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'87 RX-7 TurboII Build

Old 05-26-09, 03:46 PM
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CA '87 RX-7 TurboII Build

http://www.petting-zoo.net/photos/RX7-2009-05-22/

Some pictures of the car as it sits today. The car was my street car back in Ottawa, and Toronto. Full interior, bolt-in cage, MazdaComp suspension, MazdaComp radiator, Microtech ECU, full 3" exhaust. Daily driver, autocross, track days. Lots of fun.

Moved to California and, of course, nobody is going to let me register the car for the street. That's fine because I wanted to turn it in to a track-only/racecar so I started ripping in to it in the garage. During this I bought a Pro7 car that I ran a few times. The T2 was given to Frey Racing along with an upgraded turbo and a request for a real cage.

The summary about Frey is pretty simple. Over-charged, under-delivered. Frey first closed the shop but kept a retail site, and then I think they went out of business. I sent the car with the mechanic from Frey to his new shop, Lead Foot Automotive. At Frey they had fired up the car (even though I'd asked to be there when it happened) and had it idling fine for up to half an hour they said. All with the new cage, turbo, fuel system, etc.

Car went to Lead Foot where they continued working on it, buttoning it up. Was supposed to be not much left. Sunk more cash in to the car. All of a sudden I get a call that my motor is blown -- I must have had a bad motor in it when I left it with them at Frey. Um, yeah. Remember how they said it was idling fine? Anyway, I sucked it up because I wanted the car back and to get it on track -- paid for a fresh Drummond motor. They never got the new motor started.

The pictures you see above are what came back. Some parts look great, other parts a mess. I'm finding misrouted vacuum lines, bare wires, intake leaks, water temp sensor not connected, disconnected waste gate, grounds not connects, really, really, wrong ignition wires, bolts missing from the motor mounts, etc, etc.

Anyway, it's time to suck it up and either make this car run, or move on to the next project. Anybody know a *good* shop in NorCal that knows their way around RX7s? Preferably fuel injected second gens, or maybe third gens. The car is going to run SCCA ITE and NASA ST1/2 (depending on weight/hp).
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Old 05-27-09, 03:14 PM
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Looks like TC @ www.tcdesignfab.com will take the car and finish it up, then down the street from him to Blacktrax for a dyno tune... cross your fingers for me.
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Old 05-28-09, 10:35 AM
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Good luck.

There are a few good rotary shops around here - Ricks Rotary in Pleasanton and Rotorsports2 in Santa Clara.

TC is a great race prep shop.

Let me know if you ever need a hand with anything. Which Pro7 do you run? I see them whenever I'm at a race.
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Old 05-28-09, 11:19 AM
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Rick's won't touch race cars. Rotosport won't touch race cars.

I sold the Pro7 4 or 5 years ago when we bough the house.

TC actually knows my T2 because he built the cage in it while he was working at Frey. :-)

Thanks!
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Old 08-18-10, 11:42 PM
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Well. Last week I got some good news. Car started on its own, idled, and revved. Today I got some bad news... when the motor warms up it has an internal coolant leak and starts pissing out the exhaust. So the fresh Drummond motor from 2004 that has never seen an inch of street or track is unhappy. And now I'm trying to make arrangements for it to go back to Daryl. I just hope all the hard parts are good and it's a simple water o-ring. The turbo is a 60-1 HiFi P-trim 0.81 A/R and now I'm contemplating whether I should get the motor ported since it's going to have to come apart again -- when we built it in 2004 we did a "stock" rebuild.

Thoughts? Other than, "dude, that sucks." :-)
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Old 08-19-10, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by gkmccready View Post
Well. Last week I got some good news. Car started on its own, idled, and revved. Today I got some bad news... when the motor warms up it has an internal coolant leak and starts pissing out the exhaust. So the fresh Drummond motor from 2004 that has never seen an inch of street or track is unhappy. And now I'm trying to make arrangements for it to go back to Daryl. I just hope all the hard parts are good and it's a simple water o-ring. The turbo is a 60-1 HiFi P-trim 0.81 A/R and now I'm contemplating whether I should get the motor ported since it's going to have to come apart again -- when we built it in 2004 we did a "stock" rebuild.

Thoughts? Other than, "dude, that sucks." :-)


Wow. Dude, that sucks.
Sorry but its the first thing that came to mind before I read your last comment.
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Old 08-19-10, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by gracer7-rx7 View Post
Wow. Dude, that sucks.
Sorry but its the first thing that came to mind before I read your last comment.
Works for me.

