Old School and Other Rotary Old School and Other Rotary Powered Vehicles including performance modifications and technical support

Beginning Restoration: 1972 Mazda 616 Capella

Old 10-22-08, 04:06 PM
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Beginning Restoration: 1972 Mazda 616 Capella

Hey all,

Most of you know I picked up a 72 616, the RX-2's piston powered brother.
Its a 4 door sedan with a 1.6L 4cyl 4speed trans in it, almost everything else is the same as the RX-2.
Suprisingly enough for being an orignal Canadian car, it is absolutely mint. With only 30,000 original miles on it, it was well taken care of.

Anyone who has met me, knows that I'm not right in the head and cant leave anything stock. So I immedeately pulled the piston engine out and started a 13B swap. I replaced the old suspention with new KYB struts all around and King lowering springs. The bushings were replaced with a Super Pro urethane kit for an RX-2. All of these parts were not available anywhere in North America without a 3 month waiting time. So I went to a supplier in Austrailia and had everything within 3 weeks.

The 13B swap didn't treat me very well. The first used engine I swapped in spun both rotor bearings within the first week of driving it and the second half bridge 13B got my into trouble with a cop who didn't appreciate the rate of speed this little car could accomplish. After getting it out of the impound lot the engine overheated on me and I pretty much gave up on the car. I parked it in my parents barn.

I now have decided to restore the car back to its factory specs. That way it'll keep me out of trouble with the law and be (flamesuit on) a little more reliable.

Heres a few pics of the car when I first got it.

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I have already started by completely disassembling the 1.6L engine. It infact does only have 30,000 miles on it....because everything is very clean and not a sign of wear of the cyl walls or bearings. Its perfect.
The engine block was just hot tanked and will be ready for powdercoating this week. All the pistons, rings, oil scrappers are being soaked in diesel fuel to get rid of the small bits of carbon.


Now here is where I need help.

Some of the original parts were sacrificed to do the 13B swap in the first place. Some parts have gone missing since we've moved to a new shop last year. Some parts have been damaged and need to be replaced.
I would really appreciate any info to where I could find either N.O.S. parts or used parts in restorable condition.

These cars were produced from 1970 until 1974 and had both a 1.6L engine or a 1.8L. The other option was the Rotary engine which made the car an RX-2.

The parts I'm looking for are:

Throttle pedal and linkage,
Ignition swith
Plasic kick plate (top of rocker and covers the carpet)
4 speed transmission
Possibly a good condition hood (the hood I have is fixable, but one in good shape would be better)
Exhaust system from manifold back to tail pipe (might be impossible to find, hoping for a Mazda dealer to have one kickin in a back corner lol)

There is probably more parts to add to the list....I'll have to see as I go along with the build.

Thanks
Joe
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Old 10-22-08, 05:47 PM
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wow she is clean!
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Old 10-22-08, 06:34 PM
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I remember when this car was on ebay. when you say restore do you mean paint and everything or just bringing it back to stock? seeing as how this car is originaly from canada did the exaust originaly have the emision control stuff that the US spec RX2 have?

great car, good to see its being restored original.
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Old 10-22-08, 07:19 PM
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The car was actually repainted at some point in time. A decent job, but a cheap job. Its showing its age now.
I'm considering to repaint it, but first a good wetsand and buff might bring it back to life.
The car originally came with a 4cyl piston engine, so it had a completely different exhaust system than the RX-2.
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Old 10-22-08, 07:41 PM
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check the aussie forums for what your looking for
the move from NA boat anchor to 13B is a popular route here
and most of the stuff you want is regularly thrown into scrap
( and the money conversion will be good, postage suck )

having built a few myself ( original and fakers )
i think the NA FC motor and carb adapter and suitable sump is by far the easier path , with awesome results and engine longevity


PS
there is a thread on performance forums on some custom working to hybrid NA and MA parts and turbos into capellas
http://www.performanceforums.com/for...php?t=67235942
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Old 10-23-08, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by R.P.M. View Post
The car was actually repainted at some point in time. A decent job, but a cheap job. Its showing its age now.
I'm considering to repaint it, but first a good wetsand and buff might bring it back to life.
The car originally came with a 4cyl piston engine, so it had a completely different exhaust system than the RX-2.
you know if the pip dimensions are the same? cause the cars measure the same so i figure the exaust is mounted in the same place. because i might be able to get you the pip demensions.
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Old 11-26-08, 10:49 PM
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Starting to re-assemble the 1.6L engine

Bare block freshly powdercoated and decked

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Crank and caps

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Original bearings in perfect shape

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Old Mazda symbol on the main bolts

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Old 11-26-08, 10:50 PM
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I ordered a new set of rings and oil scrappers for the pistons, should have the short block together soon, then some head work.
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Old 11-27-08, 12:11 AM
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did you forget to tank the crankshaft and caps?

or are you just test fitting stuff

I usually dont paint boingers until after assembly, it keeps the paint nicer and reduces the chances of nicking/scratching it.
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Old 11-27-08, 12:15 AM
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Nope, crank and caps were fine.

