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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 3:25 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
Posts: 592
Location: Australia
We now have oil pressure, light went off after a lot if cranking. Its trying to start but no go yet. We did manage to fill the area with thick smoke though :-)

I think it got flooded, the joys of starting a new motor.


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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:24 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 25, 2013 8:02 am
Posts: 64
Location: Salt lake City, Utah
gypsy wrote:
We now have oil pressure, light went off after a lot if cranking. Its trying to start but no go yet. We did manage to fill the area with thick smoke though :-)

I think it got flooded, the joys of starting a new motor.


last coiuple of motors i've built i've actually had to pull start cause of the assembly lube and lack of compression. lol made a customer of mine really nervous when his wouldn't start.... lol went to his house and pull started him. shoulda seen his smile lol

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1989 Mazda Rx7 GTUs - BridgePort 6 Port mmmmmmm
1974 Mazda Rx2 Sedan - Home, and Cleaning her up!


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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2013 10:41 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
Posts: 592
Location: Australia
Well it's officially alive after stuffing around with it. There's still a few things to sort out like a small coolant leak.

There's no horrible resonance from the exhaust which is good however it is exactly how I remember my 13B BP that was built for track days. The 10a is probably just on the legal side 96db. It's got a deep note, definitely loud (but bearable.... maybe !) If you've been following my posts the headers are 1 3/4" ID, primaries from memory are the same into a 2 1/4 collector then muffler.

With my old motor to shut it up I either ran a restrictor plate before the rear muffler on the street which worked really well but killed any hope of revving past 5500rpm. I also had a smaller rear muffler which had the same effect. With either of these setups you could never get the motor into it's power band. If I wanted to be different I should have gone a low pressure turbo 10a or triple rotor 10a. Just like the old days I once again stink of 2 stroke.

The car is only roughly tuned at this stage, the electronic conversion gives a really nice "hot" spark. I'd hate to be zapped by it. I think the cost of the conversion was worth while.

What's a reasonable idle for a BP ? At the moment it's probably a tad under 1400rpm, probably not low enough to run of the Weber's idle circuit. I'll put up a proper update when I get time.

I can now go on my holiday and forget about it for a while :-)


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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2013 1:22 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
Posts: 592
Location: Australia
Well the 10a finally fired up however it wasn't without a little fight. The first attempt failed, we should have taken up smoking that afternoon because it would have been far healthier ! I had no luck that day but it did identify some other problems so the afternoon wasn't wasted.

That day a Carter 4070 fuel pump went in, no new technology here. Surprisingly you can't hear it once the motor starts. With the brackets supplied I managed to mount it in the original fuel pump spot without drilling any extra holes. Pic 2, I chose to go with long life Type A coolant, after reading various forums Type A is compatible with rotary engines. Prior to buying the long life Nulon brand I was looking at "Evans Waterless Coolant". This stuff isn't cheap. In Australia at least you're up for $80 for 5L which means you need 2 containers. That's $160 ! Now if you have just dumped the traditional water coolant mix there is additional "flush" step. I couldn't tell you what Evans flush costs but it isn't cheap. So you're most likely looking at well over $200 to go with this system.

What caught my attention was the zero corrosion factor as their coolant requires so water. Now I have to admit I did get caught up by their marketing hype but my common sense and research put me back on the right track. I'm going to stop short of calling Evan's "Snake Oil" but I don't think it's too far from that to be honest.

Here are my reasons for going the conventional path. With Evans they claim all sorts of things such as far higher boiling temps, what they wont tell you is yeah that may be good but that must also translate to higher engine temps. No one can tell you at what point is hot too hot for your application. From reading various forums there was no one group that came out and said consistently that it's great stuff. This includes the exclusive expensive end of town where cost isn't a factor. Most people found (for example the Toyota crowd) that they were running increased temps which created other issues. Whether Evans exacerbated a pre existing condition I don't know however it seemed fairly common amongst various groups that temps were higher. One thing that you wouldn't want in a rotary is higher oil temps. In a car like a Rx8 Im lead to believe you wouldn't notice the increase temps (even though they are there) because Rx8's apparently have a non linear gauge that doesn't move much until it's really hot.

