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MX5 powered Haynes Roadser

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MX5 powered Haynes Roadser

Post by skov on Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:51 pm

Hi all, I'm new to the forum, so hello!

At the request of Mr Beige (and at the danger of treading on CTWG60's feet, who's already got a thread covering the same idea!), here's the progress so far on my current project - an MX5 powered Haynes Roadster!

It all started on new years day this year, when I was idly browsing Amazon and came accross the bible:
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Before I knew what was happening I had cleared the garage (a major task!), and made a table to build the chassis on:

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I was originally planning to use my current toy as a donor (to the horror of many!), but later found a bit of a shed 20 miles away for £500.
I got two miles before the crank pulley fell off and I lost power steering, alternator, and waterpump! The nice man at the RAC towed it the rest of the way for me though Smile

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The last couple of months have been spent stripping the donor, and slowly welding the chassis together.
Here's some progress pics:

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This was last night's job - tacking the diff cage into place:
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This evening I popped round to borrow Mr Beige's crane, and whipped the engine out of the donor:
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The poor old girl's looking very bare now:

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Re: MX5 powered Haynes Roadser

Post by skov on Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:01 pm

Just incase you're wondering the donor's a 1991 1.6l import.
Should be around 115bhp, which doesn't sound a lot, but considering the target weight of the finished car is around 500-600kg, it should be quite nippy!
There's also plenty of turbo/supercharger options for the MX5 if needs be Twisted Evil

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Re: MX5 powered Haynes Roadser

Post by mrbeige on Sat Apr 30, 2011 2:55 pm

Nice one JS Smile

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Re: MX5 powered Haynes Roadser

Post by skov on Sat Apr 30, 2011 3:58 pm

Thanks Stu!

Had a busy weekend stripping the donor.
For a 20 year old car it all came apart really nicely, except for the wishbone bolts which were a complete bu99er!
Just need to find someone to take my chassis away now.
Looking forward to getting my parking space back, as my street's been a nightmare for parking lately, what with all these 4 car families Whistle

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Re: MX5 powered Haynes Roadser

Post by Yandards on Tue May 03, 2011 2:28 am

Looking good, watch the wooden table for build variance though, it will be a bit bigger when its colder and damper.

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Re: MX5 powered Haynes Roadser

Post by skov on Tue May 03, 2011 5:48 am


Thanks Yandards!

Yeah the table... It's already sagged like buggery in places that are not supported. Caused me a bit of a headache, as it makes taking measurements a little tricky, as I can't trust the table top as a reference.
I think I got far enough, quickly enough, with the chassis that it shouldn't have been affected by my sagging wood though. Hopefully!
If I were starting again I'd make the table frame from box section steel with LOTS of bracing under the top, and make the top itself much thicker. But hey, you live and learn!

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Re: MX5 powered Haynes Roadser

Post by Yandards on Wed May 04, 2011 6:27 am

skov wrote:
Thanks Yandards!

Yeah the table... It's already sagged like buggery in places that are not supported. Caused me a bit of a headache, as it makes taking measurements a little tricky, as I can't trust the table top as a reference.
I think I got far enough, quickly enough, with the chassis that it shouldn't have been affected by my sagging wood though. Hopefully!
If I were starting again I'd make the table frame from box section steel with LOTS of bracing under the top, and make the top itself much thicker. But hey, you live and learn!

It did look fairly complete in the pictures so I guess you got it mostly together in a long weekend with a bit of luck.

It shouldn't make much difference in a road car but like you said trying to get datum points is a pain when your reference surface keeps changing!

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Re: MX5 powered Haynes Roadser

Post by skov on Mon May 09, 2011 3:34 pm

Got rid of the donor chassis today Very Happy

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Also took a deposit on my good MX5 Crying or Very sad

Going to have to pull my finger out and get the roadster finished now!

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Re: MX5 powered Haynes Roadser

Post by mrbeige on Tue May 10, 2011 11:34 am

You had that lowered?? Wink

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Re: MX5 powered Haynes Roadser

Post by skov on Tue May 10, 2011 12:47 pm

Yep, proper slammed it Very Happy

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Re: MX5 powered Haynes Roadser

Post by Yandards on Wed May 11, 2011 9:55 am

Loving the rims, it's almost like they are not even there!

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Re: MX5 powered Haynes Roadser

Post by ctwg60 on Fri May 13, 2011 7:10 am

Well hello!! Small world! I thought I was on the wrong forum and had to check the web address when I saw the name "skov" and "MX5 roadster"!

I have been following your progress over on haynes but recently have got a bit distracted whilst waiting for chassis component, been selling bits of mazda on mx5nutz but also researching turbo/nira ems etc. I shouls really post some progress pics but I'm being very lazy recently. Very Happy

Nice to see you on here! Good work

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Re: MX5 powered Haynes Roadser

Post by skov on Sat May 28, 2011 1:27 am

Small world indeed! Good to see you on here too Very Happy
I had a feeling it must be you when MrBeige mentioned there was already someone on his forum doing a very similar project!

I've been busy in the garage, but don't have much to report. I've mostly been working on fully welding the chassis whilst I wait for parts to arrive and for some more info from Saturn Sportscars.

