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Another RX7 in the mix

Posted by MeCalledEvan 
MeCalledEvan
Evan Horner
Junior Moderator
Location: Columbus OH
Join Date: 01/03/2012
Age: Party Animal
Posts: 109

Rally Car:
1983 Mazda RX7 GSL


Another RX7 in the mix
January 12, 2012 12:36PM
Time to start my own build thread. thumbs up

I'm starting to build my 1983 Mazda RX7 GSL into a rally car! I'm at the stage where all I have left is... everything.

My story:
I fell in love with rallying when I was 15. Well that's not quite true: I fell in love with the WRC when I was 15. Spent my high school career reading about the cars, watching youtube videos, playing loads of Rallysport Challenge 2 on my Xbox, and refurbishing a '83 Subaru GL 3-door we got for free, which, after we got it running, raised to have 11" of ground clearance, named "The Beast," and scared ourselves numerous times with very unstable 35mph drifts.

When I was 18, I bought a 1985 Mazda RX7 GSL and, thanks to that and Initial D, got distracted from rallying with the idea of street racing. I then decided that street racing wasn't very cool after I discovered that when you mess up, you can crush your car on the passenger side up to the transmission tunnel with a guardrail, and then the state makes you pay for all damages you caused to their property... and guardrail isn't cheap! sad smiley (I don't have any photos of that anymore. It was a sad time in my life).
Luckily, I had a 1983 RX7 with a motor with blown apex seals, so before insurance came and totaled my car out, I did a quick bolt-in motor swap so I could keep my good engine (only 109k on the ticker). I left that shell with the bolted-in motor (which I ended up oiling pretty regularly) sitting in front of my parents house for the next 3 years, much to my moms dismay. I was scared of the wiring (which as far as I'm concerned, is magic blue smoke trapped in the wires, and you know you did something wrong when it starts escaping), and was so busy with full-time school, the Formula SAE team, and a job, I spent most of that time trying to decide whether I wanted to turn the car into a rally car, or just scrap it.

I'm now studying Vehicle Engineering Technology-Plastics Engineering Technology major and am very involved in my Formula SAE team (feel free to check us out at our Facebook page).

This last September, I decided I wanted to keep the shell and turn the Mazda into a rally car. I towed it from my parents house to where I'm living and started to tear into it. Removed all the emissions, started to teach myself wiring, stripped the interior, and fixed a bunch of issues that arose from letting the car sit for 3 years.

I drove it for the first time 2 nights ago. There are still a few issues I need to fix before I would call it reliable, but it was a fantastic feeling to tear up the caul-de-sac and I couldn't stop laughing with excitement after I pulled it back in the driveway. I have an independent study this quarter based around reverse-engineering a RA regulation roll cage for the car and then building it. I'll be boxing in the suspension and seam-welding a few things (that won't require jigging) during that time as well. Should be a fun project, though I am a little worried about finishing it in time before the quarter is over. I have 9 weeks to go and am analyzing the rules currently to decide on the best elements to include in the cage for the cabin.

So here is how it stands now:
It has a carbureted 12a. And is all stock other than what follows.
Current Modifications:
-Stripped interior -- removed tar sound deadening
-Stripped Nikki carb
-Racing beat headers
-AFCO aluminum radiator - custom mounts (still need to shroud)
-Stripped emissions
-Gutted dashboard
-Working on de-looming and gutting all unneeded wiring
-Removed headlight motors
-POR-15 on the front end

Planned modifications (so far):
-FIA/RA roll cage/boxed strut towers
-Bucket seats (either purchase, or I know how to make carbon fiber parts so I might make my own if I can)
-Electric radiator fan
-2nd gen Direct Fire Ignition
-Skid plates
-Suspension (not sure what yet)
-GSL-SE subframe/axels
-1.5:1 Steering quickener
-Hydraulic e-brake
-Adjustable prop valve
-Prevent Watts link from binding (oil lite bushings maybe)
-Possibly a wideband for making for simpler rejetting of the carburetor
-Wheels and tires.... a lot
-A tiny battery (I'm using a dead battery with only 10.85 volts left and it starts the car just fine)
-Possibly Z31 300ZX brakes (if I can make them fit) - or I'm an intern at Girodisc Racing Brakes, so I may see about making floating 2-piece rotors with custom CNC aluminum top-hats and the rear rings for a WRX or an Elise or something along those lines

We will see how far I get on this or if I can finish it. I am hoping to go to grad school and my top choice is on the other side of the pond. If I'm lucky, there will probably be a caged and moderately modded FB for sale in about a year and a half. winking smiley

