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the trip to Cat's was a bitter disappointment. they have an EG hatch with a D15B7, and an EF/ED sedan with front end damage. the hope was to find an EG with compatible electronics and an ED/EF hatch with a clean front end. i may be able to gank the headlights, but i'm not sure. i will investigate the options at shroyer's before making any purchases.

on the positive side, i did complete assembly of the engine hoist a.k.a. cherry picker. i took some camera phone pics, but a step of this magnitude deserves some high-quality shots. i will post later tonight, possibly after i get even more accomplished.

Current Mood: energeticenergetic

. . . a run to Cat's Auto Salvage is imminently in the offing.

updates have, as always, been slower than I would like. the garage is not yet clean, though it is close, and the engine hoist and stand aren't yet assembled. my goal for tonight is to accomplish the first if not the second. i did manage to get a hold of my old friend, and he is thankfully willing to help with the remainder of the work (and return my parts and tools!).

i have again reversed position on the OBD-I/OBD-0 debate. a major engine build really ought to have ODB-I for tuning and engine management purposes, and besides building a heroic high-compression engine and dropping it into a worn and broken chassis is not a good idea. with a chipped P28 ECU, ODB-I, and good tuning, i will have a great platform for making big power later. i can also then afford more work on repair, restoration, and reliability.

i hope.

Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative

this project was dormant again for far too long. work, family, and other pursuits delayed my effort again. however today i made progress for the first time in a while. i purchased a cherry picker (engine hoist) and engine stand. i began assembly of the beastly tools, but time and cold prevented me from completion. also, I realized an old friend i've been having trouble getting a hold of still has in his possession a large quantity of my tools. this will have to be remedied. pics in a day or two when i complete assembly and get the engine on the stand.

Current Mood: rejuvenatedrejuvenated

with the blessing of my wife i drug my old rotary tool out of the basement, bought a new mandrel and reinforced cutoff wheels (less than ten bucks). i then attacked the heinous bolt attaching the bumper reinforcement to the frame. it was slow going as light was inadequate, but eventually the head came off. then the slow grinding down of the remnants of the bolt's shaft began until the whole thing suddenly dropped. i jumped back, and when the assembly hit the floor i laughed and laughed. damn, it felt good. that's been over two years in the making. i now have unrestricted access to the engine bay and all parts therein.

another fine toy i picked up was a 2" diameter wirewheel, such as for removal of paint and rust--but sized for a drill chuck. this is sublime, as i thought i needed a full-sized orbital sander/grinder to use a wirewheel or other paint/rust removal tools--but my trusty electric drill can run these just fine. i got about a half-inch-square area shiny and clean before the completely non-charged battery broadcast its last amp through the drill's motor. the drill is now on the charger, awaiting a hearty session of use tomorrow night or next.

and now, subway restaurants. i mean, pics:

presenting for you the newly cleaned engine bay:

and a quick hit with this:

did this:

we're getting there

Current Mood: awakeawake

worked a little on the car tonight. still cannot remove the last bolt that keeps the entire bumper attached to the front of the car. decided to take another tack, and remove the urethane and styrofoam from the bumper instead, leaving only the bumper support, which should be easier to manipulate and possibly allow me to remove the offending bolt.

there were several (ten?) large flat screws with rubber grommets that attached the urethane to the bumper support. two refused to come out, so I shot them up with PB Blaster. took another go and stripped them both. i then resorted to using pliers to grab the outside edges and turn them . . . great plan when the edges are covered by rubber that's just been coated in the most powerful penetrative lubricant known to god or man.

eventually i got them all free except for one of the two bolts that holds the front license plate frame to the bumper support. so to recap: i now have the bumper cover and styrofoam attached to the bumper support by one bolt, and the bumper support attached to the frame by one bolt, and neither are coming off tonight. i shot them both real good with PB Blaster and, dizzy from the fumes, retired for the evening.

aside from the above i also removed the passenger side headlight, cleaned the windshield, removed all parts, debris, and bullshit from the engine bay, and wiped most of the engine bay down with a dry paper towel, just to clear the working area and get things settled.

i am bitterly disappointed that I could not remove the bumper tonight as that was my goal for the evening. i swear i will get that thing off with all possible speed and when i do i will rip out its eyes and skullfuck it.

