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85 Widebody 350

Old 04-22-18, 07:21 PM
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85 Widebody 350

In my search for an early stock 79-80 I came across something about as far from early and stock as you can get, an 85 widebody. The car was far from complete and had been abandon in a storage yard for 2 years. Now something about this car spoke to me (besides the fact that I was the only person at the auction looking at the car) I liked the wide body kit and the fact that someone had already started to swap a V8 into it, so I bought it. Now after looking the car over I have decided to make this another project in a long list of current projects.

Now my experience with the Rx7 is limited to owning a 79 in high school and I did nothing but routine maintenance to that car. So this might be an interesting experience.

Now this car had fresh paint but it was sprayed over the original red and is already coming off in many places and has a lot of scratches and damage from sitting outside in a storage yard etc. The interior is actually pretty good, the seats are in very good shape as is the dash and headliner. The carpet is dirty but pretty nice and will hopefully clean up enough to keep. The motor install was done well, I like the location of the motor and the fit of the transmission in the tunnel although the motor is really only in the mock up stage.

My plans for the car are to do a FC sub-frame swap to give more room by relocating the cross member forward and the rack and pinion will get rid of the stock steering box. The motor will get a top end and I am shooting for 350HP and just over that in torque. Once all that is done and mocked up I will disassemble the car and it will get a proper paint job. The interior I plan on keeping stock except for the audio.

So that's the general overview. As with all projects like this (at least for me) I expect this to be a multi year project. Hopefully you enjoy the process with me.

Mat





This is what it looked like at the auction.
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Old 04-22-18, 08:12 PM
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Looking at the rear fenders, I can tell you this is the CP Racing kit. It was also sold by Black Dragon. Both companies are out of business.


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Old 04-22-18, 08:48 PM
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nice project, 350 hp V8 in this chassis is a lot of fun. Good luck on finding some fenders, will you make something yourself?
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Old 04-22-18, 10:36 PM
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Old 04-23-18, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by KansasCityREPU View Post
Looking at the rear fenders, I can tell you this is the CP Racing kit. It was also sold by Black Dragon. Both companies are out of business.
From my poking around the internet, finding your car in particular, it appeared to me to be a CP racing kit. I also found reference to Victoria British but not Black Dragon. I really like the look of your car, I haven't decided what color to paint the car but I am thinking a dark blue close to black after seeing your car.

Mat
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Old 04-23-18, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Freeskier7791 View Post
nice project, 350 hp V8 in this chassis is a lot of fun. Good luck on finding some fenders, will you make something yourself?
When I was at the auction there was a name and number in the window of the car advertising he had the rest of the parts. So I was able to get the rest of the body panels from the prior owner. (Thankfully)
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Old 04-23-18, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by MACRacing View Post
From my poking around the internet, finding your car in particular, it appeared to me to be a CP racing kit. I also found reference to Victoria British but not Black Dragon. I really like the look of your car, I haven't decided what color to paint the car but I am thinking a dark blue close to black after seeing your car.

Mat
The car in the pictures was built/owned by a member of this forum that isn't active any long. I can't take credit for his great work.

Victoria British changed their name to Black Dragon about 10 years ago and then went out of business a couple of years ago. I wish they were still around, they were local to me.
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Old 04-26-18, 10:39 AM
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Missing ignition key.

The car did not come with a key so I searched the forum for help with this and found a few results. This is how I ended up getting a new key.

First I was able to go the the local Mazda dealership and with the title in my name and my ID they looked up the car in the computer and provided me with the appropriate code. There were a few posts stating the dealer was no longer able to look up the code by vin. Now maybe because my car is an 85 its still new enough but they were able to look mine up. Unfortunately the dealer did not have a key blank so I then had to go to a locksmith and have them make a key. So with my new key in hand I went home and it didn't work.

I had also seen where the code was also printed on the passenger door cylinder. So I took the passenger door apart and there was the code stamped into the cylinder and it matched what the dealer gave me. So I did a little internet research and something interesting was the locksmith used a MZ-13 blank but I found a OEM Mazda key listed for 83-92 the 86-92 were listed as a MZ-16. So I took the new key on the MZ-13 key and had it cut onto a MZ-16. The difference appeared to be the tip of the blank. Well it still didn't work.

So I decided to try a different locksmith and he used the code and a MZ-13 blank and the key works just fine. I did order a OEM blank that cross referenced to the MZ-16 blank and had it cut off my working MZ-13 key and it also works just fine.

So the key code was still available from the dealer and was on the passenger door cylinder. One locksmith was able to cut the key using the code and both the MZ-13 and MZ-16 keys appear to work.

Mat
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Old 05-04-18, 04:05 PM
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While I am gathering parts for the FC cross-member swap I decided to remove the rest of the interior. I had noticed a musty odor starting to develop since the car has been inside.
Unfortunately, while removing the rear carpet and rear sound deadening liner it was fairly water soaked. Further investigation showed the rear side window was not put in well and was not sealing. So water has been getting into the hatch compartment, enough so the spare tire area had about a half inch of standing water. The good news was the spare, jack and lug wrench were all still present.



At least now the odor has resolved.

