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1983 Mazda RX-7 GS + 2009 Toyota Prius + 1995 Toyota Corolla DX


#22

Oh my. It’s been a couple weeks since my last post. And its been a rough two weeks.

Nothing really new has happened to the RX-7, besides a 140+ mile drive that she handled flawlessly (and got an impressive 23mpg on). I got my new brake hardline and I think we can retrofit a new set of self-adjuster screws to the drums, which is good. Oh, I did have a run in with the mystery “oil flooding” issue, but it seems to have disappeared after I tightened the spark plugs down (they were literally only hand tight, yikes on that one past self).


and she passed 72k miles on the way into work this morning!

I really want to get the clutch master and slave changed out, but unfortunately I’m going to have to wait. The Prius has developed an unidentifiable problem (at least I have not been able to figure it out).

Last weekend the Maintenance light came on in the Prius, signifying that I needed an oil change (which I was overdue anyways). So I did an oil change. After the change, the engine was misfiring a bit at idle and low throttle. I also happened to notice that the oil got overfilled a bit somehow (I measured it out to be below the capacity listed online, but whatever).

Due to the misfire, I decided to check my spark plugs. The first plug came out alright, and I noticed that the ceramic was cracked, probably part of my misfire. The second plug’s ceramic broke and exploded while I was loosening it; I used a combination of a vacuum and air compressor to retrieve as many of the ceramic pieces from the spark plug well as I could before extracting the spark plug. I changed the other two plugs without a hitch, and they came out undamaged. However, when I started the car back up, the engine was shaking and rattling, as if something was pinging around inside a cylinder; it seems like I missed a ceramic piece. The piece did leave the engine and out the exhaust, and based on my research, the engine should not have suffered much, if any, internal damage. After the ceramic piece left the engine, it sounded great and perfectly normal. But then on my shakedown drive, I began to notice a strange noise. I changed oil filters, thinking maybe the Fram filter I put on was junk; and also dropped the oil level back down to just under full in the process. However, even with the oil level corrected and an OEM Toyota/Denso oil filter, the noise persists. To me it sounds like piston slap, but I can’t really tell if it is or not; for all I know it could be a timing issue. Perhaps the timing chain jumped a tooth, or the tensioner broke loose, when the engine rattled and shook with the ceramic piece…

Regardless of what the issue is, I don’t have the knowledge or experience to diagnose or fix it myself. As much as I want to avoid a big repair bill or diagnostic bill, I am going to take the Prius to either the Toyota dealership or a local shop. I may be chasing ghosts, but I’d rather chase a ghost and pay a bit now than wonder why my engine died and have to fork up a lot of cash later.

I’ll include some pictures and videos in a section below if you want to see the old plugs and the well with the broken plug. Videos you can take a listen to the noise yourself. I’ve been avoiding driving it in case this is a big problem, so don’t worry. The RX-7 has been behaving like a good girl since last weekend, so I’m in good hands until the Prius can get diagnosed and/or fixed. Of course, it is January, so I would like to get the Prius roadworthy ASAP in case it decides to snow out of nowhere again.

Thanks, as always, for reading my text walls.

PS: I would say that at this stage, it’s a little too early for 'F’s in the chat, but feel free to do so if you want.

Prius incident



This video was taken the day of the ceramic incident and prior to the new oil filter.
https://streamable.com/kj2z2
This video was taken after the new oil filter.
https://streamable.com/a98fx

And just so I can end on a positive note, here’s a video of a nice, successful cold start of the RX-7.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5lGttzLbqE

I probably won’t post back until one of two things happen:
-I get an update on the Prius
or
-The rear brakes on the RX-7 get fully serviced and repaired.
or both.

Until next time.


#23

And it is time. For (hopefully not) another text wall.

I took the Prius in to a local shop that is like 3 minutes from my house. They stuck a bore-scope down into the cylinder, and lo and behold, there was still ceramic in there. They attempted to extract the pieces with some adhesive on the end of their bore-scope, but the ceramic pieces were stuck. The shop concluded that they wouldn’t cause any long term damage, and the engine is still running good; just keep on driving it and the pieces may break free. They recommended I add Seafoam to the gas, and I may do the Seafoam spray treatment as well.

And after having driven it for a few days; she’s doing a bit better. It’s still there, but she’s running and sounding a bit better. I put some Seafoam in the gas, and I think that’s part of why it runs better. Probably going to add another can before my next fill up. Once it warms up a bit (so I can actually exist outside without freezing to death), I will see about running that Seafoam spray treatment; will be interesting since the computer likes to turn off the motor and dislikes revving in neutral/park.

My mom had me run her van to the dealership for an oil change. I didn’t do a crazy write up like I did with my dad’s car. I did take a couple photos, and a video of plugging it in…

2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid



Video of plugging in the van, lol.
https://streamable.com/c50wz

I am itching to drive the RX-7, desperately. But, they salted all the roads and it’s snowing right now. Now that the Prius is back (again) and running ok, literally no excuse for dragging the rotary onto salt and risking rust.


The Prius is a little…salty.

And…

We hit 99k miles! Raise your glasses, and lets hope the ceramic goes away before we hit 100k.

