Its been slow going at the moment, Ive been working on various parts but haven't completed anything significant as I've been busy with other things. Here is the latest to keep the momentum going. The last remaining big challenge for this project is to sort out the LHS sill and rear quarter panel... the rest of the car is straight forward.
I've spent the day working on the left side and in my opinion coupes are rust traps compared with their sedan counter parts. I see lots of problem areas in coupes which are not problem areas in sedans. For people restoring sedans you really have no excuse not to get things right. My own experience with my project raises several points in regards to people building rx3/808 coupes.
1. Some coupe parts are scarce... its near impossible to find new or good genuine sill panels and rear quarter inner skirt to make changing a rear quarter panel a breeze. Quarter panels are around but I cant justify spending 1500 - 2000 per side when I cant get the other parts I want.
2. I believe by now that a significant number of coupes suffer from rust in these areas which raises the question... if parts aren't available what the hell is everyone else doing.... from the 4 or so quarter panels I have I can answer that question... fibreglass and bog and arc welding
3. Because of all the work I've been doing Im of the opinion that the best cars around are the lucky ones that have survived unscathed for 35+ years without having had any of the integrated panels replaced.... very few cars fit this category...
Enough of my worthless opinions and on to the build.....
LHS sill repair which will be covered over several updates. Pic 1, a spare quarter panel I have that I'll be using to repair the sill. I havent exactly worked out how Im going to go about it yet.... I have several thoughts. Pic 2, I managed to find a good sill end cap on this quarter which will replace the rusty one from the car.... pretty amazing really if your saw the rest of the spare sill. Needs to be blasted clean but its rust free.
Lots of bog and glass which I imagine is a standard level of repair given that it would be an expensive repair to have carried out properly. Pic 2, I want the rear part of the sill due to its unique shape which would be complex to fabricate.
Lots of bog folks.... The sill section will be blasted clean.
The critical sections I want are blasted clean. The part I really want is where the sill changes shape and sits under the quarter panel, the rest will be discarded. The part will be blasted to white metal when everything is finalised.
Unpicking the outer quarter skins. There are 3 skins in parts which entrap water... rust is inevitable if your car sees lots of water.
Cutting a little more of the sill from the car as I can feel scaly metal. The inner sill is clean. It baffles me why the opposite side is clean including surface rust. Lots of dirt and broken glass as you can see.
Last of this for now.... Im thinking rather than use the fabricated sill section that I'll use a complete sedan sill and modify the rear of it with part of the blasted section. Alot of work to sort this out but should ensure that I wont have any problems during my lifetime at least.
Here I decided to do something easier and less involved... repairing the drivers door from dents and creases. The passenger side was done some time ago.
Pic 1, most of the damage is fixed now to weld up the non factory mirror holes. Pic 2.... Im happy with the result. The doors had no holes which made things easier.
Pic 1, Stripping the shell. Pic 2, all done and treated with deoxidine until Im ready to prime both doors.
Right quarter repair... this side is pretty rust free especially around the sill area. I have unpicked the remnants of the quarter to dummy fit the replacement skin.
Pic 1, fit is really good. Pic 2, just like the opposite side the profile is a little different on sedans and the inner skirt will need adjusting. The skirts are no longer available BTW. I may have 2 good ones in storage but they will require lots of hours unpicking from the quarters. This method is alot easier and faster.
Repairing some minor rust and modifying the profile to fit the new skin.
Fabricating the new section so it all looks factory.
Marking and cutting the new part to shape.
Cleaning the inner quarter skirt (will be blasted)and bolting together a 5 speed gearbox shell to relocate the gearbox mounts for use with the 10a. Its common practice to bolt a modified gearbox cross member directly to the floor..... not for me though.
More to follow on this when its finished...
The following will interest some of you. I roughly aligned the passenger door and sat a genuine Mazda guard to the car. The guard is not bolted but sits nicely in position. It wouldnt take to much to align the guard and door. I have others guards that have a similar fit.
Pic 1, a bit had to tell due to the white epoxy primer but follow the top door line to the equivalent guard line... perfect match. Pic 2, a repro guard as you can see the line is all wrong. I had to bolt the guard down and wrestle with it to get a decent
door gap. The top of the repro guard will need cutting and welding.
But wait... that's not all ! For your money you also get an incorrect guard to door profile
There's not much more Im going to say other that my curiosity was satisfied. Im not curious enough to buy a right repro guard though
There are other problems but I wont go into them. Save your money and pay a good panel beater to repair your rusty guards. I think the the QA guys at the repro factory must have been high on maybe pot, cocaine, speed or probably all of the above that day
FYI I gave a detailed report to the Vic supplier and got no reply. The guards are over priced for the quality of fit. The guard will make an expensive rust patch for one of my rusted genuine guards.
As Mazda say
A part from Mazda, trust nothing else
..... what a fitting parts slogaan