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JerryLH3's RX-7 Turbo II Restoration

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Old 04-13-10, 05:46 PM
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JerryLH3's RX-7 Turbo II Restoration

Last July, my 1991 Turbo II blew an oil cooler line. It had served me quite faithfully as a daily driver for over four and a half years at that point. I ended up buying a new (well, used) car as a daily driver with the intentions of finally making the RX-7 my fun car. Flash forward to this month and I had replaced the oil cooler lines, but had yet to get the car running again. Over the years, I wouldn't say I have abused the car, but it certainly has been neglected. I finally decided to take it off the road so that I can do a semi-restoration/modification to finally make it a fun car that I can take out for weekend drives, go autocross, take road trips in, etc.

The project finally began in earnest Sunday with some disassembly. First, the before pictures:























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Old 04-13-10, 05:47 PM
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My friend suggested to break the ice, I needed to just take the grinder to the car and start to grind away some paint. This fender is pretty severely damaged as you can see in the preceding pictures, so we were going to use this for some practice at body work knowing full well (but trying to forget) that this fender will most likely be scrapped. That air compressor in the background was a nightmare to get home, by the way.



The fender after grinding and some work with the hammer and dollies:



After filler, some rough sanding, my friend getting impatient, and hanging the fender back on the car, this is what it looked like:



Not bad, but the fender is tweaked by the door as well, so it's well worth it to take a trip to the junkyard and find a fender in better shape.

After taking quite a bit of things off the car, I'm quickly going to run into a storage issue with bags and boxes of parts.





The junk box thus far:



And the car as of now:





That's it so far. Hopefully, it will move along pretty swiftly, but time and finances will dictate that.
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Old 04-13-10, 06:40 PM
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That drivers seat. ACK!
I'm sure many fun miles in that seat. She did us proud!
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Old 04-13-10, 07:06 PM
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Fun! Looks like a solid starting point overall, save for a few rough spots. Good luck with the resto, keep us posted. What are your plans for mods and stuff?
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Old 04-13-10, 07:16 PM
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And I thought my GTUs was rough!
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Old 04-13-10, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by need RX7 View Post
Fun! Looks like a solid starting point overall, save for a few rough spots. Good luck with the resto, keep us posted. What are your plans for mods and stuff?
As far as mods go, nothing too extreme, but I haven't quite decided on everything just yet. The suspension will see a lot of work, as I will probably go with a set of coilovers, camber/caster plates, etc. I've been browsing through wheels, but haven't decided on anything yet other than nothing bigger than 17". My power goals aren't all that lofty, but the standard intake and exhaust will be taken care of. I'm exploring upgrading the stock top mount intercooler as I will retain the stock turbo. I've never been a fan of FMICs and it doesn't meet my goals, so that's a no-go.

Originally Posted by SoloII///M View Post
And I thought my GTUs was rough!
Yeah, when it was still my daily driver, I didn't realize just how rough it had become over time. It's finally time to show it some love.
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Old 04-16-10, 08:59 PM
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Week 1 has pretty much drawn to a close. I managed to work on it about an hour or so each of the past few days. The interior is close to being gutted. A lot of the interior trim pieces need to be sorted through to see what needs to be replaced, either via new parts from Mazda, or used parts that are acceptable (anything would have to be better than what was in there). Everything in there has been so unbelievably brittle and faded.





With all of the change, it looks like finances for the project have improved. I think I can now afford to buy a fastener or two that have gone missing.
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Old 04-16-10, 09:39 PM
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haha yeah idk some of them can be pretty expensive. i spent 20 bucks at the hardware store the other day just replaceing all the screws missing in my doors and door sills i think i forgot some too.
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Old 04-25-10, 09:17 PM
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I've been steadily removing more interior over the past week and a half. The interior is now mostly gutted with the exception of the dashboard and the front carpet.

Today, my friend was over and we went to the junkyard in search of a fender. We found three RX-7s, two that still had passenger side fenders, but neither where in decent enough shape that it was worth paying for. So, we came back to my place and tackled a couple of smaller jobs, polishing the fog lights and repainting the wiper arms.

Here's a before shot of a fog light (they both looked about the same):



We progressed through four grades of wet sanding:, 400, 800, 1000 and 1500. Then we used some Meguiar's PlastX on the lens. Then we masked off the lens and repainted the trim a satin black (not sure that was the stock color, it looked sort of gunmetallish, but I went with black), and these were the end results:



We were quite pleased with the results.

