Keep Drifting Cheap: turbo RB20 C35 Laurel for 1250 quid

Thread in 'Project Cars and Builds Threads' started by BenRice, Jan 6, 2020.

  1. BenRice

    BenRice Well-Known Member

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    Ever since I turbocharged a mates non-turbo S14 it's got me thinking: how cheap could I put together a capable drift car for?

    Nissan's are my jam so figured I'd stick with my knitting. I have some transferable bits (3 full sets of 5 stud wheel, race seats on rails, harnesses etc) or spares/leftover/random parts (R200 diffs, 5x1 axles, muffler, oil sandwich plate, VAFC's, AFM, pod filter, radiator) sitting there, and have the ability to do the work myself & tune it. I just needed a base.

    So my mate & I have been brainstorming and we've come up with the following recipe:

    The base: C35 Nissan Laurel - factory 5 stud, uses S14/S15 suspension and RB engines

    I've got my hands on this piece of magnificence for the princely sum of $600 (yes it has a bonnet):
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    The engine: RB20E - dirt cheap replacement engines, dizzy & leads instead of coilpacks (ie less hassle)

    I managed to find one literally 700m from my house for $20! Complete with blown auto trans and missing an alternator & starter, but as far as a core engine was concerned i couldn't believe it

    Then it's a case of sourcing a clutch, small case gearbox, cable handbrake, clutch pedal and suitable driveshaft. Some of said parts:

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    The last piece is to turbo it using a factory DET turbo. In my case i've got my hands on, what appears to be, a rather good condition RB25 turbo.

    Now, the exhaust studs on the exhaust port on cylinder 5 on the single cam are a reverse orientation to the twin cam. However, stainless manifolds tend to have a little extra meat so the holes can be drilled through the flange. I picked up a factory position stainless manifold for this.

    Next is the oil drain. I'll be drilling & tapping the block like i did with the S14, only this time it can be done before it goes into the car.

    For fueling, the single cam uses top feed 160cc injectors so I've got a set of RB20DET 270cc injectors to swap in. For controlling the fueling we'll be using the trusty VAFC & wideband.

    I'm going to try a few things as well with this car. I've ordered a "255lph" fuel pump, braided oil feed and water/oil pressure gauges off Aliexpress. I'm even using the yoke off a TD27 driveshaft. I'm going to run it on wastegate pressure for now, but the idea is to push it up as far as 12psi. Next stage will be to sell the 25 turbo and source a "replacement" unit from Aliexpress and see if it, and the engine/clutch/gearbox, will hold 15psi

    At the moment I'm an ECU, clutch pedal, viscous fan, pressure plate bolts and yoke swap away from having all the parts collected and ready to go. So far I've spent NZD$1,950. That's including the purchase of the C35 as well. Once the final parts are acquired and all the odds & ends are sorted I'm hoping to be under $2.5k

    The plan is to do all of this on a long weekend at the end of the month. Taking it from a rolling shell, to a tuned & driving car in 3-4 days. I'll still need to fork out for some coilover suspension before going to the track but I'll wait until a suitable deal pops up.

    Wish me luck!
     
    #1 BenRice, Jan 6, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2020
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  2. prblmslvrs

    prblmslvrs Active Member

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    This looks like its definitely one to watch! Good luck with trying to squeeze it all in that timeframe.
     
  3. BenRice

    BenRice Well-Known Member

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    Thanks dude

    Yesterday the loom turned up in the post and I picked up an intercooler (free), front pipe (factory R34 GTT so 2.5" & free) and a TD27 manual driveshaft (also free).

    I was skeptical on the TD27 driveshaft fitting the RB20 box but sure enough it's a perfect fit. The front half is longer than a Silvia or Skyline front half as well

    Split it apart last night then measured the length of the RB20 box (795mm from bellhousing mounting surface to rear) so next stage is to measure the C35 auto box and the front half of the C35 driveshaft and fingers crossed i can just swap front halves. Otherwise it'll be a chop & weld & balance time

    Got word this morning that I'll have an ECU, viscous fan, shroud & power steering pump 50% discounted in exchange for a sticker on the car

    That leaves clutch pedal, pressure plate bolts, drivers side guard & headlight to source before the 24th
     
  4. BenRice

    BenRice Well-Known Member

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    Pictureless update sorry

    Clutch pedal acquired yesterday & is in the post, and have a lead on a headlight leaving me really only a thermostat housing and pressure plate bolts to go. Have been told the drivers side guard is passable so will leave it for now.