This car just hates California. I never had an issue with it back in Canada but all it's done is cost me money since moving here. I haven't driven it at all in over 10 years now but somehow I stupidly keep throwing money at it.

If you check the dates on this post you'll even see that it's been with TC Design for over a year now. Non-running cars that have been this long in coming together just don't make it up the priority list against somebody that has an event this weekend... and now I bet getting any time from Daryl Drummond is going to be tough with it being right before Runoffs, NASA Nats, and the last few Grand-Am events.

I spent all last night going through for-sale ads and thinking about other cars that I would like to build, but even with all this pain and suffering the RX7 still seems like the best bang for the buck. Even thought of just saying screw it and building a Spec Miata (I have a beat up '91 outside). Just can't do it. I want something with some power...
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Old 08-19-10, 12:49 PM
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yeah that really blows, i remember seeing pics when the car was at frey a million years ago...

actually if its any consolation we've got a car like that too, we pulled the 3 rotor out of paul ko's t2, built a 13bt for it, and its been at the fabricators shop getting a turbo manifold and intercooler for like 3-4 years.

i think it got driven last in 2002?

and then my car, the P port 1st gen, i took parts out of the bag building the engine in 2008 that had stickers from 1998... i've got almost 7 trouble free miles on it now though.

we move at a pace that makes glaciers look speedy, and we really don't use outside shops cause they are slower than we are!
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Old 08-30-11, 12:36 PM
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Okay, cage re-done, interior painted, fuel cell re-plumbed, brakes rebuilt (almost), bodywork mostly mounted, finally getting closer again. Still need to sort out the motor (internal coolant leak when warm) once we get all the bits together and ready.

Ended up with AWR bodywork for the entire front; the other fenders weren't lining up well with the couple of AWR pieces I did have...
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Old 09-28-11, 09:57 AM
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Whoa sorry to hear about your luck. I was bummed to read Rotorsport2 won't touch race cars. They did good work on my street FC.

Good luck keep us posted.
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Old 09-28-11, 05:22 PM
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Really...?
It would have been faster/cheaper to just learn how to do what you need to build this car yourself.
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Old 10-03-11, 05:40 PM
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What about these guys. They appear to be both a race shop and a 7 shop.

http://www.shaneracing.com/srabout.html
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Old 10-13-11, 09:27 PM
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http://www.petting-zoo.net/photos/RX7-2011-10-12/ -- almost there. Seat fitting tomorrow, very minor odds and ends left, then off to Mike Haag @ Haag Performance to get the motor looked at and everything tuned.

Motor is a Series IV 13BT built by Darryl Drummond, I've no idea what happened to it to end up with the coolant issue and at this point I don't care. While Haag is fixing it up does anybody think there's anything else worth asking him to do? It's got stock porting right now which I think should be fine unless somebody can convince me otherwise. Not looking for huge, huge power out of the car. It's coming in around 2250# so for NASA ST2 it would need to make in the 250-275rwhp range, and for ST1 it'd be closer to 400rwhp. Turbo is a 60-1 HiFi (P-Trim, 0.81 A/R) and actually sized to make closer to the ST1 side of things.
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Old 10-14-11, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by gkmccready View Post
http://www.petting-zoo.net/photos/RX7-2011-10-12/ -- almost there. Seat fitting tomorrow, very minor odds and ends left, then off to Mike Haag @ Haag Performance to get the motor looked at and everything tuned.

Motor is a Series IV 13BT built by Darryl Drummond, I've no idea what happened to it to end up with the coolant issue and at this point I don't care. While Haag is fixing it up does anybody think there's anything else worth asking him to do? It's got stock porting right now which I think should be fine unless somebody can convince me otherwise. Not looking for huge, huge power out of the car. It's coming in around 2250# so for NASA ST2 it would need to make in the 250-275rwhp range, and for ST1 it'd be closer to 400rwhp. Turbo is a 60-1 HiFi (P-Trim, 0.81 A/R) and actually sized to make closer to the ST1 side of things.
dont port it, you're going to have trouble ONLY making 275!
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Old 10-14-11, 01:38 PM
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Get a good electronic boost controller. Then tune it for a FLAT power curve in the RPM range you will use the car. Make it bleed boost to keep it at your max power for you class at all RPMs.
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Old 10-14-11, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by RockLobster View Post
Get a good electronic boost controller. Then tune it for a FLAT power curve in the RPM range you will use the car. Make it bleed boost to keep it at your max power for you class at all RPMs.
AEM ECU has a built-in boost controller, so we'll see how that plays out. That ECU has a metric buttload of features. And integrates with the AiM MXL Pista dash nicely. I actually got to sit in the car and start it this morning for the first time in about a decade. It fired right up even with whatever is causing the "coolant leak when warm" problem so hopefully that's a simple fix.

