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brad131a4 (Forum Supporter)
brad131a4 (Forum Supporter) Reader
12/7/20 6:30 p.m.

I'd just move over the river to Vancouver. Eff Oregon and those idiot DMV people. Most wouldn't know a 4 stroke motor if it hit them in the head.

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
12/7/20 7:27 p.m.

In reply to brad131a4 (Forum Supporter) :

Agreed regarding the OR DMV! laugh My concern with moving there is that my Oregon job is awesome and I REALLY don't want to join that commute over one of the two bridges. I've always built my life around ease of getting to work, and I have way better things to do in life than sit in traffic on the Interstate...but a second home, investment property, or rental....that has some appeal.

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
5/25/21 6:43 p.m.

I've been slacking on updating this thread, but there has been some progress on the car. I figured I would revive the thread with a few posts to catch us up to date, and hopefully trying to maintain this thread from here on out will help with keeping progress consistent.

The registration debacle is sorted, and I now have plates and registration for the car! I also found a wonderful home for the AE86 with a longtime friend and fellow enthusiast.

Trying to complete refresh the brakes and not cut corners has certainly been a case of two steps forward, one step back as I uncover additional issues or simply things I would like to tidy up and improve on. Pandemic parts availability and shipping delays haven't helped any with getting everything needed for the brakes. While I have been at it, I have also uncovered a few more things to take care of as I poke around the car. Thankfully, I'm getting to know the aftermarket a bit, and there is a friendly American owner's group with a good reference library and a great parts interchange list, which has been a big help.

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
5/26/21 6:43 p.m.

Let's hop back in time a bit to my assessment of the car as I got it, starting with the glaring area of the brakes. On my short test drive, they lacked stopping power, made some noise, but got a little better as I used them. I chalked it up to surface rust from a few months of sitting in ports/on a ship getting scraped off with some use. Then as we were loading it onto the trailer, the pedal got soft. I pumped the pedal a few times, and it firmed up a little, then gave out under my foot and started heading for the floorboards as the car started rolling backwards down the ramps! I got it up on the trailer with the e-brake and hopped out to see a decent size puddle just inside/behind the left rear wheel! Sure enough, brake fluid dripping from somewhere above. The importer was extremely apologetic, which was more than fair given that we agreed upon a low price with the strict stipulation that the car was as-is and any needed work was on me. Upon getting the trailer home, I got as far as seeing that the rubber flex line was intact before unloading it and parking it using just the e-brake.

The fronts don't look too terrible peeking through the wheel, but I could see some rust:

I started at the front, figuring I would hold off on the known-to-be-berkeleyed rears for a minute or two longer. Yup, the fronts are crusty. No obvious leaks on the caliper or flex line, and the caliper seems to be able to move, so could be worse, but I will still want to clean all of this up as I like my fun cars to be clean:

And at the rear (this view is looking inwards and upwards from the left rear hub/caliper area) we can confirm that the flex line on the leaky rear is not at fault. Again, note general bits of rust here and there. The white area behind the top of the flex line had the same black undercoating as the rest of the surrounding area shortly before taking the picture. I sprayed the area down with brake cleaner, and the leaking brake fluid saturated the undercoating, so cleaning the area took it all right off. I presumed the white was primer and that we were down to primer but upon further inspection it seems Suzuki might have only painted the visible surfaces with the exterior color (more on this later.) The hard line we can see a few inches of was also soaked in DOT fluid. Starting at the union with the flex line and working upstream, the hard line comes towards the front of the car (right to left) a few inches before doing a 180 to head rearward a few inches, then does a 90 upwards and disappears upward into the small crack that is the dark spot near the center of the photo. The trouble here is that the large blocky structure that takes up most of the lower left of the photo is the gas tank, and the hard line is clipped to a bracket hanging down from the box section that makes up a main rear unibody structural member, and the line disappears upwards into a tiny crack between the two!

Looking at some schematics, the leaky hard line is routed above the gas tank, but below the trunk floor all the way across the car to a brake union at the front of the *right* rear wheel well, and the leak is at the left rear wheel well! angry No problem, to replace it I just have to drop the tank...which means unearthing the fuel lines and connectors under an access panel somewhere in the bottom of the trunk.....aaaaand then dropping the rear subframe, which means disconnecting all the brakes and dropping the exhaust and the driveshaft. I guess there is no free lunch and you don't get a fully-independent-suspension rear-drive functional sports car in 5/8ths scale and have gobs of room to work on everything!

