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And so it begins
June 1, 2015
7:08 am
Forum Posts: 4
Member Since:
April 29, 2015
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Saturday I became the owner of an MX5 mk1 1800. Now what should I do with it?
The car is not quite what I was expecting to buy as I was just looking for a donor for a Zero. I had a bid in on ebay for a 95 with no mot, mismatched wheels, been stood around for 8 months which eventually sold for £396. I dozed off while waiting for end of auction so missed the chance to up my initial bid (well I am getting on a bit) and thus missed it.
Perhaps it was fate as an hour later I find the car I now have less than 2 miles from me. Popped round to see it and was very surprised. Reasonable condition. History of MOT and service with all receipts back to original purchase. Plus it has a full MOT to 5th June 2016.
Now what princely sum did I have to part with to acquire this little gem? £400 and the owner delivered it to my house 15 minutes later.
Yesterday was spent going over the car and apart from a few minor niggles it is nice. Slight oil leak, rev counter not working and a pin hole in the soft top.

My plan has always been to enjoy the build and go to town a bit on the engine side. Forged pistons and rods, CNC head, turbo, lightened flywheel, uprated clutch etc. I had expected to strip the Mx immediately but now considering keeping it on the road for a while and working on all the components I would have upgraded while still on the car. If I go this route the first step will be an Emerald ECU followed by an Ashcrofty Transmissions LSD which fits the 1,.8 casing and can be had new atm for £225. Then new calipers and discs. Rebuild engine over winter with the fancy stuff. Turbo in the spring.
Upside of this route is I get to test each upgrade and can work out how it all works in stages plus I get to play with the car at the same time including a few track days. Downside it will delay the Zero slightly (but not much).
It would have been so much simpler if I'd bought a wreck.

Anyway, a quick question.
Does the MX based zero use the original coil packs as this is the most likely cause of the non working rev counter.
If it does then it makes sense to replace both with new ones, if not then a second hand one just to replace the one with a faulty rev counter signal.

June 1, 2015
7:29 am
Forum Posts: 95
Member Since:
May 11, 2015
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Hi David,

Having built a Mazda Zero I have since ended up buying another Mx5 to keep on the road, great little cars. You'll find that the MX5 engine is quite capable of safely taking upto around 200bhp standard with a turbo build (some claiming even more). Also with a clutch, the standard 1.8 clutch is commonly used for turbo builds as well. There was a guy building an Exocet with a full engine rebuild, turbo, forged components etc, can't remember his name but I think I was aiming for 300bhp (I think), so might be worth trying to find his build blog too.

As for the MXZero, I have used the original coilpacks and the rev counter feed is direct from that, so may be a case the wire has come loose or has a bad connection, especially if the car is running anyway....I'd start by checking the wiring to the back of the cluster (as its easy to remove) to check for a signal, then work your way back. Best thing to do is find if someone close has a working instrument cluster and plug that in, see if it works, that way you can easily see if its the coilpack or rev counter (as the Mazda coilpacks new, are quite expensive)

Hope this helps,

Mazda Zero 2.5L KLDE V6
Registered: March 2014.
Build Blog:

June 1, 2015
8:38 am
Forum Posts: 147
Member Since:
April 16, 2014
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The rev counter signal only comes from coil packs on early mk1s, I can't remember the changeover year but after that the signal is from ECU

June 1, 2015
8:43 am
Forum Posts: 4
Member Since:
April 29, 2015
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ali2992 said

The rev counter signal only comes from coil packs on early mk1s, I can't remember the changeover year but after that the signal is from ECU

Mine is a 94 which uses the 4 pin coil packs (4th pin for rev counter feed). My first check yesterday was to check they hadn't been replaced with 3 pin version which work as coil packs but stop rev counter working. Nope, def got 4 pin packs.

Thanks for the info. As I would be putting new coil packs on the zero I think I will just replace them now and see if it cures the problem. Found some OEM ones for £159 (for both coils) which is much better than the up to £500 that some seem to want to charge. Guess I'll have to replace the HT leads at same time. Would be a shame not to. Wink

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