Saturday, October 30, 2010

1993 Mazda Rx7 - Rotary Engine Rebuild - Part 3

Intro - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Parts List - Final

Welcome back. So now the short block is disassembled and I am taking time to clean all of the parts very carefully. A lot of people ask, "what should I use to clean these parts?" and I would have to say that kerosene works great for this job. Just make sure you have proper ventilation and a big exhaust fan is highly recommended if possible. You really only need about 2-3 gallons to clean all the motor parts. Next I will explain how I went about cleaning the engine parts and what tools were used.

Rotor housings:
On the 13-B motor, the rotor housings are the 2 aluminum sections where the rotors rotate (the combustion chambers). I was pretty lucky that my housings were in good shape after having 90k+ miles on them. I noticed a little carbon buildup around the spark plug holes which I cleaned off with a clean rag and kerosene. These housings should have a somewhat shiny surface on the inside and no grooves. For a simple check, just run your finger across the width of the housing (red) in various locations to make sure there are no wear grooves which might compromise the integrity of the motor or apex seals. Afterward I cleaned the sides where the water seals sit with a brass wire brush and kerosene. Be careful to not scratch the inside rotor housing during the cleaning process.

Once the housing sides are clean, you can then check your service manual on how to see if they are within the required specifications.

After I had cleaned my housings and verified they were within spec, I took things a step farther and used a Dremel tool with a brass brush wire attachment to clean out all of the water passages (green) around the outside of the housing. Then afterward blew out the water jacket passageways with compressed air to remove any debris left behind.

Rotors:

My rotor side seals and apex seals were rusted in place since the motor was left sitting with coolant in the front housing for over a year. Because of this accompanied by the fact that the motor had over 90k miles on it, I had already planned on replacing all of the seals/springs on the rotors from the beginning.

At first I was not sure if the rotors were going to be salvageable because of the surface rust so I soaked each side in kerosene to help try and loosen things up. I then used a small flat screwdriver to pry the side seals/springs and apex seals/springs out of the rotor being extremely careful not to damage the rotor. Once I removed the seals/springs I then used my brass wire brush again with the kerosene to scrub all the rotor surfaces down. Once the sides were clean I used one of the old side seals to thoroughly clean all the seal grooves on each side of the rotor. A lot of carbon builds up in these areas so now is the best time to clean out as much as possible. This is a very time consuming process however the more carbon you remove now, the better chance your rotary engine will have at lasting a long time.

Here is a photo of one of my rotors all cleaned up. On the sides with the "bathtub" shaped indentations in them (red), I cleaned those with a 6" wire wheel on my bench grinder. The wire wheel made cleaning these sides a very easy task so I would highly recommend this method to anyone! One thing you must be careful of is to not use the wire wheel on the area next to the side seal grooves, (green) this area is a softer material which you do NOT want to damage.

I would like to make note of one thing I noticed when cleaning my rotors. The rotor bearing appeared to be worn somewhat however there were no grooves or scratches in it (which is a good sign). What stood out though was in a few places it looked as though the top layer of the bearing was worn through. Because of the bearing wear combined with research I found online, I decided to replace the rotor bearings as well as the main bearings on the engine. I knew in the long run, the few extra bucks would give me piece of mind that this engine would be solid once the job was complete. Here is a picture of the wear marks on the bearing where you can see the copper starting to show through.


Iron housings:
The iron housings are the 3 heavy iron sections which separate and seal the rotor housings. To clean a majority of the housings I used the same kerosene and rags with a brass wire brush. One area which needs a lot of special attention are the water seal grooves (green). These grooves are what separate your motors combustion chambers from the coolant water jacket. If you get a bad seal anywhere in this area, then get used to looking at all those engine parts laying around because you will be looking at them again much sooner than if you take your time and do it right.

