Turk's Buildup, One Dream & Endless Nightmares
Compliments of Turk82 @ www.rx7club.com
After over 3 years of owning the car I have decided I should start my build thread and with my college career over I should actually have time to start and update a thread as I write up the past and make current progress.
I bought the car in the summer of 2010 after my first year of college, studying mechanical engineering. This is what brought me to the rotary. I loved how it worked and how different it was. I was on a budget, trying to find a car that fit my price range with some mods that I wanted done already. I didnt know much about these cars or any car for that matter but I had previously built an ATV from the ground up and was mechanically inclined. I finally stumbled upon a car that fit the profile of what I was looking for and all looked good (to the untrained FD owner). Im waiting for someone to respond with â€ÂOh, you bought that car, that sucks.Â
The car had a single turbo conversion with an OBX manifold, HKS wasegate, 3" straight through exhaust to a racing beat dual tip, koyo rad, Real Greddy front mount, PFC, upgraded fuel pump, SS brake lines, bald tires, leaky oil pan, bad struts, and many other problems. This is what it looked like when it was first pulled into my garage.
There is going to be a realative lack of photos until we hit recent times because finally got a smartphone 9 months ago.
I didnt drive the car a lot the summer I got because I didnt trust it all that much (I have trust issues with things that are modified that I havent built myself). This was due to a master cylinder failure and hot start issues so I assumed possible coolant seal leak.
My parents bought the adjacent lot to our house which just so happend to have a 2 car garage on it this became my garage for all things car related.
So winter rolled around that year and as planned I began to tear the car down, expecting to just rebuild the motor and fix up the drivetrain. and drive the car fixing things along the way from there.
When I began disassembly it became apparent how poorly built the car was by the previous owner. Here are some of the issues. Wastegate was welded to the downpipe and the downpipe had some exceptional quality welding.
Top notch down pipe that I had to use a sawzall to remove
The biggest issue of all that I found was that the car had been hit in the driver side at some point and the pulled the rail straight but didnt pull the kink out of the rail. Instead they decided it would be better to weld a 0.250Â plate over it and call it a day. In hindsight I shouldve addressed this issue immediately but I had two frame shops come look at it and assured me the car was straight and everything looked good. So I took the professionals word for it and began doing some other work on the car.
Wrinkling by the cruise control actuator
With the frame guys tell me its all goodÂ I began to dig further into the project. Seeing the quality of the previous build in the engine bay and the frame issue I decided the rest of the car was at the same standard for quality. So I began complete teardown of the car to ensure nothing was missed.
Subframe came out
All suspension removed (Diff & rear subframe stayed in, I am only one man and all 6'2 175lbs of me didnt want to mess with those beasts alone)
Cleaned and painted front subframe
At this point I went to town on the wheel wells and suspension components. Powerflex bushings all around, AtomicRex pillowballs (took 3 months to get these things), Stance GR+pro coilovers, and re-undercoated the wheel wells.
Front control arms cleaned and bushings installed.
Rear arms, diff mount, & coilovers ready to go in.
With the suspension all restored and fresh I decided whether the frame was straight or not I needed to get it on a frame rack to make sure because what goot is a perfect suspension if the chassis isnt right. So I took it to a shop and they did a pull on it. They pulled the wrinkles out by the cruise control, did some straightening of the headlight bucket, and rolled the strut tower out 0.625â€Â because it was pushed in. I had pictures of the car on the frame rack but lost them along the way.
This is the car back from the shop, getting ready to paint the bay (supposedly straight and true). My turkey bobble head is hanging out there too.
It then came time to paint the engine bay. I decided on a satin, almost semigloss black because I wasnt sure what color the rest of the car was going to end up and I like the look of black engine bays. This was my first time painting anything with a spray gun so give me a break here. I went with 3 coats of primer and 3-4 coats of black, laid on thin to avoid runs. It turned out great for my first time painting. It got really cold out the night I painted it so the black chips fairly easy but it can all be redone
Here are the results.
With the engine bay painted it was time to work on the engine, clean it up a little, fix some oil leaks and block off some lines. The plan was to get it all cleaned up and in good working order before I took it for a rebuild so there would be no surprises. I didn't have an engine stand and being a college student I didn't want to buy one to save more money for the FD. This posed a slight issue because I had to re-seal the oil pan and install new motor mounts but I had no way to get to the bottom of the engine, so I got creative.
The motor was sitting on a pallet so I wheeled it into the house and built a box around the motor and covered the motor itself in a 50 gallon garbage bag. I then filled in the area between the motor and the box with spray foam expanding insulation and sealed the lid. Once dry I simply rolled the motor over and got to work.
Then came time to seal the pan and put on the engine mounts. I was going with two steel mounts rather than one steel and one aluminum mount. With this mod there has always been the debate as to whether or not you need to do something to apply pressure to the pan where the nub on the aluminum mount used to. To solve this I drilled and tapped a steel mount and faced off a stainless bolt so I can tighten it against the pan to apply pressure to that point.
After doing the work to drill and tap the mount I went to check fitment and realized that someone drilled and tapped the rear iron in the past and then installed the aluminum mount on top of the bolt, causing it to be on a slight tilt. So the mount had been installed wrong for however long the motor was in the car and my work had been for nothing.
The motor had numerous issues including oil leaks, vacuum, leaks, poor/lazy work, and it just looked terrible.
Quality oil return line
The motor had custom made block off plates from one of the previous owners. They weren't the best in the world fit just fine but I wasn't sure how well they sealed so I took them off and put them on the Bridgeport.
