DIY Brake Ducts for a Series II - RX8Club.com



Series II DIY DIY projects specific for Series II RX-8s

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Old 03-26-2017, 06:16 PM   #1
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DIY Brake Ducts for a Series II

I know a few DIYs have already been written on this, but only 1 of them is for a Series 2, and none of the photos are working for me for any of them. So, I decided to write this up with durable photos for posterity.

Total cost: ~$200

It will take me a little while to actually finish this project, because one of the parts I ordered is on backorder, so please bear with me.

What you will need:
  • 10' of 2.5" CAT, SCAT, CEET, or SCEET hose from somewhere like Aircraft Spruce or Amazon
  • 2 hose clamps to fit 2.5" ducting
  • Brake duct hub attachments for NC MX-5 from somewhere like Goodwin Racing or Flyin Miata
  • At least 6 heavy duty cable ties
  • Drill with a bit sized to your cable ties
  • Vacuum hose from auto parts store - about 2'
  • Utility knife to cut fender liners or 2.5" hole saw
  • Can of spray paint, because it happens to be 2.5" in diameter
  • Pencil #2
  • Phillips #2 and #3 screwdrivers
  • Flat blade #2 screwdriver
  • Diagonal cutters
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Poultry shears or scissors
  • 10, 12, 14, 17mm sockets
  • 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2" drive ratchets
  • 3/8 and 1/2" drive torque wrenches
  • Slide hammer with hub removal attachment (borrowed from Autozone)
  • Half round file
  • Sandpaper
  • Solvent (denatured alcohol, acetone, etc.)
  • E6000 or similar glue
  • Nickel or copper anti-seize

My take on this is a little bit different than Ian's for a Series 2. Where he cut into the undertray upright to install a hard piece of pipe in one instance, then mounted a flange to the front faring in another instance, I noticed there is a positive pressure location on the inside of each oil cooler. One need only cut the fender liner and find a way to secure the hose there. I plan to use heavy duty wire ties to secure a 2.5" piece of CEET hose to the undertray upright.

To be clear, this method does not attempt to force or "blow" air into the ducts. It uses the natural pressure differential between the front of the radiator (positive pressure) and the wheel well (negative pressure) to draw air into the ducts.

In this photo, the right front fender liner is removed to provide context.




In this zoomed in photo of that area, you can see the opening of the front grill, which means placing a hose with access to that space will scavenge positive pressure from in front of the radiator. (That may have some effect on cooling, but I believe it will be minimal and plan to collect data for comparison to data from last year to verify.)



Here is what I am thinking for routing the hose. I have it shoved way up in the grill area to get it to stay, but I will actually just poke it about 2" into a hole I plan to cut into the fender liner. This hose is pretty rigid, thanks to its integral spring wire, and thanks to the fact that you can screw once piece into another, so it will stay in place, once it is wire tied to the under tray upright in maybe 2 places.



This is the routing I am planning to use for the brake rotor side. A couple of wire ties on the upper control arm may be all that is needed. If things need to be tighter, a couple of hose clamps can be bent and made to work.



Ian hammered his dust shields flat, cut 2" holes in them, and riveted flanges to them for a true DIY approach. I looked at doing that, but my flanges are 2.5", and appear to be a little too big to make that work cleanly. So, I bit the bullet and ordered a set of prawns for an NC Miata from Goodwin Racing. Unfortunately, they are on backorder, so I will have to finish this project another day. I will have to massage / grind the outer lip to make them work with the RX-8s larger rotors, but they should bolt up to the hubs just fine. [EDIT: Nope. They fit with no modification.]



To be continued...

.

Last edited by Steve Dallas; 10-19-2017 at 09:20 AM. Reason: Zee tool list keeps growing
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Old 04-13-2017, 09:20 PM   #2
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Lookie what showed up today. These AWR attachments are very high quality pieces, and are nicely powdercoated in gloss black. It is going to be a shame to do what I will have to do to make them fit. Look for an update in the next week or three...

[EDIT: No significant modification needed.]






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Old 04-13-2017, 09:30 PM   #3
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Looks good, thanks for the write up
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Old 06-13-2017, 09:59 PM   #4
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I have not forgotten about this thread. Spoiler:



The AWR prawns fit with very little modification.

