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.

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