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Ironsides New Reader
6/16/16 1:27 p.m.

So, I did a compression test to start. Results weren't...great. But not too surprising. I at least ruled out cracked ring land. Going to go ahead and call it "good" for now since the car runs fine, doesn't really eat oil, and pulls hard. But a rebuild should be in the near future.


To solve my crankcase venting issues, I picked up some cheap fittings from eBay and took a stab at tapping a spare valve cover. My threading technique could definitely use some work :roll: But once the cover is painted I'll thread the adapter fittings in with some epoxy to make sure they do not leak.



In the grip department, the sport comp 2's were not quite cutting it. They took forever to heat up, and were margin when they did. In their defense, definitely not an autocross tire. So I had been looking around for something new. Taking some notes from Gavin and James autocross builds, 225/50r16 seemed like the optimal tire size and a logical jump from where I am now.

The motegi's I have now are great since they are light weight and strong, but I'm limited on tire width since its only 7" wide wheel. From my research and understanding, putting say a 225/45r17 on the 7" wide wheel, would result in a lot of tire roll in hard corning, not good.

So I did some measuring and test fit a friends FD 16x8 with a few different spacer sizes to figure out which offset was optimal.

Now, since I have AWR trailing arms, this reduces the inside tire clearance a bit over the factory trailing arms since they are beefier. I found that 16x8 with a +25-27mm would be the best fit with a 225/50r16. Obviously tire sizes fluctuate between manufacturers, but it was a good starting point.

The quest for a wheel went something like this, rx7 FD wheels were out since since i could not find a set cheap enough or that didn't require a ton of finish work. I don't have the motivation to refinish a set of wheels that weren't bottom dollar and buy spacers + hub rings, when I could theoretically just buy a new set for comparable money.

Low and behold, in the entry level wheel market I found 2, yes this right, 2 offerings that fit the spec, after weeks of searching. A cheap wheel made by a no-name company "Drifz, 308B Spec-R" and a new rotary forged option released this year by TSW the "Rifle" wheel. Come to find out, the TSW wheel, is already discontinued, yay.

The Drifz wheel weighs 25lbs a piece and is still a gravity cast wheel. Coming from a 16lb wheel, I would be adding close to 40lbs of unsprung weight, which I didn't really want to do. After mulling over my options for a few days, I almost pulled the trigger on the Drifz, then I found these for a more than reasonable price, in close enough to the spec I needed:


For rubber, I had planned on buying a set of Bridgestone RE-71r's however I found a great deal on Falken's Azenis RT-615K which have gotten good reviews and are the same performance category.

Long winded post over. :party:

Ironsides New Reader
7/5/16 8:13 p.m.

So some things happened, azenis ended up showing up with 6 year old dot's (they were hard as a rock as well) so they went back to the retailer. I decided to not deal with them at all after a few phone calls that went no where. Went ahead and ordered what i should have gotten in the first place:

Got them mounted up and fitted, they fit well, needed a 5mm spacer in the rear to clear the trailing arms. Going to need to adjust the ride height to avoid rubbing. Pretty pleased.

Also resealed my leaking oil pan while the car is all apart, need to finish up the timing belt replacement and put the car all back together with the new pcv vent system.

crankwalk Dork
7/5/16 9:33 p.m.

Nice! That should be plenty sticky for any autox. Hopefully it's not raining for your next one.

Ironsides New Reader
7/19/16 9:31 a.m.

Back in business.

Timing belt had been replaced once before, (Car currently has 153k and sat for 10 years previous to me purchasing) So I was due for a replacement:

Water pump looked original and the bearing was pretty vocal so it was replaced with a nice gates unit.

Also had the opportunity to swap the crank damper with a nice lightweight unit, about half the weight as the factory unit.

This is the part of where things went south. Timing belt was installed, properly tensioned and lined up and then I managed to snap a crank pulley bolt with a whopping 10lbs of torque.

Sooooo, removed the timing components....AGAIN, swapped the timing cog with a spare, and replaced the crank seal for good measure while it was off. Put it all back together...went to just snug the last crank pulley bolt up....and...snapped another. Admitted defeat and I'm calling it a weight reduction for the time being. 5 our of 6 bolts should hold it fine right lol?

New pcv hoses are also now fitted as well and the car is running like a top.

To stuff the new rubber comfortably in the bodywork, the car needed to be raised a hair, so I brought it back down to my friend who go the toe and camber back to spec and the car is driving fantastic.

One this I did realize was the probes rear track is slightly wider than the front (57.3"front and 57,7"rear) I had to add 5mm spacers to the rear to clear the trailing arms.

Im curious if I'm contributing to some additional understeer with this setup, seat time will tell. I can always toss on my 12mm spacers to the front to square it up since it looks like I have some room.

