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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 3:56 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
Posts: 597
Location: Australia
Another mini update, the build is moving at a snails pace.....

More issues with the rear suspension, I had hoped to have fully operational front and rear brakes over the last couple of weeks but it wasn't to be.

Pic 1, what you see here is early and late model Rx3 front leaf eye suspension location pivots. The early model part is a smaller diameter than the later model part. Unfortunately I supplied Pedders with the larger beefier style to rebush my leaf springs. To make the later model part fit correctly within the nolathane bush they also had to make up a sleeve. When trying to fit the pivots I discovered that even though the early and late model leaf eye suspension location pivots look the same, they are actually very different. First there is a raised circular pressing that locks the part into the chassis mount on the underside of the car supporting it. Second difference, the 2 mounting holes that are used to hold the part in place are located in different spots. The most obvious difference is the diameter of the pins.

Basically they are not interchangable so, it was another trip back to Pedders who informed me they had nothing to fit the earlier style mounts after looking around for a couple of days. In the end I went back to MSF Engineering in Melbourne who turned down some metal sleeves so I could use the rebushed springs. All because whoever reversed the leaf eyes (for lowering purposes) didn't reform them with standard diameter sizes.

Pic 2, new sleeves on the early pins, they now fit. One problem down, many unknowns too go.
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New rubber mounting pads installed and diff is now in.
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It wasn't too long before the next problem was encountered....

Axles were installed only to find they were binding. I used the same shims before everything came apart, all was clearly marked for easy assembly. I had SelectMaz rebuild the LSD and press in new bearings and seals. I thought that maybe the Rx3 width bearings were a different size to the 808 ones so panicked and measured the genuine diff housing bearing recesses with the 808 one which I had planned on using.
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Lucky they were the same, that would have been a bad oversight ! In these photos the recesses are checked with the cleaned 808 diff housing. Both are the same... lucky :) The solution was to use an extra shim, all good now. Everything is sealed with Hylomar. I'm now short of a shim for the left side. The only difference between the 808 1600 diff housing and the 10a rotary diff housing is the location of the hydraulic line splitter. I used the 808 housing as I was missing the correct splitter and hydraulic lines for the 10a Rx3 housing.
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Pic 1, Brakes going together..... finally. Pic 2, I had new battery leads made by copying OEM items. The OEM battery leads were repaired for the 100% resto car I will be doing next. They had those horrible bolt on terminals which were replaced with commerical type terminals that are crimped in place using a tool the size of bolt cutters. The bolt on type look super cheap and don't provide the reliabilty I'm after. (Negative OEM cable yet to have terminal replaced in this photo).
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That's it for now, waiting for the next unforseen problem to bite me in the ass.........


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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:58 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2011 4:15 am
Posts: 326
Location: Adelaide
tidy work under there!! :tu:
The way you mentioned the mini panic is funny, it's moments like those make you question everything you got going on. Then after a frantic few minutes storming around with the steel rule - checking - double checking.. Oh good times :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 2:41 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
Posts: 597
Location: Australia
I make my share of boo boo's, don't worry about that !

Update number 539837....

Rear brakes are finally together, I think I was traumatised by the experience. If it wasn't for a group C Rx3 owner I would have considered ditching them. Apparently they perform well on the race car so should be more than adequate for this car. I'm told by several people who know Mazda's inside out that I took a good path with the front brakes and my conversion generally out performs many other conversions. If they stop my car like they did our old 240 which was 400Kgs heavier I'll be pretty happy. Pic 2, rear bits that are getting blasted clean. These will be painted up when finished.
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Parts cleaned and painted, these are the final bits that had to be cleaned to attach the axle housing to the springs. Pic 2, New old stock 70's Rx3 adjustable Konis.
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New leaf pads for the suspension, only really useful if you have retained the Mazda axle housing really. Pic 2, torquing the U bolts to 4kg/m as per Mazda spec....
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Konis about to go into the rear end.... Pic 2, rear end all clean, either painted, powder coated or zinc plated.
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Rear drums assembled and adjusted. I'll blast the drum casings at a later date. Pic 2, car is back on its wheels...
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I'm happy with the front end sits, I wouldn't want it any lower. There's basically a finger and a half between the tyre and guard. It doesn't appear that the tyre will clip the guard either which I was a little concerned about. The front will probably settle a little lower but hopefully not too much as I'm happy with how it currently sits. I'll take better photos when the steering is all together and I can roll it out onto the drive. The rear of the car was sitting a lot lower before, currently has a 4WD stance. That should settle once I move the car around. The rear leaf springs have been reset, eyes reversed and beefed up by a previous owner. I'm reasonably confident that they are right and won't require lowering blocks so won't be doing anything more until I take the car for a drive and let everything settle. Pic 2, I have a small number of parts to paint and touch up which I'll be doing shortly. Scuttle panel was blasted and is in an etch primer from my trusted blaster.
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Close up of the new front. I'll be loosing the wheel caps, I think the car looks much better without them. Also made a good choice painting the wheels in the factory steel wheel colour. Once the rear suspension settles I'll be real happy. I finally decided that I wanted a 70s/80s look so large rims and low profile tyres were out of the question, basically I'm happy everything worked out especially the front tyre sizes which had me concerned.
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Next update, I'll be giving the mechanical side a rest, I'll complete the electricals and putting some power through the wires so I can test everything out.


