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"Kurumi" ('94 Brilliant Black V6 5-Speed) Restoration

2143 Views 34 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Spannerhead
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Original post follows:

* * * * * *

So, this is Kurumi. She finally arrived early this morning. She needs a lot of help.
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Kurumi is a '94 5-speed V6. She was originally a Canadian-market car (hence the "Mystère" trunklid badging). I bought her from the original owner. She has 270K km (~170K mi). She spent the first ~6 years of her life in Canada before moving to Fort Myers, Florida, where she was driven until 2010-2012, when she was parked.
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I had planned to drive her up here to Chattanooga, but she wasn't "ready for prime time" and so I had her shipped instead.

She'll be getting Megumi's 108K mi engine/trans + a host of other non-rusty parts, and a thorough clean.

Current (known) issues:
  • Massive exhaust leak
  • Marginal brakes
  • Rusty undercarriage
  • Completely dead shocks
  • Speedo inop (cruise works, though, so I think the speed sensor is OK)
  • Fuel sender inop (seized b/c of bad gas?)
  • Shifter bushings shot
  • Needs a tune up
  • ~3 small dents
  • Cat scratches on sunroof panel
Fortunately, Megumi's parts will serve to help replace all the non-consumable bits.

Follow along as I bring her back into focus, and eventually give her some mild upgrades. OEM+.
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Day 1 progress (I only had 1/2 hour):
  • Removed window stickers and '90s cell antenna
  • Swapped on Megumi's '95+ wheels
  • Slam-dunked sunroof shield into trash can
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No scratches under the sunroof shield, unlike with Megumi. There's a line of dirt, but it will clean up/polish out.
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Next up: Prepping Megumi's fuel tank to be swapped over, and starting on the interior deep clean.
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Some updates:

Made the unpleasant discovery that the car has been repainted. There's a run just behind the driver's door:
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and the LS stickers were (poorly) masked instead of just removed and replaced afterwards.
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Otherwise it's a decent job. Would I like a glossier/original finish? Sure. But at least the clearcoat is intact.

Lots of work to do in the engine bay:
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I got her up on jackstands on Friday and started removing parts. Canadian winters have had their way with everything under there. Exhaust leak, check:
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Managed to get most of it off, but the studs securing the downpipes to the exhaust manifolds snapped immediately, so I had to rip off the intake manifold and remove the exhaust manifolds also:
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Fortunately, thanks to a combination of heat, penetrant, just the right socket extensions and a lot of patience, all 14 nuts/bolts came off with breaking any. So the engine will not have to be pulled (yet).

At the rear, 3 out of the 4 subframe mounting bolts snapped:
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A nice neighbor came off and welded nuts onto the bolts so we could get them off with the air gun:
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There's also a good bit of rust under the shock towers:
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Wire brushed it and hit it with a couple of coats of POR-15.

And I finally got the fuel tank off earlier this evening:
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Some rusty patches above the tank, which I'll also wire brush and treat:
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I'd like to powerwash all the undercoating off, but I think that would take something stronger than Simple Green; probably some scrubbing action, which I don't have time for at the moment.

Very close to being able to start reassembly, which should (hopefully) go more smoothly.
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Progress has gone pretty smoothly today. POR-15 on all the rusty parts:
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2nd coat tomorrow. Love the stuff.

Decided it was easier to swap over the whole filler pipe + evap line assembly rather than try to twist off Kurumi's fuel hose ends (I cut them to remove the tank):
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Needless to say, Megumi's is in MUCH better condition.

Made another unpleasant discovery also: Kurumi's rear brake hardlines have been replaced:
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Yet another thing not disclosed by the seller.

Spaceship vibes from Kurumi:
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Feeling pretty good about getting her back on the road this weekend if everything continues to go well.
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Well, things did not go entirely as expected, but I fought through it, one issue at a time.

Front of the exhaust in, above a rust-treated front crossmember:
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Megumi's EGR valve and solenoid assembly swapped over:
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I deleted the EGR pipe and bypassed the coolant lines, just like with Megumi.

Got the new fuel pump in. Some differences between the new and old pumps:
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The old one was working fine, so this was preventative.

The fuel tank went on without too much drama, although I did have to undo the right strap to attach the heat shield, since I forgot it goes under the strap.

Got the filler pipe assembly all cleaned up and installed. I used some handy-dandy 3M weatherstrips on the filler plate back:
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Got the rest of the exhaust and the subframe on and hitched up:
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Struts and brakes on:
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A big victory on Saturday was the parking brake bracket nuts came off, all 3 of them. They were totally rounded and disintegrated, but my rounded nut socket, a wire brush on the threads and copious amounts of heat, and they all came off.

