Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

Quarterly Update

It seems like that’s what these have been, anyway.

I was finally able to figure out what was wrong with the CRX. When I rebuilt the engine, I had someone else rebuild the head and take care of any bent valves and the like. It appears that they got in too big of a hurry reinstalling the Auxiliary Intake Valves on the #1 and #2 cylinders.

The red arrow shows the o-ring that is the oil seal for the valve assembly which is inserted in from the top of the head, not from the bottom through the combustion chamber like a normal valve. The yellow arrow is the sliver of rubber that got shaved off when they inserted the assembly into the head. After 30,000 or 40,000 miles (might be more, I don’t remember now), the o-ring got heat hardened and started pouring oil right down on top of the spark plug. Which explains that gross, grainy, oily crap coating the valve face.


It took way too long to get this figured out but I’m glad I finally did. I started with the valve seals on the #1 cylinder, then #2, dumped a bottle of ring seal in the oil, replaced the rings on #1, then finally changed these o-rings on the #1 and #2 Aux valves. The car hasn’t smoked a puff since then as far as I can tell. Check that one off the list and move on!

When I got the Leaf master cylinder installed on the Supra firewall, it looked like this:


It isn’t bolted in, but notice the thickness of the aluminum adapter plate. Looks pretty good but there were two problems with it. One I saw right away – the clevis on the MC actuator was about a half inch away from the brake pedal. The other problem I didn’t notice until I was taking some pictures to post on here. This next picture is from the passenger side looking across the engine bay.


That arrow is pointing to the filler cap for the MC and it is sticking above the fender line. Everything had to come apart and I needed to do some more machining. In the end I cut the aluminum adapter down by about half and machined in an angle to try and drop the nose of the MC to fit under the hood. The end result is about 1/4 inch of clearance. I’m really hoping that’s enough. Oh, the clevis reaches the brake pedal now, too. I love two for one problem solving.


The white line below is a nylon string I stretched across the bay from fender to fender to measure that clearance.



I got a new Samsung S7 and I really like the way it takes low-light pictures. This is looking up from the floor boards with an LED drop light off to the side and no flash.

My next task is to get the ABS pump mounted. On the Leaf it mounts to the frame on the other side of the bay from the MC. And it’s actually higher than the center line of the MC.


The arrow and the poorly drawn box are an attempt to show where it sits in the Leaf.

If I were to mount it to the Supra frame, this is where it would sit:


Way down low. I don’t think that should be a problem, but I’m still thinking about it. I do think I need to go buy some brake line and rebuild all the lines rather than try and stretch and rebend the Leaf brake lines. One reason is that the Supra only has one line going to the back brakes that splits out to the separate wheel cylinders back by the back axle.  I want to upgrade that to individual lines for safety and control.


Well, I’m out of pictures and out of words so I’ll publish this and we’ll see what happens next.

Thanks for watching.



Making some room.

I finally got the other side of the garage cleared out enough to move the Leaf in. I confess to being a bit envious of folks who have big garages. I barely have room to move with two cars in mine.

Oh, well. It is immensely better than trying to do this all outside. Been there, done that. I changed out the clutch in a ’98 Honda Civic one December in Northern Idaho on the uncovered patio. That was a frigid task.

Back on subject. After using up about three and a half hours changing out the brushes on the alternator in my CRX daily beater, I spent a couple of hours pulling stuff off the front of the leaf and marking cables and components. I hope to get some more done tomorrow as we have a bye week in our softball league.

In the Laboratory...

In the Laboratory…

A bit snug, he whined.

Front end June-27-15

Front end June-27-15


A door?

A door?


That’s the door into the garage. Right behind me is a small chest freezer. But there is a little more room with the charge port removed. This car came with a quick charge port, which I happy about.

That’s it for today. I’m trying to be a bit more communicative since I tend to just do the work and not talk about it. I know that doesn’t help any one who has an interest in what’s going on so I want to spend a little more time writing up these short updates instead of waiting and writing  a big update.


“Abby someone.”

Just when you gave up all hope that there would ever be another update, here’s an update.

I didn’t think there would be much to say for another while yet but I knew I should at least say something, even if just to let everybody know that I was still working on the project. I will confess that I had become a bit (okay, a lot) lazy about doing anything to the car. However, since the last update I have hauled the old engine parts off the recyclers, cleaned most of the grease and oil off the transmission, started the CAD file for the adapter plate, and, as the reference in the title may have given away, acquired an organ donor vehicle. So I did get some things done and that last item will be the catalyst to get this project really moving again.

During Christmas break I hauled off 485 pounds of steel, aluminum, and plastic from the engine, the exhaust, and what ever else I knew I wouldn’t need. I realize in hind-sight I should have sorted it out better and made them pay me for each type separately. Instead, it all went for the scrap steel price of 5 cents a pound, or a grand total of 24 dollars and 25 cents. The guy rounded it up to $25 because I had told him what I was doing and he wanted to “contribute to the project”. That was a real disappointment. I can’t help but think, though, that if I had sorted it correctly I could have made a whole $30… maybe.

