1 2 3 4
wcn2018 New Reader
5/2/23 3:57 p.m.

The car is NOT dead. Just been working on it quietly.

Welded up a ground control weld on kit to the original strut casings this weekend, and got it all painted up. the shocks (koni sports for mr2) arrive tomorrow. Also ordered the Technotoy rear links. I tried putting in urethane bushings (like a fool!). The original links were fine! I'm stupid and decided to burn them out for urethane that would bind even worse if installed. Instead of eating the install time and pain, i just ate the cost of the urethane bushings and ordered the t3 rear links yesterday. lesson learned.

I got a bunch of other little things done but I just broke my phone so no photos for now.

I had more plans, like a rack and pinion steering install, but budget and the arrival of nice weather up here has made me decide to weld up an exhaust this month and put it back on the road for summer.

She also needs tires. i have the original 13" 5.5 (or is it 5"?) wide wheels. I know of the toyo r888s from tirerack, and a UK store that can order yoko advans in 205/60R13. Anyone have any other suggestions?

dannyp84 HalfDork
5/2/23 6:44 p.m.

In reply to wcn2018 :

Let us know how you like the T3 rear links, I ordered them then sent them back when I realized they weren't going to solve my clearance issues. My upper links hit against the body due to the car's ride height, and adjustable links wouldn't change that. In the long term, I want to delete the uppers and do a tri link that goes through the floor to the interior crossmember and box in a mount there. 

wcn2018 New Reader
5/3/23 4:27 a.m.

slight sidetrack. Van update:

Transmission died in January, I spent basically all of February pulling out the 4L60E and rebuilding it. Never rebuilt an auto before so that was a fun process. Took the opportunity to install a couple sonnax upgrades like smartshell and reaction hub. upgraded valvebody too. About $1500 in parts later the van is back on the road.

And of course, i painted it yellow.

I also added a trans temp gauge so this wont happen again.

I also found 60 psi less of compression in cylinder 6 (P0306 is my check engine light). Used a leakdown tester and it's 100% the exhaust valve on 6. When I finish with the RX for the summer in June, I'm gonna switch my focus back to the van and put on some summit heads and upgrade the fuel injection to true multipoint from the old spider type. For now I'm just gonna keep driving it since it made it across the whole country with this misfire. Didn't stop it from going to the Olympus rally last month either (as a volunteer, lol):


wcn2018 New Reader
5/10/23 1:21 p.m.

nothing ever posts correctly. Here are the photos from last.


wcn2018 New Reader
5/10/23 1:41 p.m.

Help! Ronald Macdonald stole my car and all he did was put on a new suspension!

Ronald selected 300/200 f/r spring rates. Used the ground control weld on kit. Rear struts are KYB AGX. Fronts are Koni 8641-1072 SPORT for MR2 rear. Tire rack asked for a year, told it 1985. I think the case length changes after 1985. The gland nut it came with didn't fit, so he used the original one. The T3 links fit well. He left the alignment up to me for after i get new tires on it.

Also fabricated some AN lines for the oil cooler. I like that about these early cars that we got the full sized ones that fit under the valence. I think the old lines were the main source of the oil leak.

Tackled a couple other small things. New starter, speedometer drive seal, intake gaskets, oil cooler o rings, all 4 wheel seals, new drum shoes, all 4 tie rods, AC deleted, dual alternator pulley, OMP blocked off, ACV blocked off, Air pump blocked off, all ignition consumables. I got hit with parts syndrome.

I still need to change headlight rods, and tackle the leaky clutch. It has a new master and slave, but i swapped to an AN line setup since the soft line for this year is NLA. The new AN line leaks at the flare. It's a nice, prefabricated -4 PTFE line from fragola, and on super tight. Not 100% sure whats up with that. summit sent a replacement and hopefully that fixes it

And of course, the exhaust is coming up. Just waiting on primeweld to send me my TIG.

dannyp84 HalfDork
5/11/23 3:57 p.m.

Jealous of the little helper springs, when my front suspension becomes unweighted there's no tension holding the spring assembly in place and the spring can shift around a little bit which isn't ideal.

wcn2018 New Reader
5/23/23 7:56 p.m.

In reply to dannyp84 :

If you're curious they are hyperco cs100 with eibach spacers. $65 a set on summit.

wcn2018 New Reader
6/22/23 2:58 a.m.


Don't ever start your rotary with open headers. I swear it's no fun and you get nothing from it. Those laughs you see are actually fear and winces of pain. Just don't do it folks! ;)


wcn2018 New Reader
6/28/23 5:20 a.m.

