RacerX

'93 626 Lemon Racer

1,616 posts in this topic

Just like someone else on this forum, I recently purchased a '93 626 DX 2.0L with 5 spd to prep and race in the 24 Hours of Lemons. You can track the build and race here:

http://metroplex-not-so-mini.blogspot.com/

Feel free to reply with suggestions for prepping the car for the event. I am new to the 626 but I found this car and believe it's a good platform for this event. Mazda builds solid, simple, and reliable cars (when Ford isn't messing that up).

My goal for the build is to lighten the car, improve braking, improve the tired old suspension and steering components, and make the motor more likely to finish. The good news is the clutch in this car is pretty new and grabs confidently, the motor seems to be well maintained, and everything that makes the car go is largely functional. The downside is the suspension and steering components are very tired and worn. But, those can be updated out of the $500 budget. They are considered safety items. So this little hotrod is getting all new rotors, calipers, pads, lines, drums, shoes, wheel cylinders, lower control arms, ball joints, tie-rod ends, and wheel bearings.

I have a little budget for an upgrade. The goal is to put a set of Sachs Super Touring Struts on the car. But, I need to sell some parts to make that happen. Anyone need any of the following functional items?

Air Bag $20.00

Complete A/C system $40.00

Spare tire $25.00

Grill $20.00

Driver Glass $20.00

Passenger Glass $20.00

Seat Belts $20.00

Climate Controls, $20.00

Plenum, Heater Core,

and Blower

I don't really need the money, but I do need the budget for the struts. So, If you dig the thought of a competitve 626 at the 24 Hours of LeMons, send me a PM for a part or two. I need to sell them all.

Hmm, I doubt I can ship the airbag and the glass is probably prohibitive to ship, not the mention the headache of packaging the A/C components. Anyone in North Texas want to buy some cheap 626 parts? :-)

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How good is the A/C pulley? I need a new one but finding just the pulley is impossible but can't afford the whole compressor. What is included in the whole A/C system by the way? Wrap it up in a box and ship to FL? As long as the system is evacuated it's not going to break any transportation laws. I don't understand your concern on that. You will need to legally evacuate the system though. Will gladly give you the money for the A/C pulley and/or compressor because you are taking a 626 to LeMons. Hell we've got 2 in LeMons this year how awesome is that. Coming from a group of dedicated Mini enthusiasts it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside knowing that you guys chose a 626.

Take lots of pictures and video of the build and the event. Now get back to work and win us a race. :)

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Well, I'll have to admit that a Mini would have been our first choice. But, a functional Mini for $500 is a myth. Although a functional $500 Miata is a lie too, but that doesn't stop teams from bringing them out.

The 626 should be a fun car. I think the one I found will be reasonably reliable, and that is the key. If the new front end components and struts fix the horrible push this car has, it should be sporty enough to be fun on the track, and that's all I can expect.

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The 626 has ghastly body roll. If you are going to run short track with a lot of turns that body roll will be hell on your upper arms. Upgraded suspension is a must. If anyone shows up with a miata it had better not have a single good body panel and no windshield. You know they are lying if they say they are putting a miata in for under $500.

I'll definitely buy the compressor. As long as you are trying to get rid of some other parts like the heater core and blower that I "might" be able to use in the future why not pick them up now for cheap while I've got the chance. I'll shoot you a private message.

In case anyone was wondering no LeMons is NOT LeMans. http://www.24hoursoflemons.com/ Honestly LeMons sounds like one hell of a lot more fun. There is less pressure to actually do anything but have fun and that's a good solid event to rally behind.

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find yourself a 98+ 626 to rob the rear sway bar off of. its a huge improvement, can be found cheap. and is a stock part. so no one will know u swapped it. ;)

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find yourself a 98+ 626 to rob the rear sway bar off of. its a huge improvement, can be found cheap. and is a stock part. so no one will know u swapped it. ;)

Thanks for the feedback that's the kinda of advice I am looking for. Junkyard parts are perfect for this build. No one is any the wiser. Fresh metal and pretty poly-urathane bushings are very difficult to hide from scrutineering.

Does anyone have any experience with cutting a half to full coil out of the stock springs? Does that help reduce roll and dive?

Yes I know, don't cut them with a torch. And yes, you can cut springs with a grinder or cut-off wheel without annealing the metal. And yes, the springs will be stiffer with one less coil, but that's the point. And yes, the shorter springs will create some negative camber, but that's another benefit on a tight race track. Does it make a postive difference though?

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Most of the suggestions will be repeats from the other 626 entry into LeMons. You can read up on it here.

If you don't have the funds to replace the suspension due to the race budget limit then yeah I might be tempted to cut the springs by 1 coil. Realize that in a race situation it's a risk. Due to excessive body roll there might be a chance to snap the strut mount. Just keep that in mind. The stock 626 doesn't do well with extreme turning. Probably better than a lot of cars due to it's low center of gravity but you'll still get some wicked body roll. We have a clip around here somewhere of an autocross event that demonstrates it very well. I'll see about finding it for you. Here you go.

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The pics of the 626 at a track event are great. Good to see I'm not breaking any new ground here. As the racer/poster stated and has been suggested here, a stiffer rear sway bar is a good update for a long FF car with lots of body roll. I'll be searching the local junk yards for a 98+ 626 rear sway bar, bushings, and links.

I saw somewhere on the forum that a mid-90's Contour rear sway bar with RX-7 links will fit too. How does that compare to the 98+ 626 sway bar?

BTW, 24 hours of LeMons is a true endurance event. In fact, the event I hope to race is the only true 24 hour event they host each year. The goal is to drive spirited but not flat out. Flat out will break the car well before we are tired of driving it.