20150102_141427 20150102_141439

I read online that steam was a great way to get grease and oil off of engines so I went looking for a steam cleaner. Harbor Freight has a nice portable-ish one for about $130 but they don’t carry it in-store; you have to order it. So I got a wallpaper removing steamer that was about 15 years old from a friend. It produced a very wet steam that wasn’t all that hot and, while it did work, it didn’t work as well as I had hoped. After getting most of the inside of the bell housing cleaned out, or at least the first layer, I decided to pass the steamer on to someone who needed one for actually removing wallpaper. In an earlier post you can just see what the inside of the bell looked like before, below is after.

This is telephoto shot I took the other day from about 15 feet away to use as an aid for the hole layout in CAD. It think it’s working fairly well, as shown in a later picture, but we’ll see.


This is a look at what the transmission body looks like before and after a good scrub with just a wire brush. I have a lot more of it done, I just don’t have a newer picture of it. I’m thinking of giving it a  detergent rinse, too.


Here is the start of the adapter plate. Still lots to do, but at least I have some number and circles in place. Okay, they are really hard to see in this picture, but they are there.



And finally, the donor. In spite of the title of the post, I’m not going to call it Abby Normal.


Looking at that picture, you have to ask why would I even think of using it as a parts car? Well…


There’s always another side of the story. These are from after I pulled a bunch of broken stuff off the front of the car.

20150529_155309 20150529_161738 20150529_161717More broken stuff…

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The wheel looks kind of like a Pringles potato chip. In that last picture, if you look closely just below center, you can a see a bent rod between the frame and the strut. That’s the swaybar link and it should be straight. Just above that, you can see the brake line smashed against the frame. Also, the strut itself is a bit smashed and bent. The radiator is busted and bent. The water pump is busted. The AC condenser is bent like a bow tie, as is the frame member just below it. The aluminum bumper is bent. Both headlights are broken and the charge port is pushed off to the right. I don’t know what they ran into, but it sure left a mark.

The car is a 2015 Leaf with 2542 miles on it that I bought at a salvage auction in Portland for just under $11,000. It still has that new car smell. After I bought it, I was having a bit of buyer’s remorse for spending as much as I did until I started looking at the price of used 2012 and 2013 Leaf’s with around 25,000 miles and up on them. I have a much nicer, newer platform to pull parts from with a lot less wear and tear on the overall drive train, especially the batteries, for a couple thousand dollars less. I’m pretty much over my remorse.

I bought the Leaf Spy Pro app and found that the car has had 2 quick charges and 65 Level 1/Level 2 charges. That’s barely broken in. It is just a base model S, without any of the fancy nav system or other stuff that would be fun to try to stuff into the Supra but it did have one thing that made me very happy…


A 6.6 kW charger. The other choice was 3.3 kW and that would have been a pity.


Well, it’s late and I think that’s all I have to tell you for now. I’ll keep working on this and I’ll try to do a better job of communicating what’s going on. But I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you. I’m better at just doing than telling what I’ve done.




The biggest step, so far.

Late last week, someone let me borrow their engine hoist. They even dropped it off at the house. I just had to put it back together. I thought it was a bit odd that they had taken it apart, but whatever.

Yesterday’s big project was to yank the gas engine out and pull the transmission off of it. I had already pulled the shifter out and removed the motor mount bolts so it only took about 15 minutes from the time I started lifting to the time I set the engine on the ground. It took another hour or so to get everything separated and pictures taken, though. Pictures are below their caption.

Everything hooked up and ready to go. With the chain hooked where it is, the assembly was very well balanced. The output shaft of the transmission hung about 5 inches lower than the front of the motor. I don’t have any pictures of the in-between steps, but I did record a video of it. I’m probably not going to post it, though, if for no other reason than it’s not all that interesting.


And there it is.


Before and after. Lots of room now. At least until I get some stuff to put back in there.


These came apart pretty easily, too. Pulled the bolts, grabbed the pry bar and did a little levering.


I will need to get this gunk cleaned out of the bellhousing. I’m not going to miss all this oil and grease.


The “magic number” on this transmission, the distance from the front of the bellhousing to the face of the flywheel, is 1.8 inches.The style of motor, the size of the motor adapter and this number is what determines how thick the adapter plate has to be.

The flywheel weighs just over 18 pounds so I’m considering getting a lightened one, but they are a bit pricey.


When I hooked up the battery to move the car into the garage (oh, so long ago), I wondered why the stereo didn’t come on. I found out yesterday. Somebody had an aftermarket stereo in there and just bolted the stock one in when they sold it; either to me or the guy I bought it from. And, they left all the raw wires hanging out behind there. Shouldn’t be too hard to track down what goes where, though.


That’s all I’ve got for this update. I’m probably going to be doing more design work for a bit so I should be able to clear the other side of the garage so the wife can park inside for the winter. That will make her happy.

See ya next time.