Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Progress Is Like Sweet Sweet Wine...

The mount issues are solved for now. The black driver's side bushing McKinney sent with the yellow one is completely unreinforced. It is just a piece of molded, stretchy plastic. So when we tried to tighten down the bolts it just compressed and started squeezing out the sides of the washers. To solve we hammered in a steel insert into the hole of the bushing. Now the nut tightens down no problem, and with no squishing. Sent those giant bolts through the frame, and watched as the frame compressed when we tightened down the bolts. So on top of everything else, the kit should have come with a spacer to brace the frame legs to prevent distortion. Whatever, it's done, I'll stop getting pissed now.

Powdercoating came out pretty nice. I am pretty disapointed with the coil cover, he didn't put enough red on it and it has a pink tint in the center. Lucky for him I'm getting a plate badge that will cover the imperfection, otherwise he'd be doing it over. Everthing is back on and looks nice but I still have so much crap to buy, at least another grands worth.

Ran the battery wire to the trunk, relocated the climate control on the dash to make room for gauges, cleaned up my wiper arms, got the throttle cable hooked up (needs very little modification). Justin helped me install the driveshaft and it looks like it fits so I'm happy for now. Wheels should be mounted this week so I can finally install the suspension.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Coming Together...

In a completely platonic way of course. The anchor is in the boat, as Justin would say, and I couldn't be happier. Actually yes, yes I could be happier, and that will be when the things turns over for the first time.

As for my breakdown last month, well, you have to do something like this to truly understand. Sometimes it feels like a big hand reaches in my chest and pulls all my energy and ambition straight out, throws it down, and pounds it into the ground. After wasting another entire weekend modifying this oil pan to fit with the McKinney kit, I finally sealed her back on. And it would appear that all our efforts were well worth it, because there are zero clearance issues with the pan now.

Install wasn't too bad, but since this was our 3rd try we had no excuse to fuck it up. Most of the trouble was lining up the mount bolts with the engine brackets, but the engine itself went in like a champ. We ended up having to space the driver side mount quite a bit, and instead of using a bunch of washers (as McKinney suggests) Justin helped me cut up a 1/4 inch aluminum plate, I swear he's got the best crap just laying around in that shop. Drilled a hole through it and wedged it between the mount plate and the bushing and that was that. Taking the balancer off was a huge help with install. Happy to report no major injuries or fatalities, just one smooshed wire and a late ass night.

One thing we might need to do is replace the oil line on the rear turbo. I wish I had known that this would be yet another issue with the McKinney kit. They do mention it in their worthless instruction book (for RB25 I might add), but not to the extent of "you need to physically move this line," no all they do is show a crappy picture of how close it is to the steering rack. Yes, everyone knows this, but one of the features of this mount kit is supposed to be the handling of this problem. We ended up gently persuading it with a crowbar to get the engine to sit. I want to replace it with stainless steel line, but that will be very difficult now that the engine is in. Thanks again McKinney.
We still need to properly secure the engine mounts by sending some thick bolts throught the frame. Once we get it on the lift again we'll also get the drive shaft and downpipe hooked up. I bought a used McKinney downpipe from a guy for cheap, only to find out that it is mild steel. This is some fucked up repugnant shit right here, a mild steel downpipe and they want $500 for it new?? To be fair it is a "Touge" product, so I don't know if McKinney has everything to do with that rediculous markup. Still though, that shit is re-goddamn-diculous. Hell, my brand new all stainless 3inch exhaust cost less that that crap! Here's the other thing, this kid bought this product new from them to install on his S13, and the shit didn't even fit! He had to call their asses up and they instructed him to dent it more. For fucks sake, there is a section of pipe that is restricted to less than an inch. That is not a "direct bolt on," and should not be advertised as such, I've about had it with McKinney's crap. If you are going to charge an arm and a leg for a specialty product, go ahead, but don't wait until after people buy it to tell them that "additional modifications may be needed."

I have yet to line up their driveshaft that was also incredibly overpriced. If I find one thing off with the fitment of that piece I'm going to lose my shit, and proceed to paint them black on the forums.
In any event, I'm glad I found a used downpipe, at least to get the car running it will serve it's purpose and be worth the $$.