Before (sandblasted to see what I was working with)
I don't have any pictures of it but part of the reason the motor was so filthy was because the OMP lines were broken off and left to shoot oil wherever and to seal the intake chamber they actually welded the oil injector tips shut.
Here is the top notch pilot bearing that I pulled out of the E-shaft mostly with my fingers.
The next order of business with the motor was to get rid of the Ebay manifold and special downpipe that came off the car. So as with most of the parts on this car I bought used. I found an A-Spec manifold and downpipe for a great deal in the for sales.
Everything wasnt perfect with this manifold though. Somehow the T4 flange was warped (I doubt it came that way from A-Spec originally). So that had to be fixed out. Off to the Bridgeport it went. This was tough though, because there is no easy way to get a solid grip with a vise on a finished manifold.
There is a slight gap here between some work being done and the motor going back in but I bolted it up to a rebuilt trans and dropped it in the car. While it was out I did a single turbo harness conversion. I buttoned up everything around the engine and it fired up on its first try. It idled healthy and revved like a champ.
The next order of business was to have the motor rebuilt. I shouldve just sent it off to be rebuilt while I had it out but at the time I didnt trust myself installing a fuel system and some other components on a brand new engine, so off it went to Speed 1.
The motor got a streetport, cryo-treatment, Twin Power, Fuel system, and some other odds & ends. The previous engine had 3mm apex seals so this engine was also built with them.
I picked the car up and here it is back in the garage.
With the motor rebuilt and all set with supporting parts for the single turbo you would think I would bolt the fenders up and drive this thing to get some miles on it but that wasn't the case. It had starting issues, which turned out to be a bad battery cable. Once I got it to start regularly it had an uncontrollable idle surge. It would rev up to 1100 and then drop until it nearly died. I fiddled with this for a while and got it to idle well enough to drive. At this point I took it for an "inspection" to get it on the road a bit. On the way to the inspection station, this happened
3 hours of work later and the diff was out of the car and on its way to IRP for a rebuild with an s4 T2 LSD. I decides to keep the stock 4.10 Ring and pinion because I thought Rx8 4.33 gears would be excessive.
So it had been a while since my last update but I will continue documenting the build until I get to the current time.
So I left off with the Diff being built by IRP. While the diff was out and the car still ran like garbage I decided I would remove some weak links and narrow down the number of variables on the engine. I took the LIM and UIM off and removed the block off plates and welded everything shut to remove any possibility of vacuum leaks.
While welding the manifold I also upgraded from the low impedance injectors to an ID 725/2200cc. I don't have any pictures of this but I had to machine some spacers for the rails because these new injectors were longer. The secondary rail spacers were easy but the one for the primary rail was more complicated. This one needed to be machined to size and then I had to mill a pocket in it so the injectors could clear the spacer. Ill try to get picture of this later.
With the diff out I also took the time the time to relocate the fuel filter. For me with my long arms and little hands its stock location wasn't terrible and I would be able to change it but it was easy to move so why not. I reused the stock bracket and just drilled and tapped the subframe. If I pull the subframe out at a later date I will rework this a little because tapping the subframe wasn't ideal.
Here is the relocated fuel filter with a rag tag shield that is nothing to look at but serves its purpose well.
From the front
The 35r is what I figured would be a good choice. I was going to talk to Turblown to see what he thinks as I will be buying some other things from him.
Back to the build. I got the car all set with the new diff and injectors installed along with a base tune that IRP was kind enough to do for free when I went to pick up my diff. Primed the fuel and oil and the car started right up. All was not well though. It idled much better (probably due to faster reacting injectors) but there was still a surge in idle and it would stumble when revved. This led me to my next adventure in this car. WIRING
I decided to go through the main harness because this was the one thing I hadn't touched yet in the car and with Speed 1 doing some wiring other places I thought there might be some sub par work done in the past. The initial goal was to return it all back to factory spec.
Found this little beauty hiding in the driver footwell, tapped into the hazard module plug. Two wires wound together and then twist and taped into the harness for no reason. the two didn't even connect to eachother.
My roommate pulling this monster of a harness out of the wheel well.
I stripped the tape and protection from the harness in the garage since this was dirty and just a terrible job. I then took the harness to my apartment to fix the problems with the harness (don't worry this is a college apartment so it wasn't that nice). I found an area with some melted wires, some proken wires (fuel pump related), and some other odds & ends that needed to be fixed.
Just pulled it out of the box
Laid out and ready for work, drop light included for that garage feel.
Roommate doing some soldering
We got sick of working on the floor so we moved it to the coffee table
^ The turbo oil drain looks odd in that picture because its from the side. If you look at it from the front it is a downward slope until it hits the 90 degree AN fitting where it enters the block. Ill try to get some better pictures of it when I'm in the garage this weekend.
As for the engine harness, I have converted it to a single turbo harness and it all looks good. You were talking about converting to Haltech and lets just leave it at that for now because I am still getting this build to current times.
Around the time I started doing the wiring my roommate decided he wanted to buy a 240 hatch if the right one came along with minimal rust and no accidents. When people say they want to find something I take it as a challenge and within a week I found and he bought a nearly rust free roller with 0 accident history so the FD had a garage companion. We towed this thing 2 hours with bald and dry rotted tires, on a dolly, at night in, the snow.
It came with K-Sport coilovers worth more than he paid for the car.
Within a few days we had it stripped to nothing but a bare shell
Back to the FD now. My semester ended, I graduated and was hired full time where I had been working as an intern for two years and I wired all summer. I got the wiring back to stock while I was at my apartment and when I got it home I had a terrible idea. Wire Tuck. The main harness running around the front was always something that bothered me so it had to go.
