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From Zero to Hero: Heavy JDM Influenced Restoration

Old 08-09-15, 06:42 PM
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From Zero to Hero: Heavy JDM Influenced Restoration

Background:
I originally purchased the first RX-7, a 1990 S5 T2, from a local friend, who needed money more than a car. I paid quite a bit for it and came to find out that the shell was unusable. It was completely rusted underneath beyond the normal means of repair. My original plan was to make it a one to one replica of the one from Initial D. I have now purchased another shell, a 1987 S4 NA, that Iím converting to S5 and adding some performance parts. I have decided not to have any stickers on it, instead, focusing on making it as clean as possible. This is my first project, but Iím trying to do everything right. This project is an extremely long one. I already have a list of things to replace once the car hits version 1.0. Iím always welcome to tips and opinions on where to go next. Iíve come quite a long way since the beginning, but I will start at where it all began.

The Items I Have (Always Updating):
Exterior:
Shine Auto Front Lip
Shine Auto Spec-R Sideskirts
Shine Auto Spec-RE Rear Aero Guards
JDM Folding Mirrors
JDM Turn Signals
JDM Side Markers
JDM Fog Lights
JDM Rear Side Moldings
LRB Speed Aero Belly Pan
LRB Speed Belly Pan
HELLA Vision Plus Housings
SDX Bi-Xenon 5000K HID
Sokie Tech Hood Dampeners
626 Fuel Cap
GRZ Rear Wiper Delete
Miata Antenna Delete

Suspension/Drivetrain:
STANCE Super Sport Coilovers
MazdaSpeed Front Strut Bar
MazdaSpeed Rear Strut Bar

Engine:
Street Port 13B Turbo
Megasquirt 3 Pro
Taylor 200 Aluminum Battery Box
Walbro 255 Fuel Pump
HKS Blow Off Valve
Fluidyne Radiator
Boost Controller
Stainless Steel Clutch Line
Solid Aluminum Motor Mounts
LRB Speed Radiator Cooling Panel
Bonez Race Pipe

Interior:
Bride Zeta III Sport-C Seats
Bride Type FG Seat Rails
MOMO Hub Adapter
MazdaSpeed B-Spec Steering Wheel
MazdaSpeed Leather Shift ****
MazdaSpeed 03.5 Pedals
Custom RX-7 Floor Mats
Redline Shift Boot
LRB Speed Aluminum Side Vents
LRB Speed Aluminum Defroster Vents

Wheels/Tires:
BSA 1033

The S5 T2:
Here is the original car; the outside looks alright, but itís just an illusion.
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The New Shell:
I drove 6 hours one way to pick up this shell. I couldnít find a friend with a truck and trailerÖUhaul was there for me; 325 dollars just to rent before gas. The shell was well worth it though and Iíve almost made my money back parting out what I didnít need.
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All my cars together
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Making Things Pretty and Blowing Money:
Over the course this project has been active, Iíve constantly been polishing and restoring items to as close to original quality as possible. The only parts Iím using from the original shell is the Motor and the Radiator.
I have the original floor mats that Iíve ďdyedĒ black, as well as some super nice custom ones made by a forum member:
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I purchased three of these and used all the best parts. Iím going to chop off the clock and run a square LCD AFR. PS Ė Donít try and wet sand the glassÖ I learned the hard way.
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After getting the calipers done I decided to go from red to black. I have two sets so Iím going to paint the other ones black when I get the time, will run these for now.
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Purchased the front and rear MazdaSpeed Strut Bar. Found out the rear strut bar didnít have the brace it needed. I purchased the FazdaSpeed version from Ebay and will be using itís brace, which is nearly identical. I found out the strut bars had sticky green tape all over them when I got them, thatís why I decided to polish them.
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Polish All the Things!
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There are a few things I knew I wanted for the car, before I even bought one. Bride seats and a MazdaSpeed steering wheel.
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Old 08-09-15, 06:43 PM
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Assemble the Car to Disassemble the Car:
At one point in time I was going to vinyl wrap the car in white and be done with it. I purchased some carpet, supposedly oem (front, rear hatch), from a member. I got it all in only to realize it was black generic carpet glued on top of the original grey. I’m not the one to complain, I’ll purchase a real black interior swap eventually (past ver 1.0). I had all the interior in and decided, I’m going to have the entire car sprayed. I’ve decided on Crystal White. So over the course of the past two months I’ve been tearing apart the car and re-tearing out the interior.

