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(was) Yoeddynz's 1968 Viva + Mazda V6. New owner ! Welcome Guzzi rat.


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Edit; It seems to be that many images I had hosted by Imageshack are missing. I have tried to retrieve them back but they are gone gone.. curse word. Plus Imageshack now want monies to host photos.  :-( Then Photofuckit decided that after years of free hosting service it will start charging $400. So please excuse the missing photos as I slowly swap in replacements :-) 

Hello! I have owned this little Viva for a while but only finally got around to actually working on it. I have finally started getting a proper move on with it in the last month or so. Getting excited about having it ready for summer shows.  





Last year while still living in England I bought an old rusty Rx7 from a friend who owns the oldest Mazda dealership in the UK. It was a rare Elford Turbo series 2 rx7.

The Elford Turbo was a Mazda approved conversions by a dealership in Bournemouth. It only runs at 5psi- enough though to add 40 ponies and a load more torque.                           

Which is nice. :)

The Rx7 behind our faithful old BMW 525tds wagon, the rust, the engine...






Here is some info on it... not a lot out there really.


http://books.google.co.nz/books?id=UDHl8kXiaccC&pg=PA59&lpg=PA59&dq=elford+turbo&source=bl&ots=QcnD4WApUs&sig=FgrchpIzSVOqfgOqTtjaP1GsDDM&hl=en&ei=KlDES9HbK47AMtWs5K4O&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAUQ6AEwADgU#v=onepage&q=elford turbo&f=false

He had rebuilt the engine fully using all new parts (handy when you own a dealership eh) a few years back but the body work had become tired so I got the car at a very nice price. Engine is barely run in. By the time I had sold loads of other bits and pieces from the rx7 (koni shocks, springs, interior bits) I made back enough money that all the parts I needed only cost me £50!!! £50 for a rebuilt engine...I was very happy.  So all the parts went in a container back to NZ. I had also got some spax shocks before leaving- spax were just 5 miles up the road from where I lived so it was rude not to.

My Viva started off as a standard deluxe with the little 1100 engine. This just had to go.


It was burning a lot of oil (about a pint every 100 miles) and was no fun at all. I then fitted a 1660 ford xflo from an escort. I rebuilt it with a sport cam, brand new weber32/36, brand new 'Bestek' electronic ignition setup.

Ford engine going in...


Engine mounts lined up nicely..





 It ran very well indeed but still felt a tad agricultural compared to the rotary engines I had become used to. While I was fitting the xflo and the engine bay was empty I slung a rotary in there just for a look. I knew as soon as I slung the 12A into the bay that a rotary would be a nice conversion. The gearbox mount sat bang in the middle of the original g/box support and there seemed plenty enough room in the bay for exhaust building etc. Good clearance around the tunnel.




So after a while of driving around with the xflo I decided to crack on with the conversion to rotary. I sold the ford engine to a fella with an escort looking for an engine. Got really good money for it too! He came round and after seeing the engine run helped me pull it out...



I bought some goodies from a fellow Vauxhall nutter here in NZ including an 1800 axle, big 3.3 Vauxhall Ventora front discs on modified lower arms, a brake servo.

I got these seats as I just couldn't get along with the originals. I don't really like the idea of losing my neck from someone rear ending me. It does and probably will happen so head rests are a must for me. So out with these old seats...


Then in with these Momo seats. They are out of an Alfa GTV and match almost perfectly!- I'm really happy because its not often I see modern seats with the 'fluted?' style of cover to match the rear seat. Colour match is almost spot on too!


I have now removed the seats and my original mounts as I will have to redo the mountings for when it comes to being certified.

I have also had to deal with some rust. Just a bit on one arch. I cut it out and welded fresh steel in. As always it turned out to be worse than I first thought so I'm glad I've done it now!!! Its all painted now. There is one little bit on the offside wing, a little bubble, that I am going to leave. I'll paint behind it with epoxy paint and see how long it takes before the skin breaks. I don't want to touch it now because I'll never get a decent match on the paint for that area. I shall treat it as a little experiment as interested to see how long it stays confined/encapsulated by the paint.







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So about 3 months ago I did this...


No going back now- I dropped the front crossmember out...nice and easy on a Viva- 2 bolts, 2 nuts and steering coupling. Once off and on the floor I drilled out the spot welds holding the engine mount brackets. Off they came and now its all set to properly drop the rotary in place and see if the turbo fits... 8)



The turbo setup will fit BUT... no way can I fit standard brake servo etc. I would have to go remote servo.