Next autocross is July 31st, so I'm excited to see how the new rubber fairs before I make any other changes.

jfryjfry Reader
7/19/16 9:41 a.m.

Have you considered the ramifications of not runn

Ironsides New Reader
7/19/16 10:13 a.m.

Not sure where you were going with that but I have an idea ;)

crankwalk Dork
7/19/16 3:12 p.m.

Heh. I would throw on an exhaust manifold heat shield though.

Ironsides New Reader
7/19/16 4:34 p.m.
crankwalk wrote: Heh. I would throw on an exhaust manifold heat shield though.

Thanks for reminding me, took it off to clean up and paint with some 2k high temp and forgot to reinstall haha

Ironsides New Reader
8/8/16 4:54 p.m.

Little update,

Autocross on the 31st went well. Car performed well with not issue. The re71r's were like night and day over the sport comp 2's. It was a wet event, but the level of grip was still insane. Placed pretty crappy due to pax, but I had the fastest raw time out of the novice drivers, so I was pretty happy with that. Rear tires rubbed on the body work a bit, so i made sure to smack the corner edge of the fender lip a bit flatter after I got home.

Now comes the adventure. I decided to make the trip up to Loring Air Force base in Maine for an event a local club hosts every year. Two days of autocross, 11.1million square foot facility and 1.5mile long courses, 120 entrants. I could not pass up the opportunity, especially with a free weekend. However, my anxiety was through the roof, 26 year old car, 7 hours and 356miles away from home base, what could possibly go wrong?

I swallowed any fear of any catastrophe, packed up the car and embarked on my journey Friday. Made a couple pit stops, cool overlook of Mt Mt. Katahdin.

Finally made it to the hotel around 9pm at night.

Bright and early Saturday morning, I was ready to go.

Car performed even better at higher speeds with the bigger course, it has a nice amount of oversteer that allows the car to rotate very predictably. Still searching around for the right tire pressure for maximum grip but it's getting much better. Was still suffering from some rubbing out back but there was not much I could do on site without fudging the alignment.

Sunday, the course was reversed with a few elements changed, I actually brought a charged go pro and got most of my runs. Started the day at 89.xxx and finished with a best of 84.5xx. Almost had a tire casualty, rubbing got particularly bad on one run and shaved a good groove into one of the rear tire shoulders.

Looked like the rubbing on the plastic bumper corner had worn it to a sharp edge, on one run, it must have caught the tire and fillet'd it. Was not happy at all, drove it back to the pits, trimmed the bumper corner to a rounded edge, covered the hell out of it with duck tape, and swapped my wounded tire to the front to prevent further damage and finished out my last three without any further issue. looks like some trimming is in order and I'll have to raise the car a bit more out back. The 275lb rear springs are not helping the issue I could definitely benefit from some stiffer rates.

Few other shots from the Saturday/Sunday events:

Had a blast and the car made it back to home base (heavy sigh of relief) The club put on an awesome event and ran it extremely smooth.

Here are a few of my runs from the day, I Left some speed out there for sure, could have been more aggressive on the throttle in a few spots I think. Need to get better about reviewing my run vids on grid so I can pin point these things before my next runs. I'm still learning


CyberEric Reader
8/8/16 10:03 p.m.

Very cool car! Looks great.

Ironsides New Reader
8/9/16 8:08 a.m.
CyberEric wrote: Very cool car! Looks great.


Nitroracer UltraDork
8/9/16 7:27 p.m.

Great work with the old Fazda! Nice photography too!

Ironsides wrote:
OHSCrifle Dork
8/9/16 8:05 p.m.

Cool car. When I lived in a dorm in 1989 at Miami University, there was a guy with a white Probe - not a GT - but it sat on what looked like Ronal R9s and a slight drop. I always thought it was awesome.

Yours is too. That event sounds great.

Ironsides New Reader
8/10/16 8:01 a.m.

Thanks guys, the car is a lot of fun! Few little issues to sort out over the next few weeks and needs a thorough cleaning after this weekends adventure. Little upset at myself for cutting the rear bumper cover corner, but I'm convince its not as noticeable as I think it is, I'll have to try raising that corner of the car a bit more since the d/s rear doesn't rub.

Ironsides New Reader
8/15/16 2:51 p.m.

Found better spot for my etx18l. Fabbed up a mount using some scrap laying around the garage, the battery is insulated which some rubber molding from home depot racing, and mounts nice and snug. Opens up a ton of room in the hatch since no more large battery box mounted in the middle of the floor.

Need to make a cover plate for the kill switch and make a new floor plate the cover the tire well and also would like to make a replacement hatch carpet.

Ironsides New Reader
9/9/16 7:57 a.m.

