…Sometimes, it’s just a mother.
About three years ago, we went to pick up a Doug Nash 4+3 Corvette transmission from Tennessee. It was actually cheaper for us to pick it up than it would have been to ship to Ohio. (They are quite a bit heavier than a normal transmission.) We thought we’d add some value to our trip by seeing what we could find in the area. Ohio cars, especially older sports cars, can be a bear to deal with because of rust.
So, on that lovely Sunday morning, we consulted the oracle in Craigslist to see what all we could find. What we found in Sunbright, Tennessee, was a first generation Mazda RX-7 in beautiful shape (minus a few bad apex seals) for $400. We called and made arrangements to look at the car, and possibly pick it up.
What we ALSO found is that no Uhaul location even remotely close to Sunbright was open on Sundays. The closest open location was in Georgia. Off to a hardware store commonly known as “Horrible Fright” to purchase a 5,000-lb capacity tow bar. We had seen quite a few people use these without any problem, so we figured it would be more than enough for this RX-7.
We traveled up winding mountain roads up to Sunbright, where we met up with a very nice family looking to sell their RX-7. It was a project they hadn’t gotten around to and were more into bikes and such, so the RX-7 was ours. It almost wasn’t.
What we do when towing is travel for a block or two, check and adjust everything, go for a few more miles, re-check our load, and then go on our merry way. It can take a few stops to get everything to seat in properly, but after a few adjustments it’s usually smooth sailing. The worst I usually have to worry about is a misbehaving ratchet strap. HOWEVER….before we could even find a place to do our first check, we heard an ominous “SCREEEEECH” and a pop while rounding a corner.. Our Horrible Fright tow bar had split at one of the mounts. To make matters worse, we were on a pretty steep slope and the car was dangling. We were not in a very populated area and the closest hardware store was the Horrible Fright we stopped at 20 miles before.
Lucky for us, the man who sold us the RX-7 had a tow dolly that belonged to his brother in law, and he was nice enough to let us borrow it. He met up with us at the gas station we’d pulled into with along with the RX-7 hanging from one side of our errant tow bar. True to our word, we brought the tow dolly back to Sunbright a week or so after that. Other people’s trust and generosity? Awesome. Horrible Fright tow bar fail? Not so awesome. Don’t worry, we’ve already learned to call UHaul *first* before anything else.
After dealing with a handful of Corvettes and a convertible Miata, I had almost forgotten the joys of removing a headliner panel. Let’s face it, removing and replacing a large rectangular piece of pressed cardboard-type stuff covered with cloth is not exactly most people’s idea of fun. But here are some general tips:
First off, if you can find a video on YouTube depicting somebody working on the same car you are, all the better. I find online video guides very helpful when working on cars….that, and there isn’t always a Haynes manual at my disposal.
Make sure that any trim pieces holding the headliner in place have been removed first. Depending on the car, some have trim panels along the sides of the headliner that mount to the car and conceal a row of clips underneath. Others have corners underneath the A pillar trim pieces, which are often held in place by a combination of (often artfully concealed) screws and clips. Take off your sun visors and (if needed) the rear view mirror and interior light assembly.
Get a good idea of what is holding the headliner in place before jumping in with both feet….hands…whatever. I can’t tell you how many interior trim pieces I’ve seen utterly destroyed by the “When In Doubt, Just Yank Harder” approach. You may be dealing with hidden plastic clips a few inches apart, like on the backside of a door panel, plastic screws, or the like. A door panel removal tool and/or a flat-blade screwdriver will be helpful here. The key is to work with care and not get in a rush. We’re talking about a piece of pressed board here that (in some cases) is as big and awkward as your 6th grade science fair tri-fold poster.
You can give the headliner a gentle tug to get an idea of where it is still attached, but yanking with all of your might is a big no-no.
If you have a sunroof, you may have to remove a piece of trim, weather stripping, or something like it around the perimeter of the sunroof to complete the process. Then, go around the edges with a flat-blade screwdriver just to test the waters. If there aren’t any clips or screws, you may find that all you need to do is gently pry around the edges. Try this in a relatively inconspicuous place.
That’s it…the trick is to go slow, be careful, and NO YANKING!
**Science fair image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/oakleyoriginals/3229259616/
OK…So we’ve relisted the RX-7 that has been featured in this blog before – it’s on eBay for only a few more hours.
We also have a YouTube video of us driving this car all over the parking lot.
Earlier this week, we picked up a 1985 Pontiac Fiero. Pictures forthcoming after doing a little work on it. I’m currently going over this with rubbing compound to see what I can do with this paint. After installing the fuel pump we bought, and maybe another battery, we’ll try it again. Who knows, it might just start up! It was something that the previous owner had moved away from, plus it was taking up room in his driveway, so we found this match made in heaven on Craigslist.
