Replacing Number Plate Plinth

It seems to be quite a common occurrence, usually due to car park bumps etc.,that the plastic number plate plinth on the front bumper is cracked or broken.

My Mk2 was like this when I bought it and I ordered from a certain well known purveyor of MX parts a new Genuine Mazda one. There are also cheaper pattern ones available and I think after comparing them that this was what the broken one was.

Fitting the new one is not a complicated job but can cause a certain amount of bad language and various cuts and scrapes. You have been warned!

The first thing to do is completely counter intuitive but is worth doing:-

Read The Manual ! (or in this case instruction sheet) - Download here - 247.5kb

I started by finding most of the tools I thought I would need which included, A cordless drill, screwdrivers, pliers and my trim removal set with various plastic levers etc. I also had a can of Isopropyl Alcohol for cleaning off the various bits of sticky tape.



 As you can see from my plinth was broken at the top.

The Gaffa tape is there because the plates were stuck on by the previous owner (and that is another story involving her running around for some weeks on private plates that had already been put on retention), but not all that well as one side came loose and was flapping about hence the tape.

What is the saying if it is supposed to move and doesn’t -WD40, If it is not supposed to move and does-gaffa tape.

The first job is to remove the number plate. This on mine was a case of very carefully prising it off the sticky pads. Please be careful as if you break it and need a replacement you will end up having to find registration docs proof of identity etc. I then cleaned off all the remains of the pads which is where the IPA comes in. You may find that there are screw fixings as well as, or instead of, pads in which case remove these first. These screw fixing may be of the security type, and need a special key. I purchased a set of this type to re-attach my number plate with but there are various types and also the sticky pads.

With the number plate off and cleaned up, I drilled the plate for the new security screws and trial fitted to make sure it all lined up.

Do make sure that the plate is the right way up-the plinth is marked with TOP. Being a bit of a perfectionist (well that’s my excuse!) I measured the positions of the screws to make sure they were even and centred. If you are going to use sticky pads then this step can be skipped.

Back to the car, with the plate off you will be able to see the attachments for the plinth. On mine they had a cross head that looks like a screw fixing but it is not.

It is a plastic plug with a pin, in this case threaded, that goes down the centre to expand it and lock it in place. I tried unscrewing these but they are the consistency of cheese and chewed up almost immediately. I finally managed to remove them using pliers and wedging the back to put some outward pressure on. Once the centre pins are removed, the plugs should be able to be levered out with the plinth-carefully! The new plinth fixings were a similar type but the centre pins just push in.

Once the plinth is off you can see what the bumper is like-as you can see on mine the plate must have been replaced several times judging by the amount of holes.

I cleaned off the muck from the bumper and offered the new plinth up. Now this should just align with the existing holes in which case you just push the plugs in then the centre pins and it is job done.

You can probably guess what’s coming next! Yep none of the various screw holes lined up. This is not a problem, it just means having to drill two new ones. On the Mazda plinth the instructions give these as 8mm I temporarily used a bit of tape to secure the plinth until I was happy it was in the right position, then marked the hole positions, and carefully drilled new holes-take care as the drill may walk a bit on the curved surface.

Having cleaned off any burs bits of plastic etc you can now fix the plinth. Offer it up and check the holes line up. The plugs can then be pushed in until they click home. The centre pins can the also be pushed home to expand the plugs and lock them in place. Check that the plinth is securely attached, and then re-fix the number plate. I used the new security screws I had already trial fixed and a couple of strips of the sticky pads.

I also put a couple of small self tapping screws in the bottom lip of the plinth to secure the bottom a little better but this is of course optional.

Now having cleaned any dirty marks, blood from the gouges out of your hand etc. off, stand back and admire your handy work. Clean the tools off and put them away and then you can take it out for a test drive…..well any excuse!