autojumbled

Now I have a parts car sat in a shed with all the bits necessary to make a 5 speed transmission swap (if I wanted to), it would be rude not to have a clean, usable car with which to use as the next project car! It just so happens I do have one….I picked up another 280zx a month or so after the first. Just like the doner car it’s a 2+2, but an auto with a year’s MOT and tax. So, my plan is to continue stripping the doner and then dispose of it as it’s beginning to get in the way. I’m just waiting for the weather to not be so cold and then one day, I hope to do a manual gearbox conversion on the gold one using all the spares. I Will be starting my research now so I can get a good idea exactly on what’s required to complete the swap without too many issues. Watch this space……. 😀

New Project: Datsun 280zx pt2

Now I have a parts car sat in a shed with all the bits necessary to make a 5 speed transmission swap (if I wanted to), it would be rude not to have a clean, usable car with which to use as the next project car! It just so happens
So back in August ’10 I sold my MR2 Turbo to a sound German bloke. He and a mate flew over from Germany, bought the car and then drove it back! The decision was a bit last minute but I was feeling a change and after walking around Beauliea autojumble, my attention turned to older, more rusty stuff. Once the MR2 was gone I got on the hunt for my next project. I knew I wanted a Datsun (always loved Zeds) , so the challenge would be finding something that would fit my requirements. Ideally I would have loved to have gone all out and plump for a 240z/260z but these command a premium due to their classic heritage and I wanted to use this next car as a learning project with the intention of cutting and welding bits myself. Somehow, hacking up a classic Zed seems a bit sacrilegious. The 280zx has everything I want then: • Older, classic Zed styling • Plenty of spares out there • Club knowledge and assistance • Much cheaper to source than it’s predecessors I got on with searching for a 280……..I ended up with two! The first was a 5 speed manual T-top 2+2 in blue. It was a runner but with no tax or MOT, mainly due to the serious lack of metal in many places – rust really had got the better of the car! I bought it anyway…. After retrieving the first 280zx from Slough I was finally able to spend a couple hours with it before Christmas to see what I have let myself in for. Obviously we are looking at the usual rust on sills and floor – from what I’ve found, all of the floor on both driver’s and passenger side would have to be chopped out and replaced. Also the sills on both sides would need to be replaced…. This picture was taken from the driver’s rear wheel arch, looking forward at the sill. Here’s the drivers floor – yes that’s the ground! The rust goes all the way to the rear seats on this side. I was able to poke my fingers through the rust all the way to the area in the previous photo... Now this is the part that is really the nail in the coffin – the front structural parts that are practically non-existent! Pretty sure you don’t need to be an expert to see that this part is structural and fairly important/difficult to repair. In case you can’t see it, it’s the beam that goes across the front of the car and is pretty much the chassis! So it looks like I am parting out the engine/gearbox/diff/anything else salvageable and calling it a day with this shell.  A shame as I quite like the look it has about it……..

New project: Datsun 280ZX

So back in August ’10 I sold my MR2 Turbo to a sound German bloke. He and a mate flew over from Germany, bought the car and then drove it back! The decision was a bit last minute but I was feeling a change and after walking around Beauliea autojumble,
As with the MR2 brake rebuild, it was necessary to replace the drop-links after taking the car around a race track! They were knocking really badly, especially on the driver’s side. Strangely bits of the car seem to suffer after some hard abuse….. 😉 I have put together a couple of images and quick words on the process of swapping out the drop-links. As my MR2 had TEIN Type Flex coilovers fitted, the drop-links were not the same length as the original Toyota parts. The TEIN items measured at around 20cm (I will dig out the correct measurements – I wrote them down somewhere) and are nigh-on impossible to get hold of separately to the coilovers. This means that its up to people to source alternative replacements. I found a couple of references to Toyota Avensis drop-links (on the IMOC knowledgebase) so went and grabbed a pair from Camberly Auto Factors for approx £18 each – the links were ADL Blueprint parts, p/n ADT38546. On with removal of the worn drop-links then. This part was fairly straightforward for me, just a 14mm spanner on the retaining nut at each end of the drop-link. I have heard of people having a lot of trouble with these nuts being rusted and seized solid. I can only assume that as mine were TEIN drop-links, they were not the original 15 year old links and had only been fitted a couple of years at most. I did have the angle grinder and junior hacksaw handy just in case they were stuck on! Once the links were off, I offered them up against the new Avensis items – I hadn’t bothered to measure them when I bought them but as you can see they are drastically shorter, about 2 inches or so. Despite the size differences I decided to fit the Avensis drop-links regardless to see how they would fare on the MR2. The fitting was pretty much the reverse of removal except for when it came to attaching the bottom of the link to the anti-roll bar (ARB). I found that it was easier to remove both drop-links from either side on the same axle before fitting the new ones, due to the differences in length. As the Avensis links were shorter, the ARB needed to be pushed further upwards in order to meet the drop-link than previously with the TEIN links – I used a trolley jack to help move to ARB into place. Old TEIN link New Avensis link So the bottom line? Avensis links are too short. They cause the car’s turning circle to be decreased and get stuck somehow (usually caused by going over a large bump), this meant the steering became very heavy and the turning circle reduced further. They snapped back into alignment after turning the steering almost full lock and raising the wheel at the same time, it then ‘clonked’ back into place. I first thought they were getting caught on the the braided brake lines, but after some investigation it appears they were being stretched to such an angle that they simply jammed and became tangled up in themselves. Unacceptable……

