Tag Archives: DIY

DIY: Vintage Doors

There are a few guides online for re-trimming your door cards but no-one has attempted to re-trim a standard pre-94 NA door card to fit 95/93 LE speaker covers. So after a couple of weeks of planning and buying parts, I’ve finally made my very own vintage-retro doors.

Estimated Time: An afternoon – weekend.
Difficulty: 6/10
Tools require:

  • Screwdriver
  • Spray Adhesive Glue
  • Staple Gun
  • Hex nuts and bolts

Step 1. Buy some vinyl/fabric of your liking. I got 56inch by 32 inch from eBay. This covered both panels with the diamonds going horizontally across the door with enough vinyl to spare.

Step 2. Remove the armrest, door cup and door handle.

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Step 3. Remove the door card from the door. I have a standard 91, so the speaker covers were a separate piece to the door card itself. Just pop out the tabs with your fingers. I found it easiest starting from the corners with the speaker covers. Here is a photo of the door without the door card. You can use this as a general reference as to where the tabs are located. Just run your fingers across the edge and you should be able to feel where the tabs are.

Step 4. Remove the screws and staples that attaches the door bolsters from the door card

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Step 5. Place the door card on the back side of the vinyl and with a sharpie, mark out the size of the door card. This will be used as a reference for you to cut. Because I have a 91 and the speaker covers are a separate piece, I traced both of them as if they were attached so that when I install them back on, they would look like a single piece.

Step 6. Cut out the vinyl, spray on some adhesive and place the door card and speaker panel on. Remember to remove the paper and metal mesh from the speaker panel. At this point, the only thing holding the speaker panel to the door card is the vinyl. So to help with rigidity, I used some hot glue to help strengthen the two pieces.

Step 7. Just staple around the edges. I found that instead of trying to mimic the factory cut, it is better to leave extra fabric so you can use one hand to pull the vinyl tort, and then use your other hand to staple it into the fiberboard. Once firmly stapled and attached, just cut off the excess.

Step 8. Cut out holes for the speakers and door cup/handle. Next, align the 93/95 LE speaker cover on the vinyl and mark out the holes where they attach on the door card. Then with a drill, drill through the door card/original speaker cover . Then with some hex bolts and nuts, tighten them to your new door card.

Step 9. Reattach the door bolsters. Installation is just the reverse of removal.

Step 10. Enjoy your new retro door card!

Before:

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After:

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Painterly Weekend

Aside from going to vote for the Australian Federal Election, I spent most of Saturday afternoon doing a bit of DIY. Armed with a couple of spray cans of paint that I got previously on Father’s Day, I decided to restore the windshield wipers that’s been bugging me a bit due to its rust and paint chips. Also, instead of forking out a couple of hundred bucks for some genuine KG-works Door cups to match with the KG-works door handles, I whipped out a can of chrome paint and went to town on these bad boys.

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Learning from mistakes back when I did a bit of re-spraying with the AE86, prep is the key to any good paint job. So i started of with meticulously sanding down all the bits and pieces and wiped it all down with some wax and grease remover, then air drying them under the hot Aussie sun.

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Next is two coats of rust proof primer for the wipers and two coats of plastic primer for the door cups. Finished it off with a quick sand with high grit sandpaper.

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Finally, 3 coats of matte black for the wipers and 3 coats of chrome for the door cups. The chrome looked more silver than chrome,  but I’m quite happy with the results.

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DIY: Custom Retro Switches

This mod is fairly popular for anyone going for the retro mx-5 look. Nothing says retro more than toggle switches, plus the stock switches on the NA tends to build carbon deposits on the contact points resulting in the switches not working. Embarrassingly, it has happened to me a few times when someone was checking out my car. This window switch idea came from a bloke in the UK. Check out his site here for more details on wiring and design.

