1 January 2022
First day of the New Year. I added some Tiger seal between the horizontal tubes and the metal panels on the side of the cockpit to reduce panel rattles.
I removed the fusebox panel and cut a hole for the wires to pass through and started mocking up where the cables would run. Then realised that once I started making these final connections that removing the fusebox would be difficult so decided that I needed to finish off the gearbox tunnel and the fusebox panel properly, including trimming them so that they could be put back in and not have to come out again.
I know the vinyl I want to use but I haven't ordered it yet so that needs to be done. One thing I could get on with is adding some heat protection to the underside of the gearbox tunnel. The exhaust runs on the inside of the gearbox tunnel so I wanted to reduce the heat soak from that to the tunnel. An added benefit will be to reduce drumming from the large panel. I already had some heatshield material, left over from working on my TVR. I made some patterns from brown paper and cut out the material, being careful to get the pattern the right way up on the material. I used aluminium tape around some of the cutouts to stop them fraying. I cleaned up the inside of the tunnel with a sanding block and then wiped it clean with brake cleaner. I applied a good layer of contact adhesive to the metal and to the heat shield material. Once it had dried, I positioned each piece and pressed it down then used a roller to get it pressed on fully.
I let it dry a bit more before running more aluminium tape around all the edges and again using the roller to secure it.
2 January 2021
Started to make a pattern for the gear lever panel heat-shield but decided not to line it until I have the brake lever panel made.
Something that has been bothering me is that I couldn't remove the gearbox cover without removing the fusebox from the cover because the wires go through the fuse box panel I've just made. Had a long think about different ways I could mount the fusebox but then decided the easiest way was to enlarge the hole the wires go through. The fusebox is too large to pass through it but the individual modules can be unclipped and fed through without having to undo any wires.
Then I turned back to the wiring, and terminated the main bettery cables on lugs. Added an earth bar to the underside of the dash bulkhead, attached the earth cable to it. I will use this to earth the various wires from the dash and fusebox.
Then joined the cables for the rev counter, charge warning lamp, oil warning lamp oil gauge. Added ring terminals to the earth wires.
Did some simple testing of the gauge and warning lamps to check the wiring I'd made, using a power probe.
I still have a few more circuits to add to the car (temp gauge, brake light circuit, reverse light circuit as the switches for them are not in the dash.
Ordered the vinyl and some scrim foam, edge trim, grommets, exhaust pipe gaskets, exhaust hanger rubbers, O2 sensor blanking plug USB charge ports and a USB panel connector for the the ECU cable.
10 January 2022
My edge trim has arrived so fitted that to the hole behind the fusebox. I decided my interior/map lights would be mounted on the sides of this panel. Checked the polarity of the LED lights I've bought and like the number plate lights white was the negative connection. Measured and cut out a hole in the panel for the lights and screwed them into position.
I decided to try out my Superseal connections that I bought for the light circuits, on the map lights as I wanted to be able to disconnect them from the loom easily. Where they are shouldn't get wet but as I've not assembled this type of connection before thought it would be a safe place to try them out.
Getting the terminals crimped in place was straightforward but had a bit of a problem getting the pins to push through far enough and as I wasn't familiar with how far they needed to go I ended up destroying one of the locking clips.
I was going to put the fusebox back in the car so I could run the last few circuits but realised I had not mapped out which fuse position each of the circuits was connected to. Came back inside and spent some time updating my wiring diagram with the fuse box layout. I plan to print out a smaller version that can be laminated and sit inside the fusebox.
27 December 2021
Back into the garage and cut the nearside panel for the cockpit, got it cut to size and all the holes drilled.
28 December 2021
Got the nearside panel glued and riveted in place, the air powered riveter is a great tool. Mounted the ECU on the board I previously glued to the bulkhead. There is a small relay and fuse block that is part of the ECU loom that needs to be mounted near the ECU so I made up a small bracket that I have primed and painted. Once it's fully dry, I will screw it to the same pice of wood as the ECU. Had a look at options for the fuse box mounting. I had previously mounted it behind the dash but I wasn't happy that it was secure or would be readily accessible when the car is finished. I tried several different locations but wasn't happy with them for one or other of these reasons. I am currently seeing if I can make some mounts out of wood so that I can secure it to the passenger side of the dash and then create an opening in the dash for it. If that doesn't work I will see if I can build a centre console to sit between the gearbox tunnel and the dash bulkhead and mount it there, hidden behind a panel.
