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Frank's FW Mazda SDV build


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I built a MX5 SDV back in 2008/2009 that I unfortunately totaled in 2015.  There was no question that it had to be rebuilt but this time with a FW body.  I just like that body style better.  

I have already rebuilt it, the car is done, but I thought it'd be nice to make a build thread about it  :).  


Since we all like pictures, I'll add lots :)


Here's the car I finished building in 2009













Edited by Westfield_MX5
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Where are you based Frank (LHD?).  Nice looking car


Edit: Just read your other post (Belgium)

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Back to March 31, 2015.  Was entering a motorway and didn't notice a lorry had lost a lot of diesel al along the onramp (is that the correct word?).  Anyway, came onto the straight bit, accelerated and immediately did a 180, diesel and rain don't make a good combination.  Before I knew what was happening, this was the result.






Fuel tank was leaking badly.  Glad the car didn't catch on fire!






Frame was bent and twisted both front and rear.  Difficult to see in the pictures, but look how the engine sits in the frame.

New frame definitely needed.  




Rear left part of chassis bent as well.  






The only part of the body that has no damage is the right rear fender.  Everything else has damage, even the roof is torn.  

New body needed obviously.

Edited by Westfield_MX5
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I hope you rebuilt it in the same colour, electric blue is the best

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Yours was one of the blogs I followed when building mine. Sad to see what happened but glad you've rebuilt it. Looking forward to the pics

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anyone have the link to the blog?

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Had a woopsy with the website so it's gone now  :(

That's why I decided to document the rebuild here instead. 


Last couple of pics of the old car.  Basically, I'm starting with a new kit and will be transferring driveline and interior into the new car.  



Everything is damaged, so it's fun to place your foot on the body and yank the scuttle off  :)





Intercooler mounts sheared off



Intercooler and radiator damaged beyond repair.





Fuel tank leak in 2 places.  Fire Services put some putty on it to stop the leaks.  It was pouring out from the corner.  



IMG_0612.JPG    IMG_0619.JPG


The damage to the frame doesn't look bad at first sight, but the LH upper tube is bent and the entire front end is twisted.  Rear end is bent as well, but not as bad.  

I ordered a new chassis so had to take the old one back with me to Westfield.  I did cut the rear end off though as I hadn't yet figured out how to install the MX5 diff in the new frame.  The normal body has the fuel tank behind the diff, but the FW body has the fuel tank on top of the diff.  

The way Westfield mounts the diff makes this impossible to do.  Some fabrication will be needed, but we'll see once we get there.


Edited because of a couple of broken images

Edited by Westfield_MX5
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Looking forward to seeing how you've solved the diff vs FW rear problem. I really wanted the FW rear but not the hassle that went with it :d

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Sorry to read of the accident. Like dommo your blog was one of the early references and persuaders I used to start my build.

FW bodywork proj looks interesting:)

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Decided to drive to the UK to pick up the new kit myself.  

Sorry to disappoint you Gary ;)



IMG_0633.JPG   IMG_0667.JPG






And here it is in all it's glory, back home :)





I didn't plan on reusing the old panels because removing and cleaning them it's not the most pleasant of jobs. I should have known better then to use TEC7.   Seeing how much a new set costs though, I quickly changed my mind :suspect:.

The stuff is difficult to get rid off, but a very sharp wood chisel does wonders.  First panel cleaned.





I won't show much details about how I installed the panels, enough build threads show this.  I'll mostly show what I did different to the build manual. 

I did not install the side and tunnel panels until the very end to make access easy while doing the wiring and steering.

In the pic above, the rear panel is only test fitted.  I took it back out to facilitate installing the diff.  I found that it's best to install only the floor and footwel panels to have good access during the build.  On my first build, I made the mistake to install all panels at once, not good.  



IMG_0735.JPG   F2EF7F99-4EE4-4A4F-842D-CA818E978F20.JPG


For the handbrake, I used rivnuts and bolts from the inside.  This way I didn't have to drill through the frame tube and I also don't end up with bolt heads on the other side, poking through the carpet.  

