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Project Oxymoron: The cheap money pit

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Project Oxymoron: The cheap money pit

Post by 13Black » Fri Mar 25, 2016 1:03 am

I did all my research - coils, hot start, compression tests, comprehensive service history, rust, don't buy the first one you see etc etc.

So I got a message from a friend of mine saying he knows someone selling a non-runner near me for cheap - not really that interested in buying a dead car and finding out it has low compression or a knackered bearing but I entertain the thought anyway and figured I might as well check it out as a taster for when I go to look at a proper car I might buy.

Call him up, seems a nice guy, not super knowledgeable on rotaries but not bad, he bought it as a sick car to hopefully fix but it was in 'limp mode' on the drive home then died so it got towed to his mates garage. After some tinkering he said it started but had a misfire and died again and just wanted it gone.

I turn up and get the keys, pop the bonnet, check HT leads are the correct way round, check. Nothing seems a miss but probably flooded from when it died last time so pull the fuel fuse to crank it over - see if it still cranks and at what rpm in case it's in need of a new starter motor as well.



Well, so far so good.
He seems to think it's a blocked cat but I'm suspicious... isn't hard to check and it's at his mates garage, if that's all it is then surely you'd have whipped the cat off already. He says it came with a compression test - I ask when the test was done. Apparently last year... okay. Who was the test done by? He can't remember... or find the piece of paper. Excellent. Or any of the service history.

So a car that's been passed on that won't run, has no compression test info, no service history, and I haven't driven it or heard it running.
As I'm sure you'll agree, I couldn't resist such as stellar opportunity to own this fantastic piece of machinery so I rang up insurance to get a quote, arranged with a mate to collect in on the back of his truck and gave the seller an offer.
I had just bought myself the most expensive big red paper weight.
It was cheap, but let's see how much more money I sink into it trying to get it going before I take the plunge on the inevitable rebuild. I've told the landlord at work that I'll be having a car on the ramp for a week or so.
IMG_20160303_095501.jpg
IMG_20160308_121509.jpg
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Re: Project Oxymoron: The cheap money pit

Post by 13Black » Fri Mar 25, 2016 1:24 am

She's a 2004 231bhp in Velocity Red with 66,000 miles on the clock. Let the fun and games begin.

Couldn't drive the car so I got 4 of us to push it onto the ramp... most of the way. Ramp is too steep, can't even use a run up so it's stuck halfway on. Finally found a battery with some charge in it so hooked that up, put it in reverse with the fuel fuse out to crank it the rest of the way on. Sorry starter motor, you were probably nearly dead anyway.

Okay first things first, whip the new plugs out and make sure they were in the right way round and get on with deflooding it. Lovely oil leak somewhere too.
IMG_20160308_152817.jpg
Between cranking the engine to spit any fuel out of the chambers and letting the charger fill the battery with some juice, I set to removing the cat. I had noticed when I first viewed the car that it had an aftermarket cat (the same that failed recently on the forum... build quality issues perhaps?) - maybe the old coils baked the OEM cat and now it's done a number on this one, too.

Take the cat off and it looks alright in there, hasn't collapsed. Well damn.
IMG_20160308_152810.jpg
Since I had the lambda off I figured I'd tip the cat on its side to see if anything comes out of the lambda hole and... hey presto, this could be causing it not to rev and cutting out.
IMG_20160309_114916.jpg
There's also oil in the intake and the MAF is gunked up. Might as well clean this out with a rag and compressed air, respectively.
IMG_20160308_170727.jpg
Got my biggest hammer out with an inch diameter steel bar and spent half an hour knocking all nine lives out of the cat, getting very sweaty in the process. Great success.
IMG_20160308_153110.jpg
After refitting the cat we hooked the plugs up and grounded them to check how good the spark was and it wasn't looking great. Brand new plugs but they weren't the strongest sparks ever ... oil or fuel contamination perhaps. Cleaned with aerosol and blown dry with compressed air to be retested. Much better.
A bit of 2-stoke in the plug holes then cranked over a little more before reinstalling the plugs and leads.

