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Thread: Rotus Rebuild

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Central VA
    Posts
    26

    Default Rotus Rebuild

    Hey folks. So, I picked up this 1988 Rotus (I believe #44) a few months ago and figured I would post up here to share what I'm doing and hopefully get some help along the way.

    I got this car from the original owner. At some point in the early 2000s, a turbo rotary motor was swapped in. The car was fast, but never ran quite right. So, at some point over a decade ago, the car was given to a shop where it was torn apart. And then it sat...for a long time. While it was in the shop, it caught on fire. Allegedly, a battery charger was sitting on the passenger fender and something happened that caused it to ignite. Thankfully, a passerby saw the flash, broke into the shop and put the fire out before it spread. There is damage to the passenger side panel, but the nose and hood were off, so they were fine.

    Here is what the car as I picked it up from the shop where it had been for over a decade.



    I got all the parts, including a new fender and the rotary motor, in pieces. Had to mount the nose to see what it would look like. Not bad.



    I like the brown interior, though there are like 5 different kinds of gauges in the dash - something I'll have to change or I won't be able to sleep at night.



    Here's the fancy wiring job that was done at the shop. I cut all this out and will be rewiring the whole car.

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    Last edited by jloehlein; 10-04-2019 at 09:49 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Central VA
    Posts
    26

    Default

    With the car being 30 years old, sitting for at least a decade, some shady welding done to mount the rotary, and the fire, I've decided I'm going to pull pull the car down to the bare frame and rebuild the whole thing. It'll be getting a Miata drivetrain because I have a bunch of them and have no desire to mess with the rotary. Here is what the car looks like right now.



    The body was made in 3 pieces (the two sides and the rear), but they were all welded together after being attached to the frame, so I had to get it off in one piece. After chiseling off at least 100 rivets and a little bit of bending, it's off.



    If anyone has any good ideas about replacing that burnt section, let me know. My current thoughts are to just cut the sides off (either before the bend at the windshield or right before where the body gets taller for the rear wheels) and re-make both as separate pieces. That sounds pretty simple to me.

    Anyways, at this point, I'm going to keep stripping the car down. I'm planning on getting the shocks rebuilt and replacing all of the bushings/joints. I found all the part numbers for the joints, bearings and brakes, but if anyone has any idea what control arm bushings were used, let me know!

    I'm really bad at taking pictures while I'm working, but I'm going to try and do so and force myself to keep this thread updated.
    Last edited by jloehlein; 10-04-2019 at 09:46 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Arkansas and . . .
    Posts
    3,333

    Default

    re-make both as separate pieces
    Thats what I’d do.

    It’s going to be interesting to follow the rebuild. Looking forward to seeing it come back to life, especially with the Miata drivetrain.
    Stalker V8, chassis #85

    Stalker Chassis #85 Build Gallery
    Stalker Chassis #85 Owner Thread

    Get up in the morning and give the day your very best. You donít get it back.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Higganum, CT
    Posts
    1,661

    Default

    Looks like a fun project, looking forward to updates on your progress.
    Bruce

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Ft Lauderdale
    Posts
    104

    Default

    I am going to be watching this one.... please step by step updates
    Life Can Be Cruel

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    golden valley, az
    Posts
    185

    Default

    I believe the bushings are Toyota. The Rotus manufacturer was a Toyota dealer. I have a Rotus chassis (also with a rotary) lengthened, with a glass over foam body that was patterned after the Lola Mk1. Will keep watching your work, and will dig out the mass of information that came with the car as a bit pertains to the chassis. john

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Central VA
    Posts
    26

    Default

    Thanks, guys. I'm looking forward to making some progress, especially as I wrap up a couple other projects.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Central VA
    Posts
    26

    Default

    Got the frame all stripped down. Just need to separate the floorpan and it'll be completely disassembled. The only thing that gave me any trouble was that one of the serrated sleeves in a rear control arm bushing started wearing its way through the mounting tab. Had to pry the tabs apart to get it out. Contemplating just replacing the rear arms with heims and swage tubes - my Birkin is set up with all heims and it rides great. Thinking about what to do in the front, as well.

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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Arkansas and . . .
    Posts
    3,333

    Default

    While my car is a Stalker, these links may generate some ideas. The first link is of the original build of my car using a Chevette (remember those?) steering rack. The second link is from the rebuild with my switching to a Coleman Racing steering rack, complete with heims and tubes.


    Original build
    http://www471.pair.com/stalkerv/gall...g2_itemId=7594


    Rebuild
    http://www471.pair.com/stalkerv/gall...2_itemId=30496
    Stalker V8, chassis #85

    Stalker Chassis #85 Build Gallery
    Stalker Chassis #85 Owner Thread

    Get up in the morning and give the day your very best. You donít get it back.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Central VA
    Posts
    26

    Default

    Thanks, xcarguy! It's neat to see all the build pics - definitely a lot of ideas.

    I've gotta wash the frame and then I can start cutting out the rotary mounts and fixing some random stuff. Once I fabricate the new mounts, I should be able to strip and re-paint the frame. Thinking about using ZRC Galvanizing Compound - a friend of mine sails and his anchor is painted with it. If it can stand up to tons of salt water exposure, it should be more than adequate for a frame/

    Anyone have any recommendations on how to treat the insides of tubes to prevent corrosion?

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