2016 brings reassembly

Published on 12/30/2015

So the car stayed in the paint shop over the festive season. They couldn’t finish the paint job and heat-treatment in time before they closed up. I’m not in a hurry to rush this at all though, and I had a few small things to prepare anyway.

The first item was a cleanup of the fog lights. These are the original JDM spec lights that was apparently OEM fitted only from 1991 to 1992. They work, but the outer plastic covers look really tired. I got a kit that did a neat job of clearing up the housings. They are still quite gritted and have a lot of pockmarks, but hey - they saw 25 years of gravel road after all.

The effectiveness of the cleaning kit is obvious in this photo.

Secondly, the galvanised plates fitted inside under the carpet covering the fuel tank and hoses, trunking and rear shock tower mountings, and also the plate in the boot covering the fuel hose, had to be cleaned. Three of them succumbed to moisture, probably from a leaky roof, and had started to rust in a few spots and also had a white mouldy chalk buildup on them. Vigorous sanding was applied and then I spray-painted them with high-heat black. The main lid comes with a lining and some sound-dampening material stapled to it which I don’t want to remove, so that’s why these weren't re-galvanised. They look so good now that it’s actually a pity no-one will see them!

The one cover plate before and after sanding (I also got into the rust dips with a dremel), and later the spray job well in hand.

So that’s what I did while the car is in the shop. After i get it back one of the first things I want to do is manufacture a plate-bracket. Here in SA it’s required to have a front number plate. Previously I didn’t care much and simply stuck it to the nosecone with double sided tape. This is of course pretty amateurish, and really spoils the look of the car quite a bit. Fortunately my car still has both its tie-down hooks, or baby teeth. These I want to remove, clean and then spray paint as well. Then, I want to make a bracket that attaches to one of these hooks and provides a mounting place for my plate off to the side, next to the fog lights. I saw a plate mounted in that position on a VW today. It worked to some extent for the City Golf, but it’ll look really cool on the MX-5.

After that there is the air vent system under the dash. The heater box has sponge lined around the edges that the vent pipes press into when the dashboard is fixed in place, making a seal. These sponges are pretty ragged, resembling something akin to dried sea anemone. I need to remove it all, clean it and line it with new sponge. I'm not sure if there is a specific type of sponge to use for this yet - I got a tip about a rubber and what-ever place nearby from which I can buy something suitable.

Even though the plate bracket doesn’t prevent reassembly of the interior to proceed, it’ll still take me a few weeks to work through these two items. First though, a New Year's party, so here’s to 2016 and all my giddiness to start reassembly.