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In with the new!

Late June, 2002

Finally, the shot we've been waiting for!  Getting the B into place!  I've got several critical measurements to take in order to make sure the engine is in the chassis straight, square, and true to the world. Then I'll be able to machine some motor mounts to lock it it..right now, just a test fit.

Well, I've been held up over the 4th of July weekend and I really got the shaft on some axles!  It turns out that I must have misread some info...I thought that the 86-89 Acura Integra axles were the ones to use for this swap, so that's what I ordered up from the salvage yard ($100).  I tore them down completely and rebuilt them with new boots and full synthetic grease ($50).  Then when I tried to put them on the car, they were WAAAY too long.  After taking some measurements, I concluded that they were more the size of 90-93 Integra shafts.  I wound up going to the local parts store and using these as cores to buy some true 86-89 Shafts which were visibly shorter ($169) but it turns out that they still don't fit.  After going back through all my notes, it appears that the only shafts that work are the custom shafts from HASport. ($259)  So, it turns out that I am out nearly $580 bucks for friggin' axles...more than I paid for the motor.  I am NOT a happy camper right now, but I have only myself to blame.  The best thing to do would have been to take the 90-93's back to the salvage yard and trade them for the proper axles, which I would still have to rebuild with HASport shafts which would have saved $169...Oh Well...We'll see what happens next week when the axles get here!

The axles came in about a week ago.  Courteous service, prompt shipping, and a decent product.  Those HASport guys are OK!  (Still expensive as hell, though)  My only gripe with the axles is that there is no rust-proofing on the actual shaft.  I know they are lifetime guarantee, but they could at least shoot on some coating like on the stock axles...nothing like some corrosion pits to make the axles fail a few years down the road.  With the new axles in, I spent the last week tearing down my new '89 integra shafts, cleaning out the old "new" grease and rebuilding with synthetic grease and the HASport axles.

With the shafts built, I set out to get the engine aligned.  The first step was to establish some reference point.  I put the aluminum bar across the top of the engine bay, and took measurements from the tips of the struts sticking through the towers.  Now I know the bar is parallel to the axis of rotation of the front wheels and level with the frame of the car.  The car is on a wheeled floor jack so I can move the body up and down as well as forward/backward and right/left.  The engine is also setting on a 4 wheeled dolly which allows the fore/back, right/left movements as well as clockwise/counterclockwise.  The final axis, rotation of the engine (think of holding the axles while the engine rotates) was handled with some wooden wedges...I found the best fit with about 6 degrees of rotation (higher in the back)

During all my measurements, something just wouldn't line up...I finally found out that the lower support arm on the drivers side is bent back about 3/4 to 1 inch (green arrow)...must have been damaged before my ownership.  It doesn't show up too well in the pictures, but it's pretty obvious in real life!  The passenger side (right photo) appears to be OK.  I went ahead and compensated for the bend and set the location of the engine so I could get some cardboard engine mount templates.  When everything was square to the world. I found that the engine literally has about 1/4 inch clearance on all sides.  This automatic tranny is fatter than the 5 speed!

Making some progress toward the engine mounts.  This engine came with the stock rubber mounts.  I think they will be sufficient for suspension of the engine, but I need to link them to the frame somehow.

I wound up machining a new billet aluminum block for the drivers side mount (center photo) because the mount needed to be located much closer to the frame rail than the stock cast steel mount.  The trans mount was pretty easy (left photo), it just needed to be boosted up about 1/2 inch, then I wound up cutting a couple of pieces of plate steel (see the pattern making method here) for both the trans mount and the new location of the drivers side mount (right photo).  My idea now is to bolt the plates into place, get the engine dead-on located, then tack weld the plates onto the frame.  Once they are tacked, the engine will be removed one last time (just unbolting the mounts and drop the engine out the bottom...nothing else is hooked up yet) full weld beads can then be applied to the mounts.

Well  another couple of weeks go by.  The motor mounts are welded.  I had another case of the "might-as-wells" when I had to pull the cast iron exhaust manifold to attach the shift cable.  Might as well put on a new oil pan gasket...while I'm at it, might as well put on a DC sports header, too!  Waiting for those parts has kept me held up 'till the 5th of August.

The header and the pan gasket finally arrived.  I ordered a 4-2-1 header, but a 4-1 got shipped.  I'm just ready to get things back together, so I guess I'll make do.  Couldn't bring myself to drill into the pretty ceramic coating to weld on the O2 sensor bungs, so I'm going to make an attempt to convert to a 4 wire sensor at the stock location in the collector...more on that later.  Right now, the CRX is getting ready to take a huge chomp out of a B16!

Early August, 2002

Getting closer!  The engine is actually bolted into place now.  I just have to go around and hook up all of the surrounding connections (fuel, coolant, electrical, vacuum, throttle, shifter, axles, etc)  Ordinarily, this would only be a minor PITA.  But because of the car's strange new hybrid status every system has to be custom made to mate the powerplant and car together.  One minor issue...I planned for the engine to sag about 1/8 inch when the engine mounts actually took the really dropped about 3/8 inch.  I don't think there will be a problem because I used the rubber mount off of one of the old integra rear trailing arms for a rear engine mount.  It is STIFF! There should not be alot of monkey-motion in the engine.  If there is a problem in the future, I can simply remove my shims and mill them down about 1/4 inch to get the engine back on target.