There's a light at the end of the tunnel and it doesn't look like a train! Now I need to figure out wheels. The stock 16x7 TurboII wheels rub the spring slightly at the current ride height and static camber setting... AWR EP fenders give lots of room to go outboard (2.5" front and 4" rear?).

Who's running what? I'm thinking Hoosier R6/A6 or maybe their radial slicks... one suggestion I've heard is 285/30r18 all around with the option of a slick in a very similar size...
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Old 10-14-11, 06:15 PM
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Toronto to NorCal eh? You're in a good rotary community. Atkins and Pineapple are helpful to me when I'm down there, just a shot across the state line therefore no taxes. What took you down there? I'd love to be permanent. Not looking forward to the snow!!! Car looks sharp, book a day at Infineon when you get it sorted.
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Old 10-14-11, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by RacerJason View Post
Toronto to NorCal eh? You're in a good rotary community. Atkins and Pineapple are helpful to me when I'm down there, just a shot across the state line therefore no taxes. What took you down there? I'd love to be permanent. Not looking forward to the snow!!! Car looks sharp, book a day at Infineon when you get it sorted.
Ottawa -> Toronto -> NorCal. But been here 10+ years now. Car was my daily driver in Ottawa, even with the CSC Racing cage. Stories about the car are not great until TC Design got it... then the time line is a little slow, but all the stories are positive. I actually got to start the car today for the first time in a decade and it fired right up. I am super excited. Mike Haag used to build the rotaries for Rebello Racing so I have faith there. I also have faith in Darryl Drummond but it's easier to deal locally -- I suspect the shop that shall not be named managed to harm a second motor but we'll see.

Little odds and ends like a rearview mirror left to do. Then the motor. And then I'll be burning up vacation days like crazy for Thunderhill/Laguna/Infineon with this car finally running!

Trying to get the wheels sorted out now...
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Old 10-16-11, 05:01 PM
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http://www.petting-zoo.net/photos/RX7-2011-10-14/

Getting closer! As I said, I actually got to start the car and hear it idle. Right down to the last little bits of work. Then off to Mike Haag to look at the motor, and one of the Rebello guys will tune it for me.

Combination of jgrewe & AWR body work, MMR & AWR & MazdaComp suspension, and lots and lots of fab work, wiring, and cleaning up by TC Design.
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Old 11-18-11, 03:53 PM
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Good news, maybe. Motor guy says the motor isn't leaking water through the O-rings. Maybe I got lucky and when the shop doing all the recent work re-sealed the intake that took care of it... dyno time is being booked as I type... hopefully next week...
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Old 11-20-11, 05:13 AM
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Glad to hear it! It's time you catch a break!
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Old 11-20-11, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Brent Dalton View Post
Glad to hear it! It's time you catch a break!
I hear that! Saw the C6 yesterday... they're replacing the entire diff now. Rear subframe was on the floor... trying to get them to check the torque tube now rather than when they put it all back together...

Saw the RX7 again this morning. Loaded the right configuration in to the AiM dash so when the car is on the dyno they'll have a tach and AFR. Everybody seems happy about the AEM ECU and it integrates very nicely with the AiM.

Dyno in two weeks because everybody else is panicing to get dyno'd for the 25 hours of Thunderhill...
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Old 11-21-11, 04:28 PM
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If the car is gonna run at around 2500lbs or less i would run A6 DOTs. You could run slicks but i think you take a fairly big hit in P:W adjustment for them. The A6 is a CHEATER tire for the ST classes IMO...
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Old 11-21-11, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by RockLobster View Post
If the car is gonna run at around 2500lbs or less i would run A6 DOTs. You could run slicks but i think you take a fairly big hit in P:W adjustment for them. The A6 is a CHEATER tire for the ST classes IMO...
Thoughts on sizing if we're talking <2500# and aiming for 400rwhp? Won't get dyno numbers until next week at the earliest. I'm still trying to sort out wheels, too, but 275/35r15 on 15x10s is feeling like a happy place...
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Old 11-21-11, 05:01 PM
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I know its pretty hard to oversize an A6 as it does not take much heat to bring them up to temp. But i have not played in that realm of P:W much myself. I would defer to Damian or others, maybe even the auto-X guys...
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