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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:58 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
Posts: 597
Location: Australia
Update 550763, slowly sorting out various things to get the car to a roadworthy state....

Since I was happy with the colour and tyre fitment I finished off the other 2 wheels. One wheel looked heavily oxidised but cleaned up easily enough, for the $50 it cost me (+ shipping) it was worth the risk. England and Europe in general have a far greater range of 14" odd ball tyres so I placed the order for the other 2 tyres now that I was happy with how they looked. If you'vre ever been to Europe you'll see lots of small performance cars running about mainly due to the high cost of fuel.

Before
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Almost cleaned
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Finished ready for tyres
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Fitting front brakes and hydraulics. Pic 1, calipers have been blasted, plated in black zinc, and fitted with new seals. New hydraulic lines were also custom made by a local brake shop. Pic 2, new copper crushable washers were purchased to seal the hard line connections.
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Washers fitted and hard lines tightened. Just need to borrow my brothers wire wrap tool and connect the fabric coated lines with stainless wire to the fluid reservoir.
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Fitted up the high beams, I've replaced all 4 sealed beams with semi sealed beams. The night driving lights are Hella H4's, these were selected for their superior optics while not needing any extra power. The inner high beams are Koito lights, Mazda fitted Koito sealed beams to these cars from factory. The difference with the ones on my car is they are also semi sealed beams except they are H1 style. The reason for the upgrade is that I'd rather see where I'm actually going at night instead of trying to light up the road with a pair of sealed beam candles ! I had purchased some relays to rewire the headlamps, but since they all consume the same amount of power as the original sealed beams there wasn't any real need. People perform the upgrade to take the combination switch out of the main power circuit to prolong it's life. I can't say I've ever had problems burning out the combination switch plus I have a few of them, the real reason is I've become lazy :lol:

