Back in September, following my friend picking up a 1995 Chevrolet Astro, I went searching for a second car. The FB RX-7 had always caught my eye as a lesser known but gorgeous and interesting Japanese sports car. And, so I decided to get one. There were a couple listings in my area, one that was posted 7 months ago and the car had been sitting for 9 years prior to that, and iirc it had sat for years before that. The other listing was 2 weeks old; and being put up for sale by the original owner with just under 70k miles on the odometer.
Needless to say, I went and looked at the 2 week old listing. The car was in fantastic shape, the interior had some rough spots (cloth on the seats starting to tear, door handle covers breaking off, garbage bin radio) and the gas tank was claimed to have rust in it. The car was parked at a Mazda dealer (the same one it was bought from in 1983!) to have the tank looked at; I talked to the mechanic, who told me that he replaced the fuel filler neck, fuel pump/filter, and drained/cleaned/sealed the tank. The mechanic also rebuilt the carburetor and did a compression test on the motor (prior to me looking at the car), he said the compression was really good. I also found out that the car had received a rust protection treatment back in the 80s, so the underside is c l e a n. There’s a few minor spots where the coating cracked and let the metal underneath rust, but it’s all minor. The owner decided to sell it because the mechanic recommended that the tank get replaced. However, the paint was in rough rough shape. It sat underneath a tree (being driven occasionally) for about 15 years, and there are a lot of areas where the clear coat is completely gone.
I fell in love with the car, and we ironed out a deal for just under $2k USD. The previous owner even gave me the original window sticker and owners manual, as well as a bunch of other papers and things he still had lying around. I had it towed up to my buddy’s house (where one of my cars is being stored due to lack of space at my place) a couple days after buying it. Got it registered, put plates on, poured some gas in the tank, and started her up to go for the first drive.
Now, the only other standard transmission car I’d ever driven was my uncle’s Willy’s Overland Jeep; a very different car from this. Rotary engines have very very very little low end torque, and it makes them quite different to a piston engine. My inexperienced self stalled the car (partially due to front disc brakes being basically covered in rust to the point where you could barely push the car). Somehow, when I stalled it trying to turn onto a main road to go get gas, the positive terminal on the battery disconnected. After reconnecting the terminal, the fuel pump would not run. Due to the super rusty brakes, I had to get it towed down the street.
A couple days later, I rounded up a team of friends and we went on a hunt for a replacement pump, luckily there’s an Autozone about 20 minutes away that stocks them, and got to work. We got it wired up, plumbed up, burst an old line and had to replace it, and the pump worked. It worked too well, lol, and we flooded the engine. We eventually gave up, after we almost drained the battery. But we came back the next day, and it started right up.
The second drive went much better, despite the brakes beginning to fade because of all the rust on them. We took it to a car wash, got gas, and just had fun. Went to a few car meets over the next month, and put some miles on the old girl.
After the fuel pump replacement we did a variety of upgrades and things to the car. We replaced the front brake rotors, old ones were warped, alongside new front wheel bearings (though they were not really needed) and brake pads. We got new outer tie rods. New tires; the old ones, while they had basically brand new tread, were dry rotted like nothing I’d ever seen before. We installed a working radio, a Kenwood KRC-403, and replaced both rear speakers; we have yet to replace/rewire the front speakers. Lithium greased the door hinges (no more squeak), and greased the wiper motor (wipers actually move). New drive belts. Replaced the alternator pulley with a dual pulley; this allows me to delete the smog pump, which also happened to have a misaligned pulley, and run two alternator belts instead. We also resurrected the A/C, though it will need a flush and recharge because of mixed refrigerants. Seat covers to protect the seats. And a thorough deep cleaning of the interior.
About a week ago, I got into an accident with my daily. Not a fun day. Luckily, I had my RX-7. For about a day. The damned fuel pump died again. Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday I had issues where the pump would cease to function while driving; however it would usually come back on after sitting on the side of the road for a few minutes. We rewired the fuel pump, which didn’t help, and we almost had to get towed again; but luckily the old girl convinced the pump to run enough to get us back home. I borrowed my aforementioned friend’s 1995 Astro for a couple days since both my cars were out of commission.
Dailying the van
10/10 alignment, would drive straight again
Taking the daily to get inspected at the shop
Yesterday, my friend had me pick him up in the van and we took a trip down to that Autozone and got a warranty replacement on the fuel pump and went to replace it again. This time we did it 100% correctly. We used a real crimper on the wires, and used a lighter to actually heatshrink the connector, followed by electrical taping the connector for added security. We also replaced the fuel filter, old one came off clean so the tank is in good shape with the sealer. If the pump dies again, it’s probably because this brand/model is garbage. My daily is heading to the shop for repairs tomorrow, and should get it back before next Monday, so it only needs to last a week, lol. Hopefully the pump lasts till spring, but only time will tell. I am making plans to completely overhaul the fuel system in the spring with a Carter pump, a fuel pressure regulator, dual fuel filters (in case the tank starts to rust again), and brand new fuel lines.
New Pump, Take Two
fuel pump was completely dead, had to drive it into the garage with the starter since the driveway is too steep to push it
But I finally have a car again! She drives really nicely now; thanks to the new alternator pulley, and a functioning fuel pump. I also have a full smog delete on the books, but the car is in good working order for the moment.
I would’ve made a thread in here sooner had I known about it! Hope you guys enjoy listening to the story of me and my car, I might consider adding my daily to this thread just because. Maybe I’ll write up a post to this thread for it once it comes back from the shop.