Other reasons where it's apparently flammable, it's far less efficient at doing what it's suppose to do, that is cooling. For me the nail in the coffin so to speak was that I was trying to fix a corrosion problem in rotor housings that doesn't exist. I have 6 10a housings, several 12a housings, FC turbo housings and all these engines would have seen 20+ years of service. NONE were corroded expect for some minor pitting in a Rx3 housing that was purchased recently. SOOO... I saved my money and went conventional. I have to give it the marketing guys, they almost had me. I was trying to fix something that wasn't an issue to begin with !!
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The coolant is mixed 50:50 with distilled water (preferably). Pic , after trying to add the second litre a major leak was found. There was a water gallery bolt missing from the middle housing. To be honest I didn't know there was one needed there.
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So with that sorted another leak was discovered around the thermostat housing, minor this time. I went down to the local auto parts store and bought anther thermostat and gasket to replace the new items I purchased from Mazda. I originally suspected the Mazda thermostat was incorrect however it was identical to the other one bought locally. I changed the gasket and used a bit of holymar this time. I suspect the leak was caused by the thermostat no being seated correctly in it's housing.
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Here are the part numbers if you're interested. 12a and 10a Rx3 had the same listing for the thermostat (TT@33-180). Genuine and non genuine part come from the same factory.
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I used a 12a Rx3 battery holder as it fits the larger battery better.... a bit of corrosion that had to fixed. New angle bit welded on, I'll powder coat it in the new year, for now I'll clean, rust convert and paint it.
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One of the small jobs I hate doing... riveted the belt end clips on the rear. They were originally Star clips but these are not available anywhere. This type is used on early Toyota's and Ford's.
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Ready to start....
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A couple of running videos... I set the leading timing after these videos, it was idling around 1200rpm which is much better.
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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2013 4:06 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 31, 2009 11:53 pm
Posts: 413
Location: Adelaide
Awesome work!! Great to see it alive and running!! Can't wait for some out in the sun full body pics!! Congratulations :D


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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2013 1:35 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
Posts: 592
Location: Australia
Thanks, just sorting out teething problems. Im trying to avoid the inevitable tow home that's typically associated with rotarys. I have the rear axle apart at the moment checking a couple of things out but it looks like I'm diagnosing paranoia. Everything is new or rebuilt literally so I'll see how it goes. I think it'll take time for everything to loosen up and bed in.

I didn't realise I had no full body shots until someone the other day was snapping away and said the same. I'm planning a pretty long drive in the new year once a friend gets back. Have to do some minor assembly to get his car going. Should have some decent photos then.


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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2013 4:13 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:26 pm
Posts: 780
Location: Melbourne, Australia
They'll always be a few niggles with a restoration. I'm sure though, unlike most people, you'll fix them. I know of guys who have restored cars and had a few minor faults (ie speedo not working, lights not working etc) and years later the car is still like that as they are enjoying it too much to spend a weekend and sort out the little problems!

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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 12:13 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
Posts: 592
Location: Australia
These are big niggles though :lol:

So close yet so far away, you find one problem and find two more !