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Completing the main 2 engine bay harnesses. Sometime ago I had chopped off and replaced every single engine bay harness connector. The reason was I want the car to be reliable, the wiring had been chopped, badly repaired, parts saturated in filthy grease and oil, and my pet hate is seeing those horrible press on crimp connectors that cut through wiring insulation for adding wires or replacing broken wires. Everything was fine except that Mazda used some proprietary connectors that aren't available anywhere. The solution was to use another damaged loom and make 1 from 2. Pic 1, second harness that is being used for it's connectors in Pic 3. Pic 2, you can see all the new connectors.
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The rubber is pulled back on the harness that is being repaired. Pic 2 and 3, the wanted connectors are swapped over one by one.
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Until you get to this point in pic 1 :lol: Pic 2, a nylon replacement that I've cleaned up for the new loom.
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One by one the connectors are removed from the nylon block, cleaned then swapped over into the clean nylon block. I had wanted to manufacture the brass terminals however there would be no demand for them :( Pic 1, dirty, Pic 2 cleaned in a bit of paint reducer, Pic 3 nice and clean :)
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...and before you know it you have 2 brand new looms :lol:
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For the inexperienced Rx3 restorer beware when mixing and matching looms as there are several types. Here is a third type off a 72 model, they don't get much simpler than this. I have shown photos previously of a 73 pre REAPS loom in my thread that is being used in this car. The REAPS pollution loom i shown somewhere as well.... All are different and will give you headaches if you try installing in the wrong car. For example you could easily modify a REAPS loom to connect to a 73 Pre REAPs car with little trouble except that the actual firewall plug won't fit the earlier car. The 72 loom will fit a 73 through the firewall but the connectors are all different !
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After all that, both looms are installed into engine bay :) Yes I'm keeping the fusible link, I'll order some new ones as this one is pretty old. There are 2 additional smaller looms that still need to be restored, one connects to the left the other to the right. I'll repair those once I buy and reco an external style regulator alternator and get my high energy distributors back from the fabricator. There's no need to do any major upgrade electrically as the car doesn't consume anymore power than standard. I could go for a 200A alternator but I don't think my mono AM radio requires that much :D
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I finally connected up a power source and put come juice through the loom, probably the first time in close to 20 years ! A few gremlins need to be sorted. Pic 1 Right high beam doesn't work, Pic 2 left tail light doesn't work either amongst other things. One by one I will sort them all out.
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First problem was wrong wattage globes used in some indicators and a blown H1 globe. Pic 1, trip down to the auto parts shop got me all the missing globes. Pic 2, best part about semi sealed beams (aside from lots more light) is that the blown globes are replaceable.
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After an hour of tracing wires the problem was with the rear to front harness connector not being pushed all the way in. This is located above the drivers feet. There are still more minor issues to be sorted, indicators, brakes, head lamps, AMP gauge, fan blower, hazards all tested working. The radio lights up but no static coming out of speaker, clock no go, also minor problem with drivers cluster which is probably me connecting something wrong. EVERYTHING will be tested right down to the regulator, temp sensors, fuel sender... everything (which isn't much really :lol:)
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A few things are being redone as well that I've either identically damaged or didnt turn out right. First parts to be redone are the C pillar vents. I tried to live with the off colour but ended up going down to the paint store and having another colour made up. Now I'm happy with them...
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As you can see everything is taking longer than expected, I suppose that's what you get when you buy a bitza in bits (in lots of boxes :lol:). I thought I'd have the electrical sorted in a couple of days but I think it'll be double that time. There are a few small things that need painting, need to buy a bigger fuel pump (a carter of some description), jet the Webber, tap the carb manifold, buy the filter, fit the front/ rear glass, exhaust and the list goes on.

I think once the cabling is done I'm in a good spot for the finish line.


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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:54 am 
Mild Cam
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Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:31 pm
Posts: 1677
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Wow, this thing is getting close. :shock: Not that I never expected you to finish it, I just don't know what I'm going to read when the build is done. Maybe I'll start over from teh beginning. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:32 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 6:13 am
Posts: 91
Location: Melbourne Australia
So close, so detailed so want it finished :tu:

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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:35 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
Posts: 597
Location: Australia
Don't worry too much camshaft, there is another in storage that I'll start on in the second half of the year. This one is completely original never had a front end hit which is disappointing. Not as much work as I would have hoped :lol: It's got rust in all the typical spots but is amazingly pretty much original. It was one of those things where I didn't want another one so soon but you never see them this original (but rough/ worn out) anymore. Well in Australia at least. At some stage I'll do a 12a Rx3 coupe and also a Rx4 coupe. I just need to find somewhere to keep and work on them.

Mo, all the electrics are sorted which I'm happy about. I'll do another update on that when I have time to write the story. I want it finished to take on some drives. I'm really keen to do a track day down at Philip Island with some mates. Nothing too serious though. I'm going to try and visit the engineering shop for the two distributors this week, just hope he's not on holidays.


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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:11 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
Posts: 597
Location: Australia
Part 2 of the electrical update.....

So with the main looms connected I now had to sort out all the faults. I had fixed most things however there were still a few things that weren't right. For starters the clock and lighter weren't working, the lights in the center gauge cluster, horn weren't operational, and an annoying issue with the drivers cluster where the indicator lights were half illuminated needed sorting.

It appeared to be an earth issue.... or partially an earth issue as I discovered.