More to come...
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Old 06-14-2017, 07:27 PM   #5
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Here is the beginnings of the step-by-step process for installing brake ducts on a Series 2. (This might work for a Series 1, but I believe there are some differences in the undertray and uprights that may change the procedure to some degree. And, Series 1 cars have useful fog light holes.)

I will skip some details, as they are covered in other DIYs, and you should really already know them, if you are attempting this.

1. Safely place at least the front of the car on jack stands and remove the front wheels.

2. Remove the brake line brackets (one 12mm bolt each), then calipers (held by two 17mm bolts each) and hang them from the springs with zip ties, bungee cords, groovy S hooks, or the like.

3. Remove the brake rotors. You will need a #3 Phillips screwdriver to remove the safety screws. An electric impact with an impact rated bit may be needed.

4. Remove the hub. There is a good DIY on this here.
A. It is held to the spindle by four 14mm bolts. Remove those bolts, noting which bolt goes in which hole.

B. Remove the ABS speed sensor, using a 10mm socket.

C. Attach a hub removal bracket to at least 3 studs and secure it with lug nuts.

D. Wrap a bungee cord around the hub and attach both hooks to the spring.

E. Screw a slide hammer into the hub removal bracket.

F. Gently tap the hammer (away from hub) to remove the hub. Take your time and go easy on it, if you want to reuse your hubs. Mine required 3 light taps each.

G. The bungee cord will catch the hub and slide hammer and prevent damage.

H. The dust shield will most likely come off with the hub.







This guy likes my bungee cord idea:


.

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Old 06-14-2017, 07:52 PM   #6
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Continuing with step-by-step...

5. Test fit the AWR prawns to make sure they are oriented correctly.

6. Use a half round file to remove the powder coating from inside the hub hole in the AWR brackets. They will not fit over the hubs with the powder coating intact. Once they do fit over the hubs, use sandpaper to clean up your work.

7. Using 220 grit or finer sandpaper, sand the mating surfaces of the hub and spindle to remove rust. Clean with solvent, then apply a light film of nickel or copper anti-seize. This will lubricate the surfaces to help the hub go back on, and will make it easier to take it off again in the future.

8. Reassemble the hubs with the prawns in place of the dust shields. Note the orientation of the ABS sensor, and position the hubs accordingly before assembly.
A. Apply a small amount of blue Loctite to each of the four 14mm bolts, and screw each bolt into the hole it came out of.

B. Use a ratchet to tighten each bolt a little at a time in a star pattern, until all are snug.

C. Use a torque wrench to torque each bolt to 42 ft-lbs in a star pattern.

D. Insert the ABS sensor into its hole, and tighten its 10mm bolt to snug or 75 in-lbs.

E. Temporarily reinstall the brake rotor and check for any possibility of rubbing between the prawn and rotor. Bend the prawn by hand as needed to create clearance. Remove the brake rotor to get it out of the way.

F. Ignore the claw hammer in my photos. I didn't use it for anything, and you shouldn't either.













That's all I have so far. I may start working on the ducts themselves later tonight, but it is 101F outside right now.

.

Last edited by Steve Dallas; 07-11-2017 at 10:08 PM.
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Old 06-14-2017, 11:38 PM   #7
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I'm definitely interested to see where the numbers go on this. If trying to use the effect of the pressure differential off the front of the bumper doesn't quite work out do you think you'll end up using an inline fan?

Also, just curious. Is there not much of a point to doing this with the rear too?

Last edited by Reoze; 06-14-2017 at 11:41 PM.
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Old 06-15-2017, 08:31 AM   #8
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It's going to work. I used the exact same location for my Miata's ducts. Measured pad temps after one cool-down lap dropped from >800F to 280F. I don't know how high they actually were, because my pyrometer maxes out at 800F. Since installing those ducts, I have not had to give a second's thought to brake temps at all, and my pads and rotors appear to be lasting nearly 3 times as long.

Scavenging pressure from the radiator working so well in the Miata is what finally pushed me to do this for the RX-8. Two things had held me back before: my Series 2 car has no good positive pressure locations on the front bumper that would not look terrible, and there have not been good spindle attachments on the market for the 8 in the past.

