2006 MX-5 2.0 Option Pack

2006 MX-5 2.0 Option Pack

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Accelebrate

Original Poster:

4,729 posts

187 months

Friday 16th July
quotequote all
It seems I was wrong about the NS2Rs being noisy, after swapping back to road tyres the noise and a slight vibration remained. My first thought were wheel bearings, but I couldn’t find any play in any of the wheels. My thoughts moved onto what else it might be, maybe the diff or engine mounts? I’d been pondering upgrading the engine mounts as I’d noticed how much the gearstick moves around whilst cornering in track footage, this seemed like a good excuse so I ordered a set of ILM 40% stiffer mounts:





Deep down I knew this was unlikely to be the issue, but I'd helped Alex upgrade the mounts on his Fiesta before Mallory and I didn't want to be left out. After some more miles I realised the noise was worse when turning right and practically disappeared when turning left. A post on an NC group returned unanimous verdict of wheel bearings and a number of people stating that they had replaced failed bearings with no obvious play. Given the effect that cornering has on the noise a failed nearside bearing made the most sense.

I was under a bit of pressure to get the car fixed before our next trackday in a week. I didn’t want to be stuck waiting for parts so I ordered a pair of front and rear bearings. I was hoping that it would be the nearside front, which would make sense as it’s the corner that probably gets lent on the most on the mostly-clockwise circuits that we’ve visited. The fronts are a lot easier to swap on the NC than the rear, they’re a complete unit that just needs to be slide hammered out with a few bolts removed. Whereas the rears are a lot more involved with probably-seized driveshafts and many suspension arms that need to be undone to remove the rear hubs and then the bearings need to be pressed out and in. Ideally an alignment should also be carried out once complete.

There was a lot more choice when it came to rear bearings, I opted for FAG bearings as I’ve always found FAG or SKF to be high quality and durable. For the front hub/bearing/ABS unit there was a lot less choice and not a lot of well known names to choose from. A popular ‘upgrade’ for the NC is to fit the hubs from 2009+ RX8s which are supposedly slightly beefier and unlike the earlier RX8s use the same style of ABS connector as the NC. I say supposedly as I later found some contrary opinion claiming that in reality it’s the same size of bearing in either part.

The RX8 part number is F1893304X, without doing much research I ordered a pair of Blue Print ADM58239. It seemed like a good option as Blue Print are part of the Febi-Bilstein group and they came with a 3yr warranty:

https://partsfinder.bilsteingroup.com/en/article/b...



Unfortunately, some retrospective FB group research found a number of reports of bearing failure after minimal mileage and ABS sensor issues. I think once the fronts have been broken loose once swapping them a second time shouldn’t take too long, so I’m willing to give them a go.

Beyond that the options seem a bit limited, I found a couple of Supercup racers who were buying up used OE hubs as they seemed to be the most reliable option without spending dealership money. I haven’t priced the hubs in a UK dealer and I should. I get the impression they’re expensive and it’s never an easy option as I live in a bit of a Mazda dealership no-man’s land. Things are easier in the US where they can buy the Timken HA590360 for about $100:

https://www.rockauto.com/en/parts/timken,HA590360,...

The Timken hubs are made in Japan and come bearing Mazda logos, so it’s probably safe to assume it’s an OE part. Annoyingly, I can’t find a UK stockist. Amazon will deliver them from the US with duty paid for £120 a side, but they only have one in stock and I’d like to replace them in a pair. Rock Auto will also ship to the UK for a reasonable £230 for a pair including delivery and VAT paid, but I think I’d still be hit with an unknown and seemingly random amount of import charges. I’m hopefully off to the US in a few months, so assuming the Blue Prints have failed by then and Mazda are expensive I might try and bring a pair back.

With my parts assembled I did what I probably should have done first and investigated further. I started with the mostly likely suspect the NSF hub:



Bingo! Seems very noisy there, but it wasn't at all obvious until the caliper was removed and the sound of the pads dragging lightly was out of the equation. This was great news as it means I didn't need to mess about with the rear before the trackday. I'll probably keep the bearings, if I ever get around to dropping the rear subframe to paint and treat it I'll refresh the bushes and bearings at the same time. They were also a very reasonable £44 for the pair from Parts in Motion on eBay, ECP wanted £80 per bearing for the same thing, even after discounts.

