19 June

I lasted until 2 pm when the heat chased me out of the garage. Engine installation is nearly done, but still needs the intercooler mount and the tube connecting the intercooler outlet to the intake manifold. The intercooler is large enough that it blocks a fair bit of the engine, so it needs to be quick and easy to remove from its mount; slapping something together isn’t going to cut it.

17 June

Engine hook up continues. First start may or may not be this weekend but with the first heat wave of the season targeting this weekend I’m not sure how far I’ll get. An aside: I discovered a really odd thing about modern Honda engines, which of course are all metric, only they aren’t completely. Decades ago they apparently borrowed a number of engine ideas from other manufacturers. Fast forward to last week when I tried screwing a 1/8″-27 pipe thread oil adaptor into the block where the factory oil pressure sensor normally goes. It didn’t fit and I remembered having to run a tap into the old block in order to get on with things. Remembering that, I wondered what was going on. Since this engine is new and already in the car, I wanted to avoid possibly getting aluminum chips into the oil system. The Interweb had the answer; of all the threads in the world Honda chose to make this ONE threaded port 1/8″-28, which is British pipe thread! It turns out that many pneumatic systems use British pipe thread by default – I had no idea. Anyhow, bought an adaptor from McMaster, which charged what worked out to be 62% on top of the adaptor’s cost just for postage. Nice.

Asked the engine builder how much of a break-in is needed before having the car officially tuned, since this engine is different from the first on a few points: compression is 9:1 (was 8:1), the cams are different, the exhaust manifold has been changed, and the turbocharger turbine housing is 1.06 A/R (was 0.82). He recommended staying away from high rpm and driving at least 100 miles on it. I can do that, a couple local drives around here to check for leaks, then one drive into the back country can accrue that in an afternoon.

Some of us where I work got rattled this week. This Monday a coworker announced his plans to retire – and on Wednesday died of a heart attack. It was a reminder that I need to think more about my own retirement. The unknowable dilemma we all face though is not knowing how long we have versus how much money we think we’ll need. Do we retire early assuming we’ll meet some quick fate before running out of money? Or, will we be blessed/cursed to live to 103, bedridden, miserable, and broke for the last 10 years? It reminds me of that saying, “When I was young I was afraid I’d die in an accident, now I’m afraid that I won’t.” It’s little twisted but I get where it’s coming from. The saying I keep recalling is “Life is what happens while you plan the future.” Do what you want to do now instead of during retirement, as no one knows whether we’ll get there.

12 June 2016

It’s getting there. I had forgotten just how much of the turbo, oil, and fuel system changed, so there’s a fair bit of reworking the various hoses. The overhead shot shows the organized mayhem – there’s a surprising number of hoses in a turbo car with a dry sump!

In other news, I don’t think it was crows that got to the duck eggs. This morning there was a coyote in the backyard just looking around. What really surprised me was when he picked up a stick, threw it into the air, caught it, and starting running around the yard like a complete lunatic. Pretty sure it’s a young one because it was having the time of his/her life, just amuzing itself. About the time I wondered how it got it, it just walked toward a 6-ft fence and leaped up to the top of it, no problem.

Lastly, car progress has slowed some due to making more visits to see mom. She’s really slowing down and sadly we’ve been down this road before and know where it’s headed. Like I told someone, “I accept it but don’t have to like it.”

5 June

So I’m reconnecting everything to the engine, starting with the oil system. Cleaned out the oil lines and found more FOD from the old engine breakage. Was just about to reconnect the oil/coolant heat-exchanger when I had the following conversation with Voice In My Head (VIMH):

Me: “Time to connect the oil/coolant heat-exchanger.”
VIMH: “Making good progress.”
Me: “Thing is, I found enough junk in the hoses that I think I should check the heat-exchanger.”
VIMH: “Nah, it’ll be fine.”
Me: “Yeah but the exchanger is directly downstream of the dry sump tank, which had crap in it.”
VIMH: “If you worry about every little thing you’ll never get it done.”
Me: “The more I think about it the more it seems like there’ll be junk in it.”
VIMH: “It’ll slow you down, just push forward and stop wasting time.”
Me: “You know, how about you go sit in the corner and I disassemble it and find out.”

Good thing I did. While it is upstream of the oil filters, them having to catch every bit of bad stuff from getting into a brand new engine is really poor form. Yeah, much of that grit is dirt from the outside surfaces, and while most of the metal is aluminum, not all of it is, so cleaning wasn’t an option. That last picture is a single bit of hard aluminum that was wedged in one of the screened dry sump pan pick ups, which would have gone through both the scavenge and pressure sections of the pump – no thanks!

4 June

The first heat wave of the season made it too unpleasant to work in the garage. Instead, the air conditioner was set up, wired, and the lines vacuumed and back-purged. Opened the refigerent valves and nothing horrible happened, so now part of the house can be pleasent during our annual heat. For me, getting a good night’s sleep is the biggest reason to have AC. With a SEER rating of 30.5, it’s crazy-efficient, claiming to run an entire “season” (definition unknown) for $70 – that’s pretty good.

My brother’s running his newly-repainted car at Buttonwillow this weekend where it’s 106 degrees (“it’s a dry heat”). He said on Saturday three cars broke that he knew of, a Volvo wagon, an STi, and a stock car type vehicle that pretty much burned to the ground (driver fine). It’s just another reminder that even though it isn’t real racing, there are still consequences of heading out on track. He also said there were three Vipers, two of which had race slicks and one was a hardcore track-only beast, and he passed them all on street tires – pretty sweet.

The duck nest didn’t last long; mom duck didn’t choose a secluded enough location and crows got at the eggs. She keeps showing up, her hormones telling her she’s supposed to be sitting on the nest yet there’s nothing there any more. Nature is very efficient.

30 May

Engine arrived last week from Drag Cartel, on schedule again. Borrowed the engine hoist from my brother and out came the old one, with the damage clearly evident with it out of the car. While transferring the transaxle from the old engine to the new, turned out that the clutch housing was just barely contacting the transaxle housing; I wonder if Competition Clutch has heard of this. Ground the transaxle housing just enough that it shouldn’t contact it then installed the clutch to the new engine and bolted the transaxle to the engine. Cleaned up the engine bay and welded in new mounts for the dry sump tank as well as an additional mount for the water/oil heat exchanger. After that, “engine V2.0” went into the car and then the weekend was done.

In other news, looks like we’re going to be parents of ducklings. In the second to last picture, see if you can spot moma duck, sitting right in the center of the frame; she’s amazingly hard to spot. Did some reading up on them and a usual “clutch” is 12 eggs, so I don’t know if she’d done laying. The most interesting thing is that the eggs remain inert until she lays the last one and start sitting. Only then do all the eggs start developing in parallel so they all hatch within 1-2 days. That way mom doesn’t have to hang around for days or weeks waiting for each one to hatch in turn. After they’re all hatched she’ll march them to the nearest water, which will probably be our pond. Two months later, they should be ready fly and off they’ll go. Should be pretty cool to watch.