Some of you may read my other thread on my Datsun, the start of that thread is all about my RX7 which I got first. It eventually became all Datsun so I changed it over.
Now though I have some actual progress to share so thought I would begin a new thread for it. My other thread is HERE, but I will attempt to sum up the relevant bits.
So a couple years ago I was trying to get into a job and got some temp work. Long story short it went poorly, but I got a fair few pennies from it. So doing what any smart 21 yo would do I looked up Japanese sports cars. Almost bought a vert but chickened out and eventually found this car in the next town over.
I broke the single most important rule, start stock and don't buy someone elses project. I eventually paid the price for this and will continue to get annoyed no doubt but Ill come onto that. Pictures!
Yes its a bit rough, no its not totally solid, no I didnt thoroughly check the engine!
I started getting a couple jobs done, replaced the rear light, filled in the horn and fitted rear discs and new plugs (it had a rough idle).
Wood is a viable brake disc material right?!
I also rebuilt most of the front splitter, hopefully it shows in the pictures but I had to build probably half or more of it from scratch. Never actually finished it though...
Forward on about 18 months and Ive got a better job and work on the truck is no longer raiding my wallet so I look at the rex and feel bad for it. I knew the most painful part was the engine. It was smoking and struggling to idle. So I spoke to some guys and eventually sucked it up and shipped it off.
The plan was basically to get it ready for a big turbo swap but keep the standard for now. Unfortunately due to some personal issues at the garage it took far longer than first expected. Then that rule I broke got in the way... turned out someone had done some nasty splicing on the loom and the injectors and fuel pump were al kinds of wrong. So more time and money later to get it sorted and finally after almost 10 months I got the call to pick it up. In the end I had the following work done:
- Street port - FD Inlet Manifold - FD Throttle - Apexi ECU - Pulley and belt swap - New clutch plate - New down pipe (the old one fell apart) - 1680cc secondarys - Modified fuel rail - Fuel pressure regulator - A lot of rewiring! - A few other FD bits here and there
I've been told this should be good for up to 450bhp, I only really want 350 so will see how the standard turbo goes and make a choice on upgrade from there.
Unfortunately it also returned with news that the turbo was shagged...
Luckily I came across a replacement turbo for £100 shipped, not bad IMO. But I'll see when it probably explodes...
Otherwise I've started stripping the trim and panels ready for welding, because the sills are knackered! Both have also got some hideous patches already welded in. Again don't pick up somebody else's project.
Inevitable broken clips, not sure how I'm going to replace these. I bought myself a 3D printer but unfortunately have nowhere to set it up, otherwise that could be perfect for this:
Managed to knacker the indicator wiring by being a nonce:
Inner wings showing its not all bad:
Some questionable modifications:
This image isnt too clear, but this the center section of the sill someone has replaced. Rather than trying to emulate the original version they appear to have welded in some 2mm angle. I will likely be lazy and leave this, may have a quick check they havent patched over rust though.
Then the aforementioned autoelectrical nightmare. House wiring, random connectors, electrical tape and loose wires everywhere.
(Fitting a headunit again may be a little tricky with this sh*t show going on)
Woo! Bookmarking this for sure as that engine spec sounds pretty fun That wiring looks horrible though, mine had a couple of wiring bodges but wasn't even close to being in the same league as that!
Ah yeah I updated that bit actually forgot to mention what the plan is! So Ive been told it should be good for 450, currently I do not need 450bhp in my life, Ill probably end up backwards through a wall while being on fire. I went in originally looking for 300-350, on the standard turbo I'm hoping for up to 250 with a decent map. So Ill see how the standard replacement holds out and look at options to upgrade later.
Still got to think about suspension options, which may prove more important than dumb amounts of power when I try the first corner.
Good luck with this project I do like these cars My brother had one (he had two at one point) he done loads to it "upgraded brakes/suspension/wheels and tyres" and more importantly the engine He had a highly tuned FD engine with big single turbo And as he was a panel beater by trade the outside was mint BUT He had so many problems along the way (including 5 engine rebuilds) he just lost all interest in it and sold (cheap) Such a shame because by the time he sold it the car was so sorted Someone got a real bargain I almost bought it myself
1992 240 Volvo T8 1955 Cadillac 1994 BMW E34 M5 (now sold ) 1999 BMW E36 sport touring 1993 Volvo 940 TT8 (work in progress) 1971 VW bay window (work in progress) 1999 Mazda 323F 1987 Jaguar XJ12 All current
A few weeks ago I went to make a start on the sills. I actually managed to get two sill panels brand new from Mazda for a good price so thought it might be easier than expected. Never a true thought!