Last few weeks I've let the probe sit and I've been autocrossing my FiST, which classes much better in pax but isn't quite as quick or loose as the gt. That being said its time to put some tires on the FiST and it has me a bit apprehensive to keep putting money into the probe since the Fiesta has done very well at the last couple events.

Either way, I needed to attend to a few things, first being a failed rear wheel bearing that squealed like a stuck pig every time I hit a decent bump. Bought a timken bearing to replace the centric crap I had bought on rock auto closeout (shame on me)/

Came out in pieces :)

Also finished up the battery mount, need to make a cover plate for the hole cut for the battery cut switch, I'll model something up and have a friend 3D print me something.

In other news, decided to go through the barn and catalog and organize the spare components collection, partially for peace of mind and partially in case the car ever needs to be sold, I can have a garage on what I actually have to go along with it. This is only half of it...

Ironsides New Reader
10/18/16 10:24 a.m.

Quick update, I've been driving the probe last 2-3weeks due to my FiST being tied up for some rust/mechanical warranty work. I replaced the AWR poly engine mounts with the factory mounts, purely because I could not stand the vibration anymore (95a poly bushings created all kinds of rattly hell) The car has been MUCH more enjoyable to drive.

Long term review of the out of the box Ksport coilovers (5-6 autox events 6-7k miles of street use) While I wasn't expecting amazing results since they are a fairly cheap/low quality setup, they are readily available and direct fit for the platform. The spring rates are a bit soft for my liking, I still get a fair amount of roll when driving aggressively. The dampers, unless on full stiff seem to be a bit soft for the current rates (425f/275r). Other than that they seem to be holding up decently and I still plan to have them revalved and up the rates once they begin to leak.

Also managed to fix the leaky transmission issue, my problem was actually the o ring on the speedometer gear slowly weeping when warm which then bathed the top half of the gearbox in synchromesh. Finally no more leaks in the driveway

I have also began winter months planning to finish off the last few issues I have with the car, first and foremost, is replacing the steering rack. It has been suffering from the typical clunks and loose feeling of a worn rack and pinion gear, fluid is also dark grey. I'm currently exploring options, reman seems like the only one however I'm little nervous about the choice. Does anyone have any experience/suggestions for which brands? From my extensive google searching, it appears that all are somewhat hit or miss. I would really prefer to only do the job once since it seems like a major pita.

Also about to pull the trigger on a new clutch, decided to go with the Southbend HD stage 1 to maintain a somewhat stock feel, but bit more clamping force. I didn't require anything major since I have no big power aspirations with the car.

Ironsides New Reader
10/24/16 4:51 p.m.

Since I've been spending quite some time in the driver seat commuting, decided to spend some time attending to few details. One, was realigning the drivers side window, it hadn't been sealing properly allowing for a steady drip while driving in the rain. While the door panel was off, I had the chance to reupholster the lower panels to replace the ones I had done years ago for my other car (they still had holes for manual window cranks, as well as some wear and tear) Took a few pics as I went,

Basic break down of components (the grey carpet is the factory style panel to be reupholstered)

Next step was remove the original carpeting and speaker grill:


I had been using Polk DB speakers and I still like the grill design, so modification to the fiberboard panel was required. Marked the grill as close to center as I could find and trimmed the panel to fit, test fitting to verify fitment. Added a touch more clearance to account for fabric material thickness.

Once I was happy with fitment, next thing was laying down a padding layer, this adds two things. The first is the padding has a nice feel to it and makes the panel feel a bit more plush. The second benefit is it hides the surface imperfections of the base layer from becoming visible through the material. I used 1/8" padding (or headliner fabric of the jo ann fabric variety). I applied headliner adhesive to both surfaces and let it tack before making the bond and then trimmed back excess material.

Vinyl fabric went down next in the same manor, opted to wrap the panel and ahear to the back side, hot glue is the weapon of choice here, I've used it with success in the past, its easy to work with and a lasting bond.

Once the panel was finished up, reassembly was quick and things were looking good

And the final finished piece, fit and finish turned out pretty well and I was pleased with the results.

Also made great strides in the tech department, ditched my old junk head unit for a cheap JVC digital media receiver w/bluetooth. No more cords for this guy

The companionship of the new head unit and 25+ year old EVC boost controller is pretty hilarious.

Ironsides New Reader
10/30/16 7:10 p.m.

Tinkered a bit more today, bought a pair of addco sway bars about 6 months ago and haven't had the motivation to install them. Figured since I was driving the car it would be in best interest to install them now so I could get a feel for the difference. Managed to get the rear done this afternoon.

The rear bar upgrade is a 7/8"(22ish mm) solid bar compared to the factory 18mm hollow bar

Addco supplies new brackets, bushings and unlinks, here is the supplied bracket side by side with the factory one, the bracket hooks into the rear subframe and bolts on the other side.

