March 22, 2019, 08:13:19 PM

Author Topic: "Doda" '93 FD NASA TT Build  (Read 1072 times)

Offline PeakAlpha

"Doda" '93 FD NASA TT Build
« on: January 07, 2019, 10:03:12 PM »
Hey everbody. Unless anybody has a problem with it, I thought I would post my build thread in here and try to revive the GREATNESS that the "Road Racing/Autocross" Sub-Forum could be. I found a bunch of old pictures that I had taken as I was going through this whole process, and I have always wanted attention, er, uh... to have a build thread I mean, so I figured why the Hell not? Figured somebody might think it was cool. I have been working on this car since early 2015, so I will be sort of going back in time to write up several posts about what I have done and the decisions that I have made and whatnot, so it might take a while. Anyways, here is my story, and I hope somebody enjoys it...

Back in the good ol' days of high school, I (like many of you I am sure) thought that 3rd gen RX7's were neat as shit (I was wise even then). I had a good buddy who got me into cars and we always talked about building a V8 RX7 some day. Another huge aspect of my automotive interests was Formula 1. I used to stay up until 2-3 am on the weekends and watch all of the practices/qualifying/racing over in Europe. I was always extremely fascinated by the technology of the cars, and the sheer badassery of the speeds/cornering forces that the cars and drivers had to endure. From this stemmed an interest in all forms of road racing and automotive technology. I eventually got into sports car racing and started watching the endurance races as well. Due to all of this, I knew that some day I wanted to drive my own car(s) on the track. Being a naive (and pimply) high school douche, I had neither the knowledge nor the finances to make this happen. So my dreams were just dreams for the moment. I ended up going to college to get a degree in Engineering so that I could finance my dream and maybe pick up some skills that would help me to become a halfway competent car builder along the way. Got out of college and worked for a few years while saving money and then finally decided that it was time to pull the trigger on my dream build. So, in 2015 I found this roller,



Some dewd in Pennsylvania had this guy sitting in his garage since 2001. Seemed like a really good guy. He had done a couple of track days with it and then decided to turn it into a full-ass racecar so he took out the engine and whatnot and took it to a builder to put a cage in it. He got the cage put in and then parked it in his garage for fourteen years until his wife finally (violently [just kidding]) suggested that he sell the damn thing so he posted it up for sale on rx7club.com if I remember right. So I made a user name on that website just to message the guy, and we went back and forth a bit about the car. Turns out a bunch of wieners had come to look at the car but felt that the gigantic roll cage would get in the way of the interior for their street car build (go figure). Seeing as how I was after a race car, I decided it was the perfect candidate (and I got a good deal on it considering it already had a roll cage in it), so I purchased the beeotch.

Offline PeakAlpha

Re: "Doda" '93 FD NASA TT Build
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2019, 10:37:57 PM »
So, the night I bought the car we stayed with my sister-in-law in PA since we were already over there and it was late as crap. I was WAY too pee-pants to sleep that night obviously and I stayed up all night with a boner thinking about all the cool stuff I wanted to do with my new racecar. The next morning I got up and at ‘em early to make the drive ALL the way back across PA, and then MOST of the way back across Blowhio to get home (that’s where I used to live). Got the car unloaded and had to park it in the driveway for the time being since my garage was super small back then.



Being that this was destined to be a “full retard” race car, and since it was a rare weird day during the Blowhio winter where it was 50 degrees instead of 12 degrees, I decided that the first order of business was to start removing any unnecessary mass. So I broke out the heat gun and started scraping noise dampening poop off of the chassis. It worked pretty well, even though a bee stung me.






And by “worked pretty well”, I mean that it was a gitrantic PITA and took forever. Luckily I have no friends, so the ass pain didn’t deter me and I got most of it out of there. After the scraping, I used an angle grinder to smooth over the parts where I couldn’t get it all scraped off of the chassis. It sort of worked. At the end of the day I was planning on painting the chassis anyways so I decided that it was good enough for racecar.

