1st gen RX-7 / Chevy V-8...
...Getting Started

...Finally, The Actual Conversion...

Jacking & Supporting Your RX-7...
...Be very careful when jacking up and supporting your RX-7. The Mazda engineers went to great lengths to build these cars as lightweight as practically possible, and that meant using much thinner metals than you may be accustomed to. The sheetmetal ?frame rails? under these cars are made from around 18 ga. sheetmetal, about as thick as your average oil pan. A bend or kink can significantly weaken their stiffness. As they are easily damaged and repair is difficult, it is much better to avoid damage in the first place.

Fender Covers...
...Now is a good time to get these out, before you do any damage. Thick blankets can also be used, and will prevent any paint damage should a wrench or socket be dropped on the fenders or nose area.

What To Squirt W/ Penetrating Oil...
...First thing after the car is safely in the air & properly supported, be sure to hit all the bolts/nuts in the following :
...Exhaust manifold studs/nuts
...All other exhaust bolts/nuts
...Engine subframe bolts/nuts
...Upper front strut tower bearing plate nuts
...Lower control arm inner pivot bolts/nuts
...Steering rack to subframe bolts/nuts
...Rear driveline to pinion flange bolts/nuts
...A little squirt now can save a lot of busted knuckles and cussing later.

Disconnecting The Battery...
...12mm wrench
...It?s best to do this step now, before you melt any wrenches or damage any electrical components. You might as well remove it now too.

Draining Your Cooling System...
...Be sure to drain both the radiator and engine. Catch the coolant in drain pans, not only to save it or dispose of it properly, but to keep the work area neat & clean. Antifreeze does not evaporate very fast, and can hang around for several days if not cleaned up. This can expose both your and the neighborhood?s kids & pets to a toxic substance.

Removing Your Hood...
...Blankets or protective pads
...12mm socket & ratchet
...Marking paint or scribe
...Place blankets or pads on the cowl area of the body and fenders. This will protect your body and paint from accidental contact from the hood as it is being un-bolted and removed.
...Scribe or paint alignment marks around the heads of the hood bolts before removal, as this helps make proper re-installation and alignment much easier.
...Disconnect any wiring harness or hoses that will interfere with the hood removal.
...Have an assistant support the weight of the hood as you remove the bolts. Be very careful to avoid damage to the hood or body if the hood suddenly comes loose as the bolts are removed.
...Remove the hood, being careful to place it in a safe place, and protect the areas that contact the ground from paint chips or other damage. Be sure to thread the bolts back into their holes in the hood, so these special bolts won?t get mis-placed.

Shifter & Boot Removal...
...Phillips & regular screwdrivers
...10mm socket , ratchet, & 6?extension
...Clean rag
...While you are still nice and clean, now is a good time to get things ready inside. Remove any screws in the plastic trim around the boot, then carefully pry the plastic cover off to reveal the inner rubber boot and attaching screws. After the screws are removed and the rubber boot carefully pried loose and pulled up, the (4) shifter retaining plate screws can be removed with the 10mm socket, ratchet, and extension. Have a rag handy as the shifter pulls free, so that the oily bottom of the shifter?s inner workings can be wrapped to prevent dripping oil on your nice clean carpets & interior.

Remove The Seats...
...12mm socket, swivel, ratchet, & 6" extension
...12mm wrench
...While not a necessary step, removing the seats will assure that they are not accidentally stained or otherwise damaged. It will also allow much easier access to the under dash areas to make wiring connections.

Disconnect The Throttle Cable...
...12mm wrench
...The throttle cable should be dis-connected from the throttle pedal, so thet the cable will be free to removed from the engine compartment side of the firewall.

Disconnect The Clutch Master Cylinder...
...Needle Nose Pliers
...Again, while you are inside the car and relatively clean, it?s a good time to go up under the dash to dis-connect the clutch master cylinder?s pushrod clevise from the brake pedal. Simple removal of the pin is all that?s required.

Tagging The Electrical System...
...Tags (or masking tape) & a Marking Pen
...The connectors of primary importance are the following:
...Water Temp Sender (small sender located below rotary's oil filter)
...Oil Pressure Sender (large sender located below rotary's oil filter)
...Oil Level Sensor (located in rotary's oil pan)
...AC Compressor Clutch
...Coolant Level Sensor (located in upper tank of RX-7 radiator)
...The above connectors should be saved. They can be later used to make more professional looking connections when the rotary components are installed on/in your V-8.

Misc Underbody & Exhaust Removal...
...12mm socket
...10mm socket
...Disconnect the harness to the oxygen sensor, as well as the ground strap to the catalytic converter.
...Disconnect the harness connectors attached to the transmisson for the reverse lights & gear position sensors. Automatic equipped cars will also have cooling lines, as well as undercar shift linkage to remove.
...All the exhaust system can be removed between the engine and the rear axle. The bolts/nuts are often very difficult to remove, so be sure to use 6 point sockets and wrenches to reduce the possibility of rounding off the hex. The penetrating oil applied earlier will greatly reduce the risk, but a little extra caution should still be exercised.
...After all the bolts are removed, the pipes can be pulled from their rubber hangers. A little twisting and tugging is all it takes to pull the rubber over the expanded head of it?s mounting stud.