I ran out of adjustment with the trailing dizzy so out it came to move across a tooth... Twin distributor engine distributors comprise of two sections. Pic 2, the distributor base that is driven off the eccentric shaft is the next piece to come out.
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Pic 1, careful removing the base otherwise you'll get oil everywhere. Don't loose the distributor gasket as you can no longer buy them from Mazda. Pic 2, the distributor base....
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Next I align the distributor timing adjustment in the center and insert back in the engine. Prior to pulling out this assembly I moved the engine pulley to the trailing timing mark. After this was done I set the trailing ignition timing with no problems. Pic 2, I had a minor fuel leak at the fuel line carb junction so I ground flat the marks you see in the photo. This fixed my fuel leak. The part was marked when using the die grinder to enlarge the inner diameter to fit the Weber fuel bolt.
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The other issue you see in Pic 1 is the Weber throttle arm spring was catching the fuel line. Lucky I got onto this while trying to diagnose a sticky throttle. The end of the spring has almost cut through the line. Pic 2, new fuel lines and they have been rerouted well clear of the Weber linkage assembly.
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At times the throttle was sticking open, I believe this is why the motor was a pig to start due to flooding problems. The Weber butterfly was getting stuck open causing the motor to idle at 4k at times.... not good. When the motor was turned off the butterflies were obviously still open until I manually shut them. The problem was caused by using a redline spacer and arm kit while trying to set up the OMP. Redline is a generic performance parts maker for people that don't know. I replaced the spacer with the Weber one, all my problems went away. The motor is now pretty easy to start with no throttle sticking problems. Pic 1 is where the OMP rod attaches to the Weber butterfly shaft. Pic 2, left side spacer is the thicker "Redline" unit. When using the thinner Weber item (right spacer no holes) it sits within the shank on the butterfly shaft so there is no binding. In my case it was sporadic. You make these small insignificant changes that you don't think anything about and it causes you endless grief. I'm happy that one is sorted out :-) Engine idles at around 1500rpm reasonably happy, it's even happier at around 1600 but trying to make it a bit of street car. Suddenly I recall why I switched from 13b BP to 13B turbo in the 90's.... one statement they are far nicer to drive on the street ! No regrets though (provided I don't get stuck in a traffic jam).
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In Pic 1 I used fuel proof silicon tubing to attach the OMP lines to the carb manifold. The best thing about the clear yellow tubing is you can see the oil being injected into the manifold. When the engine is turned off you see the oil in the OMP line recede, I think for that it's better than the factory black plastic tubing. Pic 2, I distinctively recall Jason and Brent having heater core issues with their Rx3. I thought to myself now that's something I didn't think about checking and sorta felt sorry for them :lol: I also thought nah that won't happen to me, you'd have to be pretty unlucky. Well it didn't happen to me but something just as bad did.... the heater valve has a slow leak which you can't quiet make out in the photo once cooling system pressure builds up. The leak is from the top of the valve not from the lower pipe. Whether it be a heater core or a heater valve, the result is the same..... the whole dash needs to come out to fix :lol: I haven't done it for quiet a few months since the wiring was all sorted, nothing like more practice :lol: On a serious note it sucks big time but I have accepted my fate. I have a spare heater assembly that I'll pull apart to see if the valve can be serviced. While it's all out I'll send the heater core away to be pressure tested. If anyone knows a good radiator place in either Sydney or Melbourne please let me know. I recall someone mentioned a place in Sunshine, VIC.... any others people can recommend ?
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The other problem I discovered is that I can't select any gears with the motor running. Not sure what the problem is there. The gearbox has been reconditioned. I'm using Penrite synthetic 75W90 oil that's been filled to the side filler hole till it dribbled out the side of the box. Oil too thick maybe ? but I wouldn't have thought so. Dazz suggested selecting 5th then reverse, no luck. I pressure bleed the hydraulic circuit, tried giving the clutch rod more through no luck. These are new aftermarket items. Maybe the slave needs a longer rod ? Yes the slave does move the fork but possibly not enough I will need to get a assistant to help me as I can't push the pedal and see what the slave is doing completely. The only thing I did do that may not be right is the 121 gearbox has 2 filler holes. One in the main casing and one a little further back. I filled both areas with oil seeing they both had side filler holes. If I shouldn't have filled the rear most area let me know and I'll drain it. Unfortunately I don't have a workshop manual for the donor car.