You generally do not need to duct the rears, until you are running some monster rubber. In my case, I run a rear pad with a lower Mu, and the rears are already biased for less friction. I just run a good cool-down lap and don't set the parking brake, and all is fine back there. I'll be at the track with the Miata Friday and Saturday mornings this weekend. I'll try to remember to shoot the rears for comparison.

I am tentatively planning to take the 8 to the track on the 24th for my last track day of the first half of the year. I will be able to measure results for the brake ducting and water temps then, as I have data for that weather from last year for comparison.
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Old 06-15-2017, 08:29 PM   #9
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So, that part about reusing hubs... I put a stethoscope on mine this evening, and both are crunchy. They have 42K miles and a lot of track hours on them, so I'm not surprised. Mazdaspeed Motorsports sells the genuine article for $133 each. Parts.com has OE for $145 each. Beware the aftermarket. Reports are not favorable on any hubs but genuine Mazda.
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Old 06-15-2017, 08:42 PM   #10
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When you ran it with your Miata did it affect the actual radiator temperatures at all? That would be my only real concern, and that's probably because I just dealt with these problems a few days ago.

Did Mazda design the Miata similarly to the RX8 in terms of airflow to the radiator? Or was it not really necessary? The undertray looks to be about 1/3rd of the length.
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Old 06-15-2017, 09:06 PM   #11
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Before I installed the brake ducts, I was running the Miata with the undertray installed, but without having done any sealing around the radiator. When I installed the brake ducts, I sealed around the radiator at the same time. I did not notice any change in coolant temps afterward. That could be because of the sealing, or it could be because the radiator is just that awesome. Come to think of it, this was all done in January or February, so I had no hot weather data anyway, other than to say it ran HOT with the OE radiator, so it could be because it was below 70F the whole time.

I bought the car in September of last year and started tracking it immediately. Looks like I installed the radiator in November and sealed around it in January.

In any case, the brakes will definitely receive enough cooling in the RX-8 application. ANYTHING will be better than the destruction of brake parts I have been experiencing these past 4 years. The only question is how much performance may be robbed from the radiator.

The undertray designs are pretty different between a 2003 Miata and a 2011 RX-8.

Here is the post in my Miata build thread, where the sealing and brake duct stuff starts:

https://www.miataturbo.net/build-thr...4/#post1389544

Sorry about the stupid thread title. The mods on that forum change them to amuse themselves, but I don't get the humor with mine. Whatevs.

Tomorrow and Saturday will be hot. I should have a chance to log Miata data in at least 90F temps. The high is supposed to be 100F both days. I'm leaving just before lunch, though, and I don't normally torture myself or the car above about 92F anymore.

If I get the hubs in time, I am still planning to take the RX-8 to the track on the 24th. That should settle the issue, as I have good data for comparison. The weather forecast calls for a high of 101F on that day (at least for now). BTW, my 8 has the Koyo HH Series radiator installed, and is sealed on 3 sides (exhaust manifold side left open). Lots of charts of my data logs in that thread.

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Old 06-16-2017, 08:49 PM   #12
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I had a nice long post written up last night but I'm sure we can all guess where that went.

I suppose if it ends up robbing performance that's not entirely too hard to compensate for. Blocking off part of the inlet or pinching the tube a bit should be pretty trivial and allow you to tune it one way or the other. As you said, anything would be better than nothing.

I'm very curious to see how the graphs from that thread contrast with the new ones. I actually read that entire radiator thread last week when I was looking at the best way to seal mine off. I only ended up sealing the bottom and right out of lazyness but that's been completely sufficient. Though I'm not sure if the aluminum undertray I threw on had more to do with that. My plastic one was pretty beat to hell.

Pretty interesting thread on the Miata forum. Killed my entire night.

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Old 06-17-2017, 06:33 PM   #13
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No updates on the RX-8 cooling ducts yet, since I've been at the track with the Miata these past 2 mornings. It is over 100F here in the afternoons this week, so I need a free morning to finish the work. Hubs are on backorder.

Here is some tangentially related Miata data from yesterday.

In this session, the ambient temp was 91F. There was a 7mph breeze. My coolant temps were:




Each session was 30 minutes of hard driving. After 3/4 of a cool-down lap at the end of the session, I parked in the paddock, jumped out, and measured these brake pad temps.