Now my water seals were all cracked, broken and seemingly baked into their respective grooves. For this job, I just grabbed a small flat-head screwdriver that was a little narrower than the width of the water seal groove itself. This made scraping out of all the carbon and old seal debris much easier. Again though, take your time as this seal is very critical. Go over it 1000 times if you have to just to make sure you get all of the carbon and debris out of the seal groove. It was during this phase of my cleaning process that I finally realized why my motor filled with coolant in the first place.

The culprit: The front iron housing.

Below you can see that on the bottom of the front housing, right next to the water seal groove (orange), a section of the metal is missing. The piece that was in place had simply fell out while I was cleaning it. From what I later researched online, this area is actually prone to failure when the engine reaches "overheating" type temps. It was at "that point," it felt as if someone turned the light switch on. The coolant boiling over, the intermittent puffs of white smoke, and lastly the coolant literally dumping out from the exhaust port by the turbochargers. Everything started making much more sense. The further I got into the rebuild, the more I learned about the history of this car.

Here are a few more helpful links as well as the link from where I had purchased my replacement heavy duty water seals.

HD water seals:
http://www.pineappleracing.com/hdwatersealsfdrews5re.aspx

Tons of parts (practically everything):
http://mazdatrix.com/

More parts:
http://www.atkinsrotary.com/


In the next post, I will try to focus mainly on the actual rebuild as well as talk about a few reliability upgrades I had implemented.

Monday, September 27, 2010

1993 Mazda Rx7 - Rotary Engine Rebuild - Part 2

Intro - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Parts List - Final

I have stripped everything down to the short block and now needed to remove the large nut off of the back of the eccentric shaft. The socket needed is either a 2 1/8" or 54mm. If you need either of these I would suggest to check your local Harbor Freight or go to HarborFreight.com. If you have trouble locating the socket online, give them a call to get pricing for a set that includes one of these sockets because I have seen them on the shelves and the whole set is cheaper than any single 2 1/8" socket I have found elsewhere.

Next, you will need to secure the flywheel which will prevent the motor from turning so that you can remove the flywheel nut.
You can either purchase a flywheel stopper/brake or simply grab a few feet of solid copper wire and wind it through a bolt hole and around one of the clutch alignment pins on the flywheel as I have shown in the photo to the left. This worked perfect for me, and it was cheap! Once you have removed the flywheel nut, you may be wondering how to get the flywheel off of the tapered eccentric shaft. This is actually much simpler than one might think.

1) Make sure you leave the flywheel nut threaded onto the eccentric shaft a few threads. (Trust me on this one) This will ensure the flywheel does not fall off and hit the ground, or smash your foot when it falls off.

2) I used the technique found at this link "flywheel removal instructions" with a brass hammer. The flywheel literally just fell off with 3 solid hits in the designated area.

If you were planning on removing the pilot bea
ring and pilot bearing seal to prep for replacement, now is the perfect time for this. I have found many places charging $99 - $160 for "Mazda factory" pilot bearing removal tools or the like. Save your d@mn money for something else as I have found a PERFECT tool that is not only identical, but performs the exact same task at less than a 3rd of the cost. Once again, HarborFreight.com has a "Blind Hole Bearing Puller" for about $33 bucks that does an absolute fantastic job with this. Another plus is you will not have to feel bad about having to spend $100+ for a tool that you literally may only use less than a handful of times in your lifetime. You can thank me later.

After the flywheel is off and the pilot bearing w/ seal has been removed, you are now ready to continue following your dis-assembly instructions to gradually remove the 18 tensions bolts as described in the workshop manual. During t
his stage I suggest finding a sturdy platform or table to place the short block on so that you can disassemble the motor while keeping all the short block parts organized. Below is a photo I had taken after I cleaned the parts and painted the motor but it gives you the general idea of how you might want to lay out the motor when disassembling.









My next post will deal mainly with rebuild concerns, cleaning procedures, and recommendations. I will also touch on how I found the cause of my blown motor.


Stay tuned....


