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RedGT Dork
9/4/20 2:11 p.m.

I'm like the 6th owner, all I know is the CD's are from someone prior to the most recent time the car was auctioned :p

RedGT Dork
9/10/20 2:37 p.m.

OK, so I have done a fair amount on this and neglected to document any of it.  Working on that when i get a chance but life has been busy.

* O2 sensor seems to have done the trick.  CEL gone.  The sensor removal from the exhaust was a piece of cake.  The connection above the trans is hidden behind the oil filter and under the cowl and super fun to reach:

* New spark plugs installed.  Old ones were well used but not terrible.


On the rear two plugs, access is easy from below.  The front two are better off going through the driver side wheel well with an extension - but still manipulating the socket itself from below.  The correct tool here is a 19mm or 3/4" spark plug socket which I didn't even know I had!  Neat!

When doing this you need to make sure not to swap the plugs or wires, in particular swapping the wrong wires will run but instant detonation.  So I took lots of notes on scrap wood:

RedGT Dork
9/10/20 2:55 p.m.

BennetBuilt LS Ignition Coil kit installed.  Cramming everything in the factory location isn't the easiest thing, and of course no instructions are provided.  But it's mostly in there and the wires are mostly not rubbing on anything sharp, hot or spinning.

Remove airbox, which is step 1 to working on practically anything in the engine bay, it's huge.  Remove intake bellows.  Drink iced coffee from Batman glass.

Remove factory coils.  3 bolts, 10mm heads.  One vertical behind the lift point, two horizontal above the A/C compressor.  Label coil plugs and plug wires.

New stuff roughly in position:

Access to the vertical screw is even more fun with more wires in the area now.

All set except for wire management:

"Wire management" or close enough:

This wire said this on it so i did:

All done.  Started right up!  I swear the idle sounds rougher but it may just be a little lower.  Throttle response, power and general smoothness through the rpm range are all noticeably better.  In particular free-revving such as when rev matching downshifts, is MUCH improved.  This now feels like the two well-cared-for RX8's I drove recently.  Love it.  So smooth.


RedGT Dork
9/10/20 3:00 p.m.

* Leather front seats out, cloth seats in.  Leather front seats sold.  Still need to drop the seat pan on the cloth seats though.

* Cat removed last night, to make sure it comes out of the car easily when I go visit a buddy to have the new cat welded in soon.  It...did not come out easily.  But it IS out and ready to go back in with fresh anti-siezed hardware and gaskets now, 2 hours later.

Looks like the cat was beginning to clog, but not too bad.  Will be reinstalling this for about another 50 miles.

RedGT Dork
9/10/20 3:01 p.m.

Plopped it on the (+/- 20 lb) scales at a local trucking yard.  3,000 pounds on the dot.



And yesterday it passed inspection AND emissions and got stickers, a proud achievement for any $2k beater.

wvumtnbkr GRM+ Memberand UberDork
9/10/20 3:05 p.m.

Just as a hint



The spark plugs are labelled with a T or an L.  Leading is lower.  Trailing is top.

Most of the stock spark plug wires are labelled as well.

RedGT Dork
9/11/20 1:49 p.m.

One thing that drove me nuts the whole 3 times i have filled up so far, is the lack of a gas cap holder.  The internet says you should loop the tether around the spring that pops the fuel door open but that's.....that's dumb.  So I printed this up.


Need to tweak to fit better but not bad out of the box.  Top friction fits under the door support structure and the bottom doesn't quite snap as intended so it's held with double sided tape for now.  Works great.

rande New Reader
9/12/20 3:18 a.m.

In reply to mr2s2000elise :

I've been researching this lately.  I've found lots of people say they want to do it but few actually follow through to completion.  There are some really nice swaps but most of the swaps I've been seeing are only partially finished.  

RedGT Dork
10/2/20 9:59 p.m.

The continuing theme here is that I am getting work done on the car but utterly failing to document it.

The other theme is '0 expectations' and every day the car starts and runs is a good one!

So to attempt to catch up the last 3 weeks:

We welded up a cat pipe.  Total cost:

$90 high flow metal core cat

$20 of 3" SS pipe

$-500 cash for the OEM cat at the recycler!  If I worked harder I could have gotten almost 4 digits for the original cat, but was content with cash in hand and letting an acquaintance who deals in them flip it and make some money.  He's actually the guy who purchased this rust-free car from auction in the first place, on behalf of the dude I bought it from, so hey, thanks buddy.