Offline digitalsolo

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Re: "Doda" '93 FD NASA TT Build
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2019, 08:46:36 AM »
Thanks for sharing the build!    Also, thanks for being funny, haha.
Blake MF'ing McBride
1988 Mazda RX7 - Turbo LS1/T56/ProEFI/8.8/Not Slow...   sold.
1965 Mustang Coupe - TT Coyote, TR6060, modern brakes/suspension...  project car
2013 Focus ST3 - Stage 1 BPU

Offline PeakAlpha

Re: "Doda" '93 FD NASA TT Build
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2019, 10:56:50 PM »
Alright, after stripping the interior the next logical step was to paint the interior. I didn’t get a shit-ton of pictures of this process, but to begin with I pushed the car into my tiny li’l farm garage and started sucking paint dust. Got the chassis all sanded down on the interior and then taped up all of the windows to (hopefully) avoid getting spray paint on them;



I was missing one of the front fenders, so I purchased a couple of replacements from some dewd up in Toledo. After that, I took out the steering column and the pedal box to clear everything out of there and hit it with a few rattle cans. It came out pretty well if I do say so myself (which I do).



For the next order of business, I decided that I wanted to mount my headlight covers without the headlights. Since this is a racecar, wholly a racecar, and nothing but a racecar, I really don’t need the headlights in there weighing down the front end with their FAT ASSES!!! So I threw the car on a trailer and ran it over to my buddy’s house since he had a welder.



That is his project car on the left (BMW 2002). Should be a neat little street car if it ever gets done. While I was there, we fabbed up some simple-ish holders for the headlight covers using some scrap steel that he had lying around.



Aaaaaand, at the end of the day they actually came out okay. I realize now from looking at what other people have done that it will probably be easier eventually to cut those out and just rivet some aluminum sheet to the hood. This may or may not be necessary, but at the very least it would free up some space beneath there to mount something else, like a transmission cooler or some such nonsense at some point. But for now the mounts work swell!



Offline wickedrx7

Re: "Doda" '93 FD NASA TT Build
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2019, 06:01:18 PM »
Really digging this build and can't wait to see the progress!  I have dreams of building a full racecar someday... but the wife wants to climb Kilimanjaro this year instead...

It does pain me a little to see a CYM cut-up but at least you didn't do the initial cutting...

Keep up the good work!

1993 Touring, 2012 L99, T-56, Ronnin 8.8, Ohlins, Speedhut, Samberg and lots of custom parts
Build Thread - http://www.norotors.com/index.php?topic=19354.0
Pictures - www.flikr.com/wickedrx7

Offline PeakAlpha

Re: "Doda" '93 FD NASA TT Build
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2019, 09:58:22 PM »
Thanks for sharing the build!    Also, thanks for being funny, haha.

Really digging this build and can't wait to see the progress!  I have dreams of building a full racecar someday... but the wife wants to climb Kilimanjaro this year instead...

It does pain me a little to see a CYM cut-up but at least you didn't do the initial cutting...

Keep up the good work!

Thanks a lot for the encouragement guys! I try to keep it entertaining. Glad that it is appreciated!

Yeah I have heard that the CYM's are rare and whatnot. Like you said it is basically a shell and not in any way meant to be a nice street build or anything like that. Kilamanjaro sounds pretty kickass man, I am sure it'll be worth it! In the meantime I'll try to keep the posts coming when I have time.

Offline PeakAlpha

Re: "Doda" '93 FD NASA TT Build
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2019, 11:11:08 PM »
Hey fellow Pistards! We are just like Rotards, but with pistons, so I am calling us Pistards now. So, I was looking back at my first couple of posts here and I realized that I sort of just jumped into the build thread without explaining what the Hell it is that I think I am doing.  For a couple of years before I decided to purchase the RX7, I had been driving my ’06 Evo around. I really wanted to get into track driving, and so I started doing some Autocrosses here and there to start learning how to drive good. Although Autocross is very different from track driving, it is actually a really good way to dip your toes into auto sports since it teaches you a couple of things. Number one, it teaches you car control. Autocross is all about rapid transitions (left-to-right, as well as fore-aft transitions). As you can imagine, this type of driving with the rapid transient maneuvering can put the car into some really precarious situations, such as spins, locking up the tires under braking, fighting over/understeer, limit braking, throttle control, etc… As somebody who ultimately wanted to make the transition to road racing these are all good skills to know, and they can be learned with minimal risk on an Autocross course where there is plenty of run-off space and the top speeds never really exceed 60-70 mph. The other thing it teaches you is how to push your car close to its limit. When I finally did do a couple of track days with the Evo, I was already leaps and bounds ahead of many people who just decided to jump straight into a track day because I was already very comfortable with the car in a corner, I knew basically how it was going to behave. Once I started doing track days though, I was ruined. I instantly stopped giving a flying ass-banshee about having a street car. From this point forward I knew for sure that all I was going to care about was hitting the track.

