RX-7 Paint Job

My friend Garrett is doing the paint work on my car. I regret spray painting the engine bay black. It collected too much dust (especially before I installed a splitter under the engine bay) and was a pain to keep clean. So he stripped by engine bay down to bare metal. He also welded shut some of the bolt/clip holes. I didn't go crazy and have an entirely shaved bay, I just had him get rid of the cheese grater look in a few spots.

Still a work in progress, I'll upload pics as it continues.

I had cut the underside of my hood to clear the throttle body and intake pipe on the ls2 motor. It didn't look very good. Garrett was able to redo this area by stamping his own low profile piece of aluminum and welding it back in. Now it should clear and look good.

It took a while but he was finally able to make more progress on the car. Here it is in primer.

He ended up moving shops mid-progress of my car. I helped him move things to his new shop at his house. Here it is all block sanded.

With the weather starting to get colder in Vermont he had to get it painted. I went down and helped give the car the final scuff and get everything taped off. Here it is with Sealer.

This is a shot with the base red on.

And now during the clear being added. He used 3 coats of clear.

Afterwards the car was wetsanded down to 2000 grit and buffed.

I re-used the hatch glass as there was nothing wrong with it. The front windsheild was technically fine too, but I decided to replace that with new glass as it wasn't that expensive. I went with all new OEM seats for the doors, sunroof, and front/rear glass.

I brought the car home last weekend. The bumpers were test fit and he still has those to paint. He also kept the spoiler as he needs to wetsand and buff that. I've started re-assembly. Right now I have my sunroof track all apart. I'm cleaning it up, giving the tray some fresh satin black paint, and re-lubing the tracks. Stay tuned for more.

I'm taking my time during re-assembly to clean everything up. One thing I wasn't happy with was my brake lines. I had re-used some of the smaller lines from the abs pump below my brake booster for the abs delete. They worked the the bends were not very clean. I bought an eastwood brake line bender and I made my own line keeping everything as short with the least amount of bends possible. I also created a line that ran to the passenger side and kept it below the firewall seam so it's not real visible.

I have the motor back in too. I had the samberg subframe sandblasted and re-powdercoated. I bought it through Ronin who did their own powdercoat job on it, but honestly it was not very good. It was flaking off in spots. Before it was powdercoated I also had the camber plate C shaped pieces welded on better. They only had about 3 weld spots and people have had them crack. Now they are welded in about 5-6 spots.

Here is my sunroof. I removed, cleaned and lubed all the tracks. The tracks got silicone spray lube, and the mechanical pivot point areas got white lithium greese. While everything was apart I repainted the tray with some rustoleum semi-gloss paint. It looks brand new now and operates so much smoother.

I cleaned up my wiper cowl too with fresh paint and a new oem seal. It was very fragile to work with. Before I had the car painted I had tried to remove the plastic clips that the cowl screws into. I broke 2 of them before giving up. Turns out those clips are now obsolete:/ Fortunately I was able to create my own with my 3d printer. I made a video of it here:

I got the bumpers on and was able to start the car. I had to jump it because my battery was dead. I may end up trying to fit a larger battery under my storage bins vs the stock Miata battery. Anyways it is out back now with my other cars in the heated garage.

I've been trying to make everything as perfect as possible. These are the pieces that stick down under the hood behind the popups. I scuffed and painted the faded plastic with Rustoleum trim paint. The rubber section was dried up and broken so I made my own using some 1/16 poly sheet I found online.

The parts I ordered from Werner Mazda came in so I was able to put my fender vents back in. I still have to put my undertray and front lip back on. That's on hold though. I have a non-hacked oem bumper beam coming and I'm trying to find the side bumper foam that goes behind the bumper. I was able to buy one side new, but the other is discontinued. Once I find it I'll pull the bumper and finish everything.

I was able to find the side foam pieces I need. Ray had an extra set fortunately. On the back of the oem bumper there are little nubs that outline exactly where they need to stick. They don't stick the bumper beam. They sit on top. This is probably why a lot of people are missing them. You pull the bumper, the foam falls off, and no one can figure out where they go so they leave them off. They are important though as they keep the bumper from wanting to sag in frong of the headlight area. My replacement beam arrived. I painted it satin black and got everything installed. I also got the undershields, fenderliners, and front lip back on.

My friend Garrett who painted the car had not buffed the bumpers because he wanted the clear to harden up some. He came up and finished them a few weeks ago. I installed my LS2 badge.

Recently I washed off all the compound and gave the car a quick polish with my orbital buffer. Then my other friend ceramic coated it for me with some Simoniz Glasscoat. It feels and looks awesome!

I swapped out the front subframe with the new Ronnin design. Its a better design and I like that it uses the factory camber bolts. The Samberg subframe required half moon pieces to be welded onto the factory bolts. This gives them more adjustment as the subframe isn't as precise. I had one slip on me backing out of a driveway and it kinked the tire in so far that the car was not drivable. The car wanted to hop. I had to get out and kick the tire straight. If this had happened during some spirited driving it would be dangerous. If a factory camber bolt slips there isn't enough adjustment that would put the car in an unsafe state.

I was able to make the swap with the motor in the car. I used a floorjack to steady the oil pan and some wire scraps to hold the steering rack up. I'm still using the rear samberg trans mount. The motor mounting points were more or less the same. The steering rack ears are slightly higher. I had to have the samberg steering spacers machined down to 10mm thickness (they are 20mm thick normally) to compensate for this. Otherwise the oil line coming out of the rack would want to hit the bottom of the oil pan.

I finally mounted the factory mud guards and feed style side pieces. I was able to make the side pieces work with the mud guards. I still want to go back and add some 3m tape to the center. Right now they are only secured in the front and back.

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