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Discussion Starter #121
The tensioner thing came in two versions and was pointed out on another forum so I actually already second guessed myself and decided to add an LS2 piece.

LS2 is really a damper (not a tensioner) and runs inside the chain only.


LS3 serves more like a proper tensioner.


LS3 style will not work with a double roller chain. Some folks have had failures with them as well..

LS2 timing chain Damper or tensioner? - LS1TECH - Camaro and Firebird Forum Discussion

LS2 version ordered. Sucks to redo stuff but I do still have pretty decent access on the engine stand and I don't want to be second guessing myself. FWIW gm parts direct has an offer going for 5% off. It was "MINUS5" if anyone wants to try for something else".
 

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Had good experience with the LS2 timing setup in 3 builds. I think that’ll suit just fine. Great progress, keep up the good work.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #123
I need to do a bit of catching up. Part of the reason why I love the forum is the chatter and sounding board services you guys offer. The LS2 vs. LS3 damper thing is a great example. I just wish I hadn’t put so much stuff back together already. Home sick today, but the wife is worse so this got typed up from an urgent care while she gets checked for strep throat.

Where we left off the actual engine build, I decided I couldn’t live with myself running the wrong bolts on the cam retainer plate. After a bit of hunting around I confirmed a local dealership had them in stock.

$19 in bolts later I was back in business.




One interesting detail, I’ve never seen a slotted countersunk hole before. GM was apparently looking at some pretty nutty tolerance stack ups.




I was going to port the oil pump since there’s a touch of flashing on the inside edge.




However, one of Melling’s bolts just started to strip when I went to open up the second one (I can feel/see it start to give without breaking loose), so I aborted and decided to leave it alone. A fractional percentage of oil flow improvement vs. risk of jacking up and/or fighting the pump for days wasn’t worth it the risk.




I did replace the crankshaft seals in both the front and rear covers.




Rear cover is a bit of a paint to get off while on an engine stand. I managed but it wasn’t fun. Specs claim the cover should sit flush to 0.02” (0.5 mm) above the block surface (below in my case since I’m working upside down).




I figured the seal would find a happy place on the crank so I installed with slight upward pressure on the cover to get things damn close to flush.

On the front cover the process is the same except I installed the harmonic balancer first (cover in place but all bolts loose to be sure the seal would be centered.




There are special tools for this but I don’t see a need.

Damper comes nicely packaged, but you get to assemble it yourself.




Borrowed the special balancer install tool from 65imp. These are handy enough I’d own one if Mike wasn’t so close, so much better than trying to get it far enough on for a stock bolt to grab.



You do have to be sure the pulley slides into the seal nicely when doing it this way as with the cover loose there’s no guarantee it’ll line up.




Ok, that’s about it for the front and rear of the long block.

-Joel
 

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Discussion Starter #124
Moving down to the bottom of the engine.

Bores look perfect on all cylinders. No funny journal play on any rods. Just bitching forged yumminess that all looks perfect.




Rods have numbers hand etched in each, no something I’ve seen before but at least it’s in a low stress spot so it should be fine.




Happy to confirm the 24x crank encoder wheel. That makes life, drive by cable a bit easier. I’ll be running a 99+ f-body harness and ECU to control this.




I bought some plasti-gage to check bearings and the like, but ended up not doing it. Seeing the fresh install of the pushrods me left feeling loathe to tear apart the con rods. Given what I’ve seen to date the odds of finding something so egregious I’d want to rebuilt this with new bearings seems like really low odds. I did put a torque wrench on them set to about 80% of rated (specs I found for the rod bolts were either 40 or 45 ft lbs. and I checked at 35). Nothing budged so I’m 90% decided to leave it alone. If you think I’m an idiot and I need to suck it up, feel free to voice your thoughts as to why.

I did have some work to do on my windage tray. 1) hardware on a 98 ls1 mains are smaller than this engine—though, to be fair I don’t know if that’s an LS3 thing or a 416 stroker thing since much of my hardware isn’t stock anymore.

Either way, I needed to open up the holes in the windage tray and that’s how I gashed my thumb a while back. Drill caught and spun the whole thing around a while back. Thought a good grip was enough. It wasn’t. Ouchie.




Once I got the windage tray to land over the studs I discovered the long stroke was causing an interference to the tray.