I started to wonder about the rest of the brake hard lines, and moving forward to the engine bay, we can see that the hard line leading across to the left front has some suspicious powdery whitish pre-bubbling that doesn't look too great:

And moving down to the right front wheel well, we can see that the flex line passes an initial quick visual inspection, but the last two inches or so of the hard line leading into the flex line is bubbling and actually rusty! Eeek! Looks like I will be checking all the hard lines throughout the car, and likely replacing them all or most of them at the least:



ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
5/29/21 9:50 p.m.

The exterior of the car looks pretty OK at ten feet, but there are a few things to address upon closer inspection.

There is paint wear/fading on the hood/trunk lid. The car is silver over white primer. I'm guessing it had something draped over part of the trunk for a long time. This looks like it is worn-through enough that it is the kind of damage best fixed by a repaint, but bodywork and paint is not my forte. Let me know if you think otherwise:

There is also some mildly disconcerting bubbling on roof hoop/targa bar. This parts is made from aluminum, so I will want to clean this up sooner rather than later:

The front bumper alignment is less than ideal. Going back to the auction photos, I might have been able to spot it if I was really eagle-eyed, but I didn't. It seems to be quite common on these cars if they've had a parking lot type of  crash:

The left side mirror cap was missing. Another common issue on these; the plastic gets brittle and the little tabs holding it in place break:

There is minor rust visible in a few places, namely at the bottom edge of the outer door skins, and edges of a few other panels. The rust on the rear panel below the trunk is minorly worrying, and something I'd like to try and slow down as much as possible. I'll probably be pulling the bumper, tackling it with the wire wheel and then POR15 or similar:

Rolled fenders, which are slightly cracked at the rear. The fronts are harder to see, especially in the photo, but if you look from above in person, they are definitely a bit wobbly/slighly buckled every 2.5"-3" or so:

You might have noticed the car has stock wheels and skinny tires on it, but there are two clues upon closer inspection: the tires date to a bit less than a year ago (probably just about the time the car was getting ready to go to the Japanese auction house) and the wheels are stock seven spoke EA11R Cappucino wheels (1991-1994) and my car is a an EA21R (1995) which should have six-spoke factory alloys. The only difference between the wheels is weight and spoke count (same size) so I am guessing that the previous owner had some wider aftermarket wheels that were sold off before getting rid of the car, and some cheap used stock alloys were sourced to make it complete.

Rear window trim issues. In addition to being slightly displaced, this rubber is pretty worn. I will see if I can straighten it and push it back into place, but the long-term solution is likely special ordering an expensive long bit of rubber from Japan:


ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
5/31/21 10:20 p.m.


Under the hood things look stock with a few tweaks. This is later EA21R with the K6A engine (aluminum block and timing chain) versus the early EA11R with the F6A (iron block and timing belt.) The F6A is highly tuneable and much beloved by Suzuki enthusiasts, but I wanted the weight savings of the alloy block, and these engines are quite well supported as well since they came in a wide range of Suzuki and Arctic Cat products into the late 90's and 2000's. The mods that jump out immediately are the strut tower brace (unknown brand) and the intercooler piping complete with blue silicone hoses. I also noticed some decidely non-stock wiring across the back of the engine bay:

Poking around a little further in the footwell indicated a stock ECU, which is probably a good thing in my book, not sure I want someone else's boy-racer tuner special:

Looking around underhood seems to indicate stock turbo (probably also good news) and an aftermarket Apex'i intake, complete with heat shield that covers the driver's side half of the cone type filter...which is mounted directly behind the radiator and intercooler:

I didn't snag a picture, but the exhaust is aftermarket muffler-shop special from the cat back, with a slightly larger diameter straight pipe off the cat, and a muffler that is probably six inches long and five inches in diameter right before the exhaust tip. You can tell that it isn't stock, but with the whirly boi in the way of the exhaust pulses, the noise isn't as obnoxiously loud as you might suspect from a glance at the system. I tend to prefer stock or slighly louder than stock setups, and I am concerned that I notice minor hearing loss in myself in my mid-forties, and my dad ( in his 70's) has been struggling with his hearing since his 50's after a life of motorcycle riding and tuned cars, so I am likely to quiet this thing back down in hopes that I can preserve what I have and stave off the hearing aids as long as possible.

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
5/31/21 10:59 p.m.