This little tig machine is pretty fun to use

I realized after making and tacking up these two sections why people buy premade pie cuts

Those sections are for the recessed curve that goes over the rear axle, so there will be two more curve sections, one of them compound. This is tougher than I expected but I'm getting through it. The final muffler will be a borla xr-1 racing, 401382. I have an alignment appointment on 7/6 so that's got a fire under my ass.

Also anyone have a tire recommendation? Just got 15x7 rewinds for the car to open up the selection a bit. I think right now I'll go for potenzas because they're on sale at costco.

wcn2018 New Reader
7/7/23 12:28 p.m.

Well I went to the alignment shop yesterday. That constitutes its first and last drive for a while.

First drive because the exhaust is finally done and most everything is buttoned up.

Last drive because in my hurry i left the differential empty and drove it 15 miles.

I started hearing the noise about 5 miles in, decided my diff would be toasted either way and i may as well not miss the appointment. Doug at Chase Race was nice enough to let me work on the car while he was aligning it. We got some fluid in there and it made it home.

I've forgotten how nice this thing is to drive, i need to re-tune the carb and un-destroy the rear end, but it's truly fun at any speed (despite the gears screaming in agony)

Luckily the early axle open-diffs aren't desirable and it should be easy to find a third member and throw it in there for now. The wheel bearings being situated at the outsides of the axle and being greased hopefully means i only need to replace the third member. I also think I'll pick up an 84-85 axle and stuff a miata 1.8 torsen + disc conversion on there for a long term improvement. cool thing about solid axles is none of this stuff should constitute a re-alignment. And I'll hopefully never mess this up again.

Chase Race in Duvall, WA is a great shop! Good people and the energy is definitely about building the most racecar you can for the money. A great shop to work on your track car if you're in the area.

Alignment specs:

Powar GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
7/7/23 3:43 p.m.

Sorry to hear about the diff, but glad to see more progress on this one. It is such a cool car.

Happy 7s Day!

wcn2018 New Reader
7/11/23 4:45 a.m.

Drove down to Portland and got the diff off this 81


we're back in business.

fidelity101 UberDork
7/11/23 12:32 p.m.

I got a set of 4.777 gears for that thing if you're interested while the diff is out...

wcn2018 New Reader
7/12/23 1:09 a.m.

In reply to fidelity101 :

im buying an 84 axle later, will be stuffing a ~4.8 miata final drive with torsen center and creating the silliest car of all time. Drop in. I plan on disc brake converting at the same time too.

wcn2018 New Reader
7/18/23 8:26 p.m.

A '00 corolla will fit a first gen rear axle

However, I'm still trying to get it out of there 

wcn2018 New Reader
8/18/23 5:44 p.m.



It's still pretty darn loud I have to gift the neighbors salmon so they don't get too mad. Makes an excuse to go fishing tho. It's pink season after all!.

Also, got the tires mounted up. miiiiiiight need some spacers so the inside face doesn't rub the struts. Maybe it gets the flush treatment. Will figure this out after I'm done fishing. Taking a car break right now.

Tonnnns of soot in the exhaust from just a few longish drives. Definitely rich idle, after-firing at over 4k is evidence of this. A friend has an AEM wideband controller, I'll weld a bung for the sensor in the near future too. Need also to get one good autox day in before the weather turns south for the year.

wcn2018 New Reader
8/27/23 1:34 p.m.

Rotary Jesus has smiled on me. Found a '79 donor car at a local yard on facebook. was originally just going to go for the clean fenders, but found something very interesting on the back of this 79

It's even the same color. The previous owner stuffed a disc brake axle on this thing. As far as i can tell it's a gsl axle. I haven't pulled the pumpkin to look yet, but I'll bet it's limited slip. The fenders are in near perfect condition with what I think is original paint, they have some surface rust, nothing that's gone through. So I grabbed all those.

Gutted and filleted mazda. Also got the taillight covers and e-brake cables.

This donor is a rust bucket underneath, holes through the pan, etc. Somehow tho, much of the body is in near perfect shape. The dozens of chalk circles on the front end around a dent tell me this was totaled at the body shop. Not surprising since insurance probably valued this car at $400.

This axle will probably be perfect after rebuilding calipers, replacing hardlines, and drilling the pinion flange. It should just bolt right up and give me discs and lsd with my current wheels, and my speedo should stay the same since gsl diffs are 3.90.

