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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Got a set of Infinity component speakers for the front a few weeks ago. Currently trying to figure out how to mount the tweeters. My friend has a 3D printer so I may go that route and make something custom in CAD, if I can manage it. I picked up a small class D amp from a local pawn shop for the subs and ordered an amp wiring kit. I also ordered new Motorcraft struts, Gabriel strut mount and bellow/bump stop kits, and H&R lowering springs. Tirerack currently has the springs on clearance for $158 with free shipping which is by far the cheapest I have ever seen them. Here is the link if anybody wants a set. https://www.tirerack.com/suspension/suspension.jsp?make=H&R&model=Sport+Spring+Set&sku=51685
 
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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Pretty good deal. Let’s us know how much the actual drop and ride quality is.
It will be a little while till I get to installing them. Parts availability is drying up so I'm finding myself buying stuff before I actually need it just to secure it. The H&Rs are supposed to drop it 1.3" front and rear which is similar to the ZX2 S/R's setup. You also don't really have another choice right now if you want new lowering springs from a reputable brand that are specifically for a 3rd gen. All the others are basically eBay brands or slightly better.
 

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There are some marketed for early model Mazda’s which will work, but I agree these are a great deal.

When I lowered my original Z back in 2003 I needed to by several cambered bolts. One on each strut was not enough to dial in the alignment, so we replaced both stock bolts on each strut.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
How much did you end up lowering it though? Some extra camber is OK and shouldn't cause excessive tire wear. I also have access to an alignment machine so I can afford to play around with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
The parts finally came in, no thanks to Rockauto which shorted me the front struts from my order. To top it off, one of them was a wholesaler closeout with only one in stock so I had to buy that strut at full price dispite the fact that they were the ones that screwed up and lost/shorted me the discounted one. At least I have them now, four ZX2/coupe specific Motorcraft struts with Gabriel mounts, bumpstops, and boots. The H&R springs also came in, they look like a really nice set with a matte blue/purple powder coat finish. The surprising part is that they aren't old stock, one of the pieces of paperwork has a 11/19/2018 revision date so they have been making those springs for at least 20 years and possibly still do! The wiring kit for my amps also came in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 · (Edited)
Sounds like you have a full weekend planned. Maybe I missed it earlier, what was the need for the Gabriel mounts?
If your car was 23 years old with 150K+ miles on it and you were replacing the springs and struts, wouldn't you also replace the mounts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 · (Edited)
Finally, the weather is getting warmer so I did some more on the ZX2. I decided a few months back to make some tweeter pods. My friend has a 3D printer so I decided to making them on the PC and then have him print them off. After several prototypes, I finally had something that works. The passenger side is still a work in progress because they aren't a simple mirror of each other but I figured I should show off the drivers side. It isn't completely perfect and it was a pain to get the door panel back on but I'm still happy with the results. We're considering making more to sell if there is enough interest.
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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Well, I was poking around the car yesterday and I found some issues... The crazy thing is, the body is pretty much rust free but the rear strut towers look like this. Needless to say, this needs to be addressed first. I guess I should have checked the towers first before I started adding car stereo stuff. I kind of already went to town this this one with a die grinder but before that it was bubbly paint. I easily was able to put my thumb through it. It's rusted under the reinforcement piece that is spot welded too. I'm going to pickup some fiberglass, sheet metal, and some sand blasting grit tomorrow so hopefully I can knock this project out this week. I also might put the new struts and lowering springs in while I'm at it, since the old ones are already out.
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Same place on the passenger side. Hammer caused the holes here.
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Passenger rear. It was rusted under the bracket. I was able to rip it off with a screw driver.
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Rear drivers side. Some bubbles but far from the worst.
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It was warm today so I decided to cut out the rot. This is front drivers side after cutting. I had to drill out the rivets and bend the reinforcement out of the way.
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Passenger side. Both sides have holes in that piece between the strut tower the and rear quarter that were caused just by me poking around by hand. I'm probably either going to fiberglass that whole area or weld a piece in.
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Rear passenger side.
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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Friday and Saturday I ended up doing quite a bit of work on the car, I got most of the strut towers sand blasted, cut out all of the patch panels, cut out the rot between the strut tower the and rear quarter and bonded the patch panels in with JB Weld. I would loved to have welded them in but with how thin the remaining metal is and how tight the area is it wouldn't have been practical. I couldn't have even sand blasted and cut out the rust if it wasn't for the holes I made in the strut towers. The only way I could see to properly do it would be to either completely remove the strut towers and rear package tray or remove the rear quarters and I wasn't doing that. Tomorrow I'm probably going to start welding in the strut tower patches, possibly sand blast a little more and fill some smaller holes. Later I'll paint it with KBS Rust Seal and apply seam sealer when its dry. I don't have any pictures of what I've done so far but I'll take some before I start welding tomorrow. Yesterday, my friend finished 3D printing the other tweeter pod so I was able to pick that up. The test fit was perfect so the pod's design is finalize and I don't have to mess around with the 3D model anymore. It was too cold today so I got the piece cleaned up and tweeter mounted in it. I'll probably install it in the car some time this week and get the door put back together. Forgive the holes, I start drilling them and then remembered that I should take some pics first. I can get more 3D printed and anybody wants them.
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Discussion Starter · #33 · (Edited)
Pics of the progress so far.
Patches I JB Welded in place.
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Patches all welded in. Some of the welds didn't come out so well due to there being rust, seam sealer, or a combination of the two that I couldn't clean out but over all, they are solid.
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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
OK, for some reason one of my pictures is showing up as "18+".
 