Mat
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Old 05-12-18, 09:26 AM
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Hood clearance

The last owners added what appears to be a TII hood scoop to the stock hood. Although the scoop has already cracked off the front of the hood I figured I could still use it to measure and see what clearance I needed when I make a different scoop.


The skin of the hood was cut to add the scoop but not the structure, so it really didn't add any clearance. So I cut the hood substructure wide enough to clear a 14" air cleaner.


Now with the hood on the car I can see how well the scoop clears the motor.



Just over 2" of clearance. With a 3" air cleaner and a 1" drop base I need just over 2" to clear the top. So in theory this style of scoop should work just fine. In reality I an not going to use the top end that is on the motor now anyway. The current manifold has a 5.25" B height and the manifold I plan on using has a 4.5" B height, So I will gain another of .75" of clearance. Either way this style and size of scoop should work just fine.

Mat
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Old 05-13-18, 08:09 PM
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So today I set about clearing the front end and engine bay. I am going to start the FC cross-member swap next. There are a number of reasons for the FC swap but one main goal is to gain room for the headers. In particular with the automatic trans the drivers side of the tunnel is just too tight to be used for the exhaust. So there needs to be a crossover under the motor but the cross member and steering make that very difficult. With the FC cross-member and rack and pinion steering there should be more room.


The previous owner tried to take a shorty header and make it into a block hugger. Neither work because of either the trans, steering rack or cross-member.





So now the engine bay is cleared and ready to start the swap.

Mat
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Old 05-21-18, 07:19 AM
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Should be a fun build. My car is a freaking blast to drive. I might get roasted for saying this here but, I've driven a 1st gen rotary rx7 hard and I've driven plenty of v8 cars including a few corvettes and with the modifications I've made I don't see any drawbacks to the V8. it's light and if you set the FC front suspension up correctly it handles way better than the 1st gen setup and the the rack and pinion is hard to beat.

So good luck with the build can't wait to see it going.
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Old 05-22-18, 10:05 PM
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Thank you for the encouragement, I have enjoyed reading your build thread.

I am very hopeful the V8 along with improved steering and brakes make a fun driving car even better. I really canít see a large downside except for the time to construct, but the project is fun in itself.

Mat
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Old 05-25-18, 06:23 PM
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Since I like the position of the motor and the transmission mount was built well I am going to keep the motor in place while I mount the FC cross member and make new motor mounts.

I made a jig to mount to the front of the motor to position it while the new mounts are made.




The old and new cross members.

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Old 12-07-18, 07:03 PM
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Now that winter is here its time to get some work done on the 85 project. Unfortunately, I did not get the FC swap finished this summer so it has no front suspension at all. This means I had to get a little creative on getting the car transferred to the shop.

I also pulled the 350 the prior builder started to swap in and steering column and box.




Next, mock up the subframe.
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Old 12-28-18, 08:34 PM
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I was able to get the FC sub-frame mocked up, welded and installed this week.


The mock up.



I used a set up similar to a few others here. I added tabs to the front of the cross member so I could move it back 1.25 inches, the rear was spaced down .75 inches and side plates added to mount it all to the stock steering rack mounting points.



Next will be to decide on the dampeners. I am thinking coil-overs to get some adjustability but I am unclear if I have to have coil-overs made with FC lower mounts and FB tops or can I just add FC camber plates and run FC coil overs? Research time.
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Old 01-07-19, 09:14 PM
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A late christmas

Christmas came a little late. Parts for more of the FC swap have started to arrive.


New Brake rotors, caliper rebuild kit, new front ball joints, poly bushings, adjustable sway bar end links, some FC steering u-joints and a box of new metric bolts. Still waiting on the rebuilt steering rack, sway bar, adjustable outer tie rods and coilovers. I decided on ISC N1 FC coil overs for the front. Street valving and 8000 kg/mm springs.
Here is the mock up so far.



The rotors are brakenetic RS rotors.
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Old 01-11-19, 01:54 PM
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Great work on the FC subframe configuration! I machined a set of spacers to work for my Ground Control Style Top Hats that converted the top of my FC KSport 400lb 4 or 5" stroke front coilovers to sit properly on the FB. Here's a set of top hats to reference: https://groundcontrolstore.com/colle...x-7-79-85-pair

If I can get ahold of Robert (my machinist) to get another set done for you, it'll make it a bolt-in procedure. I used a low profile 12pt metric nut on top to finalize the installation. Super old pics, but I'll find them for you.

As for the caster angle and you wanting the wheel centerline in the wheel well, it simply means that you should move the FC subframe forward and NOT use the Factory FB Bolt that fits so nice in the front. I personally believe there's enough adjustment range on the top hat and coilovers to get the alignment spec you're after. We just need to see what you end up driving the car on. More drift stuff will benefit from lower caster, high negative camber, slight toe out. More canyon stuff will benefit from more caster, less negative camber, and around zero toe.