I didn't actually just hack it in half. I cut wires one by one, calculating where I should cut it to be able to have the easiest time reconnecting it through the cabin.
All cut and marked for reconnection
One of the many mock ups for wire lengths
Lights working much better than they did before the wire tuck. There was no questioning whether the headlights would turn on with the switch and the running lights weren't constantly on.
Here is the nearly completed wire tuck harness, my trusty sidekick enjoys walking all over things. Even though I don't have A/C or fog lights and some other things I wired it all up just so I knew there were no wires crossed up. I can always go back later and cut things out.
I also had to break open my twin power to fix a wire with a broken case. I made a thread on this. It wasn't complicated, just cut and spliced in a matching wire and shrink wrapped it. Then filled the case back up with silicon to seal it.
Then came formula D at Wall New Jersey. Naturally I was attracted to the Nexen Rx8 which was the lone rotary running that day. Unfortunately the engine let go in the first round.
With the wiring harness pretty much set It was time to try to start the car. The good news is that it started right up. The bad news is that it still had a surging idle. I eliminated two of the only other weak links I knew of by replacing the ISC gasket and getting a fast reacting IAT.
When I pulled the ISC off I cleaned it up the best I can and while I was doing this I noticed something strange in the ISC. Really have no idea what it is. Its's a very hard rubber piece.
Bolted everything back up and started it up with the same results. I have verified that the TPS is in spec Numerous times. Here are some videos. Don't mind all the wires hanging out, they are all for lights or properly hooked up but just not routed in an organized fashion. Also have massive exhaust leaks.
I thought the PFC was learning idle and I was going through the steps of the learn process but it really never did. the car would settle down and sound ok and then it would go back to whatever it wanted to do.
With the car still not running correctly I got pissed and you might say I got a little carried away but I decided to ditch the stock ignition and the PFC and go in the route of a complete standalone with direct fire. This will simplify the system and all wires for the engine will be new and fresh so the 20 year old wires will not be a factor. I started by pulling the motor again. This took all of like 3 hours.
Then I pulled the Heater core and carpet. Deep down I knew there was still something off about the frame of the car and when the carpet came up this was confirmed.
So I got in touch with my co-worker's friend who owns a collision shop and set up a drop off time to have it looked at and possibly pulled, correctly this time.
I had been thinking about converting to a manual steering rack for a while to clean things up in the engine bay because I love simplicity. I never really had a real reason to do it though until I dropped the power steering pump during removal and broke the pulley. I had two options Option 1: make a replacement. Option 2: convert to a manual rack. While making a pulley would've been simple enough I decided to go manual rack since it would cost nearly 0 dollars. While I was waiting for the date to drop the car off for frame assessment was the perfect time to do it.
These lock washers for the inner tie rods are impossible to find
I also did the mod to the door handles that relieves the stress on the worn linkage for easy opening and ease of mind that I wont snap them off.
Then it was time to drop the car off at the frame shop to have its fate decided. When I dropped it off I was hopeful and after looking it over with the owner of the shop it seemed like the car really wasn't in bad shape. I informed him to measure it and then call me to decide whether it is worth fixing or not.
I thought so too but the car had been aligned at Speed 1 and I measured the wheelbase on both sides of the car before it wen to the frame shop. The rough measurements showed the driver side wheelbase to be roughly 0.750-1.000" shorter than the passenger side. And I can tell the driver side front corner was bent up because the car never sat on all 4 corners on jack stands.
Here is a picture from before the first time I had it pulled. You can see something is pretty off. I didn't notice this when buying the car because the wheel was always turned.
I also feel like the whole car is crooked. I took these pictures to try to capture it with the wheels dead straight. My calibrated eyeball says the driver front sits inside the rear and the passenger front sits outside the rear.
Over two months ago my frame guy informed me that he wasn't confident that he could get it right because of the plate welded to the rail and that it some other oddities that he found. I didn't see it to be a good investment to put money into a car that wasn't in anywhere near good shape to begin with and have no guarantee it would be straight afterward. Yes the car would still have a clean PA title but if I were to sell it I would sell it as an R title because I have morals. So the search began for a suitable replacement.
Originally I was searching for a stripped chassis. This was nearly impossible to find so I began looking for a roller. My requirements for a roller were clean body and nothing else but finding a reasonably priced roller with a clean body is pretty tough as well. I then started looking at upper end rollers and at 7-8k I was turned off. In this period of time I made contact with many owners with rollers, non-running, and running cars. one of the cars I stumbled upon happened to be no more than 5 miles from my apartment. This was as close to a barn find I will ever see when it comes to Rx7s. This car was modified right around 2001 in the F&F days, had 44k on the clock, and had been stored for the last 3-4 years. I pursued that car for a while but the owner was delusional about its condition and value.
I then went back to a car that I previously passed by since it was a complete running car. I had a friend that lived no more than 15 minutes from the cars location go check it out for me before I made the drive. He put it through its paces, snapped a bunch of pictures, and gave it his seal of approval. I then arranged my own visit yesterday and ended up leaving with the car.
Details on the car:
93 touring with tan interior
almost everything works.
Blitz nur spec exhaust
B&M short shifter
Pettit Racing ECU
Engine mounts, What engine mounts?
Oil pan leaks like a champ
front left spring seat is dry rotted and basically non existent.