Yesterday I took my valve covers, timing covers, and coilpack cover off to prep for powdercoating. I removed the label plate from the coilpack cover, scraped off all the nasty double stick tape (smelled like rotton ass) and used a polishing tool to grind off the raised edge. I wanted to grind it down smooth, but that well is stamped into the part, and I didn't want to chance grinding a hole through it. I'd like to get some aluminum letters made, "GT" in silver, and "R" in red. We'll see. In any case I'm dropping that stuff off this weekend, the cover color is going to be black with red and maybe some silver flake, also getting my rear intake pipe coated to match the plenum, and some pulleys done in plain black. All of my accessories will be red, BOV, AN fittings... I'm really glad I waited until now to do this because the belt cover got aluminum shavings in it from the oil pan debacle, and I was glad to get it out of there. I'm trying to unload some stuff on the forums to make some new bumper money, it's $250 shipped brand new.

Also, let me just talk about glass headlights for a second here. USA automakers-what is wrong with you? Why do you further cheapen our cars and image with plastic headlight covers? Is it really that much cheaper? Couldn't you afford to swallow the $5 profit loss by including glass as a standard feature? I'm saddened by this.

Found a glass pair for $450, and they need a slight mod for the high beams to work properly. I've also seen some plastic JDM versions with black housings for $250, damn good deal.

Wheels came in last week from Edge Racing and I'm really happy with them and the company. Shipping is $8 per wheel and I got them nicely packaged and damage free less than 1 week after purchase. I'm probably buying my tires from them as well.

And now on to the slide show...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I Haven't Been This Pissed Off In A While

...in fact it might be a new record. After the install debacle that occurred two weeks ago, it became clear that the current mods to the 26 pan are not enough to clear the stock 240 cross-member. This was quite unexpected, considering I have the McKinney mount kit installed.
I emailed them my issue and Mack said he would send me new isolator and specific instructions on how to mod the 26 pan. He also told me that the kit was intended for use with the 25 oil pan, and that it is "advertised" as such. That's funny, that information is nowhere on their website or the instructions that came with the kit. All of this leaves me to wonder why the hell they failed to mention any of this on any one of the phone calls I made to their shop discussing oil pan options and fitment issues. Not once did they mention that I would need additional spacers on the mounts to accomodate the stock pan, even as they were advising me to use the 26 pan instead of the 25 pan.
I am very aware that nothing goes easy in a swap like this, hell I've been trying to finish it for almost 5 years now and I don't often rage about having to do things twice or thrice. However, when I pay that much for what amounts to a rubber bushing, a couple screws and some welded steel I expect it to work. That's all, just fucking work.

All in all I would not recommend anyone else who wants to keep the stock 26 pan to purchase the McKinney kit. I am not an isolated incident, there are many others on Nico forums who discuss how much they had to mod their pan which includes shaving off the heat dissipating webbing on the bottom.

So now that my engine install is on hold until I can shave off every inch of the diff and this webbing, I have time to think about how much this whole incident is pissing me off. It cannot be described how disapointing and frustrating it is when you think you've covered all your bases and your engine is halfway in your car and BOOM, take that shit back out because you have to change something else. At that point I made up my mind I would sell this whole thing to the first shmuck to hand me $15k.

I am still considering selling, but now I want to stick it to...I'm not really sure, one of the many that has held this project back. I am lucky that my pissed off-ness tends to motivate me.

Oil pan mods, round 2, begins this weekend. Stay tuned...

Monday, December 31, 2007

To Pump or Not to Pump

God damn I am getting to be a corny bastard. So I located a RB25 power steering pump and pulley from a very nice young man named Seth, but being the difficult woman that I am, I decided to modify the pump that came on the engine. The 240 lines actually line up pretty well, just need to turn one fitting around. The pump was cake to modify, just take off the back plate, remove the 9 (I think) little rectangular metal pieces (fins), bolt the plate back on, take out the bottom banjo bolt (the one farthest from the fins you just removed), and plug the resulting hole with a M6 x 1.5 course thread bolt. Done. I would have taken pictures, but I am notoriously lazy. We'll see if all this has been worth it when my radiator and fans get in.

Happy New Year!!