SW20 MR2 drop-link replacement

As with the MR2 brake rebuild, it was necessary to replace the drop-links after taking the car around a race track! They were knocking really badly, especially on the driver’s side. Strangely bits of the car seem to suffer after some hard abuse….. 😉 I have put together a couple
Rather worryingly I didn’t notice the binding front brake on my MR2 until very recently after driving through a large puddle after a long drive.  The plumes of steam from the front passenger wing indicated a very hot brake disc! A 30 minute reccy revealed a very gummed up piston and a generally sticky mechanism that was not allowing the piston to travel all the way back into the caliper – time for a clean up job and whilst I’m at it I might as well  have a go at refurbishing all 4 corners seeing as the rear drivers side gets a little stuck after being left a couple of days, as well as clean and paint the calipers. Parts list: Front Brake Caliper Seal Kit (Genuine Toyota) – Part number:  04479-17020 Rear Brake Caliper Seal Kit (Genuine Toyota) – Part number:  04479-17040 500ml of DOT4 Copper grease Hammerite Smoothrite Paint brush Penetrating spray (WD40/PlusGas) Bleed nipples (front) – part number: 47547B (47547-20010) Bleed Nipples (rear)  – part number: 47547C (47547-22020) Tools: Jack Axle stands (enough to get the car up at all corners) Calliper rewind tool Socket/bar suitable for wheel nuts Ratchet 17mm socket 14mm socket 14mm open spanner 8mm spanner for bleed nipple Obviously the most important parts required for the refurb are the seal kits.  I opted for the genuine Toyota kits as they contain everything required to completely replace all perishables on the calipers.  One kit contains enough bits to do 2 calipers. i.e one axle.  The seal kits were bought from www.tcbparts.co.uk as they were in stock and were able to get them out to me next day. http://www.brakes4u.co.uk/ for braided brake lines.  None on the shelf but they had HEL make some up and ship them out next day. The actual rebuilding of the calipers was a time consuming process.  Making sure all the new seals and components are correctly fitted took some time.  The basic process of removing the parts can simply be reversed when fitting the new parts.  I referred to a very comprehensive guide from MR2OC written by ‘MonkeyMax’ for the mk1 braking system whenever I was unsure of the next step or to double check bits. (I have also saved MonkeyMax’s brake refurb guide on this site in case it goes missing from the MR2OC site…again) Rather than rewriting a brand new ‘how to’ guide, I’m just going to point out the bits I had particular problems with or any tips I picked up along the way. To completely break down the calipers, the pistons had to be removed and cleaned.  For the rears this means winding out the piston using a piston winding tool (funnily enough) – this took a lot of effort!  I found slowly working the piston back and forward helped to loosen it before having a big go at fully unscrewing it.  Also, using a straight bar with a socket head attachment (from a ratchet/socket set) helped get a much better grip on the winding tool. The front pistons were a pain to remove too.  I ended up wedging the caliper between my foot and a block of wood (against a wall).  Then using a strong long flat bladed screwdriver under the lip of the piston, worked it free by hitting it with a heavy mallet. Needed a vice really. Worth noting that once the pistons were cleaned and free of rust and dirt, they glided nicely in and out of the calipers – massive improvement! One thing Max’s guide didn’t include was details on the locations of he brake pad anti-squeal retaining clips.  As I forgot to take photos of the calipers before dismantling them I was forced to find some pictures on-line. Thankfully, www.mr2turbo.info came good and I found a couple of good angles of close up caliper shots with which to use as a reference. (see below) With everything bolted back on including the new braided hoses, it was time to bleed the system.  Unfortunately this didn’t quite go to plan!  Using the 2 person method (1 pumping the brake pedal and holding it whilst the other opens and closes the caliper bleed screws) we bled the system fully from the rears to front multiple times but were still finding that the brake pedal had no resistance and felt extremely ‘floppy’.  We went around again a few times but with not a lot of luck. As there was a tiny bit of braking available (only when the pedal was fully pressed to the floor), I drove the car to JDModified (previously 3S Services – an MR2 specialist) for James and the guys to have a look over it.  It’s worth mentioning now that I had tried multiple methods of bleeding throughout the week including a pressure operated system, as well as replacing the bleed screws. The guys bled the system and found no air.  They then bled the master cylinder by pumping the brake pedal, holding it, and then cracking off the nuts on each pipe on the cylinder (after covering it with a rag to catch any escaping fluid) – this seemed to firm up the pedal a little!  After this, they adjusted the pedal within the car (something I hadn’t actually considered) and the braking was all back to normal! A picture of the final product – they need another coat of paint really before they are finished I think but all in all, very nice.  Will get to try them out properly soon as I have track time booked at JapFest (held at Castle Combe). To re-iterate, make sure to check out MonkeyMax’s guide before starting work and it’s probably worth having it to hand during the refurb too. Also, thanks need to go to Peter Gidden of SBits for offering his assistance on bleeding methods and other advice.