That means I either need to space it downward or I need to buy a long stroke windage tray. They do sell those.

https://ls1tech.com/forums/generation-iii-internal-engine/1464704-stroker-rods-hiting-windage-tray.html

For the 4.000" stroke windage tray: 19244049
For the 4.125" stroke windage tray: 19202609
For the 4.200" stroke windage tray: 19244051



The problem with a long stroke windage tray is that the recessed mounting points to interface to studs. That’s not going to work with my oil pickup tube, which naturally goes with the Kevco oil pan that the structure of my engine bay was designed around… Well that sucks. Looks like I need to figure out a way to use what I have. I can get close with a few heavy washers, but that leaves me pretty short on the stud for the thickness of a heavy washer, windage tray, pickup mounting tab, AND flange nut. Debated whether I should just suck it up and notch the windage tray for this one position. Maybe treating this like a jam nut and only letting half the threads engage isn’t the end of the world either.

I also didn’t have the OEM deformed metal lock nuts for this size, I wasn’t sure this was an OEM size, and I wasn’t that sure the deformed metal would engage anyways. Since these aren’t doing much of anything structurally I went and found some ARP “all metal” locking nuts that came in a perfect 10 pack.




Downside is that the “locking” on these is just some teeth on the inside of the flange not actually a deformed thread nut like I hoped. Kinda lame.

There’s another challenge: the oil pickup mount tab doesn’t quite land on the stud either since the oil pump is spaced forward slightly to account for the double roller timing chain.






Note the oil pump spacers in the second pic above. It’s probably only 0.100” or so but shifting the pickup didn’t work out plug and play in my case.

I debated cutting and welding the tab, but I was concerned it might not land at a good angle and this metal is oily. Looked like I’d have just enough metal so I used a burr to open up the slot. It worked out.



-Joel
 

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Discussion Starter #125
With the addition of some heavy washers as spacers everything cleared the windage tray.




But if I biased the windage tray all the way against the studs the wrong way I could JUST have contact. That seems damn tight and so I dimpled the pan at key locations to gain another 1/16” or so, then biased the tray install in the happy direction.




Added another dimple where the pickup crosses over the bottom. Measurement leave the pickup sucking from maybe 5/16 ” off the pan which looks good to me.






New oil pan gasket, with RTV in the corners per FSM specs.




As I think about it, the one piece I’m still not happy with is the damn windage tray nuts, specifically the one supporting the pickup tube. I was able to torque it fine and it does have teeth to engage the metal, however, if that ever loosened up it seems like the pickup could droop, maybe touch the bottom of the pan and maybe cause an oil issue.

I’m probably overthinking this, but with engines I don’t want to screw around. In the LS1 tech thread above several folks talk about spacing the tray downward which would prevent engagement of a deformed metal nut even if I had one. It almost seems like I’d need to get the deformed metal version then shave a nut down to something approaching a jam nut.

Not shown: Pulled off all the syran wrap, pan installed and torqued. Pushrods and rockers back in their homes (specific rocker bolts with pipe dope as mentioned earlier), valve covers on, and everything torqued.

Next up: engine accessories.
-Joel

Still need to do my pushrod and valve spring verification, but since that’s all topside work I buttoned up a bunch of stuff, (which naturally some of the helpful suggestions mean I’ll end up redo’ing. I’d still rather have this be as solid as I can get it.
 

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Discussion Starter #126
turn at urgent care to get checked. Looks like I might get caught up on progress in this damn freezing cold urgent care after all.

Back to the build.

Water pump goes on first. New gaskets, aftermarket bolt kit.




Went to build up the power steering pump. This rig will be full hydraulic. Did a great deal of reading before I settled on the Holley parts to let me run a high mount alternator and AC compressor. (There was quite a bit of chatter about this earlier in the thread)

Holley is using the Corvette LS pump, so it’s the nice version with bearings on the output that can spin faster. Downside is that outright displacement isn’t as high. This is one reason I went with a full sized ATI balancer. I don’t want to be slowing down my accessories.

The trick for me was getting an extended output fitting bored out to a new orifice size. Turn One came to my rescue here and provided both the tech advise and the proper fitting. They also bored it out for me for free (been a while but IIRC It was either 0.135 or 0.160”, I took their recommendation). The intent was to give me about 4 GPM before the pump bypasses.

