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¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Dork
9/5/15 2:25 p.m.

The Cheapest of Logbooks

So, a little over 2 months ago, I put a deposit on this:

Well, that's what it looked like 15 years ago- but despite the fact that it was on the other side of the country, didn't run, and looked suspiciously rusty in the pictures, it had a logbook which would allow it to be "grandfathered" into modern Rally, so I agreed to buy.

Surprise number one was the lack of a title- it was advertised as having a clean one, but apparently not in the seller's name. It took a long time to get it, and when the title finally showed up it was reconstructed, not clean. Oh well.

Surprise number two was the condition of the car upon arrival. It's much rustier than the seller let on (basically needs floors), and the wiring looks like it was attacked by meth heads, raccoons, and raccoons on meth. And the brakes and the clutch don't work- hopefully they just need to be bled...

Also, the transport guys carried it across the country like this:

It's difficult to see, but the front wheels are off the ground and the chassis is resting on the trailer.

Here's what I found for the cage feet:

Perhaps most frightening of all, this was on the cage directly in front of the driver:

That was all last night. I didn't sleep very well- I was prepared for body damage, adding a tube here and there, fixing suspension bits... but this car is full of my two least favorite things: rust and electrical issues. At least it has a logbook, although at this point I'm not sure if I should try to get it back on stage- throwing a cage in the 2wd pickup of my choice would both be easier and (probably) more reliable.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Dork
9/5/15 2:42 p.m.

Magic Triangles

This morning I got straight to work, throwing in a battery and some fresh spark plugs. The battery cables appeared to be chewed apart but things seem to sort of work- stuff makes clicking sounds and the engine turns over when you try to start it. The battery cables also aren't long enough anymore so you have to put the battery frighteningly close to the PS pulley.

I checked spark first, and it looks strong on both leading and trailing plugs. Spent hours chasing the fuel pump circuit before discovering that the wiring behind the dash is hacked up and the main relay is missing and bypassed- so I ran a wire straight to the fuel pump, which sounds like it's working.

Then I tried repeatedly to start it- I could crank forever and get nothing, but would always get a little sputter out of it when I stop cranking. Eventually, I figured out that the ignition switch was only in the "ON" position while turned slightly towards "START." So, add ignition switch to the list of totally berkeleyed electrical components, hotwire it on, and... IT LIVES!

It actually sounds pretty healthy, idles nicely, and doesn't smoke excessively (for a rotary). Next I'll bleed the brakes and clutch, and try to drive the thing.

I also have emails out to the tech guys from both Rally America and NASA to see what exactly my options are for getting this thing legal again.

Jeff SuperDork
9/5/15 4:42 p.m.

Dusterbd13 UltraDork
9/5/15 7:26 p.m.

God, I hope it was cheap.

Good luck man.I'll at least be watching and secretly rooting for turbo gm 60*v6 swap.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Dork
9/5/15 7:59 p.m.

It was a teeny bit more than half a challenge car, so yeah, cheap. If I have to scrap it tomorrow I'll still have lost less than I do on most race cars

Ross413 New Reader
9/5/15 8:05 p.m.

Nice.I have been patiently waiting for this thread, just to see what your Rally plans are. Good buy, hope is goes smoother than it has so far.


¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Dork
9/6/15 3:06 p.m.

I Drove It!
No, seriously I did. Brake bleeding went pretty well, but the left rear had a ton of air in it- probably needs to be looked at.

I couldn't get the clutch pedal off the floor, or any fluid through the slave cylinder. Eventually, I removed the master cylinder, threaded a screw into it, and pulled the piston back out. After much swearing and PB blaster, the piston moved freely, but still had a screw jammed where the push rod has to go- so I cut a slot into it with a dremel and used a flathead to hold it and back the screw out. Reinstalled, bled the system, and drove it.

The engine is strong, but it's clear it needs bushings and a diff rebuild along with everything else... I may try to sell it and see what happens, since this is obviously a BIG project to try to get Stage Rally legal, but could still be a solid choice for a Lemons/Chump/Drift person.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Dork
9/6/15 3:17 p.m.

Checking to see if I get any interest: http://allentown.craigslist.org/cto/5209216557.html

Fr3AkAzOiD Reader
9/7/15 7:47 p.m.

Best of luck

irish44j PowerDork
9/7/15 8:21 p.m.

Chris, you are a glutton for punishment, lol....

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Dork
9/8/15 6:42 p.m.

Crispy or Extra Crispy?

So I got under the car and found this:

I could post more but it would all look pretty similar. Now, where I'm from (Northeast) if a car looks like this underneath you can bet that Flintstone style cruising is just a foot stomp away- but an experienced source in the car's former home told me to really go after it and check.

