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Published 2007 Updated 2013

FAQ Section

Question: ARP bolt FAQ's?

Answer: Read about them here

Question: What are the vehicle dimensions?

Answer: Read about that here.

Question:I have a bad leak by the tach cable on the distributor. How do I fix it?

Answer: Go here to read about the dialog that came up with the solution as well as part numbers.

Question: When did the later recirculating steering box first appear?

Answer: It was some time in the 1969 model year. Sid Raper was good enough to come up with the answer. Sid says "According to the parts book, the split happened at VIN SPL311-25000 and SRL311-09001. From what I understand, there are some on either side of the split that are "wrong" from the factory though."

Question: What bulbs do I need?

Answer: You can find out by clicking here!

Question: How do I adjust my valves?

Answer: You can read it by clicking here!

Question: How in the heck do I adjust those SUs on my 1600?

Answer: You can read it by clicking here!

Question: What is the minimum thickness for a 1600 head?

Answer: 3.246"

Question: What is the stock thickness for a U20 head?

Answer: 4.528"-there is no documented minimum thickness.

Question: How do I replace that leaky rear main seal?

Answer: Mark Hatch was good enough to share his write up he did some time ago on rear main seal replacement. It is geared toward the 2 liter but applies to the 1600's as well. You can read it by clicking here! Thanks Mark!

Question: What is the best non-toxic stuff for removing undercoating?

Answer: Steve Harvey asked the list for help and ended up using DE-SOLV-IT. This stuff is great and I don't have to worry about blowing myself up with my open flame gas heater running. Available at many hardware stores such as Ace.

Question: What are speed bleeders and where can I get them

Answer: Speed bleeders replace the existing bleeders. They have a one way valve built in them which makes bleeding brakes a breeze. They are 3/8" x 24 TPI thread. Speedbleeders part number is SB3824 for both front and rear. You can visit their website to read more or order them by clicking here! There is one gotcha though. On the front brakes there is a small ball bearing that must be removed in order for the speed bleeder to fit properly. Use a small magnet to remove the ball bearing and you should be good to go.

Question: What kinds of rims and tires fit on the roadster?

Answer: Thanks to Brian Hollands and a little work by me you can go here to find out.

Question: What are the bolt sizes for the frame and components?

Answer: You can thank Tim Waltz and Patrick Mahoney for this info. You can go here to find out!

Question: Are there any other seats that will fit in the roadsters?

Answer: Yes, early Miata seats(90-95 era) fit well and look great. At around $250.00 a pair here in California they are a deal. You can read about installing them here!

Question: Can a 5 speed be put into an early 1600?

Answer: Yes, with the proper parts and some preparation. The 4 speeds are best suited for around town driving and the 5 speed is for freeway cruising. You can read about it by going here!

Question: How do I de-smog a later car?

Answer: First you need to recurve the distributor to the early car specs of 7.5 degrees. There are several ways to accomplish this.

  • 1. Recurve with internal parts for an early distributor-springs, backing plate and weights.
  • 2. Replace existing distributor with a rebuilt early distributor.
  • 3. Replace existing distributor with one of Gary Boone's EI distributors.(My choice)

For installing a new distributor you can go here to read about that!

Next, you will need to remove the air injection tubes and plug the holes in the head and intake manifold. The holes in the head are 10MM X 1.5 Pitch. There was someone making plugs for the head on the list and I believe Ralleye also sells them. The intake fittings are a real bear to remove and you might just want to pull the intake to get them out. You can then retap them for a standard threaded plug. There are actually four things to do to completely desmog the later intake. Plug the two holes in the top where the ait tubes went. Remove and plug the small nipple on the balance tube towards the front. Remove the electrical device with the wires coming out of it on the front side of the balance tube. You can pull it off and use the base as a template to make a solid plate to bolt on where it used to go.

Reset the timing to 0 degrees TDC, start her or him up and fine tune the timing for optimum performance. You can also static time with points by leaving the ignition key on and moving the dizzy until you get a spark. Tighten the dizzy down and you should be very close. An R16 is 16 degrees BTDC at around 600 RPMs.