Started cutting a hole in one corner:
Unfortunately the results were worse than I thought. The inner and outer skin were gone but the middle skin that runs all the way up the A-pillar had also started to go:
I sort of panicked at this point. Considered cutting my losses but couldnt sell it knowing I would never get to experience an engine I paid for! Next I thought about reshelling it, asked and looked about and found nothing. Almost considered importing one from America as it worked out cheaper than my other options. In the end I called out a local restoration company and they gave a fair (albeit still large) price so I committed and gave it to them. Its currently at a sand blaster then should hopefully be back in a couple weeks.
Once its back I need to swap the turbo then take it back to the engine builder to have it mapped, then I can see if it will even pass an MOT.
However I have treated myself to something I've wanted for the two years since buying the car, JDM rear lights:
Essentially the same as the standard ones but theres extra material on the inside of the reverse lamp so I can fit a square plate without blank space. The other cool part is they have little windows on the side for the license plate bulbs so I can smooth the bumper as the standard ones are hideous. Only issue is I have no bulb holders for them and Mazda don't sell any, and I cant find any other shared models. Got some generic ones coming I'm hoping will secure if not may have to get inventive with LED rope and grommets.
A few things have been happening with the Rex as I'm really pushing to get this on the road this summer. This means my wallet has been significantly lighter and I'm sure I am heading for a heart attack before 30...
I left this last with the troubling areas of rust on the car. In the end I finally made a commitment and called a local restoration company. They came over and gave me a quote and said they could have it done in a few weeks. Honestly its the best service I've ever had with an external party and my cars and would truly recommend them to anyone. So here's some free promotion for them as a thanks for the great service, facebook here.
Firstly however I had to get the car in a state to actually make it to the shop. There's been a slow leak on one of the wheels all the time I've had the car, the valve is a bit knackered and had been bent back on itself to stop the leak. This just slowed it further rather than provide any actual stop to the leak. I was hoping for an easy fix, so flicked it out and started to tape it up. However it quickly became apparent that this would not be so easy. I couldn't block the leak in any way and wrestled with it for a while…
That is the valve. It came off in its entirety. Problem the first, how do I get this repaired when I've just cut out the jacking point. Problem the second, where would repair this on what was almost Sunday evening.
I managed to get it jacked up on the wishbone but couldn’t get any stands under it so had to leave it rather precariously perched, threw the wheel in my boot and headed to the worst place on Earth… The place we don't mention… The place that took 15 minutes figuring out what way round a wheel spacer fits… The place that then put directional tyres on the wrong way round… The place that told me I couldn’t run Weller steels, for some reason…. The place that would end up actually dribbling in my boot… (it was disgusting, I actually couldn't say anything I was so confused and offended at the situation)
Kwik Fit. Typing that just makes me feel dirty.
So in the lad that dribbled in my boots favour he did end up sorting it for free and very quickly too, but for a place I already hate it has not encouraged me to return.
What follows are the pictures the shop took of the repairs.
From them giving me a quote to having the car back again was only a few weeks and the price was really good. Now I know the sills and rails should be good to go. Still not a solid car its a bit crusty but I am happy now that its not going to just fall apart on me. Plus now I have actual jacking points again!
As I said, not perfect but I'm not too concerned. Most of this I'm planning on replacing anyway and already have parts for a lot of it. The bay is the main issue for rust now but I'm going to live with it for a season at least. The engine may come out again next year anyway so I will address it then.
So what better than to start cutting holes in it? Time to fit my JDM y0! rear lights.
No they did not just bolt in. Very close, but not quite. As these have the license plate lights built into them they have an extra bulb holder. This stops you from a straight bolt in as they interfere with the bodywork.
That darker mark is where it rubs, so out with the drill.
This is the view from the inside of the car. Yes it is not aligned, because the plastic is angled it needs to be offset. Also I think the chances of me getting my hands on actual Mazda bulb holders is incredibly slim so I wont need direct access.
Much better! But things are not that easy unfortunately.
The license plate holder gets in the way. Now here I naively thought this would be a simple process to just cut it down. Take one standard plate holder.
Cut off the ends.
Err, failure. Unfortunately the standard EU holder does not work with the JDM lights. Wrong size, wrong shape, wrong fit.
So sack it off and throw it all in the bin? Nope lets go and buy some acrylic sheet off ebay and make our own. How hard can it be?!
First a nice easy backing piece.
But now the corners look a bit empty.
Now with the super sick extra JDMness plate.
Far better! But not quite there yet. Unfortunately the lights are broken on the inside edges, so lets tidy that up while we are here.
That's as far as I got for now, but don't fear it’s making progress. Once that's cut and shaped I can glue it all and nobody will be any the wiser that I ruined perfectly good RX7 parts that someone else probably needed…
If you're worried that it will look a bit home made and crap the acrylic cleans up very well.
