My MK1 1.8 import - a long winded progress diary

I’ve had my MK1 mx5 for around 6 years now and 5 of them it’s spent locked up in my mum’s garage waiting on me to rescue it

I had originally got it cheap and spent a fair bit on it getting it mot’d and it became my daily for a while, I eventually got some servicing work done nearby and on the way home the engine shat itself

So my mate changed the engine for another and couldn’t get it to start, from there it went into my mum’s garage and sat for 5 years until I finally came to take it away to my own freshly built home for it

And as soon as it came back I immediately began ripping it to bits to find out what was wrong

Upon inspection I seen that the engine had no timing plates but my mate had somehow timed it up without them, so yes it was 180 degrees out and that wasn’t helping it start :upside_down_face:
So a full service and timing jobbie

Once I done the timing it was still having a bad time so went to adjust the base timing to see if it’s help and cmfound the CAS not fitted properly and tightens down on the adjustor !

Once that was sorted I fitted the skidnation reroute kit which immediately pissed out coolant, I think this is sorted for now

Changed the rocker cover because the old one had the coil pack bracket mounts machined off (will keep for cops later as it’s a nice cover)

Wired in switchback led sidelight/indicators so I can have sidelights back with the TSI intakes

And chopped open the driver side rear sill as it had a £2 sized hole in it, luckily enough it was fine underneath so me and a pal set to fixing it, it’s not the prettiest but I’m doing everything myself for a bit of learning/fun

New electric window regulator in that’s sat in the garage for years, its movement isn’t very nice but at least the cable isn’t snapped like the other one

The plan for the car is to prove the engine can take a beating before winter then spend the winter fitting my brand new g19 turbo kit which has now sat around for about a year, also got an aem wideband, ev14s and a spec2+ clutch ready and waiting

I’ve been eyeing up the destroy or die suspension arms and think I’m gunna start collecting those bit by bit for a full susp refurb

The next task whilst waiting for the replacement v5 to come back is to fit the me221 from the turbo kit and get it running on an n/a basemap, this will let me fit the wideband and tick 2 boxes off the job list before it gets properly ripped apart for shiny parts (and maybe get a set of cops in beforehand aswell as the kits are getting cheap now)

Interior wise I got a really good deal on a set of sparco pro2000s which were for the mx5 but have ended up half in my 182, I’m going to pick up the gcr3 rollbar and door bars, the previous owner wrapped various parts in white velvet stuff and it’s terrible but o honestly don’t hate it, I’ll deal with that at some point, and at some point between 5 and 6 years ago I’ve fitted purple dash lights apparently :joy:

I’m probably going to delete the centre console and get the triple guage zoom cluster or rep of choice as they’re rather nice, and perhaps a grip royale wheel as they’re somethin else. But all this over time, first it needs to work properly before treats

Random progress photos, can see the lack of coilpack mounts in this one

I don’t think I need to buy anything else to get it mot’d, the brakes were free enough when it got dragged out my mum’s garage so hopefully they’ll be braw after a wee drive to the mot station, maybe a set of fresh wipers

Got stonechip for the sill just need to finish that off nicely and I’ve been researching the me221 a lot to get that on the go (will need a laptop actually)

Done a lot of research on fitting the turbo kit aswell so excited for that to begin, it’s a shame though, since I got the kit from g19 I didn’t get the fitting instructions which are now supplied by ME with the kit( I got one of the very last kits from g19), I messaged ME and offered to pay for the guide but they refused, it’s not essential but it would’ve been nice but hey ho!

I’d also quite like to get the 2 in 1 oil pressure/temp guage kit from bofi as something that can be done now to save time later

Anyway that’s my mx5, it’s a slightly decrusted MK1 1.8 imported in 2002 and at some point in the meet future itl hopefully be fast

Thoughts and feelings on anything are much welcomed


Good progress so far and sounds like the turbo kit will be a very nice addition when its all up and running! Must be nice to have it back :sunglasses:

Clio looks cool btw, i had an Arctic blue 182 myself for two years, was standard apart from Cooksport springs when i got it and spent waaay too much money on it making it the best it could be. But it was a garage queen for me, never did that many miles in it!

