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Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
11/16/16 3:59 p.m.

I totally missed that you were now prepping for actual rally use. Awesome. Here's a reminder of you in days past. three years eight months ago actually

fidelity101 wrote: ............ Ideally I would like to stage rally THIS car but due to RA rules I cannot be a beginner in group 5. So I will have to rack up "experience points to unlock that level" with NASA and rally school(s) in the meantime. Don't need a cage in rallycross but yes I would likely have TRF do my cage, but stage rally for me is on the 5 year plan/goal. Or buy a golf or something G2 ready then sell it when I'm done.

Still need hans and various safety clothing, among some more work on the suburban (see frankenburban thread) and general licensing/entry fee cash.

I would have ordered 5 point SFI cert harnesses and etc but they would expire by the time I do take the plunge, however the seats are FIA cert and fixed back so its legal for NASA, PPIHC and RA. So in the meantime I went with some 4 points that are bolt in.

I already have a hub adapter for the steering wheel and a nice wood momo steering wheel but the wood is starting to crack and its too small diameter of a wheel for no PS and lots of sideways action.

its all about thinking ahead :) which is a prelude to this next engine build. Basically the next engine is a bassis for the engine that with replace that one...

fidelity101 SuperDork
11/17/16 8:06 a.m.

Looks like I did everything I planned or assumed I would :)

fidelity101 SuperDork
11/20/16 8:34 p.m.

The Next rallycross is Dec 3rd so in between now and then I need to flush the brake fluid, replace front pads/rotors. I just got stoptech slotted rotors from rockauto at a very good price so I decided to get a matching pair for the front of my rx7. some speeds were top of 2nd gear of me and then it was followed by very tight turn but without braking confidence it was very difficult to shed that speed and keep up with momentum.

this last rallycross was a good shakedown but I will also have to add a cat for stage rally rules and I still have an existing exhaust leak at my only flange surface... so a v-band flange setup should clear that up and instead of a 100% rigid exhaust a flexpipe will added to ensure gasket function retention better and less stress of the engine block studs.

I'm toying with sno*drift this year as my first rally... its close and I know the roads and area very well and if you've been following my thread you know I love going sideways.

I have a small list of things to change to be ready for this and almost 2 months to do so...

This would be my 10th consecutive snodrift but 1st participation and with the whole RA v ARA nonsense going on right now I wonder if there will be a 2018 snodrift...

fidelity101 SuperDork
12/12/16 8:40 a.m.

Did not make the rallycross... I installed the brake rotors and pads and went to seat them in and developed a clunk on the way back from testing. Apparently all the sudden stopping then acceleration broke one of the rear subframe studs that sticks out of the body. This had broken before due to a breaker bar and rust accident (should have just heated it) so I managed to break the fix which was a cut bolt welded on the end.

so now its time to do some exploratory surgery....

something like this...


sad trombone.

Only thing left before snowdrift is fix this issue then re-align the car....

and do a rear main seal + clutch and some door panels!

fidelity101 SuperDork
1/1/17 8:01 p.m.

long story short, the good news is that the rear main is dry, the bad news is that its the oil pan as usual and while the engine is out it will get a new spec clutch but spec forgot to ship the billet aluminum pressure plate so I am on hold for parts right now, I will know by the end of this week if i will be racing in sno*drift or not...

fidelity101 SuperDork
1/9/17 3:16 p.m.

Just signed up for sno*drift - stay tuned!

gas tank skid plate fabrication occured over the weekend as did some other small items. I'll get to posting pics soon but each day ticks away that I don't knock off something on the to-do list.

wish me luck!

wvumtnbkr GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/11/17 10:29 a.m.

Good Luck! Were all counting on you!

fidelity101 SuperDork
2/6/17 11:49 a.m.

Okay so now I have some overdue updates to share just been too busy wrenching to be taking photos and sharing stories  However that has changed but let’s bring you up to speed first 

After the brakes were installed and I broke my stud fix We had to get surgical and I had to trim a little on the baseplate and cut/peel away some interior metal to get at the spot welds for the stud as you can see here:

With those ground down a quick hit of the hammer and it popped up!

It is a one piece multi staged tapered and splined bolt so building a new one would be tough and expensive but luckily a buddy of mine has a rusted out parts car (read shell) that we managed to salvage this piece from and re-install it into the rally car! (God I love saying that!)

Prepped the surface and was ready to weld the new one in place and everything bolted together like it should!

