This competition is just the shot in the arm I needed.
When i first saw it a couple of weeks back I thought "cool, but I can't be fucked". Even though I had a potential candidate sitting in the driveway doing nothing and a wicked motor to go in it (EA SVO, manual, and a BA 4.0 twin cam). If PF can get behind me and give me the shove in the back I so desperately need I may see this thing come alive, potentially in a future challenge. (maybe we do a One-make challenge?).
Quite separately i scored a cheap Mazda 929 coupe (pretty much identical to the RX4) back in November but only picked it up 30/12/10 due to not getting any time off for yonks. I really bought this to use up all the left over shit that one accumulates over a decade or so when trying to build a really clean rotary (a much better RX4 is in the build). I think back to the multitude of mazda's that I've bought on the cheap, usually because they're in the middle of nowhere and near fucked. There have been some good scores at times (more on that later) but i suffer an affliction that seems to come with owning rotaries: I am a hoarder. Just seems I can't chuck anything out if its even remotely useable.
Hence, coming back from collecting the latest coupe, the plan was just to use up some of the spares, rotorize it, basic clean up without spending money, and flip it for the typical ausrotor drug money prices these things seem to pull. Then pour that cash back into my other RX4/Luce.
Now for a sight unseen car (i just hit the buy-it-now button out of reflex) I really wasn't expecting much. The photos made it look like a complete and utter shit heap. Here she is in all her glory:
But after a fair old road trip (depart Melb 3.30AM arrive Wagga 9.00AM get back home at 5.00PM) and some more time to appreciate its redeeming features I started to think it would clean up "ok". No terminal rust, dings would all be easily repaired, missing/fucked parts I had spare. Just had to get out to the farm to start picking out the replacement parts.
DAY ONE: 1/1/11 INTERIOR and DAMAGE ASSESSMENT.
What a filthy job. The car had been left parked for what I can only guess was a number of years. Quite likely with the window down and no small amount of good old fashioned red Aussie country bulldust through out. The seats were completely fingered. The carpet was wet (my fault I think). So I took it all out and vac'd it. Had to completely rebuild the drivers seat as the donor seat had a broken frame. Pulled original and donor apart to make one good one. Find same fracture point. Out with the mig and 15 mins later I have a repaired frame. 30 mins later I have a new seat. The carpet was out of a perfectly good car (BUZNUT from Maztech) that some moron wrecked out - i scored a good chunk of bits from it for peanuts. So with decent carpet and seats, and with liberal application of armourall, the interior was coming together. I threw a worn out MoMo in there and called it a day. There is a little more to do to get the interior right but its mainly the door trims - completely sunburnt and warped. Buts lets remember this is about ET's not interior detailing.
I also had to start stripping the damaged LH guard and bumper. A bit of WD40 on all the nuts and bolts seized after some 36 years of neglect ensured that I got it all undone and only snapped off the one nut at the bottom of the guard (they always seem to do that). About this stage i noticed the damage to the front corner was really minor. A slide pull and hammer/dolly work will set it right. And you never see this under the guard/headlight bucket anyway.
Called it quits for the day a happy man. Bang for buck I'd used some household cleaning shit, my nouse, and some elbow grease to really lift the appearance of the car from "Shit heap" to "Nugget".
DAY TWO: 2/1/11 MECHANICAL ASSESSMENT and PARTS LISTS
This was the morning I woke up and said to myself "Fuck it, this would be cool as a 13's for $1300 candidate".
I got a burst of motivation and set to work. I pulled the brake master and loosened off the brake lines. I pulled the clutch master. Removed the brittle washer bottle and overflow reservoir. I took a look at the brakes. Squealed like a girl when i found all the redbacks. Thankfully the rear brakes don't look all that old. Apart from pretty suspect flex lines and the leaky master there isn't much to fix. There is however the audible sound of a rooted diff centre or wheel bearings. No worries: I have a cunning plan. Rear suspension is pretty basic and typical stuffed rubber bushes.
Front steering is "ok". A little free play in the steering box - I may have a better one. Front suspension needs total overhaul. It all has to come out anyway to change out the piston crossmember for the rotary one. A true backyarder would have just lopped the mounts off with an angle grinder but already have one done.
Not certain if the 929 coupes have strut inserts like the RX4 but 929 sedans have an open oil-bath. This will not do. Also mazda's are notoriously under-braked. So the smart thing to do is raid the parts bin and swap in some better struts while i'm there. I have been tripping over some struts with koni inserts and volvo brakes for a while so it seems they will do nicely. I went to my box of tricks and pulled out a heap of used but re-useable nolothane bushes.
For wheels I was just going to slap on some RX7 series 2 mags. But they're 70km away and I had some 14" challengers with decent, if not ageing, rubber.
Then as the afternoon wore on, much like my longest post EVAR lol, i went into the shed to start pulling out the shit that would kick-start a faster Mazda.
So I have two piles going. The first is all the junk and broken stuff I have removed. The second is all the stuff going into the car. In the interests of transparency I will photo all the gear so the PF lynchmob can assign values as it sees fit and basically scrutineer my efforts as they quickly progress. I will come back to this first post and add the pics and parts lists.
This is a genuine case of slap-together racing. Some of the parts i'll be using certainly have a value but all of them are on hand and genuine orphans, left-overs, "unknowns" or just plain junk. I don't want to raid my *good car* for anything because that's just not in the spirit of the challenge. I've also decided this is an achievable build because its largely a bolt-together project where looks don't count for shit.
In this build i will be assisted by my good mate Geoff [username: Sv_i]. As some of you may know Geoff is building a 929 wagon and we've given each other a helping hand from time to time. We know our way around these cars pretty well and I expect the "roller" to be pretty much done within another day or so of serious effort. The driveline is yet to be determined but will be 13b-something. I have choices and don't want to commit to any one path at this early stage. Needless to say the car will not be powerchipped. Technology will be limited by budget and parts to "old-school". I'm notionally drawing that line at year 2000.
If any other Melb PF crew want to check out the build you can call me and drop by for beers. But what I think I will really need is some hook ups with fabricators and clever cunts. There are a few things I would like to do that may require stuff being welded or machined. I just don't have those sort of connections and i certainly don't have the time (long office hours). But I do have the money and prepared to spend where needed up to the nominated limit.
Finally, after a long time in the rotor scene, this will be the first running and drivable rotor i've owned since 2004! Now there's some motivation that has really got me going unlike anything else.
Flame on cunts.....
<EDITED SO THE SPECS ARE EASILY FOUND>
Looks like my rough set up will be:
RX-929 coupe (guesstimate weigh in around 1100kg)
s4 turbo block - basically stock rebuild - can't "feel" any porting
Haltech E6a fuel and ignition, 12aT primaries.
Garrett TO4e-66 or similar combo with external gate
Water to air cooler
Jatco 3 speed
stock welded 929 24 spline diff with 4.44's
volvo brake kit
Challengers plus slicks