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FatHarris - tales of a motoring moron ***Retest results 24/5***


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Another day with no parts, so it was lots of small jobs to prep for reassembly.

First job was to source a new set of exhaust manifold studs. As I had a day off work, I went around all the local factors, including an exhaust specialist to get what I needed.

And I came back empty-handed. Luckily, I've found a company that does the specific studs and nuts for a BX for £11 delivered online, so that'll arrive at some point.

I also popped into @twosmoke300 who had a camshaft sprocket bolt, as well as lending me a set of engine head stands to check the valve clearances again. These turned out to be okay, only one was just out of limits and it wasn't enough to merit stripping down the head.


I also removed the fuel manifold pipelines to measure up the required lengths and diameters of pipelines to replace them. Whilst dismantled, I gave the unit a clean, and marked where the pipelines go.


I did get lucky at the exhaust place though, and got a manifold to downpipe fitting kit - I had to angle grind one of the bolts off during the engine removal.


The cup washers required a sustained twatting effort to remove, but they gave up the goods eventually and I fitted the new cup washers and the conical mesh gasket. One of the bolts had to be fitted with the washer as it cannot be fitted afterwards.


I gave the manifold mating faces a bit of a clean and scrub up too.


Next, I cracked on with the inlet manifold.


The carb had been replaced during my ownership by Dan, but I had a new set of carb gaskets and it seemed silly to let them go to waste.

Noticed a little bit of erosion damage on one of the chamfered edges, so I filed it down slightly.


Removed the old traces of gasket until the face was smooth.


Then I blanked the holes and got busy with some parts cleaner and a brush - the entirety of the engine bay is bloody filthy, and lagged in a thick coating of oil-based grime.


After a bit of time, I reassembled the inlet manifold. Looks much cleaner and nicer to handle!


I also fitted the inlet manifold studs back into the head, after wire brushing the threads, they went back

Finally, I decided to step away from engine and turn my attention to the next big component awaiting fitment. If the engine was considered dirty, this would be considered filthy.


Annoyingly, as I removed the clutch arm for access and a re-grease, the pivot bush disintegrated. Annoying, but better it happened now instead of when I put it all back together. £7 for a replacement bush on eBay and we'll cross fingers that it arrives soon.


The inner bellhousing did clean up nicely though.


The outside of the box is also taking a bit of time, but there is progress being made.


You can see the layer of grime I'm having to scrub off here, hopefully I'll finish this job tomorrow morning.


I'm still waiting for the piston rings and hockey stick seals for No.1 crank bearing to arrive, once they're here I can really get cracking with the rebuild, but I'm not holding out much hope for the NL trip now.

Not the end of the world as it's been a great target to strive for, but finding faults etc along the way adds extra time to the final date.

Cheers 😁

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Last day of leave from work and once again, no parts arrived. So, more cleaning and little jobs instead.

The remainder of the gearbox was sprayed with degreaser and left to work in for a bit.

First shitty job was the bonnet catch.


Absolutely caked in old sticky grease and grime from 30 years of spraying any old shite onto it.

Bit more degreaser and some aggressive scrubbing got it looking presentable again.


Whilst re-lubricating the latch and operating the mechanism, it was clear that something wasn't quite right. The big spring on the left hand dislodged and was gouging into the catch.



I held the spring in place with steel wire and twatted the top of the bracket to bend it over to retain the screw - job done.


Was going to adjust the cable as there was quite a lot of slack in the system.


Nice and simple, just one tiny screw to undo aaaaand...


Never mind, it works just fine, I was just being picky.

Next small job, the temperature sensor earth return terminal had came away from the cable - my old crimping tool was well past it. Annoyingly, I ran out of my tiny ring terminals, and with the clearance available, a generic one wouldn't work.


In the end, I drilled out a male spade terminal to match the screw thread size and it fits perfectly.


Anyway, with that done, I cracked on, and cleaned the rest of the gearbox up.


