Project Annabelle

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Project Annabelle

Postby sarahlc » Sat May 09, 2009 12:19 am

Well it seems that project threads are very popular these days, particularly on other forums such as MX5Nutz and Clubroadster. So on the back of this trend I have decided that I would do a back dated project thread for Annabelle. Annabelle is a UK edition 1.6 MX-5 in Silverstone and was first registered in June 1992.

Towards the end of 2006 I started lusting after some thing more sporty than my first two cars which were both 1.0 Nissan Micras after a couple of months of just keeping an eye on the classifieds and Ebay, I spot this pretty little silver MX5 on ebay, I went to have a look at her and she was just as pretty in flesh as it looked on the pictures.

These are the pictures from the ebay auction.
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After seeing the car I put in my bid and there I was on the 17th November 2006 the proud owner of a MX5 with 93000 miles on the clock for just £1420. The previous owner was a nice guy and even drove it across to my house, so I didn't need to pick it up.

First couple of jobs I got done was fit transferred JVC MP3/CD head unit from my Purple Micra to the '5. Get Mazda floor mats, fix the lighter socket and get it through its next MOT, with the replacement of a front track rod end and the rear brakes

This picture was taken early Spring 2007, you can see some of the rust on the front wing.
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Once that was done I continued to enjoy my car through to mid May when I had an extended time of sick. I was off work for over 3 months recovering. My dad was very good worked on the car while I looked on and pointed only managing some light tasks myself. This included removing the from bumper to fix some rust on the front of the front wings and some behind the bumper its self. Also did the rear wings and got a local garage to weld up the usual problem with the rear quarters/sills. Replaced the front brakes with standard front discs and EBC Greenstuff front pads. Also got the rear brakes striped down, replaced the slider pin and put cooper grease on the appropriate bits.
Also at this time I got front mud guards, got the engine bay cleaned up, did a service including replacing the Cam shaft sensor O ring and the Cam Cover gasket. Got rid of those nasty cheap aftermarket windscreen washer nozzles and replaced them with original type ones.
I Fitted new 8mm spark plug leads.

After all of this work the looked like this.
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Soon after that I replaced the brake and clutch fluid as they were both clearly in need of changing.

Then the Real modifications started.
So I got a IL motorsports front lower brace bar and some nice Gaz Adjustable Coilovers from Absolutely Shocks

Got these fitted along with associated bits over Christmas 2007, when I did the front suspension I decided the easiest was was just to cut the old shocks out with an angle grinder.

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I also got some small JVC speakers to put into the headrest.

After fitting the suspension I realised the drop link bushes had seen better days and something needed to be done. I decided that I would get some of these from MX5MAD. I got really lucky with these, as on the day I was going to fit them I was coming back from Inverurie back to my parents house and one of the original front drop links snaped. Its very interesting driving the car with effectively no front anti roll bar.:shock:

I then managed to find a Mazda type front strut brace bar from ebay.
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In April 2008 I decided that it was time to do a cam belt change. At the same time I replaced the
the water pump, the Cam shaft O rings, power steering belt and the Alternator belt along with the associated Cam belt tensioners. This was a easier job than the suspension. At this time I also set the timing to 14 degrees.

I got a Plastic wind blocker and a leather gear lever gaiter, I also replaced the two gear lever boots and the little plastic cup. At around this time I also removed the nasty Aftermarket gear nob that the car car with with a original type one of ebay, this was so much better as its correctly weighted.

I then replaced the Door speakers with some after market ones as the original ones had completely fallen apart. To be honest I'm that impressed with them as my JVC headrest ones can out perform them, might replace them again at some point but they do the job at the moment.

Also during summer 2008 I removed the Rear boot spoiler as I think the car looks better with out it.

