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Discussion Starter #1
There really isn't any competion for the SS in this price range or I might have jumped ship and bought something else by now. I needed something to do while waiting for my SS to arrive and started wondering what I could come up with that would give the same experience as the SS. That was the beginning of the "WhatThe" project.

The donor car is a 1988 RX-7 which was going to the scrapyard if I hadn't rescued it. The car has been sitting outside idle for over 12 years and is in sad shape. It will be striped of every possible ounce to get the weight as close to 2000 pounds as I can. The doors and rear hatch will be removed for that open air feel of the SS as well as a removable panel in the roof. The engine and trans. is being removed for overhaul and mods installed for about a 200 HP build giving it the same HP/Weight ratio as the SS. Total estimated budget for the project is about the same as my $1000 SS deposit.

When I started about 3 weeks ago I thought the SS would be here long before 'WhatThe' had first engine start but now I'm not so sure. I'll post updates as it progresses and eventually write up a review of how it compares to the SS in performance and driving experience.

Hope you enjoy this stuff as much as I do. I'd love to hear about any other past or present projects from others too!


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Good luck! Look forward to what you have cooking.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thanks Kip.

Yesterday was spent removing every single part of the climate control system. I can say without exageration that there was more enginering and design time in this system alone than Polaris spent on the entire Slingshot. Again, not complaining, I like the SS BECAUSE of it's simplicity.

The general concensus seems to be that the SS is priced very low for what you are getting and if you look at it from the standpoint of performance, it is. Bang for buck, no other car comes even close, and don't kid yourself, the SS is a car. If you want to compare it to motorcycles, there are any number of them that will eat the SS for lunch for half the price.

Some say that the SS price is justified because of the low production numbers, they have to spread the engineering costs over a much smaller number of units. I think it is obvious by now that Polaris underestimated the market for an SS type vehicle.

Just for fun I did some comparisons with other low production cars. In the 3 years that Mazda sold the 3rd Gen RX-7 in the US, they sold a TOTAL of 13,879 of them. In the 9 years of RX-8 production they sold 73,297 of them. The MSRP of the RX-8 was $25K, about the same as the SL model of the Slingshot. I was offered one (RX-8) for $24K OTD at more than one dealer. Mazda wasn't making much on these cars but they wern't losing money either. This was on a vehicle costing WAY more to design and produce than the SS.

I think these unit volumes for the SS would be easily achievable, especially if priced more aggressivly.

My conclusion is that Polaris is making a butt load of money on every SS sold, and good for them! Now if only they can deliver the dang things :rolleyes:

PS: Still waiting for my dealer to call. Hasn't even gotten the first wave 2 SLs yet. I'm beginning to think he lied about being a tier 1 dealer. Wouldn't be the first time!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Had never done an automatic before. Pretty scary when you open one up for the first time but it's doable. This trans was working when the RX-7 was parked 12 years ago but the fluid looked pretty muddy. Didn't want to take a chance and have to pull it again so decided to overhaul it just in case. Glad I did, the overdrive clutch band was badly worn.
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You do make loven a hoopty look romantic .
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Getting the engine build completed is always a high point in any project. Although the original engine was in reasonable shape I didn't end up using it. I had another 13B that came out of one of my planes when I swaped it out for the Renesis RX-8 engine. It already had the porting mods already done so I just freshened it up with new apex seals. The Mazda rotary is about the lightest and smallest auto engine around that will make 200+ HP normally aspirated.

The transmission overhaul is taking a bit longer but almost done. The only thing it really needed was the OD clutch band replaced. Everything else looked perfect. It was dissapointing to find that the hard parts in the US made overhaul kit were so inferior to the Japanese original parts. They had no measurable wear so I ended up using most of the original parts. Should have just bought the gasket and O-ring Kit. Interesting to note that a transmission overhaul that would cost about 3k can be DIY for about $120 in parts.

Expect to have first engine start in less than a month. About the time my SS arrives I'm guessing.
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Had never done an automatic before. Pretty scary when you open one up for the first time but it's doable. This trans was working when the RX-7 was parked 12 years ago but the fluid looked pretty muddy. Didn't want to take a chance and have to pull it again so decided to overhaul it just in case. Glad I did, the overdrive clutch band was badly worn.
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I would not have a clue how to build that. I could tear it apart, but when I put it together, I would end up with extra parts. Is that normal?
 

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I would not have a clue how to build that. I could tear it apart, but when I put it together, I would end up with extra parts. Is that normal?
I used to love taking watches apart. I had quite a hammer collection .
 

