Project RX7 Turbo II. Track toy or not?

Project RX7 Turbo II. Track toy or not?

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TVR Tommy

Original Poster:

598 posts

186 months

Wednesday 13th February 2013
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On Saturday I won a Mazda RX7 turbo II Gen 2 on Ebay. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1990-MAZDA-RX7-TURBO-BLA...

After the auction I did think what have I gone and done. It was a bit of a last minute spur of the moment purchase. It looked like it needed saving and I broke nearly every single car buying rule I have... I didn't even go and have a look at it. Just paid and arranged collecting it.

After mildly worrying about it for the past three days it turned up on a trailer this morning. It did look a little green and sorry for itself.

The RX7 do suffer from rust, which could have meant I bought a pup . Thankfully it's pretty solid. The floors have been patched a little bit and theres a bit of rust on the rear arch and few other bits here and there. But no terminal tin worm and looks pretty good for a 22 year old car.

After getting it off the trailer and checking it over a bit more I noticed water in the passenger footwell. Which could've been a bit of problem, as the ECU's reside down there. Luckily they haven't got wet. The interior isn't the best, The seats are ripped most of the screws holding the plastics together are either missing or broken. But if I'm going to strip it out it doesn't really matter.

I've not really managed to do much to it except rip the carpet out and mop up the water. But if the weather is okay tomorrow I'll have a look at getting the engine running.

Currently I'm in two minds if I should make it a track toy or not. There are not that many Turbo II's left on the road, so will parts be difficult and expensive to source. Will it be able to take the stresses of track days and be reliable enough. Am I going to be destroying a car that are getting few and far between.
On the other hand once it's stripped, caged and some other bits and bobs fitted. Will it make a really nice cheap track toy. I think it's got potential.

A few pictures after a quick wash to get shot of the green crap.





Edited by TVR Tommy on Wednesday 13th February 17:41


Edited by TVR Tommy on Monday 22 July 09:02

mattman

2,357 posts

183 months

Wednesday 13th February 2013
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Track toy!!! biggrin

ALThaus

62 posts

136 months

Wednesday 13th February 2013
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Would anyone mind if i left these here?

Le mans


US GT


JGTC


Rainy fuji: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TqgvpAmBq4

stew-S160

7,826 posts

199 months

Thursday 14th February 2013
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I have to say it, but stick a V8 in it.

Robmarriott

2,090 posts

119 months

Thursday 14th February 2013
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Holy crap that sold cheap!

I was watching this as they rarely come up.

Cleaned up well too.

Very envious here

wackojacko

8,561 posts

151 months

Thursday 14th February 2013
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Re-engine it then use asa track car smile

Use it until te rotary (inevitably) breaks then vag 1.8t or a VteC of sorts. I think the fun of a revvy car on track is lost by the big V8's in these. Low torque and lots of revs.

Sorted.

Thud_Mcguffin

263 posts

164 months

Thursday 14th February 2013
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I have run a couple of these in the past and really enjoyed them. Parts are not hard to come by as long as you don't mind occassionally have to get them shipped from the US. There is still a big following for the car over there so plenty of parts suppliers at reasonable prices (incl shipping).

The biggest draw back in keeping it as a road car is the woeful fuel consumption of around 20mpg avg. This will always keep the value down if you restore it and try to sell it on in the future. If you are still considering it as a resto project you may also want to get the engine compression checked by a specialist (or Mazda even) to get a feeling for how close you are to rebuild time. A sure sign of engine wear is poor starting/flooding when hot.

I would track it! The make a unique rotary noise and with what you paid for it, binning it would not be too big a problem. Let us know how you get on!


TVR Tommy

Original Poster:

598 posts

186 months

Thursday 14th February 2013
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Well been having a go at getting it going today. At the start of the day the engine wouldn't even turn over. I think this was a bad connection on the alarm. Got it turning over on the battery. Drained all the 40L of old fuel and put in some new Vpower. But it's currently not playing ball. I've had to give up as the battery needed recharging.

I'm not a massive fan of the rotary, never really liked the one in my old FD. Drank fuel and sounded rubbish to my ears. I would love to put a large v8 or s2000 engine in the car. But would be spending far to much on a bit of a fun track toy.

The last owner spend a fair bit of money on it. Getting all the rust patched up so now it's pretty solid underneath. I think I could get in through an MOT without to much faffing about. But I've got to get the engine to running first.