I then started to look at getting new alloys but decided that before this I would get a CAT 1 Alarm/immobilser fitted. I got this done by Auto Security Systems.The good thing is that they are a local company and came out and fitted it a my work.
Once this was fitted it was time for some new wheels and it came down to a choice of two, both from the Rota Wheels light weight range. My first choice was Rata Grid, but they didn't have them in Silver so my second choice was Rota Subzero. So I got them ordered and fitted by the guys at Revolution near Newcastle in November 2008. They are 15' with Toyo T1R 195/50 on.

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Around last Christmas I removed one of the Tow hooks from each end of the car and also removed the Carbon Canister as it was split anyway.

Well that about brings us to now. I will endeavour to update this as I do further jobs and Modifications. I hope you have enjoyed reading this so far.
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Last edited by sarahlc on Thu Jul 09, 2009 11:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby chiefy » Sat May 09, 2009 8:25 am

Really enjoyed the story so far and your car looks a reet treat.
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Postby Gavin » Sat May 09, 2009 9:02 am

Well done Sarah. I look forward to the next installment.
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Postby Dot and Chas » Sat May 09, 2009 9:15 am

Nice one sarah, still love those wheels!! Hope everthing is going ok,
makes my effort of putting 2 coats of meguires on the Z sport look
pathetic!!

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Postby IanN » Sat May 09, 2009 11:00 am

Great article Sarah, enjoyed reading it. Looking forward to the next instalment. :lol:
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Postby poing » Sat May 09, 2009 12:58 pm

Great report and look forward to some more updates.

Also it's great that you've put the extra effort in to include all the relevant links for parts etc.
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Postby Petrolhead » Sat May 09, 2009 1:33 pm

Thanks for the story so far.

Nice to see so much effort going into a thread, it's appreciated.

Car looks excellent.

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Postby Si » Sat May 09, 2009 2:58 pm

Good read - thanks for sharing :)

You've had the Gaz shocks on now for over a year ..... how are you finding them? I'm replacing the suspension, but I'm not sure what to go for this time round and these seem like reasonable contenders.

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Postby Bill » Sat May 09, 2009 10:04 pm

Very enjoyable read :D
Look forward to future instalments

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Postby sarahlc » Sat May 09, 2009 10:24 pm

Thanks everyone for the nice comments.

Simon I like the GAZ shocks a lot, the car handles well with very little body role through the corners. The suspension is quite stiff but its to be expected, and was what I was looking for. Some people on MX5Nuts have complained about them been bouncy but I think they just didn't have the dampers set right, I have set them up within the recommended road settings and they seem to behave well. They also seem to be good qaulity prices of kit. Similar ones are now used in the MA5DA racing championship, I think they would be good on track with the damper settings turned up more, but have not tried this yet.

I got couple of small bits done, firstly I put the sticker that I got from Gavin on the back of the Car, its one of the last old ones until new ones get done. It is also one of the bigger ones designed to go onto the back of a MK2, but I managed to get it to look good I think on the back of Annabelle by just applying the Flag separately to close up the Gap to the lettering.

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I also did an oil change yesterday, with fully synthetic 5w 40 (probably a bit over kill) and also used Wynns engine flush before changing it.

I also took the opportunity to spray some intake cleaner into the tube for the Idle Speed Control Valve(ISCV) while holding the engine at about 2000 rpm on the throttle to prevent it from stalling while there was effectively an air leak. I hope this might of cleaned out the ICSV, and go some way to stopping the revs dropping very occasional as the engine returns to idle.

Today I have been working on the rear wings and will post up my progress soon.
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Postby sarahlc » Sun May 10, 2009 11:31 pm

OK for the 2nd time in as 3 years of ownership it came down to doing something about my rear wings as again they were showing signs of rust in a few places. It never looks as bad a it actually is, but even this lot to took me by surprise.

Started of with a couple of bits that I knew were there.

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After some exploration into the extent of the problem this is what I found. Ok it doesn't look good but at least its down to clean metal.