And, obligatory photo shoot:

Pictures, but it's not a rotary





#24

Update on the RX-7:
Rear brakes are done. For the final time. New wheel cylinder is in on the drivers side. No more rub. New brake soft line and a new brake hard line. The car feels faster and smoother now that the rub is gone, and braking is much improved.

Update on the Prius:
Still rattling. Now you can only hear it when the engine is cold, however, so it is improving. Still want to try Seafoam spray, but the weather has been trash lately.

Braaaaaakes


Replacing the soft line that goes from the body hard line and into the axle hard lines. We also replaced the hard line from that soft line that goes into the wheel cylinder.

New wheel cylinder in.

And, the new drum finally fits.

As is now tradition, some pics:

Raaaaain





https://streamable.com/k7dzd
You can see steam coming off the hood after you do a few hard revs, lmao. No hood insulation, just an aluminum sheet with some bracing for structural rigidity.


#25

Holy shit, it’s not cold outside!
Did Ohio just turn into California? Like, 60F in early February is crazy.
Well, I’m not one to complain. I got both cars washed and took the RX-7 out to stretch her legs a bit. If it really is going to be even warmer tomorrow than it is today, I know what car I’m taking to school, lol.

Ok, lets get a recap of whats gone down since my last post:
Prius - put some miles on it. Still rattling, still really only hear it when the motor is cold. I will see if I have time to try Seafoam Spray while we’ve got good weather, but I’ve been slammed with some time consuming schoolwork, so I probably won’t get a chance.

RX-7 - I finally got off my lazy ass and replaced the clutch cylinders. And my god, the car easily drives 10x better than before. Gear changes are no longer sloppy and chunky, but are smooth and consistent. Starting from a stop is greatly improved, and hill starts are waaaaaaaay easier now that the clutch engages lower on the pedal.

HydraulicWorks


The old hardline refused to break free, so I ended up having to replace it as well.

The old and crusty hydraulics are gone. The old slave seems to have been in good health, but the rubber sleeve was heavily deteriorated.

Closer look at the troublemaker. I stripped it pretty good; I tried using vice grips, a regular 10mm wrench, and one of those special line wrenches but had no luck.

I tried my best to get a picture of the new slave cylinder installed. It didn’t turn out that great.

Top down picture of the new slave installed. Also didn’t turn out that great, lol.

New master installed.

New master hooked into the new hardline.

New hardline hooked into the new softline.

And the trash tier job I did at bending the new hardline.

Complications arose when I was bleeding the clutch. The softline kept leaking out where it connects to the slave. I had to go get some thread sealant to lather on the softline to keep it from leaking.

Rotary Pics

Got some shots after I went to the car wash (for the underspray, I hand washed the Prius).





Paint is still in awful shape, but she still looks pretty good after a fresh wash.

Sunroof removal because its not cold!

Prius Pics




Yikes. That’s one dirty car.

Much better. Though you can now see all the scrapes and scratches, and you can definitely tell that the driver’s door was hit one time.


Oh yea, definitely better.

Oh, in other news: The catalytic converter on the RX-7 finally committed dead. There’s now a nice big exhaust leak at the cat, and there’s a noticeable drone in the interior now. The car is slightly louder because of this, but its definitely faster, lol. Sounds like my work buddy (same guy who helped me with the brakes) knows how to weld, so I’ll be picking up some pipe and a pre-silencer soon. We’ll be cutting the cat out and slapping in some good pipe, and the pre-silencer should keep it at street legal volumes; car will definitely sound 10x better. I do plan on at least getting a good muffler later on as well. I’m still on the fence about getting an exhaust header as I am not planning on making any carburetor or port upgrades any time soon (if at all).

Until next time.


#26

It’s been quite some time, hasn’t it folks. Well, good news is that both cars are still alive and well.

The Prius is still a rattlecan, but is otherwise great. I think the plan is to get the headgasket replaced early, but not anytime soon. Since the mechanic said that there was no risk of long-term damage, I think it’ll be fine. I may still do Seafoam spray since its a 100k mile engine and could use a tune up, but I highly doubt that it will actually help at this stage.

WAIT WHAT!?!?!?! The Prius is over 100 thousand?


Yep.

The RX-7 is still running great. However, the brake master cylinder has developed a leak now; which I now suspect to also be the cause of the pulsation in the pedal. I will also be cleaning up the brake booster and possibly replacing the rubber lines for the front brake calipers at the same time. I also plan on draining the coolant and replacing the hoses sometime later this spring.

Since I want to at least do the brake booster while the master cylinder is off, it won’t be happening quite yet as I lack the funds necessary to get tools and paint; this should be fixed soon after I get a job to supplement my current income, but with the whole corona virus thing my job hunting has ground to a near halt due to the economical side-effects of the outbreak.

In other rotary news, the old sunroof lift/crank mechanism broke. The knob completely separated from the worm gear, rendering the sunroof unable to support itself and not close all the way. Somehow, I managed to find a replacement lift mechanism that is in like-new condition on eBay; however, this replacement is burgundy instead of black. I may paint it later, but since its on the ceiling you don’t really see it unless you look at it.

Sunroof Things



Yikes. I lubricated the worm gears on the new lifter in order to make it smoother, and potentially increase longevity (they are plastic, so…). The swap was pretty easy, and the whole thing works a lot better now.