29 December 2021
Mounted the ECU relay and fuse block next to the ECU using the bracket I made yesterday. Spent some time routing the ECU loom cables round the battery box and adding some p-clips to secure it. There are a number of ECU wires that run to the dash and fuse box which required wrapping, I routed these over the top of the battery as well. Next I wanted to complete the battery installation, the position and fixing for the cage was already done but I needed to add a securing strap and route the main battery cable. I cut a slot in the bottom of the battery cage and then cut a strip of aluminium to run down in front of the battery into the slot. I then added a bend to the strip and secured it to the metal cross bar at the top with a self tapping screw, I filed down the end of the screw to ensure it didn't damage the battery. I then cut the battery leads to the approximate length, and secured them to the bulkhead with p-clips and a self tapping screw. I made some cutouts in the cage so the cables can reach the terminals without rubbing on it. I put gaffer tape around all the edges to cover all the metal edges and to help reduce rattles.
30 December 2021
Back in the garage and ditched my plan to mount the fusebox behind the dash. Decided to make a panel to run from the dash bulkhead down to the gearbox cover. Made a cardboard template and then cut it out of aluminium sheet. A few bends and it was pretty much done. I feel I'm getting better at the fabrication work now I've done a few more panels. I had to think a bit about the order to make the bends to make sure I could do them all but as it's aluminium it is quite easy to bend; a hammer, strong straight edge and some clamps seemed to work very well. Did a bit of fettling at the corners but pretty happy with the outcome. I will mount the fusebox on the front, facing into the cockpit. I have a cover for it so it will look neat, where it is on the gearbox tunnel it will be set back from the line of the dash and won't be immediately visible but it will still be accessible. I'll cut a hole in the panel so the wires can run straight back and out of sight, to the dash and the rest of the car. It will be mounted with brackets on the wings, screwed to the dash bulkhead at the front and screwed down to the gearbox tunnel.
31 December 2021
Last few hours of 2021 in the garage were spent securing the fusebox panel to the gearbox tunnel and dash bulkhead using M4 bolts and riv-nuts. I positioned the fusebox on the secured panel and marked the mounting holes. Then I removed the panel from the car and drilled and riv-nutted it with m6 riv-nuts. Put it back on the car for a test fit. I'm waiting for some grommets to arrive before I drill the hole in the panel for the wires to run through. I've also got some edge trim on order ready to tidy up some of the edges on the gearbox tunnel and the fusebox panel.
So that's it really for 2021, I started this project in September 2020 by stripping the MX5 down. The kit arrived in January 2021 and I've been building it almost constantly since then, some weeks more than others but I've tried to do something every week. Even if it's just crimping a few wires or drilling a few holes it helps to keep the project moving. I put together this little video of how far things have come in just a year to hopefully keep me motivated.
Happy New Year to anyone reading this, I hope you have a better 2022.
I've not done any work on the build since my last update. Christmas preparations and general family life preventing me from getting into the garage,
However I will be back with updates soon.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
29 November 2021
Cleaned up the 3d printed mounting rings for my lights and finished them all off this afternoon. Spent some time over thinking how to mount the number plate lights involving fabricating brackets. Before I went too far down the rabbit hole I went back indoors and looked at what other people had done. I decided to keep it simple and just bolt them to the body shell at either end of the number plate. I trial fitted them and added an additional thickness of neoprene underneath so they would conform to the slight curve.
4 December 2021
Finished off the rear lights by putting the number plate lamps on which was straightforward. Secured them with m4 allen headed bolts, penny washers and nyloc nuts on the inside. Made up the loom tail for the second dash connector that provides the earths, gauge sensor and feeds out to the indicators. That was after I had a forced tidy up trying to find the pins for the connectors which had fallen on the floor. I think next up will be back inside the car to finalise the fusebox fixing and the connecting up the wires in the car to the fusebox and the dash. Starting to think about trimming, as I want to cover the dash top I'll want to get that done before I finish fitting the body. When I was at Beaulieu earlier in the year had a talk with the guys from Martrim who had some 4 way stretching vinyl which would be perfect and comes in a nice dark blue that I think would look good with the body colour.
5 December 2021
Having said all the above...... Today I had a bit of a tidy up and started making the panels for the sides of the cockpit. It's not entirely random, the wires for the loom need to pass through the sides of the chassis and so I really want the side panels in place before I run the wires, otherwise I would have to take all the wires out again to put the panels in. Got the offside panel roughly cut to shape and most of the holes drilled and attached with Cleco's.
6 December 2021
After a bit more cutting to size, a bit of shaping, drilling lots of holes I then finished off the panel and secured it with Tiger seal and pop rivets.
20 November 2021
Wiring is a time consuming business it seems. Made up the fuse and relay connections for the sidelights and headlight circuits today.
