Time to take the clutch basket apart. This invloves drilling out the rivets.
The enemy rivets have been defeated!
Time for disassembly! I'm not sure what I'm going to find.
Springs. Just like in the clutch disk of a car.
With the thin ring gear removed I find three baby springs in pockets in the thick ring gear. The thin ring geat also has pockets.
And a conical washer to keep the thin and thick ring gears spread apart.
Another conical washer
Well that turned into more pieces than I bargained for!
Time to switch gears and get the engine on a stand. I made a couple brackets that will do the job.
The engine is sitting on blocks. Time for lift-off.
The plan is to use the ratchet straps to lift the engine. Then I'll tuck the engine stand underneath.
And we're up!
I want to get the motor running on the stand to make sure I have all the appropriate bits off of the bike. So I had to put the clutch basket back on. Fortunately, although I took it apart, the functional geometry is still intact so I can re-install it.
Fishing the harness out of the bike.
Harness fished! Looks easy. Was not.
The ECU and some converter box that plugs into the alternator.
Sigh. When the bike was crashed the alternator cover got mangled. It does't look that bad from this picture, but it's cracked on the bottom and leaks oil. So I've ordered a new one. I'll be able to get work done in the meantime, but I can't run the engine until it shows up.
I attached a piece of plywood to the engine stand so I can mount the various bits need to make it run.
It goes to 11.
Really it does :)
Now it just needs an alternator cover, fuel (I'll be using the stock tank and pump for now), exhaust and a radiator!
I couldn't help myself. After jumpering the kickstand switch and clutch lever switch, and being lucky that the transmission is in neutral, I goosed the starter button - and it cranked.
Not too many miles. It's a 2001 after all.
An old picture. The day I brought the bike home.
Apparently the ZX12 is known for this alternator connector failing.
The new alternator cover has arrived! I have to move the stator to the new one.
Out with the old, in with the new.
This is where the old alternator cover was cracked.
Fresh oil. Happy engine.
That's about right.
New alternator cover in place.
After many hours of troubleshooting I couldn't get the bike to start. Everything appeared to be working properly, but the ECU refused to turn on the fuel pump. Finally, the internet provided the answer. There is an anti-theft measure in the ignition switch that's not mentioned in the factory service manual. It's just a 100ohm resistor. I added it to my switch . . .
This is what debugging looks like.
We have lift off! After bypassing the anti-theft, and making a new clutch interlook jumper, she started on the first try :) It leaks oil around the new cover because I didn't RTV it like I was supposed to. And it leaks coolant because the radiator was damaged in the crash. But I'll take it!
The obligatory engine goose :) The sound is intoxicating. Not great audio. There is a bit of engine clatter. But you get the idea ;)
I found this little beauty on craigslist. It's a 97 with a torsen and 115k miles. $750. That gives me a spare 1.8l engine for my car, a spare trans for either the 7 or my car and all the bits and pieces needed for the 7.
Steve was awesome and came along with his truck for the day.
An original, 1957 Series 1 Lotus 7. Cool huh? I may copy those mini windshields in order to be legit on the road.
En route to the machine shop.
On the CMM. Dave from NRL Associates was able to reverse engineer the clutch cover interface.
Here is the diff that came out of the donor car.
And here's what it looks like inside. That cylinder in there means it's an open diff . . . so, despite my research I didn't end up with a torsen. Sigh. After grumping around the rest of the day I found one on eBay.
Splitting the case begins with removing a bunch of peripheral components, like the crank trigger sensor for instance.
And the starter motor. As it turns out, I didn't really have to take the starter out. Not sure why the factory manual says to take it out. Except that it leaves a great hole for oil to leak out of when you flip the engine over.
Off comes the stator cover (again).
The first step to getting the water and oil pumps out.
I discovered this beauty down in that coolant well. Yeah, I think it's a baby acorn. How it got into the cooling system I have no idea. Luckily it's in one piece and not scattered through the coolant passages. The water pump impeller looks ok too.
All of the external components have been removed. Time for a flip. I've rigged up a frame of sorts so I can roll it onto its head.
And we're flipped. Notice the pool of oil forming on the cardboard. If you plan on flipping your ZX12 motor over don't take out the starter.
Next off, the oil pan.
Just a shot so I know how things go back together.
Cool. The oil pan is off. Note the sequential shifter barrel - very cool. Also, we can see the crank, a couple con-rods and the bottoms of two pistons.
What follows are a number of reference shots so I know how things go together.
Off with your case! This is basically the results for the day: a pile of external parts on the left, and the bottom half of the crank case on the right.
Here's what's left - and what I'm ultimately after. Those two shafts with gears on them are coming out. The crankshaft stays.
The two transmission shafts are oiled. I'm plugging one source near the main oil passage. The other source I'm hijacking to oil the angular contact bearings in my housing.
This shaft is coming out wholesale. Something needs to go in place of this bearing and seal so I don't have a gaping hole in my crankcase.
This bearing is coming out too, but I'm putting in a new sealed bearing in its place. It will accept one end of my shaft.
Ha, these are cool. Oil sprayers for the transmission gears.
Here are the two transmission shafts removed.
And here's what's left.
I've designed basically a blank bearing to replace this guy. It will have the snap ring groove for location, as well as a pair of o-ring grooves to seal.
This is one oil port that needs to be plugged. I could probably just cut and crimp that tube, or braze it shut. Instead, I'm just going to machine a little plug end just like what's there, except with no tube hanging off.
This is clever. Kawasaki cast standoffs like these in the oil pan to hold in the oil pipes. No fasteners needed.
The diff in the donor wasn't the torsen I wanted. So I bought one on ebay. Not sure I would have packaged it like this though.
A bit rusty on the outside but it looks clean inside.
Spent a few hours with the drill and some wire wheels. What you see now is mostly clean metal.
I'm going to paint this some other time. But it's getting primer now so all me work doesn't go to waste.
Black rustoleum primer. Supposedly it converts rust to a paintable surface etc. etc. In another Seven build the guy painted his diff with aluminum color engine paint. It came out looking pretty sharp so I think I'm going to copy him.
Engine assembly time! The yellow spray can is a special high pressure light bodied lubricant for the clamping set I'm using to connect the ring gear to my shaft.