New vs stock.




Nice extended piece. German torque spec since I didn’t find one for the pump fitting.




So with that in place it was time to reinstall the pulley.

A while back I bought the specific tool from NAPA and I’ve been happy with it. Like the crank tool earlier, it has bearings on the pushing face.




With the pulley pressed on I go to install it on the Holley alternator mount bracket. Ahh crap, now I remember, it’s not just the fitting the pulley on these early models also blocks access to the pump mount bolts. Pull it apart and get the pump mounted.

So with the pump mounted to the main bracket it was time to reinstall the pulley (again). This time properly, pre-installed to the main bracket. I’m getting better with my technique and find some gloves to hold the pulley against the drive force.

Go to install the master bracket on the head. SON OF A …!!! The damn pulley blocks access to some of those bolts too!






Pull it apart (again). Guess what, the actual bolt interfers with the pump and the pulley so I got to pull that off too. I did find had cleaner sandwich bracket for the pump face so at least swapped that in too.

Mount pulley to bracket, mount bracket to engine, THEN it was FINALLY time to reinstall the pulley (x3).

Not happy with whatever engineer designed this stupid blank pulley.
 

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Discussion Starter #127
My pictures are a touch out of order vs. what I actually did but it’s simpler to describe this way.

AC side was a great deal simpler. Pull the stock tensioner and you have access to all the bolts for once.




Interestingly, since I bought my Holley setup used, it came with a Katech manual tensioner. Never used one of these before. Anyone have thoughts? Seems like it would put extra load on all the accessories and I like the concept of the floating tensioner.




Hell yeah, that almost looks like an engine.

Compressor looks pretty straightforward and spacing all landing nice (don’t mind the compressor sitting at an angle, it’s just placed there for the picture. The actual alignment looks good).




Except for one thing… I carefully ordered my ATI balancer with AC provisions since I was planning on that.




Completed forgot that the Holley runs everything off of one belt. Yep, already installed that backing pulley on the ATI, which is already installed on the engine. I gotta find ways to not be wrenching in the middle of the night.
 

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Discussion Starter #128
Bah. I’m never going to have better access than I have now, so off it comes. Tried to push through the night I found this (it was only 1 am, I got this).




Puller installed, but unfortunately it’s just cranking the engine over. I need to use my impact gun but I’m not turning on a oil-less (aka LOUD) compressor in the wee hours. I’ll have to finish it in the morning…

Fast forward to the AM.

Rear pulley removed. Probably could have ordered the damn thing without had I thought it through. I already have it reinstalled, so naturally this is right about where I was when I posted progress prior. By the way, the one thing that really sucks about ATI balancers is that their steel surfaces finishes SUCK. Expect it to go full rusty in the first year. You can see the color difference between anodizing and black oxide when you get it in the sun.




In order to make this easier to remove I did cut down a stock bolt flange. That lets me push on the crank without risk to threads.




Finally I threw in some spark plugs to try to keep the motor as sealed up as I could. Went one stage cooler than stock (TR6s)




So that brings things current. Opening up the front end to add the ls2 damper and check oil pump springs means I’ll have done the harmonic balancer three times too. I must REALLY respect you guys. So now that we’re pretty much caught up…

Tell me what you think regarding 1) plasti-gage, 2) windage tray bolts, 3) oil pump porting (or the lack thereof) 4) anything else I should be looking at while I’m in here ONE MORE TIME.

Thanks in advance,
-Joel

PS the obvious checks I know still have to do is that of valve spring rates and pushrod length.
 

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Discussion Starter #130
Tangential thoughts: I’m having a bit of a philosophical debate on how to approach this build regarding paint vs. assembly sequence.

It’s as close to a scratch build as I’m likely ever going to come, meaning I’m constantly working with raw steel. Most pro builders doing custom cars seem to build the whole thing raw, then rip it all the way down, paint it all, and then do final assembly (Mark Steilow comes to mind). The issue is that they’re moving a heck of a lot faster than I am and so accumulation of rust and debris is less of a problem.

