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
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.