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oh dear. it appears as though i have been . . . lax in updating this journal. this is only partially due to being lax in working on the car.

i have assembled the engine stand, removed the flywheel, and fully mounted the engine upon it. I have degreased several of the suspension components. i have acquired a real rolling toolchest, and partially stocked it. I have begun the interior teardown. i, perhaps foolishly, also began to de-loom the wiring harness and separate it from the engine bay.

i fear that corrosion is taking its toll on the chassis and some of the parts. my garage swells with bikes, wagons, old refrigerators and also a piano. i now have three small children, the eldest of which just began school. a honda odyssey has joined the vibe--now my daily driver--in my driveway. my free time has many demands.

this build has stalled again . . . but i will not let it die.

last night, i removed the front brake calipers and rotors from both sides. the next step was to remove the lower ball joint from the steering knuckle . . . ordinarily a little difficult. fortunately there are several 'tricks' well known in the Honda community to remove this ball joint. unfortunately, most of them assume that the upper suspension is still attached, and that the axle(which is held by the knuckle)'s far end is plugged into the tranmission. unfortunately, niether is the case, and so none of the 'tricks' work either. also, in the process, i damaged the ball joint boot (which is a negligble expense, but still . . .).

at that point i decided i should simply remove the entire lower control arm, with knuckle and axle dragging along with it. i removed the steering rod and antiroll bar from the passenger side LCA, and had a go at removing the one bolt holding the LCA/knuckle/axle to the frame. the bolt was willing to move, but getting access to the nut on the other side proved difficult. the clock said 12:30am, and i went to bed defeated.

tonight, i will remove that bolt, and then take out the whole assembly. then, i will repeat the feat on the other side--LCA/knuckle/axle removed entirely. with luck, i'll remove the antiroll bar and start a little bit of work on the engine bay.

Current Location: work
Current Music: Mike and Mike in the Morning on ESPNRadio

last night i took the engine back off the stand and replaced it on the tire-and-board affair. i had another quick go at the flywheel bolts--this time with a measured amount of PB Blaster assistance--but no luck breaking them free. i may try again tonight with a breaker bar, but it is looking more and more like that cannot be a one-man job.

tonight i will read up on the steering hub and knuckle dissasembly, and then LCA and antiroll bar removal. i hope to accomplish all of that tonight, and then the stripping of the engine bay this weekend. if i can hit those targets, then i will be thrilled. moreover, i'll be ready to do some real restoration work.

Current Location: work
Current Music: the whine of my other laptop's idle DVD drive

in the wake of the transmission disappearance, i am choosing to stay the course on the chassis stripdown and rebuild. no progress has been made lately, but tonight i am going to take the engine off the stand and prepare it for the removal of the flywheel bolts. after that, i will finish disassembling the entire front suspension, steering knuckles, axles, antiroll bars, etc. i am hoping to accomplish both of those things by this weekend. with any luck, my friend morning_bell will give me a hand with the flywheel bolts, at which point the engine will be ready for external teardown and all-over cleaning. then i have to finish removing and cataloging all the hoses, wires, brake booster, charcoal canister, fuse boxes, etc. so that everything from the firewall forward will be off the car.

at that point i can rent or buy a sandblaster, and the true restoration work can begin.

looking around for transmissions is going to be completely obnoxious. the Si transmission is the same as the DX transmission, only with a different final drive; it may or may not be cheaper to buy a DX trans and swap in an Si final drive. however, at that point, we are talking about cracking open a transmission--and that is definitely a scary proposition. someone else could be paid to do the work, but there was no money for the transmission in the budget anyway, so paying someone else to work on it would be far too expensive. it looks like i'll just have to be dedicated in scoring the internet and junkyards.

updates tomorrow with how much progress is made tonight . . .

Current Location: work
Current Music: Rodrigo y Gabriela - Diablo Rojo

my transmission is gone.

i have been holding off on posting this since i was not 100% sure, but when cleaning the garage i'd gone to bed and then realized that i had not seen my transmission the entire time. last night i searched high and low for it, and it was nowhere to be seen.

this is terrible for many reasons:

1) it's an Si trans--the most desirable--and therefore will be more difficult and expensive to replace.

2) it was one of the few "good parts" that i already had, and therefore did not need to spend money on.

3) if it has been stolen, and not just misplaced or lent out, then someone knows that i am building up a Civic Si in that garage, and they have been casing the joint waiting for an opening to steal my parts.

terrible, terrible, terrible. what a crushing blow.

Current Location: work
Current Music: Mike and Mike in the Morning on ESPN Radio

last night, the clutch was finally removed from the flywheel. this was great news, as it made it possible to mount the engine on the engine stand. in my haste to see if mounting the engine on the stand could be done, i did it--but i shouldn't have. the flywheel still has to come off, and that will be extremely difficult; again requiring the assistance of morning_bell. so, to sum up, the engine is finally on the stand, but it will be coming off shortly. in the meantime, the extra space will be used to clean up and reorganize the garage. between buying parts, housecleaning, and general accumulation, the garage is once again filthy and overflowing. further, car parts i had squirreled away are now needed, and old garage-junk things floating around the garage need to be squirreled away. i want to pull out all the car parts and catalog them, so i know exactly what i have and do not have. further, cataloging their condition will help me round out the project plan from this point forward. once all that is done, and the garage is clean and organized, the grinding, stripping, cleaning, and scouring can begin in earnest.

even though progress is coming slowly, and in fits and starts, it is surprising how quickly things are coming along overall. for the longest time the black ship sat and rusted, while every few months i would make a great show of, say, moving some parts to the other side of the garage. now i am really and truly actually working on this car, and it is exciting to see.

every day i picture myself getting behind the wheel, turning the key, and hearing her fire up. i remember with fondess the looks and nods she drew at stoplights. i think about my daily commute, taking the onramps and offramps with the VTEC at full song, the throaty buzz ripping through the exhaust and the wind rushing through the open windows and sunroof. i think about autocrossing and track days, i think about the satisfaction of having completed the journey, and i think about the confidence and skills i'm acquiring that will last me the rest of my life.

every day, i think about that day, and it keeps me hungry.