This little tab cracked mostly off when the bike was laid down. In removing the stator cover while disassembling the engine it finally gave way. Good thing actually because the reminded me to get it welded back together. Luckly it's not in critical area of the crankcase. The welder did a nice job though. A friend suggested green loctite to seal the pourous cast aluminum. Green is a wicking version of loctite intended to be used on bolts that are already installed. Sounds like a good idea to me. The last thing I want is an oil leak.
Sigh. The last remnants of the beatiful sequential transmission are gone. But I'm going to have reverse, so I'm over it.
Time to clean the crankcase mating surfaces. Not sexy but needs to get done.
That set of gears is the bike's transmission output shaft. You can see the sprocket that drives the chain to the rear wheel at the left. There is also a bearing there with a snap ring. Since I'm removing that shaft there will be a gaping hole in the crankcase. Obivously that must be remedied. So I had machined a bearing blank. It has the snap ring groove so it will stay in place and two o-ring grooves to make the seal.
O-rings and snap ring installed.
Bearing blank sitting in the case. In hindsight I should have had all that extra material hogged out. Would have saved a few ounces of weight.
It's done when the little thing pops out right? Actually, the main angular contact bearings are a slight press fit into the housing. So I'm going to heat it up so it expands which should allow the bearings to slip in.
And they did. The machine shop did a stellar job on getting the fit right on that bore.
I installed the snap ring too
The shaft is in and the locking collar is on. I'm not assembling this for real. I just can't contain myself I need to do a test fit to satisfy my curiosity.
The other side. That's starting to look like a Miata engine interface. Huh, that's lucky.
This is the clamping set that will hold the ring gear to the shaft. It cap with socket head cap screws (on the right) but give my space constraints I need hex head cap screws (on the left) in order to get the torque wrench on them.
The small OD of the clamping set goes inside the ring gear.
And then that slips onto the shaft
It's getting real now! I haven't put the case halves together. As it turns out this will allow me to set the depth of the ring gear just right so it meshes properly with the crank and with the oil pump.
I can't decide if it's better with the flash or without. So you get both
Here we go. So you can see how the ring gear (the bigger one) meshes with the crankshaft gear. You can also see the end of my shaft where another bearing will be. As it turns out I ordered a 6205 instead of a 6305 which means the OD was 52mm instead of 62mm. Oops. I have one on order and it should be here tomorrow. The smaller spline that's near that missing bearing is for the oil pump gear.
An overhead view. This is looking promising. When I get the new bearing tomorrow I'll be able to set that in place. At that point the assembly will technically be over constrained . . . lets hope everything lines up.
Pick up the correct bearing this morning.
First complete alignment test fit. Everything is lining up without binding. There is the tiniest amount of backlash between the ring gear and the crank which is probably the way it's supposed to be.
Time to start final assembly. First, an oil seal for my housing.
This is the clamping set I've been referring to. There are inner and outer parts that are clamped together with eight screws (one shown). The mating surface between the two parts is tapered and the screws draw the halves together. Since each half is split the inner half's ID gets smaller and the outer half's OD gets bigger. This allows me to mount the ring gear to the shaft.
After spending most of the day getting the ring gear mounted just right it's time to reassemble the motor.
All torqued down.
Here is my bearing plug.
And here is the new bearing.
Boo yeah! The first fitting of my housing on the assembled crankcase. It fits. I'm ecstatic.
It's perfect. Flush against the case. Slips onto the pins and into the case bearing without binding. The same tiny amount of backlash exists between the ring gear and the crank. This indicates to me that the lower case half didn't disrupt the fit I had before reassembling the motor.
On the right is the oil pipe that fed the transmission output shaft which I've removed. On the left is the plug that is going in instead.
Time to put the oil pan back on.
Right to left: oil cooler and filter, alternator cover, and water pump / oil pump back together.
Crank sensor cover in place.
Time to go back on the stand. It will be easier to work on the motor and I want to get it running again.
And we're up.
The face for the transmission adapter doesn't quite clear the tabs on the crank sensor cover. I designed it to be close - the closer the engine to the transmission the closer it is to the center of the car.
The tabs have been cut off and the trans adapter fitted. I made slots in it so I could adjust the clocking of the engine once it's in the car.
That's a close shave even with the tabs removed.
And I had to throw the flywheel on just for good measure.
The oil pan sticks down quite far. I knew this could be an issue - there are several short sumps with pivotting pickups on the market. We'll see what it looks like once it goes in the car.
What started the weekend as a table full of parts and two halves of a motor are now a complete motor with custom output.
This is the oil tube I'm going to hijack and send the oil over to my bearings. As luck would have it, that's a 4.76mm tube - which is 3/16" - which is a standard size for hard tubing. It's going to be AN3.
Got some brake line supplies. Stainless AN3 tubing, a 37deg flare tool, pipe bender, piper cutter, various AN3 fittings and some clamps to hold it all in place.
Leaving nothing to chance, I need to make sure that the tube I aim at the bearing will actually spray the bearing with oil. So I've made this rig which works much like a squirt gun. I put oil in the bottle and screw the cap on that has these two tubes. The metal tube reaches almost to the bottom and the rubber tube will be hooked up to compressed air. I'll regulate the air pressure to what the bike's oil pressure will be and oil will be forced up and out of the metal tube. This way I'll be able see how much spray I get.
The thick orange (red?) hose is the compressed air supply. That goes into a regulator, then into a mechanical switch, then into a valve (which is just to adapt from 6mm to 1/4" hoses), then into my bottle.
I started out conservatively: with water instead of oil, and at 10psi. It shot about about 7 feet!
I thought an unmolested tube might not give enough squirt. So I also made a flattened one.
The original flattened tube.
The original flattened tube didn't really give as much squirt as I was hoping for. So I flattened it some more.
Cold 10W30 oil. 10psi. Not much squirt! More of a dribble.
Coil oil again. This time at 23psi. This is the spec for the pressure at 4000rpm. I think that amount of spray will be sufficient.
Here is the unmolested tube at 10psi.
Here is the crimped end tube at 40 psi and cold oil. I think this crimped tube will be sufficient for what I'm trying to accomplish.
