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

2597 Views 46 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Spannerhead
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Best current shot for thread thumbnail:


Original post follows:

* * * * * *

So, this is Kurumi. She finally arrived early this morning. She needs a lot of help.

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.

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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Latest glamour shot without the mudguards.
Wheel Car Tire Vehicle Automotive parking light

She got a good wash last night, and I waxed the hood, roof and trunklid.

Also replaced the transaxle oil. A bit dirtier than Megumi's transaxle, but the drain and fill bolts came off just fine:
Automotive tire Motor vehicle Tread Rim Automotive exterior

A decent amount came out, and it didn't look too dirty, so I guess it had been done before.

In not-so-great news, I also discovered this:
Wheel Tire Automotive tire Motor vehicle Tread

which would help explain some lash in the driveline and potentially some vibrations felt in certain regimes. I guess I know what I'll be doing this (long) weekend...
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Before and after, 25 minutes. Megumi is so easy to work on it makes me cry.
Automotive tire Motor vehicle Hood Vehicle brake Locking hubs

Tire Wheel Automotive tire Hood Motor vehicle

Wall Gas Symmetry Tints and shades Metal

Fully expecting to fight Kurumi's equivalent parts all weekend long.

I decided to pull the hub and axle shaft together. A cold chisel popped the axle end out of the transmission very easily. I did rip both the tie rod and control arm balljoint boots. No way around the tie rod boot rip, so I'll need new ones of those, but I think I can protect the control arm balljoint's when I do the job on Kurumi.

Oh, and I discovered that Kurumi's passenger side CV boot is ripped also. So I'll be doing both sides.

It really is nice to have a good parts car.
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Can you describe the exact procedure you did to pop out the CV axle from the transmission ? Some owners have really had a problem with this.....others it seems to pop out easily. There is a close out on rotors at Rockauto now, and are very cheap. New rotors give a new car feel when braking.
Can you describe the exact procedure you did to pop out the CV axle from the transmission ? Some owners have really had a problem with this.....others it seems to pop out easily. There is a close out on rotors at Rockauto now, and are very cheap. New rotors give a new car feel when braking.
Yep. Cold chisel and a small sledge, and a few moderate taps from under the front of the interface, and it popped free. Hopefully the passenger side is as easy (tackling it tonight). Apparently the auto transmission is more difficult due to the geometry of the trans in that area.

The rotors just have some surface rust on them; it should all come off within the first few miles once I get everything reassembled. If I feel any vibration under braking, I'll replace them. Been eyeing a set of Akebono pads also (love the brand).
The passenger side is easier, at least for me, as the whole assembly comes out and you can work on the clip part. I never could get the driver side out.....maybe the sledge hammer is the key. You tapped it directly from underneath ?

I replace all the wheel bearings and the carrier bearing about every 100,000 miles to keep it like new. Rear is quite easy because the whole unit is replaced. Front I take off the hubs and take them to a shop and they press the new ones in, so it costs very little to get that done.
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You tapped it directly from underneath?
At about the 7 o'clock position, just to the side of the front-to-rear subframe brace.
All ready to go for the weekend.

Managed to separate the passenger side tie rod without tearing the balljoint boot. We'll see if I can do that twice on Kurumi's hubs.
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Windows tinted. 35% (the legal limit here in TN).


Gotta keep the interior plastics & leathers happy over the summer... And the occupant(s) too I suppose.
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Here's a mini-DIY for reinforcing door speaker mounts.

Parts needed, per door:
  • 3" 10-24 oval-head screws (2x)
  • 2" 10-24 oval-head screws (2x)
  • Lock washers (4x)
  • Washers (4x)
  • Foam tape (4 squares)
Tools needed:
  • Drill & 3/16" drill bit
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • 10mm wrench
  • Bolt cutter
  • Scissors
Do your door speaker mounts look like this, with crumbing screw bosses?


I decided to drill all the way through and install a screw and nut so I wouldn't have to rely on the integrity of the plastic to hold the screw in.

Hardware needed (see list above):

Use your 3/16" drill bit to drill down through the top, keeping as close to vertical as possible. Install the screws up from the bottom as shown:

The 3/16" diameter of the hole means the threads will probably catch on the plastic a bit, so you may have to use your screwdriver to install them.

Place your speaker on the mount, and install the washers, lock washers and nuts:

Tighten the nuts down with your 10mm socket/wrench (I used a deep socket). DON'T OVERTIGHTEN THEM AND CRACK THE PLASTIC AGAIN. Let the lock washers do the work.