My engine is getting close to ready to go into the rig. Do I…

1) F- it. Throw it together as fast as I can and push the pain downstream likely planning on a full tear down and sand/soda blast someday. Pro: keeps me moving, one round of paint is easier to do “right”. Con: a great deal of extra work both in teardown and hauling a chassis somewhere for blasting… (sidebar: hmmm, well look at that. Mobile units exist… Case in point California Dustless Blasting | Mobile & Eco-Friendly Restoration)

2) Hit it with some rattle can and seam sealer where I can but still generally focus on moving fast. This protects the deepest nooks and crannies now but still requires more paint later. Pro: feel good about doing something. Potential to abort and do the whole thing rattle can if I want to. Con: lots of work and prep painting things in stages. More work taking paint off where I still have structure and tabs to add. “Real” paint might not adhere well to rattle can under coats.

3) Work in areas and do “real paint” as best I’m able. This is a bit like #2) but shooting for more finished results when I think I’m done with an area. Probably multi part primer and single stage paint. Pro: kinda maybe sort-a don’t have to remove equipment later. This would be a great way to get the roof back on for real. Con: a ton of extra work to touch up when I need an extra hole or bracket.

I’d like to paint it myself so I don’t have to drag it to someone as a bare chassis but that’s not the end of the world if I have to. So to my hyper-intelligent/experienced sounding-board of car brethren… What would you do?
 

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Discussion Starter #132
Status from the last several months (if not proper write ups since I've been burning the candle at both ends pretty hard)

FJ40:
-Structure is pretty much done.
-Engine is back in the rig temporarily so I can start on steering and pedals: (my current effort). The Holly high mount accessories all fit so that's good news.
-Custom Howe radiator is here (has been for a while but not sure I mentioned that...) need to build the shroud and fan mounting.
-Rev 3.0 of cardboard fuel tank happened a while back. All the real parts have been cut (7 for the tank and 4 for the skid) and Anthony (v8rx7) is getting them bent for me today. It took an 11 page drawing and much fighting with Solidworks to document. I just ***might*** have a fuel tank and skid here by the end of the week.
-Finished design of the fuel system. 90% of my fuel bits ordered, doing two small hydramats on each side of a sumped portion of tank.
-Decided roof was in my way so that's been torn down to it's constituent parts: side panels, hatch, etc). That resulted in many many broken bolts and curses over rusty ish. Most things have been wired wheeled and I'm about to start rust repair on constituent parts.
-I took the roof itself and tore that all the way down to bare fiberglass. Both sides have been completely re-glassed and reinforced so that big crack I glued prior is now fully repaired. Also edge leakage shouldn't be an issue anymore. Hoping to get some primer on the topside this weekend. Had to buy a solid rivet gun and bucking bars so I'll be able to put that back together but some parts were so far gone it seemed like the best way to go.
-Planned out most of the electrical. Working on detailed design so I can have switch panels and gauge clusters cut.
-Bought both a decent bead roller and magnetic bend brake in anticipation of sheet metal work, those have both been setup which required a bit of reconfiguring in the garage.

In other news:
-Built coverage over both my sheet metal and tubing racks outside to try to keep the metal happy since winter is SoCal rainy season (not that we have much, but one good storm and a couple sprinkles thus far.)
-Reworked one wall of garage to stash a brand new 9' longboard I picked up for a $50 (not that I have time to surf, but dammit, I'd like to.)
-Bunch other stuff got in the way and then got squared so my list is almost clear... Planters, lawnmower repair, etc. Last big one is that my wife's clutch is now slipping badly on a 52k mi Mazda5.
-RX7 is getting oil cooler lines replaced which should let me drive it more (and take wife's car down).
-Trying to get exercise, so I've been playing B-ball at lunch (hence on the forums less) and just picked up my first carbon mountain bike. Riding with a dropper post is rad.
-Kicked off R&D efforts on a few fronts for Ronin. We'll announce that when we get closer but I'm excited and it should be good stuff for our cars.
-Decided the damn FJ40 was taking too long, plus all work/no play makes Joel a dull boy. A such, I've managed a couple good days of wheeling in the Jeep. It's been 70s and sunny for weeks on end here in SoCal, too gorgeous to not get outside a bit. My condolences to anyone who's been freezing their bits off.

Pics and write-ups coming on multiple fronts. I actually have quite a bit written just need to get all the pics sorted.
 