The other problem I had was a horrible rattle from the exhaust when the motor was running. I thought the resonators might be hitting the body due to only have a few mm of clearance. It turned out the exhaust pipe had moved and was hitting the beaver panel. A quick fit and the problem completely went away so that was a pretty good outcome. The rear muffler was difficult to centre on the hangers due to using quite a large unit. The original muffler would have been far smaller.

So not all bad news... I have the gearbox problem, heater valve, drivers window plus a few small assembly jobs to finish off.


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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 2:46 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 4:37 am
Posts: 176
Location: Ballarat
I had a similar problem when I built my 626. I could select all the gears when the engine
was off. Start the engine and I could not select gears. I had to put a longer rod in.

Easy way to check clutch slave - put a nut/spacer between the rod and fork,
and see if the clutch then engages.


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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 2:59 pm 

Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2011 4:31 pm
Posts: 97
Location: sydney NSW
Might be a few things
Twin dizzy and single dizzy flywheels are different, mainly the ring gear placement. On my 10a PP I found that the starter was not throwing out far enough and I had to put a spacer between the flywheel and counter weight, I actually use the big washer from a late model auto (3mm)
Also I would put another spring washer under the pivot bolt, screws into the inside of the bell housing.
If you take off the top inspection plate and measure to the flywheel to the end plate, you might be able to eliminate the flywheel and clutch distance.
The throw-out forks are different over all models but it doesn’t mean they wont work


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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 11:55 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
Posts: 592
Location: Australia
I found an old slave rod I'll give that a go first. When I pull the old one out I'm hoping its shorter. I wouldn't have thought about placing a spring washer under the pivot bolt. I know I had to cut about 5mm off the input shaft for the box to fit the twin dizzy engine. Common mod I'm told. I did it so long ago and I'm sure I would have checked the clearance. My mind immediately throught I screwed something up there and it might be binding on the eccentric shaft.

I just hope the gearbox doesn't need to come out. I also didn't know about clutch fork differences and flywheel spacing. Some other things to look at if the box needs to come out.

I also looked at my spare heater, it may just be a loose top hose and not the valve now that I look at it outside the car. Hopefully I have some good news tomorrow.

Bottom starter twin dizzy engines don't have flywheel inspection plates :(


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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 11:41 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
Posts: 592
Location: Australia
Thanks for all the suggestions.

In the back of my mind I knew about a week ago that I would have to drop the box. It just took me a week to accept it and see if anyone else had any other plausible theories.... basically clinging onto false hope !

I just shaved another 2mm off the input shaft and I believe the problem is now solved. I'll do another update once it's all back together. It wasn't so bad, took me about 3 to 3 1/2 hours to disconnect everything, drop the box and reinstall. I need another 45min to finish it off, the worst part of lifting and aligning the box is over. I can see it was just catching in one spot of the back of the eccentric shaft. I did measure it before I originally shortened the input shaft, obviously not enough.


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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 3:23 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
Posts: 592
Location: Australia
I'm not sure about calling it a labour of love, the car is being a real pain in the ass at the moment.

The gearbox update is still coming but I'm happy to say I can select all gears with no issues. Shaving the input shaft a tad more did the trick. I even took it for a very short drive only to expose another problem... more on that another time. I had another play with the heater hoses under the dash, it didn't take long for my optimism to turn into pessimism. It definitely looks like the leak is from the heater valve. At the very least I need to remove the entire dash assembly to see what's really going on. Another real fun job....

On a positive I gave the engine a bit of a tune. Starts right off the key now and braps away quite happily. 8)

A couple of photos just before I took it for a very short drive.....
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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 3:38 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2011 4:15 am
Posts: 323
Location: Adelaide
Well doesn't it just look the goods! From a car that was going to be an almost og spec aus delivered car it definitely has a real jdm flare now. Top work!


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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 4:46 am 
JNC Enthusiast

Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:26 pm
Posts: 780
Location: Melbourne, Australia
:tu:

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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 7:24 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
Posts: 592
Location: Australia
Ben, I think it's more a cross between USA and Japanese spec than pure Japanese however the Wats do give it that distinct Japanese theme. The only Rx3's I've seen with the lower decals I have on the car are American cars. They are only there to break up the slab of white paint down the side. I thought it needed something extra otherwise it looks like a white greeny Minty lolly.