The car is quite dirty now as well. While I do have a car cover now, it is not waterproof (unfortunately), so any grime that passes through the wet cloth gets stuck to the car. Local weather is getting warmer and warmer, so I’ve actually removed the cover now; and with the rain we’ve been getting lately, she doesn’t look as bad.

I plan on getting a set of new door seals very soon. This will fix the wind noise at high speed and fully seal the interior from the elements. Currently, the door seals are so bad that the car cannot go through an automatic wash without leaking some water. After I install the seals will likely be when I next post on here.

uhhh, lets see…I also fixed the vacuum leak. One of the vacuum rack solenoids was busted (I snapped off a brittle plastic bit when I was replacing some of the vacuum lines), so I plugged up the line on the vacuum rack that goes into the solenoid. I also just ordered some door handle covers for the interior as the original ones have been falling apart since I got the car and I got super tired of it.

This post is running super long, so I’ll keep this short. The exhaust upgrades will happen sometime after I get a job, I’m not sure if it will happen before or after the brake master cylinder. I will be re-upholstering the seats sometime late spring or early summer. I may also look into re-upholstering my door cards (or at least touching them up) as well, since I need to lubricate the manual windows as well.

Ok, enough text walls. I’ll see you in the next one


#27

I know I said my next post would be door seals, but I’ve done a lot of things since the last post and still haven’t ordered seals yet. So here we are.

Prius Things

Still makes noises, still moves. I discovered a water leak in the rear of the car when I had to get to the 12V battery to jump the RX-7.


Here you can see the wet pavement from all the standing water I drained out from the spare tire well.

Jump Starting with a Prius

For those curious, or if you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to jump a car with a Prius, here’s some instructions for you.
(As a side note, RX-7 battery was dead because I accidentally left the lights on all day)
So the Prius Owner’s Manual will tell you that you can jump start the car by hooking up to the positive terminal in the fuse box in the engine bay and some random metal. However, the manual makes no mention of how to use the Prius itself to jump start another car.

You can most definitely use a Prius to jump another car. The key is to get to the regular 12V car battery in the right side of the trunk. The battery is hidden beneath a little panel.


This red plastic cover is preventing access to the positive terminal, which you obviously need. It is held in place by 3 clips, one on top and two on the sides. In order to access one of the clips you may have to move the brake controller next to the battery. If you have to do this, you will have to remove the floor panel and the bin beneath it (very easy, no tools required); this will reveal access to the brake controller as well as the spare tire and jack.

You’ll need a 10mm socket wrench to unbolt the brake controller bracket and slide the whole unit out of the way. Now you should be able to access the clip on the positive terminal cover. Now hook up your cables to the Prius battery and start the Prius. Since the Prius’ hybrid system likes to shut off the motor, this isn’t good since you’ll be discharging the 12V. You can leave it in Park and just hit the gas, it’ll rev up a bit; just hold it there while someone hooks up the cables to the dead car. Let it charge up for a couple minutes, and then start the dead car. Mission complete!
Disconnect the cables, replace the positive terminal cover, (remount the brake controller and reassemble the trunk if you needed to do that), replace the battery cover panel, and then you’re done.

Alright. About that water leak. I wasn’t really able to fully ascertain the cause of the standing water in the spare tire well. I think that I may have tracked it down and resolved it, but it may also have just been the trunk not closed all the way. In the event that it was not the trunk, there is a screw that goes into this green thing with a plastic washer to make some sort of seal. There was water pooling up around it, but not on the other one on the other side. I removed and tightened the screw and washer and it seemed to not be taking on water anymore. Let the car air out for a couple days and put things back together.




Also, a very Toyota certified bruh moment:
The RX-7’s owners manual states that the 12A engine should consume a quart of motor oil between 500 and 1000 miles. The Prius owners manual states that the 1NZ-FXE should consume no more than 1.1 quarts of motor oil per 600 miles. Apparently Toyotas are almost as bad as rotaries on oil consumption, lmfao. note, my particular Prius isn’t actually this bad on oil, this is just Toyota’s threshold

Last Prius update:
I did some spring cleaning and tidied up the glove boxes and center console, throwing away receipts and other trash. I also sorted all of the paperwork my dad left in the car. I have invoices from every single oil change, recall work, and even the invoice from when my dad was rear-ended. I sorted these invoices in chronological order and stored them neatly in the bottom glove box alongside my spare lights and owners manual.


One of the papers in there has the details on the trade-in my dad did when he got this car. His old Hyundai was a 2000 Elantra with 72k miles on it. RIP Elantra, it died early; but early 2000s Hyundais were pretty crappy anyways so almost not even surprising.

Now for the car most of you (probably) actually care about. Rotary Time.
I changed the differential fluid finally.


I had to use a jack to break the fill plug loose. And then I had to get a breaker bar and attach all of my extensions to it to get the drain plug loose. It wasn’t very fun. However, the maintenance is now done (was overdue going by the manual), and acceleration feels a bit better; especially when accelerating mid turn.

Since I don’t really have much else to do during these trying times, besides online school, anime, and video games, I’ve been driving the RX-7 damn near every day. Sometimes twice a day. We’re over 73k miles now, yay! And I noticed that the car was having some troubles when hot starting. Uh oh. Normally you’d have a big brain think and ponder why it won’t start hot; but since its a rotary, you immediately fear that the compression is low. So I got a compression tester and decided to find out for myself.