Now moving on to the fun stuff instead of fixing my faults… I installed the battle version rear toe links as the ones on the car were original to the car from 86 – the bushings were starting to go and these are lighter and stronger. However the small camber links that link the rear lower control arm to the subframe were also original to the car and developed a clunk in its bushing after the 1st service at sno*drift – these are no longer available from mazda but I think a mcmaster carr heim joint should be sufficient. Now I didn’t have to remove the rear subframe to do the toe links or probably even to fix the subframe chassis stud but it helped. Once we reinstalled that it was time to drop the gas tank because we need gas tank skid protection. If you noticed in the other older photos of the underbody the gas tank is well exposed which is a big no no for rally but perfectly fine for rallycross.

So we followed the design of the front but made it serviceable because I need to remove the brace to drain the oil (potentially) or at least when I drop the subframe or diff. We built it out of over/under sized C channel and welded it together, the bottom part unbolts and then its just left with the 2 large C channels that are welded to the frame rail, since the diff cover is aluminum this hangs a little lower to be protection for the diff as well as the gas tank.

So that was the front part of the skid plate the other part was cutting out the rusted wheel well portion and adding L bracket bracing and thicker (18 gauge) sheet of steel, from there we welded and boxed in a C channel with weld nuts.

Now with these 2 anchor points I ran a partially bent piece of 3/16th 3” wide and ran from brace to brace so I can attach the HPDE sheet

Ta da!

fidelity101 SuperDork
2/6/17 11:50 a.m.

Now since I had some “free time” I was chasing what I thought was a rear main seal or the o-ring that goes around the stationary gear oil leak so to do so you need to pull the engine. (for either one of them)

But when I pulled it I realized it was the pan gasket and the rear main/rear stat gear o-ring was fine! No witness marks and dry as a bone! So I pulled the engine and ordered up an oil pan brace and new hardware to hopefully stop this pesky leak. I had to tear apart the baffle and the oil pan constantly cleaning and scraping it was aweful. It took a few days of keeping the garage at 60 degrees and letting the carb clean evaporate and ensure no dirt or dust or oil was left on the gasket surfaces, chase all threads with your taps and add blue Loctite to each new bolt and follow the RTV torque procedure – lets see if this lasts me more than a year. Part of the reason is that I think my solid engine mounts are too stiff so its shaking bolts loose. I may opt to a poly or mazdaspeed hardened rubber in the near future because oil pan gasket leaks are a multi day labor intensive process to do it right and I hate every minute of it. So with that all settled a few days later I still had the engine out of the car I had ordered up a new spec clutch.

This is WITH the optional aluminum billet cover ($200 extra) which was a waste of time and money, the weight savings was negligible and I would not do it again if I had an option. That being said this is the stage 3 cutch which is a sprung hub multi puck design but it is not an organic disc so you can slip/bang/heat the crap out of it and it will hold pressure fine. This is easier on the flywheel and longer lasting.

With the engine re-installed it was time to move on to a lot of little things that I will gloss over required for rally like fire extinguishers, spare tool bag, spill kit/first aid and co –driver light etc etc etc except this part…

You need DOT triangles and these things are HEAVY, they have metal dust in the base as an achor, but the rules let you empty them. Which dropped a lot of mass – then to attach them I used a small section of C-channel from earlier and welded it to the floor face down but I kept a plastic geartie in the channel so I could tie it together and I just jammed all 3 right next to the co –driver so he can hop out and deploy them quickly if (when) we get stuck on stage.

More rally spec stuff required so we had to add a catalytic convertor…

But you will notice if you are sharp that there is some extra goodies on the exhaust – went to V-band to avoid pesky gasket failures (sick and tired of these gaskets ALWAYS POPING!) and a small flex section to release some stress from the engine studs since this exhaust is pretty heavy. This cat glows like a Newport – pretty snazzy looking but because of I trimmed the bumper a bit where it goes inboard to the car and added a thin aluminum heat shield so I don’t melt the bumper or set it on fire as it already started to melt in some spots on the several mile commute back from my buddies place where we did the welding.

It quieted it down a bit to the point where we may remove the resonator…

So after that I got some help and fine tuned the engine installed the door panels (pics to come soon) and we were ready for an alignment!

Gave a little more for the rear due to the suspension geometry and it really payed off, car felt fantastic – all the R&R of the subframe and replacing the front ball joints for new ones (just for safety sake) an alignment was needed.

Then only 1 day before Recce we have the car on the trailer and all the gear loaded up with the spares… sno*drift bound!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes there is no snow there and yes I did bring mud tires just in case but we ended up not needing them. Tuesday night we had made and attached the front mudflaps and tossed all the stickers on - #74 was taken by someone else so I will be using 174 from now on.

fidelity101 SuperDork
2/6/17 12:45 p.m.