The front hubs are held on by four bolts, and there's also an ABS sensor to carefully remove:



I had a slide hammer from the blind bearing pulling kit I bought for replacing the flywheel bearing when I changed the clutch. I drilled some holes in some thick sheet steel to make a hub adapter...



I'd like to say this worked well, but the slide hammer was a bit weedy and it didn't do much. What did work really well was the M12 connector nut from the slide hammer kit combined with a spare bolt, jammed up against the hub carrier in various places and expanded with a pair of spanners it made light work of popping the hubs on both sides out.





Here's a side by side view of the RX8 hub and the MX5:



Measuring across the bearing casing the RX8 hub was 6.4mm thicker, it also weighed more at 3kg vs. 2.6kg, so it would appear that the RX8 does indeed use a slightly larger bearing.

I cleaned up the hub carrier with some wet and dry and applied some high temp grease to hopefully make this job much easier in the future. I installed the bolts using blue loctite. I gave the hub faces a light coating of copper grease to stop them from sticking to the discs. Although my OS bearing was still working fine I swapped it over to the RX8 bearing, given the slight weight/spec difference and the 120k that's on the original bearing this seemed to make sense. If the Blue Prints turn out to be rubbish I'll swap them both as a pair again. I considered treating the dust shields to a wire wheel and lick of paint, but they're crusty enough that it didn't seem worth it. I think they're a cheap part, I'll pick up a pair if I end up redoing this job.





And the same on the OS...



I'm happy to report that the noise and vibration is gone. I've had no ABS errors either, so any reports of the Blue Print hubs not working with the NC must be down to faulty hubs rather than any compatibility issues. I am however still dubious about the longevity of the Blue Prints, I put about 50 miles on the NS hub to check that everything worked after fitting before moving onto the OS, I can already detect a hint of play within the bearing which doesn't bode well.

Whilst the car was on stands I also fitted the new engine mounts. I'd done this job once before when I swapped my originals for a used set from a lower mileage car. Access is easy through each wheelarch:



You remove two 17mm nuts, one side at a time, and then lift the engine using a jack on the sump to lean it over to one side enough to extract the mount. The ILM mounts replace the inner section of the mount, there are a couple of 14mm nuts to remove the old mount from the housing:





New mount bolted into the housing:





Rinse and repeat on the other side. There's a slight increase in cabin vibration at idle, changing gear and releasing the clutch at speed seems a lot more pleasant and consistent. It might be placebo but everything feels a little bit tighter when pressing on, it'll be interesting to see if the gearbox/stick still leans from side to side in track footage.

JoeMk1

308 posts

143 months

Friday 16th July
quotequote all
Nice work, I replaced my front wheel bearings with the same Blueprint RX8 ones about 5000 miles ago, haven't noticed any degredation myself.

For what it's worth, I found it was about half the price to get the dust shields shipped from Japan than buy them here rolleyes

https://www.amayama.com/en/catalogs/mazda/roadster...

I could only find them here for about £35 each, so even if you get hit with the VAT it's still miles cheaper.

Normally arrives in under 2 weeks

Accelebrate

Original Poster:

4,729 posts

187 months

Friday 16th July
quotequote all
JoeMk1 said:
Nice work, I replaced my front wheel bearings with the same Blueprint RX8 ones about 5000 miles ago, haven't noticed any degredation myself.

For what it's worth, I found it was about half the price to get the dust shields shipped from Japan than buy them here rolleyes

https://www.amayama.com/en/catalogs/mazda/roadster...
Phew, that's good to hear smile

Thanks for the tip, I wasn't aware of Amayama. Out of curiosity I priced a pair of genuine RX8 hubs - £557.12! Although £90 of that was shipping.

Accelebrate

Original Poster:

4,729 posts

187 months

Monday 26th July
quotequote all
Our latest track outing was to Llandow. My first time there, and also my first event organised by OpenTrack.

