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Re: racetech's 1200 SR20VE Project
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June 2013 - Datto Transformed

Once you get the idea in your head that if you finish this and that in order to drive the car in months, things start to slip, and that is exactly what happened with this update. Once I realised I had finished with all the machining on the front suspension I started to put it together to take it for a spin.

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During this machining phase I learned a lot about working with the Milling machine and lathe, but one of the biggest surprises must have been the use of flat wood drills as counter bores on aluminium, mild steel will destroy them in a heartbeat. On aluminium they work a treat, you just need to take your time and keep your head with drilling the correct pilot holes, even the finish is pretty good for a R30 tool.

Wheel Spacers

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I had to leave these to the end, in order to get the correct measurements done with the struts mounted. The idea with these is more or less exactly the same as the Escort rally boys with wide arches, you mount the struts in such a way that you can adjust them to 0 camber, then make a spacer accordingly to fill the arches. My units serve a dual purpose, I made them to except standard sized spigot rings and also opened the centre hole up to allow myself to mount another dust cap if I feel the need one day. The lathe work kept me busy for a while, but drilling the holes consumed a whole Saturday, finishing a hole required between 5-7 tool changes before moving on to the next hole.

Steering

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First order of business was to source a set of Cressida Rack ends and Escort MKII Tie Rod ends, the tie rods was chosen due to their standard M14 thread and the fact that they use the same taper as the struts. Seeing that I have no idea how to cut thread on the lathe, I bought a decent M14 die and turned a nice tool holder to use it in the lathe. It took me under a hour to cut the rack ends to size and cut the thread on both of them. Building the steering arms was another beast altogether, these took some time but is not the final product, as I first want to use the car to figure out what needs tweaking were. The next set will be built with the tie-rod mounting higher in order to allow more downwards strut travel.

Wheel Speed Probes

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Since I needed a wheel speed input from the front wheels, I decided it is time to import probes for a rally ODO. I made some brackets and installed a probe on each strut, one for a ODO in the future and another unit for the LinkECU to calculate the difference between front and rear wheel speed, this will be used for the traction control function.

Rear Coilovers

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Strut Assembly

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After all the parts was powder coated I started with the final touches to assemble the struts, had to countersink the steering arm mounting holes seeing that I had to use countersunk cap bolts as normal units was hitting the bolts connecting the hub to the rotor adaptor. Final assembly went without any hassles.

Posted on: 2013/8/6 14:53

Edited by racetech on 2013/12/23 11:24:30
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Re: racetech's 1200 SR20VE Project
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wards: The only problem with that is the fact that CNC machines are crap expensive, thus it ain't really an option for the hobbyist in RSA. But I would love to have one.

Posted on: 2013/6/24 6:50
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Re: Nicks 4 door Sedan
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Are you still working on the car.

Posted on: 2013/6/10 8:07
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Re: racetech's 1200 SR20VE Project
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kululadotgroen, I'm not the sort of person that tells everyone local management are bad without knowledge, we sold a XMS4 Perfect Power unit and a Gotech to upgrade to the XMS 5 units, which turned out to be a piss poor product, we even uploaded vids to youtube showing how the uits loose spark with there new "improved igniters" if you are running a distributor. The whole thing was a joke.

It costed me a season as the now ex blue Datsun I was using lost power randomly on the Gymkhana tracks, costing me run after run and hundreds of rands. My brother lost more than 6 months of competition due to the above, eventually he gave up on any hopes of scoring a single point in his championship.

We sold the XMS units back to PP at a total loss and bought Megasquirts, a lot more bang for buck.

If you want to spend your money wisely, look at the MegaSquirt products. I agree no ECU can make more power than the other and I will never say that, but the way interact and control things is another story, the ease of use, limits, control etc.

Gotech, just to give the other people some insight into what I call local:
They rave about launch control as a feature on their website, not in beta or anything, well you activate it, the computer retards timing to keep the motor to set launch rpm, launch and all of a sudden the motor does not want to deliver power. If you go and have a look at the timing, the unit does not revert back to the main ignition table, it sit stuck at some random ign value.