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Where has the wing gone! :shock:

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Then came time to start feeding in new metal, ok my welding skills are not the best but its all solid and will be a good basis for building up filler on top

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The rust extended up into the wing in a few places so the idea here was to provide my self with a nice clear lip to the wing and a good solid basis for the filler.

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After the welding was done I painted it in my favourite rust prevention primer.

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I will get a second coat of this primer on in the morning tomorrow then on Tuesday I will get down to the task of rebuilding the shape of the areas with filler.

Hey at least I got to use my welder (Christmas present) properly for the first time.
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Postby Si » Mon May 11, 2009 12:02 am

Thanks for the feedback on the Gaz coilovers! It was all the reviews about them being bouncy that put me off in the first place, but as with most things, it's usually down to how they've been installed. Still tempted by the Konis, but they're probably too low. Decisions, decisions.

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Postby chiefy » Tue May 12, 2009 7:35 am

Sarah

Interesting reading your continuing work on "Annabelle". You havent mentioned anything about getting rustproofer into the sections behind where the corrosion started in the first place - although I am sure you will be doing that. On the later cars its possible to get all sorts into these sections - that's what I have been doing yesterday on my Mk 3 but not sure how accessible these Mk 1 areas are. I have literally filled mine with a mixture of WD 40 and Waxoil (your suggestion).
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Postby mgrays » Tue May 12, 2009 9:42 pm

Simon,

Bit of a thread hi-jack .. but had OEM, Konis, AVOs and now GAZ shockers. Konis were a bit plusher, Gaz not bad at all and I run them a bit soft on purpose for ride/traction but a little less good on ride. Thing is the Konis jounce was not adjusting so for turbo power they did not work (power squat while over taking, hit bump, run out of suspension travel and suddenly the rear end launches and you are fishtailing while overtaking.. not a good look!) So Gaz to me have the better tunability compared to the Koni but you do loose a little in finesse of damping.

Sarah,

What gas are you using to weld.. it makes the world of difference on thin MIG welding :wink:

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Postby sarahlc » Tue May 12, 2009 11:56 pm

Cheify
I will of course be getting as mush rust proofing in as possible, I did a full wax oil in Nov 2008 (never the best time to do it as its too cold). Some of you may of noticed that I left gaps in the weld on the lower wings sections this is so I could squirt in wax oil behind the fix before starting with the filler. Also it is interesting to note that the way the rust has occured around the wing is that water has tracked in between the 2 layers of metal from the lip and its rusted inwards from there. I will also be applying under seal to the back edge of the arch lip and wax oil around the lip its self (not pretty but it does the job). I will also get wax-oil into the sills and the rear quarter cavity sections.

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(And no my nails didn't stay like that for very long)

Got through the filler stage to day and I must say I am now really wanting to do something mechanical as I really don't enjoy this body work stuff, but having said that the welding was fun.

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Malcolm
I was using normal CO2 but wish I had got a bottle of Argon/CO2 mix, as you say it would of made life easier :?

I also got a another two coats of anti rust primer on tonight so its ready for a couple of layers of grey primer first thing tomorrow.
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Postby chiefy » Wed May 13, 2009 7:32 am

Sarah

The area you refer to - upper arch - where there is an inner and outer skin which are welded at the lip edge. Don't know if it is the same on the Mk1 but on the Mk3 you can get at it from inside the boot up and ove the boot trim as ar the suspension turrets etc. What i found was that when it squirted loads of WD into thar area it ran into the arch from the inside and after a while i had a few areas of WD dripping onto the drive through that welded seam that you refer to. Conclusion was that if WD can get out then water rtc cab get in. Hopefully now I have oil trapped in between that seam which may just prevent any corrosion. It's also easily topped up periodically as well. Only downside is that the inside of the car smells a bit oily for a while - but only with roof up!!!!. I wish I had done what you did now and taken lots of pics.

Cheers Ian
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Postby Petrolhead » Wed May 13, 2009 11:30 am

Good work Sarah.