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Discussion Starter #135
Good stuff on the engine stuff. Good read and information
Thanks for the kind words Justin. I've read several of your builds top to bottom and appreciate all you share in the process.

Awesome work so far. How did you connect with AutoFab in Maryland?
It's funny because I like 20 minutes from the shop.
Note sure what you're referring to... Did I reference them somewhere prior? I've talk to a great many random folks over the course of the build thus far.

Haven’t been posting much, but have been making progress so that’s good. Trying to get the write ups I’m overdue on posted before I get so far beyond that feedback is less helpful (IE re-doing engine work to add the timing damper).

Finally did version 3.0 of my cardboard fuel tank. I fought hard for capacity and ended up somewhere in the vicinity of 20 gallons. The last major changes were biasing the tank an inch and some off one frame rail for hose routing space. I also raised the top of the tank up behind the rear seats. Called it good and send off the files to be cut. Now we see if Solidworks’ bend radii calculations are good enough to make the wonder tank. The top isn’t quite representative but it will have the center fill and two big access panels.




Part of making all the above work was doing one more flex check. The ORI’s have been damn handy for this kind of work. With travel fully maxed out I was able to determine that yes, I can add the rear frame brace/seat mounts I was looking at before.








I also discovered I’ll be able to put a tire into my headlight bib if I crank the wheel all the way while flexed. Ah well, I guess that’s what spotters are for.




Last piece I’m thinking about. I’ve been told that it’s better form to have the tie rods off of the ram pointing forward a bit to keep them more in line at lock. Mine are straight across so at lock it sees some pretty big angles. Seems like it might help with ackerman as well. I could shift it aft but I only gain a small amount and it’s a ton of work to redo. I could also just weld in a few more bolt points for the ram to help with the shear loads.







 

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Discussion Starter #136
I’ve also been digging into the body in earnest. Trying to figure out what needs doing on the rust front. Generally I’m ok with pock marks and divots, small holes may see the fiberglass/POR15 approach, but there are bigger issues where cut and replace is the only option.






Hey look, I accidentally made one of those stupid hand symbols that are all over facebook. Feel free to punch yourself in the face or whatever it is you’re supposed to do when you see one.

First goal is to get the roof back on. That’s been in my way in a two small garage for too long. Sanded off all the headliner glue and the like.




There was a lot of crap on this thing and in some places it may have been leaking/holding water.






Upon closer inspection I really want to add some more fiberglass to this thing. Even that it’s now glued, I still don’t like that crack I’d repaired.

An older friend of mine (Randy) is between jobs right now so I’ve been giving him some handy man stuff on the side. Been awesome having a helper and it’s been pushing me to stay ahead and find things for him to do.




We unbolted the rear window bits and proceeded to break 80% of the 20-30 m6s that hold the sides on. GREAT. That’ll be fun to fix I’m sure.

The downside of having someone else do work for you is that it doesn’t always get done the way you want. Case in point, paper thin FJ40 roof skins aren’t made to be sanded with a belt sander…




We had to have a bit of a chat after this one. Either it gets done my way or I can’t have him working on stuff that matters to me.

Oh well, let’s play with fiberglass. I’m going simple and not worrying with trying to get 0/90 and +/-45 degree ply orientations laid in. I just want a few layers of cloth on the bottom and a least one up top.


Rules on Fiberglass

1) In picking materials you can always go up in resin quality levels, you can never go down. There’s three levels. Epoxies are better than vinylesters, vinylesters are better than polyesters. I don’t know what the original construction was, but I’m guessing poly for cost, generally a good bet for a surfboard or anything typical. I’m using epoxy since we had some left from some Ronin tooling efforts. It’s nice in that it has about a 4 hour working time that really lets you work out any bubbles. I also like the epoxy lasts longer on the shelf. Trying to use older polyester, and not having enough hardener to kick sucks. At that point the only thing to do is break out the heat gun and try to help it along.

2) Surface prep maters, lots of sanding (rough is good for adhesion), sweep and vacuum, acetone wipe prior to glass.

Rusty flakes from moving outside. More vacuuming needed.




3) Paint surface with resin, laydown glass, and squeeze resin through from below. Add a touch from up top as needed. I generally use a 3” foam roller to spread. Randy who’s been helping me turned me on to using bondo spreaders as well. That was almost better for getting good squish, but I still like the roller up top for evening things out.

