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What engine should go in my Rx3 sedan ?
Single distributor 12a Rx3 engine 23%  23%  [ 3 ]
Twin distributor 12a PP engine 23%  23%  [ 3 ]
1600 808 4 cylinder 8%  8%  [ 1 ]
Leave it with the stock 10a drive line 31%  31%  [ 4 ]
Give my 12a housings to Dave and move on to the next big thing the Toyota Lexcen 15%  15%  [ 2 ]
Total votes : 13
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 Post subject: 1973 Mazda Rx3
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 2:01 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
Posts: 601
Location: Australia
Here is my Mazda Rx3 that I saved from a farm paddock 2 or 3 years ago from rural Australia. I was told about the car from a mechanic. It's been unregistered since the very early 1990's. Ive been steadily working on it when time allows over the past 2 years. I know it still looks a wreck but it has come a very long way.

These are recent photos of the car. I'll start posting up the entire build starting from the day I towed it home over the the coming weeks. The plan is to restore it to 95% original, the car will have a 5 speed gearbox, 10a rotary, standard steel rims with standard interior. For people who have already seen photos, please dont spoil it for others.

The photos below were taken shortly after I replace the entire front end, chassis rails, skirts and radiator support.

http://users.tpg.com.au/johng71/p1/9cdbd93420.jpg ]http://users.tpg.com.au/johng71/p1/img0628xx0.jpg


Last edited by gypsy on Tue Oct 14, 2014 12:18 am, edited 18 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:16 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2007 6:42 am
Posts: 470
Location: Leeds in the UK
Great to see such a cool car being restored more pictures please :tu: :tu:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:19 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2008 3:40 am
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Location: Villeneuve, Qld, Australia
Sweet project man, good to someone else in Oz actually going a factory 10A Rx-3!!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 8:58 am 

Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 9:22 pm
Posts: 82
Location: Japan
I love to see these cars being restored to factory. So many are just wrecked with the implant of the 13B. :?

looks great, any pics of when you first got it?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 4:42 pm 
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Location: Australia
Here are some photos before I started any work. When I was looking I couldnt find anything that was priced according to condition. Funnily enough right after I bought this one some better examples popped up. Always the way ! Im not someone who changes their project cars just because there is a slightly better car available. Once I buy it thats it, the vision is set for that car. I think that would have to be one of the main reasons why so many projects arent completed. Its been a big learning curve but Im enjoying it.... well most times anyway!

Fresh off the trailer after towing it home.
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Dont be fooled by any of the photos the grey etch primer hides alot of dents, the roof was pretty bad ! The left and right rear quarter panels require alot of work. I'll put up more detailed phots as I complete sections. The rear beaver panel isnt too bad and has never been removed from the car.
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Damaged chassis rails and poorly repaired. Its hard to put the word repaired and the chassis rails in the same sentence before I started any work. All the bits and pieces were piled in the car before towing home. The car was mostly complete. Pretty much everything is either damaged or requires restoration. The car also came with 1/3 of a 10a engine :lol:
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A couple of photos of the interior. The car was brushed with tar based bitumen on the floors, wheel wells and underside. Its horrible stuff and does absolutely nothing apart from hiding stuff.
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Anyway that was the state of the car on the first day of ownership. Lots of hard work to be done on everything. On a good note the car was pretty much complete and as as Ive discovered anything can be restored, everything from plastic consoles, broken seats, panel work, chrome trimmings etc etc. If I cant do it, I'll give the job to someone else. I'll put up more photos of completed sections once I go through them.


Last edited by gypsy on Fri Apr 02, 2010 8:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2009 11:22 am 

Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 9:22 pm
Posts: 82
Location: Japan
If it wasnt for the electrical part of restoring a car, I wouldnt have a problem taking on such a big job myself. Looks the goods though!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 6:11 pm 
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Location: Australia
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.

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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.

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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

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Removing the tar from the floor so welds can be drilled out. Tedious job, not much fun :(

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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.

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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.

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Cutting the old skirts off with an Oxy, took alot to get to this point !

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Here are some pics taken from around the cross members, lots of cracks and damage. The previous owners must of thought this was OK.

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Another big job, removing all the reminants of the old front end without damaging the shell. Took a long time....

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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.

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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 !

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More pics of the same area, pic 2 all damaged now removed.

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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.
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Cleaning the inner box areas, these will be hidden when the covers are welded on. Flange areas also being replaced.
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Long road for this resto, front end will soon be aligned and plug welded into place.

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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.

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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.

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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. 8)

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Suspension back on temporarily, Its a roller again.

