Mani-fold on to your hats!

The process of putting together a turbo manifold was a lot more stressful to me than any other part of the car to date- besides the header before it.

The need to visualize and start to piece together weld elbows and straight piping isn’t something that I would consider a strength of mine. More of the opposite. I approached it the same way as I do many things in life. Identify the starting point, then the destination and finally connect the dots.

I started by bolting on the head flange which was easy because it was a quality piece and didn’t require me to crush the pipe into an oval. Then I mounted the merge collector on the turbo and slid in a piece of metal bar stock between them so I could mount it to the chassis with clamps. With the start and end identified it was simply about filling in the gaps

I started with the hardest runner first and tacked pieces together. It actually went along easier than I expected as I would tack and slice elbows until it went where I wanted. Occasionally an elbow was sacrificed but at $5 a piece it was a small cost of less than $15 to have a well fitting manifold.

At the end of the day it took far more money to build the manifold than I expected. Here is a quick run down of why mine was expensive:

  • Head Flange-$60
  • Merge collector with flange-$80.
  • 12 weld els-$70 (only used 9).
  • Straight stainless tube 12” long- $8.
  • Filler metal in 308L and 309L-$30.
  • Dual port argon regulator $130.
  • Argon $60 for 120 cu ft (used a good bit because of back purging

The parts were not that expensive but the 3 hours of fabrication to mock it up and 16 hours for welding it was more than I expected. This is probably a startup and learning cost of I had to state a reason. If I had the tools it would have been cheaper (I had the TIG welder..but this was largely it’s first use). A friend that is a solid fabricator (professional) said he would do it for $800. That’s a pretty good deal in my eyes.

Up next is to evaluate if polishing will work or if I should coat it followed by the down pipe and wastegate output into the exhaust. While I hate the fact the turbo is outside the chassis- there just were no other choices.

Welds were flatter than expected. I struggled to get the ridges and dimes look I expected but penetration was good
A reverse rotation turbo would have been better but the space is there if I find myself needing to replace this one.

This is going to blow…

I know I have strengths and I know I have weaknesses. More often than not I tend to maneuver to highlight my strengths and minimize my exposure to weaknesses. Unfortunately 3D spatial design is a huge weakness

The process of making headers for the original motor was incredibly difficult and one I hated every second along the way. Now I had a box of bends and flanges and had to make the turbo manifold. The progress is slow and as of this post it is not complete.

Placement was difficult and unfortunately cannot fit in the bodywork. As a result of a frame piece I will land up hanging the entire turbo outside of the bodywork and as a result I’ll probably just skip that panel entirely.

The results should be positive. As the extra airflow will move heat away from the engine and avoid melting the soles of shoes.

Up next is to get 4 more right radius bends and attempt to connect the collector ports to the header flange. Wish me luck! I’ll need it!

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!

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.

It’s been a while…

My apologies for taking so long since the last post..a lot has happened but almost nothing automotive! After having a son most of my time has shifted to family time with occasional hours looking at my project. The sad reality is that swapping the LTG into the chassis would be more work than I expect to have time for right now. As a result I have decided to sell the ecotec. I would love to put it in an car that needs less work but time and space is the limiting factor.

I would love to sell it all as a single package.

That would include:

Engine

6 speed manual transmission

Alternator

Starter motor

Turbocharger

Custom stand alone ecu harness

Flashed ecu

And the fuel pump assembly. If interested shoot me a message!

The “Ecu” wheels appear to be coming offf…

I placed an order in early May for a pcm wiring harness and flashed pcm. The company was Swap Specialties and Performance. ( http://swapspecialties.com ) Initially they told me 4 weeks turn around. As of this day it’s been roughly 13 weeks  and they don’t answer their phone consistently (4 times in probably 40 calls) and when they have they told me “it’s being buttoned up and will go out Thursday”- but nothing has ever appeared. Then the story changed to “that person doesn’t work here anymore” but the line about it shipping on Thursday continues.

I finally filed a paypal case against them and not surprisingly they did not even reply to that. Thankfully Paypal was able to recover my money. ($730+). Their conduct was very poor and the multiple lies were not appreciated!

If nothing else I hope my frustration saves someone else the hassle. I will admit I don’t know what I will do next- this is a big setback.

Few new pipes

The turbo finally made its way to its permanent home.  I removed the manifold to check for obstructions. All clear!

 

There is a ton of potential in good manifold. One day I might put it on a mill and clean up the ports to their potential.

Some of the pipes needed arrived. The GM packaging is by far some of the best!

All ready to go now. Just need a few more nuts for the turbo to manifold

Flywheel pilot bearing hell!

My personal opinion is that Fidanza shouldn’t be allowed to sell parts with sick half assed support . To get a party they recommended I would have to go to Europe or China but online the part is harder to find than a uniform.

I bought a piece of bronze on what and stayed to machine my own. The dimensions were simple. 16mmID 28mmOD and 26mm in length. It took about an hour to make.

Overall it will get the job done and be fine. That said I am no where near the phase of recommending a fidanza product. Especially after the need for custom bolts!

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