Unfortunately as much as I didn't want too, I had to pull the center of the car apart to get to the bottom of things. The owners manual had a wiring schematic which isn't great but a good start. I've looked around and haven't found anything better, that's the 70's for you.
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After studying the schematic I discovered that one of the earth lugs that runs to the center console wasn't connected so that was then connected. The problem I then experienced was that the CTEK charger/ power source kept displaying a fault condition and shut down. It's a great bit of gear if you can afford one and saves a lot of time diagnosing these sorts of things. It basically immediately cuts the 12V supply if high current draw is detected, basically a short circuit. It does this before any fuses are blown saving both the fuse and potential damage to the looms. So I then back tracked and disconnected the earth (last thing I did before the fault appeared to find I had 12V on the earth lug !! You can see this on my 12.99 meter, I've got 2 Flukes somewhere but stuffed if I know which box, which storage depot and which city they are stored at, only 1000KM distance between places :|
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After an hour or two I found the culprit to be the lighter. That's what you get when you go into auto pilot mode and assume everything in the boxes of bits are OK. 2 problems with the lighter as you can see the first in pic 1, the center 12V terminal moved and shorted on the shell (earth) causing 12V to appear at the earth lug under the drivers feet. Pic 2, is how it should be. Pic 3 shows a second short, the center 12V lug screws on and should have insulation underneath the lug, this one didn't. A previous owner had pulled things apart and obviously lost some parts or didn't realise the importance of the fabric washers that prevent the center lug from shorting on the outer shell.
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With that done, things were looking much better and some other problems just went away as you'd expect. Pic 1, earth now shows it's an earth. Still the clock wasn't working, there was 12V on the line but still no go. I pulled the timing device out to see if the motor was working which it was (pic 2). I then thought either the mechanism was damaged or the motor was worn although unlikely.
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So I then put on my clock maker hat and repaired a second clock I had using the best bits from both....
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I had to swap looms across as the spare had a different plug.
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I also discovered that the replacement clock didn't have an internal earth connection from factory for the light so ran an earth lead to get that going when the night lights are used.... to get to the point the replacement clock didn't work either, as a last resort all that was required was a squirt of WD40 on the mechanism :roll:
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After all that everything now works, no shorts. Dash back together :)
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Also got the handbrake hooked up and working :) Now waiting on RestoreMaz to plastic chrome my original gearstick chrome surround so I can install the other consoles permanently.
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Fingers crossed I should have my 2 distributors back in the next couple of weeks, so I can finish the remaining looms. Also will get started on the alternator and assemble the starter shortly. The steering rods I think are next...


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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 5:46 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 31, 2009 11:53 pm
Posts: 413
Location: Adelaide
Sensational stuff Gypsy. You are so close now. It is so good to see someone who maintains the same exacting standard from start to finish. Most people would just say ahh it's only the clock.....who cares. It's the little things that make the difference. Can't wait to see the finished product :D


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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:22 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
Posts: 597
Location: Australia
These are more reference photos for reassembly that will take place in the next 6 or so weeks. I'm currently rebuilding alternators and starter motors. You'll see double and repeats of things as I have another car.

Starter motor one has been tested and rear housing zinced. I'll up photos of the finished motor next time. Commutator, rotor and winding all cleaned and tested. Last pic here the rear brush holder is on backwards ! It's pretty much ready to be bolted in.
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Starter motor #2, got this one from the boxes of bits that came with the car. This will be going on the other car, currently disassembled for inspection, testing and zincing.
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Two alternators that I'm currently rebuilding, zincing and then testing. Good reference photos if you are doing the same thing. These use an external regulator and are 70A units from a Rx4 I believe. They are all pretty much the same from this era. This should remind someone to send me the missing large style pulley :) Rattle gun is the best way to get them apart.
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Nothing exciting here just reference shots...
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Stator and heat sink for diodes. The alternator that looked the worse was actually the better of the two. Some of the diodes had come off the heatsink from the other.
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Stator, diodes and heatsink disassembled. I will replace all diodes for reliability. The heatsinks will be sent away and plated before new diodes are installed. At this point both stator windings will be tested for open circuit, short circuit and resistance. They should be fine, if not I will have them rewound by an old schooler in Melbourne. Cost is around $100, if I'm unlucky.
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First photo is of the brush holder, one alternator has reasonably new brushes so it's pointless replacing them. The other, the brushes are half worn so will be replaced. You can see the new brushes in the photo. Pic 2, new diodes will be installed in both alternators, old ones in photo as well. You need a beefy soldering iron to remove these due to them being soldered to a heatsink. Pic 3, you can see where the diodes were soldered the heatsinks. Heatsinks will be cleaned and zinced.
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All the bits that will be sent away to be either blasted or zinced.
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Last of all i was given another twin horn to use for the next car. They had pulled it apart polished the steel and clear coated it. Looks pretty but doesn't work as it wasn't assembled right. This will be pulled apart, zinced and brought back to new working condition.
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Yeah I know you can buy a cheap new alternator but it ain't original :wink: Since I decided to use them, they have to come apart for reliability sake. Most auto sparky's won't do this work for you because people aren't willing to pay the labour costs. I want the next car to be real special, it all starts here I suppose.