Edited by TVR Tommy on Wednesday 24th July 08:42

TVR Tommy

Original Poster:

598 posts

186 months

Friday 15th February 2013
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After a bit more fiddling around today the car now has a running engine. Really chuffed as no tip problems and ran up to temp and all is well. Will give it a good service and then tackle the brakes and then sorting out a few electrical problems.

I was surprised the ricer sized exhaust is pretty quiet. But still don't really like the sound of the rotary, they just sound a bit like a hairdryer to me.

I'm still undecided if I should track toy it or clean it up move it on. Then invest the profits into something else i can get up and running, as it's good fun when it all goes to plan.

TVR Tommy

Original Poster:

598 posts

186 months

Sunday 14th April 2013
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I've been a bit slow to update this. The Rx7 hasn't given me an easy time getting it up and running. Oh and I also found out the car was a Cat C when the V5 turned up. I know I should have run a HPI check on the car. Stupid me.

Mechanicals

Once I got the car running I found that it had a pretty bad coolant leak from the water pump. It looked like it was coming from the front pump seal. Which I used some liquid gasket on. Then the rear seal started to leak so I bought new front and rear gaskets, which are rather expensive for what they are. Once I fitted those the pump started to leak from the shaft. So bought a used one of those. Finally I had no leaks thank god.

Once I'd finished dealing with leaks. Attention was turned to a non functioning oil injection pump. I managed to find a second hand one of these, as the cost from Mazda was eye watering. I fitted that hoping it would get the car up and running properly. Which it didn't... The pump still didn't work and the car would go into limp mode. Unfortunately the old pump had a short in the motor which took out the ECU. I did smell burning electrics when I first got the car running. But it soon stopped smelling once the ECU had finished being destroyed. Whilst scratching my head on what the problem with pump might be, i stumbled across a thread on the American RX7 forum about pumps melting ECUs. The ECU still worked and gave out error codes that the pump was faulty. So a used ECU was sourced plugged in and all problems where solved.

It doesn't sound like it was that difficult or time consuming to get it up and running from what I've just wrote. But thats far from the truth, I got pretty close to sticking it back on eBay as a non-runner. The uk/euro cars are a little different from the US cars, which is where most of the technical help comes from. For example the US car has an engine light on the dash which you can read engine fault codes off. The uk cars don't have this and I couldn't find any information on how to pull the codes. In the end after two days of trying various methods I finally managed to get the codes using a multi meter.

After all these problems I decided once fixed it was going sell it on. I went about buying missing interior plastics, a new drivers seat, wiring up a new head unit and replacing the front bumper. As the original was the wrong one for the car. The car was starting to look resectable.

With the car starting to look a lot better than when it first turned up on the drive, I think I've had a bit of a change of heart. I've found myself buying adjustable suspension and some new wheels and tyres. Looking at roll cages and mulling over striping it out. I'm going to get the MOT done at the end of the month and get the car road legal.

Pictures to follow once I've put the body kit back on the car. Removed because Stevie Wonder must have fitted this one. Why would anyone use white silicon on a black car?!?!

Edited by TVR Tommy on Monday 22 July 09:07


Edited by TVR Tommy on Monday 22 July 09:08

TVR Tommy

Original Poster:

598 posts

186 months

Thursday 18th April 2013
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Here are some update pictures. I think I can safely say it's an improvement from 2 months ago. Still got some jobs to do to tide it up a bit more. It really needs a good machine polish.


The new correct front bumper looks a lot better than than the one that arrived on the car

The Skyline R32 GTR wheels look a lot better than the flakey old original on the car. I've got the originals on ebay and hopefully they'll cover the cost of the replacement (£70 bargain)

The car does show its age and does have a good few battle scars to show for its years

The seats are a bit of a mismatch on the colour. The interior is nearly finished but needs a few bits to finish. But it might be all getting ripped out if final make my mind up to track day it.

Now just got to get it MOT'd. I've found classic insurance for £190 which I think is pretty cheap. It's only £30 more than my Land Rover 90 with a good deal more poke.

Edited by TVR Tommy on Thursday 18th April 15:53

seefarr

929 posts

147 months

Friday 19th April 2013
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Starting to look really good now - looks like it could be a lot of fun as a track car.