I've just about finished selling the unused bits from the donor now. I think what's left might have to go to the tip.
I've actually made a small profit on it, which is nice. Not that it shows, the cash has been going out of my paypal account as quickly as it arrives Rolling Eyes

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Re: MX5 powered Haynes Roadser

Post by ctwg60 on Sat May 28, 2011 3:24 am

Yeah me too, waiting for precut chassis, chasis plates, wishbones other suspension kit, steering bits, info etc.

Yes my sale thread is going well, but as I have the space and the time I've stripped it down to it's smallest components and photographed everything which seems to be quite popular with the mx5nutz forum members.

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Re: MX5 powered Haynes Roadser

Post by kevhaywire on Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:16 am

So if you have to make your own chassis, what bits of the MX5 are actually used then?

Am I missing something cause I'm not seeing the relevance of this to Haynes book either? Laughing

I was thinking of getting a Caterham kit and using a VAG 1.8T poweplant with a gearbox adapter plate, but I'll wait and see what this turns out like!

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Re: MX5 powered Haynes Roadser

Post by skov on Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:03 am

The project uses the chassis/body design from the Haynes book albeit with a few tweaks to take MX5 gear rather than Ford Sierra stuff.

I'm using a fair bit from the MX5, off the top of my head:

Engine and ancillaries
Gearbox
Propshaft
Diff
Driveshafts
Uprights/Hubs
Brakes
Wheels
Steering column
ECU
Wiring Loom

To be fair the Caterham would probably be a better car, but I imagine it would cost rather more!

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Re: MX5 powered Haynes Roadser

Post by skov on Sat Jun 11, 2011 2:57 pm

Time for an update, not a lot to report on the chassis side of things, just slowly getting on with fully welding it.

This cluster arrived from ebay yesterday afternoon though:

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It's from a 'new' Mini, and I thought it looked rather nice and would suit the Roadster. Plus it was cheap at £16 Very Happy

The only slight issue is that it's controlled entirely from the CAN Bus in the Mini.
I like a challenge, so...

First thing I did was take the back off and see if I could figure out the pinout for the connector.
There's only 7 pins on it, and I quickly found the pins for GND, Battery, CAN-H, CAN-L, and the backlighting. That leaves two pins I don't know the funtion of, but I don't think I need them.

I cracked open my CAN interface and started sending random messages to see if I could get anything out of it. That was less than sucessful, so I did some googling.
Lucky for me some guy had recorded the CAN bus on his Mini, had a go at analysing it, and stuck his findings on the web. He had only identified a couple of the messages, but that was just the kick-start I needed, so I stuck my reverse engineering cap on and got to work.

A few hours later and I can now control the following functions from my laptop:

* Speed
* RPM
* All the tell-tale / warning lights
* Backlight intensity
* Position of the red-line

The only thing I can't do yet is get anything sensible displayed on the two little LCDs, but I'm working on that.

The next stage of this sub-project as it were is to design a box that will sit in the car, monitor various signals, and generate the CAN messages for the cluster. That'll give me something to do in my lunchtimes at work Very Happy

Here's a screen shot of the program I knocked up to talk to the cluster:

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And here's a little vid of it in action (very poor quality I'm afraid).

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Re: MX5 powered Haynes Roadser

Post by ctwg60 on Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:17 am

I take it you work with the beige one? Nice clocks can you make two? Very Happy

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Re: MX5 powered Haynes Roadser

Post by skov on Thu Jun 16, 2011 6:09 am

Good guess Very Happy
Actually I don't work there any more, I left about three or four years ago, but I still design automotive related electronics/software for a living Cool

I might be able to make two at a push. I'll see how well the first one works first though!


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Re: MX5 powered Haynes Roadser

Post by mrbeige on Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:04 am

Nice work John. You are a little tinkerer aren't you!

What CAN interface are you using? Kvaser/Vector et al?

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Re: MX5 powered Haynes Roadser

Post by skov on Sat Jun 18, 2011 4:37 am

I do like a good tinker, lol

I'm just using a cheapo CAN interface:

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It's no Kvaser/Vector, but it's ok for mucking about with stuff like this (and costs less than £100, rather than a couple of £k!).
Doesn't really come with any software so you have to write your own to talk to it. I did the interface above in C#.
I've never been a fan of m$, but I've become quite fond of writing in C# recently, the intellisense in Visual Studio is so good now the code virtually writes itself Very Happy

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Re: MX5 powered Haynes Roadser

Post by skov on Sun Jul 03, 2011 11:31 am

This week I have mostly been figuring out how to mount my rather comfortable looking seats:

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Re: MX5 powered Haynes Roadser

Post by skov on Fri Jul 08, 2011 5:51 am

Thought I'd drop the engine in the chassis last night for giggles Smile

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Re: MX5 powered Haynes Roadser

Post by skov on Fri Sep 02, 2011 5:37 am

I received a box of bones yesterday Smile

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Don't really need them yet, but it's nice to check they fit before I fully weld the mounting brackets to the chassis.


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Re: MX5 powered Haynes Roadser

Post by mrbeige on Thu Sep 08, 2011 3:04 am

Oooo, proper rubber bushes and everything! How's it all looking then? On budget?

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