Photos:



"The more I learn, the more I realize I don't know and have so much more to learn." - Claude Rouelle, Optimum G lecture June, 2011
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MeCalledEvan
Evan Horner
Junior Moderator
Location: Columbus OH
Join Date: 01/03/2012
Age: Party Animal
Posts: 109

Rally Car:
1983 Mazda RX7 GSL


Re: Another RX7 in the mix
January 12, 2012 12:39PM
More Photos:



"The more I learn, the more I realize I don't know and have so much more to learn." - Claude Rouelle, Optimum G lecture June, 2011
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MeCalledEvan
Evan Horner
Junior Moderator
Location: Columbus OH
Join Date: 01/03/2012
Age: Party Animal
Posts: 109

Rally Car:
1983 Mazda RX7 GSL


Re: Another RX7 in the mix
January 12, 2012 12:42PM
And yet more. I think I'll need to get a Flickr account or something so I can use photo URLs. smiling smiley



"The more I learn, the more I realize I don't know and have so much more to learn." - Claude Rouelle, Optimum G lecture June, 2011
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MeCalledEvan
Evan Horner
Junior Moderator
Location: Columbus OH
Join Date: 01/03/2012
Age: Party Animal
Posts: 109

Rally Car:
1983 Mazda RX7 GSL


Re: Another RX7 in the mix
January 12, 2012 12:46PM
Me pulling it out of the garage (top) and the view out of my bedroom/how it sits now (bottom).



"The more I learn, the more I realize I don't know and have so much more to learn." - Claude Rouelle, Optimum G lecture June, 2011
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Gravity Fed
Alex Staidle
Mega Moderator
Location: Δx = ħ/2Δp
Join Date: 08/21/2009
Posts: 1,676

Rally Car:
1978 Mazda Rx7



Re: Another RX7 in the mix
January 12, 2012 12:54PM
regarding seats, they need an FIA cert so making them is out of the question.



Respecognize!
Http://www.facebook.com/2WDriveRally
First Rally: 2010 First RallyX: 2004 (a bunch)
Driver (0), Co-Driver (5)
Organizer (3), Volunteer (3)
Cars Built (1.5), Engines Blown (2) Cages Built (0) # of rotations (3.5)
Last Updated, Oct 30, 2013
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Alex Staidle
Mega Moderator
Location: Δx = ħ/2Δp
Join Date: 08/21/2009
Posts: 1,676

Rally Car:
1978 Mazda Rx7



Re: Another RX7 in the mix
January 12, 2012 12:56PM
i highly recommend going with the entire second gen front suspension, steering, brakes etc. it just all around superior. And with the 1.5:1 should be about 2.1 turns lock to lock.

the rear suspension is another story, not sure the best way to go yet. My car has about 1.5" travel up from rest and about 3" down. Which sucks.



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First Rally: 2010 First RallyX: 2004 (a bunch)
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Alex Staidle
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Location: Δx = ħ/2Δp
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1978 Mazda Rx7



Re: Another RX7 in the mix
January 12, 2012 01:02PM
you should find the Ford prep manuals and read! Read like the wind! Assuming wind could read.



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MeCalledEvan
Evan Horner
Junior Moderator
Location: Columbus OH
Join Date: 01/03/2012
Age: Party Animal
Posts: 109

Rally Car:
1983 Mazda RX7 GSL


Re: Another RX7 in the mix
January 12, 2012 01:03PM
Seats: Good to know. Ok well we'll see what I can come up with in that case.

Suspension: Ok that sounds pretty tits so I'll look more into that. The only think I'm worried about is engine mounting. The S2 (12a) has completely different mounts than the S4/5. They are also different from the S3, but GSL-SE subframes don't need too much modification to make it work, or the S3 front plate mounts to the S2. I wonder if the S4/5 front plate mounts to the S2...
Yeah the rear suspension is the FBs weakest link in my opinion...



"The more I learn, the more I realize I don't know and have so much more to learn." - Claude Rouelle, Optimum G lecture June, 2011
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MeCalledEvan
Evan Horner
Junior Moderator
Location: Columbus OH
Join Date: 01/03/2012
Age: Party Animal
Posts: 109

Rally Car:
1983 Mazda RX7 GSL


Re: Another RX7 in the mix
January 12, 2012 01:04PM
Will do! Just google them I guess?