Several things jumped out right away while inspecting the interior. The aftermarket steering wheel is pretty sweet, but I might replace the horn button with something more classic. Hard-to-see, but the climate control fan speed lever is missing the knob:

The driver's side door pull is missing and has an aluminum strap screwed in place. At first I wanted to replace this with stock (and I did order and receive a stock part) but after driving the car, I realized that the factory door pull sticks out a lot and takes up a ton of valuable space in a tiny interior. The aluminum strap is way thinner and much lower profile. I think I'll keep it, but to make it slightly more pleasing to the touch and stick out slightly less like a sore thumb, I think I will wrap it in a thin layer of closed-cell foam, then slip a dark gray shrink tube over it and shrink it before screwing it back in. It won't fool a concours judge, but it will look more like the rest of the interior, I hope:

Upon opening the center console cubby under the arm rest, I found the missing knob, but it was broken such that it wouldn't reattach. Note the rear trunk release inside the car, another nicety that the earlier EA11R didn't get, but comes on the EA21R:

Aftermarket alloy pedal covers for the complete boy-racer look, and they are even Räzo brand to complete the period look. The dead pedal is way too high, and puts the front side  my left thigh just above the knee about an inch from the aftermarket smaller steering wheel, and also puts the back of my left thigh probably four inches above the stock bottom seat cushion. I will likely either cut it down vertically to increase room and drop it 3-4 inches to put it more on the level of the clutch pedal, or remove it altogether:

The aftermarket Trust brand shift knob is my least favorite part of the interior. It is ugly, cold/angular/awkward to the touch, and it is grody and really worn. This will be going back to stock, or replaced with a leather/faux-leather ball or egg-shaped knob:

The shift boot has seen better days. I ordered a replacement just after picking up the car:

The driver's side seatbelt retention clip is intact, which is a major victory and minor miracle according the online Cappuccino's owner's group:

The driver's seat side bolster is not so lucky. This hole is small now, but these grow very quickly with use in my experience. I might try to patch it, but past efforts with similar damage result in an ugly spot that is slightly more stable than the ugly spot I have currently. Any advice appreciated. Note the sweet period checkered upholstery on the center panels of the seats!:

The dash upholstery has shrunk back from the passenger's side window defrost vent. Probably not much to be done here, but might try to improve it somehow someday:

The passenger side door upholstery cap also just comes off in one's hand. I got as far as figuring out that it is broken (it will sit in place via gravity) and left it at that. I will sort out whatever is missing/broken clip/bracket issue is someday. Any Cappuccino owners on here that have ever had one of these off and and know how they are supposed to attach?:

Rounding out the interior tour, we find the solution to the mystery of the non-stock wires draped across the back of the engine compartment. There is a Blitz turbo timer system installed under the dash in front of the driver's right kneecap:

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
6/1/21 5:58 a.m.

For no reason whatsoever, if you have the suspension apart could you maybe measure the wheel travel?  I'd settle for a ballpark motion ratio and the length of the shock shafts. cheeky

I want one of these.

In reply to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :

Can do. I'm likely to have the suspension apart someday, but probably not soon, so it will most likely be the latter type of measurement for now.

Here's the front subframe to give an idea of crustiness. It looks like the car was driven in winter some one of those barbaric places I've heard about that salts the roads, and then had a black undercoat/treatment/protection  done later. I know, I know, I'm spoiled and this isn't really that rusty (I can hear the keyboards clattering from those who grew up in Michigan or owned a 70's Italian car in New England) but I still want to fix this because I'm not accustomed to working on rusty cars, I don't want to fight stuck fasteners and tin worm, and I want the underside clean and tidy, like the West Coast cars I'm used to dealing with. The rust abatement project will probably be on a back burner until I get it running reliably, but then will move to a front burner pretty quickly.

Front inside of the right rear wheel well. Shouldn't need repair work, but cleaning and new coating would be nice.

 Back inside of the right rear wheel well. The panel that goes across the rear of the car, behind the rear wheels and the trunk is probably the worst rust (and can be partially seen from the other side in a previous post next to the taillight with rust around  the fastener holding on the bumper skin) The importer says that this example is pretty good as far as rust goes on Cappuccinos. He also offered to find me one better if I preferred to pass on this car, but it would involve at least a 50% increase in the budget, if not double what I spent, and he said it might take him up to a year to find. He said that cars coming out of Japan (like mine) are usually owned by someone who decides to upgrade, or dip out on the continued cost of upkeep and are typically imperfect in some ways. There are nearly flawless ones that show up every once in a while, but he said those are typically from a no-expense-spared die-hard enthusiast who passes away, and the family left behind has no car enthusiasts, so it goes up for sale. OK, I'll stick with this one and deal with the minor issues, thank you!

Top of the left rear wheel well. Yup, that fender rolling is going to require some dealing with, both from a surface rust perspective, and from a wavy-panel perspective.

Speaking of the fender roll, it also caused some issues on the front with inner fender liner fitment. Not a high priority, but  I want to remedy this at point, maybe with a thin slice of plastic? Or maybe there is enough give in all the parts involved to loosen everything up, recenter, and then retighten?