Monday, August 23, 2010

1993 Mazda Rx7 - Rotary Engine Rebuild - Part 1

Intro - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Parts List - Final

At this point in the rebuild I had simply followed the service manual instructions to disconnect the transmission from the engine and drop it out from under the car. This was probably one of the easier tasks to accomplish but ended up being time consuming because I was waiting on an extra set of hands to actually assist in removing the transmission once it was disconnected. (Thanks Dad!) From here I just took my time to follow the service manual and disconnected all of the required hoses, lines and parts in sequence while laying them out in a pattern (left to right) on my makeshift table.

Once I was at the point to where I could remove the motor, we used some very heavy straps and a 1 TON chain block to lift the motor up and out of the engine bay. The chain block was attached to a 5ft long 4" x 4" fence post that was positioned across 3 of the rafters directly above the car. Once the engine was high enough to clear the engine bay I pulled the motor out away from the car while my Dad lowered the engine onto a pallet on the floor. Needless to say the 2 main oil lines with the metal connectors (you can see one in the above photo) was sticking out just far enough to scratch the paint on the front clip on my car. I learned the hard way, so be sure to cover your fenders and front clip or remove them!

Since the motor was now out of the car it was actually very easy to strip all of the external parts off of the short-block. This only took about 2-3 hours to accomplish making sure to mark any electrical connections, vacuum, oil and coolant lines with different colored electrical tape as I went. I know the above photo looks like a mess however there is a method to my madness to where I could easily re-assemble the motor if I had lost my service manual. So STAY organized!!


Some links worth reviewing:

This site has "How To" videos on various aspects of a rebuild
http://www.rebuildingrotaryengines.com/

Here is a fairly organized forum with a lot of links to resources (some links are dead)
http://www.reklessracing.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=40

Up next...disassembling the short-block.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

1993 Mazda Rx7 - Rotary Engine Rebuild ... Intro

Intro - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Parts List - Final

In late 2008, I had decided to drive my '93 Rx7 one last time before storing it away for the winter. Upon starting it up and backing it out of the garage I was greeted with the normal plume of white smoke coming from the exhaust due to condensation buildup in the exhaust from sitting for a few weeks. As I usually would let the car warm up for a few minutes before taking her out for a drive, I started walking toward the house. Just as soon as I had turned my back I had noticed the "to be expected" condensation burn off had turned into what some might call a smoke screen. I literally was unable to see the neighbors house through the foggy disappointment that was floating through the air in front of me. Now since winter was not too far away, I figured that I would let the car sit until Summer 09' before I attempted any work on the car. Little did I know, time was disappearing faster than I had planned.

Warping into Summer of 2010, below were a top 10 list of things I knew about this upcoming project:


1.) I have never rebuilt a motor in my life nor had I intended on ever taking on the task.
2.) I knew slightly more than the average person about car maintenance, simply because I never wanted to pay the high labor costs for car repair service.

3.) Internet has most all the information you could ever need.

4.) It pays to do your research!!! I really cannot express this enough.

5.) If you own an Rx7, especially a 3rd Gen, then you either better be prepared to spend some serious cheddar and/or get very familiar with your engine bay.

6.) The factory shop manual is a must! Luckily for you, I have provided a link which has all the shop manuals for free ---> http://www.wright-here.net/cars/rx7/manuals.html

7.) Rx7 + A ton of white smoke = more than likely...engine rebuild

8.) If you are not sure if you can rebuild a rotary engine, chances are you probably can!!

9.) You should never let a blown motor sit for too long, especially knowing there is a puddle of coolant in the engine. Rust is not a Wankel's friend! ;)

10.) This would most definitely be an extremely rewarding project. Not only because I could potentially save myself thousands of dollars, but I would end up having the experience and knowledge I need to maintain one of my favorite and most interesting cars I would probably ever own.


Lastly, this is by no means a "walk-through" on how to rebuild a rotary engine but more just a very informative overview including my experiences, tricks, suggestions, and resources which helped me along the way.