4) You need at least 2” of overlap on any seam between plies. I did more rather than just throw away glass.

Here’s mine right before game time… I ended up pulling off the rails above door frame as well.




Pics to follow in next post.

-Joel
 

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Discussion Starter #137 (Edited)
I cut all my plies ahead of time and have them prepped so I know exactly what I’m reaching for when. Rough cutting is fine as you can trim edges and stragglers as you go. One nice thing about epoxy is the extended cure times.






Turned out nice. 3-4 layers at the crack, 2 elsewhere.




I was getting ready to go after the topside and prepped the surface for glass over the front third. If you’re hardcore it’s better to take off all the gel coat, but I was trying to keep this simple and took the gel down until it was just starting to show glass through.




I was also still thinking about all those broken bolts from the side panels and the like. I was not looking forward to drilling all those… what a nightmare. It was weird to me that the majority would break loose, start to turn, and then after a turn you felt it seize up and snap. As such, I decided the best thing to do was commit and take the roof trim off completely. Had Randy cut the 50 or so rivets. I also ordered a rivet gun and bucking bar kit so theoretically I can put some of this stuff back.




Pulling the trim is nice in that it’ll let me seal the drip rail properly and make several other repairs easier as well, this inner surface is begging for some POR 15. Most of the bolts we were broke had rust nuggets formed at the tip which I’m assuming is what we feel jamming. No way that was going to pull through so think we did the right thing. We got ~15 of the broken guys out from the top should minimize repairs, but there’s still some work ahead.

Unfortunately, Randy did manage to carve into the lip quite a bit pulling rivets (once again, YAY for extra folks pushing me to keep moving. BOO for stuff getting jacked up when others aren’t as meticulous as I am). Brass tacks: I called an audible and we did a bonus round of fiberglass and glassed the entire perimeter with a couple layers of 10” strips.




A couple more tips on fiberglass. It doesn’t like sharp bends. For instance, you pretty much can’t wrap a sharp edge. The glass will just bulge around to find a gentler radius curve leaving with air gaps or “bridging” to use the industry term. If you have access to vacuum bagging a great deal of this is an non-issue (but then again if you’re vacuum bagging you probably don’t need my advice).

I worked on my edges for probably an hour at the end of this effort, just working the radiused 45 degree convex area where it transitioned to the flange. I clipped all the stray strands (scissors you can disassembly to clean--IE Cutco--are a big help). The overall edges get final cut with a razor blade when the resin is firm but not fully hard.




The above is also why composite mold edges wear down over time since part after part typically gets razor cut to the same edge shaving it down over time.

With that done, I finally flipped back to the topside. Since there were now grooves to fill at the rivets, I had Randy sand the whole roof, fill the divots (bondo), and then we put two layers of glass over everything up top.




Here I ran the seams fore aft and staggered the overlaps to minimize thickness (and eventually, the sanding and fairing required).




I was actually surprised how well the corners laid down, I was sure we were going to have to angle cut the plies to make the convex corners work out.




By the time this back together, I should have about the strongest FJ40 roof out there. Not sure it’d survive a roll, but I’ve done what I could (and then some). To anyone freezing back East, I’m sorry, but damn was I thankful for sunny Socal. The nice weather made this all much easier to tackle.
 

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Discussion Starter #138 (Edited)
Next step after the glass was to ditch my projects and go wheeling a bit while since SoCal's weather has been so perfect. I figured if the rest of the world is freezing, it would be disrespectful if I didn't get out and enjoy it a bit.

Quick jaunt with the "SoCal Trail Buds" had one dude with a decent camera and ended up with some of the best pictures I've ever had of my original "multipurpose" rig. The one in the trees made the cover page of the Trail Buds facebook page!








There's a heavy Toyota contingency in the Trail Buds, but my little XJ represented pretty well. Working a hard line option that no one else took... The rock vs. rocker potential was high.








Hope you're having a brilliant New Year and if it's cold where you're at, I hope the snow wheeling is rad. The trail wheeling actually raises a bit of an odd question. Who the heck will I wheel with when the FJ40 is done? On the one hand, it should walk some pretty serious stuff. On the other hand, I don't need to hang with rock bouncers and the crazy hardcore guys who don't care if they flop down the side of the mountain.