There is one more hole in the crankcase I have to plug. It's where the shifter foot pedal bar protrudes from the case. There is an oil seal there already. So I just need to make a plug.
That lathe is pretty low budget, but it does an ok job.
Here's the hole.
Here's the hole plugged.
Here's the hole plugged with a keeper tab to hold it in place.
Time to see if my custom stuff fits on the miata trans. Here I've pressed the pilot bearing into the flywheel.
And it fits! There are two pins on the transmission that locate the adapter plate. And with the pilot bearing pressed into the flywheel, the tip of the transmission input shaft is now inside that bearing.
Lots of grip for the eventual increase in power.
Looking like a miata engine.
Looks like the same picture as before, but this time the clutch disk and pressure plate are installed. This means I can get the whole thing assembled now. My custom parts fit both the bike engine and the miata trans. Glorious!
Here I'm comparing the torque at the wheel for each of the transmissions, the Miata's and the Bike's coupled to the bike engine. Since torque is what actually moves the car that's what we care about at the wheel. And I plot this vs. road speed and include a curve for each gear. The bike trans is in indigoish and the miata's in brownish. Comparing the bike to the miata, we see the bike's gears are much closer together. This keeps the engine in the powerband, which is why we see the miata's curves dip below the bike's at the beginning of each shift. But, since they are so close together, the bike's gears top out at 114 MPH. And 1st gear is much taller (resulting in a lower curve, it's confusing terminology I know) so it will be harder to launch. On the other hand, through the meat of the speed range, you get slightly more torque at the expense of having to shift more often.
How can we make the bike's gears give us a higher top speed? Well, we use a taller diff, that's how. For the miata's differential, there are available a set of gears that takes the ratio down to 3.636. This is a fair bit taller which has the effect of pushing the curves down and to the right. This time, each shift of the miata transmission gives up a little more torque to the bike and the bike is able to achieve a higher top speed than it was before, about 128 mph. Although 1st gear is compromised more, for such a lightweight car it's probably not a big deal. Am I planning on spending a lot of time above 128mph? Not really. I am planning on spending some time up there though. And for a road-going car I don't want to have to be shifting constantly. So, it's a miata 5speed with a standard 4.1 diff. I give up little pockets of torque, but it's really not that much, and I have a decent launch gear and a power-limited top speed.
On to the oiling for my bearings. I've cut and flared a stock oil pipe for AN3 fittings.
The plan is to use this flexible brake line as a sort of service loop that will extend into the crankcase. While fitting the cover, the first task will be to connect up the oil line. Then I'll be able to slide the cover on and the flexible brake line will give me the leeway I need.
Service loop set up. That male fitting will mate up to a hard line on the cover side.
I've installed the hard line into the cover. Here I am fitting it up to the engine. First step is to connect the hard line to the service loop.
Here's a shot between the ring gear and the housing. The hard line runs mostly under the ring gear and then loops up to shoot oil down into the bearings.
Here's the end that attaches to the service loop.
You can see parts of the hard line snaking under the gear.
Here's a picture of the loop from the outside.
There's a product at Harbor Freight called "Evaporust". They sell it at Advance under the WD40 brand also and from what I can tell it's the same thing for about $1 more. It is maybe the most amazing product ever. Simply dunk crappy looking parts and they come out looking new. These are not new calipers. These are 15 year old, 120k mile calipers soaked for about a week.
Ugh. A while back I pulled a trans from junk yard car. I pulled this one from the donor. After messing with the shifter and input shafts to "get a feel" for each one, I think the donor one is in better mechanical shape. But it certainly is dirtier.
Mostly clean now.
Still trying to get the axles out of the hubs. I tried an el cheapo pneumatic hammer gun from harbor freight that did zero. I've also heated in and beaten it with a sledge. A friend has a hydraulic press. Hopefully that works.
Cleaned up the throw-out arm and rubber gasket. I have a new front seal and a new throw-out bearing to install.
Freshly installed and greased. The trans is ready to roll.
This is the before shot of the grimy and rusty parts off the donor.
Tearing the calipers down. I have rebuild kits on the way.
Evaporust at work.
My kit is in Baltimore awaiting pickup! Finally time to clean the garage. Lots of stuff getting thrown out. Lots going in the basement.
Parts are cleaned up mostly ready to go.
Steering column and front brake ducts.
This is where my crate ended up.
I rented a uhaul truck to pick it up.
Get in there!
And we're in.
We're home. Time to unpack.
First look. And it looks good.
Not the biggest garage. It's more of a shed with a garage door. I call it the sharage.
The crate comes apart.
Where did you come from?
The worst thing so far is the packing tape leaves a ton of residue.
The chassis is so narrow that finding seats that fit becomes difficult. While I wasn't crazy about buying seats unseen (unsat?) I wanted to know that they would fit.
Steering column extender
Steering column knuckle
Time to assemble the front shocks and springs so I can install them on the car.
I went to assemble the rears also, but the springs had some nicks and rash. So I applied some POR15 to touch them up and keep them from rusting.
I got new Mazdaspeed differential bushings. So it's out with the old . . . These are a terrible pain to get out. Luckily, the two metal ring is two halves already, so no cutting required there. I just pounded one out, then the other.
All the bushings out.
I was thinking about making a build table - as I've seen many builds done that way. But then the instructions suggest just building on a set of jack stands. Which makes a little more sense to me. While it would be nice if the car was up so it would be easier to fit the suspension and route hoses and things, it will be much harder to fit the engine and transmission which will likely be going in and out multiple times. My other problem is mobility. The garage is rather small and I want to be able to roll the chassis around to make access to different parts easier, and so I can roll it partially outside when it comes time to fit the engine. So I made a cradle that supports the chassis and has casters so I can roll it around.
I test fit the differential the other day and I needed to make some spacers for the arms.
Here's the chassis cart with wheels
It's really nice being able to roll the car around within the garage.
Cleaned up the back half of the differential in preparation for paint.
And the first thing is bolted on the car! Progress! But it wasn't easy. I had to drill out the mounting holes to get the bolts to fit and then because I drilled through the powdercoat I applied POR15 the the hole before installing the shocks. And there weren't enough washers to space the rod end so I stole some from the rocker. I have a feeling nothing is going to be straightforward. The rocker, for instance, needs its mounting holes drilled out too. But I don't have the correct size drill so I'm going to see if I can borrow one from work.