I didn't have a great feeling about things before the day. It had been a bit of a rush to get the car repaired after Mallory a couple of weeks earlier. The failed bearing wasn't the only issue, for the first time ever I'd managed to over-rev the engine slightly whilst being a bit eager to go for second before the hairpin at Mallory on one of my last laps of the day. Everything seemed fine, but it had given me the fear of impending engine failure.

The car seemed intent to convince me that something big was about to fail too, whilst putting some miles on it to test the new bearings it cut fuel at around 4k on a couple of occasions. I assumed this might have been connected to the over-rev at first, but in the end I think it was probably down to bad fuel. I filled a jerry can with fuel from the pumps inside the circuit at Mallory, I didn't end up using it on circuit but emptied it into my tank for the journey home. With the various lockdowns I'm wondering if Mallory had had that fuel sitting for a while, as with a fresh tank of fuel and a bottle of injector cleaner for good measure the mysterious fuel cutting disappeared and hasn't returned during all the miles I did to and from Wales and on circuit.

With the above playing on my mind, along with various new sounds and vibrations from swapping to harder engine mounts, and a yellow weather warning for rain, it was an apprehensive journey over to Wales the night before the track day. A rubbish journey it was too, I left a lot later than I was hoping to, by the time I was within 10 miles of my hotel I found the M4 closed without warning for overnight roadworks and Waze decided I needed to conclude my journey with 15 miles of very narrow lanes with my undertrays mowing up all the grass and gravel in the centre. This added about 30mins to my journey but it felt like hours as I just wanted to go to bed.



Not feeling confident in your car isn't a nice feeling, it's made me realise again how reliable the NC has been over the years of track abuse.

Happily, the next morning I awoke somewhere near Cardiff airport to a relatively dry day. I headed over to our meeting point at a fuel station near the circuit and was greeted by Geraint from the other Pistonheads NC thread all excited for his first trackday...





At the circuit another NC sporting a PH sticker arrived - it was nice to meet you Macaulay, I'm glad you had a good day smile

This is the first track day I've ever attended with no NA or NB MX5s. I've now owned my car for 5 years, there's been a definite shift towards NCs as track cars in that time.



It was also the first track day for my friend Craig in his MK3 MR2. I've been nagging him to try it on circuit since he purchased it a couple of years ago.



Despite the tale of woe above the day went really well. There was an occasional drop of rain but the circuit remained nice and dry and the cooler weather was welcome after all the 30c+ days we'd had the week before. My car had no mechanical issues and drove as well as it always has, I have a lot more confidence in it again knowing that it held up to a day on circuit. The stiffer engine mounts make a noticeable improvement to the gearshift at speed, and looking back at video footage the gearbox/engine is definitely being thrown around less in corners.

I wasn't sure if we'd enjoy Llandow as at 0.9 miles you wouldn't think there would be enough there to keep you occupied all day, but every corner there presents a nice little challenge with a few options when it comes to lines, it kept me engaged all day and I'd happily return at some point. Being twisty with short straights makes it a good MX5 circuit, the tight complex near the control tower is a great bit of track.

Using OpenTrack for the first time also meant that the day was covered by Robert Baxter ( https://www.rbpsphotography.com ). I've always admired his photography at other events, so it was nice to receive some of his photos of my own car. Available by the early hours of the following morning, in huge resolution, all included in the entry fee. Impressive! There were 86 of my car in total, I've tried to trim that down a bit, but apologies in advance for the spam...

























For their first time on track Geraint and Craig both did well and appeared to have lots of fun. By the end of the day Geraint had found lots of pace and on road tyres he turned into a lairy (but very well controlled) oversteer machine! I'm sure he'll update his thread with more detail.