Well, the compression is exactly to spec. Like, exactly what is listed in both of my repair manuals. So there’s no reason for it to not hot start, right? Well, I had a think, and remembered that the ignition coils are the original ones, from 1982. Now it makes sense.

Get these crusty canisters out of here.

Looking much better.
I got some Flame Thrower canister coils. According to the peeps on Discord, the stock/OG coils are Flame Thrower, so I ended up with stock coils. Not a big deal really, since even if they’re stock, they’re brand new; anything that works is better than the old coils at this point. I also don’t really care about trying to increase power either; could always upgrade the leading coil later on if I really wanted to.
Needless to say, she starts instantly cold and hot now that spark is restored to full strength. And that screech you hear in the compression test video is gone as well. Apparently the screech was related to the coils and not the starter as I had originally thought.

Almost forgot this part. I got new door handle covers. My god, they were needed. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

Door Handles






Ah, that’s much better.

Well, that’s all for now folks. Due to lack of job, due to pandemic, I won’t be touching up the brake booster when I do the brake master cylinder. Next on the agenda is door seals and brake master cylinder. I’m not sure which will come first, but my next post will most likely include both (unless something else happens). Since I’m driving so often, I am thinking about finally wiring up front speakers too. Just have to get some speakers. I’m told the factory wires are basically speaker wire behind the proprietary connector, which will massively simplify things. Then I’ll be able to hear music while driving, even more so once the door seals are done.

Some complimentary photos from quarantine driving:

Quarantine Pics










(You can see that the Prius was fogged up from the water leaking in and condensating on the inside)











Thanks for reading!


#28

A global pandemic can’t kill a 12A. I’m back, with a lot of major work done on the RX-7.

The Prius has barely been driven, but it now seems like the ceramic shards can only be heard at idle. The engine sounds perfectly normal at load. That’s all I have on that, moving on.

Alright, this is going to be a long post…Lets make it a bit shorter.

Brake Master Cylinder

I finally got around to swapping the brake master cylinder, which went pretty well. The brakes feel a lot better now, and I’m no longer consuming brake fluid. I have noticed a clanking in the rear brakes, as well as pulsation in the brake pedal; however I believe I know the cause. I will be addressing it shortly, I just can’t justify paying shipping on a singular bolt.



Door and Window Seals



The old seals were, uh, yikes.

Much better.


The old window seals were also pretty yikes.
I ran into a snag on the passenger window seal.



The metal piece the seal clips to almost rusted off. I used some duck tape to attach it as well as I could in the unsecured spots without taking the door panels off.


The new window seals do look pretty nice tho.

I didn’t really take any pictures, but I did wire in front speakers. It’s nice being able to hear music.

Oil Change

Finally hit 3k miles since the last one. Did a nice, quick, routine change. I tossed my leftover Seafoam into the oil about 700 miles before the change, and it seems to have helped the motor run smoother a fair bit. Also ordered a nicer oil filter than the cheapo Fram I got last time.


Something I didn’t realize at first, but read in the owner’s manual; if you punch a hole in the old oil filter when you drain the oil, it drains the oil out of the oil filter so you don’t make a mess when you change filters.

Cooling System Overhaul

Kinda wish I had more pictures, but my hands were really dirty and greasy, so… Might take some more pictures now that I’m done.
I knew I wanted to do a coolant change for a good while. At some point during lockdown, I noticed that my coolant warning buzzer was going off. So I decided to spend $200 and got a lot of good stuff. A full set of OEM hoses, an OEM 180F thermostat, thermostat gasket (ofc), and a new radiator cap. I drained the coolant and then ran a garden hose through the radiator and the heater/engine until it drained out clear. Then I went through the painstaking process of removing all the old hoses and installing the new ones. I also got new hose clamps, the old ones were really low quality and rusted themselves apart.




Then we add coolant and squeeze the hoses to test for leaks. All good? Fire it up and start bleeding the coolant. Topped off the radiator and the overflow reservoir, let the air drain out and add coolant as necessary.

Went smoothly overall. I got the clamps all tight enough on the first try, so there was no mess made. The temperature gauge seems to read lower now, so I definitely improved the cooling system’s performance. I would have liked to change the water pump out, just cause its probably the original one; however, I lack the necessary tools to remove and install a pulley. I would take it to a shop to get the pulley swapped, but with lockdown, that’s not feasible.

That’s going to be it for now. The car has very little work left to do on it at this point, so I have no idea when my next post will be. Next one will probably be exhaust, but that may not be for another month or more. That post may include a new antenna as well, but I’m not sure. Things work, so it’ll probably just let be. Might just post pictures in between if I can get some good shots, we’ll see. To close things out, here’s some assorted doritos:

Assorted Doritos

















#29

hello mr. eastman

i actually have a first gen rx7 myself that was given to me for free on Christmas

problem is that it’s not in very good condition, and i doubt it’s going to be street legal

any tips?


#30

I apologize for such a late reply, I do not often check the forums here.

Whether or not you can legally drive it on the road is likely going to be dependent upon what country or state you live in, assuming that it was not in a bad accident and is structurally sound.