Getting pretty late at work now and I should have been fixing customer vehicles today. The guy next door is just leaving work and asks how progress is going. I tell him to stick around for a few more minutes while I finished putting everything back on and hooking up a spare battery to give it the best chance of cranking. First attempt at starting the car is below:

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Re: Project Oxymoron: The cheap money pit

Post by 13Black » Fri Mar 25, 2016 1:32 am

Got it taxed and insured to drive up and down the lane, pulls like a train. Was a little hesitant around 7,000 rpm the first time but I guess the actuator had stuck slightly while it had been stood for the past few weeks(/months?)

Gave it a good clean when I got home. Can't find any rust on the shell anywhere!
Heated leather seats, sat nav, sunroof, parking sensors, 4 matching tyres with decent tread, brake pads good, half a tank of petrol.
Oh and it has a brand new D585 setup with new plugs and leads included.
Didn't spend a penny getting it going, just several hours at work.

Best £500 I've ever spent on a car.
IMG_20160310_091005.jpg
Out with the old, in with the new (excuse the shopping list, in-joke with a friend, no longer on the car)
IMG_20160311_144137.jpg
Might as well spend something on the car eh?
IMG_20160314_100822.jpg
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Re: Project Oxymoron: The cheap money pit

Post by zippyonline » Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:05 am

Oh yes, I like this already!
Copper Red Evolve - viewtopic.php?f=104&t=71400

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Re: Project Oxymoron: The cheap money pit

Post by brix79 » Fri Mar 25, 2016 10:18 pm

Brilliant. Glad you've rescued another nice VR. :D

You can't help but wonder how many in this scenario end up being scrapped.
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Project Oxymoron: The cheap money pit

Post by GreySilver Beast » Fri Mar 25, 2016 10:40 pm

Looks very nice Nick and you have the rare Sunroof Option =D>
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Re: Project Oxymoron: The cheap money pit

Post by Nerdstrike » Sun Mar 27, 2016 3:00 pm

Love the voice effects in the starting video - you've managed a proper bargain.

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Re: Project Oxymoron: The cheap money pit

Post by 13Black » Mon Mar 28, 2016 12:25 am

Nerdstrike wrote:Love the voice effects in the starting video
I'll have you know they're genuine IRL bridgeport overlap sounds you're hearing.

So, some disasters are as follows:
1. Hot starts
2. Puncture
3. Springs
4. Oil cooler pipe

1. Hot starts
Sometimes it takes a couple of seconds if it's particularly warm (stall after a bit of exuberant driving for example) but otherwise, on the button.

2. Puncture
Nearside rear T1R appears to have picked up a nail or something at work and won't hold pressure for over 4 hours. Oh well, only a T1R, got a spare set of wheels and tyres that are now on the back ready for Santa Pod on Wednesday. Puncture tyre now has a screw glued into it and ground down which helps. Probably going to kill it on Wednesday and put some real rubber on them. Oh and a previous owner tightened the locking wheel nuts up to a bazillion ft/lb and knackered the key soooo had to clean up the key then use an impact gun on maximum uggerdugger/10 for a few seconds to budge them. Got some standard wheel nuts to put on instead, hate locking wheel nuts.
IMG_20160314_105151.jpg
3. Springs
Look at how new the springs look!
IMG_20160314_110925.jpg
Let's check out the other side. Nope, got a coil broke off. Oh well, wanted some Tein lowering springs anyway so they'll be ordered soon. For now the loose coil is cable tied to the rest to stop it rattling because it's driving me crazy.

4. Oil cooler pipe
Ah, where do we start. Noticed I was using a lot of oil, I knew you have to check every other fill up but this was ridiculous, owners say they're not as bad as t'bloke down pub says they are so something must be a miss.
Upon taking the bumper off in prep for 'Pod I noticed lots of oil around the nearside... yep, probably an oil pipe corroded.
IMG_20160327_102839 adfsg.jpg
Long story short, I met up with Adrian from Rex Parts Midlands and managed to get a pint and some spare oil cooler lines out of him, what a great guy. Seemed to think they weren't in the best condition but the part I needed looked perfectly serviceable to me. Can you guess where the leak might have been coming from?
IMG_20160327_131704.jpg
Used this opportunity to get the oil and filter changed. Old oil filter wasn't even on hand tight, just poked it and it moved! Makes a change from the 3,000 ft/lb that everyone else tightens them up to. Got a friend's car on the ramp waiting on parts for his exhaust so had to do it on the ground like the filthy worm I am.
IMG_20160327_102907asd f.jpg
Now, a weird one maybe. In other prep for drifting on Wednesday:
Drifting creates heat. Rotaries don't like too much heat. Going to be running with the bumper off for better airflow to the rad and I've cut extra vents behind the oil coolers and made up some bash bars in case a cone heads towards my oil coolers (not the other way around, obv).
An idea a friend of mine used when his MX-5 was overheating was to borrow the idea of Intercooler Sprayers. The video below is with just one twin-jet nozzle but I've now acquired my friend's old setup with 4x mist-type sprayers. Will it work? Will it just be a bit daft? Who knows. I'll be monitoring coolant temps with my Torque app and see if it makes a difference but given the volume of coolant in the system... probably won't do much. Can't make it worse though. And yes, hooked up to the washer bottle and operated with the stalk. Might even put some ice cubes in there too.