We used everything except Spitfire, but with all our experience, the only one I'll use to run my petrol weed eater is a dictator. It basic, but the features you pay for works.

Posted on: 2013/6/10 7:56
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Re: racetech's 1200 SR20VE Project
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Datto Build – Fixing the List III

Having a look at the previous updates thing to still do, I actually managed to almost accomplished what I wanted to finish in the last month. The list is almost completely done, well in the next month I'm pretty sure I would be done with all the items on the list, then only the new additions will have to be sorted, but more of that later.

Without further delay, let's look how I spend my days the last month, with a sore throat as I had my tonsils removed, this can be seen as either a bad thing or a blessing as I actually had a little more time in the garage than usual, but it came at huge discomfort and pain.

Front Struts

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All the machining is finally done on the calliper mounting brackets, a lot of lessons were learned on these units when it comes to working with a milling machines, considering the one unit had to be remade as I had the misfortune of braking a small drill bit in one of the holes, this little bugger caused me to abandoned all hope of saving it and had to start from scratch. But as they say we learn from our mistakes.

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Final assembly of the rotor, hub and bells was also done, also took the time to make a quick design for the wheel speed sensors, just waiting on a piece of material and I'll make the final units. The only outstanding thing besides the wheel speed sensor bracket to make for the struts are the steering arm mounting bolts, as a normal bolt is hitting the rotor hat to hub mounting bolts, I'll have to use counter sink Allen cap to make space and the just half nuts on the other side to make double sure they will never come loose.

Front Lower Controls Arms

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After a lot of measuring and decision making, I decided to build a set of LCA's which would be of such a length that I'm able to adjust to zero camber, seeing that I have to make some wheel PCD adaptors from 108 - 100 PCD, I can just as well mount the strut in such a way that the wheel is at zero camber on ride height with the camber/castor plates almost to the most outside adjustable position, the rest of the space between outer wheel and flare will be filled with the PCD adapters, rather all this than a setup that always have a lot of camber just to fill the empty space.

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Once all this thinking was done, I just had to wait for the laser cutting and machining to arrive for the sparks to fly, once you have spent enough time to have all the measurements at hand, it's quite fast to build a set. I opted to just tack all the pieces in place, fit it and make 100% all is in order before I turned up the amps and MIG welded the pieces in place. I opted to powder coat them as my father is busy recovering from an hip replacement.

Luckily for me I was able to retain the previously made track rods, which saved a lot of work and time, just the colour that is different from the LCA's.

Rotary Table

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Seeing that me and my brother invested a little of our project money to buy a rotary table, I just had to think of something to use it, I decided to remove all the unnecessary material around the flanges between the ITB's and Air box back plate. The idea was good, the end results are good, but the time taken was allot. I can understand why milling work is so expensive, it takes ages and you need allot of different tools per job and these aren't exactly cheap.

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Since I had to have mounting tabs and the flanges weld, I decided to extend the water outlet on the head, to use a stock 90 degree silicone pipe that reduce from 35-32mm, now I'm finally happy with the pipe, funny how the smallest things can work on your nerves. While all of this was going on, I also moved the water temp sensor on the cold side of the head to allow the ITB's to be removed and mounted without firstly removing this unit, just a little something which could keep the tools not flying around.

ITB's

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Final Assembly and installation is done on the units, just the small things to finish. I took my time assembling these as from previous experience, you have to be very specific with everything around ITB's as the smallest thing can cause you to remove or strip the lot to redo. One of the reasons I moved the temp sensor slightly. Everything went as planned, even had a brand new accelerator cabled made in under 2 hours, well all good things comes to an end as they say. Well I installed bigger O rings for the fuel rail as was originally supplied with the units, I installed the setup for testing, had the high pressure pump running for about 10 minutes at 3 bar, no leaks. Everything ready for final installations, finished off a few small things and installed everything the following day.

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Now you can imagine my face by this time, smiling from ear to ear because the motor will be running for the first time in 5 months. Ready to set the timing etc., once I switched the ignition on all hell broke loose around the injectors with fuel pouring out. A few hard words were thrown around, one thing in life that pisses on my batteries is stuff just failing or acting up without any apparent reason, especially if it was tested in perfect working order before. At the end of the day it turned out that the new O-rings are just too small and I needed a set of 7x4mm units, but as it was Friday evening, I had to wait for Tuesday for stock to arrive.

