Q&A Tech­ni­cal is­sues solved

Total MX-5 - - CONTENTS -

Sort­ing out hood prob­lems, fix­ing bro­ken mk3 door mir­rors, and keep­ing wa­ter ingress at bay

Michael Cleverley of Cleverley Re­paired Cars, ex­pert on all things MX-5, an­swers your ques­tions


Q It’s been re­ally dry all sum­mer so I haven’t no­ticed a prob­lem, but now it’s a bit wet­ter the mo­hair hood on my mk3 is leak­ing, but oth­er­wise looks good. Can it be re­proofed?

A Yes, you can re­proof any fab­ric-type roof. It is re­ally im­por­tant to get it clean first us­ing a pro­pri­etary cleaner with a brush or sponge. If us­ing a pres­sure washer be very care­ful not to bring it too close to the roof and risk dam­ag­ing the ma­te­rial.

Once clean and dry ap­ply a Fab­sil or Ren­ovo-type can­vas tent wa­ter­proofer. Done well the next down­pour will bead and roll off the hood leav­ing the in­te­rior nice and dry. In­ci­den­tally my favourite re­proofer is made by Würth. It’s called ‘Im­preg­na­tion Spray’ and that’s why I like it!



The hood latches on my mk2 don’t lock in the closed po­si­tion. I use the sun vi­sors pressed against them to keep them closed but I worry that my hood may blow off at speed! I can’t af­ford new ones so can they be re­paired? A

You are cor­rect to worry. I have seen what you de­scribe hap­pen dur­ing a track­day, and luck­ily no da­m­age was done. Very early mk1s had a latch with a smooth gloss fin­ish and these don’t seem to wear nearly as much as the matt painted units as fit­ted to later mk1 and all mk2 mod­els.

Good sec­ond­hand latches are get­ting hard to find so a re­pair is worth a go. Re­move the latch from the hood frame and look at the wear mark that high­lights the point where the small lock catch should pre­vent the closed latch from re­leas­ing. A small raised point has worn away giv­ing the lock catch noth­ing to grip onto.

It’s fid­dly, but us­ing a small drill to make a hole, you can ei­ther insert a very small screw or fit a small pop rivet to cre­ate the raised point again.

You must po­si­tion it cor­rectly and may have to grind the screw/rivet to get the latch work­ing well, but the ef­fort is worth it.


Q My much-loved mk2 Ne­vada sounds like it’s fall­ing apart! It grinds loudly when I drive it and the racket gets louder with speed and when cor­ner­ing. Could it be a wheel bear­ing is­sue?

A A quick road test when you’re con­cen­trat­ing on the source of the sound should

point to the prob­lem area. In this in­stance we’ve ac­tu­ally worked on this very car, but the same prin­ci­pals could ap­ply to your car, too.

Here we put the Ne­vada up on the ramp: spin­ning the wheels con­firmed the off­side front was where the noise was com­ing from. These are main­te­nance-free bear­ing and hub assem­blies that are very easy to re­place.

Re­move the wheel, and next the hub cen­tre-cap us­ing a chisel and ham­mer. Re­move the brake caliper, disc and car­rier in one piece by un­do­ing the two 14mm-headed car­rier bolts and slid­ing the whole lot off the wheel studs (re­mem­ber­ing to use a piece of wire to sup­port it and not hang it from the brake hose). Re­move the hub stake nut and slide the bear­ing assem­bly off. Grease the stub axle and fit the new bear­ing hub (good qual­ity unit, please), torque the new stake nut to 200Nm and, us­ing a blunt chisel and ham­mer, one firm hit should lock it in place. Now re­fit the disc, caliper and wheel. About an hour should get the job done, less if you en­counter no prob­lems.


Q I smashed the pas­sen­ger door mir­ror on my mk3 and have sourced a sec­ond­hand re­place­ment. Can you please de­scribe how to fit it?

A This is a pretty straight­for­ward job that’s made more awk­ward be­cause of the wiring multi-plug be­ing in­side the door, ne­ces­si­tat­ing the re­moval of the door card. First ro­tate the mir­ror unit 90 de­grees to re­veal its two fix­ings (Torx 30). Don’t undo these fully yet as it’s bet­ter to re­move the door card and dis­con­nect the multi-plug first.

To do this first prise the plas­tic cap from the top of the in­ner door pull, then also prise out the screw cover from be­hind the in­ner door re­lease lever. Now undo the two screws, plus a third one lo­cated in the cup-holder.

Us­ing a trim re­moval tool or screw­driver (and be­ing care­ful not to da­m­age the paint), prise off the door card.

Peel back the plas­tic vapour bar­rier and re­move the speaker to ease rout­ing the new mir­ror wires. Un­plug and re­move the old mir­ror assem­bly. Feed the new mir­ror and wires into place, grease the fix­ing screws, and then re­assem­ble.

I rec­om­mend test­ing that the mir­ror func­tions be­fore re­fit­ting the door card.


Q When it rains my mk3 drips wa­ter onto my right leg. I can’t see where it’s com­ing from and don’t like it. Have you seen this be­fore?

A Wa­ter leaks are no­to­ri­ously dif­fi­cult to find but this one was fairly easy. When we looked up into the driver’s footwell, wa­ter could be seen run­ning down the bulk­head, through the fuse­box and fi­nally land­ing on the cus­tomer’s leg.

We re­moved the wiper arms, prised out the screw cov­ers on the scut­tle trim panel and re­moved it. It’s the plas­tic fit­tings that the scut­tle screws into that were caus­ing the leak. They push into the roof of the bulk­head and rely on a rub­ber gas­ket to keep them wa­ter­tight. This gas­ket had per­ished and fallen out, thus al­low­ing wa­ter into the car. A sim­ple fix.

Prise the clips out. Clean and dry them as well as the metal bulk­head. Re­fit on a bed of sil­i­cone sealant. Re­assem­ble and check for leaks us­ing a wa­ter­ing can. Also make sure the fuse­box is dry and a lit­tle wa­ter re­pel­lent sprayed onto it wouldn’t do any harm. Re­move any leaves or de­bris from the bulk­head area.

I ex­pect this to be­come a re­cur­ring prob­lem with mk3s.

Wa­ter bead­ing on your hood is as sat­is­fy­ing as it is on your paint­work

Small screw re­places worn metal, giv­ing hood latch some­thing to grip onto

Other re­proof­ing prod­ucts are avail­able, but Michael likes these

Some­times wa­ter leaks come from the most un­likely places, in this in­stance through the plas­tic fit­tings that a mk3’s scut­tle panel screws into

Re­place­ment wheel hub: job done in less than an hour. Prob­a­bly…

Above: turn­ing a mk3’s door mir­ror 90 de­grees ex­poses its two fix­ing screws. Right: un­for­tu­nately the wiring for the mir­ror’s multi-plug is lo­cated be­hind the door card, ne­ces­si­tat­ing its re­moval. Which is in­con­ve­nient…

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