Monday, 28 July 2008

Fitting body panels - more riveting

I recruited another friend, Aamir, to help me with more riviting.

Riveted the following panels:
- seatback
- tunnel RH tunnel side
- GRP diff cover bracket
- LH front inner tunnel footwell
- RH front inner tunnel footwell
- RH (driver) front bulkhead

Sunday, 27 July 2008



The manual says this about the handbrake: "Before fitting the handbrake lever it is necessary to drill clearance holes in the tunnel side panels for the two front fixings. To locate these, position a centre punch through the pre-drilled mounting holes inside the tunnel and whilst holding square tap the end. This will leave a witness mark on the outside at the point where the clearance hole must be drilled."

This all seemed quite tricky so I decided drill the clearance hole after the LH tunnel side was attached but before the RH side was fitted. The interesting part was when I came to look there weren't any pre-drilled holes in the chassis at all:

My next challenge was to find the spacers that held the front. The manual says they are 22mm. All I could find were 32mm ones below, although they fitted perfectly with the back attached to the RH side of the bracket:

I found a couple of pieces of wood to hold it in place while I drilled the holes:

and here is it fitted (with temporary bolts/nuts):

Fitting body panels - More drilling & trimming

Continued to drill holes:
- LH and RH front inner tunnel footwell panels
- RH (driver) front bulkhead panel
- LH exterior panel
- top scuttle panel

Did the trimming of the RH tunnel side panel. I was concerned about how neat it would be after the trimming but I found that with a fine blade on the jigsaw I got a very clean cut:

this was so the panel didn't protrude below the chassis:

Trimmed the rear panel:

and some of the smaller front panels need adjustment as well:

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Fitting body panels - Riveting

Riveted the LH tunnel side and the LH bulkhead panel. I wasn't sure how much silicone sealant to use but the natural rate it came out of the nozzle seemed to be about right with a tiny amount being squeezed out of the edge. Luckily I recruited a couple of friends to help as after a few rivets your hands get sore.

Below is Martin demonstrating how much force is needed to pull the rivet:

and here is the finished panel:

Also drilled and riveted the passenger bulkhead:

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Fitting body panels - RH tunnel side

Started to fit the RH tunnel side. This panel has an extra fibreglass panel that fits at the back to provide extra clearance for the MX-5 diff.

Working out where to drill the holes in the fibreglass was very tricky. Unlike the aluminium panels, the fibreglass ones do not have pre-drilled holes. The ones along the centre tunnel were obvious. The ones diagonally across the back panel were not. To make like more complicated there is a pre-scored line in the fibreglass which you would think was the drilling line - it isn't! Luckily I had taken a picture of a finished one in the Westfield factory when I was there and realised not to follow the line. After some careful measuring I got the holes in the right place.

Here is the picture I took at the Westfield factory (it shows the variance between the line and the holes very clearly):

and here is mine:

As with the LH panel I found I had to have the panel as forward as it could go. Even so, the holes in the chassis upright at the front were right at the edge. The holes for the seat mounting needed to be elongated:

needed to trim around one of the floor chassis struts

The panel protruded below the chassis. Although not critical I trimmed back so it was flush:

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

MX-5 Chassis Disposal

Finally decided that I had got everything I needed off the donor to time to get rid of what was left. I debated trying to sell it on eBay as I thought I might find someone who had a rear damaged MX-5 and could use the rear bumper etc. The rear was a bit scratched and so in the end decided the simplest thing was to get a car disposal company to remove.

There wasn't much in the Yellow Pages but the local paper had a page full of small ads at the back for car disposal. Most companies weren't interested in a chassis only vehicle. A few wanted to charge me £40 to take away. This was mainly because it has no wheels so needed a grabber truck to remove. In the end I found someone to take it away for nothing. He use a normal flatbed tow truck and winched/dragged the chassis onto the back.