Alex spent the day tripoding his Fiesta around on three wheels. Roshan did well to wrestle the bulky of the 350z around a tight circuit with only one issue with catastrophic brake fade hehe





Unlike most track day organisers OpenTrack include free instruction as part of your entry. A lot of people will tell you should spend money on instruction ahead of car modifications to make yourself a better driver on track. It's a statement that's hard to disagree with but I've always had mixed feelings about driving under instruction. I booked it a couple of times when I first started doing track days, usually in the morning before I'd properly got to grips with the circuit (incorrectly assuming it would set me up for the rest of the day) and found that trying to process the circuit, what other cars around me were doing and act on instruction from what I seem to remember as quite shouty instructors all a bit overwhelming. I stopped booking instruction in favour of figuring out things in my own time, swearing that I'd return to instruction once I vaguely knew what I was doing, but I never did.

Given that it was free and easy to organise (find instructor, ask if he fancies coming out for some laps) I took Martin the ARDs instructor out in the afternoon. He was mostly quiet, with the exception of trying to get me to introduce a dab of brakes to shift the weight and apex a bit later on the corner before the straight after the complex, amusingly something I had started the day doing but later convinced myself that being brave and staying on the throttle must be faster. I took his silence as a side-effect of my stupid exhaust making it difficult to hold a conversation, which I think was mostly true, after a half a dozen laps we pulled into the pits for a de-brief. He was surprisingly complementary of both my driving and the suspension setup of the car. I've never really considered myself as a good driver on track, it's something I do purely for the fun of it, but it was really nice to receive some positive feedback. He commented that he could tell that I had spent a lot of time driving my car on circuit and felt that I was completely in tune with how it behaves, the only thing he felt I was lacking was more power... "You're definitely ready for it..." Those are very dangerous words for my wallet.



All in all it was a really good day. Having now done a couple of days with the seat and harness I think it's given me a really big confidence boost on track. I think this is a mixture of having a better feel for what the car is doing underneath you, along with it giving you the mental capacity to focus on a corner rather than bracing yourself in place, but most of all I think a big part of it is a mental confidence boost from (rightly or wrongly) feeling safer from being strapped in tight.

I'm still loving the NS2Rs, I could only get them unstuck if I combined being silly with the throttle with bouncing over a kerb. They're wearing well too. I'll probably order another set as spares whenever the next eBay coupon covers Demon Tweeks.

We said goodbye to Geraint in Wales and headed to a lovely pizza restaurant shack that Alex knew just north of Bristol. Sitting outside on a farm eating a tasty woodfired pizza with my friends, and working car, was a great way to end a great day.





cedrichn

495 posts

23 months

Tuesday 27th July
quotequote all
Great update! Thanks a lot!

Really good feedback on the wheel bearings and engine mounts smile Will definitely be useful for me smile

Glad you all had fun!

So.... supercharger or 2.5 ? hehe

Yeti97

199 posts

64 months

Tuesday 27th July
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It was great to meet you and everyone else! Was very strange pulling up and recognising Geraint's car (yellow stitching gave that away), then seeing your engine strut brace mod and the lightbulb switching on and remembering this thread as well. Shall be keeping my eyes out for upgrades before my next track day, thanks for all the advice on the day, already booked into Mtech to give it a proper looking over before I commit.

Pictures for the thread obviously!




rigsey

126 posts

246 months

Wednesday 28th July
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Great update.

How are you finding your suspension changes on track?

I only have sway bars at the moment but contemplating springs or coilovers.

Accelebrate

Original Poster:

4,729 posts

187 months

Wednesday 28th July
quotequote all
cedrichn said:
So.... supercharger or 2.5 ? hehe
I’ve done a little 2.5 research recently. At first glance, assuming the one person who occasionally imports a container of 2.5s has stock I’d get a much newer lower mileage engine for a similar price to another used 2.0. However, I get the impression that it’s not that well suited to the MX5 without the addition of cams, and by the time you’ve done that and paid someone to tune it the costs ramp up a bit. That said, doing an engine swap would be fun and at least you end up with a healthy newer engine at the end of it. I’m not sure my car is the best example to invest the money required to turbo/supercharge into.



Accelebrate

Original Poster:

4,729 posts

187 months

Wednesday 28th July
quotequote all
Yeti97 said:
already booked into Mtech to give it a proper looking over before I commit.
Nice photos smile

Thinking back to what the instructor said about your traction control being faulty, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was just working as designed, e.g. badly. The NC traction control always seems far too eager.

geraintthomas

828 posts

79 months

Wednesday 28th July
quotequote all
Thanks again for a great day, looking forward to the next one!