Clear coat on back bumper is peeling
Driver's windshield wiper does whatever it wants
Plans for the car are:
Fix the oil leak
Swap the AST for an aluminum one which I have
Find an undertray
change the engine mounts
Change all fluids
Swap coilovers and suspension from the other car
Drive the hell out of it in stock form for a while
I will drive the car in this form and work on making the built single turbo motor bulletproof in the meantime.
I got a chance to dig into the new car today. I have to swap over the suspension components from the old car so I began with getting it up in the air to get a good look at what I was working with. As expected it's 77k miles with 20 years of grime on it and has never been touched. I also confirmed that the driver side front upper spring seat is basically nonexistent, dry rotted all the way through, which is causing the sag (not that it matters since I have coilovers for the car).
Crust on top of dirt, on top of spider webs and bodies, on top of more dirt.
Demolished spring seat.
I sprayed all the suspension bolts down with some PB blaster to loosen them up. Then I got to work figuring out what was going on with the driver side windshield wiper. The nut holding it on was brand new and barely tightened. I think the real issue is that the hole in the wiper arm is opened up a little and wont grab anymore. While investigating this I got side tracked and started taking the cowl cover off because I saw an abundance of dirt in it. It looks like a bunch of pieces of acorns in there so something was living in or near the car. It was parked under a tree so this all makes sense.
I get side tracked easily so while I was fiddling with the suspension and the windshield wipers I also stated to track down the oil leak. I knew the oil pan was going to be the ticket. I crawled under the car and confirmed that the oil pan is part of the oil leak. The OEM paper gasket is still present and doing absolutely nothing. I also noticed oil grime on the side of the block on the turbo side. I assumed it was coming from the OMP. So I began to remove some things from the engine bay to be able to access that area of the engine.
Found some petrified stink bugs hanging out in the battery tray.
I also found this little treat,
Oil in the intake track. It's both pre-turbo and post turbo which confuses me since I would think bad turbos would only spew oil into the post turbo side of the intake track. Also, the pre-turbo side only showed oil on the primary turbo intake. Next time I get out of the garage I will dig deeper into this issue.
I have a passion for the FD, like most on this forum. It's probably a little bit unhealthy but you have to do what you love. Something else that drives me is that I have pride in never giving up. I can't recall anything I have quit without finishing in my 22 years.
I did some reading on how the stock system is set up since I really only have knowledge of single turbo setups on these cars. It seems to be a fairly common problem to have oil in the intake track and primary turbo inlet. This seems to be caused by the two nipples on the oil filler neck and the PCV valve. One of the nipples is connected to the UIM via the PCV and the other to the primary turbo inlet. Judging by the minimal amount of oil in the intake track I would say this is my issue. I will inspect the turbos and determine if this is the case.
Since I am not near the car during the week I decided to go through everything that came in the car. Some of the stuff makes me feel great about finding and buying this car since its been bought, maintained, and stored only in PA by two owners.
Leatherman, padlock keys, some CDs, and a cassette,
Original warranty brochure and associated items along with business cards of sales personnel.
Registration, insurance, and maintenance records
Maintenance records from purchase until 1997 (Yes that's a TV stand made out of a Formula D tire)
Original pink slip from 1992 and previous owner's pink slip.
I got some tear down done on the car today but had to cut it short by the lack of feeling in my feet. In my attempt to get to the OMP I had to take off the IC and duct work and broke the nipple off the AST (not a shock). After getting the duct off I noticed something was strange about the fans so I decided to drain the coolant and pull the rad to deal with the problem. This is what I found.
The blade is completely separated from the motor. I didn't notice it because I was too cold but the fan also seems to be missing a fin. Luckily I have a good set attached to a Koyo from the other car that should fit nicely on the car.
So upon further inspection the fan wasn't missing a fin, that's just how they are designed and I never noticed before. So I will simply install the Koyo with the good set of fans and be done with that.
I finally made my way down to the primary turbo. Holy hell there is a lot of **** in the way. This journey got me my first ever look at the infamous "Rat's Nest" and damn that thing is scary. I refuse to touch it until warmer temperature because the once rubber, now glass, hoses are ready to shatter if they are touched.
My first horrifying look.
When I finally made my way to the turbo, after digging through all the little bits of car that had to come off I found some shaft play. This is obviously part of the oil in the intake track issue but for as long as I will be driving the car with the twins I am fine with it.
I didn't necessarily get any work done on the new car other than loosening some bolts but I did take advantage of the good weather in PA this weekend by stripping down the old car to bare bones. I got both front and rear suspension off the car in one piece to save time and effort. I just have to disassemble it from each subframe, clean it up, and install it on the new car.
It's sad to see an FD like this
Couldn't resist taking a parting shot when I left the garage for the night.
Well it was a sad day today. I watched my old baby be towed away to a new home. I woke up early and finished stripping it down before the buyer showed up.
If anybody reading this thread need some random parts I probably have them so just shoot me a PM and if I don't need it it's yours.
Might have shed a tear or two.
And then the tears quickly went away.
Now I have to sort through all the parts and separate things for sale and things I'm keeping. If the weather ever gets warm in PA I will get to resealing the oil pan and swapping all the suspension over.
Had a sunny weekend in PA but still not warm enough to want to reseal an oil pan. This prompted me to decide to take on a light job, swapping the peeling rear bumper with the nice and shiny one from the old car. This job turned out to be not so light and my back hates me now.
These torx drives are bastards and the points rust off of them. Had to break out the Dremel and the impact driver for one of them. I have to think of something I can replace them with.
