Friday, May 13, 2011

Dope. #49

Photo courtesy of Haris(?) on Flickr

Thursday, May 12, 2011

What to watch this weekend (May 12th - May 15th)

  • Speedmakers. Daytona resurfacing. The repaving of the legendary Daytona Speedway, requiring 50,000 tons of asphalt. Thursday @ 9pm - 10pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD) replay at 9am Friday
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Friday @ 9pm - 11pm (Discovery's HD Theater) 1st season replays
  • Isle of Man TT 2010 - Episode 3 of 2010's seasonal coverage. Saturday @ 12pm - 1pm (Discovery's High Def Theater) replay
  • Rolex Sports Car Series. The Bosch 250 at Virginia International Raceway (VIR). Sunday @ 12pm - 3pm (SPEED/SPEEDHD) not a live telecast
  • WRC - Rally Jordan. Days 1 through 3. Sunday @ 11:30am - 1pm (Discovery's HD Theater) not a live telecast - preview starts at 10:30am
Image courtesy of

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Red Coupe - More Power Pt.4

The next day was a hot one. I got back to the shop the following Saturday to put a solid five hours in before returning home for a much needed night out with the wife. This was a small break in the middle of money spending and daily lack of sleep. I spent the whole week researching solutions to multiple future scenarios regarding this engine exchange, as well as possible management problems, etc. Since this engine is both higher in compression (~9.5:1 vs 8.8:1) and larger in displacement (+ .3 liters) I was concerned with leaning out high in the rpm band to redline, as is known to happen. The opposite problem would be being pig rich with the 19lb injectors, with the ECU thinking they're 14lb, so the prior all-stock solution was the plan we'd go with for the sake of reliability. I didn't want to get the car running to be put on ice again and I didn't want to buy a 'temporary solution' chip right now, because I have a plan for management down the road.

After yesterday's motor install the car was sitting with a long block/trans installed with no intake manifold, accessories or coolant hoses attached. The wiring harness wasn't installed either, and that seemed like it would turn into the biggest pain in the ass so I took that on first. Before that though, I did some odd cleaning of debris in the bay and did some logistical analysis on where all the coolant hoses that were left were supposed to go; some of them would be skipped anyways as the intake manifold/tb wouldn't be installed.

Once the logistics were sound, I started putting things back to where they were supposed to be. This was tricky because I didn't want to go too far in some areas, because Tim would just be taking it all back off again the following day. I got the engine harness mocked up and went about snapping the harness seal into the firewall and connected to the ECU; a large flat head screwdriver and a shop rag worked wonders. Things were going good until I saw a connector in the glovebox that didn't have a wire to plug into it; I then spent 40 minutes searching the web in the back seat (thank you EZtether app) and found out why there wasn't a plug; the harnesses between early (87') and late (89+) cars were just about the same, but certain functions were managed through the ECU so the missing plug was fine. In the rush of removing the harness over a week ago, I didn't remember what was there by default. This was one of many lessons learned during this swap that I'll take with me. I got the glovebox buttoned up after some trial and error and continued the mock up in the engine bay.

When the smoke cleared, this (above) is where I left off. I poured break-in oil (blue) over the valvetrain so that would be nice and lubed for the first start up and I left the rest to Tim when he was able to get to in the following day. I can't really detail his side of things, but he spent ~20 hours between Sunday and Monday to get things together; getting the shift linkage hooked back up, bolting in the engine mounts, getting the accessories back on, routing coolant lines and sorting out the intake manifold/connections. I showed up late Monday night after work to give him a hand to button the finals up so we could at least get an engine crank; but when the key turned we got nothing. We thought the starter was bad at the time, but fast forward to last Wednesday, it turns out I didn't bolt the ground strap to the block tight enough and it loosened during transit...guh. What do I mean by transit you ask? After the final push to get things together during Monday's twilight hours we were stuck with a starter that didn't spin. Since there was about 5% left and Tim was beyond burnt out (ditto), I had Euromotive diagnose the starter problem and do a coolant flush (that we didn't get to do) while I ran about town in a Kia Forte (thanks again Nick). Transit was by flatbed, an all too familiar sight over the years; AAA+ comes through like no other.