The steering column doesn't need moving which is nice. The rubber coupling just fouls the manifold and would not last long- so a metal joint here would sort that...


The sump needs some chopping about the steering column on one side.

There is enough room for the mazda clutch master with turbo in place- just ;D

The SU carb on turbo setup just touches the battery tray so the tray would go and battery in boot.

And once I shorten gearstick remote the gearstick will pop out in a nice handy place.... I'm gonna take the top off the tunnel anyway to give a touch more clearance on box.


The bottom arms didn't have sway bar mounts on them- well they do now. The same guy has lent me some spares to copy so I cut some 3mm steel to shape and bent in the vice- hey presto- factory mounts.


Welded them in and now all they need is a wire brush with a lick of paint.


One day when I have a lot of money I would love to get some lightweight calipers. I could machine my own hubs if I had a lathe (one day) and then have a nice light brake set up because these ones are very heavy.

Oh- and i have some new wheels. These ones are 13" off a vauxhall victor. They still not wide enough but that will get sorted one day. I reckon they look wicked with the 185/60 toyos (not so stretched...) fitted( cheer Chris) They came with quite nice flat faced s/s hubcaps but i was well happy to discover the shiny chrome dome caps off my 12" snap in place perfect.


The car is still looking old man style but for the seats 8) it is getting dropped too! :) That's what I want. To be almost completely original on outside at first glance. I will have a really quiet exhaust too.

Marked the sump for some cutting where it sits next to the steering rack/column junction. It possibly wont touch but I'd rather not risk it. I'll also remove the oil level warning gubbins and add a baffle.

Then removed the engine/box so i can cut the top of tunnel off- it only needs to be about an inch higher. Luckily the tunnel is really easy to get too as there is no heater in the way on Vivas, the heater being mounted up on the firewall in the bay.

We took out the front suspension and little discs etc.

Hannah found some rust behind the bumper mount so I cut it out...


There were two skins leading to a water trap. I cut one thick piece of steel to replace it with. nuts welded on back..

Its been really good to be finally working on a classic again. After doing the engine swap in the hiace this is so easy to work on!!!

A friend told me that there a load of guys in town planning to all have the their project cars on the road for around christmas and do some runs. Plus lots of shows to go in 2011.

Next the axle. I had got my hands on a nice strong 1800 magnum jobbie. With big drums. Gave it a good scrub in the evening sun. Painted black now and sitting under the vivas bum where it should be. I also scored a pair of shorter springs- this is a bonus as Viva's have funny shaped coils that you cant just chop down. So now my Viva sits about 2" lower :D I think they are stiffer too- certainly were way less rusty!

I have cut the tunnel top off. Luckily it only needed the very top whipped off. With gearbox lifted, sump sitting on some thin blocks of wood on the viva cross member a spirit level sat on top of Nikki carb manifold is almost level.

While engine was sat in place I marked the sump where it was touch the steering rack. Off with the sump and I chopped out a notch then welded in new steel. Back on and it fits perfectly.


I then bought some steel from my old work and started on the engine crossmember. I was all set to have to make a breast plate too.( This is engine mount thing mounted to the front cover that sit on top of the engine mounts) I was positive that I had brought one over from the UK with me but I looked and looked and just couldn't find it! But just as I was about to start making one whilst searching for something else I found it sitting in a box right at the back under the bench! I was so happy to find it as it would have been a pain to make.

I started off by drilling two holes a side through each chassis rail. I used a bigger bit on the inside face and welded in some tube so the rails wont crush when the bolts are done up tight.



Then I hung 80 x 6mm plate down from each side and lined up a length of 50 x 25 x 3mm rhs between them. Nice hefty welds and some reinforcing plates on each side to stop sideways movement. The N/S reinforcing plate has a hole through it for the oil cooler pipes.

The cross member has to drop quite far as the viva has quite high chassis rails. Once it was all bolted up it is nice and strong- if slightly over built.

The gearbox was easy- just some 35 mm box section bolted in between the mazda g/box mount and the Viva g/box support. Simple. It was great to step back and see the lot sitting there on its own mounts! Out with the engine again- which is very easy to hoist in and out.


Next job was the clutch master cylinder placement and modifications to the pedal box. As the Viva is originally a cable operated clutch I had to do a redesign of the whole lot. I started by chopping off the clutch pedal from the viva pedal box and fitting in its place a RX7 clutch pedal - with its fulcrum mounted higher up. I made an adjustable stop for it too so I can set the pedal heights.

