emo Project Kujira: My Over-The-Top AZ-1 Build

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01 Jun 2017 16:50 #26668

@fxdlidon, it looks like you're right. Here's a picture of the HA21S RS/Z shifter and pedal assemblies.


Of note are the two cables. One is obviously attached to the accelerator but the other one appears to fit into the groove in the clutch pedal. Cable clutch? Not what I wanted but it certainly makes things easier. The last cable clutch car that I drove was pretty miserable but at least I don't have to make brackets to mount a master cylinder, I guess.

Here's the HA21S RS/Z FWD manual transmission. Not my exact one, but the same part. The bar on the far left appears to be the shifter mechanism. Lots of places to bolt a bracket to and very simple twist and in-and-out motion to shift gears.

Because I can, I looked up the HA11S Works FWD manual transmission. This one came in the F6A powered Alto Works. It appears to be an identical unit to the AZ-1 transmission except that it also has the mechanical shifter instead of a cable shifter. Scouring a few parts websites I haven't found any AZ-1 transmissions to do a direct comparison, but I am wondering if I can use OEM parts to convert these transmissions back and forth between mechanical shifter and cable shifter. But like a lot of other things on this project, I will have to put off thinking about it until my car arrives in November. Until then, the focus is on building this new engine. At 120,000km, this engine will receive new everything serviceable. I need a rebuild kit that includes all of the gaskets and bearings and tensioners. I will be getting new pistons and liners for this engine, but I haven't yet found any rods. It seems as though the general consensus in Japan is that the OEM rods are sufficient to handle the extra power that people are throwing at them, but "sufficient" is not good enough to me.

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01 Jun 2017 17:18 #26670

I thought it would be a cable clutch, they all seem to be.
The operating mechanism for the AZ-1 clutch gearbox is on the top of the gearbox but there is a blanking plate on the HA22 box on the top in the same position so the swap may well be simple, you'll only know when you get the 2 transmissions together to compare but my guess is that you will be able to do the swap.
As for a clutch I wouldn't recommend the Suzuki sport one


...that was one track day at around 130bhp!
I never found one that was satasfactory but I never tried the Excedy paddle one - I've got a brand new one that I never fitted, it would need the Excedy high pressure pressure plate.

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Last Edit: 01 Jun 2017 17:19 by fxdlidon. Reason: typo

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03 Jun 2017 22:12 #26673

Well that picture is horrifying! I was actually thinking about the Monster Sport metal clutch, pressure plate, and flywheel just because it should be better suited to the torque that I will be making (and because I can order through Amazon), but options seem pretty limited. I see OS Gilken and Exedy clutches available for auction but haven't found much about them because it seems that neither list the F6A or K6A as an available application in their catalogs. I did see that the Exedy pressure plate has a little less clamping force than the Monster Sport one, but there's no info about actual torque ratings beyond Nengun's Monster Sport listing which says that their clutches were designed for 200ps. It doesn't specify which one or even if they're different.

Potentially good news with the transmissions. We shall see how that plays out.

Last Edit: 05 Jun 2017 16:56 by randman2011.

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08 Aug 2017 14:51 #26740

I received a package yesterday.



I haven't had time to tear into it yet, but at least it is here now. I can start accumulating parts for it.

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15 Aug 2017 18:42 #26741

I figured that I should probably give a recollection on the fiasco that was the engine import process, so here it is from the beginning.

I contacted Trust to purchase the engine May 25th. After a series of incorrect invoices, I paid for the engine, transmission, and accessories May 28th. I was told on numerous occasions that Trust would arrange shipping to the US port but that I would be responsible for hiring a freight forwarder to handle US Customs and to ship it the rest of the way to me. I picked Philadelphia from a list of US international ports as the nearest to me and planned to handle Customs and transport from Philadelphia myself. Trust approved of this itinerary and told me that nothing else was needed from me until the package arrived in Philadelphia.

The engine shipped from Nagoya on June 22nd aboard the Bay Mountain Bridge vessel. I was able to look up the shipping schedule and found an ETA of July 19th. I also discovered that the package would be arriving in Los Angeles on July 5th where it would be unloaded and placed on a train. That train would be passing through Indianapolis 11 days later on its way to Philadelphia. I mentioned this observation to Trust who confirmed that they could have shipped it directly to Indianapolis for no additional cost (it would have actually been cheaper for them) but that it was too late to make changes to the shipping itinerary. It was again reiterated that nothing else was needed from me until the item arrived at the port.