Of course, it is fun driving a car on the street, but most roads/highways are pretty straight. For people who just want to build a straight-line missile and hit the go-pedal, street driving can be a lot of fun. But for those who lust for the lateral g-strings, there are really not too many roads that are very interesting, and the few that are you still have to be very careful of other cars and gravel on the road and buildings and lakes and potholes, etc… It really is just not the safest thing to be cornering at or near the limit on the street at the end of the day. Plus nobody is timing you on the street so there is no competition anyways. For all of these reasons and more, I was hooked on track days.

So the next question is, why the RX7 then? The Evo is pretty well recognized as a good track car. However, it is not without its limitations. I found that the transmission/transfer case was not all that reliable. I ended up having to replace both in the span of a few years. Granted, I was making ~450 AWHP, so it was bumped up from stock levels quite a bit. But the biggest issue with the Evo for road racing is the ~65% front weight distribution. It is difficult to get around that much understeer without compromising the front end grip to try and balance it out. The RX7 on the other hand is a famously neutral chassis, with at or near 50% front weight distribution. The ‘7 also has SLA suspension front and rear, making for a big improvement over the Evo’s front McPherson suspension which gains positive camber in bump. So, why not just buy a Corvette then? Also a pretty neutral vehicle with a V8 and RWD, right? Well it turns out that I am not 50 and my penis still works, so that was out. But kidding aside (my dick is broke as PH**), the RX7 is overall a lighter vehicle than a corvette and in road racing mass is everything. “But Pistard” you say, “why not just make up for the added mass by adding more whorespower?” Because that is not how tires work my poor little Rotard. It turns out that the ratio of lateral load-holding capability to the normal (vertical) load on the tire actually decreases as the normal load is increased. So if your tire can provide 600 lbs of lateral grip at 500 lbs normal load (a ratio of 1.2), then it will only be able to provide 1,050 lbs of lateral grip at 1,000 lbs normal load (a ratio of 1.05). These numbers are made up, but in real tires, the drop-off in the ratio becomes significant. This means that all else being equal, a lower mass (resulting in lower normal load on the tires) will end up being a huge advantage if you care about cornering. So all things considered an RX7 is actually a pretty good candidate for a race car due to its suspension geometry, overall light weight, and rear-wheel drive configuration.

So, I bought “Doda” and started building her up for HPDE track days. My ultimate goal is to get a Time Trials License and compete in (probably) TT1. The NASA classes are power-to-weight based and the last time I did the math it looked like that was the class I will likely end up in. I personally think trying to set a fast lap is very interesting and fun. Not only the science behind getting the setup on the car just right, but the thrill of putting together a perfect lap is just enticing to me. Perhaps eventually I will graduate to wheel-to-wheel racing, but for now I am shooting for TT. More on that later. But for now, I bid you all good night.

Offline PeakAlpha

Re: "Doda" '93 FD NASA TT Build
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2019, 09:54:22 PM »
After getting the headlight covers done, it was time to start painting more before I got the engine in the car. So I took all of the body parts (hehe) off of the front end of the car and proceeded to sand down the frame and whatnot. Finally got it all sanded and painted in my shitty garage before I replaced the body panels and loaded the car up onto the trailer to take it to a MAACO in Columbus. Yes, that’s right. MAACO. They did a mediocre job of painting the car (as expected), but it was cheap and once again good enough for racecar. I chose white because of my privilege or some such.



