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Monday 14th March 2011

PH Fleet Update: Mazda Eunos Roadster

Dan Trent's impulse purchase 'bargain' is sucking up an awful lot of money, but he still seems happy...



Written in the post-purchase afterglow, my first report on the cheapo Eunos was, with hindsight, a little over-ecstatic. So, after the first few weeks of ownership, am I still quite so over the moon?

Well, I've spent pretty much its purchase price over again on various bits and bobs. And not just the succession of stick-on numberplates I keep having to buy, after the various wonky/air-bubbled/peeling attempts I've tried thus far. Suffice to say I'm glad they do a discount on repeat orders for just such eventualities.

Even small roads prove fun in a Eunos
Even small roads prove fun in a Eunos
For now, a slight funding crisis should at least bring relief to the postie, who's been cursing my impulsive, online shopping habits and, literally, shouldering the burden with box after box of deliveries to the office door. So, after an initial spike, I have to say sorry to Autolink, MX-5 Parts and others - the boom times are over for now...

So what's been costing the money? Well, there was that first £350 service, including the rather expensive fitment of braided brake lines and subsequent pairing of that work with self-fitted new discs and pads. On the recommendation of an MX-5-owning colleague, I went OE with the latter but we'll see how we go with that.

Strut brace a vanity buy, K&N filter isn't
Strut brace a vanity buy, K&N filter isn't
There was also the eBay special strut brace, which, I'll admit, is more about vanity than any truly functional improvement. The K&N air filter kit, on the other hand, looks good and sounds better, this and the cat replacement pipe freeing up the breathing and unleashing a cheeky, Alfa-esque, twin-cam rasp.

Then there's the cambelt kit. With the offer of help from fellow motoring scribe John Simister, himself a former MX-5 owner, I decided to take the plunge and change this myself, the kit comprising belts for cams, alternator/water pump and power steering pump/air-con compressor, plus all the necessary tensioners and gaskets. Not bad for £70, but I was more than a bit nervous about tackling a proper, hands-on bit of spannering like this myself.

OZ alloys came from Dan's Clio Cup
OZ alloys came from Dan's Clio Cup
A combination of John's watchful eye and the expertise of Messrs Haynes and Hardiman (the latter's MX-5 Renovation Manual a godsend and now nicely patinated with oily fingerprints) saw the job through successfully, thankfully without any stripped or seized bolts or fittings.

It's certainly empowering, doing a job like this yourself and, with the rest of the fluids fresh and the brakes all new, I'm pretty happy the Eunos is mechanically fit. The clutch hasn't got a whole lot of life left in it, but other than that I'm happy to have atoned for the total lack of service history when I bought it.

Oily bits have had a proper workover...
Oily bits have had a proper workover...
Next job: suspension. As everyone has told me, a geo set-up is essential, but if I'm going to upgrade the dampers as planned there's no point doing it until that's all in place.

Aforementioned chat with Bilstein is approaching fruition, subject to confirmation that my shrugged "well it should fit" optimism means I can, with a change of top-mounts, go for the full monty B16 kit for the Mk2 with all the height-adjustable, tweakable damping goodness that entails.

...And Dan's even got his hands dirty
...And Dan's even got his hands dirty
I appear to be spending more time fettling than I am driving at the moment. So, an impromptu mini-roadtrip around Surrey and Hampshire's finest back roads was hastily arranged with a trio of MX-5 and Elise-owning pals. The weather duly obliged with a hearty downpour; a 7am meet in a lay-by with a load car geeks in the pouring rain is not, it seems, the easiest sell for long-suffering other halves.

The rain did at least mean some skidtastic fun, the Toyos on my newly fitted OZ Ultraleggeras - from my Clio 172 Cup but, happily, correctly sized - not quite as progressively slidey as the Tigars on the original 14s, but the conditions more than slippery enough to reveal I am not quite the drift god I fancied myself to be. And the less said about that the better.