Accelebrate

Original Poster:

4,729 posts

187 months

Wednesday 28th July
quotequote all
rigsey said:
How are you finding your suspension changes on track?

I only have sway bars at the moment but contemplating springs or coilovers.
I’m happy with it. I’ve got no immediate plans to change anything suspension-wise. In an ideal world I’d have a good set of coilovers rather than the Koni yellow shocks, and I’d then raise the ride height a little. But the Konis were such a good price and I’ve always liked how they feel, being able to adjust the rebound for trackdays is nice too.

I could do with getting the alignment checked as it’s been a while and maybe adding a bit more negative camber at the front as I’m still scrubbing the outer edge of the front tyres a little.

Accelebrate

Original Poster:

4,729 posts

187 months

Thursday 5th August
quotequote all
I was still undecided about the Blueprint RX8 hubs, there seemed to be a little bit more play in them after Llandow. However, their fate was sealed when the car started throwing an ABS error when driven for the first time following the trackday.



Removing the hubs for return the issue soon became clear. The plastic cap on the back of each hub that holds the ABS sensor was now loose, the nearside (which had thrown the error) had detached from the hub completely. I can only assume that either the plastic or glue used wasn't designed with trackday temperatures in mind.



I could place the covers back on the hubs, but there was nothing retaining them. By comparison the same part on my original hubs couldn't be removed even with moderate force.



As a replacement I ordered two Timken RX8 hubs from RockAuto in the US:

https://www.rockauto.com/en/parts/timken,HA590360,...

They cost a very reasonable £214 delivered, about £90 more than the Blueprints. It would appear that RockAuto get you to prepay the import charges, so there were no surprises when they arrived. They took only 6 days to get here, I was a bit jealous of their roadtrip, starting in California, over to Tennessee, Paris and then London. It must have been a bumpy flight...



The contents were thankfully fine...



They also came with a cool little toolbox magnet cool



The Timkens are made in Japan, and are Mazda branded, so it's probably safe to assume they're OE parts.





The weight is identical to the Blueprints at exactly 3kg. I still haven't bothered doing anything about the heatshields. Hopefully this won't be a job that I have to revisit anytime soon.







rigsey

126 posts

246 months

Monday 9th August
quotequote all
Accelebrate said:
I’m happy with it. I’ve got no immediate plans to change anything suspension-wise. In an ideal world I’d have a good set of coilovers rather than the Koni yellow shocks, and I’d then raise the ride height a little. But the Konis were such a good price and I’ve always liked how they feel, being able to adjust the rebound for trackdays is nice too.

I could do with getting the alignment checked as it’s been a while and maybe adding a bit more negative camber at the front as I’m still scrubbing the outer edge of the front tyres a little.
Great thank you smile

Accelebrate

Original Poster:

4,729 posts

187 months

Monday 9th August
quotequote all
Whilst the car was up on stands for the bearings I changed the oil. I've only covered just under 2000 miles since the last change, but I'm sticking to my every two trackdays-ish rule on the assumption that oil degrades at higher temps.

This is the first change for a while that wasn't Shell Ultra 5w40 - it's not as cheap as it used to be at ECP, so it's Fuchs from Demon Tweeks this time. I also thought I'd try a Mahle rather than Mann filter, almost double the price but the filter medium is supposedly better. It seemed nicely made, in Austria.



Nothing new here...



I hadn't lifted the car very high for the bearings, thinking I was being clever I attacked the oil filter through the nearside wheelarch rather than from underneath. I'd forgotten how close one of the clutch hard lines runs to the filter and managed to get my filter removal tool tangled up in it, before I realised what I'd done I'd bent it towards the filter.



I bent it back away from the filter slightly into the position in the photograph above, it seemed ok, but it's a cheap part and I didn't want it to ruin my day in the future. It would also be in the way for every future oil change, so I sourced a replacement from Oxford Mazda, it came from Belgium(?!) within a few days.