Refurbishing mkII MR2 Brake Calipers

Rather worryingly I didn’t notice the binding front brake on my MR2 until very recently after driving through a large puddle after a long drive.  The plumes of steam from the front passenger wing indicated a very hot brake disc! A 30 minute reccy revealed a very gummed up
I’ve stumbled across a couple of write-ups of the Silverstone Red Dragon Track & Race Club launch day from guys over on ZClub.net and SIDC.net, hopefully they won’t mind me sharing their photos! Seems the guys got a lot more better photos than I managed – be sure to check out their thoughts on the day…….. All credit for the images goes to ‘VF-Racing’ from SIDC.net and ‘Rob Gaskin’ & ‘Paul_S’ on ZClub.net

more Silverstone trackday pictures

I’ve stumbled across a couple of write-ups of the Silverstone Red Dragon Track & Race Club launch day from guys over on ZClub.net and SIDC.net, hopefully they won’t mind me sharing their photos! Seems the guys got a lot more better photos than I managed – be
A couple months ago I won a little competition to get a passenger ride with this chap – www.alexgassman.com. Alex races a mk1 MR2 in the Red Dragon Race & Track Club MR2 series (www.mr2racing.com) and it was this car that I got to have a ride in. The passenger ride was arranged to take place during Red Dragon’s ‘launch’ day at Silverstone last week so I also signed up my MR2 Turbo in the non-race licence section for a bit of track action. MR2’s in the pit lane The day was a great success for me. I learnt new limits of my MR2 and probably for the first time, really appreciated how much of a capable performance car it is! The car handled great – barely no understeer at all despite very tight turn-ins on many corners whilst carrying a lot of speed. It seems the Tein coilovers and other suspension mods, along with the Toyo T1R’s and geometry setup really are doing the job just fine (maybe the tyres weren’t quite suited to nearly 100 miles of flat out driving as they melted quite a bit!). My MR2 sharing a garage with some of the Red Dragon members A big thank you goes out to Alex for the cracking passenger ride – he certainly has got some pace! The laps actually helped me to see the better line around the smaller national circuit and I found that after the ride, my times (not that I was counting) fell considerably and the car felt much more confident in the corners. Looking forward to when I can next get onto a track to stretch the MR2’s legs again. There’s certainly some bits to do to her before then though – a full service, oil change, ball joints, drop links, new tryes…..the list goes on! Until then though, here’s a few more pictures from the day…….. The Buddyclub Time Attack Integra made an appearance- now that’s a fast car! Toyo T1Rs after at the end of the day…..they took a beating.