I'm also currently doing 10a aircleaner artwork, I'm going to have a go screen printing the top instead of using decals. Artwork is almost done.


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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:23 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
Posts: 597
Location: Australia
More progress.....

I've bought a few things recently, new front door glass, all clear windscreen that should be arriving from abroad in about 6 weeks, thermo windscreen install kit, a new K&N filter that will get a make over to make it look more Mazda with less bling factor, new 10a water pump, and last of all the first lot of IDA jets have been ordered.

I haven't had a great deal of time recently but here it goes...

I wasn't entirely happy with my buff job on the boot lid so rubbed it back with 1500 then 2000 and then ran the rotary back over it. It's 1000% better now, there's a couple of small things left but they can easily be removed at a later date. I'm always careful when it comes to the edges. I have a small 3" air powered rotary to finish off those couple of small areas. Buffing is hard work and is definitely a skill in itself. I do sections at a time as you can tell by the masking tape.
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Steering going together, a mix of old and new. Some of the older stuff had already been replaced with 555 brand parts that were still in excellent condition. Pic 1, new pitman arm. Pic 2 torquing up the steering nuts to spec.
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New Idler arm was used....
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Tie rods had been replaced at some previous stage, they were in good order so I replaced the boots for good measure and filled them with fresh grease.
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Australian delivered 72-73 cars came with funky front stalks. The plastic metal band casing normally cracks. Here I've covered the metal bands with a heavy duty heat shrink that is also filled with hot glue. Rear seat belt stalks are different to front.
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Exhaust header heat shield installed, it has been replated.
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Putting together the rest of the starter motor... Positioning the brush holder springs for installation.
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The rear housing is then installed on the starter, a bit of loctite is used on the screws. The solenoid and starter mechanism is then tested for operation prior to being installed on the gearbox.
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Starter installed
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I damaged the passenger door installing the glass, I dropped the glass and it put a pimple in the lower door skin.
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...the crappy scratched up door glass was getting to me more than the dent. Tools of choice for the repair, timber block and hammer.
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The pimple is gently massaged back down then the area is rubbed back for a minor paint blend. I decided to paint the remaining bits in one go so I'll do this in another update.
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There's nothing worse than scratched glass with new paint so new glass was purchased for both front doors. I'm installing the glass before the touchup to make sure there isn't further damage.
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New glass installed...
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Preparing the scuttle panel for paint so I can paint things in one go.... guide coat
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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 1:31 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:27 am
Posts: 350
Location: salt lake city
nice recovery on the door. i probably would have started throwing things.

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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:46 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
Posts: 597
Location: Australia
I don't get upset at stuff like that, it's part of building a car. It's near impossible to not mark the body in some way during assembly, no bodies perfect especially someone who's learning. There's always a backup plan, spray the bottom of the door from the swage line down, failing that, I can spray the whole door.

You'd spend more time cleaning the spray gun than doing the blend, it's literally a 10 sec paint job. Sikkens make a blending reducer which isn't as strong as the normal reducer which makes the repair very easy to do. Early on I had to completely respray one of the rear quarters and blended it into the side roof line. People say it's hard, but it's not really once you get the hang of it. No one would ever pick I did it in a million years. When things go wrong and you need to fix them is when your skills greatly improve.

On a positive my stuff ups have taught me blending techniques, how different reducers react to both wet and dry paint, same goes with hardeners and paint flow in different weather, buffing techniques, what can be buffed and what should be left alone, when to use foam tape and when back masking is better..... list goes on, bring on the mistakes just not too many more with this car please :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:49 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
Posts: 597
Location: Australia
The dash will look even better when I get my chrome gear stick ring back :D


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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:26 am 
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Posts: 72
Location: netherlands
RestoreMaz wrote:
Dash looks awsome!


