well well well..it had to happen eventually- i knew it would happen. I was all set to rotarise my HB Viva and was getting close to the no turning back bit - all I needed to do was buy a generator for my welder (as i live in a truck and have no mains).
Hannah and I travelled down to kent and visited my friend Hayden- who owns a a lovely RX3 coupe like mine but without the rust. I was there to get some bits for the conversion- i should not have looked at his car but I couldnt help it. curse word. And then hayden says " here-borrow these and have a browse" handing me a pile of old 'fours and rotary magizines' from aussie- packed with loads of sexy mazdas amongst other cars. The curse word!!!
So next morning I say to hannah-" i'm gonna keep the rx3 and get it on the road for the Exile oldschool meet in 6 weeks time.... and I wont tell anyone and keep it a secret....
Hannah rolled her eyes but has been supportive- she has always said i should keep it. So that sunday it was off with the cover and before I could change my mind for the 4th time I began 'THE STRIP'...always one of the easiest fun bits i think- satisfying as I cleared out all the dirty junk in the engine bay- to expose a dirty junky engine bay...
My work mate turned up that afternoon and has heard my reasons many times over as to why i'm keeping it/why i'm not keeping it. He rolled his eyes too. music was cranked up louder and he set in helping to rip it apart.
i already knew the extent of the rust around the screens but once the engine was out i found some more under the battery tray- it had leaked badly at some point and like the blood from a cut alien had eaten through whatever was underneath. But generally I was happy about the work ahead- still had to sort out power to run the welder but I had two weeks holiday coming up and apart from a few days mountain biking it was all time to play in the garage- sweet!
Set up with a heater and sound system and i'm a happy chappy...
so i removed the engine - it came out no problems. found a great way of moving it about when no else is about to help- my old landboard. How checked the little baby 10A engine first and it seems quite good actually- turns over ok and 4 of the 6 tips anre clean and spring in and out fine- leaving two stuck down that should free up with some careful application of thinners direct to the tips. hopefully....maybe.... as hayden needs an engine for his RX3
So engine out and out into the open with a bucket of petrol and 1 hour later it was looking a lot better- the rusty bits now easier to spot..
I removed the front panel, wings lights etc- anything really to get better access. The bolts holding the wings and front panel together were pretty rusty as expected but soon broke away.
wings off and i found more rust- i knew some was there as i'd felt it with my hands when buying the car but it was worse than i thought...surprise surprise. but still not that bad givin age of car and that its a jappa. the dirty old black engine oil the previous owner had sprayed every where has done a good job. The inner wing on the nearside was bad but offside great- only a few spots.
I bought a generator- diesel 6KVA - 5000 watts. party time! so with that it was welding time. My workmate has lent me a dremel. wow- fantastic- without this i'd be stuffed- so easy to remove the rusty bits in tight places. next time on ebay i ordered lots of little cutting discs. Out with the old crusty bits and in with nice new shiney bits of steel. the rust seems to be mainly localised in spots- and hence once cutting it out it wasnt far to good solid steel.
The generator wasnt running welder at full steam but soon found the idle speed had been backed off from the factory position- with it running a touch quicker welder was fine and i started cracking through the repairs. It was bl--dy satisfying to see the rust replaced with solid steel. The chassis under battery was shot on top so I removed the whole lot and let in nice 1mm thick steel. solid now- i'm not gonna refit the battery there anyway- into the boot for a cleaner bay i like get rid of the forwards weight.
The NS inner wing was next and instead of little patches i just removed the lot including past repairs- which were solid enough but not that pretty- visable from inside the bay.
Now its welded from outside and with a skim of filler will look a lot better.
The NS wing done- now it was onto the windscreen surround- which is a toughy as at the bottom it has to follow 3 curves - which is tricky with my high quality sheet metal folder....
So I did it in sections- bit by bit and again- really bloody nice when at the end of the day the car is looking more and more solid. lots to go though.
The windows are bonded in place - the glue will take up small imperfections so the main thing is that its solid and water tight. After screen is bonded in place stainless surrounds are clipped in place.....
... using bloody expensive (£1.70) each clips from mazda (or cheaper from aussie..) and these clip to little pins that are welded to the surround. which is also where all the rust was.. so I found perfect sized S/S self tapping screws which I welded in places from the back before welding each section in.
Eventually all done- thanks to stimpy who helped me along..
I then cut some access holes out on the OS inner wing and discovered lots of flakey curse word from a previous rust spot that had been repaired but not cleaned up. I made a little scoop out of the oil metering pump rod- best use for that then...
and this is what i recovered...
So after fiding that I used my trusty vacuum penis extension and sucked all the curse word out...
After all the repairs are welded I'm neutrilising the whole areas and later i'll waxoil the whole lot with some Bilt Hamber stuff Ijust bought. and i have epocy mastic paint- a two part paint I have used in the past on Hannahs old FD victor estate- it sets really hard and is flexible with built in rust inhibiters- as used on Norweigen oil rigs! I'll feel alot happier about the car and road salt then- its rust protection from the factory is curse word and theres a few little rust traps here and there!
This saturday I turned the car around and started on the rear screen. Its not as bad and smaller too- and as I don't have a bottom vent like on the front its not so tricky. All went well- the first stage of blocking off any chance that welding splatter can go into car.
And Hannah cleaned off all the glue from the vinyl roof cover- wow! what a difference that made- looks loads nicer
By sunday night I had done over half the screen and then as I was hopping out of the boot- with the running angle grinder in my hand- my finger slipped into the space between gaurd and cut off disc. I have lots of burns, cuts and grinding marks over the last 3 weeks but this was a good one- boy did I squeal!!! almost into my tendon and after alot of blood going everywhere i patched it up before starting to feel a little ill - hence i'm now sitting here with my finger all taped up and very sore- a week off- heres my finger ...look away if you don't wanna see it...
hopefully i'll be back into it by next weekend. after the screens its the front sills that need some love.
Not a chance of getting it on the road for the oldschool meet but i'm really bloody happy as I am so much closer to driving my very own RX3! I'm gonna have it all sorted for retrorides show at gaydon.
And the V5 turned up - i'm the second owner- wicked!!!
More pics once I have more- gotta let finger to rest. My typing has been shockingly slow.
So much for keeping it a secret anyway- Cheers John and Ant for keeping hush hush.
This has gone on three forums (exile, Retro-rides and kiwi rotary) ...so hence some bits you might already know etc...