Fast forward to this past Friday afternoon. I had a dentist appointment at 1pm in Havre De Grace. I went from there to the Wendy's for a #1 combo with water in Forrest Hill, to Euromotive to eat while watching a terrible Western in the waiting room. I came early that day to see if any help was needed to clean up an exhaust leak that reared it's head due to a small piece of metal that came off the original intake manifold (how I couldn't remember), but they were already done. The car was run, cycled, driven and topped off with coolant. I spent the rest of the afternoon shootin' the sht with the guys before leaving with my Kia to return later to retrieve the car. The ~6 mile drive home that night was odd; I had kind of forgotten how high the clutch engaged from a stop and the stereo and clock needed resetting...but the sound was right and I realized how much I missed being behind the wheel.

This past Saturday, I finally got a chance to clean the car up a bit. I woke up after 6 hours of sleep for some reason, even though I was dead tired the night before. I haven't had this kind of feeling in a long time; a X-mas day anxious feeling. I spent the afternoon cleaning the car and afterward decided to drive it to my family's place in Silver Spring. Let's just say I gave the car a thorough shakedown. There's much more to do before I'm done in the engine bay, but a major upgrade has been crossed off my E30 wish list. First and foremost I'd like to thank Tim for all the time he put in even though his plate was full, Ian for helping with the de-install, Dave for poppin in and helping Tim that last Sunday afternoon, AAA Plus for the flatbed comp, my breh-in-law Nick for the rental help to keep my sanity during my 100+ mile daily commute and the guys at Euromotive for all the effort to help me get this accomplished. Here's a treat for all of you who read through this long-ass post:

The next thing on the list is a few check panel alerts and some connector replacements. A dyno baseline wouldn't be a bad idea either; I'd like to see if the stock management is keeping up air/fuel ratio-wise. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Quick Vid: Autocar reviews of the all-new Ferrari FF

Ferrari has jumped into the all wheel drive ring in surprising fashion; not only is this a four wheel drive Ferrari, it's a four seater hatchback! Check out the review of this controversial new model from Maranello, conducted by Autocar.

The Red Coupe - More Power Pt.3

After the engine bay was cleaned, it got dirty. The car was sitting outside with the hood off and essential electronics covered, for the sporadic rainstorms that were off and on all week, so the bay was covered with pollen and helicopter seeds from all the Maple trees that surrounded the shop. This development ended up being the least of our problems. Since no work was performed over the work week due to other obligations and what not, we were in a crunch to keep this adventure from spilling into another week. I'd rented a car (thanks Nick) through this day of activity, but now I'd rely on my grey subframe scraper to get me from place to place which wore on me quickly due to the long commute from northern Maryland. Meanwhile I was trying to get the grey hatch to pass emissions, but that story can wait for another day.

Over the week I did more research and ordered a few parts from my friends at Euromotive. I needed a few items here and there that had broken over the years, plus once I learned that all of the coolant, fuel rail and harness stuff from my 89' motor would have to be swapped over, including my clutch fan, I decided to get a new metal impeller waterpump. Along with these developments the time this operation would take to perform grew quite a bit. One positive was when Tim dismantled the timing belt cover, distributor and wires; I remembered all the things the Andre (the seller) told me had gotten damaged and needed replacement; timing belt cover and distributor rotor (he provided me spares for those items). More trips to the part washer were needed to clean up the replacement parts and the parts that were going to be reused but came off during the process. Thankfully we didn't have to remove the timing belt or tensioner which made things easier since that would be another task on the every growing list of things to get done.

Since I was using a powdercoated intake manifold for this motor I acquired from Guten Parts, I had to swap a ton of items over from that as well. But due to motor differences, I would need plenty from my original motor as well. This process was a slow, meticulous grind. Between tasks, I took some electrical tape to exposed spaghetti in the engine harness and took a mental tally of all the wiring that would need to be cleaned up after this process was completed. I would need a few new connectors as well. 20 year old plastic is extremely brittle.

In order to make sure we got some major work done on this day of wrenching, Tim came up with a plan to keep us from getting stuck in a tar pit doing all the hundreds of small tasks that were needed, and instead get some big stuff out of the way which required a lift among other things. We decided to not finish completing the long block and instead get the transmission cleaned up, then install the new clutch and throwout bearing (a SPEC stage 2 Kevlar unit), new clutch fork and fork clip. A heavy duty brass pivot pin from Pelican Parts was a 13mm deep-socket tap-in affair. After 30 minutes of cycling Spray-9, brushing and hand powered pressure washing (see trans below), we were on to the air-pressure dryin', lithium greasin' and clutch installin'. I helped Tim bring the trans and block together like lamb and tuna fish, then we very carefully dropped the motor into the bay. Things were looking up.

Next up...all the little things we didn't get to.