    Picked up engine oil, gaskets, spark plugs, manual spigot bush & ancillary belts from my local automotive plug. On my way home I'll see what the local hardware store has as far as M8 x 1.25 16-17mm high tensile bolts for the pressure plate. Plan is to get up and do a once over on the shell to see if it needs anything like brake pads etc, and to measure up the driveshaft to see if I'm in the ball park with just a front half swap

    I'm now pouring over service manuals and wiring diagrams to work out if I'm missing anything on the loom and what wires on the engine loom i need to hook up to get it to run. I'm sure it'll be something like an injector relay or something that'll hamstring me on the day

    I'm tempted to get it running on the stock injectors then swap in the 270's once I've confirmed everything else runs.

    As far as combining the body loom with the engine loom i think it's making sure the starter signal wire & alternator bulb are hooked up, switched power gets to the ECU and the inhibitor switch is bypassed.

    Oh, and thought i'd nickname the project Lunch Money seeing as though it's being funded from the account i have for carparts and buying lunch
     
  5. chidley

    chidley i like fingers

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    Epic. I love how easy you make it all, manual swap etc is fairly easy but boosting an NA is always a tricky one, I guess its handy you've done it multiple times and know what your doing RE: tuning. That's the bit which scared me tbh haha.

    Looking forward to seeing this progress <3
     
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  6. BenRice

    BenRice Well-Known Member

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    Cheers dude!

    So picked up the engine. It came with a blown auto box but got that off quick smart and with the help of an engine crane we got the engine into the garage.

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    First issue: the exhaust stud pattern was not what I had though it was.

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    I had thought it was just cylinder 5 that had the studs the wrong way round, turns out it's the other 5 that are! So that left me with a conundrum

    Change engines?
    Modify the stock single cam manifold?
    Modify the stainless twin cam manifold?

    I opted for option 3. Now after a bit of measuring i came across an interesting discovery: the stud spacing and flange size is exactly the same as a 38mm Deltagate/Tial wastegate flange! The single cam exhaust port is only 33mm but the twin cam manifold runners were oval and 38-42mm

    Considering the factory manifold flange was 16mm thick, and the stainless flange only 9mm i initially wanted to pop the 9mm thick wastegate flanges in between the manifold and the head & get the wastegate flanges welded to the manifold flange. However after a bit of staring and measuring i'd be making more work for my fab guy

    So 6x wastegate flanges have been ordered (at $10/flange it isn't killing the budget in the slightest) and we'll be cutting the twin cam flange off, sliding the wastegate flanges on the exhaust studs, tacking the runners in place then welding fully off the engine finishing with a good session on the linisher. When welding each flange fully we'll use the old single cam exhaust manifold and bolt a couple of flanges to it to hold it square.

    On the good news front I found I don't need to drill the block as the single cam has a turbo oil drain already, it just has a bung in it. Just need to find a 3/4 NPT fitting to suit and we're golden
     
  7. antz

    antz Active Member

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    This is my new favourite project.
     
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  8. BenRice

    BenRice Well-Known Member

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    Bit of back and forth on this one at the moment

    Wastegate flanges turned up and were exactly as I hoped. Bolt holes are 9mm so will open them up to 10.5mm. Have dropped them off, along with the gasket and manifold to my mate for alteration. Then pulled off the flexplate bolts and flexplate. Drilled out the auto spigot bush nice and easily and popped the new one in the freezer

    Then fitted the alternator and found i need the little adjustment bolt setup for it. Then went to put one of my turbo oil drain's on the RB25 turbo to find they're either too small or too big. And found 3x snapped studs on the exhaust housing

    However my Aliexpress orders are starting to hit the country so there's a little motivation there.

    Off to order flywheel bolts, adjustment bolt and an oil drain now

    So lucky to have the engine in the garage. Chipping away at it in the lead up means i can overcome these problems easily before they become super urgent
     
  9. Simon998

    Simon998 Member

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    Tinypic is killing threads ffs, much the way photobucket went.
     
  10. BenRice

    BenRice Well-Known Member

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    Ahhhhh, wut?
     
