I'm going to roll up a bunch of updates into a single blog entry, because it's been a very long week.
I usually don't talk about work-related stuff much on the blog, other than major updates, but since this has been all over the news: Fermilab had their operating budget basically yanked out from under them during a weekend House session, and had been implementing rolling furloughs (basically, enforced leave without pay) for all staff. Recently, a few planets aligned, and funding was restored enough to eliminate the furloughs, but some of us already had that time scheduled: we were asked to project our furlough leave through the end of the fiscal year.
That's a long-winded way of saying that, over the last week, I've been taking my planned furlough leave, but using vacation for it instead. The reason? Catching up on backlogged work on the Eclipse. I'd planned on this week for a while, with the intention of getting up to work on it in the morning, and running all day; treat it like a job for a week, and see how much I could get done. Turns out, not as much as would have liked: about half of my planned work got done this week.
The engine, sans a couple of small items (I have no idea where the knock sensor went!), is now ready to go in. That entailed a bunch of small, tedious items that I didn't expect to take as long as they did: getting the new GM alternator rigged up, the ATI damper hub pressed on the crank, the timing belt installed, the oil pan modified to accept a -10AN drain line from the turbo, fabricating that actual drain line, fabricating a downpipe for the turbo, relocating everything to fit around the downpipe (the oil dipstick now has quite a few more bends than it used to), and generally getting the details right. I sent off my throttle body to Steve Monroe of Throttlebodys.com for boring out to 63mm. He turned that around in practically record time; it should be arriving Monday or Tuesday. I also fabricated a hacky little bracket for supporting the intake manifold, since the USDM manifold support bracket doesn't mate up to the JDM Cyclone intake manifold properly.
The other major piece of business I wanted to tackle was the rear suspension and driveline. The rear subframe (with the new solid diff bushings) is back in the car, along with the rear diff. For anyone curious: that is a tight fit; with the steel sleeves in the bushings, there is no tolerance for misalignment. After three months of waiting, the Road Race upper bearing plates arrived, along with a set of rear lower control arm bushings from Prothane. The upper bearing plates, however, had the standoffs machined incorrectly, and since they didn't actually arrive in my hands until Friday (thanks for sending that "signature required", guys), I'm currently waiting on replacements. But, the bushings have started to go in, and I'm definitely getting better at "non-destructive" removal of these sleeved bushings; the cheap Chinese press I bought from Harbor Freight is getting a good workout.
Thanks to a friend of mine, the snapring grooves for the Koni coilovers have been cut in the shocks, and except for the upper bearing plates, they're completely assembled and ready to go on the car. Meanwhile, I'm still pulling suspension components, putting them under the wire wheel for a while, giving them a rustproofing treatment, and replacing any needed bushings.
As a side-note: it's depressing to see how poorly the steel portions of the suspension have weathered Chicago's salt seasons. Most bolts are coming off in multiple pieces, and I'm taking notes for another large order of hard-to-find specialty items from Mitsubishi.
Things that still need to be done: now that the rear subframe is back in, I need to get the swaybar back in place temporarily to test fitment for the fuel cell frame (no, that's still not done), and get the damn thing welded in already. It looks like I'm going to have to cut a bit more out of the rear wall of the car to make it cell fit: a 15-gallon cell isn't exactly small. Once that's in, I expect the rest of the fuel system to actually go in fairly quickly: most of what's needed is stainless braided line manufacturing, and placement determination for the pumps, filters, regulator, Y-fitting, and lines.
The oil system is basically ready to go, I just need the engine in the car to confirm fitment. The one big remaining item there is whipping up a bracket for mounting the oil cooler, and the rest is just line routing. I have a feeling I'm going to end up having to get some slimmer radiator fans to clear a pair of -12AN lines running across the front of the car...
Last but not least is power: once the cell is in, I can fit up the battery box in the rear, and start running some very thick power cables the length of the car. That leads to a fair bit of basic electronics work that's needed: fuel pumps, any new sensors that need to be added, and working through the issues of running a 1g engine in a 2g.
That's basically where I'm at. I'm probably a couple of weeks away from having the engine in, and if I can keep up the momentum on the rest of the work, I'll hopefully be very close to a test firing at that point. That's my biggest concern: having a week to dedicate to this was unbelievably good for getting my head back into it again, and I'm worried that once I'm back to work and spending time on typical homeowner stuff, I'll ease up on getting things done. I'll need to make myself do "one thing" every night, even if it's a small thing, just to keep myself working toward the goal.
The goal being August 17: the annual DSM/Evo Shootout in Norwalk, Ohio. I have some serious reservations about making that date at this point, obviously, but I'm still going to try and get the car together for it, even if I don't actually race it. Being able to simply drive it there would be good enough for me.