Q&A Technical issues solved
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
RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY…
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.
HUB OF THE MATTER
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.
MIRROR, MIRROR, ON THE DOOR…
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…