CARS: MX5 Nipple Reduction Surgery

I used plasticine to profile the inside of my ‘nipple’.

A few days back I posted about how annoying this particular little job was becoming: first I get two new parts, but the one that prompted the work – the ‘nipple’ for the really poorly fitting/closing latch – breaks almost immediately. Back to square one!

Another view; hopefully the different shapes are slightly clearer here?

So I order a new part. But it’s different, and doesn’t actually fit. It’s a more ‘pointy’ shape. At least this clarifies for me the type of latch and nipples (oo-er!) I had installed before, i.e. the more rounded type.

These differences in shape mean that the screw hole in the nipple doesn’t align with the threaded hole in the latch, necessitating either a different part, or making changes to one of the parts, so they do align.

The holes don’t align!

According to some sources it’s only the pointy type that are easily and widely available now. I don’t know if there’s any truth in that or not, as I definitely can get the other sort elsewhere. And, indeed, I already have done (on my first attempt).

The ‘male’ latch part filed down a bit.

Anyway, as I’m broke, rather than buy a third one (or pair), I decided instead to file the metal on the latch to conform to the ‘nipple’, instead. That took a bit of work, but I think it achieved the desired goal.

Viewed from t’other side.
After some filing, the two holes align nicely.

This job turned out to be a right pain in the rump. Firstly, with parts breaking or not fitting. Then, when I’d filed the latch to fit the nipple, I discovered that the entire soft-top frame seems somewhat out of alignment. I had to wrestle with it a fair bit to make everything align better.

Reassembled and back in place.

Is this the price I’m paying for loading my little MX5 with all kinds of stupid burdens over the years? I’ve had all sorts, from fence-panels, timber, doors, to trees, chests of drawers, fridges, and lord knows what else, on the back of Maisie. Often sitting atop the folded away roof. Have I bent it all out of whack?

After struggling with this latter issue for a while, and fiddling with the latch adjustments, so that both are quite tight, but neither are fully tightened, I’ve finally managed not just to close the top, but to eradicate the very large (and formerly plainly visible) gap, on the driver’s side.

Sooo much better! Green algae points to next job.*

I can’t find any before pics (although I’m certain I took some!?), alas. But above and below are some after shots. Trust me, it looks waaay better!

I’m hoping it’s improved the ride as well, as before the sound of wind coming through said gap was really, really, REALLY, REALLY annoying! It was sooo loud – it literally roared – that music or conversation were pretty much out at over 55/60mph.

Passenger side, looking as it did both before and after.

I’ll be taking her out for a spin later to see how all this nipple play has affected things!

… A bit later the same day… Well, I took her out, with Teresa, for a brief spin. And, my oh my, what a difference! No roaring airflow, nor can I even feel any draught. And – although we’re currently in a heatwave – this’ll mean no more ingress of rain. Wahoo!

* Next? Either adding some of the silicone pipes I got from BOFIracing a whiles back , or using the Auto Glym products I have to clean and re-waterproof the soft-top. Hmmm!??

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