A couple of weeks back I had to drop the gearbox to fix a gear selection (or lack of gears) problem. Not the funnest job in the world if you don't have a hoist but doable at home easy enough. I distinctly recall when welding in the Rx3 gearbox mounts to fit the 5speed that I thought I hope that never has to come out again ! Basically there is very limited room and clearance to fit an upgraded gearbox to one of these cars without chopping up the tunnel for one of the tuna can style ones which I obviously didn't want. Some people use a tunnel out of a Capella but still not something I wanted to do.

A few people messaged me with different things to look at but all pretty much required the box to come out. Some suggestions I was aware of others I had forgotten about long ago. One of the easy (potential) fixes was to use a longer slave rod to give it a little more through. At first I went looking for one in my boxes of spares and found the one you see in Pic 1. Believe it or not once I compared it to the length of the shorter one that was fitted to the car I decided then and there that the gearbox was to come out. I bascially couldn't be bothered spending time shortening it to try out after I had a little think. My theory was no matter how long the slave shaft was the clutch master cylinder will still displace the same amount of hydraulic fluid which in turn would displace the same amount of fluid and movement in the slave. If the rod was only a fraction out if may have been a fix but I never thought that was the case. I could feel that the rod attached to the clutch pedal had no more movement and was bottoming out within the master cylinder. So I didn't waste any time and took the shortcut method and started to remove the gearbox. Pre tensioning the pressure plate by using a longer slave rod would only be a band aid fix and cause bigger problems given time. In my case it wouldn't have resolved my issue. Pic 2, slave off the box and all ancillaries disconnected and removed.
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Pic 1 gearbox separated from engine, pic 2 since I was doing this entire task alone I had to rely on a couple of trolley jacks.
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Gearbox out.... You'll notice the tail shaft was not disconnected as I never dumped the oil. The only other thing that is worse than removing a gearbox laying on your back is the smell of the gear oil ! I'm not sure if this is normal but the gearbox has 2 filler plugs on the left side.
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One of the things a couple of people said to me was to ensure the pressure plate forks were shimmed right. Thanks Rohan and Dave ! Basically if the forks are angled out towards the gearbox the pressure plate springs are exerting too much pressure on the clutch which would give the same symptom. I was aware of shimming pressure plates some 15 years ago but had totally forgotten about that one ! I intentionally had my mechanic complete the engine from front pulley to the pressure plate which he supplied to ensure there'd by no problems with whatever they may be. Anyway in my case the pressure plate springs were flat and required no shims upon inspection. It's hard to tell in pic 2 but there was slight evidence of the gearbox input shaft dragging and catching on the back of the eccentric shaft. My 10a has an auto eccentric shaft fitted with the allen key on the rear of the spigot. There are several variables as you can see when trimming the input shaft. The manual eccentric shafts I have don't have the allen key, whether that is the determining factor between auto and manual I'm not sure but my mechanic did say that the rotating assembly on this motor was auto (which he supplied, more or less gave me). The whole clutch assembly is a quality Excedy item made in Japan as you can see.
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Pic 1, shaved a little more off the input shaft and beveled the edges again, all done with a grinder. I originally cut off 5mm then a further 2mm this time around. 7mm in total. Last time I did this with a 13B, 5mm was fine when using a 121 gearbox. The other unknown in my particular case is that I had gone to Selectmaz and bought a used gearbox and had Issy organise a rebuild. Believe it or not this was the most economical path and worked out cheaper than what people were asking for "time bomb" unknown gearboxes. The gearbox that was selected was a TQX 5 speed for it's better ratios. I supplied a Rx5 extension housing and a Rx4 bellhousing. Once it came back from his retired gearbox guy Issy looked at it and said F#### that ain't going to work :lol: So left it with him and I suspect upon discussing with someone else that he's taken the gear set out of the TQX and transferred everything across to a Mazda 121 case. So what I've ended up with I suspect is a hybrid box using 121,Rx4,Rx5 and TQX parts ! The advantage of the TQX its is that it wouldn't have been flogged to death. Whether true or not Dazz tells me that he doesn't believe the TQX suffers from jamming problems like the Rx5 and 121 boxes. Whether it's because of re engineering or lack of abuse he's not certain. So the fact that it probably has TQX bits in it may be the other variable as to why the common 5mm chop of the input shaft was not enough. Something I was told which I didn't know about was that this modification only needs to be done to the piston (or TQX) variants. You wouldn't need to do this on a factory Rx5 gearbox. Hope I got all that info right :laugh: Pic 2, tailshaft wired to box so it didn't accidentally slip out and drain 2L of oil over me and the garage floor.
