So in March 1995 she finally hit the road rotary powered.
I drove her like this for the remainder of the year as I'd pretty much used up what spare cash I had with the conversion. In October 1995 I got my first job as a Professional Mechanical Engineer which gave me the opportunity to continue with the build.
Like with everything there are always improvements that can be made and the first on my list was to replace the series 3 Rx-7 oil to water heat exchanger with an oil to air heat exchanger from a series 2 RX-7 mounted in front of the radiator.
As you can see I even fabricated rubber mounts for it
. Even though the front bumper blocks a fair bit of the direct cooling air flow it still worked far better than the oil to water heat exchanger.
Custom made oil lines
The exhaust system that was fitted to get the car on the road was pretty woeful/restrictive (luckily no photos
) so I had a local exhaust shop tidy it up for me...and still no photos!
Anyhow, whilst on the way to the exhaust shop I noticed that my cold oil pressure was down to 50 psi from the usual 70 psi and as I turned into the drive way the engine oil pressure light came on!
I'm sure some of you will immediately know what had happened
Yep! The 'O'-ring on the main oil gallery from the oil pump between the front plate and the front cover had blown out....I wondered if it had ever been installed properly when the engine was built. It was quite a learning curve for me to disassemble the front of the engine (including removing the sump) whilst the engine was still in the car (at my parents house where I still lived luckily
The port that the 'O'-ring seals is just to the right of the oil pump drive chain in the below photo. After a few late nights over a couple of weeks she was back on the road. I also took the opportunity to replace all the rusty through bolts and nuts with nice new zinc dichromate plated Caterpillar items.
A couple of other things I did during 1996 was the removal of the crank driven fan and installation of a thermo fan......
....addition of the original 626 fan shroud for the "standard look", new ignition leads and a general tidy up of the engine bay (paint, wiring etc....)
In early 1997 I embarked on my first ever brake upgrade for the 626....to go from the solid 231mm brake rotor to a vented 246mm brake rotor from a GC 626. I was very happy with the upgrade and it performed very well at Lakeside many times over the following two years.
Here's the upgrade specs....
1997 was the year it all started to happen...stay tuned for a big pictorial post