Mazda MX5 Conversion Blog


6 July 2007: We have liftoff!

It's my 28th birthday today, so I thought I'd make it a memorable one by officially starting my MX5 conversion. I've been waiting for the new workshop to be ready but it's taking much longer than expected, so out of frustration I decided to just make a start today in the carport.

I moved the car out of the carport to snap a few "before" photos of the car, and gave the floor a good sweep before putting down a tarpaulin, since the likelyhood of accidentally staining the bricks with some kind of oil would be pretty high! I then rolled the car back in and jacked the car up onto stands to make it a little easier to work on. These MX5s are tiny to start with, and this one had been lowered.

I made a start on disassembly by removing the cooling system. First step is draining the coolant - there's usually a drain plug at the bottom of the radiator which can be removed, make sure you have a bucket ready. Once all coolant is removed, the radiator pipes come off easily enough, and a couple of bolts later the whole unit simply pops out. The overflow tank on the left also comes out after a few bolts are undone.

After this, I got onto removing some of the auxilliary systems around the engine. The strut brace was getting in the way so that came off. Next I removed the air intake including pod filter and airflow meter.

The last item to come out today was the aircon compressor. An important note with these, most cars will have refrigerant gas in the circuit which must be removed by a professional, as the gas can be very harmful to the environment. This car never had any refrigerant since I got it. So, the various pipes were removed then four stubborn bolts later the compressor came free. I haven't taken the A/C radiator or refrigerant bottle out yet (these are in the front, near where the radiator was.

Somewhere along the line I also removed the bonnet. It makes a big difference to the engine bay's accessibility - I should have done this first!


(1) The donor vehicle, a 1990 (MK1) Mazda MX5

(2) Rolled back into the garage, with tarp beneath

(3) The old dinosaur burner, a little 1.6L 4 cylinder engine

(4) Draining the coolant from the bottom of the radiator

(5) Cooling components removed - radiator, overflow tank and a few litres of coolant

(6) Engine bay after radiator, strut brace and intake are removed.

(7) A/C compressor, ready to come out. The mounting bolts were a right pain to get off!

(8) And here's the compressor itself. I'll have to work out a way to reinstate it later in the EV if I want aircon!

(9) The site for the new workshop.. Already a month behind schedule :(

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