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"Built Dam Strong!"

04 July 2013

Project Lazarus: It's on the road, let's look at how it got there.

This is going to be a massively long post. It covers about a month's worth of work. I was working 10+ hours a day at my day job, traveling about 3 hours a day total and putting in 3-5 hours of work on my CRX as many days as I could. What a huge load of work, but it was worth it. My CRX is now pretty road worthy, though it still needs a bunch of work done to make it reliable in the long-term.

Anyway, lets begin!

This is one of my favorite things about DOHC engines:

I used the timing belt to hold the cam gear in place to take out the stubborn bolt!

This is how I keep the cam keys from disappearing:
I tape them in painter's tape and stick that to the upper belt cover. This way they are visible, near parts that are going to stay with the engine and much harder to loose.

I've never had the cam gears off of this engine before. I never had a reason to pull them off.

View minus the gears:

As I mentioned before, I am starting to replace a lot of the bolts with the SS hardware I purchased from Alloy Boltz.
I was kind of a dope, though. The above bolt was supposed to not be fitted until the outer cover was also in place. Duh. heh

This is why we replace our coolant regularly:
I'd also highly recommend draining any engine that is going to sit for that long. I was a dope not to, but then again, I wasn't originally planning to leave my CRX hibernating for 7 years.

Setting the timing:

Looks like I need to replace my spark plug tube seals:

Gates Racing belt in place:
If you don't know, the Gates Racing belt is really, really friggin' awesome. It is kevlar (well, technically aramid fiber, Kevlar is a brand name of aramid fiber trademarked by DuPont, IIRC) reinforced belt made from what seems to be synthetic rubber. It is much more heat resistant, stronger and, importantly, stretches less. These are all important features for an engine that will eventually get lumpier cam shafts, a higher than stock rev limiter and the turbocharger reinstalled (eventually).

I'm also experimenting with the valve cover hardware:



I settled on the middle nut. Acorn nuts can look OK, but the new SS ones are a bit too tall in my thinking.

Mostly back together:
Taking everything apart led to the next annoyance: the crank pulley. I had an ATI Superdampr waiting to go on the engine. I go to fit it and . . . it was loose on the crank snout. WTFBBQ!!!!!???!?!? My DOHC ZC has a 20mm crank snout. Ugh. UGH! AAAAARG! I also never realized that my crank pulley is just that: a pulley. It is not damped at all. If you'll recall, it also had some chips in the outer rings. It's been like that ever since I got the engine in 1999. It was always one of those things I'd get around to it some day to fix. I figured since it had always been like this, why not just get the darn thing turned down to take off the AC and PS pump ribs. This is what I ended up with:

The guy at the machine shop did a good job. No, it is not re-balanced. I've called around to over a dozen shops and nearly no one balances anything, or, if they do, they send it out and won't tell me where, for a very, very premium price. Screw it. I'm just going to run it.

Since the guy at the shop also sandblasted it, I had to paint it. As you can see here:
There was already some flash rust on it just from the humidity.

Hitting it with my favorite Duplicolor self-etching primer:
I pretty much exclusively use this stuff for anything I need to paint that doesn't get hot. It is EXTREMELY good stuff, the best I've used. I find it much superior in ease of application, coverage and adhesion over the equivalent Rustoleum product.

Hitting it with matte black:

Here I am making a new headlight harness based on the one in my CRX, for a friend's '91 LX:

I got these ceramic sockets on eBay:
I purchased four of the high-beam sockets. It makes a very good difference to run the high beams in the blow beam portion, without being as offensive as retarded drop in HID conversions. More efficacious lighting is good!

Here is the pulley after it had dried more:
I took a file to the timing marks. They stand out very well against the matte black paint. I <3 matte black. heh

One of the next jobs was to remove the oil and coolant lines, capping them off as I don't need them at all for now.

Finally into the garage for serious work:
I found the nut in the oil pan and the seal (WTF is it for) in the pickup:
Oops . . .

