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The boss announced an extra-long holiday weekend with Friday off, so I have extra time for Cappuccino stuff! Yesterday evening we had a work-related Pinzgauer plus trailer arriving at work, so I just *had* to move the green car to make sure there was room! And since it would be a shame to drive it only 50 feet, I took it for a spin on a summer evening...so much fun!

I made good progress on the silver car today!

I got the correct caliper and got both rebuilt front brakes installed.

I did a little parts juggling between the green car, the silver car, and my parts stash to end up with upgrades for both cars! I got washer bottles installed, and swapped the amber side markers to the green car (clear on silver car.) Battery trays and tie downs are next on the list. I put the new ones on the green car, and move the cherry used ones to the silver car, and junk the dilapidated stuff coming off the silver car for wins all-around!

I wire-wheeled and POR15ed the slightly rusty seam on the firewall and under the battery on the silver car. I will go over this with white paint later. While it isn't the perfect restoration fix of cutting out the rust and fabbing patch panels and trying to seamlessly blend them in, I'm looking at it as a big improvement and more stable for the next owner. 

I also got all the under car hardlines ready to install, but didn't snag a pic, and started polishing the stock headlights! I finished with 1500 grit, need to pick up some 2000 grit wet/dry sandpaper and sand again before polishing.

Should be able to move on to rear subframe re-assembly later this weekend!

ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter)
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7/3/22 10:23 p.m.

Got more done today, and didn't take enough pics! 

Since I'm no longer putting the new aftermarket adjustable control arms on the silver car, I had previously sourced some better condition stock rear arms for everything but one of the two upper arms. Here's an example of the better-condition part ready to go on the car.

For the one crusty arm I couldn't find a better replacement for, I checked the balljoint and bushings, and they seem okay, so the ugly rust is the main issue. I wire-wheeled it and found the arm is solid, just had flakey surface rust. I knocked the flakes back, and POR15'd the rusty areas, taking care not to paint-in the bushings in case the next owner needs to replace them down the road. I probably won't do a second coat with satin black since the gloss/satin mismatch won't be visible, and the main goal is to protect the part and prevent future rust.

I also covered the black POR on the firewall seam with some miscellaneous  white touch-up paint. It looks really bright and glossy against the dingy original paint, but also looks better than either exposed rust or black paint. Now that I have the black covered, I might do some masking and spray a closer match paint in this highly-visible area. Or maybe I'll just send it; thoughts?

I also wet-sanded both headlights with 2000 grit, followed by 2500, and then one pass with plastic polish; huge improvement so far! Sorry I didn't take a photo! They will need another buffing with the polish, and then sealer before being reinstalled.

I can set aside my must-be-better-than-new perfectionism and get more done when I'm building it to sell rather than for myself, but I still want the end result to be something where I'm happy having my name associated with it, and left everything I've touched improved over where it was when I got it. But also trying not to go overboard and spend months and months and lots more $$ getting it ready to sell! Just want to do right by the next owner. Rather than attempt my own version of repairing the rust on the bulkhead behind the seats and on the underside, I plan to be up-front with the condition when selling, price it accordingly, and let the new owner decide to run it as-is, clean it up and do a rudimentary patch, or go full-tilt and form perfect replacement panels, cut/weld/grind, and attempt a more visually seamless repair. That way I'm not doing a quick and dirty repair that they will want to undo, nor doing extra concours-level work that will go unappreciated, and won't make the car overall worth enough more to make up for the time invested.

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7/17/22 1:05 a.m.

Right after my last post I came down with Covid, but now I am back and making progress on the silver car again!

I got the clear side markers and amber bulbs swapped over from the green car. I cleaned up all the accumulated dirt while I was in there.

Onward to reassembly of the rear subframe! I topped off the differential oil as some leaked out the breather when removing it.

On the subject of gear oil, the guy who sold me the green car has owned a half-dozen or so Cappuccinos, and reported that second gear synchro issues are often from a previous owner using the wrong fluid, and many times can be improved by using the proper fluid in the transmission. Suzuki calls for 80W90 GL-4, which was a bear to find, but I eventually sourced some Redline. Everything I was finding in the correct weight had friction modifiers or was limited-slip oil, or had a warning about using with yellow metal. I also now have a better understanding of why a previous owner might end up saying, "Eh, 80W90 GL-5 should be close enough, right? What could the harm be?" I hope it improves the shifting in the transmission in the car.