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what welder are you using? looks like flux core, need to turn the heat up, or turn the feed speed down a bit, that will smoothen out the 'crown' on the weld bead. I would also grind it down to fresh white metal if possible and not weld through the sealer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 · (Edited)
what welder are you using? looks like flux core, need to turn the heat up, or turn the feed speed down a bit, that will smoothen out the 'crown' on the weld bead. I would also grind it down to fresh white metal if possible and not weld through the sealer.
It's a 110V Lincoln Electric and I'm using shield gas. If I turn it up more, it burns through. If I turn the feed speed down, it sputters. I'm not welding through the sealer either, it's on the other side of the metal I'm welding to and I can't get it out. The same thing with rust between the factory panels. Then when I weld it must be burning through just enough for the sealer/rust to burn and get into the weld.

:Edit: I also forgot to say that I was doing spot welds, not running beads.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 · (Edited)
A lot of the work is done but I've been kind of lacking motivation lately. It isn't fun sticking your head inside a strut tower to work on it. Last week I discovered that the that the area of the inner fender that the fuller neck goes through as well as the neck's mounting flange were swiss cheese. I ended up bonding a piece of steel over this area after sand blasting and cleaning it, I also bought a new filler neck. I forgot to take pics at the time but I will get some later. Then I discovered that the unused can of KBS Rust Seal I was planing on using had completely hardened up on me. After experiencing shock at how much that stuff now costs, I ordered two cans of Rust Bullet instead. Now I have to wait for that to come in before I can think about finishing this job up. The plan so far is to hit the sandblasted surface with a phosphoric acid solution, wash that off, let it dry, to two coats of Rust Bullet, then coat everything with some DIY spray-on bed liner.

I wanted to accomplish something today after work and decided that it was a good time to assemble my new rear struts.
I forgot to take a picture of the old struts before taking them apart but you get the idea of how rusty they are. While they weren't completely dead, they also had no automatic rebound after being compressed.
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As for why I took them apart, this is one of several reasons. Only one strut came with a nut and this washer is unobtanium from what I can find.
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The last reason is these rusty guys. After looking at pictures of new assembled struts, they all seem to have these metal cups so I figured that I would need them and since nobody seems to sell them, I figured I would need to reuse them. But all they seem to do is hold the OE boot to the strut and since my new boots are attached to the bump stops and they don't fit the cups I decided to go without. Is there any special reason for these that I'm not seeing?
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Finished product. All ready to go in when the time comes. Interestingly enough, I discovered that you don't even need a spring compressor to assemble Escort rear struts. Both the H&R springs AND the OE springs I could compress enough to put the nut on with just my own body weight pushing down on the mount, I only weigh around 140lbs.
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I never came across the metal cups on the bellows on either end of my '92 LX nor the '92 Protege. This is with stock replacement struts.
Some of the strut rods did have a different thread on the top, so if one carelessly used the wrong nut, there would be problems!

Also those hard foam pieces that slide on the strut rod and fit the bellows have given me some trouble. The replacements seem to be made of very poor material as I broke one in two with little effort when assembling the strut. I can't imagine they will hold up twenty years like the originals.
 
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