Not perfect, but a hell of a lot better than what it was! Decided there was no better time to change the driveshaft seals. Old ones looked fine, but I had new ones so it made sense to change them!




Both sides were changed, and rubber grease syringed into the seal cavity.


I also greased up the gear change rod ball joints.

In all honesty, there's very little I can do now until the last of the engine parts get here, so I'm going to take a break.

LOL, as if.


Herman has been sat on the drive since November, and his MOT has lapsed. There's currently an ABS fault that I need to look into, but as it was the first dry day with no BX work in months, I decided to start small and fit some bits that I've had on the shelf.


For years and years, I've been told I need to change my throttle cable by Phill because it was corroded and the pedal felt stiff throughout the range of travel. I bought two replacement OE cables last year.

First up, the throttle pedal cable.


Surprisingly easy to strip and disconnect at the pedal box end, although the bulkhead clip was a bit of a twat to undo, due to the sound deadening. Brute force force got it out though. Followed the routing and it was adjusted and ready to go, resulting in a much smoother and lighter pedal.


Next one was even easier, this was for the traction control.

The actuator had to be unshipped for access to the other side of the cable. With a strong clip either side, I ended up taking it into the garage, clamping the free end of the cable in a vice, applying constant tension to the cable whilst simultaneously undoing both retaining clips.



But it worked just fine the was a pleasant job.

Sadly, whilst it needed changing, it wasn't the one I was intending to change, I was after the one for the cruise control actuator:


The cable in this one is also pretty shagged, and at £90 for a replacement one, I'll be trying my luck at the scrappies in due course. It does work for now so it's not urgent.

Whilst the airbox was out, I noticed some paint fretting and light corrosion on a contact surface. Treated it with Kurist, and applied some anti-chafing tape to the affected area.

Anyway, with that all done, it was a quick and easy reassembly.



Didn't start it up as the battery is still on conditioning charge in the garage.

Up close, you can see the replacements were required!


Anyway, I did decide to knock it on the head early for the night. I tidied the tools away and hoovered the garage floor, ready for the next evolution.

Tomorrow, I'm back to work and we have a torque wrench tester. Going to take mine in so I can see what I need to set the torque wrenches to, in order to get the 20 and 60nm figures required for the head bolt torquing.





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  • fatharris changed the title to FatHarris - tales of a motoring moron ***Non-BX related content 17/4***
2 minutes ago, 2flags said:

How can they justify £90 for a cable? What is it made of? Would it be possible to salvage the ends and use something like a bicycle brake cable instead?


Presumably made of 8 £10 notes tied together 😂 A mate has said there's 3 E39 BMWs in a local scrappy so I'm going to figure out what tools I need to take to dismantle it, and take a trip over :)

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Still awaiting rings though so I'm leaving the block until then, the tracking says it should be with me tomorrow.

Still, whilst the sun was shining, it makes sense to look at one of the other pains in the ass.


I wanted to rejig the driveway and get the Beat out of Winter Corner, so first things first, the MX5 needed to be fired up and moved. Wasn't overly optimistic, as it turned out I had left the battery connected the entire time, but fair play, it was a slow crank, but the engine fired into life.

And immediately shut off because there was an awful screeching from the engine bay, and the battery light stayed on. I've encountered this one before on this car, 5 years ago so I knew the alternator had seized.


Back then, I replaced it, so it's happened again, luckily I remembered how to contort it out of the engine bay.


I got it in the vice and gave it a dousing of lubricant.


Initially it barely turned with a 24mm ring spanner on, but eventually it freed up, and I kept it spinning on the impact driver for a bit to ensure it was free to rotate.


The assembly free to rotate, it was a case of refitting the alternator and trying again.

Aaaaand it didn't work. Once again, the screeching was back and the alternator wasn't spinning, so this alternator is toast.

A quick browse of Facebook marketplace has located a new alternator for sale so I'm picking that up tomorrow, so I can at least get it moving again. The battery was placed on charge and probably won't be going back in, as it will be going back in the BX soon. 