Monday, December 10, 2007


Clutch is on, harness is, well, anyway the clutch is on! The harness is on as well as it can be for now. Now I need to resolve the power steering pump issue that every RB26 swapper has to deal with. The RB26 power steering pump doesn't work with the 240 chassis, but the RB25 one does. However, to use the RB25 pump on the RB26 block one must also locate an RB25 crank pulley so that the belt lines up, and you also need a special belt. The RB25 pulley is also beneficial because it is more compact than the 26, so it frees up more room for your radiator and fans. I will be ordering a super slim electric fan shortly after the motor gets in and we have definite measurement of space.

The whole enchilada:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Progress Is Painless

I can't really tell you how happy I am that the newly baffled oil pan is sealed (for good this time) onto the block, the new timing belt is hung, and the whole front side of the motor is buttoned up. I've sealed and unsealed, cleaned, and lost bolts for that pan so many times now that if I ever see the inside of it again it will be too soon. Well, ok, maybe I would like to see it again but only if I'm rebuilding, and still that shit better be pretty far out. All this is, of course, aside from the cutting, grinding and welding that went into making this pan functional for the swap. The welding was done to seal up the holes made from removing the front differential components, and to seal up the cracks in the sump. When I do rebuild, I will shell out for an aftermarket deep sump pan.

Something that I've noticed other people doing on this swap is shaving down the webbing on the bottom of the oil pan for "better fit." I do not understand this. When we did the test fit with the mounts in the car the only clearance issue was concerning the sump of the oil pan hitting the sway bar. To solve this you can either find a sway bar that will clear (ha!), notch your pan (my welder said no effing way), or eliminate the sway bar. As you can see from my comments I am choosing the third method, I'll work the details out later. Anyway, I just don't see what would be hitting the webbing, there is literally nothing but air down there. Are people just doing it in case? So they can polish it? For shits and giggles?? In any case I figure I'll just prop it up and shave it down after it's in the car if anything is rubbing.

This weekend will involve installing that pretty purple clutch, bolting up the tranny, bolting on that spiffy McKinney harness, and in she goes! Of course after that comes all the stuff I hate: wiring, gauges, clusters...seriously, I want nothing to do with it. I'm very lucky Justin is helping me build this thing, he is quite adept with the electronics. The next big decision/purchase will be the intercooler/downpipe supplies. Between aluminum and stainless there are a lot of factors to consider such as cost, size, availability, will the existing flanges hold up... I'm also scanning the internets for wheel deals: no bigger than 17's, no heavier than 18lbs, no more than $700...yes I know I'm rediculous.

Monday, October 22, 2007

So the McKinney Motorsports stuff finally came in, driveshaft and harness. Also in - a universal data logger that makes my car tunable on a laptop instead of relying on the Power FC controller. This will cut my dyno time in half, well worth the $150 I put in for it. Another piece of fantastic news – I am being gifted a 4 corner barely used Tein pillowtop coilover adjustable suspension. This is saving me at least $1000. Next weekend is going to be hectic, so hope to work on the car in 2 weeks.

So for the weekend of November 3, I need to:

  • Install new belt tensioner
  • Re-hang belt
  • Drill out those damn drain holes in the oil pan
  • Install the Tomei baffle
  • Clean, seal and bolt up the pan
  • Install that insane clutch
  • Bolt up the tranny

After that we will decide if we are using that oil restrictor I bought. Then we can throw on the new harness and drop her into place.
Next in line is ordering my downpipe and intercooler piping and couplings, I’m trying for aluminum, but I’ll have to see what the cost is compared to stainless first. Also need to order the filters for the AFM’s and install those to see how much room is left for other goodies. Need to order all the other electronics like boost controller, turbo timer, and gages, as well as whatever radiator we can fit in there.
Wheels shouldn't be this hard to choose. I don't really care all that much about what wheels I get except for their weight. I am going for the lightest 17" wheel I can afford, which is $700 max for a set. I found a sale on Tenzo DC-6, 17x7 gunmetal matte for $670 which is a great price, but I couldn't commit and the deal has expired. These wheels are great because they weigh 17.8 lbs each, and they look pretty damn good. I'm being a cheap-ass on wheels because my tires are going to kill me. At the very least $120 per tire, even with my hook-ups. I'm probably going to wait until Jan. 1 to shop hardcore for wheels to take advantage of the post Christmas sales. Hopefully more good news soon to come!