Tips on getting up and running?
Do a compression test on the engine to gauge its health, you should also give it a Marvel Mystery Oil treatment to free up the apex/side seals beforehand and get things going. Of course, in order to do a compression test, the motor must be at operating temperature; so if it does not start and run then that will have to be addressed first. There are guides on rx7club.com that can give you tips on getting it running, you can also DM me on discord if you would like (DM here for my discord username, or search me on the Automation discord and @ me there; I actually am online on Discord at least 6 hours a day, 7 days a week).

Assuming it runs, compression test is very easy on these cars. While a rotary compression tester is most accurate, they are expensive; regular piston engine testers are accurate enough when employed correctly anyways.
Steps for compression testing:
1 - Warm up engine completely
2 - Remove one spark plug from each rotor and disconnect the fuel pump
3 - Crank the motor to purge fuel from the housings
4 - Insert the compression tester into the open spark plug hole
5 - Crank for peak compression, then hold the valve while cranking for pulses
6 - Change the tester to the second rotor and repeat step 5
7 - Use an online calculator to determine “real” compression numbers
8 - Reinstall spark plugs and reconnect fuel pump

Once your motor runs and you know its condition (as indicated by the compression test), you can go from there. Whether that would be finding a new shell to transfer into or fixing up what you have.


#31

Oh man, its been a looooong time since I posted an update in here.

Well, I have a job now. Yay, parts money! Except not really cause I want to move out next year so I have space for other car stuff (like painting the RX-7 and storing other project cars). But I think I can spare a little out of the first paycheck to get a few things…

Prius has been just fine. Nothing to report.

A Few Prius Pics

One of the old tail lights burnt out. Replaced them with LEDs.


The most boring engine bay ever.



The RX-7’s old coolant needs to go.

Loaded up and ready for transport.

My mom backed into a car in the Lexus. Its not the first time she’s done this either, smh. Wish I still had a picture of the destroyed tail light lens on our old 2009 Sienna.

Scuffed Bumper


The Pacifica Hybrid had a recall for what I think is the AC to DC converter on the charging system. Its apparently dangerous enough that the dealer is keeping it until they have a fix and the car is repaired. We have the option to get a loaner from the dealer in the meantime.

A coworker of mine, who is also a big car guy and who’s been a huge help to me on the RX-7, recently got a very clean Nissan Z32 for his wife. Its in immaculate condition and has literally never seen rain in its entire life. He is the third owner. The Previous owner got the car in circa 2003, and was an engineer. The Previous owner took this naturally aspirated model and supercharged it. Its got a pro-charger (belt driven turbo is big sad), with all custom intake and intercooler tubing. We think it makes about as much power as a stock Twin Turbo Z32 (around 300 or so). The VG30 sounds really nice. I definitely want to get a Z31 in the future, but with my rotary instincts its hard to say if it will keep its VG30…

Z32






Unfortunately I do not have engine bay pics at this time.

Now, onto the real star of the show.
Oh boy, where to begin. I guess we’ll pick up right where we left off?

Alternator Bracket

The stock alternator bracket is a real pain in the ass. It is very hard to get proper belt tension, and I was super duper tired of getting belt slip at high rpm. I ordered a Banzai Racing alternator bracket.


Ew. Looks old, crusty, and kinda crap.

After drilling out the bolt hole for the stock bracket, new bracket is on.

Waaaaay better looking. And its a lot easier to adjust tension. Though a weird quirk with this bracket is that you have to run the belts loose. Like, loose enough that they flop around when you press on them. Took me a little while to figure that out; I was really disappointed at first when my belts kept squealing. But that’s all better now.

Oh yea, and one of the old belts was rekt. Luckily I have a box of spares, lol.

Battery Hold Down

I randomly decided to get an OEM battery hold down bracket. The battery was just chillin. I do think that because the battery was loose, it is part of how the negative terminal jumped off the post back when the first fuel pump died. Well, that certainly won’t happen again now.


Chillin like a badass.

She’s not going anywhere now.

Front License Plate Delete

Ohio’s front license plate requirements went away on July 1st. I took that rusty old bracket off immediately.


It was so rusty that I snapped one of the bolts. Oof. Hopefully they won’t reinstate front plates…

She looks a lot sleeker without that thing. I even noticed a significant jump in mpg. The aerodynamic improvement certainly helped in that department. I average 20.5 combined mpg now, and that’s including hard acceleration and cruising with AC on.

Brake Drum Retaining Screws

I’ve been missing one of the retaining screws since I got the car. People told me I didn’t need them, that the wheels would hold it in place just fine. Yet even after I serviced all the brakes, replaced the master cylinder, and completely flushed the brake fluid to clean, I still had some major pulsation in my brake pedal. Very similar in feel to having really really badly warped brake rotors in the front. But I knew that the front rotors were new (and I didn’t feel like replacing wheel bearings again). I inspected the rear brakes, and they looked assembled correctly. I checked the rubber lines for twisties, and they’re straight as can be. The only thing out of place was the missing retaining screw…
I ended up ordering a full set of retaining screws (2 for each rear wheel). And lo and behold, the pulsation in my brake pedal disappeared. As it turns out, I did need those screws.


The new ones are also higher quality in my opinion. My pedal does still pulsate a little under light braking at high speed, but I chalk that up to uneven wear on the rear drums; the pedal still feels much better and I don’t feel sketched out when using the brakes anymore.

