BigWillieStyles believe me when I say electrical is the least of this cars problems ! Electricals are no big deal for me, I could probably wire up an old Mazda blind folded....
Here the front end repairs....
I started with a very good early 808 shell and cut the front off it behind the chassis rails. My only regret is that I didnt keep the rest of the shell for other repairs.
This job isnt a cut and shut, Alot of time is spent drilling out the factory spot welds so that it can be fitted to the car like Mazda intended.
Mild surface rust behind the front end box sections. I still havent fitted thes box sections. Any minor holes from removing the front end spot welds were welded up. Box sections get a sandblasting. The're not too bad. Ive already repaired one, the other is on the to do list
Removing the tar from the floor so welds can be drilled out. Tedious job, not much fun
These are the bits used to remove spot welds, they have a flat tip so you dont drill through both panels. Front end is bare ready to get the chop.
Suspension will also be sandblasted in the future and powercoated for a new durable finish. No point painting these parts, they'll get stone chips all over them before too long. Radiator panel that I saved as spare.
Cutting the old skirts off with an Oxy, took alot to get to this point !
Here are some pics taken from around the cross members, lots of cracks and damage. The previous owners must of thought this was OK.
Another big job, removing all the reminants of the old front end without damaging the shell. Took a long time....
Cleaning up and stripping the front end. I'll most likely sandblast the engine bay and epoxy seal it once box sections are welded on. Here just using tradtional stripping methods, stripper, thinners and deoxine.
Pic 1, not an ideal flange to weld the new front end to. The previous guys made a bit of a mess, moisture sitting in the joint didnt help either. Pic 2, I decided the best approach to bring the car back to life was to replace the left and right section with 2 good spares I had. Here Ive unpicked the left side, you'll notice that Mazda didnt use extensive rust proofing in the 70's. Any Rx3 or 808 most likely has surface rust inside the pillars unless it has never seen water. Only a very light etch coat is used. If you dont want to go to this extent that I have then dipping the entire car in an acid bath is your only option. These areas will be cleaned, shot blasted, treated and resealed with a modern product. For those concerned its only very light surface rust, lots of dust and dirt and one European wasp that made the inner door jam its home sometime in the last 35years !
More pics of the same area, pic 2 all damaged now removed.
Next we have the new kick panel roughly in place... perfect fit, no rust no damage.. what more could I ask. The weld marks will be invisible once the kick panel is stripped and primed. The part was welded to fill little pin holes from the spot weld bit removal process..... yes the floor still needs to be cleaned.
Hope you people now understand why I did this, the flange is straight and rust free compared to the earlier pic. Makes for a very nice repair. The firewall still needs to be stripped of the horrible cheap tar that was probably bought from supercheap, Once this is done the kick panels will be lined up properly and plugged permanently into place.
Next pic, left side plugged back into place after treating, resealing the inner pillar then grinding the plug welds flat. Ive then retreated the seam areas after welding. The flange that meets the inner skirt is now nice and straight and corrosion free. The right side is getting fitted up ready to be welded back into place. Im planning on stripping all the black paint and undercoat with a spot blaster and undercoating properly prior to having the front end refitted. I want things to be nice and neat for the painter.
First 2 photos, kick panels have been welded back in so it was time to clean up and spray the firewall with some red oxide epoxy sealer.
Cleaning the inner box areas, these will be hidden when the covers are welded on. Flange areas also being replaced.
Long road for this resto, front end will soon be aligned and plug welded into place.
Pic 1 Ive elongated the tabs that fit to the top of the rails prior to fitting the front end, you can only see the left side here. They'll be cut down to size before welding. Pic 2, another angle.
Wld penetration from the plug welding, most likely stronger than factory. Front end isnt going anyway now ! Nice clean joins and flanges, no rust, no filler, and no brazing to hold the front end on.
Before and after of the front end skirts, alot better, note Pic 1 that the rail was blended into the skirt, the rail also has a kink in it as well as rust and cracks underneath. Pic 2 this side has been seam welded so was replaced as well.... now nice clean joins. All this work was to not only make the car structurally sound but to also give the engine bay its original factory appearance.
Suspension back on temporarily, Its a roller again.