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1983 Mazda RX-7 GS + 2009 Toyota Prius


#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