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RX-7 Revolution was a huge meet held in Indianapolis, Indiana. People and cars from all over the US (and one from Canada...me) attended for a weekend of show and shine, racing, tech sessions and just general hanging out and talking rotary. I attended (although in the Insight since my car was at the time taken apart for modification) and had a wonderful time. The story was posted to the RX-7 Forum, and can be found in this thread.
Sometime around 11:30 AM on Thursday April 24th, I left London and headed down the 402 for Canton, Michigan as I was to stay at a Michigan RX-7 owner's house on the way. Wednesday was spent packing, washing the car, looking over my tech sessions and just generally getting ready. Jolean, a local owner, also stopped by with her husband to pick up some 1st gen seatbelt latches. Anyway, arriving at Mark's house around 1:30, I found both Mark and Amanda (two people I know from the RX-7 forum) in the garage working on their respective cars. Amanda was busy repainting some trim, painting the sunroof and detailing while Mark was trying to start his TII swap car (TII drivetrain, engine in NA car).
No rest for the wicked, as I was immediately put to work on Mark's car. Mark had installed a Microtech EMS instead of the stock TII ECU. The car would start, run rough for a few seconds, then die. After checking the basics and flooding the car so bad we had to try to push start it, I settled on the fact that it was a timing problem. Installing a new CAS from a spare engine resulted in the car firing up first try, and running oh-so-smooth. We shut it down, and it would not restart. Same symptom as before, just a few seconds, then dead. At that point, it was roughly 7:30 PM, so we decided to go to dinner.
Thanks to Amanda and Mark for covering my dinner, and that tour of the rice section at Mejier was very entertaining. Get ready for neon-light exhaust tips, people.
Back to working on Mark's car, with the same result. We finally gave up around 1AM, deciding that there was a bad connection somewhere. Both of us were rather frustrated, so the three of us headed into Mark's house, watched TV and made fun of stuff.
Friday morning, we all headed over to John's house (sorry, don't know his forum name) to meet up with the remaining Michigan people. After some delays, we were all on our way.
Amanda and I were leading in the Insight at around 85MPH. It must have been quite a site...A Honda Insight leading a line of FDs and FCs! Unfortunately, the trip down proved too much for two of the cars. An FD lost it's coolant O-rings, and had to turn back due to overheating. Another o-ring failure threatened an FC, but he (sorry, I'm bad with names) continued on, simply adding coolant when necessary.
We arrived at the hotel sometime around 8PM, and I was very happy to receive the last room available. That always happens. The parking lot was starting to fill up with RX-7s, and by the time we came back from late dinner, there were probably 35. We ate at a local buffet (so not worth it...$11 US was a ripoff based on the quality of food) beside the hotel. After that, there was some socializing and I quite enjoyed watching Steve Kuhn (spelling?) mess with his evil Haltec powered drag 3rd gen. I went to bed at roughly 2AM, and Amanda and Mark arrived in my room shortly after (we shared as they only had a room for Saturday night) and we had marginal sleep until Saturday morning.
I've already typed so much, and we're just at Saturday. Hope I'm not boring anyone.
Saturday morning came with the sound of the rotary engine echoing through the hotel. Cars were heading over to the track, and I followed shortly later.
The Indianapolis speedway pit area was filled with RX-7s, vendors and people. Unfortunately, it seems that the majority of the cars were with FDs. Next year, I expect some more FCs and 1s gens! Everyone was milling about, taking pictures, etc. while the tech inspectors were teching the cars for the drag and autocross events. My only regret is that I did not tech the Insight for a few drag runs. Oh well, I'll do that in a few weeks at Sparta. After tech, the drags started and I learned that 90% of the people there couldn't launch if their life depended on it. 16 second FDs, a 18 second FC (Mephis from the RX-7 forum) and other slow runs were pretty standard as people bogged or spun off the line. While I'm sure that these guys would royally whip my ass at autocross, I know I could out-drag most of them with my eyes closed. The fastest times of the day were actually turned by a Corvette ZO-6 at around 12.3. I did not pay much attention to the autocross, but it looked like a blast and I will definitly give it a go next year when I have Tina all done.
Dave from Atkins Rotary provided an interesting question and answer section that I wish more people would have attended. It was great to be able to chat with someone with so much rotary experience (25 years or so) and he shared some valuable information. In fact, he not only debunked the myth of premix being superior (which validated my opinion) but also went into some great detail on the cooling system, oiling system and sealing system (apex, side, etc.) that everyone should have heard. Shortly after that, I was to learn that my tech sessions would not take place due to lack of time. This was disappointing, but understandable. The Haltech tuning session had already been skipped, as well as some others. In fact, the only other session that would take place later on was another Atkins seminar. At least I would not have to get dirty...or so I thought.
By that time, the dyno was at full swing. Hell, at $35 for two pulls, I should hope so. They booked up in about 10 minutes, otherwise I'd have some pulls for the Insight. Many of the numbers were a little disappointing considering the mod levels of a few of these 3rd gens, but any number of factors could have influenced that.