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.....and it's in, all went really well without damaging and scratching anything. It was a surprise how smooth it all went. It just goes to show you how small modifications and variables can cause you big headaches. There's nothing unique behind putting a 5speeed behind an Australian 4 speed car, we've all done it and most of us have probably fallen into unsuspecting traps.
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There's also more of this coming up.... cleaning up the rest of the old rusty roof so the new rust free one can go on. Removing the rest of the rain gutter. There are a few holes in the inner roof support from water pooling between the roof skin and frame. I'm not sure if I will replace a section or the entire panel at this stage. If you see an old Mazda with a rusty roof run the other way unless you like a good meaty man project 8) The other side is perfect by the way, work that one out. I have to give it to the blaster he did a brilliant job, very though blasting inside and out and gave it a good clean. He uses garnet which is my preferred material as it gives the primer an excellent base to bite to. The car was blasted months ago and is still in bare steel but is coated with a chemical to prevent it from rusting. Yes he did the rear quarters as well with garnet and didn't warp them. I'm also grateful that he strongly suggested I cut the car right open to blast rust away from the inner cavities. Depending on how far you'd like to take a project it's definitely a time saver. I want this car to look brand new from the inside out, yes I've already been told I'm a nut case from not reshelling it :laugh:
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Last of all I had RestoreMaz restore one of my rare badges. I was in two minds whether to have it done but since I thought I'd never own an original condition 10a Rx3 JDM car I had him restore it. Unfortunately I'm missing a few photos of the original badge and of the copper coat but will put them up once I find them. The scary part is not all badges (no matter how rare they are) can be restored. The badge is assessed for suitability only once it's stripped back to bare plastic. When I was at the workshop there were some GT resin badges which I assume were going to make their way into the bin because the plastic under the chrome was in such poor condition and was falling apart. Dave reckons this appears to be more a problem with the old JDM badges than the badges we got locally. I've never been to Japan but it might have something to do with extreme temperatures or the wrecks have been out in the weather for 30 years. In my case, he gave us a call to say mine was OK and should come up OK :) Pic 1 stripped back to reveal a decent base.... Pic 2 turned out 99% like new. The only difference is the RE doesn't have the brushed stainless look but that should be easy to do with some 1500 wet paper. I'm just happy it didn't follow the rare GT resin badges to the bin ! The other thing when replating parts is that if the guy doing the work isn't good with detail, the parts become loaded with a copper coat and loose their detail. I was a little concerned with the pyramid area of the badge but Dave's obviously got this down pat and mine came out perfect.
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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:51 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:27 am
Posts: 350
Location: salt lake city
great looking outcome

wonder if there are 3d printers with high enough resolution that could replicate the old badges

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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 6:48 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 18, 2013 8:02 pm
Posts: 489
Location: Hong Kong
I for one am just dieing to see this beauty of a RX-3 in a proper photoshoot! :shock:
F*** me!! she looks stunning... 8)
The colour, the stance, those small wide Wats and not least those ultra cool decals.
Yes, I admit it - I am an absolute whore for period stripes... :oops: :lol: :lol:
Looking this great in ordinary garage pics, just imagine the result of a beautiful back-drop and perfect lighting...