On track at Silverstone

A couple months ago I won a little competition to get a passenger ride with this chap – www.alexgassman.com. Alex races a mk1 MR2 in the Red Dragon Race & Track Club MR2 series (www.mr2racing.com) and it was this car that I got to have a ride
Thanks to ‘ancient mariner’ over on IMOC I managed to grab a Momo boss for a rev3+ MR2 in record time for a good price so was able to get around to fitting the new steering wheel. (Hub part no 7728) Continuing on from my previous post, once the main horn assembly of the standard wheel is removed and unclipped, the 19mm nut has to be undone on the steering column. Engaging the steering wheel lock will help here to prevent the wheel from simply turning when attacking the nut. Its also worth only loosening this nut rather than removing it completely in order to avoid smashing yourself in the face when forcing the wheel off. After forcing the wheel loose, return the steering to the centre position and remove the nut. This is when I fitted the boss. I also discovered at this stage that the boss didn’t include any wiring for the horn. Normally I would have removed the standard wire from the horn assembly and adapted it to fit but was lucky in this instance as the other boss I had bought previously had a wire with it all ready to go. From here it’s all fairly self explanatory. I attached the steering wheel to the hub using the small screws with allen key heads, making sure that the horn button ‘plate’ was fitted in between the boss and the wheel. Without this the horn button is too small for the hole. Also attached was the horn wire. The horn will not sound unless the button is fitted into the wheel as this allows the metal contact on the button to complete the circuit with the extra plate. So that’s it, fitted. Lining up the old wheel against the new, it looks like the Momo is a good 4cm smaller in diameter than the original Toyota item and certainly feels a lot chunkier. Will give it a good try out at Silverstone next month! Wouldn’t be right without a quick before and after, would it?! 😛

MR2 Steering Wheel fitting pt2

Thanks to ‘ancient mariner’ over on IMOC I managed to grab a Momo boss for a rev3+ MR2 in record time for a good price so was able to get around to fitting the new steering wheel. (Hub part no 7728) Continuing on from my previous post, once the main
Having collected all the bits necessary to change over the standard Toyota steering wheel, I set aside half an hour to make the swap yesterday. I have had a boss sitting around in the garage for some time now and recently managed to get a Momo horn button for a fiver from another MR2 owner. The last piece needed was the steering wheel itself which I collected this weekend.  It’s a Momo, so will match the button nicely. On with the fitting then. On the Rev 3 MR2, the centre piece of the steering wheel is easily removed by prizing off the horn area at the 3 corners. Before it will come off all the way though, you need to remove the 8mm screw on the bottom of the wheel. Once done, the horn button section should just pop out although it will still be attached to the steering wheel by the horn wire. I used a small flat bladed screw driver to unclip the horn connection as it was too tight a space for fingers. Unfortunately this is where it all goes wrong. I decided to fit the Momo wheel to the boss at this point and discovered the bloody thing didn’t match up! Looks like I have a boss that isn’t suitable for Momos….oh dear. Going back to the drawing board with this then. Now on the look out for a Momo boss that’ll do the job and then come back and finish this post!

MR2 Steering Wheel fitting

Having collected all the bits necessary to change over the standard Toyota steering wheel, I set aside half an hour to make the swap yesterday. I have had a boss sitting around in the garage for some time now and recently managed to get a Momo horn button for a
I was recently reminded of the video I put up on YouTube 2 years ago of my Toyota Starlet GT Turbo driving a nice stretch of Hampshire road, filmed by a friend following in his Toyota Celica GT4 (ST205 model). So far it’s gathered over 61,000 hits and sparked some debates over “Starlets iz quicka than dem Celicaz!” – sigh Anyway, have a look for yourself, the video isn’t an amazing piece of cinema committed to film, but it does show me having some fun within the confines of the law whilst trying to catch up with the MR2 owner’s club!

My old Starlet GT Turbo starring on YouTube

I was recently reminded of the video I put up on YouTube 2 years ago of my Toyota Starlet GT Turbo driving a nice stretch of Hampshire road, filmed by a friend following in his Toyota Celica GT4 (ST205 model). So far it’s gathered over 61,000 hits and
You’ve got to love the Japanese for their build quality, and the fact that they don’t cover their roads in all manner of salt and grit.  The MR2 has been in the UK for a year and she’s already showing signs of the dreaded metal cancer!  Bloody UK roads….. Good news is that it’s only the drivers side door and a small patch at that….still, it needs to be gone, or slowed down at least. Looking at the second picture of the rust from the inside of the door you can see that the rot has already got in under the seam of the metal,  so it’s probably too late to save the door completely.  It will need replacing I expect if I ever decide to paint the car. For the time being though I have wire brushed and sanded as much of the loose rust as possible and then treated the remaining bits with Hammerite rust remover.  The treated patch has now been covered with a straight to rust undercoat.  Quite handy that it’s a similar colour to the car’s bodywork! Ok, so it’s not the prettiest of fixes but I would rather it looked like that than a horrible brown patch! I have just found out that this rust issue is actually quite a common problem so I hope picking up another door in the future isn’t going to be a problem….

14 year old car - 1st sign of rust...

You’ve got to love the Japanese for their build quality, and the fact that they don’t cover their roads in all manner of salt and grit.  The MR2 has been in the UK for a year and she’s already showing signs of the dreaded metal cancer!  Bloody