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I do love the clio, mines is fully polybushed, pms shifter and braces and top mounts, carbon bonnet and inside/outside trims, and carbon door cards to go on, Tessa inlet and cams, ktec supersport exhaust and mapped at efi to 196hp so it goes well and feels nice, I go down to cliosport festival in blyton every year (except this year) and I’m hoping next year I’ll be taking the mx5 to it running some psi’s

It feels great to be finally working on it properly, it’s had more work done in the last 3 weeks than 3 years, it’s all coming together, looking at some nice wheels and rollbars but those aren’t essential yet so will hold off,

Hopefully getting a laptop next week so will start faffing around with mite and try getting it running well enough to drive it around, I’m not sure how good the oe basemap files from ME are but I shall find out soon enough


Nice! This was my one, had my re-furbed Turini’s on in this photo but i also had a set of 16" OZ wheels powdercoated gold which i had on the most (bigger version of phase 1 172 OZ wheels), also had an Engine Dynamics map, uprated fuel pump, Miltek cat-back exhaust, the proper KTEC induction kit, Whiteline rarb, front and rear upper strut braces in grey, Sparco 330mm wheel with cruise control bracket etc… i had a PMS shifter fitted as well but didn’t like it tbh!

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That looks awesome man! Shame you don’t have it any more, I was considering breaking or selling mines but itl live in the garage along side the mx5 and replaced with a reasonable daily I think, I love the pms shifter as the newest version has a nice carbon shaft bit and the clios covered in carbon :joy:, the rattles don’t bother me as it rattles all over a fair bit anyway

Also got a set of brand new 15" Oz ultralageras track wheels, my absolute favourite on a clio, will look braw on the 5 aswell but they’ve got the track tyres on them for now

I’ll hopefully get a bit more progress on the sill tomorrow night, cataloyed up the not great welding today so will try get time after work tomorrow to sand it back and get some primer over it again, thinking about getting a bit of classic red to do a little bit though as it’s been ground back a bit higher than the line and it might look shite, so we shall see soon but I’d quite like to get that sorted out and forgotten about, the yellow filler primer makes me sad


What a self-satisfied expression if ever there was one!

" Dad’s 5 may be a wolf in sheep’s clothing"
Me? Ize da real deal.

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Nook - look i can make the same face the mx5 can :joy:

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He does look very pleased with himself. Has he just finished fitting the front grill or something?

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That was actually just after it got recovered to mines from my mums so he’s probably deciding whether to try eat it or hump it :joy:

Not many updates, sill is starting to look better after some sanding and priming, colour and stonechip soon,

Tidied up my sidelight harnesses for the switchbacks because they had been horribly butchered before I rebutchered them

It started like an absolute dog the other day and then bogged down and stalled on rev however after ripping apart the coilpacks and plugs etc and putting it all back together it worked fine so must’ve been something with that, easy fixes are ideal :upside_down_face:

Since it’s working and not leaking (much) and I’ve acquired myself a laptop I think I’ll have a go at getting it running on the me221 at the weekend

Have a video but it won’t let me upload, almost ready to come outside for a clean!

Finished off botboth sides, working perfectly so can forget about those for a while, bit more work on the sill and it almost looks passable! (For filler primer) , another couple hits with primer tomorrow and I’ll start getting some red on it

Was planning on fitting the ECU this weekend but turns out I don’t have the right cable so had to order a new one from Motorsport electronic for 30 quid as the rs232 won’t fit the laptop :upside_down_face: so I guess I’ll keep playing with the sill until my cable arrives!

Started cleaning the engine bay and scraped the 5 year old bird poop off the windscreen, waiting on the new cable coming from ME so I can start doing ECU shenanigans, nearly got the sill ready for colour now, final sanding once it’s dry then ready for some colour!

