I feel that this is a bit anti-climatic… but the RX-7 rolled over 25,000 miles a couple of weeks ago. That means during my ownership, I only drove it a mere 500 miles. Most of these miles were dedicated to driving to and fro the body shop and various other shops. The car has spent more of its time with me on jackstands than on the road. I’ll waive any further commentary on this matter…
Updates have been lacking recently on the website because in all honesty, I opted to take a break. With the single turbo conversion finally completed and the car running beautifully… what’s the next move?
From the very beginning when the idea to buy another RX-7 popped into my mind almost exactly a year ago, I acknowledged what I would be getting myself into. I was equipped with enough experience, having gone through multiple projects and builds in the past, to know that this would be a similar process. Just on an even grander scale. I knew that this RX-7 would be my most ambitious undertaking to date, and had to accept all the sacrifices that followed. I think the underlying reason why I would even willingly desire such a lofty goal stems from a determination to push. It was this same determination that ultimately saw me through the project and up to this point today.
The amount of work I invested into this car was compressed into a relatively short time span of less than a year. This meant that throughout its duration, I would have to constantly think about the car or work on it. There was no such thing as a break, and there certainly wasn’t time to do much else on top of my day job and school work. Life wasn’t easy, but I was cognizant of the challenge I subjected myself to. I looked at the situation as if I was tackling a very large and intricate puzzle.
In addition to the labor and time involved, the near psychotic levels of money spending made the whole endeavor monumentally exhausting. Not only did I have to buy a low-mileage RX-7 to start, it didn’t even end up accounting for half of the equation. I remember maxing out my credit card repeatedly over the course of the previous Winter. At the minimum, I received 4-5 packages in the mail on a weekly basis for months whilst undergoing the single turbo work.
So what’s next for me is to take a step back and enjoy some fresh air – away from all the oil-filled chemicals in the garage, away from the long nights of toiling work, and away from the financially burdening habit of buying parts. My vision for the car is finally realized to an extent that I can be satisfied with. I have conquered a seemingly insurmountable task, to prove that it can be done with tact and perseverance. I know there’s only enough will and strength in me to have one go-around at this. So now it’s time to reap the benefits and move on…
My plan is to actually focus on returning to a normal life, a life that isn’t consumed by a single thought. I’ve been quite busy lately keeping active lifestyle because my first motivation is to try and reinstate the years I know I lost from working on all these projects over the years. The amount of stress endured definitely accumulates to a significant toll.
The change in pace lately has been great, but I know one thing is for certain… albeit I’m at the end of one “hobby,” I’ll have to pick something else up to fill the gap. Otherwise, I’ll end up feeling bored and dull. Definitely no more cars though, I’ve been down that road for far too long now.
I picked up a fire extinguisher bracket with a quick release from Sake Bomb Garage. This version mounts in the rear trunk, which I liked. I didn’t want to have a fire extinguisher sitting too visibly in the cabin since this is not a full-on race car.
Keeping a fire extinguisher on hand is a good precautionary measure – you can never be too safe. In total, it adds an extra 3lbs to the car but can be the saving grace that prevents a total loss. No one ever buys a fire extinguisher expecting anything to happen, but the smart ones will buy one anyway.
I specifically bought an Amerex Halon fire extinguisher. Halon is a clean agent gas that chemically disrupts combustion and leaves no residue. The agenda is to maximize salvageability so once the fire is stopped, further damage won’t be incurred with residue everywhere.
The bracket utilizes the driver-side rear trim panel’s studs.
Here is what the assembly looks like all-together.
Keen eyes may notice that the fire extinguisher was installed pre-RX-7 badge… I’ve just been delayed in making this post.
Here is the most recent picture of the engine bay. I’m quite proud of what has been achieved under the hood, so excuse me for showing it off a little.
I wrapped the intercooler piping in gold tape as an added measure to help with the charge temperatures. It is especially important to try and maintain the cold-side piping close to ambient. After my driving reviews, the Defined Autoworks V-Mount is performing phenomenally well: both Intake and Engine temperatures are very consistent and low, a vast and quantifiable improvement over stock.
It’s a major relief to have the long months of labor behind me. I can finally slow things down and dedicate newly allotted time to actually driving. As astonishing as it sounds, I’ve only put about 200 miles on the RX-7 since I bought it last summer. The car has spent its life in between those miles sitting on jackstands in my garage, either being torn apart or being rebuilt.
Last weekend, with the water pump replaced and the coolant leak resolved, I went out for a spin and brought my camera with me.
Although I had the rear bumper debadged except for the main emblem, I added back the RX-7 logo in an updated, “Efini” form. These are stick-on and go on the right, passenger side of the bumper. As if this wasn’t cool enough, I wanted the more obscure, red lettering version.