So now its sno*drift – this is a story in itself (as usual) but overall it was a wonderful experience, Recce was kind of icy/muddy/slushy hard to predict the grip but later that night the temps dropped and snow fell and it was quite icy, which is fine by me – its very predictable… you basically have no grip and you only have momentum and direction with lots of drifty slidey angles of fun-ness….

So we start day 1, make it to the first service, managed to loose a balljoint nut and my shock assembly bolts to the knuckle became loose, other than that no real issues We were getting used to the notes and started to get into the groove a bit although we did stuff it a few times gently.. but gently enough for us the need to get out of the car and push or get spectators to push. Now – time to get to ready for the night stages… and as I launch the rally lights are in full force and the E-fan kicks on as I grab 2nd gear hard and then BOOOM. Well more like a silent awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww because I lost power to my dashboard on the EFI side so we push the car out of the control zone and start diaging and realize that we have blown a fuse that linked 2 fuse boxes together but by this time we had not the right tools or spare parts to repair and sweep had passed us and we were DNF on day one, easy beer fix later that night and we re-enter the rally day two!

Getting more confident in the notes and pushing the car on some spots caused us to have some competitive stage times, however some of that with some note errors led me to stuff it on some low speed corners requiring a few pulls and pushes to get through Saturday. On SS6 we were 14th overall on that stage, 3rd in 2wd, 2nd in G2 and fastest RWD for that stage, we beat a lot of better prepped AWD cars that stage so it felt good. However with this confidence I managed to cause a few snowbanks which dropped us back from 26th overall to last but we did finish our 1st stage rally and you only get one chance at that! Saturday’s event went smoother for service no real issues just check stuff over and all was good, the car held up well and performed great. Now I need to get adjusted to the speed of the sport.

And with that being said, here are the action shots!

fidelity101 SuperDork
2/7/17 2:15 p.m.

I also have video of our fastest stage on our facebook page, I had to update the site to reflect the proper number:


fidelity101 SuperDork
3/10/17 12:10 p.m.

you know what that video isn't SS6 hilltop-klein because ss6 was friday's stage which I DNF'd due to electrical fault. I think that video above is agren-hunter...

Here is the actual video that is much more fun to watch. I got mooned partway through as well. oh well thats rally!

SS9 Hilltop-klein Sno*drift 2017 RX7

720P footage, and the snow is falling and I pass a 2 subarus and a sonic, pretty epic run! :)

fidelity101 SuperDork
3/30/17 9:21 a.m.

Got it Dyno'd yesterday at my friends shop needless to say I am happy with the numbers, and with a redline of 9000rpm its great to have that much over-rev capability.

the last engine and setup dynoed at 132whp and 121tq @ 6400rpm this is was 182whp and 134tq @7500rpm but even the old engine managed to run a 14.9 in the quarter mile at 81MPH I will be curious to see if this can dip into the 13's or a 14 flat this spring with the gearing improvements and mass reductions.

More power can be gained by shortening the intake runners since they are about 24" long, I'm tempted to toss on the S5 upper intake manifold and see how that affects the numbers but in reality that is too long too. We managed to pick up about 20hp across the range from the base tune that got me through sno*drift. Now I just need to put some attention in a few areas then get more seat time!

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ SuperDork
3/30/17 9:28 a.m.

That's not bad at all! If it's reliable and drives nicely I'd just leave it, history has shown that that should be enough power to do well in 2wd.

fidelity101 SuperDork
3/30/17 10:06 a.m.

In reply to ¯_(ツ)_/¯:

exactly! now what I need to focus on is seat time and increase ride height...

you can see in the 2nd photo above I am WOT and the back end squats tremendously, almost hella flush.

its super reliable, the oiling system is able to handle 10Krpm, the coolant system is capable of 400hp and the fuel system should be able to provide well over 200hp with x4 440cc injectors and the clutch can do roughly 380 ft lbs. My theory is overbuild it and then beat the piss out of it. Since its NA whats really going to go wrong? Doesn't make enough power to break driveline bits either because I can dump the clutch from 6000 and it just hooks up.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ SuperDork
3/30/17 10:13 a.m.

In reply to fidelity101:

What are you thinking for suspension? The HotBits on my FC were OK, but... I would say just OK. Very choppy on rough stuff no matter where I adjusted them, good on smooth gravel.

fidelity101 SuperDork
3/30/17 11:32 a.m.