Weeks later, I received an email from the shipping company informing me that the crate was on a train en route to Philadelphia and that it would arrive there Friday July 14th. I took that Thursday and Friday off of work and drove to Philadelphia, arriving at the Customs House Thursday at noon. I had already filled out a 7501 and 3520-1. I wasn’t aware of any other necessary documents aside from the Bill of Lading, original invoice, and packing slip that had been mailed to me by Trust back in June. I was there more than 24 hours early in case other forms were needed. The customs officer told me, however, that there was nothing that she could do with the completed paperwork until the crate was unloaded at the port the following day. She affirmed that I had the correct paperwork and gave some advice about how to fill out the sections that I had left blank.

I left, trying to enjoy Philadelphia, and called the receiving warehouse in the morning to check the engine’s status. I was told that it had not arrived at the warehouse and that the train had not yet been spotted at their checkpoint facility along the way, so I should call back Tuesday for another update. She affirmed that it would not arrive before then. So after a brief detour at Yuengling and Kennywood, I returned to Indianapolis empty-handed.

Knowing that I would not be able to take any more time off for travel, I began calling freight forwarders to handle shipment to Indianapolis. Knowing that I had been shipped original documents from Trust and knowing that freight forwarders would require these documents, I began calling freight forwarders in Indianapolis. Immediately, however, I ran into a problem. There were a grand total of zero freight forwarders in Indianapolis that were willing to handle personal shipments. Every single one of them said that they do commercial imports only. One suggested that I would have better luck calling around a larger port like Philadelphia and told me that they would not need original documents to file, so location is unimportant.

I immediately found a few companies in Philadelphia that would handle personal imports but ran into another, larger issue. Every import is required to have an accompanying Import Security Filing. And that is required to be submitted by the owner/importer (me) no less than 24 hours before the boat leaves the origin port, or almost a month prior to this discovery. The freight forwarders in Philadelphia were unable to help me because their insurance policies wouldn’t let them touch cases with missing paperwork like this. One suggested a larger company that might be able to handle it without exposing me to the risk of a $15,000 fine for a missing/late ISF.

Enter Paramount Transportation Systems, who happily picked up the case for the low low price of $1375 including shipping to my door. I gave them all of the documents that I had, including the filled out 7501 and EPA 3520-1 and waited. Before long, I received a forwarded email indicating that the customs broker assigned to my case had rejected the proposal. According to him, engines without an EPA certificate that are less than 21 years old cannot be imported into the US under any circumstances and that I would be responsible for any fees associated with destroying the shipment. Knowing that this was not the case, I provided examples of companies whose entire business is importing Japanese engines and had recent motors in stock. I had spent a fair amount of effort trying to figure out exactly how to file the paperwork for the EPA to do that and had not come up with anything, but only one item in the list of EPA exemptions applied to non-classic loose engines so the decision seemed easy enough. The customs broker didn’t buy it. He sent me what he thought was the phone number of an EPA employee and told me to ask him directly.

At this point I left for a two week business trip to the UK where I would be traveling without my personal phone. I had already called and left messages with several EPA employees and also with several JDM engine import companies, asking for advice with the import process and continued to make calls from my hotel room in England but never learned anything new. I provided regular updates on the lack of progress to my representative at PTS who forwarded them all on to the customs broker.

The engine arrived July 24th and, after I paid an additional $500 in dock and shipping fees, was ready for pickup Tuesday the 25th. I contacted PTS asking if any progress had been made on their end. After all, handling the customs documentation is what I’m paying them to do. Thursday afternoon they get back to me saying that they had not done anything with the paperwork that I had submitted to them. They would submit whatever documents that I provided but would list me as the importer so that I would be directly responsible for any fines or delays that came as a result of incorrectly populated paperwork. I told them to submit the paperwork that I had given them two weeks prior, and they did Friday morning. The paperwork was approved by Friday afternoon and was scheduled to be picked up Monday, the last day of storage offered by the port. If they missed that pickup date, the port would start fining me and wouldn’t release the crate until those fines were paid.