This is the old turbo downpipe and exhaust:

It was originally made to fit a ZC pan, which is substantially different than any of the SOHC pans, so it had to get clearanced with a hammer when a new pan was put on:
For a T25, it is complete batcrap overkill, and I love it. 3" from the flange down through a 3" Magnaflow cat with a nice transition down to 2.5" through a Magnaflow round muffler then to a turndown just in front of the passenger rear tire. It sounded good, but had a bit too much resonance at cruise on the highway. I'll be modifying it in the future to reduce the drone.

Muddy exterior thanks to Anthony tearing up the lawn with his quad:
Thank you for that, dude. I loved cleaning that off. :P

One of the issues I almost forgot to fix was capping the fitting in the back of the block:
A quick trip sorted that out, though, as I found the appropriate cap for the flare fitting:

 I was worried it would leak because the cap comes DARN close to not clearing the body, but it snugs down perfectly and does not leak at all. Phew!

Here is a peak inside the factory oil/coolant heat exchanger:
 

PG6 crank girdle, which is aluminum:

Everything looks good from the bottom:

I change my oil regularly. No sludge. heh

In progress:

New SS gasket, so much better than graphite:

Pulley installed:


New pan on with the nice blue Fel-Pro Permadry oil pan gasket that I think leaks a wee bit on the pulley side:
I'm not sure if it is leaking, as I haven't seen any drips and any oil around the bottom end could easily be from when I was taking the oil feed line off for the turbo.

EP header on:
EP = eBay Performance. heh

Stock narrowband O2 sensor in place:
I didn't have any plugs handy . . . so I just used that.

Installed the Bosch LSU sensor at the collector:
Eventually I will wire in this SLC DIY wideband controller from 14point7.com and see if I soldered it together correctly:

For now, I'll be using my Innovative LC-1.

Double checking the cam timing and re-installing (and stripping out a nut on) the (darn) engine mount:

I forgot to drain the transmission before pulling the intermediate shaft out:
Duh.

New seal for the IS side of the transmission:
I may have installed it too deep. We'll see if it leaks . . .

I had boogered up a customer's TPS doing an F2B swap earlier, so I cannibalized the one on my CRX for his car. I bought a new one. The sensor itself and gasket are good:





But the bolts that come with it are totally wrong:

So I just reused the slotted ones I've had forever on my TPS:
Aside from that minor thing, the TPS is smooth, the return spring is very good and overall it is made very well. It gives a decent range, though it seems to be slightly smaller than stock, but I took care of that by recalibrating the ECU, anyway.

Timing finalized:

Finally dug my Thermal R&R 2.25" exhaust out from all the crap in the backyard:

I bought that system used in 2000, I think. So it is definitely at least 15 years old. It still sounds amazing. The Flanges, which are mid steel are showing some where, and it has had some minor stuff done to it (I fitted it into a '91 hatch for a while, but adding in hangers at the right spot and making an extension tube to make up for the wheelbase difference), but it still fits super well and sounds amazing!

Now for one of the scariest things ever:
I've actually started putting interior pieces back into the car . . .

Old school CRX goodness:

Tuning setup prepped:
Cleaned up the mud from the exterior:


Received new 370cc injectors from HiProfile at Injector Nation:
Nearly idiot proof adapter clips, no soldering needed:

Very nice 4 hole directional nozzles:

Hrmph . . . The injector for cylinder #1 doesn't fit the way it is intended to because of the valve cover mounting boss:
These injectors are supposed to be turned 90* towards the passenger side of the car. HiProfile is going to exchange them for another, non-direction set shortly. We're waiting on the results of him testing another batch of Denso injectors to see which ones I will swap to. (These are currently Bosch.)

I rescaled my fuel maps for the injectors and the engine started right up!

Then I got the headlight harness installed, and it still works super well:



The one issue I had with going back to a non-turbo configuration was that I didn't have a cat to fill int he space between the header and the exhaust. I asked around and found one for free! It just didn't have a flange to mate it to the exhaust, but that really wasn't an issue since I have a welder and might know how to use it. Just a little! Here I am taking off the cat from the D15 spacer adapter thingy that came with the cat:
I have to say . . . Liquid Wrench is far and away highly superior to WD40 as a bolt-loosener. WD40 is great for a lot of things, but it really isn't a penetrating lubricant. I don't recommend it for that. I DO think that having a can of Liquid Wrench around is a good thing, though, as I actually got the stock exhaust spring bolts off without snapping them and even have reused them to install the cat!