Then I filled in all the various holes on the firewall that were not to be used and made an extra big hole for the new rx7 master cylinder I had bought to go through. This was the longest part of the mods as my smallest hole saw was broken and I wasn't about to buy a new one for just one job.


To fill in the smaller 5/16 bolts holes I cut little thin discs off a long bolt and held them in place with a magnet so they sat flush before tacking in place. Beats my old way of just filling in the hole from the edge with tonnes of weld!

Bolts are welded onto the back and protrude through the firewall. The master cylinder mounting holes were threaded- I drilled them out and it now slides in place onto the studs easily.

I chopped the bottom off the Viva brake pedal and the bottom rx7 pedal fitted in place perfect for good strong welds. Now both pedals match. I set them both a bit lower too as I always found the Viva pedals to high off the floor. I will use an HC accelerator pedal assembly as its all one unit that bolts to the floor and is bottom hinged which I prefer.

The clutch pedal works perfect so I am well happy with it.

On friday I removed the battery tray. It looked at first like it was hiding rust but luckily after a good wire brush session it was deemed solid. I welded up a load of old screw holes and cut off any tabs or bits I didn't need then ground the lot smooth.

I also cut out the stamped profile on the front valance for extra cooling that the GTs have. This will be needed as standard airflow is not great at all. It was an easy neat job to do with my jigsaw. I will put some mesh behind it to stop stones etc.

I shortened the gearbox remote. I'm sure many of you know how to do this but for those who don't then this might be useful..

First undo the 4 bolts holding cover plate on remote then undo the bolt holding the hub thing for the gearstick ball end thing- GSBE- ( techy terms I know).

Then undo the 4 bolts holding the remote in place. There are two pins locating it so it has to be lifted up with large persuasive flat blade screwdrivers. Then hammer it off backwards. The GSBE will come off shaft with it. Remove the pins - they wont be needed and wont line up anyway once remote is shortened.


Mark on shaft a centre 103mm forwards of existing hole. Set up and drill 5mm hole- taking much care to keep it lined up straight with the existing hole. If its out it makes getting reverse a pig.



Then drill halfway in with 6mm. then tap hole M6 x 1

Now cut off remaining shaft. Also cut down remote housing and shorten shaft tube by 103mm. Make a new seal at one end with electrical tape wrapped round it till its a tight fit.

Reassemble and hey presto- a gear stick 100 mm further forwards- which pops it up nicely to hand in chevettes, vivas plus older 4speed rotary mazdas.

I then spent some time out in the afternoon sun cleaning up the outside and giving it a quick polish - i can think of worse things to do with a beer in hand...


I followed this with a bit of sanding of in the engine bay.  I put one coat of paint on but ran out- I got more colour matched paint in a can from Resene- they sent away my empty can to the nelson branch who do matched paint for $27 a can.


Then I tidied up the engine some more- ground down any casting marks in the iron plates- not so much for look but because the paint will go on better/smoother. Whatever colour I  choose it won't be sprayed on this time - I will brush paint it on in enamel as it will stick better. I was forever touching up flakey paint on the chevette and rx3 engine plates. Time will tell as to how long it lasts.


I checked the sump mods for any leaks- one tiny one which weeped out after over an hour of sump sitting full of water. welded it up and checked again- seems ok now..


I have also decided to paint in behind grill black.


I want to make my own grill later on and with black behind it should look better. It will also be easier to keep looking tidy. Looks cool so far- do cars really need lights? 8)

I have also made a bolt on drain into sump for the turbo oil outlet. I don't want to be taking sump off again later on if I decide to run a carb in the future. It bolts through sump wall into a captive ring with m5 nuts welded to it. I can remove it and have made a plate to bolt in place if I do. I will make a canister to weld onto pipe into sump- the canister will sit above oil line for turbo drain to run into.

I made sure that the drain into sump is same size and no smaller then pipe off bottom of turbo. I don't want a smoky turbo.

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I built a new turbo manifold ;D Very happy with it as its solid and turbo is in a great position.

Firstly I had to work out roughly how to piece it together in the space I had...


It was a mission as to start with I had to make the flanges myself out of 10mm plate. This is a budget build, because I have no money to spare, so I couldn't just buy them. Anyway the rear flange for the down pipe is unusual or so my local exhaust bloke said. But I have time so while Hannah is out working I'll play.. I mean work..on the Viva. :D I was lucky to have bought a cheap $15 rx7 exhaust manifold from a bloke in chch which I robbed the main exhaust flange from.

So with my trusty $60 pillar drill and new blades in my hacksaw I set to work. How else could I easily put a big hole through 10mm plate without a lathe or gas set....