I hadn’t heard anything else on the subject until Wednesday when I contacted PTS. The shipper was supposed to have contacted me to schedule delivery as soon as the package was picked up. PTS said that delivery would be Thursday but they would call the trucker and have him confirm. I reiterated that I was out of the country and could try to have someone sign for the delivery but that it would be difficult. I was told that the shipping company could store the engine until I got back on Monday but that there would be an additional fee. The shipping company called my boyfriend, who didn’t want to be bothered with my package and scheduled delivery for Monday between 9 and 1 so that I could accept it myself. I was furious.

The package was delivered at 8:10 Monday morning. The engine is too small to fit on my engine stand so I had to make modifications to the stand. The engine was finally mounted on Sunday.



All in, I spent $4593 to acquire this $500 engine, $600 transmission, and $200 in engine ancillaries. And the engine’s harness had been cut out. And the ignition coils and spark plugs also weren’t included. Nor was the vehicle speed sensor. According to PTS, $900 of their fee was transportation from Philadelphia and wouldn't apply to future imports assuming that I pick the correct port next time. Although technically $1320 of their $1375 fee wouldn't apply since I wouldn't need a freight forwarder at all and I only need $55 to submit the ISF on time.

Last Edit: 15 Aug 2017 18:54 by randman2011.

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21 Nov 2017 18:18 #26888

It has been a long time since I posted, so I figured that it was time for an update. A lot has happened since August.

Since I was already importing a car, my boyfriend decided that his replacement for his two work vehicles might as well come from Japan also. He had me pick out a Jimny for him (not black, manual, convertible; he wasn't picky) and on our third attempt we won one at auction. Given the upcoming ship date for the Autozam, I tried really hard to convince the two different exporters to put the cars on boats that would arrive in Baltimore at a similar time. It just so happened that they ended up scheduled to arrive on the same day!

Thus began the obsessive refreshing of the vessel tracking website. The Jimny visited Jamaica and the Bahamas and seemed to be determined to recreate a certain Beach Boys song while the Autozam's vessel loitered in the American Pacific Northwest. The Jimny ended up being a day early while the AZ-1 was a day late into Baltimore, making me (correctly) fear that the customs paperwork for the AZ-1 wouldn't have been submitted by the time I arrived at port on Monday to pick it up. I couldn't cancel or change my plans, though, because I was returning from a business trip in the UK and flying directly into Baltimore on Sunday and needed to pick up the Jimny before my week of free storage at port expired (it arrived early, remember?).

I arrived in Baltimore Sunday night and met my boyfriend, who had been there all day. Monday we arrived at the port to pick up the Jimny and after going to the wrong Customs House and spending $80 in transportation costs, we had the paperwork approved and were given the keys to the car. It served as our transportation around Baltimore while we waited for the Autozam to be released. I was finally given the green light to pick up the Autozam Tuesday morning so I arrived at an escort service as they opened to get me into the port as soon as possible. We made it through the gate and all the way to the car rather quickly only to find that the battery was dead. The port sent someone to help me jump the AZ-1 and it started right up but died as soon as he removed the leads. There was no alternator belt.


The Jimny Monday morning when we got it out of the port.

The escort drove me between various auto parts stores while I called others to locate a belt around the size of 10x600mm (Factory Cappuccino size) which translated to 3L230 in freedom units. By lunch we had exhausted our options and my $50/hour fee for the escort service was quickly adding up, so we headed back to their headquarters. Towing the vehicle out of the yard with the Jimny was discussed so my boyfriend and I drove to the nearest Autozone to buy tow straps only to be told that towing with straps wouldn't work. So the port closed for lunch and my boyfriend and I wondered what the hell we were going to do. At some point during the day someone had mentioned the name of a local hole-in-the-wall car parts store so we tried there on our way to lunch. Two of the four walls were covered with belts and they very quickly found a 3L230 and 3L240 for me.

When the port opened again after lunch the escort and I were waiting. We paged the guy with the jump pack because he had offered to help install the belt and while we waited, I got under the car and tried to install it myself. I found that there was a different belt on the crank pulley in the spot where the alternator belt would go, but it was wrapped around something in front of the engine and the belt was inside out. I pulled it off (10x760) and worked to install the alternator belt myself. Even the 3L240 was too small but it was pretty close. I convinced the escort to take me back to the store where I bought a 3L250 and 3L270 (they were out of 260s) and returned to port. The 3L250 installed easily. The Autozam was jumped and left idling while I filled out the remaining paperwork.