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Discussion Starter #10
You guys are prophetic.

Oh Shit.... That's what you say when you find this at the bottom of the parts wash pan after reassembling an automatic. Going back in to see where it was supposed to be...
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Discussion Starter #11
Engine & transmission (this time will ALL the parts inside :) ) finally mated and ready to go back in the machine.

If it had not been for the frustration of waiting for my SS so long, I never would have put this much work into this thing but I'm really enjoying it. Makes waiting much easier. Getting pretty psyched about how it's going to perform too!

Would have liked a manual trans instead but this is what the donor car had and it's what I'll need in the possible event that I lose a leg.
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Discussion Starter #14
Yet another obstacle.

I had planned on using the stock Mazda ECU to keep changes to a minimum but as I got further into the donor RX-7 I found that mice & squirels had chewed up the wiring harness beyond repair. I decided it was easier to replace the ECU with one I make for the experimental aircraft market than to recreate the Mazda wiring harness.

Here is the guts of the ECU. There are actually two identical ECUs on the board because pilots are kind of anal about redundancy. It is a speed density system that uses MAP sensors instead of MAF so I can eliminate that massive piece under the hood. Slingshot uses the same type of system.

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Also decided to eliminate the very heavy power steering pump & mounting bracket saving another 30 or so pounds. I like the engine to look nice & naked under the hood. A reservoir of ATF will be needed to keep the rack & Pinion steering gear properly lubricated. Without power steering, WhatThe would be a pain to parallel park but I don't intend to drive it anywhere where that would be required.

I like the steering wheel feedback that all manual steering gives too. It sounds like that is one thing I'll like better on this thing than the SS. Many reports on driving the SS say that the steering is so numb from the electric steering that the SS will continue turning even if the wheel is turned loose, not a good thing in my book.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I have never understood how anyone could be patient enough to do a restoration of something like a 32 Ford Coupe. Now I do. This is the in-tank fuel pump assembly (partially disassembled) AFTER I spent a couple of hours cleaning it up. The car apparently had a full tank of gas when it was parked over 12 years ago and much of it had turned to the most god aweful smelling sludge you ever saw (or smelled). Prior to the cleanup you could not make out any of the individual tubes or the pump itself. And of course all but 2 of the screws that fastened it to the fuel tank would not come loose and had to be drilled out. It was no surprise that the pump itself was bad due to being jamed up with gunk. The good news is that parts suppliers are practically giving away parts for cars older than 25.

But the reason I now understand those old car restorers is the God like feeling you get bringing a dead machine back to life. Really, it IS fun! Now if I could only be 1/2 as patient while waiting for my SS.

The inside of the fuel tank is beyond what I can describe but you can probably guess by now.

Now, a question for any of you SS guys that have done old car restos - Any good tips on cleaning out the fuel tank? Already checked and I can't find a new replacement.

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I have never understood how anyone could be patient enough to do a restoration of something like a 32 Ford Coupe. Now I do. This is the in-tank fuel pump assembly (partially disassembled) AFTER I spent a couple of hours cleaning it up. The car apparently had a full tank of gas when it was parked over 12 years ago and much of it had turned to the most god aweful smelling sludge you ever saw (or smelled). Prior to the cleanup you could not make out any of the individual tubes or the pump itself. And of course all but 2 of the screws that fastened it to the fuel tank would not come loose and had to be drilled out. It was no surprise that the pump itself was bad due to being jamed up with gunk. The good news is that parts suppliers are practically giving away parts for cars older than 25.

But the reason I now understand those old car restorers is the God like feeling you get bringing a dead machine back to life. Really, it IS fun! Now if I could only be 1/2 as patient while waiting for my SS.

The inside of the fuel tank is beyond what I can describe but you can probably guess by now.

Now, a question for any of you SS guys that have done old car restos - Any good tips on cleaning out the fuel tank? Already checked and I can't find a new replacement.

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I have not tried it. But Apple Cider Vinegar is said to work really well . Google it and watch some of the videos . Good Luck !!!!
 

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Not me , not yet . Im sure you have imagined a rotary SS as You dont seem the type who features being smoked at the light by a pink Miata .
 

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Where do you begin ? There are wires and hoses hanging everywhere .

 

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Discussion Starter #20
I have not tried it. But Apple Cider Vinegar is said to work really well . Google it and watch some of the videos . Good Luck !!!!
Thanks DS, Sounds pretty wierd but I'll try it on a sample of that sludge.
 
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