Half the interior removed all for just 4 bolts. Truly a nightmare. The new bumper wont go back on until its warm enough to wash all the crap from behind it.
New bumper ready to go on, need some double sided tape to make the valence fit nice and flush. Also, some jackass put the RX-7 logo in the wrong spot so Ill design a vinyl one or do the Cx-7/Rx-8 thing. Needs some touch up paint here and there but its much better than peeling clear.
Also took the hood off because its much easier to work without it there.
Since all my knowledge is of single turbo nowhere near stock FDs I have to ask some questions about the cooling system. I plan to eliminate the AST, no big deal, need an FC cap and filler neck piece from Ray. I figure while I'm ordering I should order an FC thermostat aswell since it opens earlier. Is this necessary? I wasn't concerned about this on the other car since the PFC was set to kick the fans on at 80 or 85.
Another question is about the Radiator. I know the stock one is somewhat garbage but is it sufficient for a summer in PA? I have a Koyo but I doubt it will fit with the OEM SMIC and the air con components. and I modified the inlet to fit with a rad hose that fit the previous FMIC setup (not a huge deal to weld it back to original if it will fit in the car.
No real progress, it's still too damn cold to do anything notable. But, since I have two sets of tail lights I decided to do a 99 spec conversion. I only opened the lights up so far but it was much easier then I expected. I have to go get my arts and crafts supplies tomorrow to mask them off. These should turn out just like all the others but if they dont I still have some stockers.
This weekend was above 32 degrees so I actually got some work done. That doesn't mean my garage was warm, it still felt like a meat locker in there. I stripped the front suspension and brakes so make room for the fresh arms with Powerflex bushings already installed. Also had to remove the brake lines so I could install my SS lines.
I didn't want to pull the engine to do the oil pan because the car is nearly bone stock and never been touched so I didn't want to break bolts and gaskets just to do an oil pan. Ill suffer and do it on my back. Lifted the motor off the subframe, dropped the subframe and pan, and then set the motor back down on some wood blocks with the hoist still attached for safety.
By far the grimiest thing I've ever pulled off a car.
The oil pan wasn't sealing anything. It was previously sealed with an OEM gasket and RTV between the oil pan and gasket. This method didn't seem to work. I'll be using the tried and true "The Right Stuff" method with all steel motor mounts.
I also gave up on trying to cut circles. That wasn't turning out well with any method I tried. I resorted to a much more efficient approach. Contact a person that does vinyl cutting and ask for the size circle you need cut out of whatever colors they have laying around. In my case it cost me nothing because I have a friend that does vinyl but it shouldn't cost more than the contact paper costs.
It wasn't necessarily a warm weekend but I got a lot done on the car. I had a friend come up from Philly to help and we got the suspension and brake lines done, along with getting the oil pan resealed and new motor mounts installed.
Powder coated goodness
After we called it quits on Friday night. Got the rear suspension and brake lines installed and re-greased all the Powerflex bushings.
My roommate's 240 also sold so we pushed that out for the new owner to pick it up and make room for the parts explosion.
It's a little sad to see a clean 240 go. a fairly rust free 240 is a rare breed in the northeast.
Oil pan resealed, Finally.
All suspension and brakes done!!!!
Part of the bargain was that I had to help install engine and transmission mounts in my friends speed3. Simple job on these cars, only a few bolts to remove and re-install. Had it done in under 2 hours.
Lets take a minute and talk about spare parts. I didn't realize how many parts I had stacked up over my 3.5 years of owning an FD until I cleaned some stuff up and organized today. Its getting to the point that I don't want to store anything else in the garage attic because its overflowing and probably nearing the floor's limits.
This is only 1/4 of the attic
After I did some cleaning and organization I took a parting shot for the night to remember all the hours put into the car this weekend.
Just a little bit of progress. I did the thermoswitch swap, well sort of. Pulled the alternator and yanked the old one out, put the new one in and then the wire snapped. The simplest things always turn into the most pain in the ***.
Old vs. new
Napa ages some of their belts to ensure the quality it the best on the market.
Finally got the vinyl laid down on the tail lights and painted them. It got really cold out as I was painting so my paint can got sketchy and gave me two beautiful little drops on one of the lenses so I hope they're not noticeable through the outer lens.
Had a beautiful 80 degree weekend so I got to work. What I got done might not look like all that much but a ton of things got knocked off the checklist. I'm pressing for time now because I have to have the car at my alma mater's car show on the 27th since I used to be in charge of the show.
This is how the list began Saturday morning. I added more to this since and have crossed a good bit off. Let hope I can get it all done in two weeks.
Anyone here ever seen these on the studs in the trunk? I assume these are pretty rare to come by these days.
I had trouble fitting the Koyo but with some grinding on little bits of it and sanding on the fan shrouds I got it all to fit in. I just have to have the inlet re-welded AGAIN because it was sitting too high and I couldn't get the airbox to sit low enough with the hose on.
Most of the engine buttoned up. The radiator is the real key to the puzzle here.
Today's win. My coworker had a little bit of wheel paint left over from one of his projects and I had center caps that were black and silver. We put the two together and came out with beautiful toilet bowl center caps.
The three day weekend gave me all the time I needed to get the ride height set, the motor bits all fit back up, and get her washed and test driven.
This is how it sat when I first put it on the ground. Really high in the rear. I should have set the coils all equal before install but I was just happy to get it all installed at the time.