Plenty of bits to fit...
Plenty of bits to fit...
Clearly cash isn't the only thing I'm running out of, then, but with the parts budget depleted it does at least mean I'm left no alternative but to get out and drive the thing more and, though the new dampers can't come soon enough, I'm absolutely loving the Eunos. Sure, it's not quick. But it's so small and wieldy even a single-track lane can be fun. The bonding process is well and truly underway.

...But a weekend blast is the reward...
...But a weekend blast is the reward...
...even if another stick-on 'plate pays the price
...even if another stick-on 'plate pays the price
   
Dan Trent
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Author Discussion

Howrare

Original Poster:

114 posts

89 months

[news] 
Monday 14th March 2011 quote quote all
Remembering what was said when the Eunos was purchased, what would you say you've paid out in totally essential work?

I was very luck a couple of years ago to get a scruffy but servicable UK Mk1 for £750 off the bay of E. Hardly spent a thing on it other than a service, and lashings of T Cut to get the coachwork back. Sure it was a bit lose compared to a lower miles Eunos I'd had a few years before that, but it was still a great little car. Full Magnex pipe it came with always made me grin. That was a good summer.

Hellbound

2,229 posts

59 months

[news] 
Monday 14th March 2011 quote quote all
I've seen some lovely low mileage 1.8 S UK models for under £2k. Why you didn't do a little more research is beyond me.

Ah well...as long as it makes you happy etc etc.

chris.mapey

4,756 posts

150 months

[news] 
Monday 14th March 2011 quote quote all
I've joined in with the fun - bought a MkI Eunos (with coilovers, mohair hood, leather seats & a full stainless system) for only £650! It's even MOT'd until July as well.

Roll on open season wink

Riknos

4,157 posts

87 months

[news] 
Monday 14th March 2011 quote quote all
Hellbound said:
I've seen some lovely low mileage 1.8 S UK models for under £2k. Why you didn't do a little more research is beyond me.

Ah well...as long as it makes you happy etc etc.
Would definitely rather have an Import. Mine is 17 year's old without a mm of rust on it, and it's not had any repair work done to it. I thought there was a slight bit of rust on one of the wheel arches the other day, but after scratching it with a touch up kit, it turned out to be surface rust.

In comparison, all 6 of the UK models I saw were rotton through on at least one part of the car.. all at the same price range / age too.

jonstable

535 posts

96 months

[news] 
Monday 14th March 2011 quote quote all
Addictive little things aren't they! biggrin Those wheels look surprisingly good on it too.
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heebeegeetee

21,337 posts

131 months

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Monday 14th March 2011 quote quote all
Are you sure those wheels are the correct offset?

Just be careful with the suspension too. If the springs/dampers are too hard, combined with those wheels you may end up taking away that which makes the MX5 special. If you end up with a crashy ride you will have totally spoiled the set-up and the handling will suffer as a result.

Please be warned. wink


Black S2K

477 posts

132 months

[news] 
Monday 14th March 2011 quote quote all
heebeegeetee said:
Are you sure those wheels are the correct offset?

Just be careful with the suspension too. If the springs/dampers are too hard, combined with those wheels you may end up taking away that which makes the MX5 special. If you end up with a crashy ride you will have totally spoiled the set-up and the handling will suffer as a result.

Please be warned. wink

Indeed; wrong offsets (+45 IIRC)can wreck MX-5 bearings & too stiff suspension weakens the bodyshell, so be warned.

The very idea of changing suspension components before optimising the existing set up with geo & chassis braces is a bit arse/face.


Munter

25,010 posts

124 months

[news] 
Monday 14th March 2011 quote quote all
Black S2K said:
Indeed; wrong offsets (+45 IIRC)can wreck MX-5 bearings & too stiff suspension weakens the bodyshell, so be warned.

The very idea of changing suspension components before optimising the existing set up with geo & chassis braces is a bit arse/face.
Well he definitely has to do it afterwards if he was going to change them regardless.