For the rear end, realistically a Ford 8.8 is the way to go. SO much cheaper to build and gear right. It's a little bulkier and heavier, but no joke, 1/8th the cost... If you haven't already, go download the 4-Link Calculator from Pirate4x4 and start crunching numbers. You could even try the 3-Link Calculator to give you an idea of what else can be done. Then it's up to the decision of Panhard Bar, Watt's Link, or None!
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Old 01-11-19, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by RGHTBrainDesign View Post
Great work on the FC subframe configuration! I machined a set of spacers to work for my Ground Control Style Top Hats that converted the top of my FC KSport 400lb 4 or 5" stroke front coilovers to sit properly on the FB. Here's a set of top hats to reference: https://groundcontrolstore.com/colle...x-7-79-85-pair

If I can get ahold of Robert (my machinist) to get another set done for you, it'll make it a bolt-in procedure. I used a low profile 12pt metric nut on top to finalize the installation. Super old pics, but I'll find them for you.

As for the caster angle and you wanting the wheel centerline in the wheel well, it simply means that you should move the FC subframe forward and NOT use the Factory FB Bolt that fits so nice in the front. I personally believe there's enough adjustment range on the top hat and coilovers to get the alignment spec you're after. We just need to see what you end up driving the car on. More drift stuff will benefit from lower caster, high negative camber, slight toe out. More canyon stuff will benefit from more caster, less negative camber, and around zero toe.

For the rear end, realistically a Ford 8.8 is the way to go. SO much cheaper to build and gear right. It's a little bulkier and heavier, but no joke, 1/8th the cost... If you haven't already, go download the 4-Link Calculator from Pirate4x4 and start crunching numbers. You could even try the 3-Link Calculator to give you an idea of what else can be done. Then it's up to the decision of Panhard Bar, Watt's Link, or None!
The coilovers I ordered have an adjustable camber plate, I thought it was only a small adjustment of the mounting holes on the FB to get these to fit. If I am incorrect in this and you have something that will make this easier then I am interested. Thank you

As far as the wheels centered I added material and moved the mounting hole on the subframe 1.25" forward moving the crossmember back in the chassis. I have seen others use anywhere from 1 to 1.5 inches so I compromised in the middle. It would appear to decrease the caster but until its all mocked up I am not sure what value I will actually get. Since its a street car I dont plan on going too crazy with the camber either but with the adjustable mount hopefully it will be enough. If not then a longer and adjustable ball joint similar to what you made is my fall back plan.

I haven't started on the rear yet so thank you for a good starting place. I like the idea of the four link and the motion of the rear axle with it. Although I really have spent little energy on it so far, this will actually be my first time modifying anything with a solid axle.

Right now I am figuring out how to get the FC rack to mate to the stock FB steering safely, its almost there.

Thank you for the input
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Old 01-12-19, 12:37 AM
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Originally Posted by MACRacing View Post
Right now I am figuring out how to get the FC rack to mate to the stock FB steering safely, its almost there.

Thank you for the input
It's best to keep the FC Steering Rack + Lower Linkage + Lower Piece of the Steering Shaft in which you disassemble the FB steering shaft and weld in the FC unit half way up. That way you keep all the FB interior and functionality while having all the FC lower stuff directly lined up.

I promise you I have pics of that on my build as well for you to reference.
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Old 01-12-19, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by RGHTBrainDesign View Post
It's best to keep the FC Steering Rack + Lower Linkage + Lower Piece of the Steering Shaft in which you disassemble the FB steering shaft and weld in the FC unit half way up. That way you keep all the FB interior and functionality while having all the FC lower stuff directly lined up.

I promise you I have pics of that on my build as well for you to reference.
That is where I am now but I am not thrilled with the play the steering shaft has in the column or the play the column has overall. So I am thinking about adding a bearing into the bottom of the column to tighten that up and a bracket where the column comes through the firewall.
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Old 01-12-19, 08:51 AM
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FC rack to FB steering

The FC rack and pinion and lower linkage line up pretty well with the FB Steering column.




I cut the Steering shaft and column to give room to weld in the FC shaft end.



Now with the FB shaft back in things line up well but there is some play in the shaft within the column and with the column overall. So I am going to add a bearing into the end of the column to tighten this up. I am also considering adding a bracket to mount the column to the firewall better.

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Old 01-12-19, 12:00 PM
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Nice build! I don't really have anything to add, other than that.
I think I'm going to have to do the FC crossmember as well. If nothing else, because good SA/FB steering boxes or rebuild kits have become unobtanium. One advantage I have is tah I'm starting with a GSL-SE power steering setup (transplanted into an SA, because why not?) and those already have a lower bearing and a u-joint at the firewall pass-through, making the connection to a rack that much easier.
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Old 01-12-19, 12:56 PM
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You're missing the FC Steering Shaft Bottom piece, which is where the play is coming from.

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Old 01-13-19, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Frankenrex View Post
Nice build! I don't really have anything to add, other than that.
I think I'm going to have to do the FC crossmember as well. If nothing else, because good SA/FB steering boxes or rebuild kits have become unobtanium. One advantage I have is tah I'm starting with a GSL-SE power steering setup (transplanted into an SA, because why not?) and those already have a lower bearing and a u-joint at the firewall pass-through, making the connection to a rack that much easier.
Thank You for the compliment.
Another advantage of the FC swap is the ability to easily run larger brakes, there are nice stock 4 piston options available.
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