At this point, MrsH came home with the boy and a very tired 2 year old girl who had a major case of the grumpies, so I knocked it on the head for the evening.

Lunchtime finish at work tomorrow so I should be able to get some work done before the afternoon school run and swimming lesson.

We shall see!

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Who's a dickhead?

I'm a dickhead.

The piston rings arrived today, and wouldn't you know it? The parts seller was correct, they weren't the right ones I needed - I needed 1.75mm thick rings, these were 1.5mm. 

At this point, I've ordered another set from Autodoc and thrown in the towel - this isn't going to NL any more. I can't get it rebuilt, MOTd and tested in a suitable timeframe. Disappointing, but it's entirely my own bloody fault

To cheer myself up, I made a lunchtime trip to a random address in the next village over armed with some cash and came away with this:


A brand new Hella remanufactured alternator for the MX5, for just £50. Bloody stoked with that result! Had to drill one of the bolt holes out to remove the thread in there (I had to do it on the old one too) but that was it.

I'm getting good at fitting these now!


Took the battery off charge and went for a test start:


And all is working once again.

To celebrate, I moved the MX5 and uncovered an old friend.


Going to look at the exhaust this weekend to see if the replacement exhaust section I've got will bolt straight in, or if I have to get a new flange welded on.

Whilst the Beat aired out, I cracked on with the bits I had received yesterday, starting with the No.1 crank bearing hockey stick seals. These had a dab of hylomar applied to hold them in place.

In order to get them fitted in place without rolling or puckering, the Haynes manual recommends using thin strips of metal to allow the bearing cap to be fitted.

Step forward, the glorious Tennents can.


This was suitably chopped up and the cap manoeuvred into place.


Once in position, the crank bearing caps were torqued up. Following advice from Phill, he recommended turning the crank after every cap is torqued to check for free movement. This all felt fine so I'm happy.

The tails of the seal need to be trimmed to 2mm but it's advised to wait 24 hours for the seals to settle, so that's what I'll be doing. A smearing of hylomar was applied to the corners of the cap to ensure a oiltight seal.


After that, the exhaust manifold studs were fitted.


And the clutch lever arm bush was fitted. This ended up being a bit of a faff, as the new one had slightly thinner lugs than the original, and wouldn't hold in place.

I tried hammering the lugs to expand them, but they weren't playing ball, so I melted the lugs flush to the arm with a soldering iron, drilled a couple of holes and attached it with screws and washers. The bush was filled with rubber grease and the contact points of the release bearing got a thin smear of moly grease.


With that, I'll down tools on it until the rings get here. There's still a tiny chance I can get it all together and tested in time, but it seems unlikely now.


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Shall we try something different?

I woke up today and gave the Beat some air - the interior still needs a scrubbing from the winter mildew.


As documented earlier, the Beat failed the MOT in November for high emissions and leaking exhaust gases. I took it to a local fabricator who made a link pipe for it at the cost of £270, took it back to the MOT centre and it still wasn't passing. 

During the exhaust work, it was noted that the rear of the catalytic converter had melted. Luckily, I had finally sourced a second hand unit from someone in the Beat club, and I've been waiting for an opportunity to do something with it.

I never actually had the chance to check over the work that the exhaust people did, and I'm pretty disappointed with the work I saw.

The exhaust was blowing and holding no pressure when I covered it when I picked it up. Saw this extra nut haphazardly screwed onto one of the cat securing posts - it's not even the same fucking thread pitch!

It was also given a slathering of exhaust paste at both ends of the link pipe in a failed attempt to stop it blowing.


The other end of the cat had been chopped off and replaced with a generic flange, so I took the cat and link pipe off and went off to the exhaust place to source a new flange....

....and once again, I came back empty handed, with nobody in the area supplying bits for making exhausts.

That being said, I /did/ have a suitable flange, it just happened to be welded to the broken cat!

I took a couple of reference photos to the rough position and angles of the flange:


You can see from the comparison photos that the old cat had been shortened, they would have just chopped the end off just behind the weld of the old flange.