Got the calipers rebuilt with new seals and dust boots.
The diff is primed and ready for paint. I'm thinking dark blue rear and black front. But the primer takes 24 hours to dry before top-coating. I'll probably do it tomorrow.
Checking the clearance on the differential.
Good on the right.
In order to get the proper angle on the differential, I had to nose it up quite a bit and it ended up hitting the frame.
Trying to get more angle on the diff. In addition to angling the nose up, I'm putting spacers on top of the ears to lower the rear.
The transmission is angled with the front slightly higher than the rear. To the tune of about 1 degree.
The ears can't be too low.
I had to grind out some weld in order to clearance the difference.
I ended up grinding through a plate that had capped the tube. I didn't want to leave an open tube so I welded it closed. Didn't think I'd be grinding and welding so soon!
A brake line tee sits right behind the differential and in front of the fuel tank. Here I am trying to decide on which side of the tab to put it. It ended up going closer to the fuel tank. There is more wiggle room there.
Giving up on the differential for a while. Turning my attention to the footwell panels. They required some trimming around the welds, and then it's a matter of figuring out where the tubes are and drilling holes for the rivets.
Driver's side tubes with drilled holes.
Driver's side, panel with rivets in place.
The passenger's side was a bit more difficult. The engine bay tubes prevented my from putting the panel in whole. So I split it in half. Here I am using the calipers to scribe to location of the angled tube so I know where to drill the holes.
Passenger's side rivetted!
Trevor helps figure out how much tire fits under the front cycle fenders. That's a 205 on a 7" wide wheel. Maybe, just maybe, a 225 would fit if I trimmed the walls of the fender. I don't think it's worth it though. 205 it is.
Polyurethane bushings for mounting the front of the diff.
The bushings are 3/4" OD. The holes on the diff are just under that size. Nominally I think they're supposed to be 3/4" but I think the rust has gotten to it. Nothing a huge drill can't fix!
Here the flanged bushings are installed along with metal sleeves for the bolts to clamp
Washers on top of the flanges to keep the polyurethane from creeping.
The diff is close to going in for real. So it's time to run the brake and fuel lines through the rear end. Most people rivet these on. I'm afraid of the day I'll have to take the lines out which would mean drilling out all those rivets. These self-tapping sheet metal screws work really well. And they're removable.
Drilled the pedal area for the pedals and master cyilnders.
The rear end is ready to go in.
First the diff gets new seals
The Miata's differential bushings press in from the top and there is a sheet metal / rubber keeper that goes on the bottom. The stock keeper put the rubber really far away from the bottom face of the arm. This would allow the differential bushing to slip out the top. So I made a new bottom cap and stuck a piece of rubber in there to the diff can still move around.
I cut the corners out of the round rubber to make a cross. Look at that weight reduction!
Got the master cylinders mounted.
The brake pedal is also installed.
Here's an exploded view of the stuff used to mount the ears of the differential. Starting on the right we have a shim that's been weight reduced, then a flat shim so the differential's rubber bushing has something to react against, the hammer represents the arm of the diff, the rubber cross slips on under the arm, followed by another plate, a lock washer and then the bolt goes up through everything.
Here you can see why the second shim is not weight reduced. I wanted a flat surface for the rubber nubs on the top of the differential to have something to react against.
Here's the installed stack up.
Since the master cylinders are so low in the car, I've attached a pair of residual pressure valves. Also, the rear brake line is hooked up ready to go!
Here's the mounting of the nose of the diff. Polyurethane bushings top and bottom with a steel sleeve running through them. I have aluminum spacers between the frame pad and the diff with some stainless washers as shims.
The diff is in!
The rear brake lines from the "T" to each side are done now.
Having some issues with the control arms. I think these are supposed to be co-axial - or at least parallel.
Straight edge pretty flat against one side.
Definitely not flat against the other side.
Here's a trick I learned from 949racing. Use a bearing/gear puller and an impact wrench to remove control arm bushings.
Plastic wrapped and masking taped.
The lawn mower plays a supporting role in the painting of the axles.
I finished up the fuel line routing up the tunnel.
Really tricky and tight next to the transmission mount. To make room the tubes go from side-by-side to over-under and then back.
leftside front upper wishbone
rearward bushing, almost in it clevis
frontward bushing, too short by a solid 1/8"
rightside, front, upper wishbone is installed! One for eight . . .
rightside, front, lower wishbone, Close! But no cigar.
frontward bushing, Ah! I could probably hammer this one home. But if I do, there is no way the rearward one goes in.
Frontward bushing, needs another 3/32"
Rearward bushing, needs 1/16"
leftside, front, lower wishbone, A bit further away than the other side
leftside, front, lower wishbone, Looks good here.
Here's the problem, slight, but enough to cause an issue.
Angled slightly up toward the center.
Also angled slightly upward toward center. This adds to the combined angle. If they were parallel but offset I think they'd go together.
rightside, front, lower wishbone
angled upward toward center
Angled very slightly upward toward center just like the leftside.
Straight here though
Moving on. There is another brake T at the front end. By tilting it to one side, I can make the side pipes aviod the bolts on the coil-overs. Who wants to take the brake pipes out if the shocks need to be removed?
A little long! These got trimmed down.
Front pipes are done.
Time for the rockers. A bit of grease goes on the needle bearings.
Here we go again! The spacers that connect the push-rod rod-end to the rocker are too tall. I can fit one of them. But clearly, the other one won't be fitting
Good thing I have a crappy lathe in my basement.
And the rockers are done.
Got the tank strapped down and the holes cut for the fuel level sender. Nothing too exciting (for once!)
Time to modify the steering column. These arms get cut off and a tube gets welded on. Not great welding, but it'll hold.
I brought a seat out too. Just trying to get an idea of where all the user controls end up. With the pedals essentially fixed, they drive the placement of pretty much everything else.
MNR included another tube to be welded on here. But the ears that are already there will do the trick - with a little spacer.
These rod ends will be mounted on this metal pad.
