Figuring out the solution to the roll bar has undoubtedly been the trickiest and least straightforward. Initially, Samberg agreed to cover a new replacement if I return my old one, given the amount of additional work I had invested in the finish. It was a generous proposition and a best case scenario. After I removed the roll bar from the car, I dropped it off to his shop.
A month goes by and I decide to check in. I then learned that the tubing materials needed to run another batch production run of roll bars were out of stock and Samberg did not want to place an order because he was due to relocate shops. This essentially meant that the timeline of completing my replacement roll bar was an unknown, and I didn’t want to wait.
I decided to push off into a different path and opted to cut my losses and sell off my old roll bar instead. My very first idea, as shown by the original Auto Power roll bar‘s paint color influence, was to have stainless steel tubing and a raw finish. I went the long way around but I found myself back at this starting point.
Too much time had passed already so I wasted none myself in calling various fabrication capable shops and researching a custom stainless steel roll bar. I probably called every single viable shop in the entire Bay Area, but nothing could come to fruition. Either the quoted prices were astronomical or the shops were too busy to take on the work.
The design idea I finalized on was to copy Samberg’s roll bar and use his rear standoffs, which raise the rear mounting points and allows the hoop to bolt in as one piece, instead of having to segment the legs with couplers. If I were to use couplers, nothing was available in stainless steel so that would not have worked regardless. While still calling around, I wanted to cover as much ground as I could muster myself and decided to check back with Samberg. Although he was out of tubing, he still had enough steel plates leftover to build another set of standoffs and mounting plates. I purchased from him because ultimately it would save custom fabrication time to remake these, at a much greater cost.
I also took the standoffs and a pair of the mounting plates to the powder coaters.
In the end, however, I pulled the plug on the custom roll bar idea because the logistical odds were not in my favor and the task was simply too difficult to accomplish. And because I found another alternative. More on that in the next post.
I’m going to try and sell the powder coated standoffs and plates from Samberg as a DIY roll bar starter kit…
Moving on, while in between other work on the RX-7, I found time to plug in my laptop to the AiM MXG dash and download the latest firmware upgrade. The hardware was manufactured and packed with features and contingencies, but the software still needs time to be developed in order to support everything, which AiM will be releasing in patches. With this latest update, WiFi is now enabled so I can sync with the dash wirelessly instead.
Welcome to the future, folks.
After I relocated the fan relays into the passenger footwell, I could hear them chatter (buzz) every time the fans activate. This was ongoing but I never had the chance to notice it previously since the relays were in the engine bay and inaudible while driving. Fearing that the issue was caused due to low voltage on the relay coils, I started to investigate further. The last thing I wanted to do was dig up the entire circuitry after having just extended all the leads.
The excellent technical support at PSIConversions, where I bought my swap wiring harness from, was able to lead me on to a vital clue. The GM ECU has a “Pulse Width Modulation” fan setting which is used with a module that can control variable speeds. When used with relays instead of this module, it can cause the buzzing due to the way the signal is delivered by the ECU. I quickly contacted Nick of Newtech Performance and was able to meet up with him today. We plugged in his HPTuners to the ECU and checked the fan settings – sure enough, Pulse Width Modulation was set. The setting was changed to “Discrete”, saved, and voilà! Problem solved – no more buzzing. I love easy fixes like this and dodging what could otherwise be a considerable amount of work.
On the subject of relays, I would like to report back on the starter booster relay. I’ve had enough time now to adequately test it out and can happily say that the booster works flawlessly. The clicking miss-starts are gone. I had a good discussion with Tommy in the comments section of the booster post that outlines the scope of the troubleshooting. Long story short – Mazda’s convoluted ignition wiring and the many different relay hops along the circuit is causing voltage drop of a prolific nature.