[Project] Rebuilding a Wrecked 2017 MX-5 ND RF GT (Miata) and engine swap


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Well this is a first post for me in a long time, but I though some people might get a kick out of it and others *looks over at Mike and Meph* know about this project already from the IRC.


For the past 2 years I've been building an engine that was meant to go into another car (1995 Toyota Supra), unfortunately the car had to be disposed of before it ever got the chance to shine or receive its engine (it isn’t an 2JZ and I’m not saying what it is yet :P). So, I've been looking for a new car body that will fit everything that I want, the list ended up being the MX-5 (NC/ND), Toyota 86, 370Z and I kept my eye out for the car I wanted at auction.


The car

In early January 2019 I found this car! It's the first time I've ever had an MX-5 to call my own and I can’t wait to actually drive it. The primary reasons it won out over the other cars was the weight, the balance and handling, the driver focus of the MX-5. As an ex Supra owner, I appreciate a driver focused car. There are arguments to be made about choosing an MX-5 over an 86 in the power department, however, given that we are looking to engine swap the car, this did not even factor into out equation.


Year: 01/2017

Model: ND - RF GT Black Roof

Options: Chroma Brown Nappa leather, heated seats, 6 speed gearbox, non-android auto infotainment system

Colour: Snow Flake White Pearl Mica


Auction State

The car was declared a repairable write-off (Australian Title that means it can be re-registered after being returned to a factory state and inspected) after an irregular front impact (Perpendicular to car rails and below 30cm in height).




The car was originally registered and auctioned in Canberra, Australia and transported to Perth Western Australia. It took a month and 3200-ish kilometres to make its way to me, but it's finally here. Figured I'd try and share the journey with you guys as I go.



The damage so far

Front bar and front impact bar is a total loss, as are the bottom rail extensions and crash sensors; bonnet may still be a total loss, but we will see. The roof mechanism works and the engine and other components seem to be perfect with no codes being thrown and no visible physical damage.




Front impact airbags have blown





But thankfully the curtain airbags are fine.




The SAS module may or may not be recoverable, but in many cases the SAS burns out one of the chips and needs to be completely replaced. Given the sheer number of SAS warnings, I suspect the whole thing is toast and will replace it.


The to-do list is long, but not overwhelmingly so:

- Replace Dash

- Replace Airbags

- Replace Headlight/s

- Replace SAS unit

- Replace Crash sensors and brackets

- Replace Seatbelts

- Replace Impact Bar

- Replace Bottom bumper support

- Replace Rail extensions

- Replace Front RHS and LHS wheel liners

- Repair Bonnet hinges

- Panel beat bonnet and left fender

- Replace front bumper and mesh

- Straighten the rails

- Paint


Shopping list (with prices if I were crazy enough to buy all new)

- Dash [x] (new price: $1500 AUD)

- Airbags [x] (new price: $1380 + $1470 AUD)

- SAS unit [x] (new price: $1250 AUD)

- Impact Bar and foam [x] (new price: $1050  + $90 AUD)

- Crash Sensors [x] (new price: $300 + $110 AUD)

- Clock Spring [x] (new price: $480 AUD)

- Bottom bumper support [x] (new price: $250 AUD)

- Rail extensions [] (new price: $200 + $200 AUD)

- Front RHS and LHS wheel liners [] (new price: $220 + $120 AUD)

- Front bumper and mesh [] (new price: $1150 + $300 AUD)

- Headlight [] (new price: $1700 AUD)

- Seat Belts [] (new price: ~$1000 AUD seems to vary)


May be needed:

- Bonnet [] (new price: $1750 AUD)

- Hinges [] (new price: $350 AUD)


· All prices in AUD, prices given as an average over 3 quotes received from Mazda parts suppliers or dealerships.


So far, I've already received most of these parts. The second hand part market for an ND RF is obviously still not very robust, wreckers have some things but in many cases they don’t have anything front end related (how many people crash mx-5s head on... come on guys!). That being said, I got lucky in a few cases and have a company working with me to find what I need, so that’s been great.


I'll breakdown all the actual costs once I'm completely finished, but suffice to say, even with parts this is currently the cheapest 2017 ND in the world (we got very lucky at auction).


I'll also be documenting the entire process on YouTube as well, as no one seems to have done so before with the ND and the more information out there the better. You can find the videos here:



First videos just focus on assessing the damage and looking over the parts. Videos to come (and posts if people want me to post them) will focus on replacing and rearming the airbag system, crash sensors, etc (also linking people to easy to find copies of the service information). I will also be doing some Mazda Sky-Active CANBUS translation work that might interest people, so just let me know if that is something you’d want to hear about here.


Anyway, questions, comments, criticisms fire away people!

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Second part to add on.


Finally actually got her rolling and outside in the sun, I've not actually seen her in daylight since I received the car. The dirt was horrid. Now it's clean!








Took over an hour to get off due to the damage restricting access to bolts:


The front impact bar is off (as per above) and I've now seen just how bad the rails are. 





Booking her in for her appointment with the repair shop today. I'll be the rails, the bonnet, left fender and bonnet hinges. Not going to get them to spray just yet as I need to take images etc for the inspector to look over prior to painting. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Okay so it's been a few weeks since I posted anything, mostly because it was a bunch of small stuff. Juggling this project whilst working and having a life of any kind is an interesting adventure.


Over the past few days we've managed to get the front opened up to assess the damage and see what else is wrong.

Low res images to save people from the inevitable scrolling:










So first things first, you can see that the front apron is twisted and has ripped away from the spot welds... not exactly ideal and I think we will actually need a completely new one; wonderful.


The best part was, now that the passenger side door is open, we could continue taking apart the restraints. However, in sad news the passenger side seatbelt hoop royally ****ed the passenger side leather seat. It could be worse, but it could have been so much better.


This is what happened when the seatbelt tensioner goes off with no one in the seat. It destroyed a part of the loop and tore the leather.



Next steps are, well.. we're heading to the shop asap. The rails, the apron and the bonnet need to be fixed. Regardless I have express ordered in some bonnet hinges too, because there is no point fixing the ones we have.


As always, if you want to follow along: 


The videos will probably always be behind what I post up in text, because we aren't doing this to make money. If we say something that is wrong, or we make an assumption that you guys have more knowledge about than me, please dear god tell me! 


We also revealed the engine swap we're doing, I'd be keen to hear what people have to say: http://www.boganengineering.com/2019/03/15/why-the-mx5-and-the-mystery-engine/


I was going to write it up here, but I'll link it rather than convert it over to bbcode.


Anyways, more in a few weeks after we visit the shop.

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  • 5 months later...
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