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July 15, 2006 - Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong...  but the yellow beast lives!!!

Life feels like a whirlwind lately.  Took some vacation time to goto San Jose for a family reunion then came back and worked on the car.  I'm back to work this week but am still working on the car.  Next week I'll be on vacation again to do our annual family camping trip to Santa Barbara...  and hopefully won't have to work on the car!

I finished shooting the engine bay flat black and am ready for the engine install.  I played around with spraying the brake booster different colors but decided that black looked the best.  Here's a couple of pix.

Hmmm...  Gold just doesn't look right.

Ah, black is much better.

Here's the finished engine bay.

Ken T. and Glenn N. stop by to help me put the rest of the motor together.  We start by putting the motor mounts back on the block, oil filter, dip stick, alternator, etc..  Ken asks what valve cover I'm going to use.  "Ugh...  it's still at the polishing place."  So Ken asks if I have another one to put on the motor so we don't do something stupid like drop a bolt into the motor.  Luckily, I had one laying around in my garage so we installed it.  Boy, sure looks shabby but hey, it's not the final one I'm going to use.  Just a cover to keep us from doing something stupid.

Dorky valve cover and rusty crusty starter.

We start working on getting the transmission and clutch installed.  So Ken starts installing the aluminum flywheel and struggles to mount it on the crank.  Come to find out the bolt holes are slightly smaller than the flywheel bolts which came with the car.  Do we not have a 20r flywheel here?  Anyhoo, we attempt to drill out the holes slightly but none of us feel real comfortable with the hack.  Ken then remembers that on his Celica back in the day, he had to use a shim spacer to extend the throwout bearing collar to offset the thinner aluminum flywheel.  We compare the thickness of both flywheels and sure enough, the Tilton is about 1/2 inch thinner.  Okay, it's getting late, time is running out, and we're all tired and need to goto work in the morning.  Screw it.  Let's install the stock flywheel and swap it out when we have the right parts and more time to do all this.  btw, I called Bryan Kono at Kono's auto body and he's ready to accept the car.  So I'm really pushing to get the car there so they can start working on it.  Some of these other details will just have to wait until the car comes back.  The priority is to get the car into the shop before someone else steals my slot!

We get the motor and transmission assembled but not without some hassle.  Things didn't exactly line up perfectly and it took some real muscling to assemble it all.

The weather has been extremely hot and humid lately which was really effecting my painting and personal morale.  It would take forever for paint to dry because of the humidity so I decided to buy a high tech air circulation and evaporation system for my garage.  Checkout this high tech piece of technology...

...and it was on sale too!!!

So we get the motor and transmission all setup and stop for the night.  The next day I spray some of the brackets and clean up a few things in preparation for installing the motor.  Ken T. returns that evening and we install the motor.  Everything aligns and we get it all hooked up in a few hours.

We finish getting the driveshaft back in, all crossmembers, cables, and new clutch slave installed.  We flush the clutch line then call it a night.

The following day I put the rest of the engine bay together.  Or at least installed the minimum to get the engine started and off to the body shop.  So I'm looking around for the radiator and notice it's not sitting on top of the garbage can anymore and is laying on the floor.  Oh oh, that's not good.  I pick it up and it's definitely worse than I thought.  The radiator landed on the top and smashed a corner and the filler assembly.  Oh man, and I did such a good job on the spray too!  This sucks.  I can't tell if the radiator is cracked anywhere and I really don't have time to buy another one.  So I go ahead and install it and decide to deal with it later.

Ouch...

A little crooked now.

So I continue to get the rest of the stuff hooked up, add some coolant, check all the hoses and attempt to fire it up.

The engine turns over nicely but I can't get it to fire.  I check a few things and notice no fuel is getting to the front of the car.  I pull some hoses and get a coffee can to see if the fuel pump is pumping anything.  Run another test.  Nada.  Nothing.  I think look at some of the connectors in the engine bay and faintly remember back in the day about having to have to hookup a resistor some something in order to to allow the fuel pump to turn on.  So I rummage thru the old engine and disconnect a few things and hook them back up and do another test.

Engine is still struggling to start but I keep trying and it finally fires up.  Although rough, the engine runs!  I do some quick carb tuning the try and smooth out the idle but the car runs like the timing is super advanced or something.  In any case though.  I'm happy the car starts and I feel good that I can now get it to the body shop.

Ken T. stops by again and we fuss with the timing.  Ken agrees that the engine seems way too advanced.  Too bad I don't have a timing light so we could set this correctly.  We take a step back and think about this a bit and remember that we installed a shim between the distributor drive gear and the upper timing chain cover.  Ken didn't remember installing the shims back in the day but we did on my anyways because it came with the gear.  We take a look at the old motor and it doesn't have one.  We also think that the shim offsets the gear forward and thus, advances the distributor timing.  So we pop the cover and remove the shim.  Put it all back together and fire it up.  Timing definitely is better but we really can tune and dial it in w/out a timing light.  The car is also pumping the exhaust thru the stock exhaust piping so a real good shake down and tune can't be done until I get the new exhaust installed.  I tell ken to stop, set the idle high so it won't stall and leave it that way for Bryan.  We call it a night and clean up.

Gotta love them 3 inch Mikuni velocity stacks!

Next day I arrange for a tow and they pickup the car around 4:30P.  It's really hot out there and the tow truck driver looks like he's melting(no AC on the flatbed.)

We get to Kono's around 5:00p, unload the car, and Bryan and crew start working on it right away.  They start marking all the dings and remove some remaining moldings from the car.  Bryan tells me they'll start sanding that evening and will try to get the car back to me by Aug 1.

I stopped by Bryan's shop today to check things and and they had the car all sanded and had most of the dings and holes filled.  They were planning on welding some of the bad spots tonite when the temp goes down.

I can't believe how hot it is today.  I really feel for these guys having to work under such conditions.

Bryan tells me that they think they can start primering early next week then shoot color by the end of the week.  The following week will be spent color sanding and polishing then I can get it back the week after that.  Bryan and I reflected on some of the old days when we all use to bring our cars to him.  He jokes on how he use to be able to paint our cars in seven days.  I told him we were about 20 years younger back then too!  We have a good laugh.  Bryan also encourages me to find another hood because the one I have is in REALLY bad shape with all the rust.  I tell him I'll do my best but pickin's are slim these days on old Celica hoods.

In closing, you ever notice how you always end up with spare parts and nuts and bolts when working on your car?

Not sure where all these came from...  :-)  Well, that's it for this month probably.  Remember, if you do a Celica project, get a copy of these books!

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