First things first, the donor flange was chopped off. Had to be careful not to damage it 😅


Marked up the cut on the new cat. Added a slight angle on it to match the previous one. Just had to cut between the lines 😅


Once that was cut, everything was refitted to the car, and the rear exhaust was supported, to give the correct angle. The loose flange was reattached to the link pipe.


Took a bit of time to get it supported in a manner that didn't allow contact with the subframe, but once I was happy, I applied a couple of tacks to the flange, and removed the cat to go back on the bench.


It was quite a gap, but this is never an exact science 😅

Anyway, it doesn't have to be pretty, but it's welded up and survived the hammer test.


And bolted in. Thankfully, this bolted in nicely and I even managed to close up the flange gaps that the previous people failed to close, without resorting to paste!


Firing up the engine revealed that there's no blowing now, and there's pressure when I put my hand over the backbox, and nothing touches the subframe so that's a proper result!

However, I did notice a couple of rust scabs underneath, so now is as good a time as any!

Raised the car up on all four stands.


And gave it a thorough pressure wash on the underside, ready for some more work tomorrow.


Either way, this is ready for another MOT, so this is just some extra-curricular activity now 😅


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I’ve always wondered why mx5 alternators always seem to seize up . 
I know alot don’t get used in winter etc but I can’t think of any other car I’ve changed a seized one on in the last 20 yrs .
They must have water dripping on them or something . 
This is the second seized one I've changed since I've owned it

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Minimal pictures today because it was boring work.


I'd pressure washed the underside last night in preparation for rusting and dusting. I'd noticed a few areas requiring treatment.


Took the front wings off as well, so I can inspect and protect the out of sight stuff. Used about a litre and a half of lanoguard on as many surfaces and box sections as I could get access to. There's a crusty bit behind one of the arch liners that is going to require some attention soon.

After that, I noticed the front brakes were quite stiff so I stripped, cleaned and greased them. I think a front brake system replacement is on the cars for it soon.

Refitted the wheels and left it on stands, this should aid the drying process.


In other news, it turns out I may have been seen off at the MOT in November. As it is an import first used between 1/8/92 and 1/8/95, and the emission standards details aren't listed in the handbook, it should have had a non-cat (two gas test), as specified below:


And the Beats failure certificate?


Failed at fast idle, and it failed the retest on lambda too. It shouldn't have had either of those tests carried out.

I'll be mentioning it when it goes back there for the MOT, although it should be okay now it's got the replacement cat fitted.


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58 minutes ago, twosmoke300 said:

I’ve always wondered why mx5 alternators always seem to seize up . 
I know alot don’t get used in winter etc but I can’t think of any other car I’ve changed a seized one on in the last 20 yrs .

They must have water dripping on them or something . 

Don't forget early smart cars :)

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Funnily enough I probably have a few of those exact nuts you were after kicking around, (M7 if I remember rightly?) 

I needed a few to resolve someone's hamfisted attempt at refitting an inlet manifold to an E36 323i which involved them not bothering to replace the nuts that they dropped... predictably it caused a vacuum leak which they decided to ignore. 

Imagine my delight/amusement when I phoned up the dealer and they said they actually had them on the shelf 😅 - I was expecting them to at least need to order them in from a warehouse or even factory! 

Needless to say I ordered more than I needed so they've been sat in the little BMW branded bag for ages ever since :)

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I’ve been very lucky and my involvement in smart cars is very minimal . In fact I only look after one later one . 
My old man had an '04 one and he really, really liked it. Can't remember why he got rid of it, think he just got to a year and a half as usual and fancied a change

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Despite greasing up the sliders and pad contact areas, the front brakes are still binding quite a bit. The pedal has always been quite hard with not a lot of travel, and scooting it up and down the drive gave the impression that most of the braking effort was coming from the rears.

Upon unshipping the calipers, I noticed the piston dust seal was absent on one caliper, and there was evidence of corrosion or deposits on the piston.