Use your bolt cutter to trim them to length:

The oval-head screws will be nearly flush with the bottom of the plastic:

but I still recommend using some foam tape to really ensure there's no metal-on-metal contact once the mount is installed back in the door:

Reinstall, crack open beer, enjoy.
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I was not aware these cars have a drain plug for the transmission.....unless you are talking about something else when you mention transaxle oil. I don't see a drain or fill plug on my 1994. You have to take off the whole drain pan.
I was not aware these cars have a drain plug for the transmission.....unless you are talking about something else when you mention transaxle oil. I don't see a drain or fill plug on my 1994. You have to take off the whole drain pan.
It's a manual transmission. There's no drain pan, but drain and fill ports built into the casing. You must have an automatic.
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Driver side done.

The cold chisel trick worked a treat to separate the inner joint from the transmission. All the other bolts fought me. Even the cotter pin on the tie rod end was a pain to remove (I didn't rip the boot though—score), and I had to take huge swings with the sledge at the hub-to-strut bolts, even after using heat & penetrant. The control arm's balljoint boot tore, but that was the only "casualty" of the whole process. I'll replace both some weekend soon.

I didn't separate Megumi's hub & axle, but set the hub down on the control arm balljoint, inserted the inner joint into the trans and pivoted the hub in toward the car. The inner joint clicked into place—success.

From there, getting everything buttoned up was easy, and I put all the gear oil back in the transaxle and the splash shield back on.

Passenger side tomorrow.
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What are you using to hold up in place the rubber boots around the strut ? I am using a plastic tie around the rubber boot, and another plastic tie inserted in that attached to the upper spring. Any idea where to get new clips for the brake hoses ?
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So today, on the passenger side, I actually did have to replace the CV axle itself, since Megumi's inner boot had a small tear:

So, I chopped it in half...

...and used Megumi as a jig to hold the hub to allow me to remove the nut:

Came off no problem with PB, heat and a cheater bar.

I didn't manage to fully "de-stake" either nut, but was able to move the flange just enough so that they broke free:

I had to drop the front of the exhaust to be able to get the angle I needed to knock the inner joint free:

Megumi's front hub and strut in place:

And all buttoned up with new CV axle:

I also remembered to mark the front pulley for future reference:

Never hurts to make that little dent more obvious.

So...Kurumi drives PERFECTLY now. The juddering in 2nd and 3rd is totally gone, as is the lash in the driveline and clunks from the front suspension. She's just a magic carpet ride of little Mazda V6 smoothness and a sweet shifting 5-speed.

Still a host of little issues to sort out, but all in all, a very satisfying weekend's work.

What are you using to hold up in place the rubber boots around the strut ? I am using a plastic tie around the rubber boot, and another plastic tie inserted in that attached to the upper spring. Any idea where to get new clips for the brake hoses ?
The "bellows" around the strut shaft? Those are rigid plastic and held by the bump stops, which are held by the upper strut mounts. The rear struts came with rubber bellows and zip ties to attach them to the bump stops.

No idea where to get new clips, but the ones you see above are just wire-brushed off.
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Since I finished ahead of schedule this afternoon, I was able to polish up the headlights also, with the same kit I used for Megumi last fall.

Before:

Gouged her eyes out (temporarily):

The kit:

And...done:
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In my experience, the bellows never stay on to the top attached that way.
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So, dodged a bullet today. Kurumi's inner (PS and WP) drive belt was showing some cracking, so I decided to replace.

Unfortunately, the adjuster pulley bolt broke in the process of loosening it.

Fortunately, I was able to remove Megumi's and swap it over. Thank goodness for parts cars.


It's an interesting contraption. Regular threads on the bottom, reverse threads on the "shuttle" part up top.

If I had to do the job over again, I would:
  1. Don't even touch the pulley, but cut the drive belt (wearing eye protection and gloves)
  2. Remove the pulley completely
  3. Back the bolt off enough to remove the "shuttle" out from behind the bracket
  4. Remove the bolt
  5. Clean/chase and lube all threads
  6. Reinstall
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The reverse threads on top fool or confuse a lot of shops. I can't remember how, but one shop I went to managed to put it in backwards or something like that.
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Some glamor shots over lunch today:








A month ago, after the subframe bolt snap incident, I was so discouraged, and legitimately thought about giving up on this car. I was so disillusioned, I was looking at cheap beaters, and considering just having this one hauled off to the junkyard.

I'm glad I persisted. She runs beautifully. I broke into a big ol' grin last night while upshifting at 5K rpm on some back roads yesterday evening. Such a little jewel of an engine and chassis.
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You have definitely come over to the MX-6 side. Maybe one day you will even agree it is a poor mans Porsche.
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