Looking inwards from the right rear wheel well towards the gas tank I need to drop to access the bad brake line. The fuel filter can be seen near the center of the photo, and it looks rusty enough I decided to get a replacement ready. We will see if an American-market Vitara part fits; it looks the same from the images I have found online, so fingers crossed. It will go in the American owner's group interchange list once confirmed.

I'd say that boot on the rear link has seen better days! The ball joint is integrated into the link and isn't replaceable, but the boot is replaceable! Hooray!

The under vehicle tour includes a glance at the underside of the spare tire well. Some flaking present under the black coating. This will get a wire wheel or will get blasted. The stock exhaust used to route left to right, and my muffler-store special takes a different path.

This is looking forward from the left front wheel well towards the grille/front bumper. The wiring mess plus the twist ties makes me think that some sort of fog lights or driving lights used to live on this car and were removed. Further investigation required.

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
6/5/21 10:39 p.m.

Here's the nickel tour of non-engine items under the hood. The battery seems strong, and fluids were obviously changed sometime not-too-long ago. The battery tray has a little rust here and there:

The cap on the windshield washer fluid bottle is cracked. At first I thought about trying to source a new cap, but then got to wondering if the rest of the bottle is a half-step behind. Replacements are readily available:

Here's what is probably the single most significant/troubling issue to pop up so far...cracking on the inner fender between the strut tops and the flange mating the inner and outer fenders. I fear it could be rust under some sort of sealer or coating. This area is a sandwich of two layers of stamping as far as I can tell. I doubt it will fail catastrophically in the next couple miles, but I also doubt I can ignore it forever, or that I can fit big sticky tires, stiff coilovers, and a big turbo and expect everything to be fine:

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
6/22/21 10:50 p.m.

So now that we are caught up on the condition of the vehicle, what have I been up to in the months since?

Well, I removed the calipers and started tearing into them, and discovered that they are fairly dirty and have some pretty impressive surface rust, (although they did seem to function OK during my test drive until the line gave out.) Given that I live/drive/keep my cars in a climate where once cleaned and painted, things won’t rust again, and given that brakes are probably the most important part of the 25-year-old used car with unknown service history, I ordered some caliper rebuild kits from the UK that didn't arrive. I argued with FedEx International quite a bit. I discovered that some years of US-market Geo Metro convertible have the same front calipers as the Cappuccino, but that the rears are totally unique. I found a potential alternate aftermarket source of rebuild kits for the rears on Yahoo Japan, and finally got the international shipping debacle sorted by convincing the seller to send me another set...it would seem he screwed up both my street address and my zip code, and the address errors sent the brake parts to an internal FedEx Purgatory...and to top it off, he is the in the UK, dealing with a shipping company that FedEx bought, but hasn't integrated into their systems yet, so the tracking number he gave me is useless for me, Fed Ex employees I can talk to, and anyone else in North America. The company he used to ship in the UK won't talk to me, and redirects me to FedEx!

In the meantime I continue to scrape rust, dust, and crap off the calipers I have. The rears are a strange combo aluminum housing for the piston, and cast iron structure for the pads and side opposite the piston...and they are bolted together with seven-sided bolts that the Suzuki factory manual suggests that YOU MUST NEVER ATTEMPT TO REMOVE!!! It would be nice to blast them, but with the material mismatch and very limited access to the blast cabinet I used to borrow, my progress inches along as I slowly file, scrape, and sand by hand. I made some progress in smoothing the rough cast bits, which should help with appearances, and help with getting a smooth painted surface that is more easily cleaned in the future, which should also help keep corrosive brake dust, salt, dirt, etc from sticking to the caliper.

Here's the scabby, rusty fronts:

And here's the scabby, rusty rears, with a lick of silver paint from the previous owner:


And here's the nastiest of the crude stamped-part burrs that are my favorite thing (along with casting seams) to removed from small parts on project cars...just makes it so much better looking, and nicer to work on down the road, as well as eliminating a hiding spot for dirt to accumulate, which leads to corrosion:

Here's the rear caliper iron portion, after a bit of filing to give you an idea...it is rough, porous, and has ridges that remind me a geology lesson from college, something about glaciers...

I also had a minor issue with sourcing braided stainless brake lines, but got that sorted. Then I found that the caliper pistons were suspect, so I started hunting for replacements for those. Might as well replace every single gosh-darn part of the brake system save the caliper casting and the master cylinder while I am at it...should make it good for years to come...laugh

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
7/5/21 10:45 p.m.