Some pictures with the carpet in before pulling it.
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Where I am at now:
Having officially decided on paint prompted the complete disassembly of the engine bay. I’m trying to do everything right, short of shaving the bay. I’ve decided to keep the top mount and ditch the ebay front mount that came with the red shell. In the future, when I have to rebuild the engine, I’ll probably fork over the money for a V-mount setup (I like my fogs too much lol). I’m also contemplating replacing all the weather stripping on the car.
I’ll skip all the in progress shots and just show where it sits now.


The build has taken over my office! (The gf isn’t happy Į\_(ツ)_/Į).
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What I did Today:
Today I removed the door handles, both interior/exterior, and had a friend assist with drilling holes for the rear spoiler (mine didn’t have a spoiler apparently).
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Old 08-09-15, 08:17 PM
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Looks sweet. You should drift it!
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Old 08-09-15, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by shadowen925 View Post
Looks sweet. You should drift it!
Lol, you know that will never happen.
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Old 08-09-15, 09:11 PM
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That's a LOT of work!!! Man! Good job documenting it, keep it up & keep up the progress pics!!!
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Old 08-10-15, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by LRB Speed View Post
That's a LOT of work!!! Man! Good job documenting it, keep it up & keep up the progress pics!!!
Thanks Landon! I'm definitely going to try and keep up with it.
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Old 08-10-15, 10:07 AM
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Cant wait to see where you go with this
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Old 08-11-15, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by driftxsequence View Post
Cant wait to see where you go with this
I'm going to try not to disappoint! It's definitely going to be a garage queen haha.

Update 8/11/2015:

I had to come back from work early as no one was going to be here to receive my packages. I had a lot of the stuff that was on back order come in today (aero, passenger seat, rails). In the mean time I got quite a few things scuffed and painted. My FCs are housed 30 minutes away from where I actually live (dang apartment!). I have to bring items back with me to do until I can get to the actual FCs on the weekend.

Fedex guy is going to end up knowing me by name:
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The door handles are currently drying. If they don’t turn out very good I’ll probably just use the native black ones from the white FC (these were grey and faded). I’m a little indecisive on the fog light housings. Both of my shells have been resprayed resulting in a slew of overspray hitting each housing. I’m going to try just getting the paint off, but I may end up spraying them black as well.

Scuffed and ready to go!
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These pieces turned out pretty good:
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Hopefully you can see what I’m talking about with the overspray (and not my overspray on the floor! :-P):
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Old 08-17-15, 06:13 PM
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Update 8/16/2015:
Nothing too big happened work wise. I got the tacky blue colored tint pulled off the car. I met with a one man bodyshop and got an estimate for the FC. Iíve been asking around and he quoted me around 3500, which for his work, is very fair. He should be ready for the car by the end of September. Along with the white FC there are two other FCís in the house behind where mine is housed. The owner has been nice enough to let me pull parts off the blue one when needed.

Door handles finished drying. Going to keep the handles but use the native black locking mechanism from the white FC as it looks better.
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Picture of the tintless window (steam cleaner works wonders getting it and all the glue off).
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Here are the other FCs across the street:
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Old 08-22-15, 03:06 PM
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Update 8/22/2015:
Itís been a fun week. I got the Shine Auto stuff fitted before paint last Thursday. I went out today and removed the side glass and the rest of the weather stripping. I brought some stuff home to get done and got the hood rod painted while cleaning the garage up. I also pulled off all the stickers on the door jams, hood, and bay. The car itself is pretty much ready for the guy to take it. He said once he has ahold of the car that it should be back to me within 6 weeks. Iíll probably work on getting misc items sprayed over the rest of the weekend.