Another friend who has built 3 pipes like this so far did most of the cutting and welding:

Aaaaaaaand done!

I like this setup.  For (-)$380 it is the best exhaust part I've ever bought!  It is as quiet as stock, apparently retaining the OEM resonator is a huge key to this.  The cat is brand new, metal core, with large pores so combined with the upgraded ignition system should take a long time to begin clogging again.

Used a remflex gasket for the first time and holy E36 M3 I need to put these on everything.  Especially anything with old, bent or rusty flanges.

SO by this point (mid september) I no longer felt guilty driving the car all over the place so I proceeded to do exactly that.

RedGT Dork
10/2/20 10:12 p.m.

After that I was insanely busy for two weeks., just getting out to the garage for 20 minutes here and there.

-Autocrossed the Miata. 

-Had two trees taken down and spent about 12 hours, evenings only, cutting and hauling it off, in between extended work days and kid activities.

-Work has been insane. 

-Autocrossed the daily driver Fiesta. 

-Had the kid's birthday weekend. 

-More insane work schedule. 

-Somewhere in there I managed to vacuum half of the interior and replace front pads and rotors on the RX-8.  No pics because...pads.  rotors.  rust.  brake fluid.  etc.  One pad separated from the backplate and fell out during disassembly, first time I saw that happen. 

-Removed the Sirius antenna wart from the trunk, along with 12 years of adhesive and rust stains.  Silicone spray was actually great for that. 

-Removed the dealer decal from the trunk as well. 

-Adjusted the clutch pedal to shift the engagement point a little closer to the floor.

-More or less reattached the very broken undertray panels that were getting looser due to the wind load of increasingly test-y 'test drives'.  There's a lot of zip ties involved.

-'installed' an OEM flat repair kit which also serves as a nice premix bottle holder:

-Balanced the stock type tires on OEM wheels.  Most were out by 2 ounces or so.  The car rides a LOT better on these wheels now, but one is bent and still not quire right even though it balances out OK.

-Tried a few plastic restoration products on the exhaust trim and didn't really like the results from either one:

RedGT Dork
10/2/20 10:15 p.m.

About 8pm I set out to replace the driver side engine mount since it seemed like the engine rocked the most off that side.  Lots of penetrating oil and working slowly and carefully...nothing broke and the new mount was in by 9:30.  Less than 12 hours later the car was sitting in grid ready to autocross:


RedGT Dork
10/2/20 10:27 p.m.

Front camber is a total of 0.3*, which I'm pretty sure is comprised of 0.4* on one side and literally positive camber on the other.

The car is stock legal except for the cat, which I am OK fudging for local competition since I have none of the legal power mods on the car.  However the wheels are an inch too wide so I ran it in STX to be safe.  Wheel width is potentially a big advantage, though i don't think it is worth much here when talking about a 245 tire on an 8" vs a 9".

Finished basically last in STX.  But would have easily been 1st in CS.  And did beat the beautiful blue DSP car in the photo above, though it's not prepped for DSP at all I don't think.

On stock suspension the car drives very nicely.  Predictable and nimble-enough as long as you remember you're in a stock class car and lead all the inputs by a bit, and don't get late on anything on course.  The 245/17 Michelin PS4S tires, while not top-tier 200TW autocross tires, did phenomenally well even on a fully dry course.  I like them a lot.  But at $900+ a set brand new, I can't imagine ever buying them again.  (this set I bought used)

In fact it was so much fun in stock trim I decided to leave the suspension alone for a while.

Found a set of used Bridgestone RE71R tires that fit the factory rims so I can reasonably run in CS.  235/40r18 is a little short but it's close enough (speedo reads ~4 mph high at 65 mph), stock-class-legal, and the price was right.  Also bought a second set of factory wheels hoping all four of these are round.

My favorite tire hauler!

It costs about 6 cents a mile to run while the RX-8 is something north of 20 cents a mile since it's getting 14 mpg on premium with premix.  RX-8...not the economical choice.

RedGT Dork
10/2/20 10:30 p.m.

I neglected to take any pics of the 8 with RE71 mounted, but i'll remedy that tomorrow.  Headed to another autocross, this time on proper tires and in a class it is closer to prepped for....though still on stock 100k suspension with positive camber.

And I don't really fit in the car with a helmet yet, never got around to working on the seat.  I slouch.  It works.  Mostly.