-Joel
 

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Discussion Starter #139
In other news the engine is back in the rig. It’ll have to come back apart at least one more time so I didn’t bother with flex-plate or converter. I do need to be sure I can install the converter access cover after the fact, so at least I can try that now.




The front cross bar is now about a 1/16” too short so (weld deformation from all the tower work) so I may do something about that eventually. It still installs OK you just need a bar clamp to do so.

Good news… The high mount holley setup looks like it’ll be fine.





The bad news: Holley just came out with a mid mount setup that looks like would have been so much easier! https://bangshift.com/bangshift1320/mid-mount-ls-accessory-drive/



Anyways, getting the engine back in is mostly about letting me work on my next big trouble area: Pedals and booster vs. steering vs. headers vs. remote oil cooler. It’s gonnna be tight (or maybe not, more on that in a second).

Order of events matter since some things have more and less flexibility on where they need to go. I’m designing with the following prioritization:

1) Brake pedal and booster. Pretty much non-negotiable where it goes, at least once I pick a pedal.
2) Steering, again only so many options, planning to run down the upper control link
3) Throttle & Dead pedal (kinda flow off the brake)
4) Headers
5) Remote Oil Cooler

I have a spare master booster setup lying around from a Subaru Impreza of some sort (junkyard find). I’d been debating throwing it on the RX7, following a few good reviews but it’s lower priority than some other things. It at least lets me ball park the space needed for a booster.

Pedals are an issue. I have the stock FJ40 pedal box but it’s an all in one and way too tall. Before I cut the thing to smithereens I decided to check the aftermarket. Got really excited about a simple wildwood setup.


But it turns out the 7:1 pedal ratio is really intended for manual brakes and given the big tires I have my heart set on a power brake booster. If I wanted to trade pedal stroke for power, I’d do that with different master cylinders. By the way both my front and rear calipers run huge pistons. The fronts are factory D60 calipers from a late 70s Ford 350 van. The rears are 73-87 Chevy 3/4 Ton 4x4 front calipers and rotors. All in all it looks like I’ll need a 1.25” master so I have some parts bin diving to do. A power brake setup wants more like a 4:1 pedal ratio to match. After doing a bunch of digging on ebay I eventually landed on s2000 pedals. They’re a 3.75:1 ratio, not sure on exact height but look compact, and most importantly, they’re all on individual brackets so I can position easier. It looked close enough and for $50 shipped I’m gonna given them a go.




Steering I may land a get out of jail free card on. It looks like I have enough space to install the steering control valve (orbital valve, albeit Billavista claims that term is wrong)… under the dash. I’ll need a shield since it’s high pressure lines but it looks much easier than getting past booster and/or putting this in the vicinity of headers.

So with the two big pieces roughed out in my head, I decided to skip ahead and take a look at headers.

If you’ve followed this thread from the beginning may remember how stoked I was on a Liquid Iron Industries headers setup built for Erik Miller’s Ultra 4 car.




I borrowed a set of Ice Blocks (AKA header legos) from Anthony and went to town. It’s a 1 3/4 set and I’m planning on 1 7/8 so I had to get creative to make it work. Compounding things is that I ended up with a 2” header flange from Anthony so these suckers really want to fall out. Whatever, they’re still cool. You just get to be a little creative in supporting things.

First pass, attempting a version of the Liquid Iron setup.




Sitting back and looking at, I’m just concerned it’s way too much heat up high, and I’m not sure I’m able to get the 36” primaries I’d need out of these for a torque monster motor. Soooo… If I set aside my dreams of long tubes and instead try to keep things simple, I end up with a much cleaners setup. Trial #2.




Last pass (thus far) was just changing the order of the tubes. I figure with an 18726543 firing order I should at least put cylinders 2 and 6 on opposite sides of the collector (same for 1-3 on the driver side). That leaves me here:




Best guess, but the time it’s done I’ll end up somewhere around 22-24 inches primaries. Your thoughts and commentary appreciated.
 

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So much detail, amazing! I always plan to take pictures and document things, but I usually just get too into whatever I'm doing to actually stop. I'm also a mess and don't want to touch anything lol
 
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