It was finally time to get the engine ready for install. I picked
this engine up almost 2 years ago off of Craigslist for $300. The
seller was an instructor at a local trade school who said the engine
was a low mileage unit pulled from a rear ended vehicle. It was used
as an example motor before being stored and eventually purchased by
him for a Datsun Z project. Once he got to actually mocking up the
engine he discovered the firewall issues with the rear intake and
put it up for sale. I bought it figuring if it was crap I could use
it as a core plus it gave me a donor blower to fool around with.
I knew the thing was clean inside and out but the best indicator
was when I got down to the timing chain, the tensioner had virtually
no wear on it.
So in went the cam, new timing chain, tensioner and
associated gaskets. Up top I installed the 90lb valve springs with
new seals, retainers, upgraded pushrods and an ARP head stud kit
(stock head bolts are torque to yield).
On top I installed new plug wires w/ heat sleeves (had a few melted
ones on the old motor), new vacuum lines and swapped over my
alternator, coils and PS pump from the old engine. The valve covers
were a father's day gift a year ago. Best I can tell the engine came
from a 98 due to an extra vacuum connection on the top of the S/C.
I am going to run an easily swappable pulley this time so I can
tailor the buggy for different uses if desired. So smaller pulley
for times when I want to run race gas, etc. Plus the modular pulley
fits in with the current color scheme.
The swiss cheesed bracket is the ignition module mount. The thing
is a motor mount in the OEM vehicle but the motor mount requirement
gets dropped the way we mount them. Pretty sure the stock bracket
tips the scales at 9lbs. I have always wanted to make a new, lighter
version but the two pulleys that mount to this one complicate things
so I just whittled it down some more over lunchtime at work. I am
down to around 3 lbs
The ARP head studs interfered with the header mounting flanges,
Ended up having to notch the flanges for clearance on both sides.
Also noticed the #4 spark plug wire rests against the header. I may
try swapping the wire around since the other end has a 90 on it.
The final drive train mounting consists
of the usual motor mounts up front and a transmission cross member
that grabs the two bolts in the transmission tail housing. In
addition to those mounting points I also added a mount to the back
side of the transfer case and to the passenger side head.
The winch also had to go in and I ended up uttering a few swear
words when I went to bolt up the fairlead only to discover there was
no room for a nut on the backside of the mounting plate. So much for
buying a pre-fab'd part to save some time. The winch plate was from
Ballistic. I had two options, one of which was to cut the rear lip
to move the winch back then re-drill all the holes. I ended up
grinding off the paint, cutting bigger holes to press some 3/8-16
nuts in, then tig'd them.
One of the last big fabrication projects was the steering setup.
With the axle finally in place and all the pieces on hand I could go
about positioning the ram, determine the tie rod lengths and locate
the mounting holes for the rod end mounting bolt on the steering
arms. The steering arms are a new product from Artec which utilize
the concept I got from Scott way back before the days of sticky
tires and steep waterfall climbs. Essentially we found the
strongest way to connect a hydraulic ram to a stock knuckle/high
steer combo was to attach the tie rod joints to a large bolt which
is then captured in double shear by the steering arm and lower TRE
mounting hole on the knuckle. This arrangement takes a huge load
off the upper kingpin cap mounting bolts which were never intended
to take the forces generated by a steering arm.
We had been asking people to manufacture steering arms like these
for years and finally someone listened. Due to variances in the TRE
hole locations on both stock and aftermarket knuckles there is some
fabrication required to get the ¾” steering bolt mounting holes to
line up. I started by opening up the stock TRE holes in the knuckle
with a 1/2" drill. The taper is pretty big so really only the lower
section of the hole guides the bolt which won’t be an issue once the
sleeves are factored in.
Next I transfer punched the hole on the
bottom of the arm I made sure to use a sleeve to keep the transfer
punch square to the hole in the knuckle. FWIW my transfer punch
consisted of a piece of .75” diameter material with a 3/8” hole
drilled up the center of it which holds a transfer punch.
On the passenger side knuckle the sleeve didn't sit flat due to the
casting so I dusted it off with a grinder till the sleeve sat flat
on the TRE mounting surface.
Since I don’t have a vice on my drill press at home I took the arms
in to work, clamped then to a flat plate so the drill was 90 degrees
to the sleeve mounting surface and then drilled the required ¾”
diameter holes for the tie rod bolt.
After that I measured for the tie rods and fabricated them from some
1.50 x .120 DOM with extra sleeving over the tubing bung (7/8 rod
ends). The bung was first tig welded all around the diameter of the
tie rod tube, added two opposing plug welds for good measure then
slid the reinforcing sleeve (1.75 x .120 wall ERW) over the end and
tig welding all around that.
On final assembly everything went together nice and snug and I
found it best to leave the arm bolts loose until the 3/4" tie rod
bolt is seated. Once the sleeves are captured by the arm and
knuckle, any slop that was apparent in the lower holes is now
completely gone. So this essentially means that the holes are not
super critical location or size wise once you factor in the top and
bottom holes as well as the sleeves which fit the bolt very tightly.
Anybody with a 1/2" drill and drill press should be able to install
these. Nice job Artec, thanks for listening
With all the horsepower upgrades I decided to upgrade the rear axle
shafts which were two year old stock units. Amazingly there was no
twist evident in the splines but in my mind they were the weak link
in the drive train. I went with a set of Tormax double splined axle
shafts from Performance Cryogenics.
The material is supposedly comparable to 300m but cryo’s better.
The splines are also sinusoidal which in theory would eliminate the
stress riser that would occur if the splines were all the same
depth. The inner spline count matches the stock 14 bolts (30) while
the outer portion of the axle shaft is 35 spline and engages a 4340