Front:




Rear:




If the RX-8 yields within 100F of these results on the brake pad temps, without costing more than 3 to 5F in coolant temps, I will be a very happy camper.

It doesn't surprise me at all that this works for the brakes. All you need is a positive pressure location to feed the duct inlets. The wheel wells are negative pressure areas, so there is plenty of pressure differential to draw air toward the brakes.

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Old 06-17-2017, 06:53 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reoze View Post
I had a nice long post written up last night but I'm sure we can all guess where that went.

I suppose if it ends up robbing performance that's not entirely too hard to compensate for. Blocking off part of the inlet or pinching the tube a bit should be pretty trivial and allow you to tune it one way or the other. As you said, anything would be better than nothing.

I'm very curious to see how the graphs from that thread contrast with the new ones. I actually read that entire radiator thread last week when I was looking at the best way to seal mine off. I only ended up sealing the bottom and right out of lazyness but that's been completely sufficient. Though I'm not sure if the aluminum undertray I threw on had more to do with that. My plastic one was pretty beat to hell.

Pretty interesting thread on the Miata forum. Killed my entire night.
Losing a lengthy post has happened to me many times. I usually try to remember to copy the text, before I hit submit, but I forget more often than not.

Sure, you can adjust the size of the duct openings by pinching the spring wire or adding attachments. I actually don't mind losing some cooling performance in the RX-8, because I am planning on using it as more of a cool weather track car going forward. I also just don't drive in overly hot weather anymore. I used to have to do that to get any track time in, but I am now a full member of the track and can drive on any Member Day, which gives me the option of just driving 3 or 4 sessions in the morning during the summer. In fact, I only drove that 91F session above to collect data for this thread.

You can very easily seal the top of your radiator. There is a perfect little space at the top of the radiator, through which you can shove a piece of foam from underneath. I was able to do it from the bumper mouth, without having to remove anything. Personally, I advocate sealing that "crack," because you don't want to pressurize your engine bay any more than absolutely necessary, and flowing air there does nothing beneficial that would offset the pressure it adds. Leaving the exhaust manifold side open seems to benefit much more than it harms, and it seems to cause cool air to be sucked in from elsewhere to draw heat away from the exhaust manifold and keep the engine compartment (and transmission tunnel) temps under control, without affecting coolant temps very much at all.

I think you should be in very good shape with that CSF radiator and FAL shroud. Do you have any data to share on that setup? If so, I think we need a CSF / FAL thread!

The Miata Turbo forum is a strange, interesting place, if you can get past the deep-rooted dogmas among the members.
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Old 06-17-2017, 09:07 PM   #15
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I'll have to check it out next time I'm working on the car. I'd already spent 3 hours doing a 30 minute job at that point so I was more than ready to wrap everything up and get out of there. The two piece foam job did drop my temperatures down to a maximum of 200-205 in traffic with the A/C blasting though (I hit 235 the week before). Again I'm not sure if that was more the undertray than foam though. I'm sure both had an effect.

As far as data, I've got plenty of logs but mostly from me trying to understand issues driving on the road. The data was immensely useful to me, though I'm not sure if there's much value in starting a thread with it. Nothing from a track day. Been trying to get the turbo installed and everything worked out before I started hitting the track. Though, thinking about it, I really should just take it out now before I start blowing engines.

Quote:
The Miata Turbo forum is a strange, interesting place, if you can get past the deep-rooted dogmas among the members.
Well, when you put it that way, it reminds me a lot of another Mazda forum I look at a lot.
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Old 06-20-2017, 09:19 AM   #16
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Duct Hose Installation

Continuing on...

These are more or less the steps required for installing the duct hoses:

1. Remove the fender liner, using a #2 Phillips screwdriver. There are 8 clips inside the wheel well, 2 clips underneath, and 3 screws underneath. Pay attention to which screw goes where, because 1 of them is longer than the others. Once the clips and screws are removed, carefully work the liner loose and set aside.




2. Relocate this plug. In my car, there was already an extra hole above it on the passenger's side. (The driver's side has 2 plugs; I'll show that later.) I used a pair of round nose needle nose pliers to reach in from the bumper mouth and gently squeezed the clip to release it, then simply moved it to the upper hole.