Due to positioning constraints in an RX7 the cast iron Elford manifold is flawed where the WG is mounted at one end in the wrong direction to the flow and the runners are uneven.  I wanted this one to be even so the pulses hit the turbo evenly. Plus I wanted to mount the waste gate in the middle near the turbo. I discovered I would be able to continue to use the Elford made WG but I left the design open for possible future upgrades to the more common (but out of budget at this point) 38mm Tial style WG's.

Once flanges were made I made a little jig to hold the turbo where I wanted it.


I used 3mm thick pipe and 3mm plate to build between the flanges, with 5mm plate for where the WG would mount. I will still space the WG away with a spacer to stop as much heat soak- if it matters.

Then I slowly pieced it together. My poor little welder was having a hard time - its a bit moody almost as if the power supply is irregular. It didn't like all the tick plate- too much heat sap and it has a crap duty cycle so it was a long process. 1 min on and 10 off...


Finished with some high temp paint (how long will that last?...)  

Then I discovered a small crack on the WG plate, I wondered how far it went through so I did what most would do and hit it with a hammer. It went almost all the way through so that was a another plate to make.


Elford had fitted a drain for any fuel that collects in the bottom of the turbo scroll. I couldn't believe my luck when I discovered I already had the appropriate 1/8th bsp tap for tapping its new location. I also cleaned up the inlet manifold- it had unneeded castings on it for RX7 fitment so these came off. Then a good wire brushing with a wire wheel on the drill cleaned it up nicely.


Its all in place. Luckily the Elford WG pipe will work too- it should meet up nicely with the down pipe out the back of turbo. I need to find or make a 90 outlet for the servo as the turbo heat shield is just in the way.

I tacked this together this on xmas eve. Cheap welders bends. Will last an aeon..


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I forgot to add that in order to replace a leaking core/frost plug I needed to get the flywheel nut off and back on. I needed a huge socket and a long bar. I calculated my weight on the appropriate length bar to get the torque..which is simply 'bloody tight'.. cant quite remember now but around 300-350lb ft

Sockets are expensive. I'll make one to suit..


Long bar in action... (minus Hannah who was standing on the block..but had to take photo because cats paws are not big enough to reach buttons)


Turbo is all in place now. I built a little drain away for turbo oil drain into sump. I have repositioned the bottom rad outlet 15 degrees round which was an easy solder job. I mounted the oil cooler onto new brackets I welded to the bottom of the rad- the old ones had broken bolts. The rx7 cooler hoses were almost perfect- I have had one lengthened by 30mm.

I went through my collection of old rad hoses and found some that work perfect. Modified the servo hose inlet so it now sits at 90 degrees.

I might start on the new seat mountings tomorrow

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On Tuesday I thought Id better get cracking with the brakes. First job though once front wheels were off was to swap the bottom suspension arms over. I had made my own brackets for a sway bar - copied some others lent to me. But I fitted the arms back on the wrong side as I thought HBs had the sway bar coming from the front :rolleyes: . So I swapped them across.

Then started making new lines through out which I always find to be a very satisfying job. Its the first time I have used steel for brake lines and it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. On Wednesday morning I tidied up the rear drums and shoes- it looks like the rear axle had been very recently fitted with brand new shoes and wheel cylinders too :D.

Then I finally killed my cheap as silverline branded £10 flaring kit -its done lots of cars and our old bedford truck so was just worn out and had to buy a new kit from Supercheap- much better flares.

I built new handbrake cables all round as the new Magnum axle is a different layout. Luckily my old viva clutch cables were ideal for the job. I built new nipples on the end by very carefully building up welds on the cable and then grinding them down round. Quite satisfying.

Dave (Avengertiger) came over today to help with Viva and get his classic car fix. Cheers man- was wicked and glad to get on the way with remounting the seats! Oh and tempting me and Hannah into wanting a cheap mx5. Such fun.

We bled the brakes- and once done a rear union into slave was leaking. I just couldn't get a spanner on to it anymore as it was recessed in so I took brake line off, cut a slot out of a nut, slipped over the brake line and welded it to the brake fitting. Hey presto - extended reach fitting! :D done up tight and leak be gone. Brakes feel good but wont know till I drive it. Might be a touch soft due to the big 3.3 Victor calipers but they will work well. I could always get the master bored out in the future to the same size as the Victor one.

In the afternoon Dave and I started on new seat mounts following the rules as per the cert standards. 3mm plate that we were having to carefully shape to suit the contours of the floor..