Brake parts kept trickling in, and some potential alternate aftermarket caliper rebuild kits I got from Yahoo Japan Auctions arrived and looked to be correct. I still planned to use the genuine Suzuki rebuild kits since they finally arrived, but here's the aftermarket ones in case anyone is interested in details:


The other thing that arrived was genuine Suzuki hard lines to replace almost everything on the car. Sadly, two of the lines were completely wrong at the master cylinder end...wrong length, wrong location, wrong bends. I am guessing in hindsight that perhaps they are for one of the Cappuccinos with optional ABS. I chalked it up to the pitfalls of buying stuff from Japan over the internet from the US, using an automated translator, and/or a parts fiche and my best guess. All was not lost, as the longer of the two lines wasn't protected at one end, and looked like it had been sitting in a coastal warehouse for long enough to get rusty!

This is NOT the correct line from the master cylinder secondary output to the splitter/valve for a 1995 non-ABS EA21R Cappuccino:

And this is NOT the correct line to the left front for a 1995 non-ABS EA21R Cappuccino, and is rusty on the inside. Ah well, it is only $20-some to get the correct ones...and a couple weeks to get from Japan....and about $60 shipping. sad

The front calipers actually looked pretty good as far as the bore goes:

I didn't get a photo, but the rear bores are aluminum and therefore totally rust-free, and no scoring. Hooray! The pistons, however...

OK, time to spend some more money overseas, and wait a few weeks for shipping. The front parts came from Rock Auto (early-90's Geo Metro convertible parts cross over) and I found some upgraded aftermarket pistons for the Cappuccino-only rears from an Australian supplier on eBay.

I continued cleaning and deburring rear caliper parts. Here are the rear e-brake parts after a little hand filing. I was undecided on paint/powder/plating for these at this point, but figured no harm in cleaning them up.

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
7/5/21 11:08 p.m.

While I was sitting around staring at the heavy iron front calipers, something of interest popped up in my Instagram feed:

Wow; and the parts were designed and manufactured in the USA! I sent the guy a message and he was happy to make me a set and provide me with a list of Wilwood part numbers plus brake rotor details! His handle is 1uzta40 if anyone else is interested.

Given that most of my cars are street cars that see occasional motorsports events a few times a year, these days I tend to avoid slotted rotors. In my experience, they eat up brake pads quickly and can make strange warbling noises at low speed on the street. I do really, really, really like the e-coated or other anti-corrosion coated rotors, and am willing to spend extra so that my rotor hats, edges, and inside of the vanes don't rust immediately. A few weeks later I had this mocked up on my own car:

Along the way there were also a few hiccups with incorrect braided brake lines from the UK, and I also got hasty and took a stab at ordering rotors before I got the correct parts list from 1uzta40, so I got one wrong set of rotors. If anyone wants some really nice 4x114.3mm 280mm Nissan vented front rotors, I am open to offers (Sentra, G20, four-lug Altima, JDM PS13, KPS13, plus some Skylines, Cedrics, and Laurels.)

Here's the correct "big" brake rotors next to stock-sized Cappuccino rotors:

The extra width of the bigger rotors is perfect for the Wilwood calipers, and the extra thermal mass will be nice if I start chasing more power at some point. The weight savings in the aluminum caliper offsets the weight gained in the rotor. I did a bunch of math, and the small diameter gain with the new rotors nearly perfectly matches what I anticipate for a small loss with the change in total brake caliper piston area. Fingers crossed that it works well out of the box! There are a few other Americans running this kit, including the 400-500hp boosted Ecotec-powered Cappuccino back east (Kappy Kaiju if your curiousity is piqued and you want to get googlin') and Mickey's Cappuccino project in San Diego featured on the Throtl youtube channel, so early indications are that it works.

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
7/5/21 11:49 p.m.

Speaking of Mickey's Throtl project car, I saw that he was selling his Suzuki Sport muffler, and hopped on it. The straight pipe on my car is entertaining for a test drive, but something tells me that my middle-aged self might have little patience with it for regular use. I want to keep the limited hearing I have left, so I am sensitive about such matters as aftermarket exhaust. The Suzuki Sport is supposed to be just a skosh more audible than stock.

As with seemingly just about everything on this project, there were shipping problems. There was some sort of hiccup with the address, and despite both Mickey and I doing all we could with UPS, they claimed there was no way to redirect the shipment to the correct address! Well, hey, Mickey and I both had a few extra hours to burn waiting on hold on the phone and sending emails that resulting in nothing, so why worry? wink

In the end, I was eventually able to retrieve the package from a local UPS depot. In case you are wondering, a boxed Suzuki Sport muffler, plus rear pipe, plus downpipe->rear pipe "midpipe?" will juuuust fit into an FR-S if you slide the seats to right position and open the door aaaaaalll the way. laugh I'm really glad, because I got the box out to the parking lot about five minutes after the depot was supposed to close, and I would have been out of luck if not!

