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Home / Modifications

Mark 3 MX-5 Logo

Modifications made to the car...

Click on the images to enlarge.
 

Eibach Suspension Lowering Kit - click here for more infoEibach Lowered Suspension Kit
(Mazda part number : 410077774)

This kit is offered by Mazda as a dealer fit option. It lowers the car by about 35 mm and firms up the suspension a bit to reduce body roll. I had this installed by the dealership prior to collection. The kit is available from MX-5 Parts however for quite a bit less than Mazda charge. However Mazda's price includes fitting, and as I wanted the car to be ready to drive away straight away, and not need to go elsewhere Eibach Suspension Lowering Kit fitted - click here for more infoto have them fitted, I plumped to pay that bit more and have them do it. Plus I was concerned that aftermarket springs from a 3rd party supplier may raise issues with the Mazda 3 year warranty. The car now looks how I envisage it should from the factory. The wheels fill the arches better and the car looks much less like a 4 x 4! The handling does not suffer as a result, and it feels more composed now in the corners with considerably less body roll.
 


Replacement Dash Panel in Winning Blue

Dashboard Trim Panel
(Mazda part number : NE64V1190F94)

I decided on the dash panel after my test drive of a 1.8 car (with option pack) it didn't have the black leather that my car has, but did have the 'piano black' dashboard trim. While there wasn't anything major wrong with the existing dash panel, I did feel it would show fingerprints very easily and probably scratch easily. I also felt the interior, being predominantly black, was a bit dark, so this would liven up the interior and give it a bit more interest. Having not seen this in the flesh this was a bit of a gamble, but I am thoroughly pleased with how it looks, and would recommend this mod to everyone. Click here for an actual shot of the Winning Blue dash panel.


Tailored Luxury Carpet Mat SetTailored Luxury Carpet Mat Set
(Mazda part number : NE64V0320)

The mats were a necessity and sadly not something that the car comes with as standard. Couldn't even get them as a freebie (did get a tank of fuel though - whoopee). The mats are tailored to fit the funny shaped footwell and the drivers side one screws to a bracket on the floor. There is no heel pad however, so not sure how long these will actually last.


Clear Side RepeaterClear Side Repeater Lenses
(mx5parts.co.uk part number IL0086)

The ONLY part carried over from the previous MX-5's (according to Mazda's marketing material) was the orange side indicator lense. No idea's why they kept it orange as most people change it to clear, and it did look out of place on the car. This was my first unofficial mod and I'd bought them to put on before anyone even saw the car. The photo above showing the car with the lowered suspension shows the side repeater lenses in place.
 


Winning Blue Pre Painted Front and Rear Mud FlapsMud Flaps
Mazda part number :
NE85V3450F / NE85V3460F)

I considered buying mud flaps as an option from the dealership, but when I realised that inc fitting they were to come in at over 300(!) I decided not to bother. I bought mine from Mazda South in the USA www.mazdastuff.com. In total, inc shipping and a bit of import duty they came to 175 - quite a saving on UK costs. They took me around an hour to fit being careful, but if I were to have to do it again it would probably take 30 mins max. The mud flaps are only very small and as they are body colour blend well without looking too 'bolt on'.

 


Interior Looks Standard to Casual ViewerStereo (Amplifier / Speakers / iPod)

The standard fit single disc system in the MX-5 is actually pretty good for a manufacturer supplied unit. (I believe it's manufactured by Sanyo!) I have standard head unit in my car, not the BOSE version (which is virtually identical head unit wise, its mainly just the speakers, additional amplification and the addition of auto top down sensing EQ adjustment that differ). I was pretty impressed with the stereo and speakers when played from relatively quiet to fairly decent levels (on CD). Too loud though and the lack of amplifier power becomes evident and it begins to struggle to power the speakers and distortion starts. Sadly the performance on FM is nowhere near as good as CD and the EQ settings have to be messed with to get FM to sound anything like as decent sounding as CD. This is a flaw of the head unit though and not something that can be remedied other than EQ tweaking.

Now I was used to something with a bit more 'oomph' as my old Roadster had two 8" subwoofers in the rear deck, component front speakers and some fairly decent amplification on board, so I was aiming to achieve similar performance in the new car.

I decided I wanted to keep the OEM look and I didn't want a mismatched interior with aftermarket head unit. It just seemed an invite to a thief if they see a DIN unit in place of the OEM one, much easier to pinch, and who wants an OEM Mazda stereo?

Door Speaker Baffle to Accomodate 6.5" WooferSpeakers
I have replaced the standard 5x7 door mounted woofer and door mounted tweeters with a pair of Boston Acoustic 6.5" RC61LS component speakers.

I had to make some baffles to hold the new speakers with them being a different shape (see image).

Door Speaker Baffle to Accomodate 6.5" WooferI also added some Dynamat Sound Deadening both in the doors themselves, and also around the speakers where they and the baffles mount to the door. The crossovers were also mounted within the door, but the dry side of the door - behind the door card. 

The replacement speakers are superb, with much deeper bass and a more integrated treble. The exising speakers were a bit lacking in depth and clarity and these improve things 100%!

