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gm's unhealthy obsession with mx5s - holy sh!t, batman, an EXO update ! only been a fortnight

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Very good history on this one 


drove more miles today than it did last year !


previous owner had it for ten years, barely used it, hadn’t seen rain in three years apparently so I felt guilty bringing it home today on the salty motorways :( gave it a good wash and it came up nice and shiny again. The mk1 looks a bit of a scruff next to it now 

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Honestly, I'm questioning my position re not having one MX5 due to  practicality concerns meanwhile you've basically got three (Ok, one's an Exocet)

You're going to have to stop chain buying them or there'll be none left for anyone else!

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29 minutes ago, Shirley Knott said:

Honestly, I'm questioning my position re not having one MX5 due to  practicality concerns meanwhile you've basically got three (Ok, one's an Exocet)

You're going to have to stop chain buying them or there'll be none left for anyone else!

That sounds like the perfect excuse to buy one asap :) 

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I managed to fit in a couple of hours fettling yesterday evening

the dashboard brackets got a bit of extra height added at the back of the cluster



but the whole thing was rather wobbly, a bracket at the front was needed



I modified some plastic spacers and fixed the dials into the hood




check for bonnet clearance

closed :


open :


drivers eye view - all good and solid, I'm happy with that


I still need to make a cover for the underside of the dash, I'm sure there's a suitable sized sheet of plastic kicking round at work somewhere, the brackets will get a coat of paint and some edge trim too

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I managed to get the new mx5 up on jacks for a quick look underneath - it's thick with old underseal and looks awful but is solid and that is what counts. I discovered the source of an annoying rattle

a random piece of exhaust shield was rattling around on this rather rusty under tray


the all important chassis rails are sound - it's difficult to check them without getting the car in the air - if I'd found trouble, the car would be swiftly punted on but it looks like this one may stick around for a while :) 


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  • gm changed the title to gm's unhealthy obsession with mx5s - exo dashboard brackets - exciting !

it turns out that a sunny day in April is the ideal time to be buying winter tyres :) 

a bit of tyre tetris was done



there was nothing wrong with the old 14" five spokers



but these new 15" multi spokers are way smarter



they have been recently powder coated and have brand new winter tyres fitted - and cost less than a cheap set of tyres on their own :) 

I had been planning to nick the wheels off the mk1 but these really suit the car, I'm very pleased. I bet they are a bugger to keep clean though !



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  • gm changed the title to gm's unhealthy obsession with mx5s - exo dashboard brackets - exciting ! and new wheels for the mk2
  • 2 weeks later...

nothing to report on the exo this week but I took the mk1 to Teeside for a trackday on monday

as always, it performed brilliantly and took many, many laps in its stride. 


I took one of my colleagues from work along as cod river this time, he's into cars but had never been on track before - we split the driving and he had an absolute ball, I suspect he will want to come back again.

standard suspension was wobbly as fook but still a lot of fun, I left the rainsports on as the forecast was uncertain - they squealed in pain but gave a decent amount of grip / slide as appropriate


fellow mx5er Ritchie was out in his newly supercharged mk2 which he was concerned "might be too fast now"


unfortunately, it was :( 


he was gutted, to say the least. 

we jacked it up and bent the wing back into shape so he could nurse it home, the next day he sent me a pic


literally, a bit of T-cut and it was good* as new

next session is mon 17th may, places are selling fast if anyone fancies joining in ?

lots of other photos here https://www.facebook.com/ShaunWoodsPhoto/photos/pcb.3883067618395160/3883062935062295/

and booking info here : https://www.facebook.com/TeessideAutodrome/photos/a.702423589778551/4282900141730860/


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with a ground clearance of 10cm, the exo is a wee bit tricky to get on and off the drive, I imagine that speed bumps will be a nightmare when I do eventually get it on the road. so I've been casually on the lookout for a solution - the existing kyb shocks with eibach lowering springs performed brilliantly on the mx5 but aren't going to work out on the exo.


so when I spotted a cheap set of mk2 standard height suspension on fb marketplace, I thought it might be worth a look.

the chap selling them turns out to be a total mx5 nut himself, he works part time down at madzadudes in darlington so knows his way around the cars inside out. we spent a good half hour talking bollocks about cars and I came home with a boot full of shocks


what I should have done first was test fitted them to see the difference in ride height.