TVR Tommy said:
The uk/euro cars are a little different from the US cars, which is where most of the technical help comes from. For example the US car has an engine light on the dash which you can read engine fault codes off. The uk cars don't have this and I couldn't find any information on how to pull the codes.
It might be worth checking if the UK models are the same as the Australian ones (being RHD). Rotaries are really popular there and there's an active community with lots of tech help here:

http://www.ausrotary.com/


braddo

7,312 posts

149 months

Friday 19th April 2013
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TVR Tommy said:

The Skyline R32 GTR wheels look a lot better than the flakey old original on the car. I've got the originals on ebay and hopefully they'll cover the cost of the replacement (£70 bargain)
Those wheels look really, really good. Even the offset appears perfect - quite a result for wheels from a completely different car.

The cars might be rare in the UK but they're also pretty much worthless (and will remain so with their mpg and people's fear of rotaries). Therefore, the only answer is to keep it as a track toy to get some enjoyment back from the effort you have expended. thumbup

Not sure I'd bother with the stripping the interior - maybe just half cage, buckets and harnesses?

TVR Tommy

Original Poster:

598 posts

186 months

Friday 19th April 2013
quotequote all
seefarr said:
It might be worth checking if the UK models are the same as the Australian ones (being RHD). Rotaries are really popular there and there's an active community with lots of tech help here:

http://www.ausrotary.com/
Thanks for the link seefarr not been on that rotary forum before.


braddo said:
Those wheels look really, really good. Even the offset appears perfect - quite a result for wheels from a completely different car.

The cars might be rare in the UK but they're also pretty much worthless (and will remain so with their mpg and people's fear of rotaries). Therefore, the only answer is to keep it as a track toy to get some enjoyment back from the effort you have expended. thumbup

Not sure I'd bother with the stripping the interior - maybe just half cage, buckets and harnesses?
The wheels do work surprising well don't they Braddo. The old originals looked a little lost in the arch. The R32 wheels popped up on ebay and where way underpriced. £70 with good matching sport conti's all round and forged. Even more of a result that the old wheels i have up on ebay are current sitting at £70 with 2 days to go.

I've been keeping my eye out for any FC's that come onto the market and they do seem to be cheap and don't get snapped up very quickly. Looking at it I think they are worth more in parts. The rotary isn't much loved in the UK is it. The fuel consumption is woeful and they come across as unreliable. I'm not sure about how unreliable as my FD was perfectly reliable over the 2 years I had it. On the plus side to rebuild them isn't that expensive with a complete seal kit at around 1K. I think they would be cheaper to rebuild than a equivalent powered piston engine. I think the biggest thing with the FC is rust. Mine has had loads of it taken out. But I've found a small amount more that'll need looking at.

I've spent nearly twice what I bought the car for getting it to it's current state. I think if I'd done the absolute minimum it would have cost about £200 to get it up and running. But with buying non vital parts like seat, bumper, suspension and other little bits and giving it a full service, it soon adds up.

I am going to put it up for sale once it's finished for a month. If someone wants it then great if not I'll turn it into what I originally intended.

If it doesn't sell and I keep it I've put a bit of a shopping list together.
Bigger radiator.
Electric rad fan
Pads will want replacing
Take out the rear steer bushes and replace with solid ones
Half cage
Front and rear strut braces
Remove carpets, scrape sound proofing off the floor and paint black
Take out the power steering
Remove air pump
Replace open diff with an FD torsen diff if it needs it.

I think once I've done the extra little bits the car will have cost 2k and will make an okay cheap track car.

Edited by TVR Tommy on Friday 19th April 11:56


Edited by TVR Tommy on Tuesday 21st May 08:33

ukzz4iroc

2,294 posts

135 months

Friday 19th April 2013
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Love that. Not many left as you say and I would keep it with Rotary as a road car.

TVR Tommy

Original Poster:

598 posts

186 months

Monday 6th May 2013
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The RX7 is now MOT'd and I'm finally getting to use it. A few more little problems have cropped up.

Idle was inconstant, occasionally it would idle correctly at around 800rpm. More often than not it would be idling at 1400rpm. But after resetting the warm up thermowax, throttle stop, bacs and TPS it returns to the correct idle. I think I coursed most of this from fiddling around with all of that when trying to get it running.

