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Old 04-03-2009, 09:32 AM   #1
SP BLING
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SP BLING's BA Astina Rebuild

Hi all,

Here's my build blog (copied from OZMAZDA) for those interested.

It's a 97 model 323 Astina with 195,000 km on the clock and 14" hubcaps. Just a "little" bit of damage, but at least the engine still runs beautifully. Although not for very long as the radiator is kinda non-existant and the thermo fans are pressing hard up against the exhaust headers. Purchased as a Repairable Write-off from the Auctions back in Jan 2008.






Gave the car a good wash... I think it hasn't been washed for quite a while.... So the body is in really good condition. Apart from the front end damage, there is a little scrape on the rear passenger wheel arch, one on the back bumper and approx 10 little pop dents all over - possibly hail as there are 2 on the roof. Even managed to remove some cream paint that was spilled on the drivers side front guard with the clay bar and 2000 grit sandpaper. I'm not sure whether the paint can be fully restored yet or whether to respray it - Same colour.

The interior was given the once over by the MRS and was given the tick of approval :thumbsup: There is a little mark on the cloth on the drivers seat and a little hole on the passenger door trim. Otherwise 100% perfect. Window tinting on the rear hatch and totally screwed and will need to be redone.





I think I've also managed to track down a nose cut for the Astina for $700. FYI - a nose cut is the full front end cut-off from the firewall side of the radiator and includes radiator support panel, radiator, condensor, headlights, blinkers and front bumper - everything that I need.
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Old 04-03-2009, 09:39 AM   #2
SP BLING
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End of Week Two update

Not much to report this week as I've been a tad busy.... Still waiting to pick up the nose cut from the wreckers. Hopefully will get a chance to pick it up before next weekend. The car is now on stands ready to start the disassembly of the damaged front end.

I managed to give the roof of the car the full detail and what a difference it made!!!!!!!
I started off with the claybar and smoothed it down while removing some tar stains as well. I powered up the rotary buffer and applied a fine cutting compound, followed by a swirl remover, finishing it off with a pure polish. I then applied a synthetic polymer wax by hand to finish it off. The end result...... a perfect mirror finish to highlight every single dent that it in the roof :verymad:


Parts aquired this week:
- Sony MP3 Headunit & 10 disc MP3 stacker - $0 (from previous car)
- Short Shifter (Reduce gearstick throw by 50%) - $40
- Pioneer 12" Subwoofer - $20
- Clear Side Indicators - $30


Total cost so far
$1300 - Car
$82 - Car Trailer Hire
$700 - Nose Cut from wreckers
$40 - Short Shifter
$20 - Subwoofer
$30 - Clear Side Indicators

$2172 TOTAL


================================================== ======

picked up these Starcorp 17 X 7 INCH rims with tyres (approx 60% tread) for $425.






================================================== ======

End of Week 3 update

Well I had a really good weekend on the Astina. I finally got around to picking up the Nose cut from the wreckers on Saturday, luckily it was in perfect condition. All the front end damage from the car has now been removed and/or straightened. I even managed to tear down the nose cut and seperate it all out ready for fitment. All of the front end support panels are now ready for sanding and primer.

I did have some fun though annoying the neighbours with the sound of a big hammer hitting tin while trying to straighten out the front end!!!! All in all it only took about 5 hours to strip the front end down and the nose cut. I also managed to put a tiny crack in the bottom of the Windscreen washer bottle while trying to straighten everything. A trip to the wreckers fixed that one quickly.

I was a little worried earlier while moving the car around that I had no power steering.... A quick check under the hood revealed that the system had no fluid. I though it must have been the cooler lines that run across the front of the car, but no.... Mazda in all their wisdom, put a plastic barbed hose connector on top of the power steering pump. The impact from the crash just touch it and cracked it at the base.