Last edited by 13Black on Sat Apr 14, 2018 7:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Project Oxymoron: The cheap money pit

Post by Nerdstrike » Wed Apr 13, 2016 6:05 pm

MX5s cook themselves quite easily, the RX8 is better as long as you keep the car moving and the oil coolers get some flow. The engine will fail fast if run much too hot, but It takes sustained abuse to get there. Hopefully a drift run won't be frequent enough to cook it. The sprayer is certainly eccentric, might even help if you can spread it over enough surface.

7 L of water (I know it's full of antifreeze, so this would be worst case...) - 7 kg of water at 4.184 J K^-1 g^-1 means to drop it one degree, you need to shift 29 kJ. Water (from the sprayer) will mainly evaporate, at 40.66 kJ mol^-1, so you need about 13g (or 13 milliliters) of water to evaporate. It's not a crazy amount of water per degree, but you're not going to get perfect misting of the radiator and some will run off. Then the vapour has to exit the engine bay without redepositing that energy back into the block... say half is wasted and doesn't evaporate and you need to cool ten degrees off, you're looking at a full glass of water on your high speed kettle. I think the sprayers could be effective, but dispersion of spray is critical.

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Re: Project Oxymoron: The cheap money pit

Post by 13Black » Tue May 03, 2016 11:17 pm

Long-time no-update (TOO BUSY ENJOYING THE CAR) oh and also work :(

Ooooh.. Nerd by name, Nerd by nature, I love it. Physics degree perchance? If so I’m slightly jealous and we must never meet, I’d have so many questions.
I’ve updated the video with the proper sprayers we actually used on the day, far better misting.
I’ve since done another drift day – this time using Mazdaedit to make the fans cut in several degrees sooner which, it seems, works far better than the sprayers. I don’t think the car went over 103’C all day (as opposed to 110+ on the first day with the sprayers)

Footage from the first drift day if anyone’s interested, it’s on our little Motorsport page that I co-run with some close friends:


Also went for a session at the Sprint track to get some practice for whatever track days get booked up. This was going well (still with a broken rear spring by the way) and it turns out that the car lift off oversteers like an absolute dream. See video below taken from another video we made:



Also had a go in my friend’s FD … oh boy. Just … drive one.
001.jpg
Then it was about time I got that pesky broken spring sorted because the rattling was driving me crazy (duct tape and zip tie didn’t last long) and it wasn’t safe … but mainly the rattling, since I didn’t have a working stereo or a loud exhaust.
Went for the Tein lowering springs in the end ... I wonder how long until coilovers or PZ suspension takes its place.
002.jpg
Then I did a deal with my friend Shaun with the green machine and got a working radio which was very painlessly fitted and now working, happy days. Then realised I need an aux/USB connection in my life still so that was a short lived victory haha. On the list it goes.