So, I got real violent with a flathead screwdriver under there. I managed to open up a couple decent sized holes under the seats, and some really small ones near the cage feet, but overall it was not nearly as bad as I expected. Maybe I wrote this car off too soon, but I need to sleep on it, and have a friend of mine look over the wiring.

It still needs everything, but on the rust front things are looking up.

banzaitoyota Reader
9/8/15 8:01 p.m.

I have a rust free 86 non sunroof roller available

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Dork
9/9/15 5:09 a.m.

I appreciate the offer, but the logbook is for this exact chassis with this exact cage, so another shell would only be a parts/sheet metal donor. I've located an RX7 parts place that can apparently get me anything from wiring harnesses to sections of floor, etc.

java230 Reader
9/9/15 10:22 a.m.

Following along... Really hope you don't sell it

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Dork
9/9/15 11:13 a.m.

I'm leaning in the "berkeley it let's get to work" direction right now

Dusterbd13 UltraDork
9/9/15 11:30 a.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ wrote: I'm leaning in the "berkeley it let's get to work" direction right now

With a turbo gm v6 swap, right?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Dork
9/10/15 6:37 p.m.

berkeley It Let's Get to Work
OK, I've decided to quit being a Bob Costas- the car is no longer for sale, and I guess it's time to get started.
Wait, how did the dash get out around the cage? Through the hole where the windshield used to be. It was cracked anyway.

Wiring carnage:

I found a junkyard that can get me an intact dash harness, so that's the plan. I don't think it will fix everything, but it would be a step in the right direction.

Also, I found this under the passenger seat:

Yeah, I'll be redoing the seat mounts.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Dork
9/10/15 7:48 p.m.

Up in the Air

Car is on stands now. I managed to get three of the wheels off using my serious Chuck Norris roundhouse kicking skillz, but the left front is really on there. I hosed it down with PB Blaster, along with every bolt I could reach.

The car has big beefy skid plates:

The suspension looks to be in OK shape- it needs bushings all around but no surprise there. The diff is a 4.30 LSD, which needs a rebuild since it's not limiting the slip much right now. Its' bushings are also completely shot.

The only salvageable looking part of the strut assembly looks to be the coilover sleeves... the springs look kinda short for rally, and the dampers are REALLY blown. I've had these Tokico 5-ways on other cars and was not even a little impressed, so I won't be putting the same thing back on.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Dork
9/14/15 10:41 a.m.

To Do
It's going to hurt, but I think I should list out what I need to do on this thing:
- Fix rust
- Fix cage (front feet and harness bar)
- Make seat mounts
- Paint interior/wheel wells/undercarriage
- Fix wiring
- Make legal dash/door panels
- Rebuild diff
- Clutch hydraulics (drop trans to check clutch assy?)
- Brakes
- Suspension bushings
- Coilovers
- Wheels/tires
- Drive the piss out of it to see if anything breaks
- Maybe make it look slightly better

Anything else I need to do "while I'm in there"? Any dumb E36 M3 I need to address that I'm not thinking of because I've never owned an FC?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Dork
9/14/15 8:34 p.m.


Looks like somebody took a few tries to place the seat mounts:

NGTD UltraDork
9/14/15 9:39 p.m.

I am glad to see that he are taking a shot at fixing it!

I hope to see it on stage someday!

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Dork
9/15/15 7:41 p.m.

Sawzall vs. Hammerhead
One of the great mysteries of this car is what exactly the berkeley this thing is:

This hammerhead shark style protrusion was welded to the harness bar at some point, presumably because the harness was too short, or as a seat brace, or something. I hate it. It must die.
If you played my life as a first person shooter, ^that's^ what it would look like most of the time.
I'll grind this thing flush eventually- I love wielding the death wheel but with Black River Stages in a few days I'm trying to avoid maiming myself.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Dork
9/15/15 7:46 p.m.

Seam Welding Test Case
It looks like, for whatever reason, at some point certain things got seam welded on one side of the car but not the other. The clearest example of this is the strut towers.
Driver's side- seam welded:

Navigator's side- not seam welded: Obviously I'll be patching and seam welding where I can on this thing- that doesn't look great

Ross413 New Reader
9/15/15 7:57 p.m.

Are you headed to NY this weekend? I was thinking of driving up to spectate, get a feel for a NASA event, see if I want to build a stage car... Are you doing the moto?


¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Dork
9/15/15 9:06 p.m.

Yep, bike 128. You should volunteer, they always need more!

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