Everything is fitted cleanly and invisible. Should the lower bolt touch the driveshaft - which is not uncommon - I can always replace it with countersunk bolts (which I did later in the build!).









I no longer like the chrome look of the blue car, so I had all chrome parts powder coated as well as all visible panels.  The panels in the engine bay will be covered with heat mat so there's no need to powder coated them.




Brake pipes installed.  The floor panels look like swiss cheese, but all holes will be properly sealed.




I routed the fuel lines as near to the engine mounts as possible, again not following the build manual. They're less visible this way and the soft fuel lines can be a lot shorter.

I did not install the 3rd line for the charcoal canister.  It's a dead weight that has no function at all.  Just remove all associated wiring, bracketry and valves.  The ecu will not through a code because of it.




I opted to run the rear brakeline through the top of the tunnel.  I founf it is easier and cleaner to route the pipe this way.  In retrospect I should have run the fuel pipes through the tunnel as well but I'm not going to change them now.  I used a rivnut to install the brass T-piece instead of the threaded stud.  The brake line routing was much easier this way.  The threaded stud wanted me to make some very thight bends that I didn't like.


In the above pic you can also see that I installed 2 extra metallic bushes on the LH side.  These are normally unused, but I'm using them to install the differential.

When installing the rear brake lines, make sure to leave enough room so you can slide the bolts in.  Run the line too close to the suspension mounting points and you won't be able to get them in.  I ran the rear brake line through the tunnel, not underneath the car.  Should have done the same with the fuel lines for extra protection.  Maybe in my next build ;).




In the front, I didn't use the special push in type standoffs because I find them a bit fiddly and prone to come loose.  Also, I think that the P-clips protect better against corrosion. Not sure if they're IVA proof though.  The lines do not touch the frame, but are very close.

Edited by Westfield_MX5
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As expected, the MX5 diff doesn't fit the FW fuel tank. The FW tank no longer sits behind the diff, but on top of it, on an additional frame. Thus the tank sits in the way of the mounting brackets and even te diff itself. It's too high and the ears are too long.
Plan is to leave out the mounting brackets, shorten the ears en welding on new mounting points, shorter and lower.
First pic shows the old setup with mounting brackets to the suspension and no extra frame. The 2 other pics show the new setup with the extra frame.









Edited by Westfield_MX5
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Decided to fabricate 2 additional brackets to hold the diff in place.  On on top and one at the bottom.  I'm using the diff bolts to secure them in place. Thankfully I rememberd some basic formulas from my school time. By measuring the distance between 2 bolts and knowing that 8 of them were spaced evenly, I could easily calculate the bolt circle of the diff. With this, I made 2 PVC templates to try out. They are a perfect fit (who would have thought, I surely not ;)). After that, it's just a matter of drawing them in Autocad and having them cut out by waterjet.












These are the templates, they are a 100% fit. They're only very simple things, but I'm still a bit proud of them because it was my very first design in AutoCad. It took me several hours to draw them, but now that I know how it works, next time I'll do them in 5 minutes.
Now all I need to do is learn how to TIG weld. Another thing I've never done before, but I did weld with MIG and Gas, so I hope to get the hang of it fast.









Well, there's no going back now!  Cut the arms off of a perfectly fine 3.606 Torsen diff .



Differential is installed. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to press the bushes into the frame, but that went surprisingly easy.
I used a long bolt through them that I tightened whilst spraying some WD40 on there. The bushes slid in very easy.
I also welded the support brackets. I'm not saying they're perfect, but they'll hold up just fine, lol.











I cut the ears of the diff to clear the fuel tank frame, but even then it was a bit too high, so I had to cut off the top as well.


I made sure to install the diff flange parallel with the front frame rail. A difference of 0.1° is not so bad me thinks ;).





Edited by Westfield_MX5
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Looking good, but you might not have enough drop on the fuel pump for the fuel to run into it and also if you want a boot box, it may also foul it. 

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Looking good, but you might not have enough drop on the fuel pump for the fuel to run into it and also if you want a boot box, it may also foul it.

Tthat shouldn't be a problem as the fuel pump is in the same location as it was with the normal tank And this one sits a lot higher than that.
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