Under The Bonnet of My MX5

I did have a build plan with regards to my custom MX5, however as is the case with most classics, my little car had other ideas. The MX5 has been leaking coolant so I had to dive into the engine bay and upgrade all the hoses to silicone ones and wanted to install a new improved radiator whilst I was at it. 

I like a clean engine bay so before changing anything this was the first job on the list. The whole area was jet washed, then once it had dried out I gave it a good wax and polish. It makes such a difference to give everything a good clean – also you can then see if there are anymore sneaky leaks anywhere.

When working with older cars it’s usually necessary to go back several steps before progressing with the custom stuff – the fun jobs. I want to drive a solid well-built car so for me it’s important to make sure I have a really good base for my project and these jobs are a great example of that. I could’ve just replaced the hose that was leaking with a standard one but I’d rather upgrade all the hoses and therefore prevent further problems. Also it’s an aesthetic thing – red silicone hoses add a pop of colour to the engine bay and as the car is going grey eventually it’ll be a great contrast. It might be more effort initially but down the line it’ll work out better for the car and for me – I love driving so I don’t want my time behind the wheel hindered!

As well as the silicone hoses I got a lightweight aluminium radiator from Japspeed to replace the standard original. After draining the system and removing the old hoses I also ejected the old radiator, swapped the fan over (I might upgrade this eventually) and fitted the new Japspeed ali rad. After adding new coolant I ran the car with the radiator cap off to get rid of any air locks and we’re done! These upgrades are aesthetically bang on for me, but it’s not all about making the car look better, the performance will be enhanced by these changes too. For example the ali radiator increases cooling capacity 40% over the standard unit and as a direct fit it’s a super easy upgrade. Also it’s manufactured from aerospace grade aluminium and as a Star Wars fan that sort of stuff impresses me! (I’m currently in my happy place nerding out over cars and Star Wars).

I don’t want to over-complicate things on this car visually and that’s reflected in the overall design, so whilst the bonnet was up the cam cover was whipped out, cleaned up and rubbed down. It was then treated to some satin black high temperature paint and a new rubber gasket. It’s a relatively quick and painless job that makes a massive difference to the engine bay and will add to my overall clean, fresh, design for the MX5.

So, overall some good progress has been made – next up I need to fit a new air filter to make that engine bay look and perform even better. I’ve hardly scraped the surface but I’m looking forward to getting more done, improving the drive and the performance of this little car. 

You can watch these upgrades on my YouTube video too…

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