Side Project and the new Tig welder

Stefanie was nice enough to buy me the tig welder I had been drooling over. I had a Lincoln Precision Tig 180 amp transformer machine before and I knew there were a few things I wanted to do differently. I was looking for an AC/DC machine but one that was inverter based and had a smaller footprint. The answer- The Primeweld 225. The support you read about online is second to none and under $900 was not bad either. The unit is always backordered but they seem to get units shipped fairly quickly,

It sat on an inverted bucket until my wife fixed my next problem. I had been searching for a cart and never found any I liked. I wanted it to sit on the side of the garage and not take up a big amount of space. So what happened? While moving a piece of furniture inside a marble shelf broke and the wine rack became less useful. I offered to take it and added wheels to it.

It allowed me to have my plasma cutter on it as well and space to store things. Ultimately it was a great move. I am a big fan of both the cart and the welder. The next project was storing the 5 or 6 different tig rods I had collected. I had some fancy commercial tubes but needed more and was not willing to spend $30 a piece. Following an online video I found the PVC Idea.

Essentially it is a PVC tube cut into a 2 ft and a 1 ft piece. Caps on both end and a coupler in the middle- but only glued on one side. To get maximum style points I used my plotter and cut names for each tube. So far this has been fantastic! I am a fan!

Not pictured are the top lids. This allows for easy selection and identification. The blue commercial tool needed a home and I didnt have enough PVC so it can stay for a while..

Intercooling!

Originally I thought the intercooler would be a quick and cheap project I could simply throw money at.. I was wrong. The sizes I could find were either too small or too large. The issue of exits being incorrectly placed was not a major issue.. So what was?

I wanted the intercooler to be placed in front of the radiator but also not block any more surface area with end tanks than needed. The solution? I turned to CAD- Cardboard aided design! I used the dimensions of a Garrett intercooler core and worked out how big I could make the end tanks to fit.

The CAD model was perfect and I was able to remove the pieces and lay them out in some 1.8″ 5052 Alumunium. After some cutting and tacking we had a pretty great looking intercooler! I fired up the Primeweld 225 and went to town. Things were going very well!

Until the pressure test… After several attempts to find the leak I kept on chasing an area between the core and the end tank. I would grind it down and reweld it a few times. Eventually I got frustrated and took it to a radiator repair place and they verified what I couldn’t believe- the core was leaking but in an area that would require the end tanks cut off and welded. After talking to the company I bought the core from they told me that Garrett was not being helpful and “they were truly sorry.” I won’t buy anything from Garrett again and had to cut off the tank, fix the core and then weld it again. Visually it doesn’t look as good as it did originally and I am going to hold a grudge on this one!

The end result should work well. The end tanks do not block the radiator and it appears to work well. One more project in the books!

Turbo Time!

From the beginning I knew I wanted to turbocharge the 7. I started looking online and bought all the pieces from Ace Race Parts and started cutting, chopping and grinding to get a manifold together. Initially I had the manifold pictured but landed up replacing it with one that accepted round tubes directly.

Above shows where we started but the finished manifold is seen below.

I got some great tips from my friend Jim and should have used a bigger cup. Lesson for next time! I did backpurge the manifold and the inside loops perfect! You can see the wastegate flange off the side. It isn’t optimal but they are oversized to do what they can about the gases.

Pictured is the GT3076 Garrett turbo charger. It wouldn’t fit inside the body work very well so I opted to put it outside the bodywork.

The Precision 46mm gate was picked to keep tabs on the gases. I considered the ebay generics which are substantially cheaper but opted to “buy once and cry once”after the intake manifold situation.

Thanks to Jim I got my welds to look much better. Flexible bellows were installed on the downpipe and the wastegate tube that merged back into it.

Above is the finished exhaust. The muffler tip was cut back further but all in all it sounds great and looks great in person. Up next the intake piping and intercooler work

Intake Manifold Adventures

After lots of fighting with the intake manifold I decided to stop being cheap and throw money at the problem. What was the problem you say ?

Pardon the dirty alternator..

So the Skunk 2 intake manifold was never designed to be flipped for a RWD configuration. It has the modular design but the flipping is better suited to a K24 than a K20 because of the shorter deck height by 1″.

The intake manifold was a disaster from day 1! It requires that you cut the water pump housing to make it fit and then use spacers/washers to tension the alternator. After hacking up the housing I found that I was still likely to hit the alternator. The solution? I tried to buy the spacer that makes a B series throttle body work on the K series intake. I never attempted to install it and landed up selling it and the intake and ordering the Kmiata intake manifold and throttle body. It was backordered but worth the wait. I did follow the recommended guidance and bought the misalignment spacers due to the flanges not being parallel.