This posting will be the first of many....stay tuned.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Samsung Intrepid (SPH-i350) Hard Reset Instructions

Below are the steps to completely wipe out your Samsung Intrepid (SPH-i350) and reset the phone to its factory defaults. Note: This process WILL delete all your contacts and any files you have saved to the phones internal memory. So complete a FULL sync of your phones data or make sure to backup everything manually.

1) Push and hold the power button until the 'Shutdown' box appears
2) Touch 'OK' to power down the handset
3) Press and hold the 'Enter/Settings' key (silver rectangular button in the middle of the directional pad) and the power button to restart the handset. (Do NOT let go of either key until the format screen appears)
4) Touch the green Talk key to begin formatting the handset (Again, this will delete all data and restore the factory default settings)

That is all!
-TanthT

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fix Inverted Controls: Batman Arkham Asylum (PC Version)

For anyone who has attempted to play Batman: Arkham Asylum on their PC with a gamepad:

You may have ran into an problem where the character walks forward while you press down on the left analog stick and walks backward when you press up on the analog stick. Also, if you are used to the normal XBOX/XBOX360 controller layout, you may notice the X/Y and A/B control bindings are backwards as well. This issue can be quite annoying as most all attempts to correct this through any software outside of the game itself seem to be disregarded.

NOTE: These instructions are for specific use with an original XBOX S controller with the USB mod!! If you would like this to work with another gamepad, you need to figure out what binding your PC is using to reference that specific controller first.

Below I have posted instructions on how this issue can be easily fixed.

1) Browse to the "\BmGame\Config\" directory where the game is installed. For example:"C:\Program Files (x86)\Eidos\Batman Arkham Asylum\BmGame\Config"

2) Right click on the "DefaultInput.ini" file and select Properties.

3) Verify that the "Read-only" option is not selected.

4) Next, right click the "DefaultInput.ini" file again and select "Open with..." then choose Notepad.

5) Locate the following entry within the file:
.Bindings=(Name="XboxTypeS_LeftY",Command="Axis aBaseY Speed=1.0 DeadZone=0.3 | Axis aRawLHJoyUp Speed=1.0 DeadZone=0.0" )

6) Within the entry find the 2 variables that say "Speed", change both from '1.0' to '-1.0'

7) It should now look like:
.Bindings=(Name="XboxTypeS_LeftY",Command="Axis aBaseY Speed=-1.0 DeadZone=0.3 | Axis aRawLHJoyUp Speed=-1.0 DeadZone=0.0" )

8) Thats it! Simply save the file then test out the game.

Follow these next steps ONLY if you would like to swap the X/Y and A/B controller buttons within the game.

9) Locate the following entries:
.Bindings=(Name="XboxTypeS_A",Command="DebugCamSingleFrameStep | Run | ContextSensitive |CapeGlide | AcceptConversation | Evade | DebugMenuSelectA | CancelBatarangCamera")
.Bindings=(Name="XboxTypeS_
B",Command="HangFromVantagePoint | BlockBreaker | DebugCamMoreSpeed | OnRelease DebugCamNormalSpeed | ExitAgilityMode | SkipCutscene | CancelGadget | DebugMenuSelectB | CancelBatarangCamera")

.Bindings=(Name="XboxTypeS_
X",Command="QuickStrike | AttackSilentFinish | DebugMenuSelectX | CancelBatarangCamera")

.Bindings=(Name="XboxTypeS_
Y",Command="Grab | ActivateNoise | AttackFearFinish | DebugMenuSelectY | SpecialMoveCheat | CancelBatarangCamera")

10) Simply change the letters (A, B, X, Y) in each entry to swap the default button controls.
a. Change "XboxTypeS_A" to "XboxTypeS_B"
b. Change "XboxTypeS_B" to "XboxTypeS_A"
c. Change "XboxTypeS_X" to "XboxTypeS_Y"
d. Change "XboxTypeS_Y" to "XboxTypeS_X"


11) Lastly, save the file and test it out!