On a side note, there REALLY needs to be an option on our GPS devices for “I AM TOWING AN ENORMOUS TRAILER AND I SERIOUSLY CANNOT AFFORD TO DRIVE DOWN THE NARROWEST GODDAMN ONE-WAY STREET IN AMERICA RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT YOU PRIIIIIIIIIICKS!!!!!” So, that was the worst… But I lived and didn’t take off any side-view mirrors thank goodness.

After paint, I decided to add a baffled oil pan while I still had the engine on the stand before I threw it into the car. Improved Racing had a nice unit to replace the stock unit, which really has little or no baffling to speak of. As you can see below, the Improved unit has neat little one-way trap doors that allow oil to flow toward the sump in a turn, but not out the other side of the baffle. Looks pretty darn good bolted in there!

Stock Installed;


Stock unit next to the Improved Racing unit;


Improved Racing Baffles installed;


For the record, I have not noticed significant drop in oil pressure on the track so far. That of course could change as I add wider tires and eventually go to slicks and big Aero mods. But for now the racing baffles APPEAR to be doing their job.

Next up was to install my new Ronin K-Member, transmission mount, and differential mount. I opted to stick with the stock FD rear differential since I am not planning on putting stupid amounts of power through the thing at any point. For now, it is holding up just fine. Anyhow, I dropped the stock k-member and started removing suspension pieces to swap over to the Ronin.



Around this time, my buddy from back home showed up to visit so that we could go to the Indy 500. I lived in Blowhio for 5 years and never missed a 500. While he was there, he helped me swear at my engine and transmission as we assembled and put it into the car. WOW this car is easy to work on. Install went super smoov.




Was feeling pretty good about my progress to this point. Engine in the car and looking good man! How naïve of me. Still SO much damn more work to do. But for now, I was ready to go enjoy me some redneckery down in Indianapolis.

Offline digitalsolo

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Re: "Doda" '93 FD NASA TT Build
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2019, 11:50:17 PM »
I chose white because of my privilege or some such.

I literally LOL'd here...
Blake MF'ing McBride
1988 Mazda RX7 - Turbo LS1/T56/ProEFI/8.8/Not Slow...   sold.
1965 Mustang Coupe - TT Coyote, TR6060, modern brakes/suspension...  project car
2013 Focus ST3 - Stage 1 BPU

Offline Venom13132

Re: "Doda" '93 FD NASA TT Build
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2019, 09:52:50 AM »
sweet build so far!
1995 RX-7 - LS1, T56: LS6 Intake, Feed wide body, Feed CF Side skirts, Ray's Gram Lights, K-Sport coilovers, 99 spec\ tails and spoiler, SpeedHut Gauges, Aeromotive fuel pump
2000 Ford Excursion - V10 Tow monster
2006 BMW 650i - 4.8l V8 6-Speed Manual - Daily Driver

Offline markfluko

Re: "Doda" '93 FD NASA TT Build
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2019, 12:04:30 PM »
They painted the door handles!  :'(

Seeing this white Maaco job reminds me of when I had my 240sx painted white... looking close you can see some of the :huh: moments, but definitely worth it for $500 or whatever it is now...

I've been considering using them again on my latest car because the financially responsible part of me has a very hard time spending several thousand for paint that could easily get compromised with how I use the cars.

Overall, interested to see how this develops!

Offline PeakAlpha

Re: "Doda" '93 FD NASA TT Build
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2019, 10:16:01 PM »
Haha, yeah I fully realize that some of the finer craftsmen on this forum may be offended by the Maaco paint job, and some of the later add-ons to this build. I am very much a Function > Form type of person, and again this build is meant to be a track car, which will see tons of abuse. I am still working on improving my craftsmanship skills, but overall, I am more concerned about maximizing performance and that typically leaves minimal time for making things pretty.

