Happy day! Car has been towed back home and first thing we did was remove all the front panels 🙂 Storing them in a spare bedroom for now, don't want to scratch anything during assembly.
Colour is Audi's Aviator Grey.
The entire engine bay was covered in blankets during the engine install.
Colour looks amazing in sunlight, the Audi paint code has a bit of pearl through it but can only be seen in direct sunlight.
The freshly powder coated radiator and sway-bar brackets fitted up with new bolts.
A quick mock up panel for the engine harness Deutsch bulkhead connectors.
I had the front lip painted gloss black, will be interesting to see how well it holds up from all the abuse it cops 😛
Awesome day today!
Most of the panels are secured onto the body now but only a few things have been gapped properly. I just really wanted the panels back on so they could be towed home securely on the body instead of strapped down behind a ute.
The flow coat came out amazing! The guys at J&D Quality Smash Repairs usually give it a polish too, but I figure it would be best to do that after I finish assembly. A few little extra bits need to painted and both windscreens need to be fitted up, but that's about it and I should have the car back mid-next week.
A pretty cool Lotus Elise was in the shop too 🙂
Installed the boot lid, rear bar and than rear garnish. These panels have been gapped properly.
Using brand new bolts and flanged nuts with washers wherever I can.
New rubbers 🙂
The doors/rocker panel have had their rock-guard removed and everything smoothed out. I've kept the black section though, it's gloss black and will go well with the lips/sideskirts that will also be gloss black.
Bonnet and front guards are on but not gapped yet. These panels will be removed as soon as I get the car back though, keep them safe while I get the engine and wiring done.
Starting to look something like a car now!
Paint has cured and the boys at J&D Quality Smash got straight onto it. The first coats of clear were blocked flat, weird seeing the car in a matte finish. Looks pretty cool but it would be a pain to keep it in good condition, so yeah nah.
The guys will be painting the rocker panels black and a couple more coats of clear will go over everything.
Not much else to say, so here are the photos I took today.
OK! We're reaching towards the end now, base and clear coats are on every panel now. Next will be to paint the black areas, this will include: front and rear lips, side skirts, front quarter window frame, and the rocker panels. Everything will need to be fully cured before the guys block/sand everything flat. Than comes the flow coat...
The panels and doors are painted first. The guards and bonnet are secured on the mounting frame, this improves the overall finish by increasing the paint consistency from panel to panel.
Doors and rear bar. The front quarter window frames are masked off because they'll be painted black later.
Base and clear coats.
Front and rear bars.
Doors, hardtop and boot lid.
And the engine bay! It's painted with Audi's Aviator Grey, I think it goes well with the theme of my car. A lot of people ask me why I didn't shave the bay, and it's simply because I prefer the look of the standard bay. Has more character 🙂
So shiny and bright!
The money shot.
Rest of the other parts sitting in storage to fully cure.
This will be the last paint-prep update! All panels have primer and sanded flat ready for base/clear coats.
My rear garnish used to be black, going back to white this time around. The shop also fixed up my radiator support, which was all hacked up by the previous owner.
Boot lid all prepped, it was initially in really bad shape. The frame was pulling down the outer skin and causing a lot of low spots. So the glue between the frame and outer skin was removed to allow everything to be flat, new adhesive will be applied.
Front and rear bars done.
Bonnet and hardtop.
I also ordered brand new rubbers from Mazda 🙂
While the engine was out of the car, I removed my built head and sent it off for a quick check-over. Unfortunately for me, I was told that all the intake valves were damaged, the likely cause being poor air filtration (will expand on this at a later stage). So all intake valves were replaced, and decided to swap some new camshafts in.
Head all freshened up and the new billet camshafts (intake & exhaust).
The lifter bores had to be heavily modified for the new camshafts.
Re-built bottom end and genuine Mazda head gasket. Deck was surfaced, bores re-honed, and new bearings/rings.
The valve train fitted and ready to be degreed.
Using the "Lift @ TDC" method, basically the amount of lift on the camshafts at TDC on the overlap stroke.
All degreed, but I'll go through the whole process again to double check. I did the measuring off cylinder no. 4 lobes at TDC, I'll do it again measuring off cylinder no. 1.
Been stuck in bed with the cold most of this week, so spent my time doing a few small jobs for the Mazda.
First off I sanded my APR carbon fibre mirrors so that they could be sprayed with a clear coat, the original finish was ageing pretty bad. I used a combination of 400, 600 and 800 grit sand paper
Gave the transmission a quick clean and replaced the front seal and gasket on that front cover.
Couple weeks ago I bought myself a dial gauge and mount, decided I'll degree the camshafts myself this time around. And I have a degree wheel I purchased a few years back. Since I wasn't able to do much work today, I decided to have a play around with the tools 🙂
Mounted the degree wheel and dial gauge set up with the magnetic mount.
A quick exercise was to find true Top-Dead-Centre. I'll do it using the piston-stop-method but with a dial gauge instead of a piston stop tool. Basically.... on the upstroke to TDC, roughly 10mm before it reachs TDC, take note of the dial gauge measurement and the reading on your degree wheel in reference to a single point. Than take it past TDC and on the downstrok stop as soon as you reach the same measurement on your dial gauge, now take note of the degree on your degree wheel.
Mine happen to be 180deg and 108deg. To calculate the true TDC, simply take the average of those two readings. This happens to be 144deg on my degree wheel. From that you can loosen the degree wheel and zero it with your marker line.
Do this a few time to double and triple check your work, and just a quick visual inspection to confirm.
Hell yeah another update! The guys finished all the repairs and high build primer has been applied. This will need to cure for a few days to let the solvents evaporate. So about mid next week they'll start blocking the primer to get everything flat and make sure there are no imperfections.
Both doors, I had them remove the factory "stone guard".
So happy seeing the car in primer, a sign of progress 🙂
The guys at the shop made the decision to paint the door jams too.
The area just in front of the boot had a lot of dents, probably from dropping the hardtop.
Repairs to a rusted area in the pillar.
Another before and after of rust repairs.
Quick visit today 🙂 A lot of work has been done, the guys have stripped most of the panels and are now finishing off repairs. The next update will probably see the car in etch primer.
The guys started taking panels back to bare metal because the factory paint was so bad, just part way through getting everything smooth and flat. There were a few dents here and there.
I also chose to have the factory "stone guard" removed. Never liked it too much.
The front quarters, bonnet, front and rear bars have received primer and just waiting to be blocked back.
Lots and lots of repairs and prep to go...
A few common rust areas on the MX-5 getting repaired.
Dropped by J&D Quality Smash this afternoon and gave the boys a visit to see how everything was going 🙂 Very happy with their progress and quality of work.
In the final process of stripping.
Engine bay cleaned, prep and primer will be next.
Front windscreen and hardtop glass removed.
I purchased 2nd hand bonnet to replace my hail damaged one, the paint on this was in great condition so it'll be sanded and primered. Same goes with the boot lid.
The front bar getting a bit of love and in final stages of prep before primer.