The 1985 RX-7 had some carburetor issues, so we had it rebuilt (Thanks, Ron!) and are now working with the car now that it actually starts. Here’s hoping that a few small hose clamps will resolve the vacuum leaks and get things on the right track. EDIT: We got all of the vacuum leaks sorted out and it runs much better now.
I located a great deal on another Mazda RX-7, plus assorted spare parts, thinking, “This will be a great car to part out.”
What we found is that the interior and exterior are in great shape, and it kinda-sorta-almost runs. Who knows, maybe a full tank of gas will do the trick…? So – who knows. It came with an extra engine, engine + transmission, a rear end, and a few boxes of spare parts. We’ve been tossing around the idea of a hot rod project with some of these extra parts.
Check out our 1982 Mazda RX-7 on eBay. This auction only lasts for 7 days, so don’t miss out!
We found this car after it had spent 10 years in storage earlier this year. It was in relatively good shape, and we had several improvements made to it. Although we had purchased the car to part out, it was in too nice a shape for that! This car will make an excellent candidate for a full restoration.
It’s the weekend, so that’s as good a time as any to have a sale, right? Check out our Sports Car Salvage eBay store to find featured C4 & C5 Corvette items, 1990 Mazda Miata items, and more. Side note: We do offer combined shipping and local pickup for most items – all you have to do is ask 🙂
Our RX-7 is also for sale, as well…You can view our Craigslist ad here. It’s had some paint work done, plus a rebuilt carburetor and new gas tank. It runs and drives very well, and is an all-around good find. Thanks to the guys at Schumann’s Roadside and Towing for the awesome job.
Can’t wait to get back to work after this week-long heat wave!
Aaah, yes. We picked up a 1982 Mazda RX7 back in February and then picked up a gas tank for it, among other things throughout the spring. After some painting and a rebuilt carburetor (special thanks to Mark for that one!) it runs! Pictures are forthcoming once the paint is dry, but it is now for sale. Excited! Now, somebody buy it before I decide to keep it for myself. 🙂
So…We finally got the Miata torn apart. Better late than never, I guess – but it was so much fun to ZOOM ZOOM around the parking lot in!
1990 Mazda Miata Cold Start – Our YouTube video of starting the Miata. The engine/transmission are both for sale on eBay @sportscarsalvage.
The ’87 Corvette is nearly torn down. Most of those parts are featured on eBay, with more to come. The engine, transmission, driveshaft, exhaust, and about 50 more miles of wiring harness still need to come out 🙂 Once that’s wrapped up, we have a very unusual sports car waiting for us in the garage….a 1990 Jeep! (Hey, Enzo Ferrari thinks it’s America’s one real sports car, so it counts, right?)
We like car shows, and have been frequenting the Saturday night cruise-ins at Schumann’s Roadside and Towing in Ravenna, along with donating a wide variety of door prizes! Anything from LED work lights to socket sets and Chuck Norris posters….yes, you read that right, Chuck Norris. I channel him when dealing with C4 Corvettes, but I think even he would be challenged by one 🙂
We’ve been busily tearing down the 1990 Miata and getting the parts available for sale… In the process, kinda ignoring our blog, so here’s a quick run down of our current projects:
1990 Mazda Miata NA: Being dismantled and sold piece by piece.
1987 Chevrolet Corvette: We had originally thought we were going to put this back together into a runner. Sadly, C4’s just aren’t worth restoring from this level of disrepair at this time. We’re going to dismantle it and get the parts out to people repairing and restoring their cars. It DOES have a fantastic Doug Nash 4+3 transmission, and many other parts which will be sold. We’re going to use the engine in another project.
1977 Chevrolet Corvette: The rebuild is in progress and Ron is just about ready to install the front body from our 1978 donor. We’re also going to pull the 305 out and install the L98 350 from the 1987 Corvette. Since the TPI was removed by the 87’s previous owner, this should yield a nice running 350 for our project C3. We’ve also decided to return the car to it’s original color, RPO 10, Classic White, and the interior will be RPO 64C, which is Buckskin.
1982 Mazda RX-7: This is currently at Schumanns Roadside & Towing to have its new gas tank, fuel lines and fuel pump installed.
We also just picked up a 1991 Jeep Cherokee, theoretically we’re going to use it as a shop mule. It fits with what we do, right? After all “The Jeep is America’s only real sports car!” – Enzo Ferrari 🙂
Hope all is well with everyone, our thoughts and prayers have been with the people of the Southern US effected by the tornado’s and storms.
So, this past week has been extremely productive.
We started out our road trip to pick up a gas tank (can’t ship those!) and some other parts to restore this FB RX-7 with. Then we headed to load up our truck with an assortment C3 and C5 Corvette items. (Thank God for cargo nets.)
After acquiring the RX-7 and Corvette parts, we picked up a 1990 Mazda Miata. It runs! It drives! I had way too much fun driving it around our shop parking lot. This one will be parted out and the parts sold on eBay.