The RX-7 in California didn't work out when the car wasn't running when I arrived. I was disappointed, but felt like I had dodged a bullet. After all if the car wasn't complete when I arrived, what might have been hidden for me to find if the car was running with apparently nothing wrong? In my frustration after returning I posted a want-to-buy ad and waited for a response.
Pretty quickly I started getting responses to my ad, one of which was a great looking red Base model in Florida. After calling to talk with the owner the complete description and ppictures all looked pretty good, and the car matched all my criteria:
1993 Red Base model with no sunroof, with 17000 miles on a motor rebuilt with 3mm apex seals, and a GT35R single turbo. Most of the reliability modifications had been done, and the car was sitting on a good tune. After talking with the owner and getting some pictures everything looked good to go, so I made plans to go down to Florida for a couple days and bought plane tickets.
In person the car was in great shape, just about as good as the owner described in our texts and forum messages. The paint was in excellent shape and I could tell that it would be beautiful with a good detail in the Spring. The interior of the car was also in excellent condition. Everything appeared to be in order under the hood as well, and I was of course drawn in by the power I felt during the ride-along I took when I met the car for the first time.
My Wife and I drove the car back to Chicago over a weekend in the beginning of November, stopping over in Tennessee for the night to rest and see my Dad. Since I had no plates on the car and was travelling with only the title and bill of sale I took it easy on the drive back to keep from attracting too much attention. The only police encounter I had was the first time I stopped for gas, and the officer filling up at the same station really just wanted to compliment me on how clean the car was.
The Monday night after I got back to Chicago, I drove out to the suburbs to show off my new toy. I was excited to finally have the car home and in such a good state, but I was disappointingly unable to have too much fun due to the low temperatures and no grip.
The next morning I got hit with a downside to having a small PC680 battery: they don't hold a charge well in cold weather. The night before had been below freezing with a good frost setting in overnight, and slow cranking made the low charge obvious. After sitting for a few minutes to get a jump the car started up without a problem. After I got the car back into town I ordered a battery tender, which I immediately needed when the car cranked slowly again after sitting in freezing weather for a couple of days. Once charged I tested it out by starting the car, which I let idle for a couple minutes before shutting it off and going inside.
Unfortunately this was the last time I could get the car to start at all on my own.
Once I had supplies to do an oil change I went out to drive the car to the store so I could buy a drain pan and let the oil heat up. When I went out to start the car though it cranked and cranked but just would not start. The engine didn't stumble, pop, backfire, explode, burn to the ground, or make any sounds at all which I would associate with gasoline being ignited by a spark. After some reading I decided I had probably just flooded the engine, so set about doing deflood procedures.
When I couldn't get the car started using normal methods I decided to pull the spark plugs and replace them with new ones all around. I checked for spark on each plug to make sure I didn't have a bad connection, and I smelled fuel when I tried to turn over, but still couldn't start the car so I kept going. I pulled the new plugs back out and cleaned them up, and cranked the car with over to blow any gas out of the plug holes. I was successful and few rags dirty, which reinforcing my belief that this was a flooding issue.
I put everything back together and waited for my battery to recharge, and tried to start again, but still it cranked and cranked but would not start. It was time to go to someone else, someone who already had experience with these cars.