3 4 5 6
Joe_Mama New Reader
3/29/20 4:25 p.m.

I finally got the AC working. Wiring was screwed up because I made some assumptions in how the control side works, ended up being much simpler than I thought. I had one leak where I had to weld the fitting on the driver's side of the condenser, nothing a little TIG action couldn't solve. Clutch is cycling nicely and the vent air hits as low as 35 degrees. Window tint and tune are all that's left, then I'll find somewhere to take some video and beauty pics and wrap this thing up!

Joe_Mama New Reader
4/25/20 7:18 p.m.

Slight detour, given the times.

Gadzooks! My interior has been stolen!

Taking advantage of the downtime to add more sound deadening, including floor carpet and carpet padding. Hearing fine detail from the audio was just not possible. Way overestimated what the Lizard Skin was going to do for me. I also had to add block off plates to cover 3/4 of the cowl inlet ducts to reduce air rush noise. Tint will be immediately after this. The sun is a harsh mistress in this greenhouse.

Joe_Mama New Reader
6/5/20 5:06 p.m.

Ok. Let's see. I finished adding what seems like 30 lbs of sound deadening, carpet pad, and carpet in this thing and I'll be damned if it isn't MUCH quieter now. I also installed some tint, 20% on the rears and 35% on the doors. For track days I made some longer hood pin brackets that keep the hood open about an inch or so and I swap the brakes to Hawk Blue pads and their own rotors.

Street Mode


Track Mode

I did not want to go through the hassle of doing a factory style headliner so I just ended up gluing acoustic foam panels to the ceiling. Works very well and doesn't look too bad. Also a pic of the Jass gauge panel dress-up kit installed as well as the steering wheel cover. No pics but I also added a wide angle interior rearview mirror and attached a large spot mirror that takes up the whole useless side mirror. Getting a sense of the surroundings with the mirrors was a joke before.


Now that the east SF bay has hit 100 degrees I also discovered that the cooling system is a little deficient. In slow traffic it starts overheating. I think what I need to do is completely block the front side of the radiator off from the engine compartment and possibly upgrade the fans from whatever came on this Mishimoto fan shroud I'm using.

Also, I'm taking this baby to Thunderhill this Sunday. Gonna put it through some paces on the full 5 mile course (aka Thunderschliefe). I should be able to get a good grasp of what I need to do with the suspension and alignment settings after this.

Lastly, I still have work to do I guess. Cooling upgrades. Bigger front brakes have been added to the list because this thing has got to be 200lbs heavier than the Miata. Still hasn't been tuned either.

OjaiM5 Reader
6/5/20 5:41 p.m.

Looks freak'N awesome!

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/5/20 6:43 p.m.

Headliner is cool!

Arosa14tdi New Reader
6/6/20 5:34 a.m.

I had an original t3 in green with red interior but loving yours more

6/6/20 6:02 a.m.

Keeps getting better and better.

Joe_Mama New Reader
6/6/20 3:37 p.m.

Thanks everybody! I am glad I can at least be actively driving it now. My will to do more work on it is just about spent. Just have to do the things I mentioned and I will just leave it alone forever (until it needs the flex plate and flywheel replaced with Ecotec Miata's custom billet flywheel. Or... I want to put cams in it. Or...)

Joe_Mama New Reader
6/8/20 11:05 p.m.

Did the fact finding mission on the 5 mile Thunderhill course on Sunday. It was a blast. People were constantly asking about it. How did it handle? Like a modded Miata with a dead elephant on top but dialing up the rear shocks helped a ton.

Lessons learned: Needs a bit more rear spring. Needs a little lower ride height. Needs wider track tires. Needs a real seat. Needs a big brake kit for front AND rear. Needs a big ol' air dam. This thing is way better on gas at the track than the Miata was with it's supercharged engine. Coolant temps stayed below 220 at all times on the track.

Besides what I've stated above and in previous replies, I'm also going to ditch the useless heavy bumpers and move the exhaust tips in and up as well as redo the under-transmission exhaust arrangement. That should allow me to lower the car a bit more and not scrape the driveway or large speedbumps. I had decided a long time ago that I wanted the bumpers because I preferred the look with them on but it also has a nice clean look (or vintage race look?) without them so I'll live with it.

TurnerX19 Dork
6/9/20 7:17 a.m.

 Like a modded Miata with a dead elephant on top  One of the funniest lines ever. Thanks for the cheer this morning!

Joe_Mama New Reader
6/11/20 8:24 p.m.
jfryjfry (Forum Supporter)
jfryjfry (Forum Supporter) Dork
6/11/20 8:40 p.m.

Looks great! Love the interior

Joe_Mama New Reader
6/19/20 5:49 p.m.

Finished adding radiator block-off pieces. There was an area bigger than my hand on each side that was open. Hopefully this is all it needed.

I'm working on blocking off the passenger front fender from the engine compartment because I'm getting some weird airflow and pressure issues in the HVAC, which I believe is because of the cowl drain located under the fender.

I'm also going to have to seal my vent windows shut with RTV or something. Even though they have new, properly installed seals, they leak water at a couple different spots and cause whistling and air rush noises on the highway and there's no good way to make them seal properly without totally replacing them with a fixed piece of lexan or glass.

rustomatic New Reader
6/19/20 6:00 p.m.