The whole car looks awsome. :tu: :tu: :tu:
It's even better then when it left the factory ..

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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:39 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
Posts: 597
Location: Australia
I'm still chasing things and individuals to complete the car. I'll need to call everyone and see how far away things are going to be. Some parts have turned up, others should have but haven't.... this is all the big stuff like glass. In any case this is going to take months for everything to show up :(

I dropped into the electroplaters during the week, they are still clearing the remaining orders from December so I added some extra parts to the original order. It didn't help that the electroplater got a huge job from the Army and another large job to plate new steering columns for GM USA's muscle cars, think its some Corvette or Camaro that's going into production. I'm surprised that the manufacturing isn't being done in the USA. The columns are being made by an Australian manufacturer for the American market. Sorry if I got the GM models wrong, I've never had an interest in US or Australian muscle cars, my interest has always been Mazda rotarys and Japanese cars in general.

Since there are delays with the coupe, I'm going to reassemble the big bits I pulled off the Rx3 sedan and pull off anything that needs plating to add to the order above. Thinking about it now I'm not entirely sure why I bought an Rx3 sedan, I like it but it's not in the same league as the coupes, not even close. The sedans are probably the most popular of all in the Australian market.

The one big draw card regarding this sedan is that's it's never been painted, never had a front hit, was complete with all the hard to get bits and always had a 10a engine and associated 10a 4 speed. It's a little rusty in spots but I think it looks worse than what it actually is due to surface rust breaking through the original paint. For now I'll keep it as a potential future project. It's obvious that it was raced in some production car class many years ago as it has a fixed racing seat, twin front and rear stabiliser bar, caster blocks, roll cage and headers. Having said that the car is not butchered in anyway.

Rewind the clock to the year 1987 and this is how you used to find them before they got crushed, original, rusty and very worn out ! This particular car looks very much like the very first rotary I ever looked at purchasing before buying my first car/ project (Rx2). It was advertised in the Trading Post, it was located in Eastwood NSW, it was a white Rx3 10a sedan powered by a twin dizzy BP 10a. It felt fast at the time, I still recall my fathers face when he asked why the back seat was soggy and was told it had to be pulled out of a creek after a mishap :lol: I suppose that's were the connection with this car is, as you can see I've always been attracted to wrecks :lol: Having said that finding a decent Rx3 in the late 80's when I was looking was a very difficult task, most were already screwed by then.... so fast forward to the year 2013 and they are near impossible to find in reasonable condition. I'd go out on a limb here and say 85% are uneconomical to repair for the everyday enthusiast, labour cost is real killer to properly fix them. Unfortunately people get carried away when looking and over pay for the wrong things... body condition and originality is always king.

These were spotted recently around the streets of Sydney... (not an update without photos :) )
Rx3 Wagon and a Rx3 Coupe. The coupe was surprisingly very clean, if there was only one change I was allowed to make it would be to piss off the workshop stickers. Seems to be a Sydney thing, I don't understand why people ruin the look of a good paint job to put huge stickers down the side. Sadek used to have rotary car yard in the late 80's early 90's, I remember going there a couple of times but never found anything suitable.

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Back on topic, I got my radiator and oil cooler back... I'm not entirely happy and wasn't cheap. The paint job on the radiator looks crap. I'm now thinking to use the radiator in the sedan since it has a standard engine and have one custom fabricated for the coupe. I don't like the off the self alloy ones that I see people using (cheap looking), there is a Rx2 coupe on ebay USA at the moment, I wouldn't mind something like what is in that car. I'll see how I go and what the cost will be. I'll think about using either a single distributor Rx3 or modifying an Rx7 one for the job, not sure what I'm going to do yet. Next time I'll do the half assed job myself, I'll rub it back and repaint and see how I feel. At least it has no leaks, fins all straight and core is good.


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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 12:34 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
Posts: 597
Location: Australia
That would explain the large stickers...

Struggling to find any time to finish off the coupe, also doesn't help when I've spent 2 of the last 3 months back interstate. While there I've been working on my 10a sedan, it's rust free or is that free rust ?? At the moment I've been unpicking all the typical sections that rust out. Once it's stripped down, I need to build a body dolly and send it off to be blasted. Once it comes back from the blasters I'll think about putting up some photos. For some reason I felt the urge to build a pedestrian model sedan.