Since the fasteners holding in the rear subframe were all rusty when I removed them, I chased all the threads in the captive nuts to ready for a nice install. I also anti-seized the bolts going in to help out future owners wanting to work on the car.

Got the coated e-brake cable clips installed and cables routed properly in front of the gas tank.


With all the hard-to-reach stuff handled, I crawled out from under the car and got to putting the differential back into the subframe.

It was very gratifying to see it assembled with the painted diff mount and new bushings! My shopmates were also around and working on projects, and at about this point, one of them was looking at an unused new dash pad, and mentioned the irony of not wanting to install it for fear of making everything else worn or imperfect in the interior look worse! I looked at the differential case, and decided that I have to pick my battles, and it is perfectly functional as-is, and the slightly dirty diff case won't even be particularly visible once installed. I also got the shiny new bigger Grand Vitara fuel filter and bracket installed on the subframe, and the bracket for the speed sensor wiring.

My shopmates gave a hand hoisting it into place, and the bolts ran in to the newly chased holes so nicely! If anyone following along at home ends up installing their own Cappuccino rear subframe at some point, the rear-most bolts (above the rear upper control arm) must be started first, followed by the front-most bolts. If you start with the front bolts, the angle is wrong for aligning the rear bolts and it is a struggle, if not impossible. Other way around is easy-peasy.

I got the rear upper control arms installed as well before running out of steam. Lower arms, toe control links, rear uprights/hubs, rear sway bar, and rear brake calipers should go together fairly easily from here. Next shop session I should also be able to install the driveshaft and fill the transmission!


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7/17/22 11:57 p.m.

Made more good progress on the silver car today! My goal is to have it showable/sellable before we're out of the prime summer selling season, and I'm leaving town for a week in just over two weeks, so it is nose to the grindstone time!

I finished off the polishing of the headlights.

I also got them installed. The right one (driver's side) has a little very faint discoloration still, but it seems like it is on the inside, so I decided I'm not trying to pry these open and risk damaging them. They are a lot better than they were, so I'm calling it a win. Didn't get the fender liners reinstalled yet, but I figure that's the perfect type of task to leave for a weekday evening work session after doing my day job this coming week.

I have accumulated about 2.5 sets of rear suspension parts, so I went through the collection assessing surface rust, ball joint, and bushing condition, and picked the best of everything to assemble on the silver car. 

Even the best rear uprights/hubs had a little bit of surface rust, so I pressed my tap/die set into service yet again.

I made sure to anti-seize behind the new rotors, even if the rotors are e-coated, the face of the hub wasn't perfectly rust free, so an ounce of prevention and all that...


Don't mind the unstaked axle nut, I threw it on finger tight just to hold things in place for now. My best-condition rear calipers had used pads that looked they still had 90% of the meat on them, so I scuffed up the friction surface and will bed them in to the new rotors on my test drive.

I also added helper springs to the e-brake cables off another set of my rear spares to help minimize the dreaded bind. The e-brake mechanisms on the caliper, the caliper sliders, and the cables on the car are all moving freely, but once again, an ounce of prevention; I want to sell this car on to the next person with a clear conscience.

Looking pretty good to see everything in place!

After snapping some photos of everything in situ, I jacked each corner up to static height and went around torquing fasteners.

I also got the upstream side of the new filter connected up.

The last remaining part of the rear suspension to be install is the rear swaybar, but it goes on after the exhaust, so not today.

I still need to install the driveshaft and fill the transmission, but left those tasks for now as they will also be easy and rewarding post-work weeknight tasks.

Looking a lot more like a car, which feels great!


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7/18/22 11:22 p.m.

I didn't do much today, but I did get the original amber side indicators on the green car for a small amount of forward progress. I think they look spectacular; way better on this color car than the aftermarket clear ones, which actually look good on the silver car.

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7/24/22 3:23 a.m.

I continue chipping away at the silver car, hoping to have it running/driving before I leave for vacation in just over a week. I was mistaken about the order of the rear sway bar and exhaust install, so I got the sway bar installed with new end links. The end links are Moog RX-8 units which have a fitting for grease, unlike stock. Found these through the ever-helpful parts interchange list maintained by the online community of Suzuki Cappuccino America on Facebook.

You might also note the rear flex lines, black braided stainless with new stainless banjo bolts! 

Up front I need to install some more new hard lines before I can connect the brakes.

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7/24/22 10:50 p.m.

