1st Trackday

We did it!

A drizzly day in Bedford (that almost didn’t happen due to EasyTrack going under) but great fun.

The morning started out very greasy and slippery, and with the added bonus of a hail storm. The decision to run with the roof down all day was put in question for that bit at least. At least that has made the decision for us that we are going to keep the roof for now, less hassle with covers and the like in between sessions.

Initial thoughts on the MX5 was that it was a nightmare to control in the wet, and maybe it was a bit more broken than we thought…
However, the afternoon was sunny and dry and she was predictable and great fun to drive. Easily the slowest car there on the day, but we didn’t embarrass ourselves too much. A few spins during the wet, and one more in the dry was all the drama in the day.

Things we learnt about the car:

These Mazdas are hardy little beasts. Sitting outside for 2 years, one oil change later and a little bit of welding and she survived 40+ laps at 10/10ths with no real issues. She was pretty much out on the track for most of the day, with three drivers it was a matter of a quick handover and out she went again.

We have a bit of juddering under braking, and at one point she was pulling to the left. We probably need to do a bit of work on the braking system. New disks and pads and callipers on the front is most likely needed. No fade to speak of though.
The juddering could also be the bushes, so the front wishbones we couldn’t be arsed to replace? We should probably do that.

The “interesting” handling in the wet was probably a factor of two things. Firstly, the tyres are most likely shot. Standing for 2 years won’t have helped them and they are 5 years old already. Need to decide if we go with some road tyres or track tyres next. I expect we’ll just put some Toyo Proxes on to start with and see whether the Yokohama Paradas that are on it currently were the issue.
Secondly, the camber and alignment is all over the place, but no point in sorting that until we change the front wishbones too.

That’s pretty much it really, might swap out the alternator as it is bit rusty and likes to seize if you don’t start the car every few weeks.

A successful day all in all. Plan is to get together to do the rest of the work on the car, and then book another day. Maybe Brands Hatch next.


Prepping for our first trackday

A freezing cold weekend at the end of March? What better time than to converge at Toad’s place and do some work on the MX5.

After lots of umming and ahhhing, it seems we have come to a decision. Let’s just do what we need to do to it, to get us out on track for now, and worry about everything else later.
With that in mind, we had a list for the weekend:

Finish welding up the sills.
Strip it out.
Fix the horn.
Fix the lights.
Fit the polybushed wishbones
Oil change
Brake fluid change
Coolant change.
Fit harnesses.

It’s fair to say that we weren’t entirely successful on all of that 😀
The car isn’t stripped out yet, still deciding what needs to come out. The real weight saving would come in removing the hood and door windows, but that means storing it outside will be tricky. On hold for the moment.
A few trips round the local farm tracks showed that the brakes are fine for now, we’ll do one track day and see how they last. The right front caliper might be sticking a bit and need changing, but we shall see.
Wishbones wise, we have done the rear, and that was an utter arseache! Fronts are going to be skipped for now, it’s not like we have enough talent to notice any difference…

Hit it Toad!

The sills are welded and painted, the horn works again, the lights work again, oil is new, coolant is flushed and new. Harness bolts have been ordered and should be fitted this week.

All in all, reasonably successful. She could even be put through an MOT and stand a chance of passing, however Rob has finally fixed his trailer 😉 and we plan on towing the car to the first trackday, which all being well, will be at Bedford on Saturday April 27th. If anybody is going to be there, you’re more than welcome to head over and say hello 🙂

A four legged helper appears.

And finally, the most important part of the weekend, home made cake to feed the troops. Cheers Craig!

Did some prep-work for the welding.  Cut out lots of rust both sides, will need to replace part of the pinch weld on the offside.

Stuff happened!

Blimey. It appears that we have actually done something, it only took a couple of months.
On Wednesday we converged on my sisters place to pick up the MX5 and take it down to Toad’s place.

This is what I found when I turned up.

Superficially not too bad, the cover has been destroyed by wind and sheep, but the bodywork isn’t in too bad a condition. Sills are starting to rot a bit, as is the norm, but it’s more than solid enough for what we plan.
Interior was a bit mouldy in a few places and spiderwebs everywhere!

Battery was dead, a quick link up with a booster pack and she fired up straight away

To a major screeching noise and smoke pouring out from under the bonnet. The alternator belt was well and truly dead and had snapped and got stuck. The smoke was the belt trapped and burning up, and also a bit of burning off of the weeds that had grown through underneath the car. Stopped the engine, pulled out the belt and started her up again to move her into place to get onto the ramp.
Slightly hampered by one of the front brakes being locked on, but some judicious pushing and rocking got her freed, it also got Craig covered in sheep shit, which was a bonus 😉

Here she is, actually driven out from her resting place under her own steam!

Getting her on the trailer was uneventful and easy

An hour from when we first turned up, we are ready to go!

2 hours later, her new temporary resting place, more work starts tomorrow.

Tomorrow dawns, and into the workshop.

Picked up an alternator belt from eurocarparts and proceeded to fit the belt… which turned out to be a 1.6 belt rather than a 1.8 belt, which was very annoying. (even though we specifically asked for a 1.8 one) New one on order, along with a new outside cover.

Took the opportunity to give her a good look over and all seems well. Slight water leak from the water pump area, need to decide whether to leave it and just keep topping it up, or do something about it. Everything else seems pretty much spot on, if a little dirty and covered in surface rust.

So, next steps. Fix the belt, strip it, track it, most likely crash it…

Parking space ready!

We now have somewhere to park the wagon.  When it arrives.  Almost had to call out the fire brigade in the proccess, as the old fridge thingy burned slightly better than anticipated and almost set fire to the apple crates in the adjacent field. Pic taken some time after the fire was at its, erm…… warmest.  Good use of the garden hose saved the day. Oops.