but I'm an impulsive chap so I pulled them apart to give them a good clean up

the rubber bits are all fairly good, just needed a soak in fairy liquid


the springs cleaned up well with a bit of wd40 so were added to my kitchen spring collection (the green ones are standard mk1 springs, part of plan b, or maybe it's plan c, I'll try the yellow ones first)


but the shocks are a bit scabby


if it works out, I'll buy a new set - they're not too expensive but I'll try these first

time to break out the wire wheel and kurust


first coat of metal paint


a big improvement but the paint isn't drying in the cold garage

better bring them in doors :) 


 I'll give the a rub down and a second coat tomorrow, hope it's worth the effort 



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changing the front shocks on an mx5 is a pain in the arse involving splitting ball joints etc. the exo, having none of that awkward bodywork in the way, couldn't be simpler - jack up the front, disconnect the anti roll bar links, two nuts on the top mount and one bolt on the bottom and bob's your aunties live in lover !

while I had them out of the way, I started the tedious task of fitting miles of edge trim to keep mr iva happy



then I got bored and test fitted the 14" alloys I took off the mk2 - they look shite but have decent tyres, will do for road use


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Just catching up on the last couple of months progress - seriously impressed with your skillz / determination / patience.

A tad shocked to see you've gone soft with a Mk2.5? 🤣

Looks a minter though and I still maintain that my Mk2.5 was one of the most comfortable cars I've owned, a very suitable daily.

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The only problem with the mk2 is that it’s too good to abuse as a daily - I may have to sell the mk1 and buy a new daily and promote the mk2 to being a toy :) 

but then what would I use on track ? 

I’d better get my finger out and finish that Exocet ! 

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4 hours ago, Tartan58 said:


Just catching up on the last couple of months progress - seriously impressed with your skillz / determination / patience.


Thanks, it feels like the recent months have been slow progress - a combination of fiddly jobs that take ages and a lack of spare time now I’m back at work :( 

I can’t wait until the day I can bring it up to Knockhill and give it a booody good thrashing :) 

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I’ve been looking at my options for harnesses - when I had the roll and bucket seats in the mx5, I bought two random non matching harnesses. Not a problem as they were only fitted for trackdays but one red and one blue were never going to cut the mustard on the exo :(




I trial fitted the red one and kept my eyes peeled


resigned to spending £££ on a matching pair, I was very pleased to see a listing for a single harness, just like my current one


a deal was done and the postie dropped off a parcel today 


Very smart ! 

they aren’t an exact match but I reckon I can colour in the border on the passenger side straps with a sharpie and be close enough - saved me a good few ££ too :) 

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  • gm changed the title to gm's unhealthy obsession with mx5s - new* seatbelt harnesses* for the Exo :)

right then, back to that suspension

with a ground clearance of 100mm, the Exo was proving to be just too low.

I purchased a set of mk2 shocks and springs


which I stripped, cleaned up and painted

turned out not too bad - that is one of the previously fitted mk1 kyb shocks with eibach lowering springs


stripping the front suspension was a piece of piss and it took no time to get the new ones on


the rear was even easier - I didn't even need to take the wheels off :)


but wait a minute, karma has a distinct dislike for shock absorber related smugness

cocks !



I have indeed made an arse of that one 

no matter, I have a spare top mount somewhere

aaaargh ! look at the state of that !


no time for messing around, wire wheel, paint, 3kW heater and reassemble the sodding thing



was back on the car in less than an hour :) 


so, Exo fans, was it worth the effort ?


looks pretty low still, how about if I do it top gear style and stick a light underneath ?


yeah, still pretty low. only science will solve this

previous clearance was around 100mm front and back

front is now 120mm


rear is now 140mm


I'd call that a geordie mark win !



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so the question is : will it still scrape when I move it off the drive ?

and the answer is : no, it's bloody perfect !

I definitely didn't have a naughty drive up and down the street to celebrate :) 





I am happy tonight - the drive is so much better, with the lowering springs it was really jittery, now it is tight but smooth - the car is transformed.

and I'm loving those new yellow springs  :) 



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  • gm changed the title to gm's unhealthy obsession with mx5s - Happy First Birthday, Exo !
10 minutes ago, gm said:

And today is rather significant :

on the 5th of may 2020, I took delivery of K798DRO


and this is how she looks on the 5th of May 2021


Happy First Birthday, Exo !

shit, Its been a year already!? doesn't feel like it!

as I have said before keep up the awesome work, its been very interesting following this build, and I look forward to seeing it on the road/track :) 

(makes me wish the Jago Geep was still on here, I wonder what happened to that in the end...)

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  • gm changed the title to gm's unhealthy obsession with mx5s - holy sh!t, batman, an EXO update ! only been a fortnight

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