27 November 2021
Finished off the high beam, indicator, hazard and map light wiring in the fusebox. Still need to wire up the wires out to the loads and the links from the dash to the various sensors.
Soldered wires onto the lamp units and tested the lights so I could correctly label the brake a side light wires.
I made a start on getting the lights fitted. I did some trial fitting to figure out how to secure the lights to the body. I decided the best way would be to screw through the light. I didn't think the bodywork would be enough to secure the light and decided to make up something to go inside the bodywork to screw into. I designed a simple ring and printed it on my 3d printer. For the fog lamp which is different to the other lights, it screws from the back, so I needed to mount something inside the bodywork to screw into. A larger ring of plastic was designed and drawn. I cut down the spare rubber light trim I had bought before and fitted it on the outside. Very happy how it looks, the fog light now looks very similar to the other lights.
28 November 2021
Glued the ring of plastic to the inside of the bodywork, I used the light and trim ring to hold the plastic ring in place while the glue set. I tried fitting one of the brake, side lamps with the plastic ring, but my initial design didn't really work. I made some changes to the design to include slots that I could bolt through, rather than using a self tapping screw. I printed off the new design and with a bit more filing and sanding round the hole I was able to get it fitted.
The chrome ring wouldn't initially fit in the rubber trim, so I had to file the hole a bit more to ensure the light was central in the depression. Even then it was difficult to get the trim ring in, but eventually I managed too. I to printed off the remaining few rings in the evening.
13 November 2021
Made up the connector with 60cm tails (all labelled) for the feeds between the fusebox and the dash. Changed the fusebox wiring to delete the start/run wiring which my new starter switch doesn't need. Prepped the cables for the starter motor but realised I didn't have the right size of connector block. Made up the tails for the back of the ignition switch. Body and dash mounting off the car ready to start wiring into the fusebox. Reviewed the wiring diagrams again to make sure I've not forgotten anything.
15 November 2021
Made up the connector block for the ignition switch, double checked with my multimeter that I had got the connections correct for each key position. Disconnected some of the existing wires from the fusebox (thank goodness for pin removal keys). This was so I could make up the fusebox connections on the bench. I started with an easy circuit, the horn. Made up the terminations for the dash loom on to the relay, the fused connections to the relay and the wire that will feed out to the horn. While I was doing this I was also thinking about the fusebox layout and how to keep track of what was connected to what. All the wires have heat shrink labels on them but I also want a schematic of the fusebox for my wiring diagrams with the connections marked.
1 November 2021
Had a productive day in the garage doing more wiring on the dash. Made up all the wires for the gauges, lighting, light switches, horn, and feed for the warning lights. Got them loosely arranged into the bundles that will connect to the multi-pin plugs.
7 November 2021
Morning trip to Goodwood Breakfast Club ate in to my project time today. Added the last few wires to the warning lights. Then terminated the wires and inserted them in to the multi-pin plugs. Added some cable wrap to tidy things up a bit. Still a few more wires to sort out – the ignition switch, rev counter and speedo signal wires. The speedo signal wire will have to wait until I can get the car running again as there are a couple of wires depending on the feed.
22 October 2021
Progress has slowed as I am working again. Spent today bench testing the indicator and hazard wiring I designed. I buzzed out the terminals on the indicator switch to work out which ones I needed to use for the left and right circuits. Had a problem as it was an old switch it had some dirt or corrosion in it there was a high resistance short between a couple of terminals. I cleaned it up by popping it in the ultrasonic cleaner, blowing it dry then giving it a good squirt of WD40 and then a contact cleaner. Once it was dry it worked correctly. The good thing with these old switches is that they can be serviced. The indicator warning light caused me some grief, my plan to have it in series with the other lights didn't work. I could have changed the flasher unit for one that would also drive a warning light but that would mean running another wire up from the fusebox and I really wanted to have it all contained in the dash. I did a bit of searching online and figured I could make it work by adding a couple of diodes into the circuit. Other than the warning light my indicator and hazard light switches all worked as I wanted.
24 October 2021
The diodes arrived yesterday and after rebuilding the circuit on the bench it all worked as expected. The hazard indicator circuit is probably the most complicated circuit so I am pleased that is all working. I need to now figure out where I am going to add the multiway connectors on the back and how many I want to have.
25th October 2021
Did some planning on the wiring and a pair of 15 pin connectors and a 6 pin connector should be enough to accommodate everything. The 6-way connector will handle the ignition switch connections, One of the 15 way connectors will go to link to the fusebox and the other will link to the lights etc. Ordered the multi-pin connectors and a few other bits from CBS.
