Gymkhana

Here’s a little video I created for TCC participants, so that they have an idea of what lies in store for them in the upcoming TCC gymkhana. This was filmed during the miataclub’s annual gymkhana on the 10th of September.

Man, it was tough, climbing up the hill in the heavy rain, getting myself covered in mud. But the bird’s eye view was spectacular.

2 weeks left before the gymkhana and I still need to setup the newly installed Fightex coilovers, what wheel alignment should I run?

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4 years old, part 2!

OK, so today was an incredibly busy day for the Mx5, just 2 days before its birthday, I managed to get insurance renewed, the weekend licence plate inspected, this including sneaking past several LTA bikes at the inspection centre who eyeballed me as I coasted gently out of the centre, before quickly zipping away.

In all that drama, I forgot to bring out a set of Titan brake shims for a customer, argh another day then.

So with the car now 4 years old, I spent the rest of the day carrying out Part 2 of the refreshing of my car.

freshly back from Japan, my Fightex coilovers oh and pleasant surprise, seems like not only did they refresh the suspension, they left alittle note saying that they have upgraded the suspension too! Horray! oh wait, but that means all the years of setting up the shocks gone to waste and I’ve gotta restart that again. Argh I cant win them all..
Also being installed today, Spoon Rigid Collars, and a Nielex Knuckle Brace for the front wheel hubs.

First up was the SPOON Rigid collars, and the nielex knuckle brace. oh wow, after a quick drive around the carpark, over many humps, the car felt so much better planted and more comfortable.

Next was the Fightex, no drama there. I’ve gotta give the car a week to run-in before readjusting the ride height and doing a wheel alignment, I’m still not quite sure how high or low should I set the car up, too low and wouldnt that affect the roll centre?

Later we took all these bodypanels out, here’s the little surprise that I’ll talk more in the next blog entry.

what am I up to? =)

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MX5 NC ‘mx5 1g suspension set’

Earlier week, on a friend’s car, we took out the original suspension, as the car was driving alittle strangely,  it had 70,000km on the clock and I was quite sure that the old suspension, especially the bushes and bumpstops were worn out.

MX5 NC worn out shocks

(something to note) MX5 NC and RX8 suspension are designed to corner on its bumpstops and bushes and when these wear out, the car’s handling suffers.

One of my favourite suspension for the MX5 NC is one called ‘the mx5 1g’ suspension. It was originally created in 2007 by Mazda Motorsport engineers in the USA, under growing competition from Honda and GM who released club racer editions in that same year. The name 1g comes from the project title because the goal was for the car to be able to pull 1g on a skidpan using only this suspension setup and Yokohama Ad07 street tyres.

mx5 1g small

It was then sold in the USA  under the name MS-R edition. The MS-R then went on to win many competitions til in the following year, SCCA changed the rules once more, making the MS-R illegal to compete in, and Mazda stopped selling the MS-R.

Thanks to the friendly Mazda Motorsport engineers, we now know what components they used to assemble the suspension and we’re able to assemble it ourselves.

The suspension ride height only lowers the car by abit, I figured this was not to change the car’s roll centre by too much. Which also incidentally allows the car ride over humps comfortably and clears all the carpark humps/slopes that I know of.

In terms of ride comfort, the suspension is incredibly comfortable over humps, however over a road with ruts, it does hop about abit, due to the super heavy duty anti roll bars, that the MX5 1g kit uses, but this can be adjusted and some chassis brace are recommended to help to reduce the chassis flex.

On the circuit, due to the soft spring rates that the MX5 1g uses, the car does dive and squat abit, compared to my Fightex coilovers & V’s Ohlins, laterally theres virtually no roll again thanks to the roll bars, how this translates into driving on the track is that, the car communicates very clearly the weight transfer between front and back and side to side as the car dives into and turns and begins to exit a corner. A very good practice setup for drivers new to track driving basics. (note: weight transfer in a car cornering remains the same regardless of stock or aftermarket suspension, the difference is how much of the transfer are you able to feel)

Also because there is no height adjustability, this is one of the ‘just go out and drive’ setups that I love. All the thinking and headaches that we would need to do for a height and damping adjustable suspension has all been done for you by the Mazda engineers.
Thank you Mazda Motorsport!

mx5 1g susp in progress
mx5 1g susp front

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4 years old!

this september, my trusty MX5 turns 4 years old! While its been a good 4 years, I’ve decided that with current coe prices at an all time high, its worth while to give the trusty mx5 a ‘refreshening’ and an upgrade.

so first up, refreshing the worn old speakers in the car

I installed a set of Clearwater speakers, these speakers are specifically for the NC Mx5 with a set for the Bose and non Bose equipped cars. They come with a comprehensive set of instructions and actually make for a fun DIY project, though I do recommend preparing more spare door clips as mine were all brittle and broke when I removed the door panel.

Sound quality? well I was never much of an audiophile but WOW! The audio quality difference is incredibly obvious.

Next up, upgrading the car,  I installed the Beatrush harness bar too, all ready for the 4point  harness. Because the harness bar mounts rigidly across the roll brace behind the seats, I think the car feels alittle stiffer too!

Refreshening and upgrades, more to come

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SPOON rigid collars

One of the highlights earlier this year was my meeting with Mr SPOON, Ichishima-San at his office in Tokyo, it was an interesting discussion.
It always surprises me how neat and tidy these Japanese offices and factory workshops are.

Since then, I’ve been installing several sets of SPOON Rigid Collars on various cars, I must admit, though the first 5 sets arrived in February this year, we had them sitting around til almost May!