So, back up in the air:


And began the arseache of removing the pistons from the calipers. With the calipers on the bench, one piston eventually came out with compressed air, but the other one simply wouldn't budge.

Instead, I had to re-connect the caliper, bleed the brakes, clamp the other line and pop it out with the pedal.


The pistons were cleaned up with scotchbrite, but these were clearly a lost cause.


The finish had completely gone from the affected areas and the piston was heavily pitted - these are fit only for the bin.

I contacted Bigg Red to see if they have some caliper rebuild kits, but they didn't have the dimensional data to send a kit out, instead offering to refurb both calipers for £190 all in.

Thankfully, I have sourced a serviceable pair of front calipers and they should be with me by the end of the week. I can then look at the possibility of refurbishing the calipers at a later date, or going straight for the Jazz upgrade in the future.

Hopefully I get some pedal travel back!

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Have you tried Brakes international as a plan B? They don't seem to list the Beat on their website dropdown, but might be able to help if you emailed them potentially? Sorry if I'm being silly but are they shared with anything else? They have some fairly obscure Honda models in the dropdown so might be able to help potentially via email/phone?

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Have you tried Brakes international as a plan B? They don't seem to list the Beat on their website dropdown, but might be able to help if you emailed them potentially? Sorry if I'm being silly but are they shared with anything else? They have some fairly obscure Honda models in the dropdown so might be able to help potentially via email/phone?
They my plan B now, cheers!

Typically, the calipers are only shared with other obscure JDM imports, although one website seems to think they're fitted to some mid 90s civics, can't imagine that to be correct though as the front discs are non-ventilated on a Beat

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16 minutes ago, fatharris said:

They my plan B now, cheers!

Typically, the calipers are only shared with other obscure JDM imports, although one website seems to think they're fitted to some mid 90s civics, can't imagine that to be correct though as the front discs are non-ventilated on a Beat emoji28.png

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Ooof, what about? https://www.amayama.com/en/part/honda/45216sc2003

Not cheap cheap, but £23 each + £9 shipping for pistons and another tenner for the 2x seals (#7 and #5 in the exploded diagram)?

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3 minutes ago, fatharris said:

You're some kind of bloody wizard, you! Thank you!

Sent from my VOG-L09 using Tapatalk

Just to add, Amayama is a legit website, I've bought various things for my Sirion from there and while its not cheap, it is available and ships quite fast. Some stuff comes from Japan and some stuff from the UAE (bizarrely?) but expect it to be with you ~1 week after ordering. Its excellent for JDM stuff, or just Japanese cars generally.

If nothing else, the exploded diagrams give you the part numbers which can sometimes turn up results on ebay or aliexpress if all else fails.

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Still no rings.

Decided to do some other jobs whilst I waited.

The front brakes were cleaned up and contact points lubricated (forgot the after photo)


And the front arches, subframe and front floorpans were given a dousing with Lanoguard.

The front indicators were given a splash of colour too.


Today, I changed the wipers on the MX5 - this ended up being a bit of a faff as the old ones were properly wedged in place, so they had to be broken up before removal.


A parcel also arrived!


Forgot to get some more photos, but someone on the Honda Beat club helped me out massively with a set of fully-serviceable front calipers.

These were cleaned, fitted and the brakes bled.


A very short scoot back and forth on the drive revealed that for the first time, I have a little bit of pedal travel!

Unfortunately, the check engine light now doesn't illuminate on the ignition during the self-test. Car still starts and runs so I'm not worried about it for now, but will require investigation in the future.

Finally, I did a little bit of work to the engine today, as my angle dial torquing tool thingy arrived.


So 3 out of 4 connecting rods are now torqued up. The Haynes manual said torque straight to 49nm, Autodata said 40, slacken, 20, then 70 degrees.

Remembering the camshaft bolt debacle, I went with Autodata.


Lastly, after plenty of time to settle in position, the No.1 crank bearing hockey stick seals were trimmed.


On the plus side, I think I'll be getting my rings very soon, fingers crossed!


Cheers 😁

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