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Last edited by gypsy on Fri Apr 02, 2010 8:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 6:30 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 12, 2008 4:28 pm
Posts: 142
Location: Tampa FL
:D That is probably the most extensive restoration ive seen on these cars. incredable, keep up the good work :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 11:43 pm 
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Location: LA
Oooh, nice! Keep us updated!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 10:30 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 49
Location: Finland
Incredible job! Nice work!
Never crossed my mind that i could change the hole front end of my 929 and take a it from the spare car..
have a little collision damage up front :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 10:55 am 
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thats an amazing use of a donor car...
u r an inspiration bro.. :tu:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 7:58 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
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Location: Australia
Thanks for the comments. Ive also found some interesting stuff in the Datsun and Other Marques garage sections. Still lots to look at and read through in other areas. This forum is on a winner 8)

There should be another update in the coming weeks with fresh pics of the next completed section.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 1:14 am 
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Cool, can't wait to see your progress :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 1:51 am 

Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 9:22 pm
Posts: 82
Location: Japan
Wow, that rust really makes me worry about old cars. Your lucky you have the skills to tackle this project.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 4:22 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2008 6:14 am
Posts: 61
Location: Brisbane Australia
Great job my friend....Its so good to see another car being rebuilt from that far gone. scary though that these things rust that bad hey...nearly as bad as alfa romeo steel.

keep up the awesome work!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:09 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:09 pm
Posts: 601
Location: Australia
Please dont compare my mazda to rusty Italian cars, they are not in the same league :lol: The rust you saw in the pilars was very mild surface rust. Not in bad condition at all for metal that was never coated in anything, thats right bare steel for 35 years and the metal wasnt even pitted ! If it was Italian the car would have no pilars.

Also dont mistake accident damage for rust. The shell is relatively rust free, Im basically only repairing minor rust that affects all Rx3's and repairing some poorly repaired areas. With the new front end the shell is now probably better than most Australian Rx3's.

All Rx3s suffer from some rust around front and rear windscreen corners, bottom of guards, and behind rear wheel area. None of it is that difficult to repair, things only become difficult and time consuming when someone else has had a go and made a mess. The next series of photos that I'll post will show that. Ive seen photos of people in the UK restoring Mark 1 and 2 Escorts from ashtrays... cars we have here (Oz) are infinitely better !


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 5:48 am 
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gypsy wrote:
...All Rx3s suffer from some rust around front and rear windscreen corners, bottom of guards, and behind rear wheel area. None of it is that difficult to repair, things only become difficult and time consuming when someone else has had a go and made a mess....


you got that right bro...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 11:25 pm 
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More updates, this time on the interior and some trimmings. Nothing worse than looking at a freshly painted car with old looking trims and interior so I decided to restore or replace as needed to new condition.

I bought the rear seat from RestoreMaz some time ago. Coupe seats are different from sedan seats. The rear seat had to have all foam replaced in the upper section and some of the springs needed to be replaced.

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The front seats were also purchased in Sydney around 12 months ago for around $80. I bought them because the vinyl wasnt dried out on the head rests and these were out of a coupe which are slightly different to sedan seats. Over all I could have probably just repaired the damaged section if I wanted the tan colour.

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Here is a pic of the rear headrest embossing and the repaired rear seat. Hard to believe its the same seat. The rear seat turned out just magic, couldnt be happier.

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No the seats are not smooth all over, its just the angle of camera or is it the camera man ? On the lower left i have the rear side trim (another $50 RestoreMaz special) so that you can compare the grain with what the trimmer supplied.The rear side trims that Dave supplied are in pretty good nick, They just need a good clean. The rough grain is a 99% match with that used on the seat inserts. Im reusing the rear side trims and having only the front door trims redone.

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A few more shots plus one from the back, look pretty good to me.
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Another shot, in real life they look factory new. My camera work isnt the best.

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Some work that Restoremaz did for me. Very happy with the quality. There's not many people around these days who have the ability to restore stainless and alloy trims to new condition.

Some factory wheels that Restoremaz painted to factory colour. I had them sandblasted and he painted them. I had to buy 2 sets to make one complete set of 5 matching wheels. Different years had different offsets, I would never have believed it unless Restoremaz pointed it out.

Before

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After

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Some gutter trims that Dave restored. These had roof rack marks and other dents spread over them, they are now better than NOS !! They now look very nice.

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Some head light surrounds that I bought some time ago. They werent in too bad condition. Restoremaz stripped, polished and repainted them in the factory colour. Again very nice and faultless. I think they are the same colour as the wheels. Should look like a good match, just like Mazda intended.

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Parts that someone by the name of Rick painted up for me, again very nice. Early 10a Rx3's had candy red tail lights

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To match the new tail light surrounds I bought a set of repro lenses.

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Some more work that Rick did. He took this badly dented grill surround and grill and returned it to factory condition. The surround was full of filler and dents. The grill was sandblasted and painted in the factory colour. The centre badge didnt need any work and is in almost new like condition. I was very surprised when I got the grill back in new condition !

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Some cast chroming that Rick organised. Faultless door handles, and the wheel nuts will offset Restoremaz's wheels pictured above nicely.

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Some restoration work that I did. Some repro stuff is good, alot of it is junk. Instead of buying a set of front indicator units for $20 off ebay, I repaired the wiring, replaced the insulation that was dried out and sourced a set of new genuine front lenses.

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Thats all guys, if I get some quality time I sould be able to complete some sections of bodywork and post the pics up in a few weeks.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 2:45 am 

Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 9:22 pm
Posts: 82
Location: Japan
fanstastic progress, some great stuff. I really like the Candy coloured 10a rear lights. But you rarely see them anymore.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 5:02 pm 
My goodness. Interior looks amazing. I have back seats in my 3. Any good sources for getting original or replica coupe front seats?


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