The mad race to the shootout is finally over, so I have some time to write up a recap of the events that happened in the weeks and days beforehand…
Just as a random note – I started writing this back on 08/27/11, and have kind of forgotten about it. Wow :-o
Anyway, The road to the shootout was long and very much delayed. Many many times. It started around April of 2011 as a conscious decision to freshen up the motor. The engine in the car has originally put together back in 2004 when I started on the road to making the car RWD. It basically sat for four years after being initially put together. I also made the decision to freshen the motor because the car had three seasons, countless passes and a bunch of dyno time on it. Compression was down a little bit to around ~140-150 per cylinder, where it would normally be around 180-190 in any given cylinder. I also had a few other new items to install – one of them being a Kiggly Racing HLA regulator:
Additionally, it was just kind of time – So, I started pulling things apart.
With the help of Jeremy and Warren, I spent a few hours tearing the car down. With a few capable guys, the car went from running to completely apart in about 3.5 hours. Not bad. I certainly can’t complain. If I didn’t have lock-tite and/or safety wire on everything, it would have gone even faster. After getting it all torn down, everything looked surprisingly good. I was happy with almost all of it. One of the more interesting things that I found was the strange amount of oxidation on some of the parts. All in all, it wasn’t a huge deal, but it was pretty strange nonetheless.
Additionally, there was also some oxidation (rust) on most of the cylinder walls. Again, this isn’t a big deal because the car ran for three seasons like this, so not a huge deal. The main bearings looked decent, the rod bearings looked even better, even though both of them had wear. Not unexpected.
The original plan was to pull it all apart, hone the block, replace the rings and bearings, and then start putting it back together. The reality, though, was that I ended up being done for the day. Crap.
The original rings that I purchased were the wrong rings. JE apparently updated their piston design for the 4G63 at some point in the past 8 year (Imagine that!) and I didn’t realize this until after I had files the top ring on the pistons. The second ring, however, was much thinner than it needed to be. So, I had to order another set of (correct) rings, which took about a week to get here. I also found some issues with the head that I wanted to get fixed.
The head that I was using was a completely stock head, aside from the Springs and Cams. What I found when I pulled the engine apart was pretty interesting. Between Cylinders 3 and 4, there are a few things: a head stud hole and a coolant passage. In addition to that, there was also an additional unwanted passage between 3 and 4 that ran underneath the seal ring on the head gasket. This was certainly not supposed to be there. To fix this issue, the head would have to be replaced.
These issues put me weeks behind. I had to source a head (I actually ended up sourcing like 5 heads, but that’s a different story) get machine work done to it and order new rings. The short block actually went together pretty well – pretty uneventful really. The crank and new bearings plastigauged out to spec without a problem, and everything went back into the Talon. By June, I had the block back in the car and waiting for the head.
Unfortunately, it took another 6 weeks to get a head I was happy with. I took a new head to a local machine shop. The shop itself did a decent job on a deck to the head, and did a valve job on the head, too. By now, though, it was the beginning of August! I had to hustle to get it all together and ready to run. The weekend before the shootout, the head was finally ready to go – I bolted it on, finished up the rest of the unfinished business on the car, and fired it up.
Next up: The Dyno!