No pics, but the intake manifold went back on OK. I decided to swap over Megumi's fuel rail and injectors, and discovered that the '94 rear injector rail connector assembly has a different plug, so I had to swap that over.

The lower fuel filter hose put up a fight, but I got it off in the end. Swapped over the bracket also.

I finally got everything buttoned up, and went to start it, and it wouldn't turn over. Battery was good, so I figured it must be the starter. Fortunately, it's right on the front of the engine, so I was able to pull Megumi's off and get it on Kurumi in about 25 minutes.

And then...she started! Ran really well, actually. I drove her around the neighborhood a bit, and she felt 500% better than down in Florida. Tracked straight, smooth and good pickup.

Got a code 16 and 41. For the 41, I'll just swap over Megumi's VRIS solenoid. For 16, I may have hooked up the EGR solenoid assembly wrong. Will investigate.

The other issue is the brakes. She unfortunately has ABS, which just gets in the way and overcomplicates everything. After the test drive, the right front and left rear discs were warm to the touch, where the other 2 were cold. Will have to look into that also.

Still, I was encouraged after an exhausting week and a half.
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A lot of work accomplished. You have the jackstands pretty high up. I see only 2 fuel tank straps installed, not the 3rd one that runs at an angle. And 2 extra fuel tanks on the ground ?
A lot of work accomplished. You have the jackstands pretty high up. I see only 2 fuel tank straps installed, not the 3rd one that runs at an angle. And 2 extra fuel tanks on the ground ?
Yep, 2 notches below the upper limit—as high as I dared.

The 3rd strap was missing from the new car on account of the front bracket had rusted through. I assume it just fell off the car at some point. So there was nothing for me to secure the front of Megumi's (good) diagonal strap to, so 2 straps will have to do. Every fuel tank I've ever dealt with has had only 2 straps anyway, so I'm not too concerned.

Re:what's on the ground, one is Kurumi's fuel tank, the other is the (very rusty) heat shield.
And 2 extra fuel tanks on the ground ?
or the tank and shield that came off the car.
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Well, she's in. Finally.
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Spent an hour or so beating on the front brakes before it was time to call it a night. I've acquired quite the toolset over the past 2 weeks when it comes to dealing with rust & stubborn fasteners. Still—I think separating the strut and hub is going to be a real struggle. I may save that for a weekend when I have more time and just focus on the brakes for now.
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Look who followed (read: carried) me to work this afternoon...
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Filthy dirty, and brakes in need of a 2nd good bleed, but she made it just fine.

I was stumped by the draggy rear brakes until I looked up rebuild procedures in the Haynes manual and learned about the parking brake adjustment screw. Set them appropriately last night, and no more drag.

She was pressed into service one day early on account of my wife needing the minivan sooner than expected. I hadn't even done a proper highway test. But she performed admirably.

Next up: Connecting the EGR hoses up correctly, that 2nd brake bleed, and cleaning cleaning cleaning...
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Gave her a bath last night, and another pic from work this morning:
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Also, not that it really matters, but I daily-drove the green MX-6 for 6 months and didn't get a single "Cool car!" or equivalent.

The 2nd day of daily driver duty for Kurumi and I got a rubberneck and thumbs up from a young guy in a W201.

NGL, that felt good.
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So driving home Friday evening, the car took about 20-30 seconds to start as I left the bank (ran errands on the way home). Then, it cut out randomly, and took even longer to start once I coasted into a nearby parking lot. After waiting a minute, I got it started again, and it took me the remaining 15 minutes home without incident. Still---not cool.

The fuel pump and filter are brand new, and the injectors have less than 3000 miles on them, so I suspected something ignition-related. The distributor connector was very suspect (NO idea how it ended up in that state):
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Swapped over Megumi's pigtail (lineman's splices FTW):
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I also put a protective sheath on the wires.

Cleaned the distributor up just a bit also. The bottom screw broke b/c of course it did:
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Drill & tap, drill & tap... Sigh.
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I also swapped over the crank angle sensor, and got the plug wires organized also thanks to swapping over a whole load of clips that were missing:
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Getting there...
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Updates! Kurumi has driven me to work every day this week so far. She's doing fine, although she still has two codes (16 and 41) and shudders a bit under acceleration, especially at certain gear + rpm combos like 2nd gear around 2500-3000 rpm. Working that one out.

She also runs warmer than I'd like (a bit to the right of center on the gauge; Megumi ran a bit to the left), and started creeping toward the red—though eventually stabilized short of it—when idling for a few minutes with the A/C on in mid-80° temps. Temp came back down once on the highway. So the cooling system will need some attention.

In the meantime, since I have a baseline, I've been trying to take things a bit slower after spending hours and hours over the past 3 weekends. Just trying to do one small/medium thing a day.

