23 months and 9 days later... SUCCESS, my rotary is finally all legal to drive on New Zealand roads
(warning, wall of text follows, you can stop reading at this point if you want, and skip to the photos at the bottom)
my importer had a mate who ran a reputable compliance centre and this was where I'd taken squid (my DR30 Skyline RS-X sedan
) to be complied back in late 2006. They did an awesome job with less than a fortnight's turnaround so I figured why not use them again. So I booked the banana in and dropped it off for the initial inspection in January 2009.
At the time we all thought the process would be as straightforward as squid had been, but little did anyone know that i'd just opened up a very messy can of worms
As mentioned earlier, the car already had a warning flag in the system due to the accident damage to the front right quarter, and so the repair certifier was called in while the car was at compliance to have a look at this. The driver's door, front guards, and clip had to be removed and the space in the driver's footwell to be cleared for a proper chassis rail inspection. So the week before the repair certifier arrived i spent a couple of late nights removing and clearing everything that I needed to, then a few hours taking the driver's side front wheel off and scraping away the underseal/paint to get to the welds underneath.
Then it was D-day, and that was when the shit really hit the fan. Repair certifier came in and did all his tests, it turns out the weirdly bent front suspension was the symptom of a rather nasty knock to the front right of the car which resulted in a crabbed chassis.
Here's that photo of the car up on the hoist... see that kink in the seam, just rearward of the front wheel? Yeah.
The chassis damage was serious enough for the car to require a certain amount of intimacy with the car-o-liner, so I talked to my panelbeater Tony about fitting it into his already hectic schedule... no dice, he was booked solid for the next nine months repairing other
pieces of junk and his chassis machine would be in use almost non-stop
So it was out of there and into deep storage while I plotted my next move.
And then I kinda ended up putting a Link in my TX3
and finishing off the restoration on that
, so the RX-7 sat untouched for the better part of a year. oops
Meanwhile the manager of the compliance shop (whom I deal with personally) kept ringing me every few months asking if I'd found a panelbeater willing to fix the car, and if not, he knew a couple of places I could take it for quick turnaround. It wasn't until February this year (2010) that I decided to take him up on his offer, after talking to some other panel shops and getting quoted hideous amounts for what was actually supposed to be a very straightforward repair
so the RX-7 entered the panelshop in March for six weeks of intensive tugging - initial measurements found the FR corner was 11mm forward
of where it was meant to be and the RL corner to be 8mm rearward
, resulting in the chassis taking on an interesting 'trapezoidal' shape
The foreman of the shop was very helpful in walking me through all the repairs that had taken place in Japan, his verdict was that while they'd been completed to an incredibly high standard, the Japs simply hadn't bothered straightening the chassis as it wasn't a "compulsory" requirement of re-inspection over there.
the scary thing is a LOT of cars end up that way in Japan, especially the collectable ones - I'm lucky I never had any serious problems with my Skylines...
I got the call that the car was ready and the repairs signed off in early May, so make the arrangements to have it delivered to the compliance shop. However a lowly employee decided to make everyone's day turn to custard when he abruptly sent the transporter with the RX-7 on it back across town to the panelbeaters TWICE
due to not knowing it was supposed to be booked back in (everything had been arranged between the managers of the respective companies). Cue a lot of cursing and swearing on my part, playing phone tag and talking with oblivious drones trying to get the car re-delivered.
anyway it finally got dropped off to begin re-compliance BUT partway through the process the guy who does the seatbelts decided to have some sort of crisis and not turn up to werk for a week.
The shop got another seatbelt guy in to finish the job, but this second guy was a bit of a harsh bugger, and immediately failed the car due to an insane theory that it required REAR BELTS, even though it was originally vinned as a TWO-SEATER. It was about this time that the shop manager decided to go back to the Philippines on holiday and left the place in the hands of one of his assistants.
as a result, nothing ended up getting done on the RX-7 until the end of June, during which time the car went through two vin rechecks by two different inspectors and they both found different faults on the car. The manager of the shop returned from holiday and promptly blew a brain valve when he saw the car was still there, called me up and apologized profusely. As he explained, his assistant didn't know what to do about the seatbelt mess and decided to leave it until he returned. uhh... good one
We ended up getting a friendly LVV certifier by the name of Clint to have a look, and he reported that since the car had been vinned as a legitimate two-seater, the only thing that needed to be done was to replace the front belts, remove the rear seats and cover ALL the bolt holes and mounting points in the back without requiring a LVV cert. This was confirmed by one of the VTNZ inspectors from Henderson who ended up doing the final inspection on the car.
(Note to people from overseas, LVV is low volume certification for vehicles that have been specially modified for whatever reason. VTNZ is one of the few companies in NZ authorized to sign off compliance on vehicles about to enter the NZ fleet)
So after doing all that plus the werk required to rectify the faults found in the two inspection rechecks, here we are today with the car FINALLY road legal.
There's still a bit of pissing around left to be done though, so stay tuned for MOAR TALES OF INTEREST. Right now I'm just enjoying being able to drive the damn thing for the first time in two years!
some victory shots