The Mazda part number for this is F100-51-711B. Even down to an emblem, everything needs to be as authentic and quality as possible. While expensive, I was at least able to find one available.
There is another portion to this emblem that has a rectangular Efini badge underneath, but I decided to omit it.
Deciding to step up to the Revolution/AutoStaff “Radiator Outlet Tank” cost almost 3 weeks of downtime. I had to order this part from RHDJapan in the midst of the water pump service. Unfortunately, this was the last piece of the puzzle and I wasn’t able to finish everything up until the part was in hand.
After waiting 2 weeks with no shipping update from RHDJapan (they first have to receive the part from the manufacturer), I opted to pull some strings just to ensure I could get the car operational again. I have little patience when it comes to these types of things, which probably alludes to how I powered through the single turbo conversion in a few months. It really bugs me to leave a job unfinished.
So I settled for second best, as it was better than nothing at all. A member on the RX7Club forums actually made a small run of a similar product, inspired by the original. These were sold out before I could grab one, but I chased another avenue and it turned out a buddy of mine bought one and never installed it. I explained my situation and he was generously willing to pass it on to me. As I said before, the community is an imperative resource.
Of course, the very next day after all this happens, I get an email from RHDJapan noting that my order was shipped. Miraculously, according to the tracking number, the Revolution part was already in San Francisco and waiting for customs. It actually shipped 2 days prior, but I got the tracking number too late… talk about complicating things.
Revolution made the outlet tank with a zero pressure, screw on cap. Meaning, it was simply a fancier replacement of the stock thermostat housing and, like stock, a separate Air Separator Tank (AST) was required. I wanted to integrate the AST directly, so I had the screw on filler chopped off and a new billet, radiator filler welded in its place (thanks FFTEC, again). This would allow me to run a pressurized 13psi cap, effectively obviating the need for a separate AST.
For comparison’s sake, here’s a side by side of the Revolution tank (left) versus the locally made copy (right).
The scalloped section on the bottom allowed for perfect clearance with the idler pulley.
The difference in quality is easily recognizable. Yes, the Revolution part is prohibitively expensive and a hassle, but you truly get a well-made product. The entire flange is billet and even the outlet for the radiator hose is billet.
I also took the opportunity to refresh the thermostat with a new OEM replacement. It seems as though Mazda changed the design and build of the thermostats. The later versions are simpler and the jiggle pin is moved inward near the center opening.
Left: Old; Right: New
Finally, here is the Revolution tank installed with a 90* 1/8″ NPT to 1/4″ barb for the overflow nipple.
I think it adds a nice touch to the engine bay! A vast improvement over the ungainly stock counterpart.
Complimenting my OCD tendencies, I’ve typically held a strict policy of keeping my cars & bikes clean and sanitary. The reason why installs take me so long to do is because I have to scrub down all parts and fasteners before reassembly. I take pride in upkeep.
However, due to the amount of garage work that took place during the past few months, there was simply no point in preserving the cleanliness of the RX-7. By the end of it, a thick layer of dust and grime had accumulated. And to think a brand new paint job essentially laid underneath all of this…
Finally, with all the major wrenching complete, I could restore the car’s finish with a much needed detail. I’ve been looking forward to this part. Regardless of the repaint, swirl marks and micro scratches are inevitable if a car sits for any length of time without consistent maintenance. Properly cleaning a car is almost a science, and it’s shocking to realize just how finicky and temperamental paint is. All it takes is one bad wipe of a towel to introduce new marks in the clear coat.
To perform the job thoroughly, I picked up a Griot’s Garage Random Orbital with a set of Lake Country pads. My brand of choice for the detailing products is Wolfgang. This stuff is the real deal, forget the subpar consumer-grade offerings like Meguiar’s, Turtle Wax, Zymol, etc. I also grabbed a few Cobra Gold Plush microfiber towels.
I’ve been most looking forward to applying this wax… the Pinnacle Souveran. I’ve had this sitting on my shelf for half a year, and never got the chance to use it.
While detailing a car may be therapeutic in many ways, you can’t escape the fact that it requires a lot of effort.
I dedicated an entire day just to polish the car. I ended up doing 2 passes and it was extremely time consuming and slow work. Once the polishing was done, I applied sealant over the car (except the hood because it still had fresh paint, and I wanted to give it more time to outgas).
The sealant needed 12 hours to cure and I ran out of time last weekend to finish the detailing. I’m going to pick it back up tomorrow and top everything off with the Souveran wax. The results so far have been appealing… I’ll have to try and arrange a photoshoot once it’s all ready.