3. Prepare the rigid end of the hose. This is the end that will receive air from the bumper. Use this prepared hose to test fit for installation location.
A. Using a pair of scissors, trim the excess hose material away from the spring, so it doesn't interfere with air induction.

B. Using a pair of needle nose pliers, curl the end of the spring wire to render its sharp point harmless. Tuck the string underneath it, and add a dab of E6000 glue to hold it in place (glue not pictured).



4. Drill holes to hold the wire tie that will hold the duct hose.
A. Using a drill bit that is slightly larger than your wire ties, enlarge the hold that was used by the wiring harness plug (if needed).

B. Drill a second hole about 1.5" to the left of the existing hole.

C. Loop a wire tie through and secure it tightly. If you have skinny arms, like my son does, you can reach this location through the bumper mouth and zip the tie with the head inside the upright, which is desirable.

D. You don't have to make an articulating joint this way, but I like the idea of allowing some movement in the system, since the suspension and steering are constantly in motion. Since this front attachment point is essentially a hard point, you could just drill 2 vertical holes and use a single wire tie to hold the hose tightly to the upright. Up to you.








5. Attach the rigid end of the hose to the articulating mount you just made. The pickup end of the hose should extend about 3 to 4" past the zip tie location. Once you are satisfied with its location, tighten this zip tie tightly.



(Ignore the wire tie on the sway bar in this photo. It was temporary.)

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Old 06-20-2017, 09:50 AM   #17
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Duct Hose Installation Continued

Installing the flexing side of the hose requires patience, and is a process of trial and error.

1. Turn the steering wheel to full outer lock. That is, if you are working on the passenger's side, turn the steering wheel all the way to the right. This ensures the hose will be long enough, when you cut it to length.

2. Experiment with routing options, keeping in mind that you have to clear the wheel without rubbing throughout the full motions of the suspension and steering rack.

3. Once you have a routing idea in mind, temporarily zip tie the hose to a hard point nearby and cut it to length. In my situation, routing the hose under the upper A arm seemed to offer the best clearance. A relatively loose zip tie holding the hose in place gives it enough movement, while still holding it out of the way. Hopefully.

4. Run the hose to the brake duct attachment and gauge its length in a relaxed state. Leave a little more hose than you think you need, so it is not pulled in from the undertray upright any more than necessary during steering.

5. Once you have determined the proper length, cut the hose.
A. Use a pair of diagonal cutters to snip the spring wire

B. Use a pair of scissors to trim the hose itself

C. Use a pair of needle nose pliers to curl the spring wire again. Seriously. That wire is evil, and it WILL find a way to cut you, if you don't curl it. Curl it, and curl it now.

D. Use your needle nose pliers to grab the spring wire and pull about 3 loops of it out of the hose. It will try to jump loose and poke you in the eye. Don't let it do that. I told you it is EVIL.

E. Cut the wire again, and curl it again. The wire should just contact the flange on the prawn. It should not be pushed inside or forced onto the outside.

F. Slip your hose clamp over the hose and fit the hose onto the flange. Tuck the string inside the hose, when you do this.

G. Twist the hose to give you what you think will be the best movement, and tighten the clamp slightly to hold it temporarily.

This is how the prepared hose end should look, when ready to slip over the attachment flange:




This is my hose under full outer lock:




6. The next steps all involve testing your hose routing and making sure contact is not made with anything that may be damaged by the hose (sensor wires and the like), and that the hose will not be damaged any more than necessary by anything else. Basically, this involves putting the wheel back on, and having a friend or family member drink your beer and sing show tunes, while he sits behind the wheel and turns it back and forth for you. You will make adjustments as needed, and wish you had a beer. And earplugs.

Wheel straight:




Wheel turned to inner lock:




7. Once you are satisfied with everything, tighten the hose clamp, tension your zip tie(s) appropriately, and cut them. I leave a little extra tail on my zip ties, because I expect the duct hose to last about 1 year as a wearable item. Having that tail allows me to reuse the zip ties, as I can tighten them again with a pair of pliers. It isn't tidy, but it is effective.

.