Cant wait till seats are back in place. I will soldier on with that job tomorrow.

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Seats are all done now. As I had the front holes in the right place i just made a jig out of wood and located the rear positions. I then built up little turrets in 3mm steel welded to the plates on the floor, which bolt in place.


We both got under the car with it up on stands and gave it a good chisle and brush. The underseal comes of pretty easy as its gone quite brittle. Luckily the floor is really solid! Still has the red primer in most places. I epoxy mastic 'cated?' the underside of the floor let that set over night as well as painting the brackets with it too. Very snazzy. Seats were bolted in place- so nice. No photos as yet of finished job.. I'm waiting for the right light...

The next day I towed Hannah in the viva behind our '84 1.3 racing sunny. We went to local exhaust guy who did a wicked job of piecing together a nice system out of pipe work and spare mufflers I had. I hate climbing in and out from under car on axle stands welding exhausts together with no proper bends. Glad to get someone else to do it. Put exhaust wrap on the down pipe as its close to the servo. Plus a M18 x 1.5 nut on down pipe so I can fit a lambda sensor.

While he built the exhaust from the front Hannah and I made the most of it being up on a ramp and with tools we took along scraped away as much underseal as we could- mainly at the back where it was thin. Some light surface rust on one side near spare wheel well but otherwise fine. I will epoxy mastic it all. leaving the rest of the underseal down the tunnel for now as its solid and intact. I think I might get it sand blasted later on.


Today whilst also sorting out the dud alternator I had bought I took the tank out, tipped 20 odd litres of petrol into sunny, scraped all the underseal off, discovered some mild pitting that I'm glad I found now.

I filled the tank with water to the top and drilled a new hole. With tank then tuned on its end, hole uppermost and hannah holding it and filled it up till water came out of new hole. welding away...how do I describe it...booossshhhhh. Ther was till some vapours in there , like sod all but it shot through the pipe and weld leaving a 4mm hole. THis blew my arm which was across the tank up and over me. crikey! That put the jitter up both of us- turned me into the most paranoid welder. I just could believe the affect of such a small amount of vapour!!! It would have been no more than half a litre?

Ive now soldered in a new outlet pipe. 3/8. Now my new pump wont be sucking through a straw.


Noticed that it doesn't have a breather on tank- do vivas breath through the cap? What about HC vivas?

Also today picked up 6 meters of good quality cable for my boot mounted battery. Scrap man bargain- $20 woohoo!

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I started on all the wiring today. I have some great ideas about keeping it safe if the boost gets too high. I want to keep it all as neat as possible and easy to work on.

Today was 29 degrees and such lovely sunshine to drink coffee and play with wires in.

I had a little helper but he soon grew tired of the haynes manual wiring diagram and gave up...


Fortunately Vivas are about as simple as it gets for wiring.

I have stripped the loom right back and started again. I want to have a big fat supply to the coils- the standard mazda supply wire is bigger than the Vivas main loom feed!!! So I shall employ a relay activated by the ignition which will then feed the coils straight off the battery lead- I want big fat juicy sparks!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Got my widened steels dropped off today.

Shane a fellow HB nutter in Chch dropped them off on his way through from Vivaspeeds. Cheers Geoff.

Quite happy- got them sandblasted and it was the best money spent. I could never have got them this clean and rust free. I have to tidy up some bits on them then paint time! Photos soon.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Pretty much done all the wiring now. I have begun the 'list'. I'm sure many of you know what I mean. As I get close to finishing a car I start faffing from one small job to the next and always end up never finishing them for reasons like not having the bits needed etc. So I always end up making a list of remaining jobs to do and parts to get. The list is not too long- in fact the main thing stopping me from starting engine would be lack of air filter/ battery to be fitted in boot and no oils etc in engine/box yet.

I'm struggling to find a pod filter that will fit- I know there will be one out there but I dont/cant pay big K&N sort of money.

I have ordered a fuel pressure gauge so I can set up regulator. The Su carb will only need 3psi. I dont want constant flooding.

This morning I spent several hours filing the sharp edges from my widened steels, filling any big dents/marks and sanding them. They now have several coats of filler primer and on thursday I will paint them. Cant wait to fit em!!!

This evening I fitted an HC viva 'organ type' throttle pedal assembly. I then discovered that the cable pull from it wasn't enough to fully open carb so I have chopped and welded up a new shortened cable pull thiingee on the carb...


I now get full throttle. The HC pedal feels nice- much better than the top hinged annoying standard HB one.