Video of the first start the next day. The first is from a cold start and the second is after the car was all warmed up and idled down. The smoke coming from the turbo side is oil burning off that dripped out of the Y-pipe when I removed parts
Easter morning was beautiful so I took advantage and bolted all the rest of the engine components back on and pulled the car over to my other driveway for a much needed wash (probably 5 years without one). I left the hood off because the engine bay was incredibly dirty.
After my family got together and ate our meal I took the car for a spin around town with the hood off. The alignment is off which is expected after a full suspension job but no major issues. I only got the car into boost for a split second when I blew an intake pipe off (This genius forgot to tighten it). The car will go for an alignment this week, get another wash and then a wax, and see its first car show on Sunday.
Had a busy weekend. Touched some things up on the FD Friday night. Went to the NY auto show on Saturday. Then woke up early on Sunday to go to the car show that I used to run while I was in college.
I'm thinking about getting a forester as a daily. Not sure if I want this body style or older but this is inspiration.
My friend that helped me run the car show the last two years met me at my garage and we cruised down 30 miles. FD and Z06 playing leap frog all the way. It was probably an interesting site. This was my first public experience with the car so I got the full effect of what kind of attention the FD brings. I had two offers to trade and an endless stream of people asking about it and saying they want one.
I also finished my 99 spec tail lights. My roommate polished them for me and they came out amazing.
Didn't do all that much on the car this weekend because I didn't have to. Wow it's good to be able to say that. It's an unbelievable feeling for me to be able to step back and just enjoy the car for once. I took it out to do errands on Saturday and couldn't have loved it more. Now that said I did do some things on the car. touch up paint, painted wiper arms, and swapped seats. I also did some much needed work to my DD/Beater.
I'll start with some action shots my friend took on our cruise to the show last week.
Now I'm going to vent a little about my DD. Nissan thought the standard approach to inner tie rods was too easy and decided to not put flat spots on them. Instead they made them completely round. This poses two issues, one is that you cant get a normal tool from the parts store to remove/install them. The other is that they don't use lock plates to ensure they stay in place, instead they use a ton of lock-tite
This is pure genius on Nissan's part. I applaud them for it
This is the 20 dollar tool I found to get the job done. Still a pita.
Now back to the FD. I am not at all a fan of leather. It gets hot, it gets cold, and it fades & cracks. This dislike of leather was also combined with a dislike of the tan interior, causing me to make a change. Luckily I had a set of cloth seats that were planned to go into the old car stored in the attic (also more head room for my 6'2" self). My family didn't like the idea and wanted me to stick with the tan but once they saw it they changed their opinion. I might still have to swap the seatbelts to black but that should only take about an hour.
Nothing major going on, just enjoying the car. Still has a slight oil leak but nothing of a concern for the summer. The only current bothersome thing is the car doesn't like to stay in 5th gear. It will pop out when I hit bumps and touch the shifter at all. I'm not sure if this is a transmission issue or something caused by the B&M short shifter.
Mocking up my ongoing dead pedal project for modification
Cat tested, Cat approved.
Pulled the car out on Sunday and just sat in the old seats for a few hours. even took a nap out in the garage. It's so relaxing to be able to sit back and just admire the car and the work you've put into it.
Also took it to a meet on Sunday night. It got a whole lot of love and it was'nt at all the nicest car there. The big turbo S2K I parked next to was flawless but the FD brought all the onlookers.
Had the car out all weekend, put 200+ miles on it without issue. Also detailed it on Saturday. Compound, buff, wax. We were afraid to go really hard on it because we weren't sure how it was treated in the past when detailed. The paint on the mirrors and front bumper was pretty thin so we avoided compounding them. It didn't come back 100% but it's damn close.
All shined up
On the way home from detailing she turned 77k miles.
And finally two shots of my FD and my roommate's R53 together. These pictures have been waiting 4 years to be taken. We both have had a good hand in getting each others cars to the point they're at now. (That's my tall self in the red shirt between the cars in the second picture)
Not a real update on the build but I had to bump it up. I've just been enjoying the car and doing little things like adjusting the shifter (so I don't get stuck in reverse again), adding a new billet aluminum shift **** that I made, test fitting some upcoming custom fire extinguisher brackets, and driving the car every weekend.
The past two weekends I have gone to races, one being Formula D at Wall and the other 6 hours of the Glen. Watkins Glen had a Mazda corral and a few smaller races going on over the weekend before the main race. Made a few friends and got to talk to some of the Mazda teams as well as get up close with the cars. The weekend put exactly 276 miles on the car with no problems other than the secondary turbo burning oil (which cant be fixed until winter) and the small oil pan leak which was already known. There were also two parade laps around the Glen. We were allowed to go as fast as our lead car could go while keeping up with the pace car. This was my first time on a track and probably this FD's first and it won't be the last.
Enjoy the pictures.
Some shots of race cars and things.
Its been a long time since my last post. I've just been driving the car and trying to decide whether to go single or replace my twins with a good set and do all the vacuum lines.
In my spare time I've been designing a a quick release fire extinguisher mount and its just about complete. I have to alter the bottom mount a little but the quick release is all done and working and it looks the part. If people like these and want one I can try to set up a group buy for them.
Went to start the car to go to a show yesterday and got denied. Car cranks but sounds weak and will not fire. I have spark and fuel pump runs. Pulled the intake elbow and smelled like fuel so simplest thing would be flooded. I pulled the plugs and they weren't wet, cranked the car with them out and reinstalled but no dice. I didn't have the time to really diagnose the issue so I'll have to do it later this week.