Now some meat with your veg. The turbo was curse word. Straight bent over a table curse word.
So what's that.
That's a distinct lack of turbo.
Ah yes. That will explain all the smoke and generally sad running.
Unfortunately the turbo wasn't the only obviously buggered item, the exhaust manifold has this rather nasty looking crack running through it.
Oh well, I'm hoping the larger turbo plans do happen next year and it will get replaced anyway.
So here is the old leaky turbo looking in envy at its cleaner and better clone.
And just like that it was back in… Well not quite it was actually a complete ball ache that took 4 days. Most of that was because the bastarding weather couldn't decide what it wanted to do. I walked in the back door in beautiful sun and out the front door in curse word rain. At one point I got caught under the car in torrential rain, I made peace with it and just assumed that was my new home…
So has everything cleared up and I've now got a beast of a rotary? Er, no. It wont start. I mean the car has no map on it so its sort of a miracle it started to get on the tow truck, but now its completely gone. It will occasionally cough and splutter but not enough to keep going on its own momentum. The plugs are showing a lot of oil being thrown around so I didn't want to keep trying before I flooded the poor thing (which I mostly have done anyway). So now I'm waiting for a slot to go and get the mapping done hopefully.
Then the big scary MOT.
Which speaking of, apparently you need both a fog and a reverse light, the greedy buggers. So I checked my fancy new lights and… I had neither. I also worryingly never noticed that there is no fog light on them any more. Apparently the Americans and Japanese have no need for fog lights and instead just hurtle in to their low visibility doom like men, or idiots posing as men.
Now a quick poke around what used to be the fog light got that connector working no worries, Ill likely just put in a red light for the test. The reverse light on the other hand, was a pain.
Now I'm no electrician but I know a couple things. Out with my pundland special multimeter, okay there's 11v on the plug (the battery at this point was 11.5v so I didn't make the obvious assumption just yet). Clearly this meant the light must be shagged, swapped in the now working fog light and nothing. Not even a glow or a flicker.
Back out with the multimeter, definitely 11v. Bulb back in and no photon emitting wonderment. Okay light out, on the test bench (the floor of the living room), test PSU hooked up (old computer PSU), 12v in and boom we have light.
Light back in the car, plugged in and still nothing. So I start poking around the loom plug and there's 11v everywhere. It was getting late so I thought Ill charge the battery and see if that remedies the situation (I told you I'm not electrician, because I knew even then that wouldn't work but still tried).
Next day, battery back in the car, nothing. Then I decided to do something actually intelligent and check the resistance on the plug. 600 ohms, 600 chuffing ohms of resistance. The poor bulb was barely getting dripped on at a couple of milliamps, not my idea of water sports!
So I start tracing the wire all the way back to the fuse box, fuse is fine. Resistance is nominal. Sigh, under the car we go. Traced the line all the way back to the box but there was no hope of me reaching the plug. On the old google we go and apparently this is not that rare. The switch gets covered in road grime which leads to the massive resistance. There is however a simple solution.
You don't need to drive the bulb with the gearbox switch, you just need to know its active. So in comes Mr Relay to save the day. The tiny current trickling down the wire is just enough to switch a relay.
Now when testing relays please put a load and fuse on the circuit…
Otherwise your test leads start to melt and the car comes incredibly close to an electrical fire, not fun! With the smell of burning plastic firmly inhaled I did it properly this time. Here have some pictures of a test leads and a relay. No its not exciting but this is a rather long wall of text.
This last picture is interesting (if the idea of international wiring differences of lights gets you off, hey I'm not judging!) as that is an OEM splice. That splice means the drivers side light is wired to be both a reverse light and a fog light. This means I can have two reverse lights with no extra wiring required. Excellent news because singular reverse lights can die in a fire, I want to see where I'm going on both sides thank you.
That’s it, that’s all I have to write about. Go away.
Stumbled across this thread at last. Well done for saving one of the forgotten generation of rotang. Mind you, looking at the state of that particular example, you can see why most people don't bother They seem to rust even quicker than FBs! Still, I do prefer a coupe (sorry, Adam) and it's nice to see one being given the lurrrve. Brave man, much kudos
haha any FC saved is a good thing in my book! And having looked at the price of replacement convertible tops recently, I partly wish I had a coupe!
Its funny, I almost bought a vert before this and at the time I could get another vert to break for around a grand. Good verts were barely over 2, the coupes were only a few grand. Unfortunately I didn't have a few at the time or I may have avoided my current mess.
Now the verts are 7 to 9k! In only two years! Massive spike in value.
love an fc. for my sins ive had an fb, fc and I'm on my 4th fd I would still love to get a nice metallic blue fc turbo 2 but if they are all that bad underneath I don't think I can spare the time these days
good luck with yours I can wait to see it all finished