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Anyway, here are the stuff you’ll need. I’ve also linked some Jaycar pages where you can buy some of the parts. This project is fairly time consuming. Took me about 2 hrs in total to fabricate. It may have taken longer, but thankfully, I have a workshop with all the spare parts and tools at work which I could “borrow”. 😛

Parts:

  • 1 stainless steel plate, cut to a rectangle 66x52mm. It should just cover the stock plastic window switch. The corners are similar size to an Aussie 10 cent coin. Check the radius as you are filing down the plate. You can buy this at Bunning’s.
  • 2 toggle switches.  You will need Double Pole, Double Throw (DPDT), ON/OFF/ON momentary switches.  Here’s a link to where you can buy some.
  • 12 ring or fork crimp connector. I had some lying around the workshop but again here’s a link to where you can buy some.
  • 10 gauge automotive wire.
  • 1 Mazda MX5 plastic window switch. Feel free to buy one from ebay if you do not want to cut up your current ones.
  • 4 nuts and bolts. Had some nifty hex bolts lying around, but any bolt from Bunning’s should do the trick. Really depends on personal preference.

Tools:

  • Soldering Iron
  • Hack Saw
  • Range of files
  • Sandpaper
  • Drill
  • Crimper
  • Phillips-head screw driver
  • Hex key and spanner
  • Dremel

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Using the dremel I hacked out everything on the switch. Take care when cutting the hole as you don’t want to cut/weaken the three mounting points on the plastic backing. Don’t worry too much about cutting a nice straight rectangular hole, the metal backing will cover the hole. Just make sure that it’s big enough to fit the toggle switches (I’m just a bit anal about shit like this).

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Next, cut out the metal plate to size and use a file to shape the corners. Obviously sand the corners as well, if you like, sand the surface for a brushed look. Since the switches have been hacked, this make it very easy to check if you have the correct dimensions. It helps if you draw a mock up plate out of paper/cardboard to make sure everything fits.

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Then, hold the metal plate against the plastic holder and drill through the two pieces with the desire hole size for your bolts. This ensures that when it comes to assembly, everything fits.  perfectly. Where you drill the holes are completely up to you.

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Finally, crimp and solder everything together. Remember to put heat-strink on all your connections! I found 10-guage wires difficult to solder strongly, but I stumbled on this  very helpful video on soldering thick gauge wires. Alternatively, you can use flux if available. Here is the wiring diagram.

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Then all you need to do is assemble and you’re done!

DIY: Charcoal Canister Removal

The charcoal canister is essentially a device that traps fuel vapor that evaporates from the gas tank. Rather than simply releasing the vapors into the atmosphere, the vapor can be recycled and drawn back into the engine to be burned along with the fuel/air mixture. Of course, this is great when the car just rolled out of the factory, but after 22 years, the filter is complete clogged with nasties and gunk, resembling a bad dish of curry, rendering it completely useless. Even Mazda has stop stocking these parts for spares.

A common thing mx-5 owners therefore do is to remove it. Saves a bit of weight (a really small amount – 1.4kg) and generally clean up the engine bay.

Estimated Time: 15-30mins

Difficulty: 2/10

Tools require:

  • 10mm spanner/socket
  • pair of pliers
  • 2-3 cable ties (optional)
  • knife (optional)

Step 1: Locate the charcoal canister. It is located on the left side of the engine bay, between the radiator overflow tank and the inlet manifold.

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Step 2: Remove the top two hoses. On is a pull off and the other is a clip on.

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Step 3: Remove the hose connecting to the throttle body. I found these pull off hoses were quite tight. Using a pair of pliers help with leveraging the out.

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Step 4: Remove the attached connector.

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Step 5: Remove the bottom two hoses. This may be quite tight and difficult given the small amount of space. Once you have done this it should look like this.

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Step 6: Using the bottom hose from the canister and two cable ties or recycle the hose clips to connect the two pipes together.

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Step 7: Go to your boot and you should find a small hose nipple on one of the bolts on your rear lights. Take this and insert it into the throttle body pipe.

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Step 8. Take out the canister and all the relevant junk that was holding it.

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Step 9: Give the area a good clean and seal the connector with electric tape.

Voila. You’re done! Sell this shit on ebay and buy yourself a beer 🙂