It was about 3PM when I found some of the Michigan people were looking for me. Piranha (another RX-7 Forum member) had been autocrossing pretty hard all day, and while making a left turn, his car died. Attempting to restart result in a string of blown EGI fuses. After looking underhood at the wiring harness, I was surprised the car ran at all. Sorry Mike, but that thing was a mess. There was no chance of troubleshooting, and Mike (Piranha) decided that he would install the Mictotech EMS that was sitting in his trunk (he had ordered it a few days before, and it arrived just before we left Michigan). I was very pessimistic, and basically said "good luck" then headed over to the second Atkins session.
It was a pretty informative talk, and Dave from Atkins covered everything from porting, to superchargers, to aviation rotary engines.
After that, I hung around the dyno for a little while, and then over to the "blue tent" for the door prizes. Walking away with an oil pellet for Tina's engine, and a very nice (though rather large...Amanda could literally wear it as a dress) Pineapple Racing shirt (thanks John!) made me pretty happy.
By that time, the autocross was closing, and the dyno was winding down. People were getting ready to leave, when I noticed Mike's white TII near the autocross track with a group of people huddled over the hood. They were starting to install the Microtech. Once I arrived, I saw that they had pulled the stock wiring harness, taken off the upper intake, and were beginning to wire things in. Well, I said "need any help?". And the rest is history. Mike, Mark and I worked for about 1.5 hours and had the Microtech installed and ready to crank just as the last RX-7 headed back to the hotel. That must have been a record, considering that the Microtech completely replaces the stock engine harness and also necessitates rewiring of the fuel pump as well. Unfortunately, the car did not start due to lack of spark and the track officials wanted us out of there. We were able to leave the car in the pit area, and were told that we could come back in the morning. It was 7PM or so, and we decided to head back to the hotel and to dinner.
The whole story of this EMS install can be found on the RX-7 forum.
Arriving at Hooters, we joined the rest of the group and waited for dinner. And waited. And waited. Needless to say, no one really goes to Hooters for service, but it was still a little irritating as we were all quite hungry. After the meal, we all walked back to the parking lot we had monopolized, making fun of some rice on the way. Man, that kid was angry as his (12 year old?) girlfriend was in the passenger seat.
Back at the hotel, I helped a 2nd gen owner install the HKS intake he had just bought. That was a pain in the butt due to the airpump hose and spring clamps they provided instead of the more logical hose clamps. Also, it might have been easier had it not been 1AM and pitch black. The intake was installed, and I went to bed a few minutes later. Rob stayed in my room as he didn't have one of his own.
Sunday morning, after some organization, we headed back to the track to finish the Microtech. Immediately, the problem was obvious. I screwed up the wiring of the leading coil. Switching the two wires, the car started first try and ran great. Take that, Haltec guys! Luckily, I noticed a large fuel leak, preventing something annoying such as an engine fire. The upper intake was removed, the fuel leak fixed (loose clamp), intake reinstalled and the car warmed up and timed. Ran pretty good on the base maps, though rich and the timing was off. But it was enough to get home. Mike was happy, Mark was annoyed (after all, his was still dead) and I was horny (though I kept that to myself).
We decided to leave the track, skip the museum (which, we learned through cell phone communication, was not really worth the trip) and head directly to Michigan. Since Mike would have to go slow, we needed the extra time. The trip back was uneventful, though I happened to see another Insight, and we were passed by the other Michigan members as they headed 90+ MPH down the left lane.
Arriving at Mark's house sometime around 8PM, I left to grab some dinner (no one was hungry as they had Subway earlier) and Mark turned his attention back to his car.
When I got back an hour later, we decided to bite the bullet and just resolder every connection. I went to town on the wiring harness, and the job was completed an hour or so later. With crossed fingers, we cranked the car....and it started, and ran. For the first time in months. The smoke from the unflooding oil and ATF was too much to bear, so we brought the car out of the garage. And it started right up, again. After warm up, the timing was set and a little victory cruise took place. Without headlights and 1st gear, it was an experience for sure. But it ran, and it ran well.
We picked up Amanda, and all went back to Mark's house to bask in the glory of the running car. Eating popcorn and talking about the weekend's events, I was greatly amused by Mark's cat and it's antics. After some forum surfing, Amanda was returned to her home, I went to bed, and Mark took another cruise in his car.
Monday morning I woke up around 10:45 AM, and after a cruise in Mark's car, I began the journey back home. Did I mention how much I hate Detroit? Driving through towards the bridge to Canada, I was reminded of how 99% of Detroit is like the worst 2% of Toronto. How people can live like that is beyond me. After an interesting conversation with the border guard ("Yes, it's an MP3 player....no, it's not dangerous...") and a lunch at KFC, the trip home was uneventful. Making good time at 90 miles-per gallon was nice, as most of the weekend the mileage gauge was somewhere around 55-60 MPG trying to keep up with the RX-7s.
It was 4PM or so when I pulled into my driveway, unpacked and then dealt with the backlog of emails and messages.
What a weekend! I had a great time! Seeing all those RX-7s, and meeting more owners was a wonderful experience. The Atkins sessions and Microtech work was very educational. I cannot wait for next year. The rumor is that the track event will be two days, and it will nice to be there with an RX-7 instead of an Insight.
Thanks again MichRX7 for making this such a great event, and Amanda and Mark for putting up with me.
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