I need to mount the new carter pump, filter, malpassi regulator, mount battery box and fill engine with oil. then maybe it'll be start up time ;D

But away for some more hiking in the mountains over next two days

so it will have to wait till thursday...

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  • 2 weeks later...

So today was the big day. My fuel pressure gauge arrived yesterday and I spent last night making a nice wee mount for it. This morning I finished off the fuel lines and mounted the fuel regulator. I also bought some more brake line and made pipe work to my nice new flexy clutch line from mazda- cheap at $20. I went and bought some of BPs finest, mixed in some 2 stroke oil. But that in the tank, checked fuel pump. All good. It was now about 2 in the afternoon. Thought Id better fill engine with some coolant...and then this happened....

(I cant find the photo I took so just picture lots of coolant coming out from the oil filler tube)

I'm pretty sure oil isn't meant to come out of the oil fill tube when filling radiator up with water. :(:?...

I wasn't as pissed off as most would normally be as I already knew when I bought the Rx7 this engine came in that it had popped the rear frost plug after a cold Welsh winter. But I had been hoping that was all that had happened. I called Hannah over and we drained all the fluids in a mad rush before they mixed too much- by this time the sump was full of coolant!

Then I stood there - pissed off and just not at all sure what to do- I really wasn't liking the prospect of spending even more time on this car when I should be finishing the housetruck. I suggested selling the car- really did! But Hannah stepped in and said that would be silly after all this work and that she was excited about it being on the road. Should I leave it for a year or tow till we get back from down south? Nup, it would only fester. So we both set to work removing the engine.

I'm really hoping its just the water seals between housings and plates. But I fear worse- the water mixed so quickly that I reckon some of the castings may be frost damaged :( The engine came out quickly and easily at least. And it was cool that the wiring is now so sorted that it was like working on a factory fitted engine :D Its now on the work bench less the sump and flywheel.

I'll strip it in the morning and see what the damage is. Then I'll work out what I do. This will be the first Rotary I have stripped so its all new to me. I have always been lucky with my engines and never had any problems till now. I just hope its not bad damage.

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I'm not sure on this but after looking carefully through the Haynes RX7 manual I cant find any reference to these two bits....


I think the centre plate is f--ked. :(

I filled it with water this morning and it intoxicated out through the bottom on each side of the centre plate. So after a quick tidy of the workshop bench I started the strip down. I made a little table to sit the engine on and then carefully unstacked the sandwich.


Odd that it only has 17 through bolts. Not 18 as per the haynes rx7 manual or 19 as my old Mazda workshop manuals for rx2/rx3 show? I've been told it has RX4 housings so I guess the whole engine is Rx4 as ya couldn't mix housings and plates with a different amount of through bolts eh...

Hannah helped strip the engine as it was new to both of us. We found  pretty sludgy waterways. The outer water seals were really long- too long to fit back into grooves as if they had been stretched?

The ports have been tickled with a grinder - just a clean up I think. The housings looked good but I later found some deep scores on one housing right near the exhaust port as if something got stuck in there like a nut ?! So that housing is scrap which is a bloody shame as the chrome is really good and chatter marks seem minimal.

Once is was all stripped down we both set to work cleaning the sludge out to look for damage.

First up the front plate then rear plate. Centre plate. Bingo! - when I was rinsing the petrol/scum off the water going into waterways was coming out the bottom oil ways. There was a big hole and two lovely bits of casting sitting on top barely dislodged.

The centre plate also had a defined depression on one face about the size of a 50p piece as if a corner seal has been gouging it.

Sadly, thanks to image shack most of my photos are gone. I thought Id backed them up but nah.. missing :-(

So I'm now going to have to find a centre plate and one housing. The rotors are good and side seals, corner seals, springs, bearings, eccentric shaft etc are all ok. Tips are new. oil pump is good.

Its all cleaned, oiled up and packed away now as I cant afford to just go out and buy an engine. Maybe something will turn up - I'll just keep asking anyone I can think of who is into rotaries and see if they can help for parts. I'm a bit worried that I'll struggle to find the right housing and plate to suit 17 through bolts?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well I now have a centre plate. The fella from Hamilton who sold it me delivered on his way through south. It has mint surfaces but is a 6 port 12A plate and has tiny ports/runners. I may well take them out a bit more. Not sure yet

Anyway-once housing arrives it'll be rebuild time.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have now got a replacement housing and centre plate.  The fella I got the plate from had scribed mild ports into some engineers blue using a proper stencil for me to follow and I had a go at my first port grinding :-)

Here is a standard port on one side of the replacement centre plate...


