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ITS Drivers: Tell me things I should look for when buying a used ITS RX7

Old 07-27-07, 01:31 PM
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ITS Drivers: Tell me things I should look for when buying a used ITS RX7

Like the title says I'm looking at buying a used ITS RX7. My plans aren't to campaign it but rather have it become my dedicated HPDE car (doing the math it sure seems cheaper to buy someone's used rather than put my own roll cage and safety equipment in it). I'm really interested to know what the lifespan of the motors are in this class and any bugaboos about the cars I should look out for. Any information would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 07-27-07, 02:06 PM
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You got the cheaper to buy than build right. Not all ITS cars are equal, not even close. They could have been built for a few thousand to $30K+. With that being said, what to look for is relative to what you are going to spend. You are going to trailer it to the track, right? HPDE with NASA?
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Old 07-27-07, 02:28 PM
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HPDE's out at MSRC. I typically run with Apex since I know one of the owners but I probably will be branching out and running with other groups out there as well. Once i get some more seat time I'll start running the other local tracks but MSRC is nice at the moment since there are limited places to ball up the car. I can trailer the car to the track although I'd love to investigate the possibility of actually driving the car to the track and changing tires/brakes upon arrival but I suspect that isn't possible.
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Old 07-27-07, 02:41 PM
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I've ran with Apex at MSRC, that's what got me into this when I took my street car out. I've also ran my ITS car with Apex, didn't like it so much - too fast compared to the other cars, was constantly coming up on them and had to wait for the waive by. I run as a guest of a buddy or on a shops membership until I decide to join that or Eagles Canyon. I'm not sure who else besides NASA you'd run with out there but if there's options let me know. Consider running NASA HPDE, I think you'd enjoy that more, get different tracks and better bang for the buck. Find the ITS car and then ask opinions of it, I think everyone would telll you what they thought of it. You can probably get an inexpensive one for around $8k and well equipped for $15k. Watch IT forums, a good one is going to go quick. I think you'll need to keep the search nationwide and not just local.
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Old 07-27-07, 03:01 PM
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Yours is a common complaint against Apex. Which is why in September after the August break Apex will be running three student drive groups instead of two and an instructor drive group. I'll definitely consider running HPDE with NASA once I get a bit more seat time and comfortable with whatever car I end up purchasing. Thanks for the info.
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Old 07-27-07, 04:38 PM
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Well back to the topic, let's see. Just pulling a few thoughts together on the topic

- Recent annual (i.e. this year) for whatever sanctioning body you plan to run.
- Make sure the log book comes with the car and the roll cage S/N matches the log book.
- Body work in good shape. You can't expect perfection, some panels are going to be rubbed or wrinkled.
- Safety equipment is current and has some life left before expiration dates. Check the mounting points, decide if you like the way they're setup, if not are you willing to do the work to change them. Some HPDE groups require race prepped cars to meet race standards, YMMV.
- Do you fit in the seat? Can you reach the controls easily. If not can you adjust the car yourself or will you need a fabricator to help you?
- Will the seat back brace hold up in an accident or is it flimsy?
- What kind of roll cage is it? Does it mount to the very thin floor or did the person installing the cage mount it to the subframe. Inspect the welds with your fingers, look for gaps. NASCAR style bars are nice to have on the drivers side. Can you get in and out of the car somewhat easily?
- Is the steering wheel removable? If not can you get into the car? You can add this later if necessary.
- Can you reach the fire extinguisher in the car easily?
- Is there a fuel cell? If so is it boxed in with steel tubing or just half assed in the car? If there is a cell, find out if you have a fuel pump kill switch and if there's a surge tank to prevent fuel cut off in hard corners.

- Engine bay is clean. excess holes the in the firewall are sealed somehow.
- Expect the car to be hard to idle if they've removed all the smog equipment, but it should idle fine when warmed up.
- Brake fluid should NOT be black
- Is there appropriate overflow tanks for coolant?
- Look over the car's coolant system, ask if it's up to racing or not. Find out what temps the driver usually sees during a race.
- Look for smoke. You may have an engine rebuild coming.
- Ask when the clutch and hydraulics were last replaced.
- Make sure the oil lines to the cooler have been replaced, preferably with braided line.

- Check wheel bearings, push up against the top of each wheel, should feel solid, no play or clicking.
- Make sure you've got the bigger 4 pot brakes up front (5 lug does not mean 4 pot in all cases)
- find out when the suspension bushings were replaced and what they were replaced with.
- find out what shocks and springs are used and the age they have. Expect these to need replacement fairly soon in any case but it's good to have a baseline.
- find out what alignment settings were used at your track.
- if your local track has sound restrictions find out if this car will meet them
- If they have spare wheels grab em, but expect to replace rubber.

That's my first cut, if I think of anything else I'll let you know.
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Old 07-27-07, 09:41 PM
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Like everyone else has said, not all ITS RX7's are created equal. A few more things to look for.
* Check the front frame rails between the sway bar mount that the core support. That is where the front chassis bends if it has been hit up front. A mild hit may not be a reason to avoid a car, but multiple hits, or improper repairs could be.
*What differential is in the car? A 5.12 diff with a modified torsen is around $2500-2800. A stock 86 4.10 with the stock ltd slip is probably a $500 piece. There is a huge performance difference also
*Transmissions...You WILL need a spare. The best set up is a fresh 5 spd with the .757 5th gear from a GTU's. There again, a junkyard spare is a couple hundred bucks. A fresh .757 box is probably $1000 or more(guess, because I haven't bought one in a while)
*check the engine compression, and make sure the cooling system(both oil and water) is up to par. Stock won't cut it. There are a few different ways to solve the cooling issues, but make sure they are solved. If not, be prepared to rebuild an engine. If it gets too hot, that is what they will need.

All that aside, once they are sorted, there isn't a better race car out there. I have basically no trouble out of my car. Usually just routine maintenance and go racing. I used to have a different brand ITA car which wasn't so easy. Exhaust valve springs, retainers and lock every 5 hours. Rod bearings every 15 hours, etc. I worked on it more than I raced. You just don't want someone else's headache. Watch the car run at the track, or maybe rent it for a weekend before buying. More racecar seller seem to be open for the idea of applying a rental fee toward purchase. It is a smart option when buying an unknown racecar.

Like mentioned earlier, you might find an $8000 RX7, or a $25000 RX7. Each of these probably is half what the builder/original purchaser put into it. There are some substantial difference between an $8k car and $25k car. If you find one you are interested in, feel free to drop me a pm..I'll be happy to help see if it is what you need.
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