I threw the transmission in to get an idea of where to put the shifter.
As it turns out, the throw-out arm is really going to dictate how far back the transmission can go.
Ideally, I'd have the shifter a bit further back. But the throw-out arm says "No!"
The transmission is in. Now it's time to see where the engine really winds up.
Ready for liftoff! Steve lent me his engine lift and balance bar. Yes, the C-clamp is a little sketchy. But this no 454 iron big block.
And we're off!
Open wide! Despite my garage being very small, I'm able to insert the engine without openning the garage door - and losing my A/C while letting in the misquitos.
This was a near "Oh Shit!" moment. When I was noticing the throw-out arm contacting the firewall, I realized the slave cylinder extends toward the engine . . . and I already had to trim the tabs off of the timing chain cover . . . which is right near the slave cylinder . . . so it was going to be close.
I put slots in the transmission adapter plate so I could "clock" the engine. With it clocked all the way CCW, there is about 1/4" of clearance to the bleeder screw.
The oil filter is going to stick through the bodywork. Not a big deal. This is just aft of the front right suspension. There will already be a bunch of holes there and it will be mostly hidden by the front wheel.
The exhaust ports are pointed just under the frame rail. I'll still need to be a little tricky with the exhaust. But it should work ok.
The ZX12 has a DEEP sump. I have a shallow, rotating-pickup arrangment up my sleeve.
One final check: the hood. And it fits . . . mostly. I had to remove the crankcase vent valve that sits atop the engine. It will be relocated and it's not a big deal.
The bigger deal is the throttle bodies are close to, and point at, the hood. If I use mandrel bent intake runners, and don't cheat their entry angle, they will be higher than the hood. I could rotate the engine more CCW. I would have to extend my slots, but then the exahust ports would aim right at the frame. And as we'll see later, I'll lose ground clearance at the bottom of the engine. I could cheat the entry of the runners. But that'll just kill the airflow. So I think I'm going to cut the hood. I'll make a little "power bump" cover panel. The old Honda S600/S800 has a cool teardrop power bump I'm thinking of copying.
The rotating pickup sump from NOVA Racing Transmissions. Awesome anodize on it. You can see the arm hanging down. This baby rotates on bearing wherever the G forces push it. As it happens, the oil will also be pushed in that direction so it will be able to scavenge properly.
Here is a broom stick run on the underside of the frame rails. The stock sump clears here. But the shallow sump is actually thicker at this point. As it sits, It will just barely sneak within the confines of the frame. Since I'm going power-bump on the hood anyway, I may raise up the engine another 1/4" to give a little more leeway here.
There's the power bump I want to copy.
Rivet-nut time. The fuel sender is attached with rivnuts and they are just useful in general. On the left is an aluminum one MNR included with the kit. On the right is a steel one I got from McMaster. Notice the knurling on the diameter rather than the head. This is much more effective at gripping the parent material. The worst thing is a rivnut that spins in its hole. Also, the head flange on the McMaster ones are just a little thinner.
Here's a test piece. You can actually see where it flared around the sheet metal.
Here's the backside.
I got this rivnut tool from Amazon. The installation tool makes a huge difference in the success of the rivnut. I've used some plier-types before and you just don't get enough leverage. It's called "Astro Pnuematic Tool 1427". It was well reviewed and not too expensive. I have to say it has been working really well. Definitely worth it and highly recommended.
Fuel sender rivnuts attached.
When I welded the little tube on to the steering column I noticed I couldn't really get a good weld bead going. The welds were all really cold. Long story short, don't operate a welder on a run-of-the-mill 100' extension cord. Whatever gauge mine was, 16, 18, was too small and couldn't deliver the power. I ended up with a 10 gauge from Home Depot and it works great now. Also, don't weld steel with 100% argon, use 75% argon 25% CO2. You can see above, all but four of those welds are total crap.
Right, so the reason I pulled out the welder again: This is a skid plate for the sump on the fuel tank.
All ready to roll.
Rolled! Had some good sizzle going ( a good weld sounds like bacon sizzling ).
While the skid plate cooled so I could paint it, I turned my attention back to the steering. If you don't recall, this used to be covered in surface rust. A week in Evapo-rust and it's like new! I love Evapo-rust! This piece needs to be welded to the end of the miata steering column. The miata column has the wrong spline for the rest of the supplied components. It's also a little too short, so this will add some length.
The miata column comes from the right and has the white tape on it. The stub shaft is sticking through a bushing in the frame. Here I'm trying to decide where to cut the miata column.
The miata stub shaft is on the left, with the two flats, and I've pulled it out of the rest of the column. The MNR supplied stub shaft is on the right. What will connect them is a tube. The purpose of the tube is two-fold. One, it keeps the two stub shafts aligned so the steering doesn't wobble. Two, notice the fish-mouth cuts in the ends. By cutting the tube like this you can get a lot more weld than just going around the circumference.
Welded! Kinda scary actually. This is one of those things that really sucks to mess up.
The weld bead is not continuous because I switch from end-to-end and rotated as I went around to try to keep the heat even. This helps to keep things from warping too bad. The penetration is pretty good overall - really excellent in some spots, and other spots could have been hit a little longer.
I really want to get the column mounted for good. But this panel needs to go in before that happens. See the rod-ends that point up? They actually are supposed to point down and that means they go through the panel.
Some careful measuring and 52 rivets later, the panel is attached!
Here's the plastic bushing that is on the frame. It has a .750" ID. If I have planned better, the tube that connected the two stub shafts has a .750" OD and I could have used it to be a good fit in the bushing. That didn't happen. And the shaft that runs through this now is too small. So I got some bronze bushings to make up the difference. I needed to secure them so I drilled and tapped and used some set screws. You can just see on the bushing that's out, but I drilled slightly into the bushings so the set screws have something to pilot into rather than just holding the bushings with friction.
The column is done! Here's the upper miata column.
And the lower miata column.
And the stub shaft going through the bushing on the frame, and then the lower bit supplied by MNR going down to the rack.
I applied two coats of POR15 and two of their topcoat called Chassis Coat. That should be enough protection from rust, UV and rock chips.
