Mazda MX-5 – hearing noises from the deep

 ‘One of the many advantages of owning the popular little Mazda is the level of parts back-up that is on offer’

Beware workshop manuals that describe the process of removing ancillaries with the engine out of the car. With Port’s Landie also suffering from charging issues, I became well versed in alternators old and new over the course of a few days. Suffice to say that swapping one is significantly easier on a Land-Rover.

Mazda MX-5

Run by James Page

Owned since August 2011

Total mileage 118,890

Miles since March report 710

Latest costs £240

Hearing noises from the deep

Unfortunately, the noise was still there. That points to the water pump, which is driven by the same belt as the alternator. Quite by chance, I happened to find a receipt for water-pump replacement back in 2008, when it cost the best part of £500. A quick look on the various forums revealed why – it’s a pretty complex job that involves stripping down the front of the engine to the extent that it’s worth replacing the timing belt while you’re there. The pump itself isn’t leaking, but it would be a thundering nuisance if it failed while I was out and about.

A new battery was also on the shopping list. On the Mazda MX-5, it is tucked away in the boot, with an intricate system of brackets holding it in. That’s fine when you’re using the factory-spec slimline battery, but those are more than twice the price of a standard one. So, do you stump up for the former, or settle for the latter and come up with an alternative way of securing it?

Port was showing off his new Duracell battery, so I decided to go for the same and went to see the extremely affable Steve Thompson at CPC – based, for those of you who are interested, just around the corner from the old Cooper Car Company premises at Surbiton. The Duracell isn’t as good a fit as the compact unit, but it wasn’t expensive and it’s powerful – and cable-ties nicely hold it in place.

Trying to source replacement wheel centre-caps proved to be a problem – the ROH alloys seem to have fixtures and fittings all of their own. With that in mind, I refitted the tatty old ones – well, three of them at least. One appears to have gone missing somewhere. I also took the chance to reapply the strip of black stone chip that runs along the bottom of the car. Not only does it look much tidier now, but it will also be better protected than it was with the flaky old coating.

When the new tyres were being fitted, I noticed that the rear brake discs were in an awful state, so I popped to Moss for a fresh axle set of discs and pads – I resisted the temptation to go for anything fancy, settling instead for the standard fare. Port set about helping during a lunch hour and, with the MX-5 featuring a pleasingly well-designed set-up, we were able to do the swap with no major issues.

Enjoying the springtime sunshine. Right: new alternator and bigger battery; old centre-caps look better than just leaving a hole; very tired set of rear discs and pads; new coat of stonechip.


•             MX-5 Parts: 02392 644588;

•             Moss Europe: 020 8867 2000;

•             CPC Batteries: 020 8397 1813;

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