The engine also has quite a few oil leaks - Distributer oil seal, rocker cover gasket, cam oil seal, crank oil seal........ I think I'm going to have some fun trying to replace all of these! :yucky:

Also, have finally decided on the paint design/scheme for the car..... but the only hint I can give away at the moment is that the car will still be White :biggrin:


The nose cut:



Extent of damage once the bumper was removed:



Front end of the car removed:




All the damaged pieces!



Power steering pump - Plastic inlet:



Rear end with middle reflector panel removed:





Parts aquired this week:
- 17x7" Wheels
- Radiator Overflow Bottle & Windscreen Washer Bottle


Total cost so far
$2172 - Total Cost from week 2
$425 - 17x7" Wheels
$30 - Radiator Overflow Bottle & Windscreen Washer Bottle
$18 - MAF Adapter for Pod Filter

$2645 TOTAL
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Old 04-03-2009, 09:41 AM   #3
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End of Week 5 update

Well progress is being made slowly..... I haven't started any mechanical work yet as I'm trying to concentrate on the body first as this is soo time consuming and messy.

Rear reflector panel removed for de-badging. I had it all nearly done and in primer, when I thought it would be a good idea to remove the black surround as well to enable a cleaner paint edge.... WHAT A STUPID IDEA!!!!! I managed to nearly crack the panel fully in half trying to remove it. Some plastic glue in the crack and some fiberglass on the back seem to be holding just fine. Have repaired the damage now and it is awaiting final colour. And yes... Black taillights have been ordered :biggrin:





Passenger side front guard was dented from the accident. As the car is drivable at the moment, I removed the guard early this week and took it to the local panel shop who repaired the damage for me in a few days. The guard was sanded down and sprayed in primer and putty, before being sanded again to show any defects. The guard was then re-primered and sanded back for the final colour - White. Although I haven't sprayed in a long time, I'm quite proud of my effort. The end result is a totally smooth guard with a satin finish. Just need to leave it for a week to allow it to cure, before colour sanding and buffing it up.





Front Bumper De-Badging. As you can tell, I'm going for the clean look! Lots of scratches to fill as well.......





Test fitted the wheels on car finally to ensure that the offset is correct. But no, it's not a 4WD, just jacked up on stands <_<






Parts aquired this week:
- Black Taillights
- Paint and panel stuff



Total cost so far
$2645 - Total Cost from week 3
$270 - Black Taillights
$180 - Paint and panel stuff


$3095 TOTAL

================================================== ======

End of Week 9 update


The Gearbox has been removed! Thanks to help of BCOOLR we had it out in just over 2.5 hours. Thanks to some bolts buried on top of the starter motor right in under the intake manifold, it took us a little longer than expected. The clutch and flywheel have been removed and destined for the bin. I'm now in search for a flywheel from a KJ Laser which is apparently 2.5kg lighter than the Mazda one - Same engine though..... Stock flywheel weights in at 8.6kg.

And yes, the car is in a million and one pieces at the moment!!!! :whistling:





New Exedy HD Clutch on the left, and the stock fubar one on the right.





The front guard has now been colour sanded wet using 2000grit sand paper. It was then buffed using a 9" wool pad and Meguiars Swirl Removal, and then finished off with Meguiars Final Inspection Pure Polish.
I'll let the reflection do the talking :biggrin:





Total cost so far
$3095 - Total Cost from week 5
$280 - Exedy HD Clutch & new bearings (Clutch fork and flywheel)


$3375 TOTAL
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Old 04-03-2009, 09:45 AM   #4
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End of Week 12 update

Not much progress on the car except for fixing some of the body work. All of the engine parts/gaskets have arrived ready to be installed.

Both rear quarters have small dents in them so I've knocked what I can out and filled the rest ready for sanding. The rear hatch has had some deep scratches removed/filled and sand back. Etch primed was applied where it went back to bare metal, before several coats of primer was applied. Hatch is now ready for final sanding before spraying the colour.






