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DaveEstey
DaveEstey Dork
7/31/12 7:58 a.m.

I've been a part of the hillclimbing scene in Vertmont since 2009, first helping run the events and lately racing myself once I finally was in a position to do so (life gets in the way).

After racing my 1996 Miata (prepped for SCCA STS Solo racing) up Ascutney this Spring, the missus decided i needed a full roll cage. In my first weekend racing I was 5 seconds off breakout time, which is the point where a full cage is required. Not bad for a 130k mile Miata that also serves as my daily driver.

Here's a vid: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=3975152785257

Since the cage was a new requirement and this was my DD, a new car would be needed. I've always loved the sounds of rotary engines, especially since there's no sound limit at my favorite hillclimb, so I began digging around for an FC, which is a nice mix of affordability and good looks. FD's are too expensive so they were out of consideration.

I went with an N/A version over a turbo for simplicity, as I'd like to develop the chassis before adding power, but a turbo could be in the cards in the future. So could a V8...

Fellow GRM member Rex7 told me he had a 1987 GXL with 113k on the clock and a 13B that had been rebuilt around 20k miles ago. The car looked nice and straight with zero body rust, with the reason for its sale being a burnt out brake light switch or board. It won't pass state inspection but I don't need functional brake lights. Should I need them in the future I'll install a pressure switch to activate them.

I grabbed it for $2012 from and dragged her home to begin the process of build a full-on hillclimber.

Here's how it stands right now: Engine: K&N air filter, Racing Beat cat-back exhaust

Suspension: Koni yellow single adjustable shocks on stock springs.

Brakes: Corksport stainless steel brake lines, Brembo brake rotors, Hawk HPS brake pads

Wheels and Tires: Stock wheels with new Fuzion HRi 205/60/15 tires

Other: S5 taillights, Optima Red Top battery, recently replaced OEM radiator, silicone vacuum hoses.

OK that was lots of writing so here's some pictures.

First getting home and off the trailer:

Meeting the new room mate:

Time to start the tearing out:

This plate was last registered in 1989 by my aunt, so it's an homage (I'm a Vermonter born and raised and all the hillclimbs are in VT too)

Running out of stuff to take out. Only thing left is the dash and glass: I'm picking up an aluminum TII hood to replace the heavy steel stock unit.

Wheels came in! 15x10 with a 5" back space:

I'll be running 23.5/10.0-15 American Racer modified tires in the super soft M28 compound. That's roughly a 275/35 tire. They're $138 a pop, which is cheap when you consider their grip rivals the Hoosier A6. Yes I'll need flares, which will likely be fiberglassed this winter when I'm stuck inside.

I'm now digging around for a seat before I start the process of caging. I want to make sure I get things in there right before I add hard bars to the mix. I also have a 5 gallon fuel cell which will replace the gas tank, so I can drop more weight there.

The front strut housings are so rusty they're unsafe (deep blisters), so I'm looking into either having them replaced or repaired.

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury UltimaDork
7/31/12 8:01 a.m.

...is what this thread is doing

alfadriver
alfadriver PowerDork
7/31/12 8:09 a.m.

Just out of curiosity, how similar is the suspension to the Miata?

I've always heard they are pretty close, but never did a goodle search to see what Wiki says.

But here we have a first hand move from a Miata to an Rx.

DaveEstey
DaveEstey Dork
7/31/12 8:18 a.m.

Nothing alike. The RX has Mac struts up front and a trailing arm setup in the back with a moving toe setup that moves from positive toe under normal driving and toes in while cornering.... I'll be eliminating that system.

I can take pics tomorrow.

alfadriver
alfadriver PowerDork
7/31/12 9:39 a.m.

In reply to DaveEstey:

Thanks.

Conquest351
Conquest351 Dork
7/31/12 11:00 a.m.

Like the wheels!! Looking for some 16" or 17" black steelies like that for the Vic. Can't find them anywhere though.

RexSeven
RexSeven SuperDork
7/31/12 5:02 p.m.

My old ride! Glad to see it turned into something cool. Keep the updates coming.

Unfortunately, that box of miscellaneous spares for the car seems to have gone missing. I'll get in touch if I can find it again.

Brett_Murphy
Brett_Murphy SuperDork
7/31/12 5:10 p.m.

Seeing this kind of thing makes me seriously consider getting back into the RX-7 club again, even though I swore up and down I would not.

I was trolling Craigslist for a BMW today, and saw a white GXL. I started thinking, hey, I have a white aluminum hood, that is some weight savings right there- then I closed my browser and silently admonished myself.

When do you run the hillclimbs? I'm up around Fairlee, VT at least once a year to visit my folks- maybe I could time a visit to watch the races.

DaveEstey
DaveEstey Dork
7/31/12 11:08 p.m.

Www.hillclimb.org has all our deets

DaveEstey
DaveEstey PowerDork
8/1/12 9:03 a.m.