If anyone needs doors or glass, they're excellent on this car. I might go back to get some spare parts, but I have what I really need already. pm me for the yard name.

trumant GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
8/27/23 3:22 p.m.

Excited to see you continuing to rescue and rebuild this gem.

tyronejk New Reader
8/27/23 4:21 p.m.

Nice SA! I have one too and am in Everett. Maybe I'll see you around. Mine is a 1980 also with a GSL rear axle and LSD, but with a Subaru EJ22, BRZ 6-speed trans, and recently welded-on spring perches to take standard 2.5" coil springs (to address some of the NLA parts for these cars).

wcn2018 New Reader
8/31/23 1:25 a.m.

Cracked it open. This is not LSD. It's supposed to be from factory, but idk the full story on this axle. I'm considering now if I want to put this on or deal with converting the 84 axle I have. If anyone has one or knows how to get one, a 24 spline lsd is in order.

wcn2018 New Reader
9/1/23 5:18 p.m.

I got 99 problems but a rear end aint one.

I actually have 3 (4?, 5?) rear ends for this car now and they're all problems.

The original 1980 open/drum rear end to the car was fine, i burnt a diff, and i have a replacement 81 open in there. This one is on the car.

I picked up an 84 open/drum rear end to convert to disc and stuff a later LSD in, since that axle is 26 spline.

I found that 81-83 GSL axle with disc/LSD at the junkyard. However, someone had swapped in an open diff at some point.

Now i have a 82 LSD Center from a mysterious stranger on a forum on the way. For $350 I'm happy with this.

The final plan is to use that GSL disc axle i just got and rebuild diff with LSD center and maybe some higher ratio gears (4.10?). This gets me a simple disc brake solution and limited slip with no driveshaft swap required. On those calipers. does anyone know if I can use the GSLSE rebuild kit on GSL brakes? the GSLSE kit comes with the parking brake rubber caps and the GSL kit does not.

wcn2018 New Reader
10/12/23 10:33 p.m.

Another autox. The tires definitely helped, and the car overall feels much more planted than last year. Went with some buddies and we accidentally all brought mazdas.

A few things were learned:

- This car ran 1:04 against 0:59 from both the ND and RX8 (with the same driver). Its much much better than it was, and probably doesnt need more power.

- throttle on exit from corners absolutely breaks the rear loose. LSD will help tons here.

- steering is slow, it wasnt an illusion. some of the slower, sharper turns on the course were legitimately hard to turn the wheel fast enough. steering rack and faster ratio would be great.

- shifter is unacceptably sloppy, bought the bronze bushing.

Rear axle has been a big headache. the calipers that came with are too rusty to rebuild. blowing a whole r&d budget on trying calipers from other cars. one of the axle shafts is a drum brake axle (what?????). but i have painted the housing, and rebuilt the diff with lsd center and backlash and all is set well. may have a sale lined up for a full gsl axle soon with calipers too to resolve the other issues. anyway, i hope its over soon.

dr_strangeland GRM+ Memberand Reader
10/13/23 6:03 a.m.

Is that junkyard Binford Metals? Looks very familiar. They usually have a bunch of Miata on the lot.

Jealous that you are only 15 miles from Chase Race. It's a hike for me, but I need to make the trek soon to get the Miata realigned and talk to him about caging it.

I miss Evergreen. Such a fun venue. Now that the 'regular' autocross season is basically over, it's probably time to go run there.

I just picked up an SA, so I'm going to be going through the same stages of grief with my rear axle, it's also original drum brake goodness. Haven't fully decided on a path forward, my approach is kind of get it running and keep an eye open for parts that will work.

Really enjoying your progress on this so far, nice work!

wcn2018 New Reader
10/14/23 1:51 a.m.

In reply to dr_strangeland :

yea its binford in kent!

autox at evergreen should be slowing down a bit over the next few events from what they said. 

thanks for the support! great to see more SA owners. i have some parts laying around and if you need anything feel free to ask i may have it. Also, id rebuild the carb first and delete air pump for headers. night and day.

if i had to start again on this rear end id consider the ford 8.8, but im very stubborn about keeping the original 4x110 wheels. otherwise, its an easy route forward with reasonably cheap diffs and such.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/14/23 7:08 p.m.
Agent98 said:

Great cars, handle better than a 240z with less rust. Clutch discs are a consumable since any smooth launch from a start requires lots more clutch slipping than a piston car. Murder loud without the factory cat ....great seats still wish I had my 1981....

It's an SA, no converters.


1 2 3 4

You'll need to log in to post.

Our Preferred Partners