More goodies have arrived! Yes it is offical... I am an ebay junkie and proud of it :thumbsup: All this shipped out from the US for $215AUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was quoted well over $500 for this from both Supercheap and Ripco.
  • Full Upper and Lower gasket set including head gasket and Valve stem seals
  • Timing Belt Kit including tensioners
  • Water Pump






Aluminium CNC Machined Underdrive Crankshaft Pulley (lightweight) purchased to replace the existing unit. Weights 80% less than the stock pulley and will drive the alternator, power steering and air con at 25% less power. This all equals extra power at the wheels. How much power you ask?...... Probably only a few KW, but we will have to see.






Total cost so far
$3375 - Total Cost from week 9
$80 - Underdrive Crank Pulley
$215 - Timing Belt Kit, Full VRS Gasket Kit, Water Pump
$320 - 8mm Ignition Leads, Spark Plugs, Thermostat, Oil filter, Oil, Fuel Filter, Distributor Cap and Rotor, Distributor Seal Kit,
Gearbox Oil, Radiator Fluid, Radiator Hoses, Brake Fluid

$3990 TOTAL

================================================== ======


No real progress to report except that the gearbox is back in with the engine supporting itself (instead of a jack lol!!!). The Front lower control arms have been removed in preparation for new bushes - Caster offset for the rear bush. The bushes have to be made as no stock is kept any longer, so hopefully should only be another week or so. The castor offset bushes are usually used by smash repair guys to correct bad alignment on front ends due to accidents, but I'm going to use these at full offset to help increase the front camber during cornering. Also have a set of 4 camber offset bolts - one for each strut to dial in an extra 0.5 degree all around.

The bushes fitted along with some goodies from Japan below should help the Astina handle!



Mazdaspeed Adjustable shocks with Eibach/Mazdaspeed springs. These should lower the car down approx 30-35mm and improve handling 10x. They are used and a little rusty, but have no signs of leakage. Fingers crossed they are ok, but for the price I paid...... I don't care! I'll be replacing the boots/rubber seals and testing the shocks these before they go in along with a new paint job. New bump stops and rubber boots have been ordered.



JIC Pillow ball tops with camber adjustment on the front :biggrin: To be fitted to the shocks above when rebuilt.



Factory FOG lights for the front bar - in near new condition!


Can anyone say "GIVE ME SOME CAMBER" lol :biggrin: Just need to get new CV's, refit the suspension, rebuild the brakes, and I'll have a rolling shell again! Then the engine work can begin once in the garage :whistling: Bring on the warmer months!
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Old 04-03-2009, 09:50 AM   #5
SP BLING
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Still progressing slowly with it :whistling: I haven't had a chance to work on the car for nearly 3+ months, so it was great to see some progress after the weekend just past.

The engine crossmember has now been bolted back. The front lower control A arms have been received back with all new poly bushes (Caster offset) and I'm in the process of re-installing these along with a Cusco Lower A arm brace which just arrived :whistling:




The MazdaSpeed shocks and springs are also going in as they are in better condition than the original setup (which looks to be the original 200,000km's on them). Unfortunately the JIC pillow ball tops won't fit the struts without major re-construction work which isn't worth the effort/cost of just buying a set of coilovers. New CV shafts are on order with plans to have the car back on it's wheels (instead of on car stands for the last 6+ months!) by the end of the week........ as the good weather keeps up! A Cusco rear strut brace is also on it's way from Japan, but I'm still searching for a MazdaSpeed brace for the front.



Picked up the japanese optional Centre console cup holders. Mandatory requirement for coffee lovers!




Also thanks to Rupe for the new OEM front lower spoiler kit off the Type R Astina. I can't wait get it painted and see it on the car. Now I'm going to need some sideskirts to balance the front out...... :whistling: Here's a sneak pic of what it'll look like!



Once it's rolling again, the engine work will commence and the fun begins!


================================================== =======


Should be rolling (human powered) by tomorrow night!!!! We got so close to finishing the suspension tonight, but we ran out of time as it got too dark too quick. Well that and the noise of a Dakka Dakka gun :biggrin:

The rear suspension is totally back together, MazdaSpeed shocks, Eibach springs and camber bolts installed, wheels fitted and on the ground. Just waiting for the rear Cusco Strut Brace to arrive from Japan in a few weeks before we refit all the interior boot panels again.