Here's with the tank installed. See, the sump hangs down below the frame. But the frame here actually is angled up from the floor pan of the car. And it's pretty close to the axles. So it's unlike that anything would ever hit the tank. But it would pretty much be a disaster if it did. And it would take more time to fix than it took me to put in the skid plate.
I've been working on the fuel system a bit. I have the pre-pump filter and the pump mounted. For whatever reason I never took any pictures. Here I've flared the fuel supply hardline for an AN fitting to connect to the after-pump filter. This was more complicated than it looks. When you flare a hardline for AN, you first slip on the nut ( very blurry in the background) and a backing sleeve ( the goobered-up blue piece next to the flare. The problem here was the sleeve is such a tight fit on the line, it wouldn't go around the corner that's bent into the line. So I had to cut it a little short and then use pliers to twist and push so I could get it far enough down the line to get the flaring tool on.
Attached to the filter. In order to get the right entry angle, I had to loosen the line from the frame. You can see the P-clip is about 1/2" from where it's supposed to be. I'll have to make an extra long P clip to get back to the hole. "10" (on the filter) is for 10 micron. Both filters look the same, but the pre-pump is a 100 micron steel mesh, and this one is a 10 micron paper element.
I'm waiting on a part for the fuel system so I've turned my attention to engine mounting. I've mocked up a cradle using PVC and wood.
I'll be adding a couple members to the frame to reinforce the engine mounting points.
I'll be picking up the stock mounting points on the engine's crankcase. The cradle will mount to the frame but it will also support the connection from the engine to the transmission adapter plate.
Lower frame mounting point
I've drilled the holes in the frame for the upper and lower mounts.
These tapped plugs will be welded into the frame.
I'll be welding in a washer too. This will provide a landing pad for the polyurethance bushing that will be on the engine cradle.
Like I did with the differential, the engine will be mounted via polyurethane bushings. The large steel tubes will be collection points for many of the tubes in the cradle.
I want to cut and weld all the other members with each of the anchor points bolted to where they go. But I don't want to melt the poly bushings. So I machined some aluminum ones that I can weld around.
Here are the other anchors. Some of them go on the engine, others on the transmission adapter plate.
I welded washers on the ends and then machined them round and square. I barely had to remove any material from the ends - they hardly warped at all during welding.
Washers on the opposite ends now too. They will provide a larger bearing surface against the aluminum.
Here's one anchor bolted to the adapter plate.
The two bottom anchors bolted to the engine.
The engine's upper anchors.
Here are the two frame mounts bolted in place with their aluminum bushings.
Here you can see two anchors on the adapter plate, one on the engine and one on the frame. Eventually there will be all kinds of members welded between these.
The camera got left inside for most of this weekend. And voila! Here's the engine cradle all welded up.
I added a few members to the frame. Two of them reinforce the top mounting, and one for the bottom.
Transmission mount - included with the kit.
Engine going in! (again!) I've installed the poly bushings on the cradle which you can see here.
. . . and bolted to the transmission. Looking cozy in there.
So the cradle is only on the driver's side because that's where the two big mounting points are for the engine as fitting into the bike. Also in the bike are these two arms that are attached to the head via fairly loose polyurethane bushings. They seem superfluous - but it wouldn't hurt adding a mount on this side.
The rear of the fuel system is done.
Down below is a 100micron prefilter, which feeds into the silver pump that's mounted to the rollbar. Finally, there is a 10micron filter that's in the picture behind the tank.
Supply on left, return on right.
The return comes from under the ear of the differential. The last hose has a roll-over check valve inside of it as well as a two-way vent. It lets air in as fuel is pulled from the tank but it only lets fuel vapor out when it is above a few psi - like if the car sits in the sun on a hot day.
The front of the fuel system is shaping up. Got the lines flared for AN fittings and bent into position. I also did the tranmission-side clutch lines.
The engine is back in teh car with a newly painted cradle.
I wired up the fuel pump and gave it a shot. No leaks!
This is the honest first go at starting it. It takes a minute. But she goes! And we have oil pressure! And it's loud! And my output shaft spins! Victory!
This is the only oil leak I've found so far - it's out of a little plugged? hole in the stator/alternator cover. This leaked before I took it apart. Not sure what the solution is here.
Is that a plug? or an overpressure relief? How does oil get up there anyways?
The first start was with a clip on the high idle and without coolant. Here, I pull the clip and allow it to idle down and I put on the radiator cap. Also, I noticed something super cool - when you have no exhaust manifold what-so-ever, blue flames shoot from the exhaust ports! Yep, the adapter shaft is still spinning.
The mandatory throttle blips.
I got the rebuilt a-arms back from MNR and began to assemble the rear suspension. I hate to be a whiner, but some of the kit is terribly designed. Take these parts for instance. Here we have the outer upper rear a-arm as well as the upper end of the rear upright and the rear shock. The purple (blue?) bushings are the upright. The long bolt running through the upright also runs through the two ends of the a-arm (one of them has a short bolt in it) as well as the shock eyelet shown at the lower right. Here's the thing. The miata upright inner diameter is 10mm. The MNR a-arm is 11.1mm and the shock is 12.7. Granted the shock came with little spacers (one of them is shown resting on the shock) but they are a loose fit on the eyelet and they only reduce the ID down to about 11.5. The long MNR-supplied bolt is 10mm (so it will go through the miata upright) and I guess they just wanted be to have loose fitting a-arm bushings and a loose fitting shock mount. Obviously, this is unacceptable. If
Amateur-hour continues . . . Notice how the bolt, running through one bushing, doesn't line cleanly up with the 2nd bushing. It's pretty close and I end up forcing things into place. I thought it would bind more once installed, but actually it rotates pretty smoothly.
I was worried the bike's starter wouldn't be able to handle the extra mass of the flywheel and clutch. Apparently I was over-thinking it. The cold engine turned over twice and fired right away this morning.
Here's what I was talking about before with the miata upright, shock and a-arm all attached with one long bolt.
Argh! More problems. Here is the lower rear a-arm with MNR supplied bushings. Notice the gap is 76.9mm.
This is the lower end of the upright and it measures 80.33mm. How is this supposed to go together with 3.5mm of interference! The other miata upright (I have two) measured 80.40. So it's not like the castings vary a lot. If MNR makes the a-arm and the spacers, how come they can't get it right? I don't know what I would have done if I didn't have a lathe. It seems every part on the car has been modified and half of them have been on the lathe.