The supplied brackets, in its out of the box configuration...would interfere with the lateral arm travel lol So I had to trim it down a bit to create the clearance it needs.

Zip ties to hang the bar in place while I fiddle the the bracketry/endlinks, made installation much easier.

The rear of the car seems to behave much tighter now with the bigger bar and I'm looking forward to balancing the car out once I can get the time to install the front bar (Solid 25.5mm compared to the factory 24mm hollow bar)

Ironsides New Reader
12/5/16 3:31 p.m.

Finishing up a small project I had started years ago for my old probe. Sealed beam lighting leaves much to be desired and night time illumination is quite a problem. I had some Sylvania Silverstar sealed beams that were installed which helped a tad, but still were not up to my standard.

To remedy this, I had built this set of projector retrofit headlamps a couple years ago using modified Pilot brand H4 housings and a pair of amazon variety mini H1 projectors (morimoto knock offs). The plan was to use HID's, hence to retrofit housings to properly install/aim/utilize the added light output.

I got about 90% done and I managed to melt part of one of the plastic lenses with some acetone while removing the leftover adhesive. I put the project on ice due to college at the time and the demise of my old car etc etc. I finally ordered a new set of housings to use the lenses off and a set of HID ballasts/bulbs and relays.

Baked open the new lenses for 15 mins @220 degrees and sealed up the housings using some clear silicone. HID's should be here today so I'm hoping to play around with them later this week and see how they look! I ended up using a G37s shroud kit which I drilled out to hopefully get a cool effect when lit. I'll update with some pictures when I wire them all up.

In other news, the probe is put away for the winter, I found and purchased a new in box Guru Motorsports Torsen LSD, of which only a handful were produced. New southbend clutch has also arrived, I've been collecting a few quotes on having the LSD installed and gearbox evaluated, I feel capable to do the rebuild/install myself, however I'd like a professional to have a look through and have some assurance I won't need to remove it once again after autocross begins again in April.

Ironsides New Reader
12/12/16 10:02 a.m.

Make some progress this weekend, gearbox is out of the car, no huge surprises there, there is a bit of oil coming down from the top end, looks to be from another leaking valve cover gasket :( I suspect given the compression numbers and the visible blow by from the catch can, the rings are quite worn causing oil to want to exit anywhere it can sigh However engine build is not a project I'm planning for the moment, hoping I can make it through another season with the engine as is, and in the meantime build one of the spares I have from various parts cars I've collected.

Pre break down messy garage image (please excuse the A-body shelf, I'll get around to it someday)

Begrudgingly draining $70 of synchromesh that is only about 3k miles old

In an attempt to stay organized in what will only hopefully be a few weeks of separation, I removed most of the front end suspension parts etc to get them out of the way for the sway bar and rack installing, also some things need road grime removed. Bolts returned to their respective homes for the time being.

So much room for activities!

Turbo drain/center housing seem to be seeping some oil, I'll need to tend to that as well:

Gearbox is out! will very little drama, and is ready for its trip to the trans shop. Found a local shop that has gotten great reviews and the owner seemed very reasonable/knowledgable and the labor quote was right where I wanted. They will install the new diff and check over/repalce seals, bearings and syncros where needed.

Clutch appears to be a 160k original:

New Southbend clutch and the Fidanza flywheel I had, I have a new friction plate of the flywheel on the way before installation.

Oil seepage I had mentioned, the valve cover gasket is visibly leaking the this corner, and has leaked in the past. Going to clean everything up and monitor everything, could also be the distributer housing gasket. The rear main seal looked clean/ dry so I plan to leave as is.

Evidence of oil entering from the north:

Updates to come! rack should be here this week, bolts for the ring gear to new diff are also in the mail. Need to order replacement OEM cv circlips to eliminate any future axle removal problems.

dansxr2 Dork
12/12/16 10:36 a.m.

If you find a source for these Circle clips, let me know. These transmissions are ridiculous, it's the worse part I've found thus far working on my F2T powered MX-3.

Ironsides New Reader
12/12/16 10:41 a.m.
dansxr2 wrote: If you find a source for these Circle clips, let me know. These transmissions are ridiculous, it's the worse part I've found thus far working on my F2T powered MX-3.

The last one was a bear, however while removing the drivers side cv this time, the cup came right out with barely any pressure. With the LSD going in, I lose the ability to wail on it from the other side, so I want to make sure I won't have any issues in the future

ssswitch Dork
12/12/16 8:32 p.m.

Man, this is a really good looking Probe. Congratulations on your efforts.

pinchvalve MegaDork
12/12/16 8:56 p.m.
Ironsides wrote: Quick update, I've been driving the probe last 2-3weeks due to my FiST being tied up for some rust/mechanical warranty work.

Tell me more, what happened?

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