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My my my, you certainly have been a busy bee searching the crap out of the forum I see. Good job. Soak up the info. I'll help you out with some shortcuts to the info you're looking for. PrinceValroum installed the Contour swaybar and said it will work but it requires modification and might be more trouble than it's worth compared to something like King6Fab sway bars (he fabricates MX-6/626 parts). Since this is an endurance race I don't know which way would be better. I'd start by shooting PrinceValorum a message but chances are he'll pop in here to comment.

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I am liking the 2000+ 626 rear sway bar swap. Stiff is good, I don't care about ride quality. It's a junkyard part that won't be noticed by scrutineering. And, it retains the original location and geometry of the end links. I'd expect this update to be the most bang for the buck and least impact to reliability.

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I already scored a rear sway bar off a 2000 626 from the junkyard down the street ($30). I suspect it's 16mm, I haven't measured it yet. Gonna install it and report the results tonight.

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are you installing a race seat? if not, id recommend slapping a v6 mx6 seat in there. they sit like 4 inch's lower compared to the 626. and bolt right in

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Since upgrading the rear sway is a popular mod you could have purchased the car with the upgraded 98-02 sway installed anyway. :)

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PrinceValroum installed the Contour swaybar and said it will work but it requires modification and might be more trouble than it's worth

I never got that bar installed. It's still sitting in my garage, and my car has been sway bar-less for months and I hate it. Blackshine got one installed though. It doesn't require modification, mine was just an issue because I broke that bolt. I'd go with one off the 98-02's as it'll be a better fit. Some of the guys have talked about a bit of a wonky fit with the CSVT bar, though I'm sure it'll work about the same. If I could do it over, I'd just have gotten K6F's bar and soaked that bolt for a few weeks with PB blaster, but hindsight is 20/20.

This is a cool project, be sure to keep us updated!

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Sway bar installed and honestly it was the best $30 I have spent on any car.

A/C components pulled from under the hood as well. The car is getting noticeably lighter. Cooling unit, heater core, plenum, and the rest of the dash come out this weekend.

I am starting to feel like this could be a racy little LeMon.

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are you installing a race seat? if not, id recommend slapping a v6 mx6 seat in there. they sit like 4 inch's lower compared to the 626. and bolt right in

Yes, installing a proper race seat and likely a quick release hub for the steering wheel. Being 4 door, the door is pretty short and getting in and out will be difficult when the roll cage w/door bars is installed.

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yea, the rear sway bar upgrade is a pretty nice upgrade. i was pretty shocked at the difference it made. and even more shocked they put such a dinky stock one on our car's to begin with. lol

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Anyone here have a quick release steering wheel hub on their car? What fits these cars?

I am having trouble finding one.

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one for most any mazda will fit. even an rx7 one. or miata, 323, protege. or even one for the ford probe. i know grant makes one. thats the one i have on my 626 with the momo wheel.

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Yeah, someone else suggested Grant hubs. The price looks right. I'll order one in the next week or two.

Pulled the rest of the dash apart today. Check the link to the blog at the head of this thread for the latest pictures.

That was more complicated than it needed to be. Fortunately, I don't have to put everything back, so I could be a little rough with some parts :-) Man, I feel sorry for anyone that has ever changed the heater core on their 626 DD. It was a pain to get too. Honestly, I think it would be easier to pull the motor than change the heater core.

The car continues to get lighter. I can really feel the difference now. It also highlights just how front end heavy this car is. The motor and trans is almost completely in front of the center line of the front wheels. This car is gonna push, no way around it. That's not all bad for an endurance racer. But, it will be hard on front tires.

I got my new Sachs struts and the vast majority of the brake and steering components. So, I start that next week. It will be a complete rebuild and cutting a coil out of each of the springs. I figure that will take a week or so start to finish. I only have a couple evenings a week to work on it.

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I read the blog (I wasn't aware that's where you were hiding all of the pics) and found it pretty enjoyable. I like your sense of humor as well. The line, "It was an afternoon of more prep, a little tuning, some body work, a couple more test drives, and mostly socializing," sounds exactly like what my friend and I always end up doing. Sometimes we don't manage any of the former three, and just focus on the latter two! :biggrin:

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What if you remove the front sway bar to account for some of the push?

I like your thinking. But, I want to try the new struts and cut springs (more negative camber) with some proper track tires first. I think those will help significantly. Again, a little push isn't all bad. I would rather race a car with a little push than a lose car for 24 hours. I fear disconnecting the front sway bar will make the rear very eager to pass the front if the driver is a little lazy trail braking or has to lift in a high speed bend. But, we may try it when we take the car for a track day in April for testing.

The feedback from the forum has been very helpful.

BTW, we have decided to stick with the 14" steelies for the wheels and tires. A proper set of track tires like the Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 Star Specs are very reasonable in 14". With the savings, we can afford a couple spare tires to replace the fronts halfway through the event. Besides, the smaller diameter tires mean a lower effective drive ratio and quicker acceleration out of turns.

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Pulled the power steering pump, hoses, cooling line, reservoir, brackets, fuel vapor canister, air-bag sensors, and fabricated a by-pass for the steering rack. Too late to try it tonight. I'll report how that worked tomorrow.

This car continues to get lighter.

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I tried the bypass at the valves on the column. Looping back the return hose output directly to the pressure hose input. The feel is lighter than just removing the PS belt. But, I am not totally satisfied. I can feel the valve opening lagging and there is a slight resistance on turn in. I'm gonna try looping back the lines to and from the piston itself, bypassing the valving as well.

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