  11. BenRice

    BenRice Well-Known Member

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    Anywho, went and moved Lunch Money from where it was being stored to my mates place

    It's not a pretty sight

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    Couple of bonuses:

    - Comes with power steering pump intact and ready to be bolted onto an engine
    - Has some red lowering springs in it already
    - R200 rear subframe (a lot of Medalists came out with the R180)

    And a few new unbonuses:

    - Cracked windscreen
    - Broken passenger side taillight
    - Mangled ignition
    - Festy smells inside

    Drivers side guard is too far gone to save in reality so will be hunting in earnest for a replacement

    Also, in manifold news it's lucky we're cutting the flange off:

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    6mm of run out across the face lol

    Spent a bit of time last night trying to get the 3 broken studs out of the exhaust housing to no avail. Used copious amounts of heat, shocked them, and bought some brand new channel locks and they still wouldn't budge. Am now going to cut them down flush with the mounting face and drill through the studs to try and get them to collapse. Have an M8 tap to run through it to clean up the threads afterwards

    I am persisting with this housing because i found it to be an OP6! So i've got myself an RB25DET NEO turbo

    Fuel pump, oil pressure & water temp, oil line and throttle body joiner all turned up today & yesterday. Mail room lady at work thinks I'm crazy

    And measured up my driveshaft finally! The front halves of the auto RB20 C35 and the manual TD27 Navara are exactly the same length. However, the RB20 manual gearbox is 35mm shorter (795mm vs 830mm). That being said, having 35mm of the yoke exposed is not the worst i've ever seen so will carrying on blindly and hope for the best. At least it'll have the hanger bearing for support

    Once my wife has headed off camping I'm off to pick up Lunch Money and drop it at my place. Then it would have magically appeared while we've been away....

    I also have a bit of running around picking up other parts today. I'll still have a few things left come next week, but I'm out camping until Monday arvo from 5pm today
     
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  12. BenRice

    BenRice Well-Known Member

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    Bit of a one step forward, three steps back at the moment. Figured I'd explain what happened so people can learn on the way like me

    Driveshaft:

    Driveshaft fought me to come apart so the death wheel came out and made short work of the studs, only to find it won't work. The stud pattern on the halves doesn't match up and I completely overlooked the fact the new front half didn't have a second universal joint (would have made it a DIY 1 piece lol). The old auto front half is too short so look like I'm going to have to fork out for a driveshaft modification. I do have a spare rear half with universal and the right stud pattern so hoping that can be put to use

    Loom:

    The RB20E loom i got was out of an R33 and the engine from an A31 so i have the 4 pin plug on the dizzy (believe it's the CAS), the 3 pin on the throttle body and the 2x IACV plugs to swap over. Again, good to find now and shouldn't be a major. Will order plugs today

    Exhaust studs:

    The studs are putting up a fight. I've cut them off flush in an attempt to reduce the amount of stud to drill through but it's slow going. It's looking like i'll have to pull the housing and take it to an engineer to get them drilled out on a press. Any tips on drilling through snapped studs let me know.

    New parts:

    On the positive, i've found a good condition drivers side guard, mint passenger taillight (both fitted) and replacement front head lights (in the post). Flywheel bolts, alternator adjuster bolt, NPT-BSPT fitting turned up today too. ECU hopefully this arvo and viscous fan & shroud, thermostat housing, water pump pulley and oil drain fitting due in later in the week. Fingers crossed that's the last of it but probably won't be.

    Plans:

    I need to dive into the rats nest of wiring in the empty engine bay and label everything i need and remove what i don't. Will also pull out the A/C lines, pump & condenser as gently as possible as I'm keen to put it in the S13.

    Work starts in earnest on Thursday arvo when the mrs & boy head off camping, and I'll be cranking until Monday. If i hit an insurmountable issue at any stage it'll be a case of just making it look better/prep for drifting. I'm soooooo keen to throw the Advans on to see what it looks like!

    And if you've managed to get through that wall of text here's a photo of it in my driveway after it's high pressure bath. I am still on the lookout for replacement front & rear bumpers but may take the opportunity to have a go at plastic welding them back together with a soldering iron

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  13. Bu11et

    Bu11et Well-Known Member

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    any plans suspension wise? Coilovers and rack spacers for now?
     
  14. BenRice

    BenRice Well-Known Member

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    Yup lock spacers, but it has lowering springs in it at the moment and I want to see how they go first. Have a rear swaybar to throw on to tighten up the rear a bit too

    More of an update to come!
     