This is awesome--love the ingenuity!  I have some fond memories of looping out at Thunderhill, both on my own and with an instructor driving.  I aspire to your grasp of A/C--this plus Mazda make for the best fastback VW ever.

Joe_Mama New Reader
6/19/20 6:05 p.m.

In reply to rustomatic :

Thanks! AC isn't that bad once you understand it. In this case Mazda did most of the work, all I had to do was make it work for me.

Joe_Mama New Reader
7/11/20 12:44 p.m.

Blocking off the fender and sealing the vent windows worked like a charm! No more wind rush and as a nice surprise, waaay less engine noise. I can't believe how much quieter it is now. I need to block the air filter area off from the rear half of the drivers fender now to chop down the intake noise. Maybe after that I'll be able to actually hear the exhaust. My radiator block-offs seem to have worked as well. It takes longer for the fan to come on and seems to lower the temp back down nicely.

Of course there's more stuff to fix... Something in the drivers door is vibrating with any sort off bass from the speaker and one of the rear speakers blew its woofer already, without an amp even. So I bought a pair of Alpine 6.5" to replace the rears and wouldn't you know, the damn Pioneers that I had installed claimed to be 6.5" but are actually 6" so the new ones don't fit. Now I have to cut up my rear deck area some more to get them in. Lovely. Oh well. Bigger=better so whatever.

Chesterfield Reader
7/11/20 1:29 p.m.

It is a great looking car. It sounds like you are getting a handle on getting everything to work properly. The more you drive the more you notice little things that need to be addressed. By making the interior quieter, you can now hear some of the other noises that were not so obvious before. It is a project car and you will keep finding ways to improve it as long as you drive it.

Joe_Mama New Reader
7/11/20 5:06 p.m.

In reply to Chesterfield :

Exactly. The little corrections that need to be made get fewer and smaller. And like I said to NOHOME, no project car is ever DONE done. Case in point: I decided to go bumperless, took off the nose trim piece, and I'm going to cut the rear skirt up to be even with the corners of the fenders and then move the exhaust tips in, up, and shorter... after I redo the front section of the exhaust. Replace the cams with ZZP ones. Get it properly tuned finally.........

mannydantyla Reader
10/19/20 2:28 p.m.

Kick ass my dude! That's got to be the best looking car at the track. I've yet to take mine to any sort of track event but hopefully one day. 

I came here to steal your plans for the power windows, fyi, I've fallen pretty far behind you now in our builds. I don't think I'll ever fully catch up lol.

mannydantyla Reader
10/19/20 2:30 p.m.
Joe_Mama said:

I decided to go bumperless

How would you like to turn them into several hundred dollars? My bumpers are trashed. (I check this thread like twice a year so if you need the money then email me, danmantyla at gmail)

Joe_Mama New Reader
10/27/20 10:04 p.m.

In reply to mannydantyla :

I haven't even checked the thread in months! Bumpers were bought for $400 by someone in Florida! I sat on the guy's payment for weeks because of a shipping snafu but they're gone. Power windows weren't that bad if you can cut and weld. Some guy on youtube used some Toyota motors but the video kinda sucks. As long as the teeth on the gear are close to the same and you can fab the mounting points and drive spindle support it should work.


Since I'm here how about an update? -Daily driving at least 4 days per week now. Still some minor bugs to squash but nothing major. I've changed my mind on any big performance mods. It's just not worth it on this car and kinda goes beyond what I built it for. All I'm going to do over the winter is some maintenance/repairs, exhaust reconfiguring, 225 tires on the existing rims, 400lb rear springs, remove the rear skirt, grab some more aggressive track pads and rotors and a cheap bucket race seat, and in the spring I'll finally get it tuned. I'll probably do a couple more thread updates and then call this project done. I'm already looking ahead to another project, most likely a dedicated track car, just don't know what.

10/27/20 11:01 p.m.

In reply to Joe_Mama :

You have gone on to be an inspiration to keep working on the Molvo. 2020 has kinda taken the wind out of my sails for that project but I just finally got the clutch sorted and it suddenly became a nice car to drive. Even at 8 mpg. Next is the expulsion of the Fitech that perennially works, but not good enough. 

Joe_Mama New Reader
10/28/20 8:23 p.m.

In reply to NOHOME :

Thank you sir! Keep at it, that thing is great! I told myself from the beginning that I was going to spend almost every free hour I had on this thing and never stop because I didn't want to lose the drive or the focus and I'm glad I powered through and didn't have any huge life issues to derail me. I'd actually like to do more for this thing and I know I said (they all say) that projects are never truly done but I have to draw a line somewhere. I will still drive this on the track for the next year or two but I'm kidding myself if I think I can go full out and expand my abilities in this thing. Besides, I'd rather be flying 10/10ths around a track harnessed in a cage in a car that isn't my daily driver.

notsafeforwork Reader
10/29/20 12:01 p.m.

EXCELLENT throughout ! I never saw this thread before, simple love it ! ! !

Joe_Mama New Reader
10/30/20 9:15 p.m.
notsafeforwork said:

EXCELLENT throughout ! I never saw this thread before, simple love it ! ! !

Thanks! It turned out almost exactly as planned. I was thinking it would only take 2 years instead of 3 but hey, it's on the road.

3 4 5 6
Our Preferred Partners