Shine Auto pieces fitted:
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Glass was super easy to pull out. I hope itís just as easy to get back in.
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The hood seemed white at one time lol:
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Old 08-23-15, 02:47 PM
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Another nice build up. Looking forward to progress!
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Old 09-04-15, 04:05 PM
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Update 9/4/2015:
Not much has been happening. Still waiting for the guy to give the all clear for paint and Iíll drop it off. College has kicked back in resulting in a loss of time for me to complete things on weekdays. Iíve been making slow, steady progress on all of the smaller projects that I have brought home with me. This Sunday Iíll be heading over to begin prepping the White FC for the engine to be pulled.

Pulled the headlight housings apart to paint them myself.

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This came in the mail. Just need the gauge setup and sway bars now. I intend to go with the Defi Advance CR gauges and Racing Beat front/rear sways.
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Girlfriend finally made me clean up my mess .
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Last edited by Akomix; 09-04-15 at 04:48 PM.
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Old 09-13-15, 07:20 PM
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Update 9/13/2015:
There has been quite a few happenings since my last post. I ordered a like new set of S5 tails and a S4 instrument cluster with only 88K miles on it (I decided to go back to a S4 cluster /shrug). The tails and cluster I had just werenít up to the quality I wanted for my project. I finally got around to getting the plastic pieces that sit behind the fog lights painted. I may end up just trying to find an entire clean set with the housings. I also ended up getting a few things pulled from the White FC so we can get the motor out for cleaning. I decided to use the stock TII wheels from the White FC instead of those aftermarket, ďwhateversĒ. I completed phase one in getting them as clean as I possibly could. The wheels donít have hardly any curb rash, so repairs will be light. Iím going to keep them a silver color.

Here is a horrible picture of the painted plastic:
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Here is a pic of where I currently am in the white FC:
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Here is the current condition of the wheels:
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Old 09-14-15, 11:51 AM
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Another completely disassembled FC. Welcome to the club! You've gone in a somewhat different direction than I did, but there are many similarities as well.

How do you like the Shine Auto rear bumper pieces? I've been thinking of getting them for my car. I like the way they look, plus they would hide damage on my right rear.
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Old 09-14-15, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by JerryLH3 View Post
Another completely disassembled FC. Welcome to the club! You've gone in a somewhat different direction than I did, but there are many similarities as well.

How do you like the Shine Auto rear bumper pieces? I've been thinking of getting them for my car. I like the way they look, plus they would hide damage on my right rear.
Hi Jerry,

I am a big fan of Shine Auto's stuff and their rear bumper guards are no different. Unfortunately, they were a slight miss for me. The moldings did not match up properly with the rear bumper, despite any amount of coercion I gave it. It will end up being hardly noticeable in the end, but it bugged me a bit that it didn't match up exactly. I think once paint goes on it will look spectacular.
I've actually been following your build for a very long time, even before becoming a member. In hindsight, your thread is the one that made me want to restore an RX-7 and gave me a guide on where to aim.

Edit - I just remembered I got the idea to chop off the mazda from the Mazda-RX-7 emblem from you.

Last edited by Akomix; 09-14-15 at 01:18 PM.
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Old 09-15-15, 01:09 PM
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Thanks for the kind words.

That's sort of a bummer about the rear aero guards. It makes me slightly hesitant to pull the trigger on them. It still may be better than my alternative.
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Old 09-19-15, 06:01 AM
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I like when you said the Fed Ex guy will know you by your first name..lol!

I get notifications on my Postal box that say "Davey Baby" on them..heh..(there are 4 girls on the counter at the Post office..yeehah!)
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Old 09-19-15, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by JerryLH3 View Post
Thanks for the kind words.

That's sort of a bummer about the rear aero guards. It makes me slightly hesitant to pull the trigger on them. It still may be better than my alternative.
There are some builds that have them and it looks like the guards were sculpted specifically for their bumper. I'll make sure to get better pictures of the fitment when they are painted and on. Shouldn't be "tooooo" much longer now.