We'll see how I go with the sedan, I've also been on the lookout for my ultimate car which is a first gen JDM spec Rx3 fitted with a twin dizzy 12a. That particular model is my favourite. I've been searching Japan and through a couple of other contacts to get a feel for whats around project wise. I'm not quite ready yet but you never know :) Hopefully it will be a reality over the next 18 months one I sort a few other things out.

Trying to finish off some small stuff that I've been putting off forever.... Pic 1, I bought another mini gun with 1.2 nozzle. You can see the size difference compared to the larger gun. Surprisingly this cheap Star mini gun sprays beautifully, was impressed for what it is. Other photos of the remaining small parts being painted.
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Finishing off the scuttle panel
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Assembling the fuel door
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Sometimes I do things for no reason other than to see if I can replicate the way Mazda did things in the very early 70's. The very first cars used custom wire clamps between the brake master and the fluid reservoir. You can see an original master cylinder I have that used this method. I have a couple like this. The master on the car is an original new item with the fabric lines that I bought some time back.

Pic 1, the clamping tool, Pic 2 and 3 shows the original clamp method
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Making the clamp and clamping the lines
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... and there you have, original style line clamps on an original style master cylinder.
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Reference photos of a 10a carb that I'm rebuilding. The other one you see in the photo is a NOS one. It'll be interesting to see if I ever manage to put it together after everything is cleaned and plated. Interesting observation, the acceleration pump is made from leather on this carb, I bet you have never seen that before.
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Had my radiator checked over by a place on Victoria St near Melville Rd, Brunswick Melbourne. I normally don't bag a place out, HOWEVER if you need a radiator or oil cooler serviced save yourself the hassle and go elsewhere. A simple core upgrade is what I asked for, that was too hard to quote, close to 2 months later I settled on a check over, fins straightened and a pressure test. What I got charged was a joke, there are idiots and then there are idiots, this guy is the later :roll: When I finally got the oil cooler and radiator back it looked like it had been painted in a sand storm :roll:
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I rubbed it back in 15 minutes, primed and painted.... wasn't that hard !
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I can't use the oil cooler that came with the car (Rx2 unit) as it doesn't fit properly to the bottom of the radiator. It looks like I'll have a custom alloy one made up instead of trying to locate a Rx3 10a oil cooler.... no biggy, I'll shop around and see what's out there.

Radiator looks much better, unfortunately I can no longer use the top of the radiator as a sanding block. Some photos of the bits that have been finished recently. It's almost complete.... need to secure the fuel lines, the brakes are also complete, just need fluid.
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To repair the door I ended up spraying from the swage line down for the simple reason that I can buff the area as much as I like without the repair ever showing unlike a spot repair. I'll rub it back with 2000 and give it a buff to finish it off. Sorry forgot to take photos of the steps until I started unmasking !
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Sooo... basically what I did was mask off the area of the door and then back mask above the swage line. Back masking is basically when you fold the tape over on itself to avoid a hard line when you are repairing an area. The technique needs to be done at a body line to not show, in other words you can't do it in the middle of your door ! While you might be able to blend it out easy enough like a spot repair, the first time you run a buffer over it it will stick out like dog nuts. You can use soft foam tape to do the same thing but normal paint tape gives less hassles and is much cheaper.
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Don't know what to do next :D


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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 4:13 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
Posts: 597
Location: Australia
Well there hasn't been much progress on my coupe although I'm told my distributors should be completed mid next week, fingers crossed, it's been a long wait. I'm expecting the front windscreen will be at the manufacturers either this week or next so need to organise freight. The rear screen I'm still waiting on some news although I have begun looking at used ones locally, no luck as yet though. Once I have those 2 items I'll continue towards completion. Sometime next week I'll get started on the exhaust. I hope to have the car ready for the Japanese Classic day in Melbourne later in the year.