Fixed Antenna Swap

My GS model was originally equipped with a power antenna unit. However, a combination of age and the previous owner’s son’s poorly done stereo “upgrade” I could never get the power unit to function. I also snapped the antenna mast at some point lol. They don’t sell replacement power units anymore, and there’s no guarantee I could get it to work even if they did. Fixed rubber antennas are only $20, so whatever. Installation was really easy, and with an antenna cable extension I was able to hook the antenna back up to the stereo. I finally have radio again!



Its pretty short, and I think it looks kinda cool.
I also upgraded the Wally World special 5.25" rear speakers we put in when we did the radio install. Those cheapo speakers were underpowered for the rear, and with tweeters they weren’t really suited for being in the rear. The new 6.5 JBL speakers are MUCH better. I can actually hear music coming from the rear now, so much so that I had to set some front fade to hear the fronts. Sadly no pictures though.
Oh, and I figured out that when I sanded down the tombstone bezel to fit a single DIN stereo, I just barely got it to fit. At first we could never get it to stay anywhere, but that was because of how short the stock antenna cable is. But now that the antenna cable is longer, I found out that the bezel is tight enough that the stereo can stay in place and not hide inside the dash anymore.

AC Idle Adjustment

Ever since my friend fixed my AC back in September, there has always been an issue with the idle speed when the AC compressor is running. When the compressor kicked on, idle speed would drop in half; which caused me to need to set a high idle speed to compensate. After doing a little research and investigation, my AC solenoid and the AC portion of the vacuum system is indeed fully functional. The cause of the idle drop was that the throttle opener that kicks up idle speed was not adjusted correctly.


While my car’s throttle opener does not adjust the same way as indicated in the manual, it did tell me where the throttle opener was and how it works. Basically, the AC solenoid will pull the throttle opener when the compressor kicks on, which raises the arm as pictured below.

On my car (not sure about other first gens), the throttle opener can be adjusted by turning a screw on the top next to the vacuum line going into it. With a few turns of the screw, my idle now raises when the AC kicks on rather than dropping. With this fix I was then able to lower my idle speed back to 750rpm, and I also fixed my idle mix in the process; the car now hardly misfires at idle (I suspect it was running lean), and seems to have also netted a minor improvement in fuel efficiency.
Also, shout out to Asus. The Zenfone 6’s flip camera is extremely useful. I can position the phone’s screen and camera perfectly to see into tight spaces I would normally never be able to see. There’s so much stuff I’ve done on this car that would have been much more difficult if I had a different phone or camera setup. Above picture of the throttle opener arm would not have been possible with a different phone.

Electrical Gremlin Hunt, Episode 1

Looking at my window sticker, there’s some electrical functions listed that I have never seen in action. One of my closest friend’s little brother is a beginner mechanic (also smarter than me in car things, especially electrics) offered to help me figure out why that stuff doesn’t work (as well as maybe fix some stuff that did work, but doesn’t work anymore). The first time we hung out and troubleshot, we were investigating the mysterious case of the door light and ignition cylinder light. We discovered that they were both on the same circuit, of course. However, we are stumped as to why these lights don’t work. The bulbs are good, the wiring is good. But the door switches, we have no idea how they work; we don’t know if they are functional or broken. We basically got nowhere, lol. We did break my dome light in the troubleshooting process, but it was about dead anyways. Replaced it with a nice LED one, super bright. The dome light doubles as the door light, so with it working we are confused. I am going over to hang out with him again and do some more detective work. Stay tuned for Electrical Gremlin Hunt, Episode 2.


Bright Boye

Exhaust

Don’t get too excited just yet, its still got the stock exhaust. However, I am gearing up for some major upgrades. I discovered where my exhaust leak was and why my exhaust was rattling badly at low speed. Turns out that the midpipe separated from the flange where it connects to the muffler. My buddy did some band-aid tack welds so it stops rattling, but there is still big leaks. We will have to take the midpipe and muffler out to re-weld the flange back to the midpipe. We also need to replace the rear right parking brake cable, which is hidden above the exhaust heat shield over the muffler (my buddy snapped it a while ago and promised to pay for it; we’re finally doing it now since we probably need to take the muffler off anyways).


Ew, stinky boogers.

I’ve been doing a lot of research on how the emissions systems work over the last couple weeks. The best/easiest way to remove the catalytic converter, purely from exhaust work perspective, is to do a header swap. This means that the pre-silencer (fancy rotary word for resonator) will bolt directly into the exhaust in place of the catalytic converter. However, the stock exhaust manifold is hooked up to tons of vacuum lines and other things to help the emissions. When you do a header swap, there’s a lot of stuff you have to account for in order to allow the car to run right afterwards.
So, I’ve figured out all of what I need to get and have started ordering things. Its getting exciting! I ordered a complete LRB Speed 12A block off plate kit. It is meant for race cars, but most of the block off plates in the kit are extremely useful for what I am doing. I will need to block off the Air Control Valve (part of the air pump system. Air pump is finally getting yeeted!), the shutter valves, and the split air pipe (a little bung that goes into the catalytic converter to let exhaust get rerouted back into the intake for emissions). I also bought some high temp RTV to use as gaskets on the block off plates and some metal tape to plug the holes in the air cleaner where there will no longer be vacuum lines. Unfortunately, the block off plate kit will take nearly 3 weeks to arrive as they are made-by-order.
Soon, probably after the block off plate kit ships, I will order the final pieces of the puzzle. I am going to get a Racing Beat 12A header for 81-83 RX-7s, and the 81-83 Racing Beat Pre-Silencer. These will be bolt in upgrades for the stock manifold and catalytic converter. I can expect upwards of 20-25 additional horsepower at the crank, which would likely put me at 90 something at the wheels. Not to mention the catalytic converter heatshield will no longer rattle at high speeds, there won’t be anymore exhaust leaks with the repairs to the midpipe, and the car will sound 100x better. Exhaust leaks on rotaries make them sound awful. There’s also a possibility that the aftermarket header could lower temps, which would be nice but is not guaranteed. I can’t wait to start working on it!