The last time it ran was two weeks ago. I had it inspected and returned it to the house, moved it from the driveway to the garage later that day. The next day I plugged in my PFC to see if it worked so I can sell it. The car started and idled, but I had to jump the fuel pump in the diag box for it to do so, so I shut it down (probably ran no more than a minute, Bad idea I know). I removed my PFC and put the Pettite ECU back in and did not start the car. Went to start it yesterday and it just sounds weak and will not fire. Logic says the PFC dumped fuel because it would've been in idle learn stage and flooded it out.
Long time no post. In the fall I got the Car deflooded and took it to the Chris Carlisi Memorial meet at NJMP. Once again that was a great meet and I will be attending the next one, (hopefully it's warmer next year). Since this meet is hosted by IRP In was able to talk with Ihor about my car and its goals. This really got the ball rolling for me on what I wanted out of the car and what fit in my budget.
After the meet I had the car out once or twice more and got my last taste of it for the winter. I knew the motor had to come out to address the oil leaks and turbos at the very least. So out came the motor. This car was basically untouched since it was built so I had no surprises other than acorns in every crevice.
Since it was so cold out I got to work on little projects that I could manage in short spurts. I knew the spare was useless and wanted to put my battery in the back as well as get rid of the Bose system as it didn't even work.
Paper board template
Optima clearance check with my machined center mount/ground point.
First test fit of the panel. Only had to clearance the one small piece of it with the grinder, all holes lined up perfectly. The battery box itself if waiting to be welded so I'll get back to this later. The cutout is for a pocket that I will store my 2 stroke oil and tool kit in.
I also brought the rebuilt motor in the house to do the oil pan again and install my banzai brace(powdercoated black, it's an addiction)
And one last little detail for this post was refurbing the rubber on the dual oil cooler ducts. The rubber was missing on one and very deteriorated on the other. Got some material called Maskant from work, a plastic/rubber that has suitable properties for the application.
I've been working on the car nearly every night to get it done. In February I purchased a turbo kit from IRP along with many other supporting mods. I ended up waiting 3 months for this kit due to circumstances at the shop so I got a late start on the motor install. Parts started coming in from Ihor and I got to fitting them on my setup.
DeatschWerks DW300 and new FPR. I haven't heard of one of these being installed in an FD yet but I've only heard good things about the pump and it's more than adequate for my goals. Its similar to the Aeromotive Stealth but draws fewer amps. More on the install later.
Fabbed up a mount for the FPR. Since I didnt want to put the motor in without the turbo system installed I was running blind with fitment when Fabricating these parts.
Set of 4 IGN-1A coils showed up so I can run direct fire. I made a mount for these to place them in the Air conditioning pump location. I wanted to keep cruise control so this was the only available location.
Also has this little guy show up. Plug and play unit for the FD.
The turbo system showed up soon after installing the FPR and coils on the engine so I got right to installing them.
The turbo kit is the standard manifold and downpipe that IRP offers but I went with a TDX-57 from Elliot at Turblown. I went with this option because I wanted to retain a quick response but keep the price tag reasonable. After all, I'm building a street car, not a competitive track monster.
Upon install it was very apparent that the looped fuel line had to be moved because it hovered right above the turbine housing and got in the way of the coolant & oil feel lines.
Now onto a little info about the IRP kit. In my eyes the coolant feed line in not ideal. It has to make a full loop in order to attach to the stock feed barb on the water pump housing. This is cause by how the manifold positions the turbo. No real fault because this works but it is not ideal.
Another issue I ran into was the fitting for the oil return. This was a somewhat universal 10-AN fitting that may or may not have been designed for the FD. The fitting would not sit flat when mounting on the block. It was not sitting on the machined surface of the block, instead two corners of the flange were catching on the edge of the unmachined section of the block. Hit it with the die grinder and that took care of that.
Now a little issue that showed up to haunt me from the old bent car. The motor was rebuilt by Speed 1 and the turbo coolant feed & returns were capped off by them or the previous owner. When I pulled these caps I found this on the feed barb.(Picture taken after diggin at it a little bit)
It was filled with silicon. It wasnt apparent whether Speed 1 did the silicon work or the previous owner of the old car but it had to go. Off came the Thermostat housing to investigate further. Turned out there was no thermostat, the thermostat gasket/ring that was there wasnt seated either. I have no idea how it even kept the coolant system from leaking. Oh, and the silicon job was impressive.
Soon after I got the turbo system on I got the clutch and trans mounted up, ready to drop in. I also had a bunch of the brackets in the engine bay powdercoated satin black. This had to be done because the brackets were beginning to oxidize and drove me insane when looking at the engine bay. Powdercoating really does become an addiction.
When I dropped the motor in everything went as planned. There was only one fitment issue that may or may not be a problem. The heater hard line runs very close to the turbine housing and manifold flange. not a big problem as it is a hard line but the hard line ends and changes to rubber fairly close to that area. I brought up the concern to Ihor and he was nice enough to send out some silicon line to re-route the heater line. Only problem is that the line he sent is blue and doesn't really fit my color scheme. For now I will heat wrap the line and keep a close eye out for issues.
A day later I looked at the engine bay and realized I had one other fitment issue. The FPR was obviously above the hood line. I could tell I had room to adjust my bracket so I put the hood on quick to measure how much I needed to bring it down. One program later on a piece of scrap and I had a new FPR bracket made out of 16 Ga 304. I also shortened my standoffs by .500" to gain a little more clearance. Fuel lines were adjusted accordingly, not ideal but these will work just fine and can be re-made when the car is down for another extended period.