Since the coupe is nearing completion, I accidently bought the sedan below about 6 months ago. Anyone who has seen it thinks I'm mad but so be it. It's a 72 10a Rx3 sedan, 100% original has never been painted. It requires extensive restoration, it's more than a good challenge. I suspect the car ended it's life as either a track or race car. It was fitted with a roll cage, extra gauges, metalic pads, caster blocks, I suspect Rx4 brakes, rear stabiliser bar, larger brake booster, relocated clutch master and various other bits and pieces. I paid a premium I suppose but the one good thing about it is that it is 95% complete and I don't need to chase any rare impossible to find parts. The car still has the 10a 4speed fitted, original Rx3 gearbox rubber, original door seals, and lots of original rust ! All the original parts will make my job easier when the time comes to reproduce certain impossible to find items.

The track car modifications to the firewall will be undone and the rust will be addressed. The early plan is repair the firewall, build a body dolly, unpick all the typical panels that rust out on these cars and then send it to be blasted. I haven't decided what I'm building yet but have 2 themes in mind. The first is to restore it back to original and paint it the original Nova white OR build a custom Savanna GT sedan, paint it Flair yellow and fit it out with JDM black seats with the white stripe. The intention here is to build it similar to how Mazda would have done it. The later idea would probably devalue the car but to be honest it's nothing that can't be undone over a weekend.

So this is where it all begins...

The car is almost complete, the only parts I don't have are a 10a carb manifold (cheap easy find) and a 10a cross flow Rx3 radiator, not too hard to locate either. I have everything else including replacement panels which are required to fix the rust. The nosecone I'm happy to say has never been hit, rust free and surprisingly very straight despite it's deceiving appearance.
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It's safe to say that having the car under a tarpaulin for many years pretty much killed it. It would have faired far better if it was left exposed to the elements. A pretty cool 70's sticker on the rear quarter window. Some will notice the rare door frame chrome, the chrome has never been removed.
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Someone had a go repairing the right rear quarter and never primed it. It's not a great panel but I'll have a go beating and filing it for a few hours and see how it comes up. The opposite side is far better. If I'm not happy it will be changed but think it will be OK. You never know until you give it a go. I have all the tools to do it right. Pic 2, the scuttle panel will come off to address the rust properly. I'm uncertain how I'm going to remove it at this stage. The goal is to repair it and make it look like it's never come off when viewed with no paint.
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Inside the rear quarters, the lower sections are all clean and surprisingly have no rust. This is the main reason why I think it's worth tapping them straight and seeing how they come up.... The boot floor is a different story and needs to be replaced.
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The panel between the boot and rear windscreen is pretty good as well. It does have a couple of very minor spots of rust so will be removed, blasted, repaired and put back. This will give me the opportunity to clean out the seam and repair rust where it meets the right quarter panel.
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Interior is all there and complete, it came with a fixed race car drivers seat however it came with an original drivers seat as well.
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Caster blocks on the front end.
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Engine bay is a mess but retains all the original fuel lines. I've already got some replacement items to undo the track car modifications.
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So the repairs begin... before blasting I will unpick skirt reinforcement panels, evaluate the right skirt, unpick scuttle panel, unpick beaver and boot floor. The rest is all good :lol:

Unpicking the reinforcement skirt panels. Clever Rx3 people will note that the skirt on early cars doesn't have a doubling stiffening panel.
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Pretty standard findings for an rx3 including the expandable foam and fiberglass repair. We'll see how it comes back from the blaster. I have a NOS right skirt if it needs to be unpicked. The rail will not not be touched if the skirt comes off.
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Holey bat poo Batman...
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Opposite isn't as bad....
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Just a general shot....
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Front guards, door skins, and possibly skirt will be replaced with NOS. This will need to be a pretty extensive resto otherwise I'm wasting my time. A body dolly will be built before it's sent to be blasted. If rust makes you sick you better look else where :lol:

....next update I'll be back on the coupe


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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:27 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 6:13 am
Posts: 91
Location: Melbourne Australia
:tu: :tu: :tu:

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REgards, Mo Melville


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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:17 am 
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Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2010 11:42 am
Posts: 321
Location: Australia
gypsy wrote:
It's a 72 10a Rx3 sedan, 100% original has never been painted. It requires extensive restoration, it's more than a good challenge. I suspect the car ended it's life as either a track or race car. It was fitted with a roll cage, extra gauges, metalic pads, caster blocks, I suspect Rx4 brakes, rear stabiliser bar, larger brake booster, relocated clutch master and various other bits and pieces.

That doesn't sound 100% original to me? Do you mean the body is unmodified or something?


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