Miscellaneous Pics/Updates


One of my friends absolutely destroyed the Astro van’s front left tire. He punctured it on the steering rack, which is precariously barely attached to the car on the left side. They are probably going to scrap the Astro relatively soon, but its got a new tire in the meantime.


Same guy who destroyed the Astro’s tire just bought a Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. Its actually in fairly decent shape. Its got some battlescars from its police days, the previous owners welded the diff and cut off the exhaust after the cats, and its got almost 200k miles. But it runs and drives just fine, and it was cheap. He also finally replaced the nonexistent clutch in his BMW; the Slipmobile is no more.

Press F to pay respects. One of the vacuum advance solenoids on the RX-7 broke off of the vacuum rack. I was already bypassing them, so its not a problem.

I upgraded to LED side marker bulbs and cleaned/repaired the lenses. LED tail lights soon tm. Also thinking about fog lights.

I finally met up with one of the bois on the rotary discord I’m in. He lives only 40 or so minutes away, so we will likely hang out again in the nearish future. His blue RX-8 is quite fast, and sounds amazing. Also shoots some nice flames.


And now for random pics of the RX-7.









Some videos of a walkaround and a 60mph sprint.
https://streamable.com/d90op2
https://streamable.com/59ghc7

Hope y’all enjoyed at least something in this massively long post. Stay tuned for juicy exhaust upgrades and whatever else happens.


#32

Been another long hiatus.

Ironically, the RX-7’s exhaust still isn’t done; however the exhaust leak has been more permanently repaired.

Also, the title has been updated. I bought another car.
I picked up a 1995 Toyota Corolla DX I saw on facebook marketplace. I took a look at it and test drove it, it was good. Bought it for $280, 178k miles. Reason for being sold: clutch failing. Actual problem: needs a new drive axle and motor mounts. Still drives well, and drives straight.


Corolla Gang

The car runs and is in pretty good shape for its mileage. Kind of surprising it even runs though, considering how old the spark plugs are. They are really really bad, waiting on new ones to come in. Also going to be doing oil changes on the motor, transmission, and differential.

Being a DX trim, it has the 1.8L 7A-FE and a 5 speed manual; she’s an oil burning queen, naturally. No oil leaks though, so all blow by and valve seals. It also has power steering, power windows, power locks, AC, and somehow still has a working original tape deck/radio.

The car was disgustingly filthy when I bought it. The interior clearly hadn’t been cleaned in years. I remedied that. The interior looks really nice now, and thanks to some carpet cleaner it doesn’t smell like a weird combination of cigarettes and weed anymore. Not to mention, with cleaned windows you can actually see in all directions.




Can of Seafoam to run through the gas when it eventually gets low on gas. I’ve driven it 200 miles, and its still just under a half tank. Not sure how accurate the fuel gauge is yet, but if its accurate, this thing is godly in range/economy. It is rated for 35 highway, 28 city; so I can probably go almost 400 miles. Pretty insane kit for under $300.

And the car isn’t very rusty either. Does have a pretty nice meme exhaust leak. The flex pipe in the pipe coming off the header and into the catalytic converter is dead; massive leak. Somehow sounds pretty good. Not sure if I will fix yet, but I’ll get to that later.

As you undoubtedly noticed, the car has mismatched tail lights. That’s not the only cosmetic flaw. It was clearly in some kind of front end collision; the left front fender and front bumper are black, the driver’s door has a big dent in it, and the right parking lamp assembly is shattered and broken.

We took a trip to a local scrapyard today, they had a 1993 sedan. I took a tail light assembly off of it, the mismatched one on the right was off of a 96 or 97. I also took an oil filler cap since mine was no longer readable, and I grabbed some floor mats as I only had a front passenger floor mat.



Much improved. Sadly the scrapyard car did not have a parking lamp assembly, and we broke the mirror glass from the mirror on it in an attempt to remove it (my passenger side mirror glass is broken). The scrapyard car does have some very cool wheels. They look like knock off BBS mesh wheels, but are clearly almost guaranteed stock. I intend to return to the scrapyard to grab those wheels as they would make a cool second set. The scrapyard car also has a factory wing, but I am not sure if my car has the wiring for it; and it would need to be paint matched or sprayed black.
Got a new bulb in the driver’s side parking lamp. Looks better on that side now that there is the full amount of intended light.