It came without gas so after paying the escort we stopped immediately at a gas station. There, we decided that we needed to get on the road ASAP. We had planned to make the 600 mile trip from Baltimore to Indianapolis in one day and were many hours behind schedule due to the mishaps at the port, so we chose to ignore the possibly inadequate alternator belt and the battery that previously held no charge whatsoever. By the time we stopped for gas, it was already dark.


A rest stop in Pennsylvania after SOMEONE took a wrong turn.

The Autozam was driving perfectly. The steering was heavier than expect and it was especially darty on the highway. My boyfriend reported that the Jimny was impossible to turn unless the vehicle was in motion and that his average fuel economy was 15 mpg. It also had an exhaust leak that was filling the car with fumes unless the heater was on all the way. The Autozam failed to start and we ended up waiting around 15 minutes for some kids in a pickup truck to run and get their jumper cables for us.

It was well after midnight as we drove through Ohio. Fortunately the parents of my college room mate were pretty eager to see the cars so they offered us a bed in Columbus in exchange for some pictures in the morning. My boyfriend managed to start the Jimny while in gear and sheared the bolts holding the front bumper on when it rammed into the brick around their garage. The Autozam started on its own, though, so after some pictures we finished the remainder of our journey home on Wednesday.


A car that is smaller and lighter than my BRZ? Preposterous!

We registered the Jimny on Friday after one failed attempt Thursday. We weren't aware that we needed a police VIN inspection, so we got that done on both the Jimny and the Autozam on Friday. The AZ-1 was still waiting for the customs paperwork to arrive in the mail so its registration would have to wait.


Finally home!

Surprisingly the document envelope arrived on Saturday so I flew down to the BMV 30 minutes before they closed to register the Autozam but there were a few problems. The first was that my boyfriend had put white-out on my VIN inspection so that was no longer valid. The second was that the company that had handled the customs process had listed themselves as owner on all of the documents. The only form that contained my name was the VIN inspection, and since there was no proof of ownership I couldn't register it. I was told that I had two options to get the car registered. The first was that the import company would have to register it themselves in their name in their home state (California) and then "sell" the vehicle to me to be registered as an out-of-state purchase. Since this car will never be eligible for registration in California (stupid CARB) that wasn't an option. The second suggestion was for the customs company to register as a business in the state of Indiana and then grant me power of attorney so that I could register the vehicle in Indiana on their behalf, but that still wouldn't get it to be in my name.

I asked for statements from both the original exporter and the customs company explaining their role in this transaction and reiterating that I am the sole owner of the vehicle. They were provided on Sunday but the BMV was closed until Tuesday morning, so I had the VIN inspection redone and then had to wait.


Passing the time by cleaning it up.

The woman at the BMV this morning highly scrutinized those two written statements but ran it through the system with no issues. So there I leave this saga. Both of my cars have been imported, titled, and registered. License plates are on the way. Michael has already taken the Jimny offroad for his job and has confirmed that it was the perfect vehicle for the job. We both have a laundry list of things to address on both cars but they run reliably and nothing is keeping us from driving them now!

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21 Nov 2017 19:21 #26889

So I have been thinking about my original plans for this car in light of my firsthand experience driving it. My first thought is that there is no way that this car makes 64 horsepower. It is way faster than its power/weight figure suggests, to the point where I don't think that I will complain about driving it as-is for a whole year before starting the engine swap. I'd love to know how much power it is putting down now in stock form so I can adjust my target for the engine build. The only thing that I'm second-guessing at this point is the increase in displacement. I still plan to do the K6A swap. I still plan to invest in upgraded rods and pistons and the Monster Sport valve springs and retainers to allow the engine to spin well into five digits. I'm just not convinced anymore that it needs the extra 60cc that comes from the large bore pistons and sleeves since the VVT K6A will provide quite a bit more torque and low-end flow than the F6A does, and the GT1446 that I have chosen is both smaller and considerably newer than other turbos that I have seen mated to a stock-displacement F6A.

