Never Give Up
If you read my article Chipping Away, then you’ll already know my thoughts on taking on a large project that you’ve never done before. To summarize: it’s scary, daunting, and can sometimes be filled with regret from time to time. I’m super happy to tell you that it’s all worth it in the end.
When you start your new (to you) engine for the first time and hear it roar to life, it’s hard not to shake with excitement. The excitement barely fades even though you realize you need to shut off the engine because your coolant lines begin to leak water all over the garage floor. Nothing will go perfectly with a project car, especially if you are learning along the way.
I’ve never done this much research on something in my life. Piecing together what information you need from four different manuals: Mazda rx7 manual, rx7 wiring schematics, Japanese Nissan 180sx manual (no English here!), and various wiring schematics for the Nissan Sr20det engine from various Nissan forums across the internet. Holy crap. I still don’t really know how I did it, I never thought I’d actually have the patience to do this. A lot of the time I would go out to the garage with my printouts and just sit and stare at them and my car, to then give up and going back inside.
But it happened. I learned boatloads, and I’m glad that I can say I did it all myself. It was a bumpy road, and the final result isn’t showroom quality but I’m still proud of what I accomplished. Heck the black carpet I bought when I got the car two years ago finally lays inside the car now.
As you proceed through a large project like this, things change as you work on it. You realize you’re missing parts almost every time you are in the garage, or you do things like I do and make do with what random parts you have lying around from previous cars. Not everything was this way and I would buy new parts for certain things, but a lot of hoses, fuel lines, wires, and connectors were grabbed from other things. The wheels that sit on the car now are actually the wheels that came with my IS300, as Lexa stole the ones I bought for the RX7. I think I like the look of them a lot more on this car anyways.
The engine firing up is the one ultra exciting milestone, but there’s another that probably takes the cake…
Driving your car after it was sitting in pieces for over a year.
I don’t know if project cars are ever really finished. Rebel is far from it, and I’m definitely still working out the kinks. Just today I had to fix the power steering setup again. My wish list of parts for the car never seems to get smaller either… I should have picked a cheaper hobby.
Have you been working on a project car? Modifying your daily driver? What’s the favourite thing you’ve done to your car? Leave a comment below!