Tyres tyres wheels and tyres. Also in the deal were some already bead blasted 18” OEM wheels which speeded things up. Repainted in VW Daytona Grey satin to match my red MX-5 buddy’s Rota RKR’s. Really happy with the colour.
003.jpg
Also bought –ahem- a few tyres of various stickiness – in particular some Nankang NS-2R in the soft 120 Track compound for Japfest etc :D :D :D
Full alignment too (it wasn't too far from factory specs to be honest) running a little more toe in than I probably should but I'd rather stay on the track for now and slowly dial it out toward 0'00" until I'm happy.
004.jpg
Nom
005.jpg

Mazdaedit, after a bit of faffing, now fully working and managed to have a good play with it. A particular favourite is my little crackle map which essentially dumps ‘a little bit’ more fuel into the manifold on overrun for hilarious childish explosions which will only get better once I’ve finished my custom back box.
Reflashed a couple of other people’s ECU’s now too – anyone in the Leicestershire area need reflashes, let me know, I don’t charge much.
006.jpg
With Japfest approaching and far too little time available, only just managed to get the roof sprayed gloss black in 2K.
007.jpg
I’m so sorry beautiful Velocity Red paintwork.
008.jpg
Had to do it in a rush, in a dusty cold warehouse with a leaking roof in the dark. As a result, I’m really not happy with the finish. The concept, in my opinion, is fantastic but it really needs wet sanding and buffing to really shine. Watch this space, I’m not finished with it yet.

Also in the Japfest prep was going over (or should I say, under) the car to make sure everything is A-okay for the track. Found a few leaks in the exhaust - on the back of the catalytic convertor and one of the exhaust tips was hanging on by a thread – the other probably very nearly about to be in a similar state so they were MIG welded back up and checked for leaks. Lovely.

Also found out the gearbox has a slight leak from the reverse switch – this had to be cleaned, tightened and silicone’d for the time being as it was only days until Japfest. Took this opportunity to finally check the level plug on the gearbox and whoa … couldn’t see anything with my endoscope. The gearbox took about 500ml of fluid! Close call. Differential was fine though.

Bit of a clean with the new wheels on, ready for Silverstone!
009.jpg
Like an idiot with no time to do things properly, I accidently bought my ticket from the main Japfest site which meant I couldn’t get on the stand :( luckily I managed to get hold of a stand pass aaaand here the car was for most of the day! Far from the nicest car on the stand but very proud to help represent this amazing club. The cakes etc were great too.
010.jpg
Oh and I definitely didn’t rush back from my 17:00 track session to find the RX8OC stand completely dismantled and put away with all the cars gone resulting in me needing to quickly grab all of my tools etc out of Pete’s car (who was just leaving) which definitely didn’t fluster my 5-hours-sleep brain making me drive 95% of the way home like this:
012.jpg
Nope, clearly not me, can’t see the number plate, can’t prove that it was me. Fml

The next drift day went a little better – Tooley’s S15 that was on display at Japfest was there as well having it’s shakedown.
013.jpg
Met a few other RX-8 owners there too as well as Luke Murdoch (Murdoch’s Rotary Spares, Guildford) who came over to say hello – really nice chap.

Due to a previous incident with a high kerb when I took my dad to the hospital (that ended up snapping the old plate), the bracket and screws haven’t quite been themselves lately. This got worse after I took the bumper off at Santa Pod and thus, it is now sitting in the windscreen until I can get it properly sorted at work. Not having much luck with number plates lately it seems.
014.jpg
015.jpg
Now to get these engine mounts sorted tomorrow. I had a look at them this morning after suspecting they weren’t 100%. Suspicions confirmed. A pair of low mileage engine mounts picked up later this evening from RexPartsMidlands for £30, fantastic. Thank you, Adrian.
I’ve got the Midlands RX-8OC meet this Friday so hopefully they won’t cause too much hassle – got the old nuts/bolts/studs soaking in penetrating fluid overnight.

Until next time
x
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Re: Project Oxymoron: The cheap money pit

Post by Conan » Tue May 03, 2016 11:28 pm

Nice one Nick :thumleft:
I see you painted your car half black cause you know black cars are the fastest but didn't have time to finish the job :)
At least you had your No plate on, I forgot to put mine back in the window completely #-o
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Re: Project Oxymoron: The cheap money pit

Post by ChrisHolmes » Wed May 04, 2016 12:12 am

The Midlands meet is on Thursday Nick!
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Re: Project Oxymoron: The cheap money pit

Post by 13Black » Wed May 04, 2016 12:29 am

So it is! I'm off to another meet in Northampton on the Friday, got the two dates mixed up.