I bought the muffler and exhaust bits as "should clean up pretty well if you put the elbow grease in" and they came as advertised.

So I put in some elbow grease on the stainless and did a little POR15 on the rustiest parts of the hangers:

The exhaust fasteners had seen better days, and I pressed them out to see out replacing with a stud, or perhaps a bolt:

I decided to ditch the used fasteners and get some new stainless. I wasn't able to find the correct sort of bolt/knurled stud setup in the correct size, so I decided to go for a sleeve instead and will open up the holes in the flanges that were once press-in just a little bit if needed:

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
7/6/21 10:14 p.m.

Some of the exterior parts I ordered to complete the look started to arrive. I bought one of the best-looking mirror caps I could find on Yahoo Japan Auctions, and it was the Limited dark metallic green. When it showed up, three of the four little plastics tabs were intact, and I suspect it was that way when sold in Japan. It holds well enough that a dab of putty or some double-sided 3M tape might do the trick...plus a repaint:

I'm not sure why, but I also like the look of color-coded factory mudflaps on my sports coupes. I added a set to my FR-S, and not only do they look smart, but they help keep the sides of the car cleaner in the copious Pacific NW wet weather. I got some for the Cappuccino as well, looking for the best condition (but possibly still needing repair) color-matched ones I could find. Two minor hiccups when they showed up:

I found a couple sets that looked promising and figured I could mix and match. So I knew from examining the photos that the front right one had a tear and some abrasion, and the left rear one has a gouge that will need some filling, but what I didn't anticipate is that the Japanese market champagne, or silvery-beige metallic, or "gold" metallic or whatever the heck they call it would look so much like the silver of my car on a computer screen. The fronts are champagne, and the rears are the correct silver to match the car. They don't look so bad when spaced like this, but when you hold them up the car it becomes exceedingly obvious. I can paint these to match, but the prep work involved is tedious enought I'd rather not if I can help it.

Then the second issue is the extent of the damage to the left front:

Hmmm...trying to repair these sounds like a few too many plastic staples, lots of hours spent, a repaint, and results that still don't meet my expectations...so I guess I'll mosey back over to Yahoo Japan Auctions and keep browsing.

malibuguy GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
7/7/21 12:01 a.m.

You might want to rethink using stainless hardware for the exhaust...they will gall and then usually requiring to cut them off.

I once had a customer hand snug some BS pipes on a street rod literally to just drive it a few miles to me.  Brand new ARP bolts.  I had to destroy each and every one.  It was baffling.  And just about every other situation ive had with aftermarket stainless hardware has given me greif.

Also I know a trick to restore that stainless exhaust with nearly no effort I made a video if you want to see.

malibuguy said:

You might want to rethink using stainless hardware for the exhaust...they will gall and then usually requiring to cut them off.

Also I know a trick to restore that stainless exhaust with nearly no effort I made a video if you want to see.

Thanks for the input; I'll bear it in mind. I typically slather all exhaust fasteners with copious high-temp anti-seize; do you think the stainless will be a galling risk even with anti-seize?

I'll bite on the video as well. Got a link you can share?

malibuguy GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
7/7/21 8:13 p.m.

In reply to ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) :

anti seize definitely helps, when that has been used i have seen maybe 50/50 results.  For the most part I just use standard hardware, its cheap, I can snap it easier or burn it out if things go south, but usually it has to be MANY years old and rusted solid to need to get out the extra effort.  


ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
7/7/21 10:53 p.m.

In reply to malibuguy :

Awesome, thanks! smiley

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
7/7/21 11:12 p.m.

The other aesthetic touch I was fixating on is a subtle rear spoiler. Looking at pictures online, the original Suzuki spoiler that came on the somewhat-rare Limited models is the most appealing to me. Of course there is no part number I could find, no listing in the parts fiche, and no luck buying one from Suzuki, so the hunt is on for this one! Here's some inspiration I found online, and the first one is even the right color and has the mudguards as well...handsome! This look is a shrunken version of the subtle OEM+ look on my FR-S:

For further reference, there are loads of spoilers available on the Japanese aftermarket that are downright comical. I'm honestly not sure how many of these are the result of modifying an existing design for a more normal-sized car and how many of them are attempting to intentionally exaggerate the scale of everything for effect, but in either case, it really doesn't come off well, and the tiny size of the car speaks for itsself already. There are dozens more examples that I could have added here, but I'll spare you:

After digging through some old SCORE newsletters (Suzuki Cappuccino Owners and Restorers from the UK) I read a few references to using a Mk1 Audi TT spoiler and having really good results. I couldn't find pictures of examples, but figured what the heck, and tracked down a used one on eBay for a reasonable price for an experiment. It was even a silver that wasn't too terrible of a mismatch:

And the highly-scientific and meticulously measured and placed mockup:

Not too shabby! In the end I decided to hold out a little longer to see if I could find a genuine Suzuki Limited model spoiler. If anyone is in the market for an Audi TT spoiler, for a Cappuccino, a TT, or ???, let me know...it is already boxed and ready to ship to a new home!