Originally Posted by misterstyx69 View Post
I like when you said the Fed Ex guy will know you by your first name..lol!

I get notifications on my Postal box that say "Davey Baby" on them..heh..(there are 4 girls on the counter at the Post office..yeehah!)
When I first moved into my apartment I had literally no furniture. For the first two weeks there was a truck appearing almost everyday. They loved me for it too...I think
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Old 09-20-15, 05:40 PM
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Update 9/20/2015:
Well, this week has been fairly productive. I got my rear emblem done that I started many moons ago and ended up getting my radiator panel polished out. I went over today and got one of the wheels ready for body filler and came home prematurely (gf needed milk -_-). My APEXi GT Spec Down Pipe came in this week, my APEXi N1 Evo is still backordered. On the other end of the spectrum it’s been a terrible week acquiring parts. I purchased some like new tail lights and a low mileage, in good condition, S4 instrument gauge cluster. Both were damaged upon arrival. I’ve have to file a claim against one of the user’s as he has not replied to any of my messages. I’m generally extremely forgiving about stuff like this, but I paid top dollar for, guaranteed by them, like new items.

Thanks to JerryLH3 for the idea on this one.

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Got the LRB Speed Radiator Panel polished. Looks pretty good; need to go back over it again.

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The Down Pipe is extremely nice.

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Look at all this damaged stuff I got in the mail

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Old 09-23-15, 11:03 AM
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It definitely sucks to get damaged parts. Hopefully everything gets worked out.

I still need to fill the hole in the body for my emblem. My car is black, and I think I will paint mine silver for some contrast. It will also match the silver Turbo II fender decals I picked up.
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Old 09-23-15, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by JerryLH3 View Post
It definitely sucks to get damaged parts. Hopefully everything gets worked out.

I still need to fill the hole in the body for my emblem. My car is black, and I think I will paint mine silver for some contrast. It will also match the silver Turbo II fender decals I picked up.
I think painting it silver will turn out really nice on a black background. I have been contemplating going with a different color, but have decided just to leave it the normal "plastic black". I was fortunate enough to acquire a car that just had the emblem stuck on with adhesive tape.
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Old 09-23-15, 05:32 PM
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Did your SHINE parts take forever to be received??
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Old 09-23-15, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Akomix View Post
I think painting it silver will turn out really nice on a black background. I have been contemplating going with a different color, but have decided just to leave it the normal "plastic black". I was fortunate enough to acquire a car that just had the emblem stuck on with adhesive tape.
As soon a I posted, I remembered I had seen it somewhere before.

"DJ_Merle" has a very clean build. Black car, silver emblems.

https://www.rx7club.com/build-thread.../#post11266533
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Old 09-23-15, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by fc pro am View Post
Did your SHINE parts take forever to be received??
I had planned on them taking a bit, I believe they are made for each order. I was quoted an ETA of 4-6 weeks and it arrived right around there. As soon as it ships it gets to you fast.

Originally Posted by JerryLH3 View Post
As soon a I posted, I remembered I had seen it somewhere before.

"DJ_Merle" has a very clean build. Black car, silver emblems.

https://www.rx7club.com/build-thread.../#post11266533
I'm glad you linked me to that build. It looks like an extremely good read just by looking at the original post. I have it bookmarked to go through later. As this is my first project, ever, I don't have the mechanical know-how to complete a lot of the more in-depth tasks. Seeing the steps of all the build threads has been invaluable. If you know of anymore good reads, let me know!
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Old 09-24-15, 10:21 AM
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[QUOTE=Akomix;11971757]I had planned on them taking a bit, I believe they are made for each order. I was quoted an ETA of 4-6 weeks and it arrived right around there. As soon as it ships it gets to you fast.


Oh ok dope, was worried. Really want that front lip for my FC. Good build by the way, I like how you're selective with the parts you install.
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