My welding is getting better the more I do it. How many times have you run out of wire then? I always seem to run out JUST before I've finished, lol.

I use a gas-less mig. I have one of those auto-darkening masks, but I think it's a bit crap to be honest. Might just get a normal one again.
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Postby mgrays » Wed May 13, 2009 5:48 pm

Ah Gas-less explains your welding :wink:

I used CO2 from the pub for years but got a bad batch in Dubai (as you do!!). Tried everything .. then went out and got a proper bottle with rental (Argoshield light). It made welding a pleasure again .. the weld bead/pool flows so you get weld penetration instead of gobbs on the surface (far less clean up too), the splatter pretty much stopped, you could do a cooler weld as you had penetration .. just makes it all work. Not going back to pub gas after that. Cost £50 PA on bottle but such is life.. and refills are £20 or so and last forever..

The self darkening helmets seem that you need to spend to get the response time. I tried a cheapo one and a good one.. night and day and sure the arc eye would strike with the cheap one (trust me.. don't want that :oops: ). Plus I always use a 9 or 10 grade glass and most helmets are fixed on 12 which is too dark for wee MIG IMHO... so back to expense to get a variable one. Meantime basic one does fine.. tack by looking away and then flick your head to get it to go down .. does mean a little wander at the start sometimes :cry:

Aye.. double seams like that are either condensation rolling down from inside with a poor paint job or paint chipping at edge followed by the corrosion whicking it's way in.. needs attention from both sides to survive.
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Postby chiefy » Wed May 13, 2009 9:16 pm

sarahlc wrote: Sarah

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I think your brake discs/hubs/dust shields + callipers would look nice done up to match your silver colour. If I have uploaded mine correctly here's mine after a few minutes work (on each) with a wire brush and high temp aluminium spray. I didn't actually mask the brake disc surface but was careful not to get to much spray on it. The pads soon cleaned it off and left nice sharp lines. The spray had no effect on the braking at all.

Cheers Ian

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Postby sarahlc » Wed May 13, 2009 11:51 pm

Dave
Thank you for nice comments, I am still on my first wire reel, so not so bad. I would defiantly recommend getting your self a gas MIG welder as they are so much better at welding thin metal like the MX5.

chiefy wrote:I think your brake discs/hubs/dust shields + callipers would look nice done up to match your silver colour. If I have uploaded mine correctly here's mine after a few minutes work (on each) with a wire brush and high temp aluminium spray. I didn't actually mask the brake disc surface but was careful not to get to much spray on it. The pads soon cleaned it off and left nice sharp lines. The spray had no effect on the braking at all.


Funny you should say that Ian as this is one of the things i did today, well kind of, I painted the rear calipers with high temp paint. As for the discs well i am planning a 1.8 brake upgrade soon so will wait until i get new 1.8 discs before painting the disc centres. Had not thought about doing the back plates, but they will need a bit of bending to fit the 1.8 upgrade anyway so will again leave it until then.

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she now has grey primer on both sides and I will get the silver on tomorrow with the lacquer on Friday.

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I also put in my new battery today, these two pictures show the size difference in the new battery (left) and the old (right). Its nice to have the correct gel type battery fitted and know that I don't have to worry about my boot floor disappearing in acid induced corrosion.

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I also fitted my under radio cubby box as the switch panel had no other use than to fill the gap, also this was bought from mx5 part during which this was in there weekly sales.

Before
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After
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I have also currently got the passenger side wing mirror off, but more on that on later.

Oh yes perhaps someone can answer a question for me please. when I fitted my new battery, the cover still does not align with the poppers on the boot carpet. this is due the the battery tray being in the way. So can anyone perhaps have a look at this picture and tell me if you think my car has had a bigger non standard tray fitted?

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I have have had a look here, and it does look smaller in than the one in my car. Also my one also seems not to have this
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