SONY AmplifierAmp
I also added a SONY amplifier that I've managed to locate underneath the passenger seat. It just fits under the seat rails without sliding about and hasn't generated too much heat to be a concern yet.

The wiring goes from under the passenger seat forward into the engine bay under the door sill covers and also forward to the head unit under the centre tunnel/console.PAC OEM 2

The SONY amp is connected to the head unit via a speaker level to line level adapter by US company Pacific Audio, and the unit itself is called a PAC-OEM2. This takes the speakers level output of the headunit (just using front two speaker outputs) and converts them to a line level for the amplifier to use. It is adjustable for level, and has delay feature to stop any pops when the amp turns on. The OEM 2 is located to the right of the stereo behind the dash.

Audio Link Ipod Integration UnitIpod
Having only just joined the iPod generation I decided to join with a bang and now have my entire music collection on my 80gb iPod Video (give or take twenty or so cd's that I can't find). This connects directly to the head unit via the 'Audio Link'.

This I bought from The RPM Store in the United States. I had bought one from mx5parts in the UK but had three versions none of which I could get to work. The RPM Store promised they had the latest revision of the unit and that it would work. It did, although I've since heard from mx5parts that they now how the latest revision, which works with the mk3.

The Audio Link connects to an existing socket on the rear of the headunit and is then fed via the centre console/tunnel to the sliding cubby box, where it exits and connects to the iPod. There are some very good instructions for installation on the mx5.com forum.

iPod Located in Centre Arm RestAs seen to the right the iPod is in a rubber case, and sits perfectly on the opening of the sliding compartment. This location gives me easy access to the scroll wheel and I can easily see what is playing.

The quality of the audio using the Audio Link iPod connection is extremely good, and way way superior to any FM transmitters such as the Griffin iTrip. The sound is on a par with CD and again that means it needs the EQ tweaking if flicking from FM to iPod.

The steering wheel controls and head unit controls allow you to change track on the iPod, or it can be placed in Playlist Mode which allows selection of playlist via the head unit preset buttons.


RoadsterSport ExhaustExhaust (Sept '06)

One of my biggest concerns about the new car was the noise it made - or lack of! Its got a cracking 2.0 litre engine but, in my opinion, sometimes sounds like a 'Flawed Mondeo'. Both my old Roadsters had a decent burble and quite a throaty roar on WOT (wide open throttle) due to slightly ageing exhausts and a K&N induction kits. RoadsterSport Exhaust

So the decision was made that when a back-box I was happy with was made available in the UK I'd replace mine. After all its only a case of removing two bolts and dropping the old back box off, then replacing this with the new one. You don't even have to jack up the car to do it. I was concerned about the dealership being funny with me about this, in terms of warranty, so may even replace it with the old one when it has it's annual service.

Unfortunately when the car was launched here in the UK there were very few suppliers of aftermarket back boxes (mufflers) so it took me until late September to be able to actually buy the exhaust I wanted. The exhaust in question is the RoadsterSport by Goodwin Racing in the USA. Rather than arranging getting one sent over from the US a few months earlier I waited until September when they were launched via the UK agents for Goodwin Racing, MX5Mad.

The swap over was a bit more complicated than I'd hoped as my old bolts had rusted too much for me to get off. One of them I managed to thread the nut, the other one got so far off and sheared the bolt off. Not good. So the old exhaust bolts had to be sawn off part way down - rendering the old back box useless - or at leat until I can drill out the old welded on bolts. Not a problem though.

The new exhaust sounds superb, I am really happy with it. The car now sounds like a proper sports car, with a deep burble at idle and some lovely pops on the overrun. It sounds great on WOT and has a lovely roar to it. Well worth the money in my opinion, and only added 20 in admin fee to my insurance. Some users of the RoadsterSport exhaust have complained at a 'boominess' at certain revs. I've not found this at all. Maybe a little bit when it was first on the car. I have both baffles removed on mine (exhaust comes with two baffles, one per tip to tailor the sound to your needs) and find this works best for me.

Incidentally the exhaust adds up to 8 hp to the overall performance, it also shaves off 7lbs in weight from the stock back box and in theory delivers overall better fuel economy - although that's debatable as I blip the throttle more now to hear it burble, so my fuel consumption hasn't improved!

For those interested in the different exhausts available there are various sound clips of the different exhausts available here on miata.net forum.

Also, there's a very short and very poor quality video clip of my exhaust here on YouTube.


New Tyres - 12,000 miles

All four tyres were replace at about 12,000 miles with ever so slightly larger Goodyear Eagle F1 GS-D3's (215/45/17 instead of 205/45/17). These tyres an old favourite tyre of mine that I had on both my previous MX-5's. The size difference means that they are 0.5" bigger in overall diameter, this makes a 0.6 of a mph difference at 60mph - so nothing to worry about :) Plus the slightly deeper side wall fills the arches that bit better too!


New Brake Pads / Discs - 32,000 miles 

New Mazda OEM brakes all round inc pads and discs - also painted hubs/calipers/shields

Read more about this here.


Even more mods might be coming soon....hopefully.