The cool part is, the way the car sits RIGHT NOW, not on the RPF1/michelin STX setup but on the stock wheels and used RE71, total budget applied by my standards is $2585.  By $2000 challenge budget rules that number is about $2330.  If I had driven 3 hours to get top dollar for the scrap catalytic converter, this thing would just barely be challenge legal.  That's pretty cool.

2Girlsracing New Reader
10/3/20 4:03 a.m.

Nice work , im in the process of rebuilding one myself . Could you possibly measure from headlight to headlight for me? Something is funky in my front end!

RedGT Dork
10/3/20 7:06 a.m.

It really does not look that bad on the tiny tires in daylight.

IHitCones2 New Reader
10/3/20 7:06 a.m.
RedGT said:

One thing that drove me nuts the whole 3 times i have filled up so far, is the lack of a gas cap holder.  The internet says you should loop the tether around the spring that pops the fuel door open but that's.....that's dumb.  So I printed this up.


Need to tweak to fit better but not bad out of the box.  Top friction fits under the door support structure and the bottom doesn't quite snap as intended so it's held with double sided tape for now.  Works great.

Slick solution.  My memory is fuzzy, but I remeber there wer 2 slots on the cap collar that allowed you hang the cap off the top of the door too. 

Nice find, would love to pick up another on of these again.

RedGT Dork
10/3/20 2:43 p.m.

In reply to IHitCones2 :

You would think.  I've had cars with that type of cap.  But this appears to be the OEM cap and does not have the little slots.

RedGT Dork
10/14/20 4:07 p.m.

Pictures! From this side it looks almost normal.


With ALL the body roll!

RedGT Dork
10/14/20 4:13 p.m.

Given the decision to leave it in Street class for now, and apparently, try to make it faster in street class without spending real money on shocks, it's time for a sway bar.  Since the car is already plenty stable and slaloms sorta OK - and the sites where I am going to be running this tend to have very very few fast slaloms/offsets, and lots of sweepers/slowtightpainfuljunk - adding a bigger front bar doesn't sound very fun.  And unlike NA/NB Miatas that I am used to, people running these cars in street class do NOT seem to put on the biggest honkin' front bar they can find, often running an aftermarket NC Miata front bar rather than the much larger RX-8 options available.  After ending up with +8 psi in the rear tires last event on the stock bars, I can see why.  So a bigger REAR bar and endlinks will arrive next week.  If I end up backwards and on fire I'll let you know.

RedGT Dork
10/26/20 9:14 a.m.

Well, the car is still in one piece.  This video is with the Progress rear sway bar for an NC Miata installed and on full stiff.  With square tire pressures I really liked how it drove, especially rotating on throttle out of the turnaround.  This car isn't what I would choose to run at this site which is 90% slaloms, since I also have an STS Miata, but I was dying to see how the bar felt.  It was much more enjoyable to drive and I won the class, beating a few people I'd been chasing at previous events.

Still no camber/unknown alignment.  So instead of doing that, I bought shocks, which might arrive before the last event of the year.  This is a stupid hobby.  I love it.

RedGT Dork
11/3/20 2:12 p.m.

Another event in the books, this time on a course with more sweepers.  That's good.  However this course also had 2 pin turns, 2 loops, and a butt-puckering full throttle finish with the car loaded up sideways over a blind crest with a bump.  (and yes, somebody crashed through a fence as a result)  So, it was exactly the kind of shenanigans I built this car for.

It was really really REALLY fun.  As long as you get entry speed somewhat reasonable, you can drive it out of the corner with the throttle and it'll rotate as much as you want it to.  Won the class by about 2 seconds, although the person I have been fighting closely with wasn't able to attend.  11th in Pax and 13th in Raw out of 100 entries.

Washing cars is overrated.  I'm enjoying leaving this one dirty.

RedGT Dork
11/3/20 2:22 p.m.

After I bought my first Miata it took a solid three years before I owned two of them at the same time.  With RX-8's I barely made it three months before that happened.


chandler UltimaDork
11/3/20 5:40 p.m.

Heck yeah

RedGT Dork
11/4/20 7:57 a.m.

The paint is trashed on this one (faded/worn down to the primer in spots, from sitting outdoors for 8 years) but it has 33k miles and is SUPER clean and rust free underneath.


RedGT Dork
11/4/20 8:01 a.m.

Silver car rear suspension linkages:


Red car suspension linkages:

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