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Old 06-20-2017, 10:12 AM   #18
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The driver's side is almost a mirror image operation. The only difference is the number of plugs that require relocation. In this case, I drilled a new hole for the top plug and moved it up. Then, I moved the lower plug up a spot. This freed up the lower hole to be used the same way as on the passenger's side. I used a couple of small zip ties to hold them in place (and went back and did the same on the passenger's side).







Not shown in this photo is the self-fusing tape I later wrapped around those wires to make sure they are not subject to chafing.




.

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Old 06-20-2017, 10:30 AM   #19
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The next operation is to trim the fender liners and glue vacuum tubing to the cuts, to prevent the fender liners from cutting the hose.

1. Hold the fender liner in position as much as possible, making sure the clip holes are vertically aligned.

2. Mark the location of the top edge of the duct hose on the fender liner with a pencil.

3. Using a can of spray paint, trace a circle in the proper location, using your pencil mark as the top edge of the circle.

4. Use a utility knife or hole saw to cut the hole.




5. Test fit the fender liner to make sure it fits properly. Also, make sure your hole is large enough to fit around the duct hose with a piece of vacuum hose glued to the liner.




5. Clean the area of your cut with solvent to allow the glue to adhere.

6. Split a piece of vacuum hose and glue it over the edges of the hole you cut and set aside to dry.




7. Reinstall the fender liner, using the clips and screws you removed early on.




8. Sit back and marvel at the sheer awesomeness of your work and hope it performs as expected.







The rest of the DIY will involve reassembling the brakes, reinstalling the wheels, putting the car back on the ground, and testing the full motions of the suspension and steering for any trouble spots. I may or may not write that up. Odds are, if you are DIYing brake ducts, you already know all that stuff.

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Old 06-20-2017, 11:16 AM   #20
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Remember me telling you that spring wire is evil? Here's proof. I waited a few days and spared you the worst of the gore, but this is the kind of thing it will do:




It will also try to slap you in the face, as you uncoil it out of the hose. Wear safety glasses and be careful. Above all, curl the end, as soon as you cut it.

.

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Old 06-21-2017, 11:02 AM   #21
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Finishing up...

1. Reinstall the brake rotors.
A. Install the rotor on the hub in the proper orientation.

B. Apply a small amount of anti-seize to the safety screws, and snug them with a #3 Phillips screwdriver. Do not over-tighten.
2. Reinstall the brake calipers. (I was able to do this with the pads still loaded.)
A. Align the caliper with the bolt holes on the bracket and hand-tighten the top bolt.

B. Insert and hand-tighten the bottom bolt.

C. Torque each bolt to 65 ft-lbs using a 1/2" drive torque wrench and 17mm socket.

D. Reinstall brake line hanger screw and tighten to snug with a 12mm socket.
3. Reinstall the wheel.
A. You don't really need instructions for this, do you? Torque lug nuts to 85 ft-lbs in a star pattern.

[/DIY]
I am hoping to take the car to the track this Saturday for testing (still waiting for hubs). I will post data of the results as soon as I have some.

.

Last edited by Steve Dallas; 06-27-2017 at 10:24 AM.
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Old 06-24-2017, 12:04 PM   #22
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This is a very detailed and well-done DIY. Thank you, Sir!

Also, I get the impression the wire is Evil, but I'm not sure I'm reading that right.
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Old 06-27-2017, 10:13 AM   #23
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Great write up, I need this on my Track Car, looks alot easier to do on the RX-8 Though. Probably end up doing both...
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Old 06-27-2017, 10:32 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackmount View Post
Great write up, I need this on my Track Car, looks alot easier to do on the RX-8 Though. Probably end up doing both...
One of my HPDE students showed up with a N/A 3000GT last month. It was set up well for track duty and was surprisingly fast. I enjoyed reliving the glory days in the side seat (I had a VR4 (that was always broken down and always cost $2000 to fix) in the mid 90s).
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Old 06-27-2017, 10:54 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Dallas View Post
One of my HPDE students showed up with a N/A 3000GT last month. It was set up well for track duty and was surprisingly fast. I enjoyed reliving the glory days in the side seat (I had a VR4 (that was always broken down and always cost $2000 to fix) in the mid 90s).
Hmmm, I'm curious who it was, The community is pretty tight-knit...

And yeah they can get pricey to maintain/fix... Maybe that is why I find the addition of a Rotary so easy, and normal to own, lol.
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