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Schizamm
Schizamm
3/11/18 4:57 p.m.

Hello to anyone who actually opens this thread!

This is my dirt cheap $350 1983 Mazda RX-7 GSL. I picked it up from a kid (15 yr. old) who had been working on it as a project. He started and never really finished swapping in a gsl-se interior, and then pretty much let it sit. So of course, me having no experience, (almost) no tools, and even less money, decided I am the man for the job and bought the thing. It's rough, dirty, a little rusty (actually was pretty impressed it's not THAT rusty) and the frame rails look like someone tried to see how many dents they could actually make. Oh, and it doesn't run. Pretty sure apex seals are blown, and the electrics are shot from the kid messing with the wiring. Won't even crank or turn over.

All in all, it is bad. Really bad. And so, naturally, I'm in love. I love it's goofy pop up head lights, the fact that I finally own a rear-wheel drive car, and that it is a HUGE challenge. Here are my plans (and feel free to tell me they are completely unrealistic):

Keep the entire build under $500 by selling anything I don't absolutely need, so pretty much entire interior, all the extra interior pieces I got with the car, maybe the 12a? Do all this to get money to build it. Recoup as much money as I can and basically just leave it as dirty and crappy as it is.

Next, I've done some research about being able to bolt up an F2 or an F2T with a B2200 bell-housing to the tranny, and being able to run it that way. As much as I'd love keep the 12a and experience life with a rotary, I'm wary about it being fragile and parts getting harder (and more expensive) to find. Again my budget might as well be $0, so if I can sell the 12a and get some monies, I think a junkyard F2 swap would be easier and help get a cheaper engine to fix in the car.

To sum it all up, I'm in over my head. Been tinkering with the car, but would love some advice if anyone actually cares to read this all and form an opinion. Heck if anyone reads it and wants parts, I'm game too! I'll post some pictures of the stuff I have and can take more if anyone wants to see them.

Thanks for looking! I'm excited and anxious and nervous all at the same time.

Ransom
Ransom PowerDork
3/11/18 6:34 p.m.

Congratulations!

I'm no expert, but I feel like it's generally safe to say that it's significantly harder to get any engine swap completed than to get an example of what was originally there working. There are so many bits and bobs and problems to solve.

Unless you're really sure this engine is dead I'd start by trying to get the wiring to where it so least cranks and has spark. It's as lot easier to fix wiring with a diagram that applies than to start a rat's nest and attempt to make changes and fix at the same time.

And remember this is fun! Figured I should add that since you're starting with hashed wiring...cheeky

Schizamm
Schizamm New Reader
3/11/18 7:23 p.m.

One thing I wanted to try was put back in the original guage cluster, since the PO took it out for a later model one. I got the new one out, but started inspecting the old one and noticed a wire was cut and falling off. Is that a problem? Should I use the other one that wasn't original?

I'd like to reuse the original for a couple of reasons, first one being I prefer the yellow graphic. Second I feel like the other one will resell for better than the original one will.

Schizamm
Schizamm New Reader
3/11/18 7:31 p.m.

In reply to Ransom :

Thanks for stopping in Ransom! I agree I'd like to at LEAST diagnose the 12a. And I'll also agree that I am anything but an expert and there are probably tons of nickle and dime items that would add up fast with an engine swap.

I found a wiring diagram for the 83 RX-7, but honestly have no idea what I'm looking at. The wiring doesn't look TOO trashed, but I can tell he at least tried to install aftermarket stereo and speakers and kind of hacked that up. Don't mind too much as I don't plan to put a stereo back in at all, but annoying still. This is what the wiring looks like under the dash atm:

Not sure where to go. I put in a charged battery earlier today and turning the key to start does nothing. 

Stampie
Stampie UltraDork
3/11/18 7:42 p.m.

I'm no rotary expert but isn't there a specific procedure to starting one that's been sitting?

wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr UltraDork
3/11/18 7:43 p.m.

the trans in your rx7 does not have a replaceable bell housing.  I think you would need the trans from a turbo2 to connect to the f2 with the b2200 bell housing.

 

the clutch disc at minimum will be different as well.

wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr UltraDork
3/11/18 7:47 p.m.
Schizamm said:

In reply to Ransom :

Thanks for stopping in Ransom! I agree I'd like to at LEAST diagnose the 12a. And I'll also agree that I am anything but an expert and there are probably tons of nickle and dime items that would add up fast with an engine swap.

I found a wiring diagram for the 83 RX-7, but honestly have no idea what I'm looking at. The wiring doesn't look TOO trashed, but I can tell he at least tried to install aftermarket stereo and speakers and kind of hacked that up. Don't mind too much as I don't plan to put a stereo back in at all, but annoying still. This is what the wiring looks like under the dash atm:

Not sure where to go. I put in a charged battery earlier today and turning the key to start does nothing. 

easy.  check for voltage on large wire of starter.  if it has voltage, check for voltage on small wire going to starter when the key is in the on position.  if no voltage, bad wiring.  if voltage, bad starter or locked up engine.

 

can you turn the engine by hand?

 

report back with your findings.  it is pretty simple to get these to run if they are mechanically okay.

Schizamm
Schizamm New Reader
3/11/18 8:11 p.m.

In reply to Stampie :

I've read there are a few tricks, just when it doesn't even show life when I turn the key I can't try many of them. Thanks for weighing in!

Schizamm
Schizamm New Reader
3/11/18 8:14 p.m.