Post-lathe. I took about 2mm off of each bushing. Now it's about .4mm too big. But as I tighten the bolt the rod-ends will pull together.
The rear suspension is starting to take shape.
It looks a lot more like a car with the rear suspension attached. Still waiting on some spacers and bolts etc. but it's basically done.
Started working on the ebrake cable. This bracket came off of the stock calipers. I've drill a little pilot hole for the end of the MNR-supplied cable. I added a bolt there and the cable will be hose-clamped to it.
Here's the little nub that goes into the pilot. The bolt comes through right next to the larger diameter.
Assembled on the brake caliper. I ground off some of the threads on the bolt so the hose clamp can't slip off.
So with the rear suspension assembled I set out to arrange the ebrake cable and the brake flex line that goes from the chassis to the caliper. I attached one of the wheels to make sure the lines clear the backside.
Also a good time to check the bump and droop ground clearances.
Originally, the hard line and flex line were on the opposite sides of the frame bracket from where they are now. But I couldn't get a good routing of the flex line. So I ended up with a bit of "necking swan" brake lines.
This is the front tire in full droop. The ground clearance on the belly pan would be 5". The rear tire at full bump also yields a ground clearance of 5". . . Unless I want a crazy amount of ground clearance rake, that's just not going to work. The kit came with two different lengths of shocks, 12" and 14". I put the long ones in the rear and because there are rockers in the front, I put the short ones in the front. But really, I need the rear to be shorter, and the front longer. So I swapped the shocks around. Now, both ends are about 7" at full droop and 3" at full bump. This arrangement seems like a complete win except that at full droop in the front, the rockers bind on the tops of the shocks. That leads me to believe I've still got it wrong, but I'm not sure how.
The wishbones are mostly installed. This is the biggest remaining problem. At this point I think the bracket on the frame is crooked. The plan is to turn that hole into a slot so the bolt will go through but enough material will remain the back up the flange on the poly bushing. Then, I'll weld on a washer to essentially make a new hole to support the bolt.
The ebrake is coming together.
The MNR supplied bits adapt well with the miata parts.
I threw some solder on the cable before cutting it. This should keep it from fraying.
I'm not crazy about looping the cables around the fuel tank. But this allows for a good service loop between the frame and caliper. I ziptied some fuel hose to keep things from abraiding at the edges of the fuel tank.
Here's the service loop I was talking about. The cable attaches to the frame right at the fuel tank strap. Then it's free to flex and move around all the way to the caliper. This keeps the rather stiff cable from pulling or pushing on the caliper while the suspension moves up and down.
Remember the leaking stator cover? This plug, which I drilled and tapped so I could pull it out, was supposed to close off an oil passage that's cast into the cover. Apparently it wasn't doing its job very well.
Here's the bore where that plug goes. My plan is to tap the hole and use a screw with an under-head o-ring to make the seal. I also plan to use high-temp and high-strength loctite as well as a safety wire to hold it in place. Overkill? probably. Do I want to spring a massive oil leak at random? Probably not.
Hole is tapped
This is the o-ring screw minus the o-ring. See the groove for it though.
Ack. Running into trouble fitting the swinging sump. Turns out the year 2000 ZX12s had an oil sight window that sat too high. This was causeing people to over-fill the oil resulting in the crankshaft dipping into it which lead to power loss and ultimately crankshaft failure! So mine, a 2001 has a redesigned oil sight that involves a different oil pan than the 2000s. Long story short, the swinging sump was designed for the 2000 not the 2001 or later. So it doesn't have the three holes.
Brake fluid pressure sensor to trigger the brake lights.
Installed! Also, the brake hardlines are finally done.
I finished the clutch hard line too. It runs under the steering column then along the top of the transmission.
It's a close shave with the frame.
This is how far off the last suspension clevis is. I think the a-arm is lined up and this guy is on crooked. There is no way that bolt is going through.
So I turned the hole into a slot. I'll be welding a washer on to essentially make the hole in the correct place. I don't want this bolt flopping around.
I pulled the pedals out of the donor to see if I can't make a floor mount accelerator pedal for the seven.
Pieces taken apart but coming together.
Getting closer. I have the forward and rearward stops set up for 3" of pedal travel. This is about what it is on the miata. My only other reference is my subaru that has closer o 2.25" of pedal stroke.
Here's the miata throttle cable attached to the bike. This went together pretty easily. I just had to open up the bracket to 8mm.
Distraction time! I'm moving to California next year and I'm not taking my daily driver miata with me. My brother was looking for a fun car so it's his now!
Also, we have a ton of Porsche 914 parts because we were hoping to do a 914 project that has never happened. These have been living in my garage and basement and he's taking them back to North Carolina where he lives and where our two 914 chassis live also.
If Porsche only made utility trailers . . .
Farewell little car!
The oil sight. I took this video for the manufacturer of the sump.
Back to the throttle. This bracket holds the pedal end of the cable.
Mostly mounted and mostly adjusted. I need to add another bolt for the pedals. But I get about 2.75" of pedal travel for the throttle to go closed to full open.
It's hard to see because of the reflection on the transmission tunnel, but the accelerator pedal is as far right as it can go. And there is just enough room to get a normal sneaker on the brake without hitting the clutch or accelerator. But it is close enough to heel-toe. The fore-aft positions of all the pedals are adjustable too so I can dial that in once I drive the car a bit and feel out where I want things.
A handsome pile of new parts: mostly coolant stuff, but some brake pads and speed bleeders also.
I learned something by accident. The ZX12 has a system that pulls fresh air into the exhaust stream to help with the catalytic converter. This will wreak havoc with the O2 sensor I plan to use to tune the engine. Also, the tubes and other bits were what was on top of the engine and hitting the underside of the hood. It's not uncommon to take that stuff off and block the resulting holes in the head cover. I found a set of block-off plates on eBay.
Took a few minutes to clean them up.
I've done a bit of reading on coolant systems and they say you're suppose to shroud the fan to make it most effective. I was going to just buy some aluminum sheet and build a shroud, but I found this jelly roll sheet pan on amazon and it was a perfect fit to my radiator.