I kind of bought this car on a whim, I happened to be browsing marketplace and stumbled across it. The price was right, and the previous owner was going to scrap it if it didn’t sell. I saw how nice it was and just had to rescue it from the same fate as the whacky looking 93 I saw today. I’m really starting to fall in love with it, and I will likely keep it for a while yet. I’ve been wanting a car to go auto crossing in, but with the RX-7’s oil leaks and it being something I’d rather not beat on too hard I haven’t really been able to. But I think the Corolla will make a fun little autox car. I will likely autox it stock for a while, but I do want to put some grippier tires on the fake BBS from the scrapyard car to make it a little quicker. Maybe do some suspension and brakes later down the line. There’s a good possibility as well that I may be picking up a single rotor engine early next year that I was considering swapping into it. A naturally aspirated single rotor would only be about as powerful as the stock 7A, but would definitely be fun to keep at high revs on an autox course. Not to mention the weight savings. But I am not sure if I will go through with that swap yet or not; afterall, I’m not guaranteed that motor and I might fall too much in love to yoink the 7A out. However, I was thinking that if I were to rotary swap, I could rebuild the 7A and find a Corolla wagon or an Accord with popups to drop it in to keep it alive in spirit.

To address the exhaust leak, if I rotary swap, then I’m obviously completely rebuilding the exhaust. An ebay race header would include a new pipe for $92. A factory replacement pipe is $80. Obviously, the pipe alone is a bad buy. I could just buy the header and run that until I rotary swap, or I would already have it on there in case I don’t. Would be a cheap and fairly easy project to maybe get some extra horses and better noise from.

There’s always the possibility I get the single rotor, don’t want to put it in the Corolla, and then find another car to swap it into.

Anyways, that’s all a long ways off. For now I’m just going to keep breathing life into it. After I get new spark plugs in, I’ll be taking it in to have the axle and motor mounts replaced to fix the clunking and shuddering on gear change.

Prius Life

Not a whole lot to say here. Its my reliable daily driver.
However, quite big climax to the mystery noise. Turns out the valves were messed up by the ceramic. And I also discovered a lot of metal flake in the oil. A couple of shops confirmed the death sentence, and so I actually ended up getting a 86k mile engine swapped in. Big hit to my house funds, but was worth it to ensure the car won’t poop out; this was before the Corolla as well, so I would’ve been left with just the RX-7.
I’ll need to replace the spark plugs on this new engine soon. I don’t want a repeat of last time…
But yea, other than that, the Prius is just doing its thing and ferrying me around.

Rotary Things

You know, not much has happened since the last time I posted, to be honest.
We finally fixed the handbrake.


Replaced the front cable. The rear left cable broke on us while replacing the front cable. I happened to have a rear right cable on hand, but that cable is too short. We pulled a redneck and made a little adapter plate to get the handbrake functional; I’ll order a new rear left cable eventually, but I haven’t seen any for sale on ebay or rockauto, so who knows when that’ll happen.

I discovered a crack in the RX-7’s dash a few weeks ago. My heart sank. Its not a horrible crack, but its still a crack. I decided to order a dash mat to hide the crack and prevent any more from forming under the unforgiving UV rays of the sun. I also got one for the Prius, and will likely get one for the Corolla as well. I like the aesthetic it adds, and makes the interior feel a little more cozy.

Due to carb issues, I decided to replace the soft fuel lines in the engine bay and add a secondary inline fuel filter; I also went ham on fuel system cleaner. I don’t think the carb was actually rebuilt, and I would like to put off rebuilding it as long as possible.

I also did some painting. Painted the side mirrors, the A pillars, and windshield wipers. The car looks soooo much better with just that. And I haven’t even repainted all of the crappy exterior trim.


What is this?

Oh yea, its a set of Sylvania Halogen fog lights. For the RX-7 of course. They look cool, and they add so much light. Its crazy. I am going to get fog lights for the Prius now because of this, and because the Prius high beams are garbage; it really needs the extra light.


Thanks to said fog lights, power draw at idle is…quite high. So LED tail lights to the rescue. Had to wire in some resistors to get the “STOP LAMP” warning on the dash to go away. However, power draw is considerably less, and I am kinda regretting not going LED tails forever ago because they have so much more light than incandescent bulbs. The factory tail light design just bleeds away so much light.




Power draw with the turn signal on at idle is still pretty high. I am researching/investigating a conversion to a modern 3 pin solid state electronic flasher so that I can slap LED turn signals in without wiring resistors again.

AH, yes, how could I forget.
Electrical Gremlins Part 2: The Conclusion.
IT ALL WORKS!!
The pin for the door switches on the body harness connector separating front to back was corroded horribly. Soldered it outside the connector. Everything works. The door light, the light off reminder, the door buzzer, everything. Its awesome. Only things that still don’t work are the dash dimmer and the cigarette lighter. To be honest, I can’t really be bothered to tear everything apart to investigate, so… whatever. I’ll eventually convert the dash lights to LED anyways, the stock incandescent lights are pretty dim even at max brightness.

Beyond that, the RX-7 has been running well. She treated me nicely while the Prius was away getting a new motor. And now the weather is getting cold and she’ll be getting put to bed for hibernation at the first sign of snow/salt. I now have the Corolla for a winter project/winter fun car.

How about we end on more misc pictures?

Pics








Posing with my buddy’s E46



Posing with my friend’s MkIII Supra





Some more shots of the fogs and LED tails.











The Corolla meeting the Prius for the first time. The Corolla and the RX-7 haven’t met yet. The Corolla is currently parked where the RX-7 used to be when I first got it.

Getting a look under the hood for the first time.