  15. BenRice

    BenRice Well-Known Member

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    So the saga continues. Obstacles overcome and progress made:

    Driveshaft:

    After striking out in 3 different places, i found an engineering place willing to take on the driveshaft job in the time frame and cheap ($200). Fingers crossed it's done in time!

    Turbo exhaust housing studs & manifold:

    My mate popped over last night and is going to weld nuts on the studs to get them out. He also brought over the manifold for a trial fit. The holes for the head studs will need opening up another 0.5mm and we've found a difference in the port design. Note the distance on the gasket between runners 3 and 4:

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    A bit of heat and tweak the runners with the sledge and it'll be ok. Then it's fill the gaps as much as possible. I'll need to trim down the head studs on 4-5 of them, or pull them out and swap them for bolts. I'll need the clearance a few castings on the head as well, but nothing the flapper wheel & finger sander can't handle. Anything more will require heating the runners and dents. The 9mm flanges really are a little on the thin side, and having 15mm ones would have been better. Might just have to double them up if clearance is still too tight.

    Parts:

    Found that SR20 alternator adjusters don't work on RB alternators, but i have a lead on an RB one. Then moved onto removing the oil pressure sensor, adding a fitting, 4-way adapter installed and pressure sensors fitted by my 3yo (he loves having an actual engine in the garage to "play with")

    Then i got a message from a guy who was parting out this thing, that i've bought a few bits and pieces off already

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    He got motivated to get funds so I grabbed the facelift bonnet, guards, headlights, bumper, factory Club S side skirts and full ignition, door and boot lock set for $300. I would have liked the rear bumper as well but I'm running out of funds. I'll fit the lock set & side skirts but i think I'll relist the front clip for stupid money and see if i can turn a profit. If i make it too nice it'll defeat the purpose

    Mark X parts hauler

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    Manifold and turbo should be getting dropped back off today ready to go and we're almost ready to crack into it. I'll give the garage & tools a clean, grab some more disposables and stock the beer fridge in preparation

    Wish me luck!
     
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  16. BenRice

    BenRice Well-Known Member

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    So today marked the start of this adventure, and as usual it was full of ups & downs

    First up, a half hour drive to pick up the bonnet to go with the rest of the facelift front end. Also nabbed a mint front bumper support and a rear bumper (which I'm swapping with a mate for a silver one)

    After a quick shop for the essentials for the weekend (beer, soft drink, OJ, chips, dip, pizzas, croissants, ham, sausages, steak & garlic bread) it was straight into automotive archaeology. I constantly told myself "fesssssstttyyyyyy" the whole time

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    Insert the vacuum cleaner & water blaster

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    Water blaster did an amazing job

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    And some degreaser

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    After pulling out the old engine harness (after removing the AC and then the blower to get access) it was onto test fit of the manifold

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    Now that's with the manifold spaced 16mm away from the head due to the studs hitting the runners. Those studs will need to be trimmed down, or removed and a bolt put in and trimmed to suit

    However the block needed clearancing

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    Still a bit to go:

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    Got a mate coming over tomorrow, which is good because i've found the manifold has 2-3mm of warp (end runners are proud of the other 4) so when i go to engineering place tomorrow for the driveshaft I'll hopefully pop it on their linisher / belt sander

    And i also found the wheel studs are rounded. My 16mm Powerbuilt socket is taking the smacks from my mini sledge like a champ though

    I found this out because i couldn't resist.......

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    17x9 with 215/45 and effective offset of 18. Could do with a 235/40 or a coil cut off the lowering springs but not fussed. When the engine is in it'll look even better. Have the other pair are getting fitted with my old 215/40 T1R's i had lying around and I'm picking them up tomorrow. Will be fitted with 30mm spacers so offset of +8. I'll probably run the RP01's on the rear for tuning (235/40 AR1 semis) anyway as these tyres are dusted

    Also, the Club S side skirts are so awesome in person but get lost a little in that pic. Just need a couple self tapers and we're away

    The more i stare it the more i want to find a paint can a similar shade and paint that patch on the rear quarter, the scuffs on the front bumper, the side skirts, the wing mirrors and the white drivers side guard.