And now I was at the point where the engine was mounted in the chassis and coupled to a transmission/flywheel/clutch assembly and it was time to get this damned thing ready to run. I purchased a MicroSquirt ECU to run the engine. That ECU is actually designed to run a 4-cylinder engine, so in order to get it to work on a V8, one has to run it on batch fuel (one fuel pulse every single stroke) and wasted-spark ignition (spark fires before TDC every time whether it is a compression stroke or not). This setup is not optimal for fuel efficiency purposes, but MPG is not your game if you are making peak power so I didn’t care about women’s rights or whatnot. This setup also didn’t use the cam sensor since it doesn’t need to know which individual cylinder is firing since it was using batch fuel/wasted spark. So anyways, I bought a wiring harness for the car without any of the sensors etc. attached, so it was up to me to find the sensors and pigtails necessary to get everything that I needed. This involved a lot of trips to the junkyard, which was an interesting time. And by interesting I mostly mean sweaty and filled with awkward conversations with sweaty strangers. Not as arousing as it sounds like. I ended up doing a ton of research and figuring out which cars had 5.3L engines, or which cars use the same sensors as a GM LS-based engine, etc, etc… At the end of the day I was able to hack together a functional wiring harness, and eventually cleaned it up slightly (for the ladies).



There is a LOT that goes into building a wiring harness for the record. Huge pain in the anus. I will get to some of the issues that I ran into at some point later in the thread.
For some nonsensical reason, the engine that I bought came with only 6 coil packs, so I needed to grab a couple more. While I was at the junkyard, I ended up finding a Ford Van with all 8 coil packs with the aluminum heat sink attached to them. I remembered reading somewhere about how the heat sinks dissipated heat better and supposedly could make slightly more power or something, blah, blah. Not sure if I am convinced that this is true or not, but I said screw it and picked them up. Then I figured out that the mounting holes are COMPLETELY different on the truck/van coils than for the Camaro/vette coils so I ended up having to order a new coil bracket to mount them. Just another small pain in the tucus that are sure to be plentiful in any build. But it came out looking just fine.



By this point my gigantic lanky puppy was like, “okay fk yew hewmun”



After this I had to figure out the belt for my accessories. Seeing as how this was a race car, I really did not need power steering for the car. I am certain that this has been debated ad nauseum as to the pro’s/con’s of power steering for a track car, but at the end of the day it came down to weight, complexity, and the feedback from the tires for me. Removing the power steering causes the input to the tires to be fed directly into the steering wheel without the power steering system absorbing any of that “feel”. This is obviously important for being able to tell what is going on with the front tires in a turn. Plus, I was now able to reduce the overall complexity of the system by removing the steering pump. Another plus is that this is just one less system with fluid, so I could avoid any leaks associated with that. And ov coarse, there is the weight savings of not having a steering pump, fluid, fluid reservoir, and steering lines on the front end of the car. Since I am 6’ 2” and in decent shape, I really wasn’t worried about the added steering effort, especially considering my time spent at “parking lot speeds” would be minimal. Since then I have done several track days, and I do not regret removing the power steering at all. If people would like to yell their opinions at me about this, feel free to chime in.
For the alternator, I opted for an aftermarket bracket which mounts it low on the engine as seen in the picture below;



This was a good place to put it for my build since I had the room, and it placed the mass of the alternator/associated wiring low in the vehicle. Might seem ridiculous to some of you on here, but again every little bit counts on a racecar, and I had the option to fairly easily/cheaply locate it where I did. Since Air Conditioning is a luxury suitable only for bored housewives and disreputable gentleweeds, I obviously do not have it on my racecar. Again weight and complexity and complete lack of any functional utility on a racecar win out here. Not even a question.

Up next, I decided that engines like coolant. So I needed a radiator in order to run my engine. I ended up purchasing a unit from “Circle Track Supply”. Their company president actually called me himself and ended up asking questions about my application so that he could make sure I got the right product. I REALLY appreciated this, as it eventually paid dividends as I will explain. So big shoutout to those guys for great customer service. The radiator that I got was a dual-pass and pretty tall, so I ended up mounting it at an angle in the engine bay. I paid a really good TIG welder that I worked with to weld a couple of pieces of Aluminum Angle on the sides of the radiator so that I could mount it directly to the frame rails. I ended up using simply some self-tapping screws and a couple of pieces of rubber hose to isolate it from the chassis. It is still currently working swell.