It was much less of a drama than I thought it might be. For starters it was just a extension and smooth out job- not a big bridge or anything. It was quite fun actually! I made sure I didn't get carried away and I didn't take the runners out due to the lack of longer die grinding bits so I smoothed out the top going up to the mark then smoothed the transition from the bottom of runners to port. The standard ports had some quite sharp edges and some quite big steps. At least they are now a closer match to the front and rear ports.

Finished port...


There is some corrosion around where the inner water seals presses against the surfaces.


 After grinding I gave the plate a really good clean and also ground the casting marks off the outside for a nicer appearance once painted. Then I carefully painted some Dinitrol rust convertor into the corrosion marks.

I'll leave that overnight and then I'm thinking of putting metal bonding epoxy into the pitting so I can sand it down smooth and then there wont be any pitting under water seal. The pitting appears to be on each side of where the seals sit- not directly under except maybe in one small area.

On Monday I will order a full water seal kit from Mazda and begin my first build. Quite enjoying it- I was dreading all the cleaning of the parts but the engine is actually already very clean because it had only done a few miles since its last rebuild. But I'll go over everything,  clean it all carefully then piece it all back together.

I have recently bought another oil pump with the 17mm deep rotors as this engine had the very early 12mm deep ones. This will give me more oil flow plus I'll shim the oil pressure regs to bump up pressure too.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Today it rained hard so I spent some time in the truck cleaning the rotors and checking all the clearances...


The side seal to corner seal clearance is meant to be be between .002" to .006" but one several I have maybe .002"/.003" more. I have played musical side seals and swapped them all about to try and get them best I can but with out going out and spending money on new seals (not an option as my money tree as died long ago) I am going to just have to deal with it.

The way I figure this engine was a runner before it got frost bite and had it not had a broken casting necessitating a strip down I would not have known about any little issues like .003 extra clearance...Fuck I bet there are loads of rotas out there plugging away with all sorts of massive amounts of clearances that Mr Mazda man in Japan wouldn't be happy with....

So I gave up worrying and did something far more important. I polished the housings up... 8)


While I did this Hannah sat near the woodstove and built me a new wheel for my crossbike - she had a little helper. We have pinched one of mums kittens to keep us company..


I then gave the seal grooves a nice clean out and anywhere else that needed it like all the scum that had sat in the bottom waterways. I will give the front and rear plates a quick clean and tomorrow I will hopefully begin the buildup. I have some new seals from Mazda (fucking rip off artists) and will drink many a cup of coffee. :D

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Engine is all built now. Hannah helped me with it and we built it yesterday afternoon- I bought some Hylomar universal blue jointing compound for the plate to housing faces as it doesn't set hard and allowed us to take time.

Hannah getting sticky fingers....


This is the first rotary build I have done. It went well and was quite fun/satisfying :) The best bit I think was tightening the through bolts up and seeing the 0.75mm gaps between the plates and housings where the water seal O rings were holding them apart close up for a nice tight seal (hopefully...)

It was tricky getting the middle plate in place- Hannah had to pull the eccentric shaft up 1" while I moved the plate into position. Looking back now I think it would be much easier just to have put a block of wood on table under shaft to lift it the required height but hey- thats learning eh!


The worst bit was the bloody woodruff key for the oil pump- I kept getting pushed out as I tried to slip both pulleys on at same time with chain attached. Speaking of oil pumps- I had bought a later oil pump from a 12a turbo engine- it has 17mm wide rotors in it rather than the 12mm wide ones my engine had. I stripped both down for a quick looksie and my old ones show scoring from sucking up some crap in the sump- I would have thought the oil would go through the filter first..Nup. So I made sure the sump and underside of block was well clean inside before finally mounting sump in place.


I also modified both oil pressure regulators- the front one I added an 1/8th" shim under spring and the rear one I took to a friends garage, used his press and squashed the top down. Both these mods will give 80-90 psi rather than the stock 60ish. So with my high flow pump and upped pressure the engine should be a bit safer for its increased power output.

Front regulator...


Rear Regulator...


For the oil pump to front cover feed I fitted a .5mm thicker O ring then the standard Mazda item because the Mazda supplied one only just sits proud of the gasket. I have read of problems here where the oil pressure can force past the O ring and so dropping overall pressure. Some people fit the cover with out the gasket to squash the O ring more but I don't think there is enough of a step in the casting to hold the o ring in place under high pressure where as with the gasket fitted and surrounding the o ring it cant go anywhere.