I quite like the gearing in the Autozam. It suits the F6A perfectly and is still comfortable while cruising at superlegal speeds. With more low end torque the gears might feel too close together after the K6A swap, but at least the new transmission that I have acquired for the swap has a numerically lower 5th ratio.

There is no way that my Autozam has the stock suspension. It is well mannered over the rough roads that we have here in Indianapolis but I would not describe the ride as "too soft" as is often the complaint against the stock springs and struts. I haven't had an opportunity to check for markings on my struts but I can say that they look unusually clean for a car of this age. I will be holding off purchasing any suspension components until I have had a chance to push the handling in warm weather next year, but as it stands I am very happy with the suspension.

I haven't tried the brakes yet. They work just fine for casual driving but I don't know how they are in a panic stop or aggressive driving. I am happy to leave them as-is for now until they need maintenance. At that point I will be doing a hub, rotor, and caliper swap from a 1995-2001 Geo Metro because parts will be much more available and inexpensive. They are also larger, so that is a plus. I have heard that the Metro guys are able to grab the rotors and calipers off the front of the V6 Sonatas of the 90s and bolt those on as a cheap upgrade. I will be looking into that option more. I may end up with Sonata front brakes and Metro rears depending on how the brake biasing is in this car.

I purchased a set of white TE37s in 4x114.3 14x5.5 +45 to keep the same appearance but to make some performance tires available to me. They are getting hard to find, but I can get some Kumho Ecsta PS31 UHP summer tires in 165/55R14 and keep the same overall diameter while only increasing the width 10mm. My personal favorite (but highly unlikely) option is Dunlop Direzza ZII Star Specs in 185/60R14, the stock Miata size. They are 200 treadwear extreme performance summer tires and what both my dad and I use on our daily drivers. I doubt that they will fit on the front but I am hoping that they will fit under the fenders at the rear to give me lots of extra grip for the extra power that this car will be putting down. I have some junk 185/60R14 tires at home that I have already mounted to two of my new wheels for test fitment but I haven't had the time to install them yet.

It appears as though the previous owner tapped into the wiring for the front speakers and rerouted that signal to some hilariously shitty bookshelf speakers Velcroed to the carpet behind the seats. Those need to go ASAP as does the period-correct aftermarket Japanese radio. I will reroute the front channel back to the speakers in the door and then I'm hoping to add a rear channel once I find a place to mount the speakers.

I still have the Acura TL projectors and a spare set of AZ-1 headlights to be used as templates for a projector/HID retrofit. The car came with bottom-shelf HIDs in the stock halogen housings and they are about as useless as the vintage sealed beams that came on my Miata. I bought a set of battery terminal adapters so that I can swap in a lightweight US battery once this one completely craps out. My electronic gauge cluster is ready to be swapped into the Autozam. The only two things preventing further progress are that it needs a controller to drive the speedo and the electronic speed sensor that I purchased is mounted in the new transmission in my basement so I need to either swap it into the stock transmission or go ahead and install the new transmission. Most of that will have to wait until next year because temperatures are about to drop below freezing and I am also completely broke now. Houses are expensive.

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21 Nov 2017 21:31 #26890

Ive been following your work in your various threads all over the internet. They are all a good read. While i dont have an autozam i do have a wagon r which is fairly similiar. I think i read in one of yoir posts you lived out near albany ny, i have a house in sloansville but i currently spend most of my time in europe.
Im waiting for you to start your build so i can get some info for mine. Im not going to go crazy but i do want to make it better. I really need to stay with boltons though, nothing that cant be undone.

If this is your first 3 cylinder turbo im not surprised you think its faster than it should be. They are all very quick up to about 70 then taper off quickly. The low weight and relatively high torque of these motors really are a good package.

Keep on posting here from time to time. It seems like this forum is dying but im hoping it picks back up. Its so hard to find good infoon these cars.

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23 Nov 2017 18:27 #26895

Nice looking AZ-1 - welcome to the world of ultra sharp steering and general great fun :)
Suzuki and Mazda cheated when they built the F6A for the cappo and AZ-1, the 64bhp limit was measured at the crank not the wheels so they actually make closer to 74.
195 tyres will fit although they need a 5mm spacer on the front (that was with a 38mm offset). I have 195/40 15s on mine although on track 175/55-13 AO38s were definitely the best!

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