Enjoy!


UPDATE: Some people have also reported success also using the method found here:

-TanthT

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Wii Energizer 2x Induction Charger - Flashing Red Light - **Update**

After I had posted this troubleshooting walk-through, I had decided to just leave my Wii Remotes on the charger any time they are not in use. The reason for this was because the manual states that this system will NOT continue to try and charge the batteries once they are at 100%. (Makes sense of course)

Since I have started using it like this, I have had zero problems. I am wondering if these batteries are subject to the well known "rechargeable battery memory problem" that we all know and love. (For those who are unfamiliar, Google it!) At the same time, I am now wondering if the original cause of the issue is because sometimes only 1 of the batteries in the pack are charging. If so, it would make sense that the induction charger would not attempt to charge it any further because the battery pack is reporting that it is charged.

For anyone continuing to have problems with this system and who would like to do some troubleshooting on their own. I would like to challenge you to try something that came to mind while thinking about this problem.

1. Remove the battery pack from the Wii Remote that seems to have an issue.
2. Test the power/charge of each battery individually to see if one of them has a full charge, and if the other has no charge.
3. If only one of them has a charge, take note as to which one it is.
4. Locate a small light bulb or LED light. (Basically anything that can be powered by a single AA battery)
5. Connect the small light bulb or LED to the known working battery with two wires to see if it will light up.
6. If the light bulb turns on, leave it connected (tape it up if you have to) for a little while (5-10mins) to drain some of the power from the known working battery.
7. Remove the light bulb and wire setup after said time has passed and insert the battery pack back into a Wii remote.
8. Reset the induction charger by unplugging it from the wall, wait 10 seconds, then plug it back in.
9. Place the Wii remote back onto the induction charger to see if it charges longer than 5 minutes without the flashing red light.
10. Post on this blog whether it worked or not.

Final thoughts regarding this test:
By draining some of the power from the battery(s) by connecting a light bulb for a short while may reset the battery pack and allow the induction charger to reinitialize the charging process. I have ran into similar problems with rechargeable batteries that had not been fully discharged before charging them back up.

At the same time, if I experience the same flashing red lights as before, this process will be my next method of troubleshooting and I myself will post my results here as well.

I hope this works for someone and please keep me posted on your results.

-TanthT

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sprint's Samsung Intrepid: How To Tether - Use as Modem

Just recently I swapped out my Moto Q9c for the Samsung Intrepid. Now this is not a review of either phone but I must say that the Intrepid is a very nice upgrade from the Q9c. It has all of the functionality of the Q9c plus a LOT more. Now, when I first was researching this phone I had come across multiple comments online about how you are unable to tether this phone to your PC. Since I highly value this option I was hesitant to make the swap, but I figured I would give the Intrepid a run anyways.

Once I started up the Intrepid I went directly into the menus as usual to see what was available. Low and behold, the familiar "Internet Sharing" icon was present. From here, I tethered the phone to my laptop without an issue. For those of you having issues, below I have included a walk through of the exact process.

Step 1) Press your Windows key to bring up the menu.

Step 2a) Scroll down to the "Internet Sharing" icon and select it.

Step 2b) You will now be presented with the following screen.

Step 3) Select "Menu" (lower right) and choose the "Connection Settings" option.

Step 4) Select the option "Manage existing connections".
Step 5) Highlight and select "Phone As Modem #777"

Step 6) Tap or press "ok" twice to take you back to the "Internet Sharing" screen.

Step 7) Plug your phone into an available USB port on your PC using the sync cable.

Step 8) Lastly, select the "Connect" option on the Internet Sharing screen and wait a minute to allow your PC to negotiate the connection.
Step 9) If you were successful, the "Status:" field will change to "Connected" and you now should be able to browse the internet on your PC.

Enjoy!

