Red, black and the first proper shakedown

Published on 4/12/2016

Can you still read a wiring diagram from school? I tried. Also had the car out on a back road for the first time in almost 6 months.

After all the recent calamities I was keen to get the car properly on the road. I drove it around the neighborhood and to work for the first time on Tuesday and then again Thursday. Thursday night it was dark by the time I went to put the car away, and I found that none of the back lighting/illumination in the dashboard was working. Not a catastrophe, but we’re approaching winter and you never know when you will find yourself in the twilight. My initial thought was that the bulbs all broke when the cluster dropped. So out it had to come to test it, but the bulbs were fine. So I broke out the wiring diagram and started measuring all the points.

Some time later I had figured out that half of the circuit (red/black) was intact and measuring 12V on ignition with ground. There was definitely power. But it measured nothing with the other half of the circuit (red). After some head scratching I contacted an electronic engineering friend (who helped me in that first week after getting the car) and also started searching through forums. My friend was first to the line with his own conclusion that the problem was the dimmer switch. But I don’t have a dimmer switch. And right as I replied to him I happened onto a post on the UK owners club forum mentioning that some later Eunos models had blank-offs that complete the circuit and needs to be plugged in.

There are three additional switch locations to the outside of the driver’s position. In later models and in US spec models this is where things like cruise control and the dash dimmer was located. In my car this is where the fog light switch is. And also two blank-offs, one of which has an electrical connection at the back.

The wiring diagram, and the end result - the litte blue plug that fits into the big white connector.

When I was putting the dash back (all three times) I couldn’t find the home for two plugs. The white one didn’t fit in the only white empty connector there was, and there was no blue connector under the dash whatsoever. It turns out that, one, it was the small blue plug that fit the empty, large, white connector. And two, this plug didn’t need to be unplugged to remove the dash at all. The lesson here? Take notes when you disassemble, so that you know how to put it back together again.

So with that sorted I took it for its first proper shakedown over Malan’s Hoogte. It’s a small, narrow equivalent of a B-road from Durbanville to the entrance of the Fair Cape farm. It’s rutted in places, but it’s quiet so if there was any problems I wouldn’t find myself in a dangerous situation. There wasn’t, except for the new EBC brake pads that smelled terrible! They’ll settle in soon enough though. It was a fun drive, but I must say that after 6 months I have to really get used to the car again. I’m so spoiled now with the CX-5’s level of comfort and ride-quality that this old MX-5 now feels like a right old go-kart. It’s not a bad thing though, it’s still a visceral experience. But the old 1.6 is sluggish in comparison and I really struggle to heal-toe this car. It’s far easier in the CX-5. Still, I wouldn't swap it for anything in the world, but today and tomorrow my wife has it because I'm on doggy duty :(

It's dirty from the months in the garage putting it back together again. Once I get the roof replaced it'll get a wash.