The front end is progressing faster than anticipated. The MazdaSpeed shocks, Eibach springs and camber bolts have been fitted both sides along with new CV's. The front passenger side is totally complete with wheel attached ready to roll! Just need to install the lower control arm on the drivers side tomorrow night and tighten everything up.

Still noticed a few more bushes that have cracked and will need to be replaced so I'll try and get them done shortly while it is still in pieces..... Damn old cars!



Progress pics:





================================================== =======

Well the Astina finally rolled out onto the street today. The Lower Ball joints on the front have now also been replaced.

After giving the car it's first wash in nearly 6 months it was then pushed into the garage where the engine work will now commence. With the Mazda 3 now parked outside on the driveway, I'm under strict timeframes to complete the work asap.







Camber anyone?? :biggrin: During the installation of the camber bolts, we dialled in the max camber available. Looks to be approx -1.5 degrees on the front, with around -2.0 degrees on the rear. With the car out on the flat road it was great to see the car sitting level with the Eibach springs. I was worried that the Astina might of been a little too low to pass Rego, but it will just scrape in with the lowest point of the car at 110mm - (Cusco front lower strut brace).

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Old 04-03-2009, 09:52 AM   #6
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looks like your doin a good job of this...and doing all the goodies at once should be nice when you finish
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Old 04-03-2009, 09:52 AM   #7
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Engine strip down progressing well after the 1st night's work. If it wasn't for 3 hidden bolts under the intake manifold, it would've look even barer. Unfortunately we can't really access them too well unless it was on a hoist, so we'll pull the head off instead along with the intake manifold. Should hopefully have the head off tomorrow night.




The stock exhaust really needs some work.......... It's no wonder why these engines don't produce much power with such poor exhaust manifold design and flow.

================================================== =======

The head is off! :biggrin: Still need to remove the crank bolt earlier tomorrow night with the Dakka Dakka gun, whats left of the timing belt, water pump and the alternator before the clean up begins. I'm tempted to freshen up the engine bay paint as well while it is so accessible, but we'll see how time goes.


Not much left in the engine bay now. The parts pile on the floor is starting to build up :whistling:



Head and Intake manifold removed as one:



Old crank pulley (1.65kg) vs new crank pulley (0.4kg). This should help the engine rev a fair bit easier me thinks!


================================================== =======

The engine bay is now all masked up in preparation for it's re-spray. Still got more sanding a filling yet though to try and smooth out the panel welds/joins from the factory. Should be ready and a good day for spraying on the weekend.

I've been looking at the head for the last few days and it seems to look a little tired and used......... So I got a quote last week from a local engine place to recondition/rebuild the head for $380 - 2 day turnaround. Not bad considering what they do to it and the time saved, but it got the big no from the boss due to the cost so I'm going to attempt to do it myself. There's a first time for everything! I was planning to attempt a slight port and polish anyway.......

The plan is to:
  • Strip the head completely - Overhead valve spring compressor $35 @ Repco
  • Remove carbon deposits and build-up from all components using petrol and acetone (i heard this works well)
  • Port match the intake and exhaust manifolds (& gaskets as well)
  • Regrind the valve seats using grinding paste and a lapping tool - Repco $35
  • Port and polish the intake and exhaust ports using a dremel (based off a how-to guide from a Miata as they have the same engine :biggrin: )
  • Fit new valve stem seals (included in VRS Gasket kit)
  • Shave/skim the bottom of the head. This is to give the head a flat surface to ensure a perfect seal against the head gasket/block. There is a possibility that *extra* may be taken off to increase the compression ratio - cheats way :whistling: - $60 @ local engine shop
  • Regrind the cams to a new profile and fit new lash adjusters to suit - approx $420, but still waiting for final price. Not sure if I can fit this into my budget, but with the 12kw-15kw reported increase at the wheels I'm really keen since the head is going to be all striped apart.
  • New head bolts - $60-$80 from local engine shop. Mazda has a 1 month delay on them.......