Doggo helped today

“Needs moar psi’s”


Colour match, not great but with some sanding and machine polishing it might be acceptable

Still needs lacquer and stonechip but I thought I’d just let it dry for tonight

So I ripped out it’s brain

Now completely in pieces and also drying…however…I tried to save the JDM stickers by masking them off before painting but on trying to remove the masking tape it’s wrecked all the stickers, fab :upside_down_face:, so I’ll probably just leave the rest on. Shame but oh well it’s not as if it’s gunna be seen again anyway, I did manage to crack the casing drilling it for the vac line but I’ll superglue that back together once the Mrs grabs some from work :rofl:

After a bit of digging I see a few posts on old forums saying that the bpf3b is actually a mazdaspeed ecu? That and the mazdaspeed exhaust have got me digging to see what other parts it could have

Unfortunately can’t see if it has the cams as that engine is dead and gone, it’s rocker cover lives on in this engine

Tarted the case up a bit and was even able to rescue a couple of the stickers. A win.

Got the me221 in, updated everything and got the basemap on painlessly, another win!

And to my enjoyment it started no problem, it bogs slightly of you pish the throttle quickly but the next job is to get the aem wideband in and connected to it, can then use the wideband for autotuning and let it make its own trim adjustments and itl just get better by driving it and applying adjustments it gathers, will also look at how to actually just make adjustments myself and learn a bit about what I should actually be looking for, but it’s something new I haven’t faffed about with before and I like it

Due to me having a late 95 model I have no tacho and this is a rare problem, of course I have it :upside_down_face: so will need to solder a cable onto the ECU, luckily that’s my bread and butter as it’s something I do almost daily at work (he says confidently before melting the ECU)

Also dog


Wideband is in however the cable I brought home from work isn’t long enough to extend the earth and signal wire by about half a foot. Bokin. So nothing else happening tonight except I went under the car to see if it really was a mazdaspeed exhaust not just a tip and the backbox has this on it

So might get a few cabbages for it when I swap it for a bigger one for turbo

In that note I phoned black cat Motorsport about their 3" system and they now no longer do it due to not making enough profit on it, that’s sad news as it’s the only off the shelf 3" I can find so I think I’ll just have to get one custom made which will inevitably end up more expensive

New shifter boot ordered as that ones completely shanned

Binned the radio and associated wiring for the subwoofer boot build that was in the car when I got it

And doggo likes the mats

(which I think are also from some ltd edition or something like the s special yellow strut brace that’s on the garage floor atm)

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More not really progress updates

Measured the cat tonight end to end was 340mm on the short side of it so assuming it’s the early 370mm cat

Exhaust investigation as I’ve decided I’m going to buy an M2 system from the manifold back as it’s 2.5" with a resd centre section and a single back box it shouldn’t sound rediculous and will bolt right up to the g19 downpipe when fitted

Also confirmed that my stainless manifold is also mazdaspeed

So when the turbos on I’ll sell the whole lot to someone who wants JDM points, it does sound amazing though it’s be nice on an itb’d number (watch this space :joy:)

Even with a Flexi welded into it it’s probably worth a few quid all in
I aquired some thermocouple cable from work which I use on furnaces so itl most certainly withstand engine temps, found some nicely sized crimps that fit directly onto the plug for the original lambda that I’ll connect the wideband cable to

Cable was too short. Balls. More cable aquired and now everything’s fitted, soldered or crimped into position and the wideband looks to be working fine on ignition, haven’t started it yet as I’ll turn the wideband setting on the me221 beforehand but the laptop needed charged so that’s for tomorrow.

And its running fine on the me221! Wel idling and revving anyway which is as good as it gets for now, but I’m very pleased! Once it was up to temp the coolant started escaping from the coolant reroute. At pace. So I’ll get some high temp gasket paste stuff from work on Monday and redo it with that instead of the paper gaskets and redo the PTFE on the fittings aswell

At this time o realised my fan wasn’t kicking in ( thatl be because it’s unplugged) so I’ll plug that bac in and refill the coolant tomorrow and make sure it works but it’s nearly on the road!

Interior is mostly back together

Just need to get some old newspapers or something t mask the side of the car off to do the stonechip and thatl be that finished up aswell and all itl require will be it’s v5 and an MOT!

Happy days