Really nice work on your RX-3!! :tu: A true inspiration...

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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 5:58 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
Posts: 592
Location: Australia
Thanks :D

I've never looked into 3D printing, you can already buy cast versions of the RE12 version so I guess it's only time before some makes the RE10 version. The issue will be finding one to copy as they are extremely hard to find and kind of unique. If I fit the car out with more Japanese spec parts I'll probably use it.

Yes I'm pretty happy with it especially now that it's finally coming to an end :lol: I'll get some decent photos when I can drive it some distance without frying the new engine. It's funny how you get swayed with things as I've never been a huge fan of Watanabe's. I now like them but 14 inch tyre sizes are my biggest gripe !

The coupe has been parked for now until the new heater valve arrives, I'm looking at up to a couple of months for the part to arrive. I'll finish off the rest of the car over a couple of days leaving the heater leak problem for now.

I have 2 spare heaters plus the one that's in the car. 2 of the 3 leak upon inspection and have the same problem, the other is a ticking time bomb ready to leak at the most inconvenient time. Initially I disassembled to see if they could be repaired, which they can with a little clever engineering. I've found some new ones so I will wait rather than fix these.

Pic 1, Rx3 heater box. Don't forget to change the small hose ! Pic 2 the heater control panel lever connects to the valve via a cable.
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Valve coming apart. The rear of the valve is sealed by 4 folding tabs. The support bracket makes up the rear of the valve.
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The heater valve "switch" comprises of a plastic plug and a rubber seal on the rear. If there is a small leak here it isn't a problem as it's contained within the unit. Pic 2, Someone tried to fix this with silicon glue. If I were to repair these I'd solder the brass body to the steel rear bracket which makes up the back of the valve. That won't fix the leak entirely though, you need to re -engineer where the valve rod pokes out the back as the little rubber seal dries out and leaks. I was going to make a brass nut that contained an O ring, preferably 2 if I could make it work..... that thinking ended once I bought new ones.
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The internal valve components. In the center you have a plastic plug with a rear seal and metal backing. In both heater units the metal backing and seal have disintegrated.
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Unpicking the rest of the roof.... all good, what you see is mostly dirt not rust pitting
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Unpicking whats left of the roof from the left gutter...
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Front left A pillar (outer skin) has seen better days. I'm thinking to possibly repair off the car to get it perfect. Windscreen roof seat is next to come off. The replacement roof is rust free but needs the dents popped out first.
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Rusty bits gone.... Installation will be very easy, I'm having a 20A outlet installed so I can spot weld the panels back where possible. This should cover 85% of the work. Best of all no grinding !
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At the moment I'm unpicking the replacement sill panels which is very time consuming. Wouldn't it be nice if you could still buy new ones from Mazda. I try and not think too far ahead with this car but in the short term the repair will go something like this....
New sills left right, left A pillar probably will come off get blasted, repair then back on. Repair upper 1/3 of rear right C pillar. Panel beat or send replacement roof skin for paintless dent removal. Flip car on it's roof, plug weld new RHS roof gutter. Prime roof frame, install roof skin.

All in a weekends work don't you think. Now you know why there will be no other major restorations after this car.

Also found a set of genuine Mazda Rx3 colour coded 70's ignition leads and a new braided front oil line. I don't think I'll be using this stuff for a while :lol:
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 Post subject: Re: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 4:31 am 

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
Posts: 592
Location: Australia
More sedan work...... lots of panel replacement in the pipeline. It takes more effort to remove old useable panels off a wreck than buy brand new ones. If only they were still available.