Got the headers on the ol’ engine. Went with the JTR units made from SS304 iirc. Back then corrosion was a concern for me since I was living in a humid rust-belt state. Not too bad in there. Eventually (as you’ll probably notice later) I ended up coating the headers with high-temp paint as a rust preventative.



For the fuel pump I ended up using an Aeromotive Stealth 340. Here is what it looks like connected and mounted to the stock fuel sump dealy. Not quite the same style as stock so I locked it in place with a hose clamp. Seems to be holding up so far.



And at this point with my garage littered with crap, and my scrotum full of Christmas cheer, I was ready to start testing things to make sure they turned on and whatnot. Will the engine start? Will Alpha finally confess his love for Table Sauce? Find out next time on; “WHEEL! OF! DICKJIGGLE!!!!”



Offline digitalsolo

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Re: "Doda" '93 FD NASA TT Build
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2019, 10:39:25 PM »
I always knew I was a gentleweed.
Blake MF'ing McBride
1988 Mazda RX7 - Turbo LS1/T56/ProEFI/8.8/Not Slow...   sold.
1965 Mustang Coupe - TT Coyote, TR6060, modern brakes/suspension...  project car
2013 Focus ST3 - Stage 1 BPU

Offline Cobranut

Re: "Doda" '93 FD NASA TT Build
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2019, 09:01:07 PM »
I always get a good laugh out of this thread.  :D
1995 FD, 7.0 Liter stroked LS3, T56, 8.8, Samberg kit.

Offline PeakAlpha

Re: "Doda" '93 FD NASA TT Build
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2019, 05:19:20 PM »
Well Pistards, it’s me again. As you may, or may not remember from last time (depending on how drunk you were when reading my last post) I had gotten to the point with the build where I had more or less gotten the car together to where I was ready to try and start it. This was the first time I had done any automotive wiring, so needless to say, I was a bit nervous. However, I had my trusty bro-friend from the frozen-ass North come down to good ol’ farmtown Blowhio to help me out. Remember the friend I mentioned in my first post who got me started with cars in high school? Yep, that’s him, he came all the way out to the East Coast (or whatever, eff you, Ohio is NOT the “Mid-West” ya corn-fed pricks!). Anyways, we decided to do minimal wiring at first just to get it started. That means we literally started the car by touching the starter coil wire to a hot wire. So much fun. The government would be proud.

We got all of the proper wires twisted together and checked with the computer that the sensors were responding as expected/properly and decided to give it a shot. When we first went to start it, she would not fire unfortunately. So we set to work figuring out what in the name of homely sluts was wrong. Engines being the simple machines that they are require only three things to start; compression (was pretty sure we had this one okay based on how much of a pain in the dick it was to turn over), spark, and fuel. Eventually we ended up cracking the fuel line up by the rail and realized that we were BONE dry. For my fuel system, I am using a Corvette fuel filter and ended up running the fuel inlet line into the return line because the information that I could find on LS1tech was provided by mouth-breathing fucktards.



We swapped that, and suddenly Doda peed all over my hands for the first time (just like a Russian porno [I assume…]). So, we sealed the fuel line back up, got the gas cleaned up and dried out, aaaaaaannnnd…

https://youtu.be/fFUC3w9gEgY

WOOO!!! As you can see, the car started on the first try!!! I was pretty shocked that everything actually seemed to be wired correctly, and all of the sensors were reading properly. Of course, by the time we got this shit figured out and started the car with open headers, it was 10 pm. Luckily my neighbors were good ol’ drunken rednecks who tended to set up a shooting range in their back yard with shop lights after dark, so I doubt they gave a Possum’s hairy dick, and if they did they had no room to complain.

While the engine was up and running, we decided to set up a MAD-TYTE CUSTOM SCREEN so that we could watch the timing, rpm, AFR, etc…



At this point, I was feeling pretty satisfied with myself, so we probably got wasted or something. Still a lot of work to go to get ‘er driving, but some damn good progress to date!!! One step closer to realizing my dream.