Monday, I pulled the seats and vacuumed the carpet. Megumi's passenger seat was in slightly better shape, so I swapped that over, along with the rear seat cushion. Kurumi's driver's seat bolsters are intact, so it stays, though I might see if I can swap over Megumi's seat bottom. Rear seatbacks have to come over also.
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Gave the dash its first wipe down w/303. More to come.
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and I swapped over Megumi's sun visors that were in better condition:
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Yesterday, I addressed the trunk area. Before:
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and after:
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Trunk liner in better shape, intact weatherstripping, all the correct fasteners, etc. I still need to de-rust the hinges, but it's looking a lot better back there.

I think some critter took up residence in the trunk for a while prior to my ownership:
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Everything got vacuumed out and wiped down.

Next up: Intake manifold swap. Code 41 is VRIS1, and I decided rather than just swap over Megumi's known-good solenoids, I'd just pull the whole intake and swap it over with its cleaner throttle body, silicone hoses, etc. Getting pretty good at pulling it these days. Megumi's engine is looking pretty picked over...
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Got Megumi's perfect leather rear seat backs installed in Kurumi:
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Very easy to swap. 4 nuts and out they come.

Did a "dry run" on Megumi of locating/loosening the fasteners on the rear motor mount, so I know exactly what to do when it comes time to replace Kurumi's (and remove Megumi's engine). Shouldn't be too hard with the intake, etc, out of the way.
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I guess it would have been too much to ask for Mazda to design the bracket in such a way that they're 1/2" farther forward... Sigh.
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Interior swap over complete. The only thing remaining of Kurumi's is the non-ripped driver's seat back (not even the headrest). Everything else was Megumi's.
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100% intact leather interior.

Also changed oil for the first time. It's usually the first thing I do when I acquire a new (to me) car, but I had to put it off until today for various reasons. Old filter was Mopar; weird. Wix on and 4.5 quarts of 5W-30 semi-synthetic.
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4.5 quarts of 5W-30 semi-synthetic.

Why 5w-30 weight oil, you seem diligent about working on your cars, almost by the book.
If you read the very confusing factory workshop manual the oil weight should almost always be 10w-30
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With 270 000km on that motor I would run 10w- 40 or 15W - 40. Above 200*F (operating temp, mazda doesn't specify but 215* to 230* seems to be optimum oil temp) even 20w50 is water thin.
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What the manual means is if the minimum temperature your car will see is above -13*F run 10w 30
If the highest temperature your car will see is below 32*F (freezing all the time) run 5w 30.
All good info. I used to run Rotella T 15W-40 diesel oil in my BMWs in contravention of the recommended weight, but my OCI is so short (3-5K) and the engines seemed to like it, so I didn't lose sleep over it. There were multi-page "oil threads" on the BMW boards where guys would tie themselves in knots over whether 5W-30 or 5W-40 was the right weight. Kind of silly if you ask me.

I use the Motorcraft 5W-30 in our Mazda 5; it's a good oil and both engines seem to like it, so I think I'll stick with it.
Couple updates:

Swapped over Megumi's rebuilt power antenna. Of course, they didn't take the 3 minutes to remove the antenna before the respray:
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That's like not removing switch plates before you repaint a room. Makes my skin crawl.

In any case, the antenna was a quick swap over and works well.

I also swapped the glove box door, since Kurumi's was missing a screw and the latch rattled (and it was just dirty).

Finally removed the giant "Group B" mudguards and installed Megumi's subtle "fender protectors" on the front. Comparison:
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On Kurumi:
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And before:
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And after:
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It's a subtle difference, but I think she looks 1000X better. So much sleeker and more cohesive. The mudguards just stopped the front-to-rear visual flow in its tracks. Now she looks all-of-a-piece.
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Bunch of interior work this afternoon. First, I did a deep clean of the carpet so it had time to air-dry. Before:
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(apparently, the previous owner was a real sunflower seed enthusiast; they were embedded everywhere)

Cleaning supplies:
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And after:
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Doesn't look a whole lot cleaner, but it is, and more importantly, it just SMELLS better.

Got the door sills all nice and clean from the Canadian/Floridian environments. Before:
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I swapped over a bunch of Megumi's interior plastics like the center console trim & armrest storage BUT I kept Kurumi's lid, since it has a soft-close hinge (Megumi's always slammed and felt cheap).
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And finally, I cleaned up the door jambs and swapped over known good door stays. Before:
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And after:
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It's really nice to have a door that stays open properly now.

I was on the fence about swapping over the shift knob I bought right before the accident. I kind of wanted to wait until I swapped Megumi's engine and trans in, the end I just did it. I never did drive Megumi with the new knob, so it'll be a fun commute tomorrow morning.
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