Once the motor was in It came time to wire a new engine harness. I needed a custom harness to fit exactly how I had my engine harness set up. I wanted my coils triggers to run though the harness to make sure all wiring was organized and I wasn't pulling pins from other connectors in the engine bay as the Sakebomb kit does. I also new anything off the shelf wasn't going to fit as I wanted it to and I was not paying $650 plus for something trivial(but time consuming). About $200 in parts and a few hours mapping and I was ready to begin wiring. I have these charts in PDF format if anybody would like to do the same.
Disclaimer about my charts that I am going to provide here. Some things may be wrong and I have found and fixed mistakes since uploading these pictures to the host site.
With the motor in and the wiring diagrams complete I could start wiring the engine harness. A good crimping tool and a lot of patience is essential for this job. There is a lot of test fit, remove, test fit again, repeat over and over. I started with a bundle of wires from DIYautotune which is intended for use with a Megasquirt but was the best quality wire I could find and it's a cost effective $45 for the 10' bundle. I crimped the in car connectors on and measured for length on my stock harness and this is where I began.
Dropped the loom in the car and began the long tedious process.
Many hours and test fits later and I was nearly done.
And here's the final product(minus finished grounds). I designed the harness so the coils and injectors had sub harnesses so I can remove the harness more easily if I have to take it out of the car or I swap injectors in the future. In hindsight I should've made a sub harness for the transmission but I can get a connector for that and do it in the future. It really is a shame that something so time consuming and beautiful is essentially hidden once its installed.
While I was making the engine harness I kept taking breaks and jumping over to another project that somewhat had to be done at the same time. This was wiring my gauges. It also took some of the monotony out of wiring the engine harness. I went with Speed Hut water temp and boost gauges and an innovate MTX-L wideband.
Water temp sensor mounted in the thermostat housing
Wiring always has to look terrible before it gets done
Fuse block all wired up. This will power my three gauges and my MAC solenoid valve. Only downfall is the location of this panel. It's behind the ECU so if I ever do pop a fuse Ill have to unbolt the ECU to change it.
Gauges all mounted up. I'm not sure if this was taken before or after they were wired but the mounting is obviously the same.
Long time no update. Progress has been slow on finishing the car but that seems to be the case with all projects. The wiring was finished a while ago but I could;t attempt to fire the car because I had no radiator at the time. I had a plan in the works but everything takes much longer than expected.
I knew I wanted a VMIC but didn't want to ditch my Greddy FMIC core because I really wouldn't get enough for it to cover the cost of a suitable IC core. So I set my friend on the task to modify the core for VMIC use. We mocked things up a little on the car first to see what needed to be done and then set off on modding the core. I also bought a new Koyo rad to modify for VMIC use.
Finished modified Koyo for the VMIC. Welded a new upper end tank in, divider between the two, and closed off the bottom rad outlet. I took a whole lot of measurements and made some rough sketches of the mounting brackets and ducting, leaving plenty of extra to be able to trim the panels to fit as needed. From these trimmed panels I may make panels exactly to size for a slightly cleaner look.
I'm going to go back to the fuel pump install for a post here because the way I did it could be pretty useful to others on here. The DW-300 isn't exactly a direct fit but this is to be expected. Luckily it is setup to be a direct fit in a lot of other cars, a miata being one of them. This makes it pretty easy to use the stock hanger, fuel line, and o-ring/seal. The fuelfeed tube was set up just like the OEM pump, just a hair shorter. I took the plastic collet piece and sanded a few thousandth off the bottom side to allow it to fully seat on the pump outlet. Then it was just a matter of popping the pump into the hanger feed and fastening it to the hanger.
As for the wiring, I wasn't ok with cutting and splicing, especially in the tank with those tiny stock wires. I thought about adding my own bulkhead connector but thought that could create other issues that I don't need. Easy and lucky solution. The crimp on pins for the IAC connector happen to be almost an exact match, with only the crimp portion being different. This meant simply de-pin stock connector and crimp new pins onto the DW300. No cutting, soldering, or crimping old wires together.
Stock pump feed
Update on the car. VMICis complete and the car is running. It's currently running on a map I picked up from the Adaptronic forum that had specs similar to my setup and it's acceptable for the time being. Working on getting the car to IRP for a check-up and some base tuning so I can get some good break in miles on it. VMIC is working flawlessly. Had the car out today on a 75 degree PA spring day and temps stayed at a solid 180-185. Only issue Left to sort out is an illusive exhaust leak but I think new midpipe gaskets will solve the issue.
I had to remount the ignition coils for ease of access. The AC bracket location was nearly impossible to access so I remounted them in the cruise control location. Being an engineer I couldn't justify purchasing the Sakebomb kit. A few measurements, some cardboard mockups, CAD files, laser cut parts and a little bit of time, Coil Bracket.
With the weather being on and off here and my tune being a little sketchy I haven't driven the car much. In the downtime I took it upon myself to make a transmission crossmember. I couldn't justify buying the Banzai crossmember because of my skill set and access to equipment. After looking over some bushing, designated transmission mounts, and space constraints I decided that the Banzai method with a Camaro trans mount from energy suspension would be the best option. There is a reason Banzai went with this mount, it's compact, inexpensive, and specifically designed for this application. Did some cardboard templating, measuring, more measuring and a light gage mock up. Welded and powdercoated product soon to come!
Finished transmission crossmember. Will install in the next few days. I've been daily driving the car without issue due to Subaru problems. If people are interested in these I can deliver them for an incredible price if I produce a quantity of 10 or greater. Made out of 8 gauge (0.160" thick) carbon steel, laser cut and press brake formed.