The last bit of news for this update is that the deburring, blasting and powdercoating is ramping up. First up was the slightly crusty battery tray, and it came out great! This type of progress is so satisfying to me, it really drives me along to see these parts as good as (or better than new.)

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
7/14/21 1:25 a.m.

The next few weeks worth of work are all taking place under the car, so grab some grubby work clothes, strap on a headlamp, and let's see what's going on on the not-so-shiny side. The driving imperative is still to replace the leaking brake hard line above the gas tank, but there is a fair bit of hardware in the way of accessing that brake line that will need to be dealt with first.

There is a brake hard line along the bottom of the car to take fluid back to the rear splitter in the driver's side rear wheel well, and then out to both rear calipers (including the leaky line from driver's side rear wheel well to passenger's side caliper.) This rearward hard line is routed alongside the fuel lines under the car, so there is a foursome of hard lines, rear brake, fuel supply, fuel return, and EVAP, all bundled together, and all protected by a nice series of sheet metal protectors running the length of the car. I started pulling the protective plates off, having fun, and figuring I'd be replacing lines by lunchtime, and then bleeding brakes a bit before beer o' clock the same day. Reality had a different plan once I started uncovering things. Next to these lines at a point under the driver's footwell, right where floor meets the bottom of the engine compartment firewall, there was a bunch of rubbery undercoating stuff. It was obviously some sort of aftermarket schmoo that is probably promised to perform wonders on rusty sheet metal if you just coat the problem area. cheekysurprise This car has next-to-no seam sealer or undercoating from the factory, and some well-meaning previous owner paid some shop in Japan money to "help" with the rust problem. I decided to to start peeling off the rubbery schmoo to get an idea of what was underneath. It was right there, looking like a itchy scab that is about the flake off, and well, wouldn't you have starting picking at it, too?

The bolt to the right of the area I'm picking is one of the front subframe mounts, so...I'm not an engineer, but I'm gonna go ahead and guess that it is structural, and furthermore I'm going to guess that it is likely to impart some force into the surrounding area/sheetmetal. Well, let's keep peeling....devil

Hmmm....not looking so good....berkeley!

If we let it rest for a while, it will probably heal itsself, right?

berkeley, berkeley, berkeley....this is not what I had in mind. Import a car from Japan, they said....it will be fun, they said....many Japanese cars are low mileage and well-cared-for, they said...crying

This view is looking forward on the driver's side. Reality was setting in, and I was coming to grips with the fact that this is no longer a wire-wheel-and-lick-of-paint project. Hope for the best, and prepare for the worst, and all that. Guess I'm going to be doing some sheet metal repair, complete with the cutting, grinding, fabricating, welding, more grinding, seam sealing, painting, and all that. Then the scope of things started to settle. That means I will need to pull all the carpet and interior bits the other side of this floor...and drop the front subframe, which means dropping the engine and trans, which means I no longer have any excuse for not tackling the worthless second-gear synchro problem in the trans, and when I'm done I'm going to have to think about paint and undercoating and stuff...OK, so maybe, just maybe the rust repair isn't on the back burner. But then I started looking further. The subframe mouting bolt that is connected mostly to air and a little swiss cheese of rust flakes is one of two rear subframe mouting bolts per side, and then there are two top mouting bolts per side, and one front mounting bolt per side. For those counting, that's ten total, five per side, and one of the driver's side is barely connected, and the corresponding passenger's side bolt is in better shape....so maybe I CAN actually get the brakes working, drive it some this summer, and deal with the rust next winter....yeah, that sounds like a plan!

After my discovery, I starting looking around the rest of the underside, but I'd located the worst of it, and the rest looked somewhat better. Here's the potentially notoriously-bad seam between the driver's side floor pan and the trans tunnel. Could use a cleaning and recoating if we're being proactive, but not too bad. I went ahead and started working on dropping the exhaust, by pulling off the   first of two tunnel-stiffener/cover plates from the very bottom of the underbody tunnel.

The plates in the tunnel are aluminum, and are bolted to steel, and there is a little corrosion and bubbling visible underneath the points where they were bolted fast together, but still doesn't look too bad. Note the broken exhaust mounting bolt just right of center. We will also have to see what, if anything, is under the front driveshaft support just left of center.