-TanthT

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wii Energizer 2x Induction Charger - Flashing Red Light


Scenario:
Approximately 2 months ago I had purchased the Energizer 2x Induction Charger (flat panel) for my Wii console. I loved the fact that you could simply just rest any Wii remote (that has included induction battery installed) directly on to this flat panel device and the charging begins. Whether you have the motion plus attachment and/or the rubber protective Wii remote cover installed, you simply lay the controller down as indicated by the product image on the box and voila.
Simple enough right?

(Insert Disappointment Here)

Well, yesterday I placed one of my Wii remotes onto the induction panel only to find that in about 5-10 minutes time, a flashing red light caught my attention. Now anyone that works with ANY electronics at all can deduce that "red flashing light"...is NEVER a good thing. Especially those Xbox 360 fans out there. Now keep in mind, I have only charged this particular Wii remote maybe 4 times MAX since I bought this charging system. (I don't play the Wii very much) To find that the battery pack was hosed after only 3 or so charges left me quite angry as well as surprised to even see the "Energizer" name branded on such an embarrassing device.

Troubleshooting:

*Being as I do not want to go out and buy more induction battery packs as I am certain I will continue to see this same flaw, I decided to do a little testing.

Test 1 - Battery power: I first removed the battery pack from the Wii remote and used a simple battery tester (re-charge/fully charged type device) to check the state of each battery in the pack. Battery 1 tested with absolutely no charge whatsoever but on the other hand battery 2 tested with a full charge. At this point I figured I might just be looking at a single battery failure which is a little more believable than the "Ehh, it just don't work...go buy a new one" type mentality.

From my experience with rechargeable batteries, it is unusual for them to go from a 100% charge to absolutely 0% charge all of the sudden. Typically they will return at least a tiny bit of power after being charged, even if only for a few minutes.

Test 2 - Back to the charger: Next, I reinserted the battery pack into the same lifeless Wii remote and plopped it back on its charger making certain that it is lined up with the controller markings on the flat panel. My thinking here is that for some reason 1 battery was being charged while the other one was outside of the induction "range". Well, 5 minutes later...the red lights of disappointment were back.

For the next test, I just simply moved the Wii remote over to the other side of the charger to see if it was being picky about what side was charging it. 5 minutes later...yes, you guessed it.....remorse was setting in.

Test 3 - Closer look at the overall picture: Thinking about the induction charging system as a whole, 1 thing we know is that if the battery is not inserted into a Wii remote...it will not even attempt to charge the battery pack. This leads me to think that maybe something is taking place inside this controller that is stopping the 1st battery from charging. So from here I swap this battery pack out and install it into my other Wii remote. Afterwards I press a few buttons on the Wii remote and see that the blue LED's on the bottom of the remote light up, indicating that this battery pack has 50% of its life left....interesting. So I continue onward and place the device onto the black induction panel and begin waiting. 5 minutes later...10 minutes later...30 minutes later, I still have a solid red light indicating that the batteries are charging once again. Hell yea!

To verify, I pressed a few buttons on the Wii remote to see that I now had 4 blue LED's, thus indicating that it was almost fully charged! Also, I had inserted the other "known good" battery pack into the suspect Wii remote and it began charging as nature intended. So what does it all mean?!?!
Last Thoughts:

I do not really have a guess as to what may have happened here but I do know that these induction chargers are certainly not perfect. Given my troubleshooting, one may say that I have a bad Wii remote. This is a possibility however, why when I switch the battery packs does the "bad" Wii remote charge perfectly fine. In any case, before you go and throw out your battery packs, do some simple troubleshooting as it may save you a lot of headache and money.
Other info:
*On another note I did fail to mention (for the sake of organization in this post) that prior to this charger, I had purchased the previous model of this Energizer induction charger (see photo below) and I had ran into a similar issue with the red flashing light. When I called the manufacturer support line, they stated that the battery pack was bad and I could return the product. In any case I had tried the same methods above and DID actually get the battery pack to charge again but at that time, I just decided to return the older model and wait for the newer flat panel model thinking I would have better luck.


-TanthT