In reply to ¯_(ツ)_/¯:

not sure yet I think I'll stick with the bilsteins until I go wild. I hear more negative about hotbits than positives, not as durable - constant failures and overhauls required.

Ideally since I have reinforced the shock tower tops I can build a structure off of that to make a shock mount much higher for something custom with travel. Take a look at TRF's BRZ perfect example.

its a simple formula --> ~10-12" of travel, 200hp sub 2800lbs with RWD = FUN!!!!!

fidelity101 SuperDork
5/15/17 2:20 p.m.

Went to the test and tune for NASA rallysport and we had a test stage with unlimited laps! We did forward and reverse direction split between morning and afternoon runs. The 2.5 minute stage was brief but fun! sand/dirt/rock/field mix so it was pretty good to see how it did on the various surfaces.

also with NASA you do helmet cam :) https://youtu.be/vQAZk9fOCC8

I have more video's on the facebook page as well.

The car did great the tune did great, we ended up richening the top end a bit but and I was able to pull all the way to 8500 in 3rd gear through the sand, however it still wasn't running totally right and when I got home I found out why that was. I had dented my spiral flow resonator pretty bad.

It was so bad that it busted the inner pipe free from all the spot welded fins and the tube was bouncing around the exhaust with some busted fins like change in a pop can. I will be replacing it with a straight pipe so it will be a little louder again but the cat is still on so it should help.

Next rally is CUPR (Central Upper Peninsula Rally) on June 24th with NASA. 1 day rally with about 5 miles of transit and ~90 stage miles so it should be a good one!

A few more tweaks and it should be ready, Going to try a stiffer rear spring because its just too soft and squats and under the woops it tends to bottom out and do a tank slaper. Rear skidplate may see an improvement but maybe not until LSPR.

Knurled MegaDork
5/16/17 6:40 p.m.


fidelity101 SuperDork
5/17/17 9:43 a.m.

Also thinking about cleaning up the body work a bit, what does the hive think of a tribute millen car?

after all... it is a rally car!

artur1808 GRM+ Memberand New Reader
5/18/17 10:59 a.m.

Your tow vehicle better be getting a matching paint scheme for the full effect.

Are you guys going to be at Summer Sno*Drift?

DaveEstey PowerDork
5/18/17 12:47 p.m.

I don't know why you don't build yourself a hotrod engine like you did for me.

fidelity101 SuperDork
5/18/17 7:32 p.m.
artur1808 wrote: Your tow vehicle better be getting a matching paint scheme for the full effect. Are you guys going to be at Summer Sno*Drift?

ayyyyye you are a smart one! Yes indeed we will be there, very excited! I sold the old suburban (which was white) and bought an 08 3/4 ton suburban (which is white) so I may get the matching treatment I'm thinking....

DaveEstey wrote: I don't know why you don't build yourself a hotrod engine like you did for me.

I can't because of classing/licensing although I need to either get a rule change or have them bump me to G5 class as novice and then I can be common build among the 3 rally organizations (NASA/ARA/RA). Believe me I would love to...

fidelity101 SuperDork
6/2/17 5:01 p.m.
artur1808 wrote: Your tow vehicle better be getting a matching paint scheme for the full effect. Are you guys going to be at Summer Sno*Drift?

well that escalated quickly...

I'll (someone else more better at vinyl than myself) will do the stripes down the side another day.

fidelity101 SuperDork
7/31/17 10:32 a.m.


T Minus 5 days and counting the car is not ready for summer sno*drift. Tach has now failed to work, car needs to be driven and with the new springs it needs to be aligned. HOWEVER, before it can be aligned the rear wheel bearings need attention. I think the shop that pressed them in did something wrong, its been weeks of process and last week I was in Juarez mexico for work so literally nothing got done. this weekend got the new ones pressed in but lacking in c-clips is causing a delay. Need to get these done and installed by tomorrow to be able to get an alignment and shake the car down to ensure no future faults.

1st timken bearing = failed after the test and tune, play out of spec immediately afterwards.

so, no big deal kind of rough figured it just toasted the bearing from the bouncyness and then got it replaced. that replacement one seemed fine, but I go and torque the axle nut and play develops, figure it was bad out of the box so I got the bearing warrantied (but not the labor) and again, torque the axle nut and now same situation. bearing play is out of spec.

Is my hub bad? or my knuckle bad? Did the shop forget the snap ring? these are brand new good bearings and zero weight of the car on these but once installed they are bad...

also the truck has developed a knock so we are using a lesser tow vehicle ( my co drivers f150 ) should be fun... build for the suburban soon to come

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