A few cock-ups

Posted on 2016-03-30 in The Blue Car
a-few-cock-ups

The project suffered some setbacks, one which is pretty big and commands even more unforeseen expenses to correct.

After I sorted the carpet and dashboard I decided to test the instrument cluster and head unit. The cluster checked out fine, but when I started connecting the head unit I realized that I had not pulled out the antenna cable. It was stuck somewhere underneath the carpet next to the tunnel, under the dash. What a cock-up. So, I started to unplug just enough to get sufficient space for my hand to get in underneath. This involved removing the instrument cluster again since the speedo-cable is the one item in this whole thing that has the least amount of play. I struggled a bit, and when it finally came off the cluster slipped out of my hand from the force and bounced onto the floor of the car. This caused the rev-counter needle to slip past the stop-pin, and just sort of dangled there... another cock-up!

The cluster with the clear cover removed and the rev counter still in limp mode.

I got the antenna cable out and cut my hand pretty bad in the process, and then set about fixing the rev-counter. This was pretty easy actually, and had the thing back and tested in no-time. The head unit connections also checked out fine.

After all that I started preparing to put the roof back. The roof of the MX-5 is actually pretty complicated, and was also the only convertible roof of its time that tucked in under the body. This means it comes with a gutter tasked with leading any water away into drain holes located on either side of the car, exiting just in front of the rear wheels. It also means there are a lot of fitting and lining up to do when putting it back. It can be done by one person easily enough, but of course it's easier with two people. That said, I attempted it alone and promptly cocked it up.

I had to rotate the roof to get it in the correct position for fitment, and did this in the air while holding it. During this manoeuvre I didn't keep a firm enough grasp on all the struts, and it slipped out of my fingers and opened up. Except, it didn't open with the puny force of my arm pulling it, but with the mighty force of gravity, popping it open like a parachute. This literally pulled the roof lining out of its fixture at the driver side along the window line. A third cock-up! So now I have to get a replacement, at considerable cost, fitted. To state it eloquently, I was rather disappointed.

You can see where it tore out of the frame fixture. It's not an abysmal tear, but it will leak and I'm concerned that moderately fast driving will simply rip it clean out.

With that job well in hand, I moved back to the interior to start putting back the small things like the glove-box. As I peered in under the passenger side of the dashboard I noticed that one of the clasps around the heater box wasn't fastened. I couldn't remember if I had even loosened it, but it didn't matter. The dash had to come out again! I had lost count of the cock-ups.

By now I'm was a bloody expert at removing the dashboard of the MX-5, and had it out, the clasp (and the heater box bolts) tightened and the dashboard back in, in under 30 minutes. Job done. Then I slowly set about putting the steering wheel, the cluster cover and the tunnel cover back. The latter got new genuine leather shifter and handbrake gaiters which goes a long way towards lifting the tired old plastics out of their gloomy existence, and goes perfect with my old leather gearknob

The final exterior bit was the chrome fittings where a hardtop would fasten. These have rubber gaskets underneath them which was absolutely knackered. I had to cut new ones to replace the fixtures. I'm now ready to take the car to the motor-trimmer to get the roof done, and then it's back to the paint shop to finish the stone chip and final touch-ups and polish.

The one hardtop fixture with the old gasket at the top, torn and dusty. The new gasket is twice as thick (it's all I could get from the rubber place), so the fixtures are now slightly elevated from previous fitment.
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