Here's the back of the driver's side floor pan, where it meets the panel that turns upward into the rear-subframe-area firewall. More rubbery schmoo, and more flaking, but I am guessing this will only need light patching.

A couple more of the midway point of the tunnel...time will tell what this holds once we get a wire wheel under here, or a sandblaster, or an acid-dippper...

Here's the view looking up and rearward at the back of the tunnel with the exhaust out. Sure, there is a some rust bubbling, but none that looks like it will flake off to reveal big holes, which is a relief. The driveshaft is certainly a bit scabby, but should be fixable with some sanding or wire wheel and a bit of paint. The copious gobs of rubbery schmoo in the lower right at the point where the rear subframe bolts to the unibody with two bolts is mildly-troubling given my recent traumatic experience, but I decide to tackle this another day.

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
7/14/21 2:18 a.m.

Here's the exhaust rear section removed from the car. It is oversized, doesn't follow the stock routing, and doesn't have much of a muffler.

As seen here, it is also routed a bit too far to the left at the rear of the car, and has melted quite a lot of bumper. So that explains why the rearmost body-side exhaust hanger looks like it has been bent quite a long ways to the right! laugh

Upon closer inspection, what I thought was a tiny muffler or resonator at the terminus of the exhaust turns out to just be a ridiculously-large hollow tip, and condensation/rust collection point....surprise

Thank goodness for pneumatic impact tools for getting this stuff apart. This view is looking upstream from below into the close-coupled cat/downpipe. Looks to be in good shape! yes


And the broken exhaust fastener again. This one is not going to be fun! I resolved to hit this with penetrating oil each time I get back under the car until I try to remove it.

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
7/14/21 2:16 p.m.

I decided I would move back up top for a little bit so I could tackle some small tasks I had a very strong likelihood of being able to call done at the end of the day. I started removing the brake hard line that runs across to the left front wheel well. I broke a plastic clip, but to be fair it was in the general vicinity of the turbo and about as brittle as can be. Thankfully cheap enough to replace.

Looking at these closely on the bench, I'm really pleased with my decision to just replace all the hard lines.

For some unknown reason, a previous owner decided to try and cover this seam at the top of the firewall within a non-stock rubber trim piece, meaning it rusted insanely quickly. sad Almost all the metal tabs with a hole that are designed to serve as attachment points for wiring harness, vacuum lines, etc are now rusted through and dangling.

In order to lift my mood, I started replacing the washer fluid bottle, and got the very gratifying job of cleaning up all this leaf debris, dirt, and cobwebs BEFORE it started a bunch of rust. wink

Further poking around revealed more brittle/tired plastic bits, many not pictured, but I added checking around the engine bay (with zip ties and p-clamps close at hand) to my future to-do list.

In preparation for disconnecting fuel lines below the car and dropping the gas tank, I started nibbling at the lines up top on the fuel rail and charcoal canister. These look crusty as well, which is becoming par for the course. More stuff to replace while I'm in there, but I don't want to be tracking down fuel and/or vacuum leaks later.

I finished off the day by trying out my old Starlet shift knob, which I hung onto for sentimental reasons when selling that car twenty years ago. I had bought a new stock one, which felt better than the angular metal knob that came on the car, but the textured gray plastic phallus OE knob encapsulated everything aesthetically disappointing about cheap 90's cars, and I think the Starlet knob looks much better. It is even about the right scale and has the correct shift pattern!

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) Dork
7/14/21 2:22 p.m.

Diving back under the car I started on the next steps to prep for dropping the subframe, and then gas tank to get eventual access to the brake line. To get to the driveshaft I had to remove the second aluminum tunnel stiffener/divider panel. This one runs below the driveshaft and above the exhaust. Given how dusty/dirty the topside was, plus how...friendly...the contact points were with the original tunnel paint, I doubt this has ever been removed. The years worth of dust and salt residue sitting up there did a number on the finish of the aluminum!

Here's a closeup of the top surface after a cleaning and a bit of elbow grease with a scotch brite. Once I get this clean, I'll likely paint it with high-temp paint in an aluminum color. I know nobody will see it, but I will know and it will eat away at me...

A sandwich of thin painted steel and bare aluminum in the underside of the car is lightweight and sexy, but also a recipe for corrosion.

I got the angle and light just right to peek up between the tank and the rear 'frame rail' structural member at the "good" i.e. non-leaky side of the rear brakes and it looks a bit scary from a rust perspective...uh-oh!

A few friends stopped by to check out the Cappuccino project, and one of them had just picked up an imported 90's Mini, which made for a fun afternoon of comparing notes on our experiences, and our little momentum cars. smiley

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