What I want to know is how you lose a stick on plate! A hard one can drop off sure. But a sticker...thats some top quality work!

Gizmo!

17,835 posts

92 months

[news] 
Monday 14th March 2011 quote quote all
Spending money? What's this? wink

Mine's just coming up for its MOT and I've spent nothing whatsoever on it since the last one.

Admittedly one or two things are currently, er, broken... but that's because I'm a spanner rather than it being the car's fault. And I've been too busy to fix them.

Next question will be - do I spend out on coilovers (finally!) or do I decide I fancy a change...

sc4589

1,698 posts

48 months

[news] 
Monday 14th March 2011 quote quote all
I hope that filter's positioned nice and far away from the block to avoid the inevitable 57i heat soak...

Looks good. smile

esudfu

16 posts

53 months

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Monday 14th March 2011 quote quote all
First MOT for my £1000 Eunos Mk1 tomorrow. £70 for a pair of back tyres (gotta love 14in wheels!) and a fiver for a headlamp bulb in preparation...hoping for a good result at the MOT station!

I am a reformed MX-5 hater. I've had my share of decent cars for a 20-something (VX220, Caterham, Megane 225) but I have to say that I don't feel short-changed now I've downsized to the little Eunos, it's a cracking car. For a grand I honestly can't think of anything better that wouldn't be heaps of trouble to run or live with.

3000 mile road trip around the Alps this summer. The car's only 21 years old...what can go wrong smile

suffolk009

1,129 posts

48 months

[news] 
Monday 14th March 2011 quote quote all
Ah, the list of things to do...

A new rear screen - I cracked the old one on a cold a frosty morning and my wife is fed up with the gaffer-tape fix.
A new clutch. Apparently it's worn out, dammit.
Two new rear tyres, service item!
A new stereo, the seat speakers haven't worked since day one and now they're unplugged I can't hear a thing. The sound quality is so bad it was embarrasing playing Europe - the final countdown at full blast whilst dis-embarking the eurotunnel last summer going to LeMans.
New dampers - the old ones are getting tired.
And the wheel geo out to be done after the shocks
Then there's things like a n/s rear repair panel for the wheel arches, plus fitting, plus paint.
Also quite fancy an original momo wheel - must stop being the eternal underbidder on ebay.
And the gear lever gaiter is providing too much warm air for my lfet hand.
And the n/s electric window motor is on the way out.

Which will double theprice of the car, ....but is still less money than I spend on putting effin petrol in all the cars in just two months.

VeeFour

3,339 posts

45 months

[news] 
Monday 14th March 2011 quote quote all
Hellbound said:
I've seen some lovely low mileage 1.8 S UK models for under £2k. Why you didn't do a little more research is beyond me.

Ah well...as long as it makes you happy etc etc.
yes

I just picked up a P-plate UK 1.8iS for £1100. It has done a fair few miles - 122k, but only 3 owners from new and FSH - including the cambelt service just 3k miles ago.

I often feel the myth about buying imports is now just a myth - most imports have been around in the UK for 15 years or more, so are just as likely to be rusty as UK cars.

The advantage with UK cars is that it's much easier to insure them cheaply.

minimoog

2,747 posts

102 months

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Monday 14th March 2011 quote quote all
Try misting the sticky side of the number plate with water before applying it - makes it easier to chase the bubbles out.

soad

18,284 posts

59 months

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Monday 14th March 2011 quote quote all
Come spring/summer time, it'll be worth it!
Looks good too!

Jobbo

8,488 posts

147 months

[news] 
Monday 14th March 2011 quote quote all
VeeFour said:
I often feel the myth about buying imports is now just a myth - most imports have been around in the UK for 15 years or more, so are just as likely to be rusty as UK cars.