Before getting around to installing the new brake hard lines, I felt the need to finish the paint touch up at the seam along the firewall. I also drilled a couple small holes to fix the two wiring harness tabs that completely rusted off. The paint is a blend of gloss white, flat grey, and a smidge of flat yellow model paint that came out fairly close to Suzuki engine room off-white. It isn't perfect, but it doesn't stock out like a sore thumb and should help the next owner by stabilizing this area.


While the paint was drying I filled the transmission from above using a little funnel and a scrap of tubing. Did I mention the packaging on this car is ridiculously tight? Not much extra room to access the fill hole on the side of transmission up inside the tunnel. It was slow, but very tidy...didn't leak a single drop! laugh Thankfully the transmission only takes 1.06 liters, so filling didn't take too long. With gear oil coming in quart jugs (0.946 liters) I've got a lot left over in the second jug, but after 9 transmission fluid changes, we will wrap back around and completely use up the remainder! laugh

Getting the hard line from the master over to the far side front wheel well was a bit daunting. I remember that getting the old one out was a hassle, but I don't remember exactly how I did it. Here's the hole it passes through in the left front wheel well.

I decided come down from above, as snaking the whole thing up from below seemed impractical. Unfortunately that meant I was maneuvering the long end around. Here goes my attempt to bend/flex it as little as I can while getting it in place.

I kept referring back to old photos to confirm routing; did it go over or under this bit of wiring harness? How about that vacuum line? Now behind this bracket, I think?

Eventually got it mostly home.

I got the ends of the new hardlines in both wheel wells in place and tightened down. Put the new flex lines in as well.

I also tidied up the routing of the miscellaneous added wiring along the back of the firewall. I also got the wiring harness secured to the two holes I drilled where the tabs rusted off. I've still got to figure out how to secure the P-clips holding the brake line on the factory threaded stud thingies. The factory plastic push-on clips long ago disintegrated, and the "threads" on the stud aren't anything standard...it is sort-of like a self-tapping screw. I'm thinking maybe something plastic I can run down there, or perhaps one of those flexy thin metal push-on style fasteners?

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7/31/22 12:48 a.m.

More progress made today on the silver car, despite the heat! It was another scorcher here, nearly 100, but thankfully the shop stays cooler than outdoors if the doors are kept closed. The building isn't well-insulated, but the story above us, the massive size of the building, our eastern exposure, and the mass of the giant timbers all work to keep temps in check.

On to the project car! The primary goal was to install the brake hardline from the rear brake circuit of the master back to the union at the rear subframe. The line is another new genuine Suzuki part I'm installing to make this car dialed for the foreseeable future. The challenge (which I've griped about before) is that all the hardlines (fueling, emissions, brakes) are these long, convoluted twisty runs which are assembled as one outside the car and installed together, presumably to keep costs down when new, and berkeley anyone wanting to service the car sometime down the road...gotta match mark them all, remove them all, assemble them on the bench, and install the them together. The trouble is...I no longer have matchmarks on all.

My idea was to dangle all the lines in place, connecting the far ends, then mock up the infuriating plastic connector bits in between, and hope I can install them (force them on) in place, and if not, mark both the new and used lines with matchmarks using the mocked-up bits, remove the whole shebang, assemble in the bench, and reinstall. Once again, the primary goal is just to get up the point where we can bleed the brakes.

Getting staged:

Making progress:

Decided to start at the back and then move forward for whatever reason. Obviously not quite there yet:

Moving forward and things are...frustrating...every line comes out just below the center of the photo, and there's barely room to fit a hand anywhere. This car is packaged as a car for owning and driving, but not for working on! If you look at the strut top below you can see I've removed a bolt to increase access, and my hands are cut/bruised to E36 M3 trying to get the Evap and fuel rail soft lines over the end of the hard lines, navigating around the clutch cable, the throttle cable, the vacuum lines, the brackets, the intake manifold, the brake hardlines, etc,


In the end, I would still love to get the fuel rail supply line just a little further engaged and tightened down, but we're nearly there, and I'm nearly out of band aids for my hands. I moved back to the rear and did some repositioning, and shortened a few lines. Looks much better. Nearly ready to put the new single-use plastic line separator/holder parts on. Why is this such a struggle? Oh yeah, cheapskates in manufacturing! laugh

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7/31/22 11:26 p.m.

Hot here, and I made some huge (sweaty) progress today! Brakes are bled, hard lines run under car. Line protection, exhaust, transmission tunnel braces installed underneath the car. Put a bit of gas in the tank, and wheels on the car! 


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