Thursday, January 31, 2013

You like working on cars, right? The sequel

So there I was almost ready to crank her up.  The engine had oil, so next up was adding coolant aka water aka the wet stuff.

Round 1: I begin filling the radiator up and everything is going smoothly, until all of a sudden a leak springs free from the hard line tube that runs into the block.  I drain the water, pull the exhaust heat shield and remove the tube.  Turns out the O-ring was effed.  I run to Lowes and then subsequently Advance to find a new O-ring.  I find one, bam, back in business.  I put everything back together.

Round 2:  I fill Sandy back up with H2O and this time no leaks, hurray!  Now, as per my break-in procedure I need to crank the motor without firing and make sure I have oil pressure.  So I pull the plug wires, disconnect the CAS, say a few prayers and turn the ignition.

Round 3: RRrrrraarrrrRRRraarrrrRRRaaaarrrrrr says the starter but my mechanical oil pressure gauge is reading zero.   Hmmmm, I think to myself maybe the gauge line is damaged or blocked.  After removal and inspection all appears to be well with the gauge and adapter. My next thought is the motor or oil pump is shit.  Cool.  I find some literature online saying the oil pump sometimes needs to be primed with either extra oil or jacking up the rear of the car so that the oil runs to the front of the pan, priming said pump.  So I lift the rear and get to cranking.  RRrrrraarrrrRRRraarrrrRRRaaaarrrrrr voila!!!! OIL PRESSURE!!!! Hurray!

Round 4: I say several more prayers while re-attaching the ignition components.  Now I am ready for that fateful moment when gasoline and air and spark all mix together to create that sound we all know and love. I close my eyes, press in the clutch and turn the key. RRrrrraarrrrRRRraarrr   KaaabbllaArAArRrRaaaRAA   SHE'S ALIVE!!!!  And water is gushing out of the back of the block faster than something-something-something at a frat party, so I immediately kill the engine.

Round 5: I notice there is a 1/4 inch plug missing from the back of the head.  I search my old motor, find the missing part, pull it, then re-install it on the new motor.  Fire up the motor again, this time no leaky! But then I hear a loud crrlarghnt crrlagnt crrlANGT CRRLANGT!  So I shut the motor down again, fearing major internal damage.  It  seems the idler pulley had decided to come loose and try to eat the alternator belt. I spend half an hour trying to stretch the belt back into the correct position and then tighten the pulley up.

Round 6: 6 times a charm apparently.  I fired her back up and basked in the warmth of exhaust fumes in a closed garage.

Next up: final prep before Sandy gets back on track

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

You like working on cars, right? Part 1

Well kids the day has finally arrived.  My brand new(to me) motor was all together and ready for me to pick up; after I made my third easy payment, of course.  On a side note, to honor some of my new found followers, I will be using, extra punctuation in this episode.  Ok back to the adventure...

This is one wing of the BSI headquarters.  If you can't tell from the blurry picture, they have a lot of Miatas, this made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  They recently acquired a Dynojet dynomometer, so I might be back in the near future to fully harness the power in Sandy's new beating heart.

Here she is freshly wrapped (insert condom joke here).  Now back to the bat-cave to begin the part-swap process.

So fresh and so clean...

Old motor sans trans.  I purchased this badass motorcycle jack at a yard sale for $10.  It works perfectly for a transmission jack.  Thank you AssMase for the engine hoist.

My plan was to reuse all the ancillaries from the old motor as long as I could clean them up and make sure they were in good condition.

Flywheel off

Flywheel post sandpaper rub sesh

Since everything was off I figured I might as well try to clean the 18 year old grime off. 

2 hours of cursing and scrubbing later we get this fine specimen.  Next up the new clutch parts go on the new motor

 Then new parts onto the transmission

After I thought everything was in place I created a sweet trans-loading-tray out of Styrofoam and slid the transmission into the engine.  Very nice!

Except I forgot that I am an idiot and didn't install the gasket that goes between the engine and trans.  So the next day I had to take everything off that I had spent the last night putting on and then do it all over again.  This will become the ongoing theme in this engine swap process.

When I removed the exhaust manifold from the old motor there was a little surprise waiting for me.  I had blown a hole in both sides of the block!!!  Pretty impressive, I know.  Side note I will entertain any/all sponsorship offers.

 Here is the exhaust and a couple other items installed on the left side of the new motor.

Coil packs, plugs, wires and all the crap on the rear of the motor made a seamless transition.

 Pre-Intake manifold and fuel rail.

There is a deep metaphorical significance to this photo that I haven't quite figured out yet.  The heart was ready for Sandy's willing embrace.  All I needed now were a couple strong lads who didn't mind spending their weekend moving metal around.

Check.  Mason can be seen demonstrating the Dirty Dactyl warrior dance mid-Taco Bell dining.  Crew Chief Kyle is content merely chewing and viewing.

Alright back to it, shes airborne.

Blue Steel?

And just like that kids.  I would love to say that it didn't take us much time at all to drop it in, but that would be a lie, and you can't lie on the internets.  It was one of those learn-as-you-do ordeals.  

After 3 or so hours of taking parts off, or changing the tilt, or raising and lowering the car we finally got the motor in place only to realize that the reverse switch plug wasn't in the transmission, instead it was hanging playfully beneath it.  The problem was that the switch is mounted almost at the very top of the trans, which makes it impossible to get to when the motor is in place.  We tried for an hour or so to reach it from the bottom.  No luck.  Next we tried to get access with a big monkey wrenc from inside the car through the shifter hole.  No luck.  So we took off the drive shaft and tried to swing the rear of the transmission down.  No luck.  Then we removed the longitudinal brace that locates the transmission.  No luck.  At this point we had probably put in 2 hours trying to attach this plug.  Finally we arrived at the only feasible option, pull the whole motor and trans back out again.  Fock.  Well I can  tell you this, Kyle and I got really good at attaching and removing motor mounts. So yeah, hopefully next time is a long time away. 

Well there she is.  The only thing keeping me from starting it was the thermostat housing.  For some reason this motor came with a 1.6L thermostat housing so the mounting flange was 90 degrees from where I needed it.  But I was too excited to let something as simple as that keep me from hearing Sandy's freshly beating heart.

So I topped her off with super thick break-in oil with extra zinc to make the bearings happy.

I then went to Advance Auto and bought some flexible radiator hose and Jerry-rigged the set-up pictured above.  The awkward tubing arrangement meant that the intake had to stick up in the air all badass like that. 

In the next installment we will explore the process involved to get the motor running...