"The more I learn, the more I realize I don't know and have so much more to learn." - Claude Rouelle, Optimum G lecture June, 2011
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Alex Staidle
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Location: Δx = ħ/2Δp
Join Date: 08/21/2009
Posts: 1,676

Rally Car:
1978 Mazda Rx7



Re: Another RX7 in the mix
January 12, 2012 01:12PM
search on here first since they have been linked in the past. the first escort Mk1 / Mk2 is the best.

the front covers interchange across all the generations. I commonly put S4 13bs into first gens with a GSLSE oil pan and a 12a front cover. Only difference is the motor mount mounts dont quite exist on the old ones for the FC subframe. That said however, you can probably make something work. Or just sell your rarer 12a for a less rare 13b from a FC. Turbo swap and V8 guys usually ditch them cheap enough.

Oil cooling is huge thing. for that matter engine cooling is too. My car got warm and quick! So if you have the beehive oil cooler, which you probably do since its an 83, ditch it and get the mazda bar/plate death oil cooler, or two.

A bigger electronic fan and a good shroud is ideal. You can have the car off and leave the fan on



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First Rally: 2010 First RallyX: 2004 (a bunch)
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MeCalledEvan
Evan Horner
Junior Moderator
Location: Columbus OH
Join Date: 01/03/2012
Age: Party Animal
Posts: 109

Rally Car:
1983 Mazda RX7 GSL


Re: Another RX7 in the mix
January 12, 2012 01:28PM
I'll take a look. Thanks!

Engines: True enough. We will see. I still have school to pay for, not to mention limited free time, so we'll see what I come up with.

Good call on the oil cooler! I was planning that modification as well, but it slipped my mind while I was listing them off.
I think I'm on the right track as far as engine cooling, I just need to get and thermoform some ABS sheeting to make a shroud. I already have an MR2 dual fan sitting in my garage, but have yet to wire it up. I'll need to do something about measuring coolant temp as well. What are your thoughts on that? Should I plug something like this with this light in-line, figure out how to mount it in the thermostat housing, or use the stock coolant temp sensor and wire it in to a light and switch and fans?



"The more I learn, the more I realize I don't know and have so much more to learn." - Claude Rouelle, Optimum G lecture June, 2011
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Alex Staidle
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Location: Δx = ħ/2Δp
Join Date: 08/21/2009
Posts: 1,676

Rally Car:
1978 Mazda Rx7



Re: Another RX7 in the mix
January 12, 2012 01:54PM
i just have a switch and turn the fans on once the car is started. Simple is better.



Respecognize!
Http://www.facebook.com/2WDriveRally
First Rally: 2010 First RallyX: 2004 (a bunch)
Driver (0), Co-Driver (5)
Organizer (3), Volunteer (3)
Cars Built (1.5), Engines Blown (2) Cages Built (0) # of rotations (3.5)
Last Updated, Oct 30, 2013
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MeCalledEvan
Evan Horner
Junior Moderator
Location: Columbus OH
Join Date: 01/03/2012
Age: Party Animal
Posts: 109

Rally Car:
1983 Mazda RX7 GSL


Re: Another RX7 in the mix
January 12, 2012 02:03PM
Hahaha good call.
At school we use a saying: "KISS -- Keep It Simple Stupid." Sometimes I get caught up in the potential for optimization and forget that.



"The more I learn, the more I realize I don't know and have so much more to learn." - Claude Rouelle, Optimum G lecture June, 2011
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Alex Staidle
Mega Moderator
Location: Δx = ħ/2Δp
Join Date: 08/21/2009
Posts: 1,676

Rally Car:
1978 Mazda Rx7



Re: Another RX7 in the mix
January 12, 2012 02:10PM
thats exactly why i removed things like the headlight motors. Its just weight and extra wiring to me. Two small welds one each, and whammy. Rally approved



Respecognize!
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First Rally: 2010 First RallyX: 2004 (a bunch)
Driver (0), Co-Driver (5)
Organizer (3), Volunteer (3)
Cars Built (1.5), Engines Blown (2) Cages Built (0) # of rotations (3.5)
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Pete
Pete Remner
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Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Join Date: 01/11/2006
Age: Settling Down
Posts: 1,927


Re: Another RX7 in the mix
January 12, 2012 02:46PM
Alex, you remember those mongo fans I was putting on my car?

They cool the thing down.

Even on a chassis dyno, start a pull at 190, turn both fans on high and at the end of the pull the coolant temp will be down to 180.

Downside: They pull a lot of juice. A LOT of juice. Like, stall the engine by turning them on.



Pete Remner
Cleveland, Ohio

1984 RX-7 (rallycross thing)
1978
Silence is golden, but duct tape is silver.
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