The kit came with a fan switch, but it was about 15deg cooler than the bike's. But of course the bike's was a different thread so I couldn't just swap it over. I went on a bit of a wild goose chase on the internet, but eventually I found something in the ZX12s temperature range that would screw into my radiator.
About 30 minutes later I've cut out a round for the fan.
I flared the edge of the hole to provide a smoother entry to the fan blades
I had to relieve this corner to make room for the coolant tube that goes here.
Here's how the flare leads right into the edge of the fan blade ring.
Fan is attached. It's a little bigger than it needs to be. I ordered a 12" which actually measures closer to 13". I could have gotten away with a 11" (measuring more like 12") but this 12" has curved blades which is bad for flow but a lot less noise.
Mounted on the car. A quality puller fan with a proper shroud should result in good cooling. Seven's tend to run hot so hopefully this will do the trick.
What's this?!? I thought this stuff was bolted on and ready to go?
Ack! Why is it coming apart? As I talked about before, I have to drill and tap the oil sight hole in the crankcase. In order to gain access the adapter plate had to come off.
Coolant hoses are coming together.
I'm mounting the coolant overflow and catch cans and I want to make sure I have hood clearance.
Plenty of room!
Hard to see, but the Muzzy block-off plates result in good clearance for that side of the head.
I love these rivet nuts. I've been using them everywhere. Like here, for the remote coolant bottles.
Accelerator is painted and re-installed.
I got the new upright pins and poly bushing from MNR. The front suspension is coming together.
Yummy. New brake pads. 1521 compound for the street and XP8 for the track.
Brake dust shield and spindle are attached. The rotor waits in the wings.
Rotor and caliper bracket attached.
Flex line and brake pads installed. By this point both the front and rear brakes are installed and bled.
Coolant stuff, all plumbed. On the left is essentially an exention of the radiator and includes the radiator cap. The black tube that comes in from the left is from the head. The blue one goes off to the radiator. The Nalgene botthe on the right is simply the overflow bottle. The little black tube connecting both bottles goes to the bottom of the Nalgene. This way, when hot and expanded coolant/air is pushed out, it remains covered by fluid, and when things cool off, only fluid is sucked back in. The other tube, the one that makes the right angle bend, is simply an overflow. When the overflow bottle gets filled to the top, the excess just dumps on the ground. This is never supposed to happen but it's there just in case.
The engine comes partially out so the transmission can go back in.
Hard to see, but inside those trash bags are bags of rocks. These simulate my weight so I can set the suspension and alignment properly.
And the wheels go on.
The idea here is the set the ride height and alignment. The mechanical systems are nearly complete. I have to drill and tap the crankcase so I can install the shallow sump, I've ordered the driveshaft which should come in this week, I need to finish mounting the driver's seat, and I need to fashion some kind of exhaust. Really not that much work! I may be driving around the block next weekend!
The build stand comes out.
And the wheels touch the ground for the first time.
Yikes, the sump is LOW. Good thing I have the swinging-sump oil pan.
I bought a 16.5mm drill bit. But of course, the only drills I have can only chuck up to 1/2". I knew this and it was a dumb oversight. Lathe to the rescue again. I'm turning the shank down to 1/2".
The engine gets lifted so I can swap the oil pan.
The original pan comes off.
Hole drilled to 16.5mm
Tapping, looking from inside the crankcase.
A couple of the screws included with the pan are a little short for the job they do. It's only two, and it's where where are alignment pins that are coaxial with the screw. You lose the threads where the pin is pressed in.
I got my driveshaft from a place in Texas. Easy to work with, good price and quick turn around.
There is literally no way to get the driveshaft into the tunnel without cutting something. The U-joints are wider than the diagonal tunnel bars so I can't slip it down the tunnel from the front. I couldn't even slip in in the rear if the diff wasn't there. Not a terrible big deal. I'll just make the bar removable.
This is where the tube ended up after I sliced it. Stress much under welding?
Bar cut. Shaft installed.
Removable piece installed. (more on that later)
I'm still working on the design for the exhaust header. In the mean time, I've hacked up the stock ZX12 and bought the cheapest muffler I could find to cobble something together for a maiden voyage.
Speaking of a cheap muffler. It's your basic glass pack. Not sure how quiet it will be though . . .
Right, back to the transmission tunnel. I took two bolts and turned the heads down so they would fit inside the 1" tubing. I slid them in there and welded them. The threaded rod fits in between and the long barrel nuts connect things up. Then, there are jam nuts for each side of the barrel nuts. The jam nuts will keep everything tight as the member goes between tension and compression.
Shaft installed. Threaded bits installed.
Shifter on. I need to get a new boot for it though. And the knob is dirty and gross. But it will work until I get a replacement.
The engine is running again. I have the electronics more or less battened down. To say the exhaust is temporary doesn't quite do the hack job justice. Finally, it sounds pretty good! Much less noise than when it was just exhaust ports.
The wheels spin! Though I am getting really close to driving around, you may be able to see the evening approaching from the open garage door.
The car is basically ready to go. I just need a driver's seat.
Making some nut plates for the seat to bolt to.
Plastic spacers put the adjustment rails above the diagonal bar that runs across the floor.
The inside width of the rail is exactly the same size as a 3/8" bolt. I love not needing to get a wrench on both sides of a fastener.
Enter the seat.
I struggled for a while to figure out how the heck I was supposed to get fasteners into the bottom of the seat. At one point I was planning on rivet nuts. Then, upon inspecting the upholstry I found the seat bottom pulls up. Nice.
Ready to roll. Problem is, it's 11pm. It will have to wait 'til tomorrow.
Well, there is ONE more thing to do . . .
Maiden Voyage! It was amazing. The exhaust, albeit a bit loud, sounds amazing. The car is VERY fast. The ACT clutch is easy to slip and engage. The caster centers the wheel perfectly. The shifter is a touch far forward but it will work fine. My only complaint is the brake pedal required a TON of effort. Hopefully it will get better when I bed the pads. I may have to get smaller master cylinders to gain mechanical advantage. The best news is that I don't have a death rattle like the miatabusa guys are experiencing.