It was recently pointed out that you should change out the needles in your carbs to the non-smog type as well. Makes sense to me and never having done a smogged car I missed that tid-bit the first time around. Thanks TR!

That pretty much covers de-smogging a later car.

Question: How do I do a compression check?

Answer: A compression check will give you a good indication of the condition of your motor. It is best to warm the motor up before doing a compression check. If you cannot get the motor started go ahead and do the check any way. Below are the steps for doing a compression check:

  • 1. Remove the high tension lead from the coil to the distributor.
  • 2. Remove all of the spak plugs marking the wires as you remove them.
  • 3. Remove the air cleaner assembly and prop the piston of the carbs wide open along with the throttle plates.
  • 4. Install the compression checker into spark plug hole #1.
  • 5. Crank the engine over several times and jot down the reading
  • 6. Do this for the other cylinders writing down the reading each time.

All of the readings should be plus or minus 10 PSI of each other. An example would be #1-170,#2-175 #3-165, and #4-170. These would be considered okay. Ideally you want them all even but realistically that rarely happens especially on an older motor. If you have a really low reading that indicates a problem. It could be worn rings, valve not seating, or a bent push rod to name a few.

Next we will do a second set of readings with a squirt of oil in each cylinder. The procedure is the same as above just squirt some oil into the spark plug hole before you install the compression checker. Write down the readings once again. If the readings stay low out of spec you may have some issues with your head. You can try adjusting the valves but if that does not remedy the problem. It is time for a valve job. If the readings go up then your rings are worn out and need replacing.

That pretty much covers doing a compression check.

Question: How do I adjust the floats on the later SUs with the hinged floats?

Answer: Adjustment of the hinged floats can really cause problems if not done properly. Remove the float bowl covers, clean the float bowls, remove old sediment, check and then adjust the float setting if neccessary. You can do this by turning the cover upside down and with a 1/8" drill bit. Set the drill bit accross the cover. The float tab should just touch the bit. Do not apply force to the float, just let it rest on its own weight. Ensure the needle is moving and seating properly. Reinstall the cover. This should get you real close to optimal setting. Make any adjustments to your idle mixture by turning the very bottom thumb screws counter clockwise to richen and clockwise to lean. You can then check the settings by disconnecting the coil wire, removing the pistons. Crank the engine over several times to get the fuel flowing. Peer down into the jets and the fuel level should be just below the top of the jets and very close to equal.

Question: Something electrical does not work or only works intermittently? How can I fix it?

Answer: There is no real simple solution to elelctrical problems but a process of elimination usually provides good results. A couple of tools you might need are a 12V test light and a multi-meter. Most electrical problems if they were not caused by some PO's modifications are caused by poor grounds, dirty, corroded conections or a short in the wire. Shorts are by far the hardest to find. Get your hands on a good wiring diagram. Begin by tracing the circuit in question. You can check for continuity and voltage with your multi- meter. Is the circuit getting power? Pull all connections apart, clean thoroughly and apply some dielectric grease available from NAPA Auto Parts. If you are getting power and still have a non-functioing electrical device then the ground is definitely suspect. Hang in there and you will succeed. There are a few more electrical trouble shooting tips can be found here! Also you can go the touched up wiring diagrams here and hopefully they will assist you in your trouble shooting.

Question: How do I remove the body from the frame?

Answer: You can read all about that by clicking here!

Question: What oil filters fit the roadster?

Answer: You can find out about that by clicking here!

Question: I have heard people talk about a Volvo brake conversion. How hard is that to do?

Answer: You can read all about that by clicking here!

Question: I picked up this roadster but it has not run in who knows how long. What should I do?

Answer: You can read all about that by clicking here!

Question: What is the deal with the H20 forklift parts and the R16?

Answer You can read all about that by clicking here!

Question:What kinds of shocks are available for the roadsters?

Answer:You can read all about that by clicking here!

Question: Where are the zerk fittings for the front end?

Answer: You can read all about that by clicking here!