I guess there was alot of apprehension and mis-understanding on our part prior to installing.

FAQ: the lessons learnt
1.) The Rigid Collars dont need to be the last modification you do to your car.
Because the Collars sit between the interface of the front &/or rear subframes and the car chassis, installing suspension, even dropping a rear differential will not affect the Collars. For the MX5 and Honda S2000, not even for a clutch change will u need to drop the subframes, unless if you’re rebuilding your engine.

2.) Can the Rigid Collars be reused?
Though SPOON doesnt answer that question, from what I have seen is that if the subframe has been aligned straight onto the chassis, and the Subframe bolts were handtighted, the squashing effect on the collars isnt as great as SPOON’s video have you imagine. On top of that, I realised that we dont drop our subframes that often too.

3.) What do the Collars do?
ok it is best explained via the SPOON Europe’s own marketing video, here’s the link

From my layman perspective..
We have seen many brand new cars on the wheel alignment machine having a different range of wheel alignment adjustments between the Left and Right wheels.
Sometimes it is because of the manufacturing tolerances inherent in manufacturing, that a car has the ability to achieve up to 1 degree more castor on one side than the other.

Sometimes if a car has been in an accident before, the subframe can lose its alignment, being skewed to one side, we used to send such cars to chassis alignment specialists to have them realign the subframe, but at such a great cost.

Rigid Collars are sort of like a tolerance bushing/ crush washer/ sleeve that fills up the tolerance gap between the subframe bolts and the subframe and the subframe interface to the chassis.

Because of the close fitting nature of the Rigid Collars, the Collars will only fit if the subframe is aligned square onto the chassis.

So how does the car feel after the installing the collars? Well I’ll continue that onto another post

heres some pictures of us fitting on the Rigid Collars.

HONDA S2000 kit
Spoon rigid collar S2000 Spoon rigid collar S2000

MX5 NC 2006-2011 kit

Spoon rigid collar NC mx5

Spoon rigid collar NC mx5 front

MX5 NC 2006-2011 front Rigid Collar installation
Spoon rigid collar NC mx5 front

Posted in SPOON Rigid Collars, Suspension and Handling | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

grimey engine bays, using socks to keep it clean Part 2

Hi!
ok just a quick update 1 year later, with regards to the using socks.

Just thought that I’ll share another reason to using a sock to soak up the oil,
especially for our NC mx5, just mounted below the MX5 power steering fluid reservoir tank is the radiator fan.

About 2 weeks back, we had to replace a choked fan motor that was covered in grease and dirt buildup because of over-flowing power steering fluid.
Also because of the fluid overflow, the car’s radiator and aircon condenser were also choked with grease and dirt too.

So save yourself the pain and trouble and risk of overheating later, just cut a sock in half, use the tube end to cover the cover power steering fluid reservoir and the other half of the sock to cover the brake master cylinder.

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Happy Birthday Singapore!

OK yes, I have been incredibly slack with my adding new posts, I’m sorry.

here’s an explosive start to many new entries.

an amazing view from the 44th Storey, thank you YL & D for sneaking us up to your office!
Happy Birthday Singapore!

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quick release video camera mount for trackdays

Ok another one of my pet projects that has been 3 years in the waiting…

finally it is done!! a quick release camera mount, so that when not at the track, the mount can be hidden away discreetly..

2

Step1 Removing the windblocker, who needs a windblocker in our hot weather anyway?? I rather more wind in the cabin! and we’re using an aluminium plate for a camera mount base.

3

the camera mount and quick release base. oh yeah in the background thats my steering wheel, another mod that I’ve been meaning to do the last few years.

6

alittle bit of shaping and ta da! the camera mount and quick release base all mounted up nicely on the aluminum plate.

camera7

the base just needs to be painted black and no one will know its there!

camera8

with the camera installed

now for a quick test run to see if it shakes

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Trackday Tips: Securing Rim weights

here’s a quick tip,

when balancing an alloy rim and tyre, weights have to be added to ensure proper balancing, otherwise the tyres will create alot of vibration. Ok thats no big deal.

But often at the track or on the North South Highway these weights flyoff, creating alot of vibration and ruining a good track day.

So the solution to this? Add some duct tape on top of the rim weight, and weights wont fly off no more. Simple

rim weights

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Simple Exterior Modifications on MX5 NC

hey Guys,

after a brief hiatus, I’m back! It was another busy August, with events at Sepang. (the 12 hour endurance race) and a trip to the Bhira Circuit in Thailand, anyway details later.

so just starting off on a light note, here’s some simple exterior modifications, quite cool how it changes the look of the NC mx5, ever slightly.

yellow 1

in this first example, we swapped the original Mazda grill for a simple aftermarket mesh, we picked a mesh that had a slight slant in it, so that standing in front of the mx5, I wont be able to see the bumper support bar that actually covers the top half of the grill.

We also covered in mesh, the lower ‘mouth’ that sits beneath the mx5 ‘mouth. Adding this mesh is quite important I feel,  especially if you have seen my stone riddled aircon condenser.

antenna

the next other simple modification for the NC, is replacing the original Mazda antenna with a shorter Honda antenna. On many NCs I noticed that the antennas tended to harden and crack after only a few years. Also the original Mazda antenna made the NC Mx5 look very ‘toy like’ as it looked like a remote control car aerial.

and so we replaced it with the Honda antenna and obviously sticking to original parts would ensure that radio reception wouldnt suffer.

so there we have it! Simple mods that changes the look of the NC ever slightly, sharpening up the lines of the car.

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