Prepping The Rotary Engine/Trans For Removal...
...Before the driveline is removed, be sure to drain the oil from the engine & transmission. This will prevent a big mess later when the engine/trans are pulled as a unit.
...Remove the driveline.
...Remove the underbody cover from under the radiator/oil cooler.
...Remove the engine?s oil cooler lines.
...Remove the lower radiator hose.
...Remove the nuts & washers from the engine mounts at the subframe.

Removing The Engine/Trans...
...Follow the proceedures set forth in the RX-7?s shop manual.

What To Save Off Of The Engine/Trans...
...You will want to remove the following for re-use later:
...Temp sender
...Oil pressure sender
...PS pump (dis-connect the hoses at the steering rack)
...Oil Cooler Hoses (salvage fittings)

Removing Un-needed Underhood Wiring & Misc...
...Box cutter
...Wire cutters
...Most of the RX-7's emissions harness (passenger side firewall) and all of the RX-7's engine harness can be removed. In the emissions harness, be sure not to disturb the wiring for the wipers, and cruise control. The harness can be slit open and the rest of the wires can be removed. Refer to the electrical section to identify the wire colors.

Pre-installation Chassis preparation notes...

Pre-Assembly Cleaning / Detailing Of The Engine Compartment...
...Now's the time to clean all those areas you couldn't get to with the pressure washer earlier. Most any cleaner/de-greaser can be used. We use a product like Simple Green, applied by spraying, followed up with scrubbing with a nylon bristle brush, wiped off with rags. This won't take long if you did a good job with the pressure washer earlier.

Pre-installation firewall modification...
...Rubber mallet
...Hacksaw, sawzall, or small angle grinder
The following "modifications" should be done prior to dropping in the engine/transmission: Remove the sheetmetal nut bracket on the passenger side of the transmission tunnel (located directly below the the passenger side heater core outlet). Tap any remaining sheetmetal down flat.
...Fold down the lip protruding from the firewall for distributor clearance.
NOTE: These kits were designed around the '79-up Chevy small block, which would be required for a smog legal conversion. The smaller electronic distributor used from '88-up fits with only minor firewall lip modification, but the large diameter "HEI" distibutor (used on Chevy engines produced from '75-'87) will not fit without modification to the HEI's upper wire retainer to clear the hood latch. The older "points" style distributor, or the MSD style distributors based on the points style cap, are recommended for carbureted applications.
NOTE: LT1, LS1, and engines w/ a DIS ignition system do not use a rear distributor, and do not require lip modification. The LT-1 does however require that the EGR valve be re-located to improve firewall clearance. Flat plates connected w/ large diameter copper tubing easily does the job.

GSL-SE Subframe Modification...The '85-'85 GSL-SE subframes were different to accomodate their longer 13B engines. To get the correct engine location for your V8, the engine mount holes in the GSL-SE subframe will need to be moved 3/4" to the rear.

Heater core outlet...the heater core outlet on the passenger side should be bent upward and toward the center of the car to maximize valve cover clearance.

Enlarge Existing Firewall Hole for Clutch Master Cylinder (T-56 Only)...
The 1" bore clutch master cyl uses a larger diameter pilot and rubber boot, requiring a larger 1-3/8" hole in the firewall for proper installation. Various methods of enlargement have been used...Dremel tool, die grinder, rotary file or unibit in a hand drill, etc...if you elect to use a plasma cutter, be sure to remove the flammable carpeting, backing, etc before proceeding.
...NOTE-...An alternate method some use to get around this task is to simply space the master cyl away from the firewall about 3/8". If you elect to go this route, be sure to seal the area well to keep engine compartment fumes and heat out of your passenger cabin. If you use this method, you will not be able to mount the master cylinder's protective rubber boot.

700R4 applications...to prevent contact between the transmission pan flange and the chassis, saw off the RX-7's original driver's side transmission cross member mount (a bulge that protrudes from the RX-7's underbody). This is easy to do using a sawzall or abrasive disc tool. You may also need to saw off a small tab that protrudes from the transmission case (on the upper right side)- wait until it's in the chassis to see exactly where.

T-5 "straight-up" bellhousing applications...this refers to most all V-8 Chevy 3 and 4 speed car bellhousings that origionally used mechanical clutch linkage. The stock throwout fork extends far enough to interfere with the RX-7?s floorboard. Although the floorboard can be ?relieved? with the appropriate hammer, we prefer to shorten the throwout fork 1-1/4?, and operate it using the stock RX-7 hydraulic slave cylinder mounted to out slave bracket.

T-56 applications...to prevent contact between the extension housing and the RX-7 chassis, saw off the passenger's side transmission cross member mount (a bulge that protrudes from the RX-7's underbody). This is easy to do using a hacksaw, sawzall, or abrasive disc tool.

Next page....


2....Considerations & Requirements....

3....Getting Started....

4....Engine / Transmission Installation....

5....Exhaust / Throttle Cable / Accessory Drive / Pulleys....

6....Cooling / Fuel Systems....

7....RX-7 Wiring Harness Connector ID and Circuit Locations....

8....Electrical System Modifications By Circuit....

9....Start-up / Troubleshooting....