Tonight I gave the new centre plate a matching coat of colour ad went over the whole thing touching up where the paint had chipped while it was stripped. I'm using Resene water based enamel. Its more flexible to cope with expansion plus its resistant to petrol, oils etc. I'm curious to see how it'll hold up.



Dave (avenger tiger) is coming across tomorrow to help fit the engine back in place- hopefully we'll start it up!

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Ok- well it starts... sort of. In fact it started on first turn of the key after I had finished building the oil pressure up and turned ignition cut switch back on. :D But wouldn't run for more than 1 or 2 secs. With the choke pulled right out it ran for about 5 seconds and sounded good but then died. Then the SU carb would flood. Then it wouldn't let any fuel out through jet. then it would flood. Just to confirm it was fuel related I checked the ignition and all leads produced good enough sparks. I must buy new leads though, I'm using manky old ones, all I could find at the time. Next I checked the compression. My tester isn't a proper one for rotaries though which will give a reading for each face, its just a normal type which will show the best of three faces per rotor.

I was getting about 90+ psi which seems fine.

So the carb jet is blocked and or the float valve is acting the goat. Carb is now off and I'll have a look at some point tomorrow.

Anyone on here have experience with these HIF SUs- I think its the same as on metro turbos? Did we in NZ get them? And where can I get rebuild kits in NZ for Sus? What sort of problems should I be looking for inside the carb specific to SUs?

Im glad the engine started anyway! And its sounded nice and quiet ....from what I could tell. I hope I don't go out in the morning to find a big pool of oil/coolant/blood under car or something silly as right now I'm going to go to bed happy. I must say its strange to be starting a rotary without the usual stamp stamp on pedal and then start then blipping throttle for a bit till it warms up like with webber and nikki carbs I'm more used to. And its nice to have the engine back where it belongs- not in bits under the bench 8)

And big cheers out to Dave (avenger tiger) for driving all the way over from Mapua to help me with engine placement duties - good man! :D And thanks to Hannah for awesome pizza at lunchtime.

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Its a runner!!! :D I had given carb a check over, discovered float height was way off and wouldn't have closed needle valve properly! Re set that, after much searching for info on proper oil to run in dashpot damper and decided to go with 3 in 1 which is meant to be about the 20 weight required.

Re-installed carb which luckily is really easy. Checked fluid levels which were spot on. Went to start it and no fuel to the carb from regulator??!! I removed a bung I had put over the rising rate vent tube on top of my Malpassi reg, it hissed and fuel was delivered :) So that was part of the problem then. Turned key. nothing. choke out. Vrrrrommmmm 8)

Here is the vid...

Pretty bloody happy. The exhaust sounds good- not too loud. Biggest issue is the temp gauge- I have ford escort sender installed and it reads too high on viva gauge, like 40 when cold and off the scale before fan even comes on (82). Prozac mentioned fitting some resistors in line to drop the reading. How many/what resistance?

And this being my first turbocharged petrol engine I have question on boost gauges.. my gauge reads vacuum at idle and then when I stab the pedal will go back up to 0? When should it show boost?

So list of things to do are;

Fit a filter.

Fit my rev counter subtly under dash,

Sort temp sender. Maybe install a decent after market gauge and sender?

Fit a lambda gauge.

Fit boost gauge.

Cert car and drive.

Very happy I am! Now back to housetruck work....


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  • 2 weeks later...

Yep! I finally got my widened steel wheels sorted. I finished painting them the other day..


 ..and then got the tyres swapped across by a local tyre shop friend who has a lovely series 2 rx7 and admired my car :) I put the wheels on today and I reckon they look great. They just set the car off perfect. I'm very happy! To most people I think they'll almost look standard.



When I had the front wheels off I adjusted the camber as it was set with loads of negative. The top ball joint can be moved in or out via two sets of holes.

 But I think now I could do it with a little negative camber back in as the wheels are close to the arches. I will slot out between the two sets of holes and make it so I can fine tune it. I will also roll the arches and do the mod to the front of the arch as per Vauxhall sports part manual as the now wider wheels just touch the front bottom corner when turning.

The carb started to flood again the other night. I checked the float bowl and there was some small bits of metal in there- they must have come from the little fitting I had made to hold the gauge. I cleaned it out and put carb back in place. All good now. Must order a filter.

The little Jaycar 'electronic LCD temp gauge + adjustable switch' kit arrived from Yowser. Cheers man. Will look to building that tomorrow night. Hopefully my soldering skills will be up to it! I can just see me building it then all the tellys in the neighbour hood change channel or something when I connect it.

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