The advantage with UK cars is that it's much easier to insure them cheaply.
I'm not convinced the imports have any less underseal than the UK cars, judging by how much UK cars rust. Imports seem to be a better bet in that respect.

As for insurance, a classic policy with Peter Best cost me £170 (for 3000 miles) or £208 (for 5000 miles), no NCB required and it even allowed me to commute to work.

esudfu

16 posts

53 months

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Monday 14th March 2011 quote quote all
VeeFour said:
The advantage with UK cars is that it's much easier to insure them cheaply.
I was worried about this when I bought my imported car, but was quite happy when I went to the Meerkat insurance site and ticking the 'import' box made a difference of exactly £0.

I re-ran the quote twice, exactly the same details, one marked as import, the other marked as UK, and exactly the same price smile

Not a drop of rust in mine. I don't know whether being an import makes any difference but whether it's kept in a garage will. Apparently there are some drains for taking water from the roof which get blocked, fill with water then rot the sills out. I looked at several cars with this problem before (finally) I found one which didn't have it.

Edited by esudfu on Monday 14th March 21:26

v8will

2,727 posts

79 months

[news] 
Monday 14th March 2011 quote quote all
Black S2K said:
Indeed; wrong offsets (+45 IIRC)can wreck MX-5 bearings & too stiff suspension weakens the bodyshell, so be warned.

The very idea of changing suspension components before optimising the existing set up with geo & chassis braces is a bit arse/face.
Those Ultraleggeras will more then likely be +37, ideal for a MX-5. Stock offset on the 14x6 wheels is +45 as suggested. I ran +37 Kosei 15x7 wheels for almost 80K on my oldest MX-5 with absolutely no problems with wheel bearings or any other part of the car. I'd be more worried that the wheels don't have the correct spigot rings fitted, the Mazda uses a 54.1mm centre bore, the Renault 60.1mm

Team Dynamics made a +30 offset wheel for one of the race series IIRC.

I'd have a Eunos over a UK car any day. My 1991 1.6 Eunos was a peach at 17 years old with no rust, my later 1995 1.8 Uk car needed extensive sill repairs at 10 years old, something which sped up it's change of address considerably.

Edited by v8will on Monday 14th March 21:37

VeeFour

3,339 posts

45 months

[news] 
Monday 14th March 2011 quote quote all
esudfu said:
I was worried about this when I bought my imported car, but was quite happy when I went to the Meerkat insurance site and ticking the 'import' box made a difference of exactly £0.

I re-ran the quote twice, exactly the same details, one marked as import, the other marked as UK, and exactly the same price smile

Not a drop of rust in mine. I don't know whether being an import makes any difference but whether it's kept in a garage will. Apparently there are some drains for taking water from the roof which get blocked, fill with water then rot the sills out. I looked at several cars with this problem before (finally) I found one which didn't have it.
Did you say it was an imported MX5 or an imported Eunos - that's what makes the difference - and some insurers will also differentiate between Euro imports and Jap imports.

All I know is that if you correctly declare a car as a Jap import Eunos, you'll pay more than you will for a UK spec. car.

I've seen equal numbers of rotten UK and import cars - at one time the stuff about imports being less rusty held true - but most imports were only a few years old when they came into the UK, so there's very little difference these days.

My P-plate UK car is rust free- something I couldn't say for any of the imports I saw.

esudfu

16 posts

53 months

[news] 
Monday 14th March 2011 quote quote all
VeeFour said:
Did you say it was an imported MX5 or an imported Eunos - that's what makes the difference - and some insurers will also differentiate between Euro imports and Jap imports.

All I know is that if you correctly declare a car as a Jap import Eunos, you'll pay more than you will for a UK spec. car.
I put it in as Eunos (you put the reg in and it finds if from the DVLA), but I've just gone back to the site to have another look and you're right...if I'd bought a UK car I could have saved myself £25 a year.

Still either on Eunos or MX-5 ticking the box to say import makes no difference, only the 2 model types do.
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