Current Mood: creativecreative
Current Music: steve vai - air guitar hell

last night saw the complete removal of both front dampers and upper control arms, finally. even more good news comes in the form of pictorial proof!

click for picsCollapse )

finally, one of the tried-and-true sayings amongst car guys is "Speed costs money. How fast do you want to go?" i hope to prove that speed can be bought with blood, too.

Current Location: work
Current Music: The Herd on ESPN Radio

last night the drivers' side front damper (spring/shock) assembly was sucessfully removed. also, three of four bolts holding in the drivers' side upper control arm were removed. one rusted, frozen, difficult-to-reach self-locking nut is the difference between the driver's side upper control arm being attached and being detached.

despite falling *just* short of my goal for the evening, i was very very pleased to see such progress made. tonight i hope to get both dampers and both UCAs uninstalled from the car. at that point i will be able to scrub, scour, degrease, clean, and repaint all of the front suspension bits--spring/shock, steering hub and knuckle, control arms, tie bars, sway bar, etc. meanwhile, the search for the tool needed to get all the pressure plate bolts off is underway. it should be an extremely inexpensive score, again assuming it can be found.

excitement is building, because the amount of remaining destructive grunt work is shrinking quickly. once the suspension has been completely disassembled and the clutch and flywheel taken off, and all the hoses/wires/etc. have been detached, then all the real bodywork that needs to be done can begin. grinding off all of the rust ensuring the future of the car. reparing old damage, replacing corroded clamps and rusting bolts. renewing, restoring, rejuvenating. beginning the real work that will transform this slowly decaying pile of metal, rubber, glass, plastic, and cloth into a living, breathing, revving, vibrant machine.

Current Location: work
Current Music: The Herd with Colin Cowherd on ESPN radio

it occured to me that i owe you all some pictures. unfortunately there are only old camera phone pics at the moment, but here is one of the best ones of the engine stand:

last night's attempt at removing the clutch was a failure. the bolt head is a twelve-pointer, i still do not have my fancy ratchet set back, and my little piddly 10 mm socket wrench does not offer enough leverage to break the bolts free. despite all this, i was able to get one bolt off (at the cost of a knuckle). many thanks to my friend morning_bell for his assistance. i still have to get my tools back, but in the meantime . . .

last night i also tried and failed to disassemble the front suspension. in my frustration in failing from earlier, i simply attacked it without consulting the shop manual first. big mistake; nearly an entire precious hour was completely wasted. i suppose the lesson has been learned, however. tonight i hope to disassemble the front suspension in preparation for cleaning. sometime in the next few days, the clutch will come off and work can begin in earnest.

Current Location: work
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed

though the layoff between posts was much longer than i'd like, and progress was unfortunately interrupted, work continues. for your reading pleasure, the items of progress:

* the engine hoist and stand were assembled, and the engine sits ready to be lifted onto the stand.

* a real shop light and a handheld spotlight were purchased, making late-night garage work much more do-able.

* both front quarter-panels have been removed, allowing greater access to the suspension-y bits and exposing the frame for rust removal and treatment.

* new upper control arms were purchased, and if all goes to plan installation will be this week.

* a step-by-step critical-path timeline was created. it is flexible of course, but at least i now have a roadmap where i can take a step at a time and feel like progress is being made cohesively and intelligently.

here are the next few steps in the plan:

tonight (i hope) i will have some assistance in removing the clutch. in order to do this, the flywheel's ring gear must be held in place while the clutch's pressure plate bolts are turned. you either need an eighty-two dollar part from Honda or a beefy dude with a crowbar to help you accomplish this. beefy dude is on standby. once the clutch is off, the engine will go on the engine stand. a thorough cleaning of the engine will take place--degreasing, scouring, washing of the exterior, and an oil flush of the interior to make sure all the gunk, dirt, dust, and grime is out.

the upper control arms will be sanded down and modified to fit the chassis (which, itself, will have to be lightly modified for clearance's sake). then all of the front suspension bits will be detached, degreased, de-rusted, cleaned, and repainted. optionally, i would like to replace all of the front suspension bushings at this point, but money may make that acquisition difficult.

once the front suspension is reassembled, the front wheel needs to be mounted. wheel? yes, wheel. one of the steel stockers the black ship was rolling on left me with my wrecked '91 prelude si. therefore, a new one must be sourced by this point; that shouldn't be difficult or expensive. once the front wheels are mounted, the car can be rolled out of the garage, and some serious garage cleanup and re-organizing can occur. moreover, i will be able to roll it back into the middle of the garage, and have plenty of space on all sides to complete this project.

that's it for now. updates will be fast and fantastic from here on out.

Current Location: work
Current Mood: workingworking
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