I cleaned up the end of the cat tube with a flap disc:

Then I measured and cut a piece of the aforementioned extension tube to weld to the cat:

Then I shimmied under the car and got to tacking the pieces together, then pulled the cat off and welded it up!

While I was doing that, I took the time to paint the front of the radiator:

More self-etching Duplicor:
Why would I do that? Well, I don't like blingy aluminum bits highly visible from the front of my car. This invites unwanted attention. I would prefer to keep people thinking that my CRX is just plain and ugly and not worth any time or effort.

Speaking of the radiator, the EP radiator I got just didn't fit well at all in my CRX, so much so that I couldn't properly close the hood. That was a huge issue that I needed to tackle, as I've had a hood come up on me before and ruin the hood and the windshield and I didn't need a repeat of that. Ever.

So here is what I started off with:
Yes, that is just plain ugly. I didn't do that. A friend did that years ago. It fit with the stock Civic radiator, but . . . Yech. (Stu, don't cut cars like that. Seriously.)

This cutout in the crossmemeber was made to clear the lower radiator hose:
Yuck . . .

This is the front rad support piece hacked to clear the radiator:
Again, yuck!

The easiest way to cut a pretty straight line on something is to simply use a piece of painter's tape as a guide, like this:

I also used the flap wheel on some of the corners that was just left sharp and annoying:


Here is the top after trimming:

I am frugal. The tape still has one good edge (the side near the cut will likely get charred from the heat of the cutting), so I just peal and stick it out of the way for re-use:
Ah, a much nice cut to deal with!


Self-etching primer takes some time to work. You are supposed to wait at least one hour (or is it half an hour? I forget, RTFD) before topcoating, so I did, and then left this out in the sun to dry:

Yes, I did just say I prefer Duplicolor, but not everyone carries that, so I did get this:
I actually like that particular can because it sprays in ANY position, even upside down. The paint itself is good, too.

And no, I am not worried about any cooling issues from painting the radiator. I've done it before and will do it again. Stop worrying and GSD. (Get Stuff Done.)

While the black was drying, I finished trimming the bottom of the rad support to clear the thicker radiator, and also removed the stock radiator bracket on that side:

The radiator needed to move more towards the passenger side to clear the hood, so I needed to mod the crossmember, again. So, I made one precise incision:

Then I applied some BFT (Blunt Force Trauma) with a BFH (Big Effing Hammer):

Then I trimmed the piece that was just hanging out for no good reason, waiting to skin someone's finger to the bone:

I apologize for the taco-neck view, but here is that tab removed:

And here it is:
I'll try to remember to rotate the pics some time. Oops.

Now that I had enough room, I needed to figure out how to mount the radiator itself, so I got some 1/8" steel flat stock from HDRS (Home Depot Racing Supply) and started cutting and bending:

And drilling and grinding:


And recessing and welding:


Once I got the first mounting tab in, I compared it to the previous location:

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better!

Then I took everything apart to work on the second mounting tab:

Ta-da!

More self-etch and flat black over a cursory cleanup:

Doesn't that look so much better now?


I also gained a good bit of clearance for the header, too:

And, imagine that! The hood CLOSES! AND OPENS!

Well, it did after I got the locking mechanism unstuck:

The last part was taking the old top bracet:

Beating it about a bit:

And bolting it into place:
Pretty? No. Currently effective? Yes. That is all I care about for now.

Next order of business:

New SS bolts and fender washers:

Bumper cover on for the first time in 7 years:

Lights mostly in place (I need some long screws to keep them attached correctly:

Outside together for the first time in way, way too long:

The right side had an incident years ago, so it has never lined up well after that:

I also happen to suck at aligning body panels, so . . . yeah.

The passenger side is nicer, though not great:

Shazam!

Ready to roll!