In reply to wvumtnbkr :

You are 100% right on the transmission, crawled under to check and it's all one piece. No bell housing swapping! Revive the 12a I guess is the plan now!

I can turn the engine. I pulled the leading plugs (the lower ones) and can spin it. Only the rear rotor seems to make any compression noises. I'll have to go borrow a voltometer to check the starter, thanks for the tip!

sethmeister4
sethmeister4 SuperDork
3/11/18 8:59 p.m.

I am all for the budget plan, and for leaving it looking ratty.  And I second that idea that you should stick with the 12A instead of doing a swap.  At least for now.  Getting it going will be half the fun!  I have no experience with rotaries, but I think that's what you want in that car to really get the full RX experience.  Enjoy!

Schizamm
Schizamm New Reader
3/11/18 9:21 p.m.

In reply to sethmeister4 :

Thanks for the encouragement! I'm really open to anything, only hard and fast is the budget being as close to $0 as possible! Only thing I worry about is if the 12a is blown, a rebuild kit is $1000 and I think it'll be hard to recoup that much from selling parts. All in all just excited to have a project of my own!

wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr UltraDork
3/12/18 8:13 a.m.

In reply to Schizamm :

you can rebuild it for a good bit cheaper than that if it just needs some seals.  

 

If it has sat for awhile, I wouldn't worry too much about verifying compression, yet...

step one is get engine to spin with starter.

step two is check for spark.

 

step 3 is check carb and fuel system.

 

step 4 is check compression after it doesn't start once you have fuel and spark.  this step is where the "tricks" come in.

Furious_E
Furious_E SuperDork
3/12/18 9:14 a.m.

Sweet project! Having recently completed my first swap as well, I'll reiterate the point that it will be much more expensive than you think. What kills your budget in the end is all the $10-15-20 dollar adapter fittings, and hoses, and dingles, and oops this part didn't work so let's try that one instead...It ends up adding up, much more quickly than you realize. I wouldn't discourage you from doing a swap if that's what you want, but do it because it's what you want, not because you think it will be cheaper. 

TED_fiestaHP
TED_fiestaHP Reader
3/12/18 9:44 a.m.

   For trouble shooting, you could add a push switch under the hood for the starter.   If the big wire to the starter has power, then to make the starter work, add a wire with a switch to the small wire, that wire then goes to the battery.   Then even without the rest of the wiring harness, you can push that button switch and the starter will work.

 

     If it hasn't run in a while might want to spray some oil into the spark plug holes, just to make sure the the eternal parts  of the engine are not dry, rotor apex seals.

Schizamm
Schizamm New Reader
3/12/18 11:25 a.m.

In reply to wvumtnbkr :

Thanks for the help! I'll be working on the starter tonight. Is there a way to rebuild it if it's bad?

How would I be able to rebuild the engine for cheaper? Again I have no experience, but from what I can assume, if I have it opened up enough to do apex seals, I'll have to replace all the gaskets and everything too right?

Thanks again!

Schizamm
Schizamm New Reader
3/12/18 11:27 a.m.

In reply to Furious_E :

Thanks it'll be fun! What did you do for your swap? And yeah, I'm beginning to realize I might be a bit dellusional thinking I could swap for that cheap vs just fix what's broke. I think eventually I'd still like to swap, but that's after I save up the money.

2_3
2_3 New Reader
3/12/18 12:06 p.m.

You could run wires directly from the battery to the starter to see if it works. If it rotates, then it's time to look at the wiring and ignition switch. No need to properly fix anything, just take the cables and hold them in the right place

 

 

Schizamm
Schizamm New Reader
3/12/18 12:06 p.m.

In reply to TED_fiestaHP :

Hmm I'll have to keep that in mind on both the starter and the oil! Thanks for the tips!

Crackers
Crackers Dork
3/12/18 12:13 p.m.

This looks like fun. I keep wanting to get myself something cheap with a rotary in it. 

Go ahead and buy yourself a cheap multimeter and a test light. Both can be had for about $10-15, and you're likely going to need them frequently enough to justify ownership. (I don't know how I'd get along without one.)

You don't need anything fancy, so long as it can test volts and ohms you should be good. 

Agent98
Agent98 Reader
3/12/18 1:32 p.m.

cheapest engine - any V8/AT from pick-a-part ...

302 Ford out of a grand marquis...etc....

Schizamm
Schizamm New Reader
3/12/18 1:45 p.m.

In reply to 2_3 :

I'll have to try that if the under dash doesn't work!

Schizamm
Schizamm New Reader
3/12/18 2:23 p.m.

In reply to Crackers :

It should be super fun! I'll be picking one up tonight. I made the same decision when I realized all I had was a crappy scissor jack and no jack stands. Doesn't need to be pretty just needs to be had.

Schizamm
Schizamm New Reader
3/12/18 2:24 p.m.

In reply to Agent98 :

I've been convinced to at least try and keep the 12a, but I haven't ruled out a V8 swap yet:)

TED_fiestaHP
TED_fiestaHP Reader
3/12/18 3:03 p.m.

  Do be careful working under the car or using jacks and jack stands, for example, see the new Bruce Willi's Movies.   I never trusted those bumper jacks....

Dead_Sled
Dead_Sled New Reader
3/12/18 3:10 p.m.

I'm pretty sure you can still get a free multimeter from harbor freight with any purchase (like a jack/jackstands).  They're pretty cheap (quality), but I've tested it out next to my "cheap" multimeter ($30) and got all the same values.   Just throwing that in since it seems to meet your budget (FREE!!) wink and would work for anything simple like checking continuity. 

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