painful to do, but it was the only way, I will patch this after, it did at least mean I could get two riv nuts in the chassis though.#

Prop went off and came back, very good service, I will recall who it was, but ultra efficient, painted, re balanced, the right size with minimal measurement, a great example of service.

gearbox has oil and as does gearstick turret, the gearbox fill bolt was a pain, a square bolt, can be removed with a 16mm socket (imperial equiv). stupid thing #2 was not loosening this with the gearbox out, access is minimal.

Steering rack on, no pain here, quite satisfying again

Currently working on the fan and rad, a little fiddly, but looking positive…











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Engine work, engine in and one other thing…

10 + 185hrs = 195 hrs

Lots has happened since my last post, again I’ve not got lost or given up, on July 1st I became a dad 🙂 Photo below in amongst the on topic car photos. So I’m now the proud owner of Joshua Oliver Mann, born at Oxford Hospital on July 1st at 8lbs 8 – I am now a very proud happy chap. And the wife is doing well, as am I, albeit less sleep.

For the time being I’m going to keep the car, I keep toying with whether it’s the right thing to do for many reasons, mainly time. However while it doesn’t deteriorate to much while dry in the garage under a cover I’m going to keep plugging away when I get time when Joshua is sleeping, and I’m not…

Besides progress wasn’t exactly fast before, why change now?


A bit of a braindump of photos below, engine has had a lot of serviceables, mostly thanks to mx5parts and littewick green mazda who are now detesting me as I order single bolts and single gaskets as I come to realise I need them.


To give the gist: new clutch kit, plugs, (overkill, too expensive) HT leads, thermostat, gaskets, waterpump, camlebelt and associated tensioners etc. The general stuff that makes sense to get done when the engine is not in the car.

Everything is pretty much back on the engine now, gearbox mated and with a nice orange cambox cover that was beautifully blasted locally for £15, why I ever mess about with brushes and wet and dry I don’t know, the finish was amazing.

Last weekend we were able to get the engine in the car, which considering I roped my wife in to help and Joshua was having a snooze wasn’t a mammoth job, front wheels on some wood for a little height, some tilting, grunting etc and it was in the general direction.

Needless to say the LH engine mount holes are in the wrong place, a bit of a remeasure and lineup, drilling and hole filing and we’re back to a better place. I just need to drill the holes for the gearbox mounts in the chassis, as I’ve seen elsewhere, masking tape to try and get relatively accurate is the knack I suspect.

next jobs will be a bit random I suspect, as i’m hoping not to go for the full completion kit (whether I will choose to regret this?) – there are a few bits I could focus on:

steering rack – then column etc

radiator and fan

fuel tank


needless to say these all need doing, but when these are sorted then I’d like to think I can go down the plumbing route and potentially use the tried and tested mazda coolant reroute plan, as I know a few WSCC pecam sprockets cambox cover cambox cover2 crank sprocket dolly engine front engine no cover engine sans waterpump engine work engine engine2 engine3 inlet manifold joshua baby locking flywheel silverstone stoneleigh under gearbox waterpumpeps have done with success.

Honestly, I’d like to have the engine run before getting much more in, especially given how long the engine has been standing, turning it over by hand is one thing I guess, but just to keep it moving would make me a bit happier. In which case I can use the exact existing wiring just to get to this stage, then look at replacing the original mx5 cluster etc when I have that level of progress.

That’s all for now, tiredly. Andy