Current Mood: distresseddevastated

as promised, adding new pics, this time shot with Kelly's camera so they look better.

first, up, the new, clean interior:

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yeah, that's a lot better. next up, the dash shot:

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man, when that's done that steering wheel will be a huge improvement. Finally, the big challenge, getting this:

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into this:

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You know, it's like one of those Magic Eye things. If you squint, and sort of relax your eyes, and "look past" it, and maybe do a little acid and let your imagination run wild . . .

You can almost see the car this will become:

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last night, i finished cleaning and vacuuming out the interior. the bad news is that there was definitely some kind of critter or critters living in there. the good news is that i have found no critters, living or dead, as of yet. the only place where any could be hiding is under the rear seats, since i haven't yet taken out of the car. but, I don't think they could even get under them to begin with, so I should be all set.

not much else new to update with, still in the planning stages in terms of the ultimate scope of the project. i have to figure out exactly what i'll be able to do, when, and in what order. consider the next three pages of rambling to be me working it all out for myself in writing.

* first and foremost, the engine work needs to be completed. this will include swapping in ZC pistons for increased compression, and possibly new camshaft and valvetrain components in order to improve flow, efficiency, and reliability, as well as reduce the chance of detonation. the modded airbox I had from before flows very well and makes an awesome intake sound, so no change is needed there. i may do something with the throttle body, probably a polish and/or bore. the intake manifold has already been bead blasted; some mild porting & polishing may be in order. if my stock D16A6 exhaust header will bolt up to the new D16Z6 engine, then that will be used. evenually, I'd like an SMSP header in there, but budget doesn't allow it. the stock cat was partially gutted when my distributor failed at speed and unburnt fuel was pumped into the exhaust. ideally, I'd replace it with a high-flow cat, but that money can be better spent elsewhere for now. the HKS 2.25" exhaust is not going anywhere. properly tuned, this setup should net me 150+ whp and boost fuel efficiency to over 30 mpg.

* oh right, and then we actually have to put the engine back in the car. this is the area of greatest unknowns. the swap is straightforward, but we didn't remove the engine in the smartest or most meticulous way, and so that means a lot of work now to make up for the hasty removal. the engine mounts were in sad shape when we took them out, they may have to be fixed or replaced. all the fluids (coolant, oil) and stuff that pumps or contains them (radiator, water pump, a whole mess 'o hoses) will have to be checked and, if necessary, replaced. the A/C will just have to wait, as completely reassembling that system, pressure testing, coolant replacement, etc, will be serious $$$ and PITA and it's just not worth it right now.

* the interior will either be slapped back together (put the stock seats back in and make do), or completely gutted and re-installed fresh with new carpet, re-upholstered '91 Prelude Si seats, and a new center console and repaired dash. actually, the console and dash have to be done no matter what; we'll either have to ghetto-fab something or hit the junkyard.

* exterior. there is a lot of bodywork to be done; front end is FUBAR--the hood is bent, the driver-side front quarter panel is damaged, the bumper is twisted, the bumper supports are damaged, one headlight is missing, some headlight assembly parts are missing, the front radiator support is a little tweaked, and the signals and corners are messed up as well. between fixing stuff and junkyard crawls, I should be able to replace all of it fairly cheaply. ultimately i want to completely strip the finish on the whole car down to bare metal, fix all dents, blast away all rust, replace any panels that need replacing, reprime and repaint it. that will cost money and take time, though, so it will have to wait.

* the brakes were all completely replaced a year or less before the car died, and so should be fine for now. however, the rotors and pads are EXTREMELY rusty. i am hoping a re-bed-in procedure will take care of that. if not, something may need to be done about the brakes as well, possibly a swap to an Accord Wagon/ITR setup.

