Wednesday, October 24, 2012



Why haven't I posted here in forever? Well here's a major update.

The car is running wonderfully. In fact, as of Saturday evening, it's now running better than it ever has under my ownership. I spent the last week installing a new timing chain and while I was at it, flushed the oil from the cam followers, cleaned up the dizzy and installed a new o-ring, installed a new gasket in the valve cover and re-checked all of the turbo piping. Before that, I had recently replaced the ignition wires with bougicords, spark plugs with proper NGKs, dizzy rotor and cap and all of the vacuum lines (except the big fatty one coming off the PCV nipple... I can't get to the other end of it).

Before taking her on a 2,400 mile journey to Walt Disney World this summer, I also went in and replaced the entire exhaust except for the manifold, turbo, and elbow. She still has the original downpipe, but it's been cleaned up a lot after the shop owner found a massive rust line (about 6" long and 1/4" wide hole). The exhaust is now 3" aluminized steel to the tail with a 3" magnaflow cat and 3" magnaflow muffler. I asked the guy at the shop to shape the tip like the stock one and he did an excellent job (no need for a 6" chrome fart can tip please). Right before going into the shop for the new exhaust I installed new tie-rod ends and tie-rod boots. I attacked one of the ball joints that badly needed replacing while I was in there and have the other 3 ready to go whenever I have time to fit them. All four CV/U-joint boots are in the garage awaiting installment as well.

I've flushed the tranny oil and poured in fresh Redline MTL which has definitely helped smooth out the shifting. I had a brief problem with the steering column's u-joint freezing up but was able to quickly take care of that with some LPS-2 and auto-tranny fluid (??? who would have thought that was the proper lube to use ???).

Anyway, I mentioned boost. I don't know if you recall, but from the time I bought the car nearly 1.5 years ago, I have never reliably had full boost (when the ECU sees poor engine conditions, it lowers boost pressure from 10.5 to 5 psi). I can count on my hand the number of times I was able to enjoy full boost for more than 3 seconds. But never fear! My roommates kicked my butt last weekend and got me to do some serious diagnostic work (with the help of my brand new oscilloscope). We were able to determine my knock sensor was in good working order thanks to the DSO Quad. I installed a knock sensor LED in the cabin that has already proven useful. While the knock sensor was out, we cleaned up the contact surfaces and re-tightened with proper torque.

I was in for a big surprise when I put it all back together and went to test out the new knock LED. I had full boost! The gauge raced to the red and both me and Cody were thrown in our seats as all 165 HP rocketed the car forward in 1st gear. I did my best to withhold excitement until I had some more proof that it wasn't another temporary relief from hell. It's three days later and she still runs like a champ all the way to 10.5 psi!

I'm very much looking forward to upgrading a car for the very first time in my life. I've always struggled, but with time and money, to simply keep up with maintenance on a car. There was always something more important on the car that needed my attention than upgrades. But now... finally... I have the money, I have a worthy car, and I (sometimes) have the time to play with it. I sure as hell have a sweet garage in which I can work and call my own!


First things first, I want to do some more preparations. I'm going to install a proper, calibrated boost gauge before tweaking the APC. I'll likely go digital and build it myself since this is something I quite enjoy doing and can do this far cheaper than buying one. I'm already requesting quotes for steel diff covers to prepare the butter-soft transmission for horsepower figures well over 200. I'm also on the lookout for new shocks - the KYB GR-2s that I installed are softer than the stock 21 year-old Boge-branded tubes. Never again will I waste my money on KYB shocks. Or anything KYB. But, I don't exactly have $350 to throw down on shocks so that'll wait for a while.

That's all for now! Time to study for my Discrete Linear Systems test in 7 hours...