    But first, make it run

    Until next time
     
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  17. tomsheen

    tomsheen Active Member

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    Enjoyable read and some good info in there. I wish you the best of luck with the build. will it be a road car or track car
     
  18. BenRice

    BenRice Well-Known Member

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    Cheers dude

    Track car. Windscreen is cracked and i doubt it'll see much exhaust past the cat lol

    But i want to do things properly so if/when I sell it down the road someone can have it inspected and put on the road with minimal of changes
     
  19. BenRice

    BenRice Well-Known Member

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    Ok, recap time. A lot went wrong and a lot went right. Buckle up

    Day 2

    Spent the morning picking up the driveshaft, getting the manifold linished, picking up a gazebo (life saver as temps hit 32 deg) and getting tyres fitted for Lunch Money and to my mother in-laws car.

    My mate Lunchy turned up with a bunch of parts i needed and we split off our jobs: him on the engine, me on the body

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    Lunchy fitted the manual spigot, thermostat housing, leads, water pump pulley, viscous fan, water pump belt, turbo oil drain fitting, flywheel, made a clutch alignment tool and started fitting the pressure plate to find obstacle number one: the flywheel looked to have been a 6 bolt that had been redrilled to a 9 bolt and one of the holes didn't line up.

    So he jumped onto fitting the manifold. I had 6 extra flanges at the ready so we could double-gasket it if required, but Lunchy perservered and trimmed studs & got it to fit. When this motor goes we'll put the other flanges on and weld them together to give it the clearance

    While he was doing that i assisted when required, removed the foot-operated parking brake, test fitted the intercooler, ran the water temp & oil pressure sensor wires, mounted the gauges, fitted the turbo, ran the oil feed line and fitted the dump pipe.

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    Then Shayden & Niamh turned up and Niamh cut off the plugs on the loom that needed changing and crimped on spade connectors (temporary until wiring confirmed). Shayden lay on the floor talking shit as he does.

    We were going to oval the hole on the pressure plate but Shayden had a 9-bolt flywheel that I acquired the next day on condition I replace it.

    Lunchy & I knocked off ~1am feeling semi ok about the progress

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  20. BenRice

    BenRice Well-Known Member

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    Day 3

    A slow start and another outing to pick up spring washers, hose for the oil drain, degreaser, brake cleaner and a cordless grinder

    I cracked into removing the old flywheel and fitting the new one, after a quick whip around with the flappy sander attachment to take the surface rust off. Popped the clutch disc on and put the most amazing clutch alignment tool ever to use while fitting the pressure plate

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    Nik & Dale then turned up, and I put Dale to work on fitting the Club S sideskirts, and Nik on the other side of the spade connectors while I fitted up the release bearing and fork. Nik also cut the top radiator support panel as the panel behind the headlights was going to need too much removed to fit the intercooler pipes through, and the drivers side has a decent smack in it anyway. I'll keep an eye out for an undamaged C35 front clip to pick up and sell with it when the time comes.

    Nik showed his prowess by sliding the box on single handedly, leaving me a bit gob smacked. Also, stoked it went straight on with no binding issues. Clutch alignment tool did it's job perfectly

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    At this point i needed a break, so the others left and i had a feed and took stock of where i was at. It was feeling a little overwhelming as I was waaaay behind schedule.

    I needed to fit the clutch pedal and was dreading it, but had the final bits on the engine & box to do. But then Dylan turned up at ~4pm with my muffler with a 2-bolt flange welded on and offered to help.

    He smashed it out. Getting the trans-engine brackets, starter and engine mounts on while I put the engine loom in and test fitted the clutch pedal. After i had spent a bunch of time making a cardboard template I cut the sound deadening mat out to find the holes already on the inner skin of the firewall. Centre punch, drill and we were in business, until we found the threads on the R33 clutch pedal were stripped, so I sanded down the flanges to get more engagement

    FYI - centre bore for the clutch master is 33mm and i just did 10mm on the studs

    I ended up using the old cam cover breather joiner hose with a 90 cut off as the oil drain. No kinks!

    We had a bbq feed and then figured we'd try fit it! Only to find the hoist we were using had front legs that just fouled the front wheels, and the studs were rounded. half an hour of smacking on an imperial socket, pull the wheels off and fitting 20mm spacers and we were back on track now at 10pm

    10:15pm and the engine was in

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    I was a sweaty mess at this point but suuuuuuuuuuper motivated

    We tidied the garage and stuck both cars in side by side

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    83159035_188940932185964_1949768715474042880_n.

    Having the radiator support cut made the whole process a cinch. No power steering lines got touched at any point. With a bit of stretching of the trans mount the bolt holes looked to line up too

    So end of Day 3 and engine & box is in the car thanks to massive effort from Dylan
     
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