Image Image Image Image Image

Make sure to check out and join the FORUM!

Scroll to Top

To Top

Latest News

17

May, 2013
at 10:35 pm

No Comments

In Music

06

May, 2013
at 10:19 pm

2 Comments

In RX-7

Milestone Achieved

On 06, May 2013 | 2 Comments | In RX-7 | By Eric

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…

25000

06

May, 2013
at 10:03 pm

No Comments

In After Hours
Life & Times
RX-7

So What’s Next?

On 06, May 2013 | No Comments | In After Hours, Life & Times, RX-7 | By Eric

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.

06

May, 2013
at 9:21 pm

One Comment

In Garage Life
RX-7

Rear Fire Extinguisher

On 06, May 2013 | One Comment | In Garage Life, RX-7 | By Eric

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.

sakebomb

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.

amerex

The bracket utilizes the driver-side rear trim panel’s studs.

bracket

Here is what the assembly looks like all-together.

rearextinguisher

Keen eyes may notice that the fire extinguisher was installed pre-RX-7 badge… I’ve just been delayed in making this post.

fireextinguisher

01

May, 2013
at 10:58 pm

No Comments

In Keepin' it Sick
Videos

WSBK 2013 Aragon Race 2

On 01, May 2013 | No Comments | In Keepin' it Sick, Videos | By Eric

This is an interesting race to watch if you have the time. Full race video:

21

Apr, 2013
at 12:36 am

2 Comments

In RX-7

At the Heart

On 21, Apr 2013 | 2 Comments | In RX-7 | By Eric

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.

singleturbo

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.

21

Apr, 2013
at 12:25 am

One Comment

In Behind the Lens
RX-7

A Quick Drive

On 21, Apr 2013 | One Comment | In Behind the Lens, RX-7 | By Eric

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.

pic1

pic2

pic3

16

Apr, 2013
at 10:25 pm

6 Comments

In Garage Life
RX-7

RX-7 Emblem

On 16, Apr 2013 | 6 Comments | In Garage Life, RX-7 | By Eric

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.

rx7emblem

There is another portion to this emblem that has a rectangular Efini badge underneath, but I decided to omit it.

16

Apr, 2013
at 9:56 pm

No Comments

In Garage Life
RX-7

Revolution Thermostat Housing/AST

On 16, Apr 2013 | No Comments | In Garage Life, RX-7 | By Eric

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).

tstatside

The scalloped section on the bottom allowed for perfect clearance with the idler pulley.

tstathousing

machinedflange

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

thermostat

Finally, here is the Revolution tank installed with a 90* 1/8″ NPT to 1/4″ barb for the overflow nipple.

revolutionast

I think it adds a nice touch to the engine bay! A vast improvement over the ungainly stock counterpart.

13

Apr, 2013
at 12:16 am

No Comments

In Garage Life
RX-7

Spring Cleaning

On 13, Apr 2013 | No Comments | In Garage Life, RX-7 | By Eric

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…

dusty

dustdirt

dirtycar

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.

detailingproducts

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.

souveran

While detailing a car may be therapeutic in many ways, you can’t escape the fact that it requires a lot of effort.

maskingtape

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.

10

Apr, 2013
at 11:21 pm

No Comments

In Music

Souls of Mischief – 93 ’til Infinity

On 10, Apr 2013 | No Comments | In Music | By Eric

Representing both real hip hop and the Bay.

31

Mar, 2013
at 11:20 pm

One Comment

In Garage Life
RX-7

Water Pump Service

On 31, Mar 2013 | One Comment | In Garage Life, RX-7 | By Eric

After investigating further, I was able to determine the true source of the odd coolant leak. I initially thought it was the lower radiator hose, so I replaced every single clamp with stainless t-bolt clamps. The leak still persisted. I eventually traced the leak to a region higher up – the bottom weep hole of the water pump. Thankfully, the increased visibility and accessibility from going single turbo enabled me to finally find the source. This is the same mystery leak I saw when the car was still in the stock, twin turbo configuration. With the undertray in place and all the clutter blocking any sort of reasonable access, my attempts at diagnosing the problem was greatly thwarted back then. (Albeit, the leak was less prominent at that time.)

I noticed that the leak would only occur during a cold-start and disappear once the car was fully warmed up. This is likely due to the seal inside the water pump expanding from the heat. Regardless, when the weep hole is leaking, it is a sure sign of a failing water pump.

As much as I wanted to lay down the wrench for a while and just drive the car, I knew the only way that could happen is if I postpone my “vacation”. There was no skirting around the issue, I took immediate action and obtained all the necessary parts for the water pump service by the week’s end.

Allow me to demonstrate the Grand Mighty approach to maintenance. If I’m forced to go through the effort of removing and replacing a part, I may as well upgrade it. So in addition to brand new gaskets and hardware (every fastener I needed to touch for this job was replaced), I elected to swap in a new RE-Medy water pump from MazMart. I got lucky when I called MazMart, because I needed the water pump quickly and they happened to only have 2 left in stock.

The first step was to remove the idler and water pump pulleys, remove the thermostat housing, and then remove the water pump. While a water pump service on a rotary may not be as involved as piston-engined counter parts, where the timing belt is interconnected with the pump, there is a catch… The water pump housing is sandwiched between the water pump and the front cover on studs. I don’t think there is a reliable way to remove JUST the water pump without compromising the water pump housing’s gasket. Maybe if the gasket remains in one piece and any movement is severely minimized, but there’s still no guarantee against disturbing the seal.

waterpumpremoved

To be comprehensive, I moved forward with removing the water pump housing as well. And as anticipated, the paper gasket broke apart instantly and needed to be scraped off.

waterpumpservice

The RE-Medy water pump uses a brand new OEM core, but features a CNC’d impeller blade. This benefits from being more effective at moving water and is said to be void of cavitation up to 10,000 RPM.

Here is a comparison between the stock water pump (top) and the RE-Medy water pump (bottom).

waterpumpcomparison

And a closer look at the new impeller.

RE-Medy

Replacing the water pump is overall a relatively straightforward job, and especially so with my setup because much of the clutter up-front was removed after going single turbo. The V-Mount also provided adequate workspace, but I did need to remove the studs holding on the water pump housing, because there wasn’t enough room to slide it fully off. However, I spread the work over 3 days. The most time-consuming part was cleaning everything.

I gradually sanded and basically polished all of the mating surfaces. There was slight pitting on the water pump housing to water pump’s surface, so I took the time to fill them in (darker colored areas in the picture below).

waterpumphousing

Once the parts were ready to go, I dressed all the mating surfaces with a light film of RTV for added security (in addition to new gaskets, of course), and buttoned it all back up.

waterpump

I’m not quite finished, as you can see, because I’m waiting on a thermostat housing from Japan. I’m used to having parts shipped Next or 2nd Day when in the States, but the whole “overnight parts from Japan” thing isn’t quite as easy. Until then, I’ll have to wait and pick this back up later.