Also, for the first time in over nine moths, the engine ran today. We jumped it with my daily driver and it turned over the first time and started. The cold start assist kept it around 2500-3000 RPMs before it started to settle down and promptly stalled. In hindsight, I should have kept the throttle down a little to keep it running, as we couldn't get it to start again. I'm guessing (and hoping) it is now just flooded, but we'll see. The gas in the tank should really be pumped out. The good news is there were no leaks, so all the oil cooler line fittings must be properly aligned and torqued.
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Old 04-25-10, 10:34 PM
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Good work so far! Those small jobs really add up over time. Attention to detail will really make a difference in the end!
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Old 04-25-10, 10:42 PM
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looks like a good start. Im doing the bodywork on mine right now. sucks cause i really dont know a whole lot about body work. GL
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Old 04-27-10, 09:44 PM
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After the results achieved with the fog lights, I decided to pull the FTPs out of the trash box and give it a go. They look pretty good, but the driver's side FTP still seems pretty hazy.



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Old 04-27-10, 09:50 PM
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Nice! It's little details like that that really contribute to making the car look great. It's crazy how crusty exterior trim can date a car so much.
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Old 04-27-10, 10:40 PM
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Great progress!
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Old 04-30-10, 05:44 PM
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Good to see you still have the TII. I envy your energy and ambition. I'm trying to generate enough personal enthusiasm just to do the windshield wiper repair. Any projected time frame for completion?
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Old 04-30-10, 05:49 PM
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John! Good to hear from you! I'd say expected time frame for getting body work, paint and the interior redone is the end of this year or early next. Then I'll have a stock TII, which of course I'll have to mess around with in 2011 and hopefully have it fully the way I want it by early 2012.

Give me a call or shoot me an email sometime, my email address and phone number are still the same.
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Old 04-30-10, 06:02 PM
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Jerry, PM sent.
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Old 04-30-10, 09:51 PM
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I tried to clean my FTP lenses, and when removing them (yes, I removed the 2 bolts holding each), EVERY plastic mount broke. So now I don't have any FTP lenses.
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Old 05-01-10, 12:20 AM
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Awesome job so far!

That seat was painful to look at. Are you going to buy new ones or get them recovered?

I'm sure the car is just flooded based on the time frame from start to stall that you described.

I can't wait to see the finished product. Keep up the great work
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Old 05-01-10, 07:14 PM
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The seats all depend on what I can find. The driver's seat would have to be completely recovered and rebuilt, foam and all. It's pretty much destroyed, especially on the door side, the side bolster has collapsed and the foam up by the shoulder is completely worn away. The passenger's seat could just do with recovering; the foam is all intact on that seat. Of course, if I were to come across a good pair of Infini IV seats for the right price, that would be an option too.
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Old 05-08-10, 04:03 PM
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I picked up another load of parts yesterday from the Mazda dealer. The difference between a new part and one that's been on a car for nearly 20 years is quite amazing.



I also have now amassed quite a collection of OEM parts. While it may seem ridiculous, and my original pictures may not have indicated it, the vast majority of all these parts needed replacing. I started this little collection a couple of years ago in anticipation of one day finally redoing the interior as well as the rest of the car.

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Old 05-29-10, 05:20 PM
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The night of my last update, I found out I was going to be a father, so the RX-7 took a backseat for a week or so while we told everyone and let it sink in ourselves. After that, it was back to work on finishing stripping the interior. The dashboard and carpet came out last Saturday, along with the blower unit and air mix motor/heater core assembly. After a good vacuuming this morning, the interior was pretty much gone:







There's one major problem area, but after a lot of stabbing at it with a screwdriver, it all appears to be surface rust. This was mainly caused by what I found to be a clogged hatch drain years ago. While not as bad as the hatch area, the surface rust extends down into the storage bin area and behind the driver's seat.







ALL of this change came from the car hidden in various locations:



I wanted to come inside for a little while and get away from the 90+ temperatures outside, so I took the instrument cluster with me for a little touch up.

Before:



And the first brand new parts to go on the car or a part of the car:



The end result was quite nice, but after further inspection, I need to pull the cluster apart again, as a few stray cat hairs found their way in and I forgot to polish off a water spot. I'm not sure I needed to go to all the effort I went to, but it is better than before.




That's about it for now. My friend picked up a dashboard for me in Raleigh that a forum member had for sale and he will be bringing that down with him when he comes to visit in July. Now that the interior is gone, I'm going to sort through what is good enough to be sold and raise a little bit of money for the project. Next up, I just need to start a whole lot of body work.
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Old 05-29-10, 06:08 PM
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Nice... Loving the progress so far
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Old 05-29-10, 06:59 PM
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Great thread. Looking forward to more updates, and ideas to apply to my project.
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Old 05-29-10, 10:03 PM
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Very nice job on your project. Should look great with all of the new OEM parts installed. Keep up the good work.
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