* wheels and tires are an interesting issue. one of my four stock steel wheels is gone, so now I only have three. two have very old, nearly bald tires, and the remaining one is okay. at the least, i'll have to replace the stock wheel with a junkyard find, and replace all four tires. that will do for the moment, though of course new wheels would be sweet.

* the suspension is tricky. i'm pretty sure the stock shocks are mostly blown, i may have to go for a used set of coilovers, or again wait until a later phase of the project. other bits like bars and bushings will be easier to do. I do need one upper control arm replaced because one was bent during the engine removal.

the next step is to completely catalog and lay out every part that I have. then, my wife and i will have to set a "phase one" budget, which will encompass getting the car back on the road safely, with as much engine, interior, and exterior work done as can be afforded (while the engine is out of the car). once that is done, i'll be able to break everything out into three or four phases, with proposed timelines and budgets. that's when the fun will really start.

Current Mood: frustratedfrustrated

finally, some pics.

keep in mind that this car died on me when it was my daily driver, and i basically haven't touched it since.

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just as i left it. that is the D16Z6 engine, sans valve cover, in the foreground. mostly-off bumper just behind it, miscellaneous car (and, apparently, computer) parts are strewn around the edge of the engine bay.

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here's where incompetent thieves couldn't figure out how to jack my stereo so they just completely removed my center console to make it easier.

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Oh man, it is a disaster area in there. the pics don't show the carnage. not only is it super-messy, but i'm pretty sure that at one point there were mice in there. careful and thorough inspection reveals no current verminal habitants, thank god, but there is clear evidence of previous rodent activity.

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i told you i'd let this project go for a while. this newspaper was in the back seat. Ricky Williams tearing it up for the 'Fins, Brandi Chastain and the girls taking home the World Cup trophy. Yikes.

Current Mood: worriedworried

after further research, it looks like the OBDI conversion isn't going to gain me anything in terms of reliability or performance, so instead i'll keep it at OBD0. i'll take the saved budget money and put it towards a more agressive cam and valvetrain buildup. priority will go to the engine build, completion of the swap, and the interior work needed to get the car driving safely.

i have further cleaned out the garage, after a friend helped me dump all the straight-up trash. I started on cleaning the car out, once that's done I'll catalog all the parts I have and work on a master list of all the parts I'll need.

Current Mood: workingworking

today marks the end of the beginning, and the beginning of the end. Project: The Black Ship is reborn.

nothing has physically changed from a month ago or two years ago, save the recent cleanout of the garage. in my mind, however, the status of the project has officially changed from "dormant pile of metal on jackstands" to "project car in the middle of a major swap, restore, and buildup".

there is nothing special or extraordinary about swapping a D16Z6 into an EF hatch, in fact it's incredibly simple, as far as swaps go. however, there is much repair, restoration, and improvement to be done along the way. i am converting the car to ODBI. i am making many engine tweaks and improvements, such as P&P'd ports, increased compression, intake and exhaust mods, engine management, possibly cams/pullies, and all tuned to the 93 octane that is plentiful here in the Motor State. i am upgrading or replacing crucial suspension bits, including reparing or replacing the hood, bumper, windshield, right front fender, and possibly both rear fenders. i am getting new wheels and tires. i am upgrading the brakes. i am reparing or replacing much of the dash, center console, and audio system, which were destroyed and/or stolen by thieves over a year ago. i am swapping '91 Prelude Si front seats. i am reuphostering and recarpeting everything. i am tinting the windows. i am taking the paint down to bare metal, repairing all damage, and repainting the car.

the goal: a unique daily driver with great balance, handling, and driveability. break into the 14s, on street tires, all motor. expression of self, in automotive form.

the inspiration for the project is "the black ship", a spaceship from Douglas Adams' Restaurant at the End of the Universe. the outside is "so black you can hardly make out its shape". that is the goal. everything completely flat jet black on the outside and in, a notable more for its lack of presence than its presence. i want this car to look like someone cut a Civic-shaped hole out of the universe.

and with that, I close the first entry. many, many, many more updates and pics to follow.

Current Mood: workingworking
Current Music: The Pot - Tool
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