Back in the garage I remade the diode pack slightly tidier and covered the joins with heat-shrink. Soldered and remade all the joints for the indicator circuit on the dash so the wires were the correct length. I left tails for the wires that will go to the bulkhead connector that I have ordered. I added wires to all the light units, so that they can be connected to the loom with waterproof connectors when I am ready to install it in the car. The wires have been labelled with heat-shrink tubing that I can print in my label printer and shrink on to the wires. I started making up the wires for the gauge illumination but had to call it a day before I could finish that off.
13 October 2021
Not much activity this week, I fixed the fusebox to the rearmost cross member of the chassis. Spent the rest of the day stripping down the old loom to get as many of the wires out. It's a slow process cutting out connectors and untangling wires. Needed to keep an eye out for a couple of connectors I will need (e.g. brake fluid reservoir). Sorted the wires into piles based on the main colour groups.
14 October 2021
Finished stripping the last part of the loom and sorting out the wires into colours. Drilled out the holes for the rear lights making the fog one slightly wider so I can sit it back to match the other light styles. I have a chrome trim ring I picked up at Beaulieu and I've ordered a rubber boot which I will cut to allow it to fit round the lens.
I started looking at the wires to decide how to go about making the loom and how to route the wires. Looking at the wires I have for the indicators the best option seems to be run the wires down each side of the car outside the chassis. I will either wrap the loom or mount some tubes to run the cables in. I worked on the indicator runs and roughly laid the wires in position using tie-wraps to secure them to the chassis. I had to joint it to reach to the back of the car. I twisted the wires together then crimped them with a bootlace ferrule and covered that in heat shrink. I intend to wire up the dash and have connectors to join the circuits to the body wiring. At the front and rear the lights will also have joints so I can remove the body without having to cut the loom.
Spent a bit of time reviewing my wiring diagrams, making changes for things like the starter switch, and the hazard switch I am using, corrected a couple of mistakes in my diagrams and added more detail for the gauges.
4 October 2021
Took the GRP dash panel off and used some of the dash offcuts to make pieces to fill the gaps at each end. Secured them in place with self-tapping and cut out the matting. Mixed up some resin and roughly pasted the mat in place. Once it is dry and the sections are held in position I will remove the screws and tidy it up before applying more layers of mat and resin.
5 October 2021
Removed the self tapping screws from the dash and added more layers of GRP. When it was dry, I trimmed and sanded the GRP to get it roughly to shape and remove high spots. Applied a few additional bits of mat and resin.
While the GRP was drying I inserted the last few riv-nuts for the gearbox tunnel and checked the fitting.
I looked at the positions for the ECU, battery and fusebox. I'm mounting the battery in a cage against the passenger firewall, suspended from the bulkhead supports. The gel battery I'm using can be mounted in any orientation so I am mounting it with the terminals on it's side. I cut some lengths of flat steel bar to bolt to the underside of the bulkhead, I drilled and bolted them in place. I offered up the cage and marked and drilled holes to bolt the cage to the steel bar. I elongated two holes to give me room to insert the battery to the cage when it is in place. Still have to finalise the fitting and then paint the steel bar. I am thinking about cutting off the retaining lip on the cage and adding a retaining strap that could be bolted to the cage, just to make access easier in the future.
8 October 2021
I've painted the cage supports to match the chassis and bolted them in place with the battery cage. I added some draught excluder inside the cage to stop the battery and the cage from rattling. I'm going to mount the ECU to the left of the battery on the firewall, I decided to glue a piece of wood to the inside of the firewall that I could screw the ECU on to, rather than drilling through the firewall. Found a suitable piece and painted it with primer and grey top coat.
Whilst I was waiting for the paint to dry I got back to the dash and finished sanding down the GRP I had added. It still needs a few low spots filling with some filler, but the shape is there. I drilled and mounted the riv-nuts to the new section of GRP and did a test fit with the aluminium part. I decided to fit all the hardware to the dash to make sure everything still fitted with the dash in position. I needed to trim back a bit of GRP to allow the mounting brackets for the speedometer to fit. I cut some pieces of wood to support the ends of the dash and screwed and glued them to the GRP. I need to figure out a way of securing the wood block to the chassis rail. My initial plan was to drill a hole through the chassis rail underneath and run a wood screw up and into the wood, but this will be hard to access with a screwdriver so I'm looking for another way.
I've refitted the body and the dash to recheck it all still fits (which it does) and to look at options for the fusebox location. It's going to be somewhere in the centre of the car but I want to still have good access to it. I'm still planning to cover the GRP dash panel in vinyl and want to anodise the aluminium panel but I want to finish like the fusebox position and the rest of the wiring first.