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