Whilst I was in there I also ordered a braided clutch hose from Hel. I expect that like the braided brake hoses I fitted a few years ago there will be no tangible difference in pedal feel, but there's a warm fuzzy feeling from replacing another 15y/o rubber hose and it was a very reasonable £22 delivered. Hel offer a range of colours, but I opted for boring silver to match my other braided lines.



Old and new...



Nice and kink free once again...



The braided line looks quite nice in the engine bay...



The Hel line came with a rubber doodad which I initially fitted where the line runs through a retaining clip, but I then noticed that the line also rubs on part of the intake further down so I ended up moving the doodad further down and then chopped a short section of protective rubber off the old line and cable-tied it to prevent the line rubbing on the retaining clip.






Accelebrate

Original Poster:

4,729 posts

187 months

Thursday 12th August
quotequote all
I've put a few miles on the new hubs. I couldn't clear the ABS error whilst the car was on stands using an ODBII phone app, but it disappeared after driving for a short distance and hasn't reappeared.

Curiously, the with the new hoses fitted the clutch bite point seems to have moved a little lower and/or become a little more sudden. I suspect this is probably due to having fresh fluid in the system, although it hasn't been that long since it was last flushed.

JoeMk1

308 posts

143 months

Monday 30th August
quotequote all
Yeah..... I take back my positive comments about the Blueprint wheel bearings. Mine are knackered now too. redface

Oddly the offiside was worse, I would have expected the nearside to be worse, what with my tendency to enthusiastically traverse roundabouts.

I had a cheapy MX5 one on the shelf, so fitted that to the front left, and moved the better Blueprint bearing to the front right. At least they hadn't had time to rust themselves to the knuckle this time....

I guess I'll be getting some from the USA, assuming you've no complaints on the Timken ones?

Accelebrate

Original Poster:

4,729 posts

187 months

Monday 30th August
quotequote all
Agh, that’s rubbish. No play in the Timkens yet, although I haven’t put many miles on them.

I managed to get a refund from Parts in Motion for my Blueprint hubs, although I think it might have taken some persuasion if I wasn’t still inside the eBay returns window.

Accelebrate

Original Poster:

4,729 posts

187 months

Friday 10th September
quotequote all
After a bit of a hiatus whilst we were away on holiday I've been using the Mazda for some local errands in the recent sun (where did that go?). I haven't got around to taking the bucket seat back out since Llandow so I look like a bit of a fool fiddling with the harness around town. Our next track day is now under a month away, so I'll probably leave it in.





I went to a local classic car meet, intending to leave it in the car-park outside the event, but was ushered into the main car park by a man in a high-vis. Understandably, I don't think anyone gave my car a second glance all evening hehe. Although, the NC is closer to meeting the apparently unenforced 20y/o entry requirement than the Gardner Douglas Lola replica that it was parked next to, albeit a lot less interesting.



The coffee guy that was covering the event took some drone shots...







I'm hopefully heading up to Leicester with my son tomorrow to go to the second 'Late Brake Show Live'. Now that I don't commute I don't get many opportunities to do longer journeys in the car, so it'll be good to see if all is well with the new hubs and clutch before the next trackday.

Dal3D

842 posts

123 months

Friday 10th September
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Accelebrate said:
I'm hopefully heading up to Leicester with my son tomorrow to go to the second 'Late Brake Show Live'. Now that I don't commute I don't get many opportunities to do longer journeys in the car, so it'll be good to see if all is well with the new hubs and clutch before the next trackday.
I've so very nearly gone MX5 shopping in part after keeping and eye on your car and this thread - will be nice to have a perv over it in the flesh tomorrow!

Accelebrate

Original Poster:

4,729 posts

187 months

Sunday 12th September
quotequote all
Dal3D said:
I've so very nearly gone MX5 shopping in part after keeping and eye on your car and this thread - will be nice to have a perv over it in the flesh tomorrow!
Good to hear! I'm not sure if you found it, I was parked towards the back of the field and left after lunch.



Quite a nice mix of vehicles, I didn't catch much of the live show as I was mostly chasing after the child, but enjoyed it nevertheless.