This should hopefully breathe some life back into the old engine!
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Old 04-03-2009, 10:28 AM   #8
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This is a pretty insightful and good write up and i'm very impressed with your work. I hope someday i'll be able to build up my skills to be able to do what you have done.
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Old 04-03-2009, 10:49 AM   #9
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UPDATE:

Still haven't finished sanding/painting the engine bay yet, but I'm slowly getting there.... The sealant between the panel joins has been removed and I've been slowly filling/sanding/repairing each join until it's smooth. Although you won't see some of it once all the parts are re-installed, I still want it finished off nicely. Here are the progress pics








More goodies from Japan have arrived.... Cusco Rear Strut brace and Cusco Radiator Cap. Just need a front brace now to finish it off!




While the filler was drying in the engine bay, I got to work on installing the rear brace. The boot's been a mess since we installed the suspension as the whole boot interior needs to be removed to get to the top of the shock towers. I glad to see it coming back together :thumbsup: The panels each side of the brace needed to be ut for the brace to go through. The dremel to the rescue again! (Maybe one day I'll return it back to Rob :whistling: )

Also applied a little Dynomat while it was all apart of well. I paid special attention to the rear wheel arches where I tried to cover every little bit, while the rest of the boot got only a little bit of Dynomat only to stop the panels from resonating. I still used 4 sheets of Dynomat though.

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Old 04-03-2009, 11:06 AM   #10
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Thanks for the comments guys! - This is pretty much where the car is up to at the moment. Still working on smoothing the engine bay out.... Need many more hours in the day though
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Old 04-03-2009, 11:09 AM   #11
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Lookin good Mic! I'd forgotten you'd got so much stuff from me LOL
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Old 04-03-2009, 12:08 PM   #12
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Holy crap! If this turns out half as good as your SP23, your on a winner!
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Old 04-03-2009, 12:14 PM   #13
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post the sp23 up on here..wanna see it looks good from the display pic
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Old 04-03-2009, 12:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rupewrecht View Post
Lookin good Mic! I'd forgotten you'd got so much stuff from me LOL
Just a few pieces lol.... And more still to come!
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Old 04-03-2009, 10:59 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bourbon View Post
post the sp23 up on here..wanna see it looks good from the display pic
Posted - http://www.astinagt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13823
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Old 14-04-2009, 11:54 AM   #16
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so hows the build going????
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Old 14-04-2009, 10:28 PM   #17
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No progress at all unfortunately. But parts are still arriving slowly



Latest aquisitions are:
  • MazdaSpeed Front Strut Brace
  • 4-2-1 Extractors (unknown brand)
  • Slotted Rotors
  • Whiteline Rear Swaybar
  • HID's

Hopefully I'll have my hot hands on a set of RX7 series 6 seats
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Old 14-04-2009, 11:16 PM   #18
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Ah blingy another Ricer your building LOL

come on get serious

I told you full track spec BA - forget this fancy body crap - slap it to geather - it might look like crap but Go find a KL-ZE front cut with LSD BOX chuck it in -rip the rear out - Polycarbonate (aka Lexan forbrand lovers) the rear glass

ANd go hard at some track days. 200HP in approx 1200Kg wet weight - FWD it will show a few FWD /AWD turbo cars a thing or two

Let the SP23 be the show pony.
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Old 15-04-2009, 08:23 AM   #19
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If I'm going to do an engine conversion it'll be a BPT. Much easier and more room in the engine bay to work on it/service it.

But yeah it'll probably end up as my track car
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Old 15-04-2009, 11:13 PM   #20
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another BPT. AH fine for drag but - oh well I guess none of us ever learn - we just keep breaking boxes. I broke a I couple last week and wreaked a shifter as well - but that's another non car type LOL

why not be creative go for a SR20DET - sliglhty lighter engine and a slighlty stronger FWD box's - I did say slighlty

just ideas tyo make your mind go Banana's
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