The manifold had the water passage built in which was a nice change and something I didn’t need to buy another part. Generally the fitment is good, the IAC did need a new part (from ebay) but that fitted nicely. All in all it was something I should have done from the beginning.

So whats been happening?

Well unfortunately some international folks felt that hacking this page would really change the world.. or their world. I will try to upload some of the old content but backups apparently were not good.

Some people just suck…

Now steering in the right direction!

Adding the throttle body recently kick-started the progress of getting this thing back together but it also exposed a problem. The old steering shafts was pointed right where the alternator needed to live. I looked at several other alternator options but at the end of the day it made more sense to move the steering shafts than buy a different throttle body and find a way to make the alternator work.

Here was the old setup. The alternator lives right behind it.

The solution was actually easier than I expected. Woodward- the makers of the steering rack- had a variety of universal joints available and on the shelf. Some money was given to them and in return some shiny pieces arrived a few days later.

What is the plan? I expected to use 2 new universal joints to allow for some movement downwards and away from the engine. The results look promising and I manage to maintain my collapsible steering column setup!

Up next- transmission mounts!

Slow progress..but still progress!

It’s been slow and I have been looking to rent some space to use at night to further development of the car and get it ready before 2020.

After the engine was installed I decided I need to mock up drive belts and systems and get the steering sorted out. The next piece of the pie is the exhaust. Having built a header for U bends before I decided that I would like to avoid that again. The solution- a turbo manifold!

The hunt for a turbo was no simple task. Learning about mappings and what characteristics are important took up several hours in the evenings.

I decided on a Garrett G25-660 turbo. After lots of research I was price shopping and about to pull the trigger and an eBay price alert went off. Long story short- I was able to get a GT3076R dual ball bearing unit for $700 that was new in the box. It won’t have the same low end but it should fine given the ball bearings.

Next step is to order a kit to build the rams horn turbo manifold!

K20 Power now bolted in!

It took a while but I snuck a half day into working on the car with my dad. While I thought it was 3 hours of work it actually took 6.

First thing was to pull the k20a3 and remove the transmission and adapter plate.

Up next was moving those parts to the K20z3 and bolting them all back together.

From there we worked out what needed to be changed and we we removed and replaced a tube in the chassis. We also removed the old motor mounting plate and cut a new piece. After 5-10 minutes of welding we started to position the engine.

After measuring and cutting several tubes we had the left side mounted. Next we leveled the engine to 0.6 degrees and started on the driver side. They came out quite well

The final step was to check hood clearance. I didn’t expect it to fit but was nicely surprised. 3 mm to spare!

There week be some challenges with the steering and alternator but those are for a different day!

Ground clearance is a nice and acceptable 4″

Up next is the transmission mounts!

This engine is fighting me every step of the way!

From the moment I bought the engine it has fought me every step of the way. It seems the “Honda mechanic” that I bought it from was either a fantastic liar or had a love affair with red locktite.

I first realized it when I broke a 3/8″ extension trying to remove a flywheel bolt. I then brought out the impact wrench and it did absolutely nothing. A trip to the Chinese took store and coming home with an impact wrench that can make 800ft lbs of torque. The results? Nothing! Didn’t move it at all! Even tried heating the bolt to break the locktite but nothing changed.

Thankfully I have an amazing coworker that has the 1200lb version of the torque wrench. First thing it did was split the 12 point socket into 2. A trip to the orange store and $4 later I had a new 12 point 17mm socket. Given the first one slightly damaged the bolt head I decided to face off the new socket so it would have more grip and less of the rounded approach that makes sockets easier to get on to the bolt.

Unfortunately the bolt head on 2 of them bolts was too damaged. What happens next? Out came the welder! It took 3 attempts with the mig welder but adding a 3/4″ bolt did the trick finally. Most likely the heat of welding broke down any remaining locktite.

Up next I will put the engine back on the engine stand and verify the bottom end is good. And then we can start adding parts. The collection of “go fast parts” is growing!

New engine deal of the day!

I’ve been watching the internet for an I-vtec motor and seem to find every idiot in town. Eventually I found someone that had a K20Z3 engine with medium miles. It was a good option and should fit well. At 7 am I pulled it out of my truck and drained the oil. All in all it looks like it’s up to the task!

I don’t have an intake manifold. If anyone has one that would fit please let me know. I’m going to try a standard Honda one first before going the skunk2 route.