Getting warmed up to do my cage by caging another FC RX7. You learn something everytime to do one of these things.

One of the things you learn is that if somebody wants a cage, they need to either strip it themselves or pay extra.

That was a-pillar #1, which was tossed aside for a-pillar #2. Much closer to the body.

MrJoshua
MrJoshua PowerDork
8/1/12 10:40 a.m.

Lots of layback in that main hoop. Do you mind sharing your reasons?

DaveEstey
DaveEstey Dork
8/1/12 11:27 a.m.

It was done before I got to the barn. Not my design, but I think the reasoning was that car owner (who helped with that portion) is about 6'5" and needs to lean the seat back quite a bit.

DaveEstey
DaveEstey Dork
8/2/12 4:56 p.m.

Found a set of ground control sleeves, springs and even camber plates for $275 shipped - gotta love bargain hunting.

Waiting for my 23.5/10-15 American Racer M28 compound slicks to come in on the truck. Thanks to Dave Lind Racing for the great price!

Stock diameter tires are 24.7" so I'll be gaining some (much appreciated) gearing with this setup.

N Sperlo
N Sperlo PowerDork
8/2/12 5:40 p.m.
4cylndrfury wrote: ...is what this thread is doing

Hence I'm adding it to my watch list... I gots my eye on you.

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair PowerDork
8/2/12 10:23 p.m.

hey, what are you going to do with the spare out of the RX? i know a guy who'd like to get one of those on the cheap. it's for a super-secret challenge car.

DaveEstey
DaveEstey Dork
8/3/12 6:22 a.m.

My first thought was to get three more, make some super stud tires and go ice racing.

But I'm not above selling it for a six pack plus shipping.

92CelicaHalfTrac
92CelicaHalfTrac MegaDork
8/3/12 6:39 a.m.
DaveEstey wrote: Nothing alike. The RX has Mac struts up front and a trailing arm setup in the back with a moving toe setup that moves from positive toe under normal driving and toes in while cornering.... I'll be eliminating that system. I can take pics tomorrow.

Ugh... they used that crap on the RX7, too? That stuff is on my MX6, which makes putting poly bushings in a binding nightmare.

DaveEstey
DaveEstey Dork
8/3/12 8:23 a.m.

You betcha. Luckily this is a race car, so I can make some consessions for ride quality to help make things work.

DaveEstey
DaveEstey Dork
8/3/12 10:26 a.m.
N Sperlo wrote:
4cylndrfury wrote: ...is what this thread is doing

Hence I'm adding it to my watch list... I gots my eye on you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtrEN-YKLBM

DaveEstey
DaveEstey Dork
8/7/12 8:53 a.m.

Work on the car was been slow last week since I was helping my buddy get ready for the Okemo hillclimb. This weekend was spent working on the truck. We had a plastic bed line in it before we got the fifth wheel hitch, and it rubbed and caused rust in some areas. Cleaned up all the rust, degreased with Dawn and a pressure washer then prepped with brake cleaner and a scotch pad.

Here it is cleaned up:

Here it is after one coat of Herculiner:

One more thing off the honey-do list.

Need to find either replacement strut bodies of get my existing units replaced. Not quite sure what to do on that since aftermarket struts may not be the right size for my Koni inserts.

DaveEstey
DaveEstey Dork
8/7/12 12:02 p.m.

Kirkey racing seat with cover procured for $75.

Gotta love circle track racers.

RexSeven
RexSeven SuperDork
8/7/12 7:30 p.m.
DaveEstey wrote: Need to find either replacement strut bodies of get my existing units replaced. Not quite sure what to do on that since aftermarket struts may not be the right size for my Koni inserts.

I think you should be fine with any OEM replacement-type struts if you can't find any suitable used parts. I'd offer mine from my Turbo but they are KYB adjustable struts, which are full replacements rather than inserts. IIRC Koni inserts are not compatible with aftermarket performance struts.

DaveEstey
DaveEstey Dork
8/7/12 7:37 p.m.

Not all aftermarket replacements are the same size. I just need to get out the calipers and stop whining.

DaveEstey
DaveEstey Dork
8/14/12 7:52 p.m.

Been pounding out sound deadening. Car is heading to get caged this weekend.

DaveEstey
DaveEstey Dork
8/20/12 8:51 a.m.

Well I finally found the wall of my finances. I can't juggle money around enough to have this car done for the Ascutney hillclimb Sept. 14-16.

Well, I CAN have the car done, I just won't have any safety equipment for myself, which is a no-go.

New GC Coils and adjustable top hats are sitting in a box ready to go. Front bumper came off to make it easier to get the air conditioning system out. No pics right now but I'll try to snap some tonight during a bout of swearing.

The more I dig into this car the more surprised I am by how solid it is. It's weird having a North East car that's this old and isn't full of holes.

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