First we start with the left replacement sill. Pic 1 removing the sealant to expose the spot welds. Pic 2, in typical Mazda style, clean on the outside, surface rust on the inside.
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Removing the center pillar.
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Unpicked, takes longer than you think. Patience goes a long way to ensure the panel is not damaged. I will also be using the front of the inner sill as that section is rusted out on both sides of the car, it has a unique shape that would be difficult and time consuming to make a replacement section. I'll also be using the outer seat sill panel area as it's very common for the inner sills to crack where the seat mounts are spot welded, more on that further down.
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The dog leg is also a problem area. Generally speaking coupes will have far more serious rust issues in the rear of the car than sedans. That's not to say sedans can't rust just as bad ! The dog leg section will clean up nicely. Pic 2, the right sill panel is missing the dog leg so I bought a used quarter to make my life easier. Thanks Ray you're a legend 8)
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Both left and right outer seat mounts are stuffed on the car including. I've got one replacement that being the on the drivers side. Pic 1 the good replacement. Pic 2 the cracked original. If I can't find a good left side I'll make a template and have it laser cut. These are all typical 808/Rx3 problems. In it's race car guise the race seat was mounted to the floor with a reinforcement plate and not on the original mounts.
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Pic 1, normally hidden from view but this is where the inner sill panel cracks behind the spot welded seat mounts. Some cars are worse than others. If you're a big fella chances are there will be cracks in the inner sill which normally can't be seen without removing the outer panel. The other panel that sits in front of the cracked area makes up the inner B pillar panel. Pic 2, Right inner and outer replacement sill unpicked...
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Again, the sills look good on the outside but are a little rusty on the inside. All these parts will be cleaned up further, beated where damaged from using jacks in the wrong place then sent away to be sand blasted spotless. Pic 2, I saved the the cap that seals the sill panel from the rear within the wheel tub. This will be used to make new replacements.
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Next the donor quarter cut for bits and pieces. Pic 2, a little on removing spot welds. The drill bits are generally available in 2 lengths. What you see are 2 different brands. These are the only 2 brands that I will use, from my experience all the others I have tried are garbage. The left one is the Alpha brand and is the cheaper of the two. They work and last quite well. The gold colour one is made by Suttons and if my budget was unlimited it would be the pick of the two. They are sightly more expensive, the cost adds up because they don't last forever. In my opinion they give a nicer cut and the pivot point does less damage. The down side is they don't last quite as long as the Alpha brand and they are more fragile so to speak. It's not uncommon for the small pivot to chip off which renders the bit useless as they then wonder all over the place.
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I was asked on how to use the bits because some people still drill through both panels. First I drill a small pilot hole in the center of each spot weld. I think its debatable whether cutting compound or oil prolongs the life of the bits as you're drilling out hardened steel from the spot weld process. The bits definitely don't last forever, you'll probably use one for each sill panel for example. The bit will still work but will be past it's best. The best way to understand why they don't last is imagine drilling through panel steel, easy right ? Now try drilling through a MIG weld.

Removing spot welds in Mazda's is quite easy. First trick is let the bit do the cutting. There's no need to apply much pressure. Now keep at eye on the spot weld, in a Mazda it normally will change to an orange colour when you hit the center point. Mazda engineered the panels to rust (the orange colour) so people like me would have an easier time restoring them 40 years after the year of manufacture, serious :shock: If you apply to much pressure while drilling you'll miss the colour change. Sometimes you'll see the primer coat instead of rust depending on how the car was kept. Once you get to this point, use a wide flat screw driver to crack the join. Also have a think about how the panel will be re attached, that will change what gets a hole (plug weld) and what doesn't (spot weld).
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Last for now... the door shells are stripped, aligned and installed back on the car. What I'll be doing here is taking measurements around the doors and front guard when it goes on so when the remainder to the sill comes off the car for the replacement sills I have good reference points. The original doors fit very well on this car. Once the sills are done I'm still thinking removing at least one A pillar, I don't want to but it may be the only way to get the repair I want. I'll make that decision later on after the cowl comes off. Once that's done the I'll grind the edges off the door skins, send the shells away for blasting and then the new skins can go on.
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I can now see this is going to take a while #-o


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