It was loosing coolant. Which was a little concerning due to the horror stories you read about failed water seals on the rotor housing. Thankfully it was just a leaking hose heading to the heater.

Other than that the car is running great and doing terrible MPG. I've got to say it's good fun to drive, handling is far better than I ever expected it would be. The only criticism is it's quite skittish on ruff roads. As a track car I think it'll be perfect. So I've finally made a decision, a track car it shall be.

As bank holiday Monday has been a cracker weather wise, I've been stripping out the interior and removing the sound deadening from the floors. Which was not an easy 4-5 hours of chipping and scrapping. With all the bits removed the car has shed 54kg in weight. Before I take it on it's first track day, I'm going to fit a larger radiator and fit a more accurate water temperature gauge.

Edited by TVR Tommy on Tuesday 21st May 08:35

TVR Tommy

Original Poster:

598 posts

186 months

Tuesday 7th May 2013
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Some pictures of the stripped interior.







Edited by TVR Tommy on Monday 27th May 20:31

tommy,b

30 posts

180 months

Monday 20th May 2013
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Loving this Tom keep up the good work. Give me a call when your thinking of doing a track day.

TVR Tommy

Original Poster:

598 posts

186 months

Tuesday 21st May 2013
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Thanks Tom. I'll let you know once I start tracking it.

The car is now pretty much completely stripped, a little more extremely stripped than I first intended. All that remains is dash and door cards. I've painted the floor black and the inside is coming together. One problem I've come across is lack of headroom. With a helmet on I hit the headlining. So I've had to remove the sunroof mech to get an extra inch of headroom. I did think about bolting the seats directly to the floor. But ideally the seats need to be movable. As I'm sure an array of different sized drivers will drive it, so easy adjustability is more important than a sunroof and headlining. Either I'm going to permanently fix the sunroof panel in place or if that doesn't work, riveting an ali sheet to the roof which might look a little getto. I think I must have stripped about 70-80kg out of the car now.

The car has defiantly lost all it comforts now. It's loud and boomy inside and all mechanical noises are very audible.

I've bought a Koyo dual pass radiator, which should make a big difference in cooling. When removing the old radiator It was well past its best and I don't think it would have coped with the stress's of a trackday. The end caps had started to weep and the core was showing it's 23 years of service. I've also removed a couple bits in front of the radiator that where getting in the way of air flow. I'm also fitting a new temp sensor and gauge. The factory fitted sensor only starts moving to the red once your close and most likely already fried the engine.

Mazda fitted a thing called a thermo pellet that stops oil circulation to the eccentric (crank) shaft to improve engine warm up times. These fail and the engine destroys itself. So I'm shimming it so the oil circulates fully from cold.

Removed the air pump and air control valve. The car has been decated, so was just taking up space and adding weight. Also fully replaced all the vac hoses as they where looking past there best and I could remove a couple of solenoids that controlled the air control valve.



Edited by TVR Tommy on Monday 27th May 20:35


Edited by TVR Tommy on Monday 22 July 09:19

TVR Tommy

Original Poster:

598 posts

186 months

Monday 27th May 2013
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Well the inside is nearly done. Just a few bits to do to tidy it up a bit. Like making a cover plate to protect the ECU, The roof needs painting where I've had to grind out the old sunroof metal. I think it's in need of a rollcage, as the shoulder belts aren't great being mounted on the floor. Oh and a new steering wheel which should turn up this week.

Removing all the metal from the sunroof and taking off the air pump has removed another 30kg, The total removed so far is 80kg. I might also remove the power steering and ABS pump. Which should remove another 10kg.





The Citroen badged Sabelt seats are a bit misplaced in a Mazda. But they fit me perfectly and they where only £180.





The sunroof blanking plate is a bit of a crude way to fill in the sunroof hole. I've tried to make it as neat as possible with some curves and correctly spaced rivets. I think I might give it a bit of a paint. There was no real alternative other than remove the sunroof and all the mech. With my helmet on my noggin, i have about 1mm headroom now. So my head still touches sometimes, with the sunroof in place I wouldn't have been able to drive it comfortable. Taking out the sunroof has given me an extra inch of headroom.

Hopefully Parcelforce will pull there finger out and tell me what import duty I owe on the new radiator. I can then get that fitted, so I can take it on a track day next weekend.


Edited by TVR Tommy on Monday 27th May 19:05