I didn't paint the block either, its powdercoated.
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Old 01-06-14, 10:15 PM
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Epic thread revival: 5 years later

Cant keep this car stock, so I've decided to do a 1.6L Miata drivetrain swap and convert the front end to rack and pinion steering.

Pics!


So I have converted the rear axles to custom Moser 5 bolt with a GSL-SE LSD center section and the front strut assembly to FB spindles with 5 bolt hubs and 4 piston FC calipers. Mounted 16x8 and 16x9.5 Work Ewings on the car, but decided they were just a bit too large for the chassis.

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Here is the Miata engine hanging in the engine bay ready to be mounted in place

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I built a fixture to get the placement of the lower balljoint so I could build my own front subframe using Miata front end parts.
I'm using stock Miata lower control arms and my own build subframe in place of the original

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I had to notch into my MINT frame rails to make the rear control arm bushing mounts work.....but it will be worth it!!
Next on the list of things to do is shorten up the Miata rack and pinion and mount it in place, I should have my rack and pinion mounts water jet cut buy the end of the week.
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Old 01-06-14, 11:24 PM
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swap the steering knuckles from left to right now that you are going with a front mounted steering assembly as you will have absolutely no Ackerman or better yet measure the car up for the correct geometry and make a new set of steering knuckles that are 3-4cm shorter as well, the ones you have are meant to be used for a steering box and your steering ratio will go way up thats why the EXTRA length is there (leverage).
So far it looks great !! I am enjoying the build !!!! keep going
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Old 01-07-14, 12:15 AM
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Cool 616. May I ask why you are fighting the urge to do a rotary swap? I ask because the miata/mx-5 were notoriously gutless creatures. I just don't see the just reward for all of your hard work. Seems more logical to do a rotor swap. Not here talking crap , just wondering.
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Old 01-07-14, 08:33 AM
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I'm machining aluminum steering knuckles to suit the Miata rack which will be slightly shorter and straight as opposed to the angled FB knuckles.


Yes, the 1.6L Miata engine is well known to be quite the weak-sauce powerhouse. I'm really stuck on keeping the displacement the same as the car originally came with, just updated with EFI and standalone ECU.

I cant post too many details about the drivetrain build. Keep tabs on future issues of Modified Mag, my build is being featured as a Project car for the Mag
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Old 01-07-14, 11:51 PM
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Im in! I love my gutless turd of a miata that I have been driving the snot out of since the summer...love where this is headed. Thanks for being a little different.
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Old 01-26-14, 11:24 AM
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Update on the front subframe:

I designed these Rack and Pinion mounts and the steering arm and had them waterjet cut. The steering arm will require some more machining to finish, but the basic shape is there.

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Next step was to disassemble the Miata rack and shorten it by 4.5". I had a machinist buddy of mine order a Tap from his work so we could tap the steering shaft for the inner tie rod end. M17x1.0 was about $280. Fuuuuuck

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Here is a picture of the back side of the rack with the mounts ready to be welded in place

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Rack mounts tack welded into place nice and level and centered perfectly

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Here is a pic of the 1/8" plate motor mounts started, everything is tack welded and ready for re-inforcement

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Engine back out

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And subframe out ready to be finish welded. My plan is to box in the top of the engine mounts.....just ran out of metal today.

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Old 01-29-14, 11:39 PM
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I'm going to have to subscribe to motor mag as I've got a 73 rx2 that I'm thinking of installing a fc front subframe in. I May just have to steal your tube frame idea. Thank you for sharing this!
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Old 01-30-14, 01:08 AM
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You should consider marketing and selling those front subframe/crossmember assemblies to the public. There would definitely be a market (albeit small to be realistic I guess) for units in RHD as the steering box in Capellas is often a problem with trying to squeeze decent extractors or large turbo dump pipes through between the engine and bellhousing.

You could have it Miata specific with the engine mounts or no mounts which might allow people to use the tradition under swaybar crossmber for rotary transplants. I'm not sure if the rotary sump would clear the rack and crossmember though.
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Old 02-01-14, 11:28 AM
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Great job on the fabrication work! Love the idea of miata rack & pinion, and lca's on a Capella/RX2, keep it up! Also consider Eeyore's suggestion of marketing subframe/crossmember assemblies. i would be intersted in one.
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Old 02-03-14, 09:18 AM
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I've been through that before....everyone says they want a kit, but when it comes right down to it, nobody will buy a kit. I'll keep it in mind though.
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Old 02-06-14, 10:32 AM
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I hear you.... keep up the great work, I'm curious, are you going to modify the strut towers? to have more camber adjustability?
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Old 02-22-14, 03:41 AM
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I really like this project. I always wanted to put a twin cam motor (was leaning towards a 4age) into my 1300. Before I knew it I had a 12A ep. This time it's definitely getting a BP 1.8.

Helps having a hoist to do an engine conversion hey?
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Old 02-24-14, 02:48 AM
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Nice job, love the fab work!
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