Haha, now then Pete, not everyone CHEATED completely ignored the marshal's instructions not to overtake in the corners and braking zones. Well that's my excuse anyway :^o
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Re: Project Oxymoron: The cheap money pit

Post by Rotary Revs » Wed May 04, 2016 2:50 pm

something fishy going on with the leads on those ignition coils :/
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Re: Project Oxymoron: The cheap money pit

Post by ChrisHolmes » Wed May 04, 2016 2:58 pm

13Black wrote:So it is! I'm off to another meet in Northampton on the Friday, got the two dates mixed up.

Haha, now then Pete, not everyone CHEATED completely ignored the marshal's instructions not to overtake in the corners and braking zones. Well that's my excuse anyway :^o
Passing round the outside of an RX7 round Luffield takes some beating for satisfaction, mind you he was gone once we got round and then we met again at Copse and every other corner until the chequered flag came out to end our little game.
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Re: Project Oxymoron: The cheap money pit

Post by 13Black » Wed May 04, 2016 9:13 pm

Rotary Revs wrote:something fishy going on with the leads on those ignition coils :/
Do you mean the way the HT leads are angled upwards in that oily intake photograph? That was taken before I had the car running - the new coils, leads and plugs were installed by the previous owner, acquired from Nutty.
I've since had the plugs and leads off the car, cleaned and carefully reinstalled to make sure they're on right since the previous owner said the car sounded like it misfired for a few seconds and then died.


Well, after a bit of a mishap, replacement engine mounts are on and the car is back home.
I did mention to Adrian that I was sure that the engine mounts he handed over were LH units but he assured me they were a pair - having seen more of them that I had, I didn't want to argue.
Fitting this afternoon - passenger side came off easily and didn't look too bad, replaced it anyway as these looked in better condition.
Drivers side in much worse condition, came off easy enough and then ah... Adrian! #-o Called him up and explained, told me to come over at 18:00 to pick up the correct ones. Poor chap! He was so embarrassed and apologetic, he's been really busy lately so mistakes happen - we both found the funny side of it though :thumright: left work at 20:00 so still some sunshine to enjoy with the sunroof open.


Chris I managed to pass an FD and an R32 but I'm almost certain it wasn't the owners driving them so quite a hollow victory for myself.
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Re: Project Oxymoron: The cheap money pit

Post by zippyonline » Thu May 05, 2016 2:24 pm

13Black wrote:. A particular favourite is my little crackle map which essentially dumps ‘a little bit’ more fuel into the manifold on overrun for hilarious childish explosions
Teeeheee yes! :thumleft:

I'm enjoying this thread, I also like your choice of wheel colour, I think I'm on the lookout for something similar :-k
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Re: Project Oxymoron: The cheap money pit

Post by 13Black » Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:32 pm

I should probably give this a little update soon :D nothing drastic, yet *gulp*
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Re: Project Oxymoron: The cheap money pit

Post by zippyonline » Tue Jun 13, 2017 4:41 pm

13Black wrote:I should probably give this a little update soon :D nothing drastic, yet *gulp*
Prod! ;) :D
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Re: Project Oxymoron: The cheap money pit

Post by 13Black » Wed Jun 14, 2017 1:53 am

Haha, prods always welcomed zip :D

A bit of progress but having seen other people's builds, I'm feeling a little inadequate actually!
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So many nice cars on display at Combe, PeteH's time attack car, Clive's race car, the endless attention to detail with yours, we have Jay's boss build breaking dem internets etc. By comparison, here's me putting some RainX on my windscreen and wanting to update my build thread :P aren't I amazing folks?
As I'm sure Jay will know, the work we do to our cars is handy as a demonstration of the quality of work we can offer and thus can be used as an advert to customers... but I like driving into things so it's not a good representation of what people should expect haha!
It's not the ideal build for having fancy parts either, which is also handy because I don't have the budget for it actually :( but hopefully it still has its place and people will find it somewhat entertaining :D

I'll get some photos together when I have found enough of them to create a coherent timeline but in short:

-Braided brake lines fitted
-Tein lowering springs removed and sold to VDan
-PZ Bilsteins fitted
-EPRacing 20mm spacers fitted
-Wizards of Lock modified steering knuckles fitted for more steering angle while drifting
-SAI deleted
-Testing out my modified oil line banjo bolts (because even a simple OEM bolt with a hole in it has to be tested for a lifetime apparently)
-Monitoring EGT, Oil pressure, Oil temp (pre and post coolers) and also have a Wideband to install, boss is already welded on. Should help with mapping soon.
-Been meaning to get mapping but hardware and software have been messing me around, all sorted now.
-Interior has largely been removed to give space for activities and shopping (sensible). Also means it's lighter so will not scrape on speed bumps so much (sensible). Gives me room to store top up oil too (sensible). Also removed all the speakers because my music taste is terrible.
-Opened up the vents for the oil coolers pretty much as wide as you really can.
-Most bulbs changed to LEDs because I've come to start it with a flat battery a few times
-New Varta E23 battery because it wouldn't start in the winter
-Some new budget tyres to smoke
-Cloth drivers seat with a modified lower fitting to sit lower and some foam cut out because I want a bucket seat but only have about 50p in my bank account
-Ball gags as door handles, hollow to save weight (sensible)
-Automatic underbonnet light because night time oil checks
-Flushed the coolant through and replaced with new
-Flushed brake fluid with new and bled w/clutch
-New brake pads on the front because I don't want to almost die at Combe again
-Air filter because I had a burp or two and it was filthy
-I might have washed it at some point

-I have a full set of Racing Beat oil lines but I haven't put them on yet.
-Got a spare set of oil coolers I might refurbish and fit but mine appear to be working well.
-Exedy clutch to fit
-Engine rebuild kit to nail together
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I've done a couple of bits since my last update now I think about it.
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zippyonline (Wed Jun 14, 2017 2:37 pm)
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-= Clicky click for build thread =-

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Re: Project Oxymoron: The cheap money pit

Post by 13Black » Wed Jun 14, 2017 2:13 am

The car was off the road for about a month and I was rather busy with customer RX-8s and the restoration business to really sink my teeth into my own car which was a bummer :(

I've now also been mentioned in a couple of magazines which will probably mean my phone will keep ringing and I'll have MORE work to do :roll: ffs. :lol:

I've since bought a compression tester too and my engine is hovering around 5.2 now. Been giving it as much grief as I can on track, Curborough, drifting at santa pod but the stupid unreliable piece of junk won't explode. I think someone may have fitted an LS1 to it, does it look like a Renesis to anyone else? I've no idea what I'm looking at in there tbh.
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I had a bit of a smokey exit from Combe on Saturday with Shambo behind me, suspected little oil burp but why it didn't happen on track, who knows. I got home and noticed my MAF had popped out thanks to the self tappers eating the threads in the intake pipe. I'll sort that at a later date, I also have a dirty new filter no doubt as well, darn.
About time I gave her some new spark plugs as well.
I want to take my exhaust off and have a tinker but so far it's holding up well. 88dB on track noise testing, plus when my EGT thermocouple in the manifold failed and I had to snap it off in the manifold, having no baffles meant that it just shot out the back when I started it (SENSIBLE).
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Re: Project Oxymoron: The cheap money pit

Post by boosted » Wed Jun 14, 2017 7:58 am

Just put a 10Kw starter motor on it and a litre of premix every fill up itll last for ever...
or for bolt n braces fix Ametech Engine Restore....
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92 Rx7 fd3s stock twins..est.320bhp. Track car.

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Re: Project Oxymoron: The cheap money pit

Post by 13Black » Wed Jun 14, 2017 10:13 am

10kW haha, so when I accidentally start it in gear, I rip the prop shaft in half :P I like it
-= Rotormelon Money Pit Build of Tasteless Questionable Bodgery =-
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Re: Project Oxymoron: The cheap money pit

Post by Dr. FrankenRex » Thu Jun 15, 2017 11:11 am

It's a shame that you've replaced your brake pads already, as I have a spare used set that came off the car Saturday afternoon at Combe...

One careful owner :lol:
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Re: Project Oxymoron: The cheap money pit

Post by 13Black » Thu Jun 15, 2017 12:26 pm

Aw BB that's cute.
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Come back when you've given it a proper go :P
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Dr. FrankenRex (Thu Jun 15, 2017 1:27 pm)
-= Rotormelon Money Pit Build of Tasteless Questionable Bodgery =-
Experimelon 183whp rebuild | Rotary Revs D585s | PZ Suspension | Hawk & Yellowstuff pads | Extra steering lock | Custom exhaust | Added rearward flames of glory | Unnecessarily repurposed ball gags
-= Clicky click for build thread =-

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