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We continued setting the CAS timing, once the new O-rings were installed we proceeded in starting the motor, pumps on, no leaks, well this was expected as the new O-rings went into the rail so tight. Once my brother opened the butterflies slightly the motor roared into life, without drama, damn I like it when things can be relied on. I must admit I had some help, without the LinkECU's functionality things would be a lot harder, just the mere fact that I can test outputs does make life easier. Every time I work with the thing, it just makes more and more sense to not waste money on "Proudly South African" managements, there is a reason way you pay for what you get.

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The next steps is to finish the Velocity stacks and sort the idle control valve out, as it is either broken or I need a degree in setting this thing up, because with the single throttle setup idle control was working nicely, but not anymore.

Steering Arms

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Well well, during this whole exercise I almost lost a finger, let me explain why you never should get comfortable in front of machines with teeth or is strong enough to swallow body parts.

Seeing that the steering arms was the last big stumbling block on the front suspension that had to be overcome, I was quite eager to get this done, first off I made the bushes that bolts to the strut followed by the ones with the taper for the tie rod ends. Yes this time around I decided I want to simplify things and not use rod ends and adaptors, but rather standard rack ends, shortened and threaded to accept stock toe rod ends. With this configuration I can drive down to the local parts store, buy a set of tie rods and rack ends go home and within an hour have shortened rack ends ready for the spares box.

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Everything started with finding the best position of the tie rod to at least have some sort of Ackermann effect, only allow travel of the wheel over the full travel of the rack, while keeping the centre points in the correct places to aid return from full lock and minimize bump steer. All of this was accomplished with a few pieces of flat bar moved around until everything worked, and this is where the accident happened, seeing that we decided to cut the old rack ends shorter to weld one of these flat iron pieces to it, I took a bolt to the bandsaw to cut it off, but rather than holding it in place with the correct tool, I held it in my hand, it caught and tried sucking my finger in and this is where the fingertip and the fine tooth band saw blade made contact. Since I wanted this done the evening in order to order the correct rack ends the following day, I decided to not get stitches and nurse the finger to get it to stop bleeding. Well as murphy wants it, just as I get it to stop bleeding and the pain levels acceptable, I hit it against the inner door as I moved my hand out after turning the steering wheel for my brother.

Just a few things outstanding before I can put the car on its wheels, well if this weekend is a success, I'll be putting it on its wheels at the end of it. Let's hope for the best.

Posted on: 2013/6/7 14:19

Edited by racetech on 2013/12/23 11:30:10
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Re: racetech's 1200 SR20VE Project
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April 2013 - Fixing the List II

Looking back at the previous update, it was a slow month waiting for parts, but at least I'm quite confident the throttle body screws will stay intact. April was a much better month when it comes to parts arriving and work being done.

Orders, when it comes to waiting I'm quite bad, and these few was getting the better of me. I ordered a rotary table for the mill to make life easier drilling precision holes, no stock in the country and is waiting.

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RallyDesign.com - This one consisted of Escort MK2 aluminium hubs, bearings, fastening kit, 266mm Forest Rotors, Brantz wheel speed sensors, silicone hoses and for flair a navigators pen holder. One of the reasons for the Aluminium hubs is the fact that these units uses a larger outer bearing, but still standard wheel studs. Seeing that the rotors does not have a integral hat, it is just another part that will have to manufactured, again waiting for the rotary table, on a positive note, I can at least continue with the calliper mounting seeing that the rotors can be fitted with a temporary hat.

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Fittings - hose, spanners, v blocks, fittings and clamps to finish the fuel/oil hoses in the engine bay and rear fuel hoses.

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Throttle Position Sensor - if I knew I was going to manufacture a complete adaptor for the TPS I would have considered using a cheaper unit, but you cannot always win, this is a original E46 M3 unit, had to get this unit from the local agents as postage from the States would have killed me.

Ball Joints - since I decided not to use Escort lower control arms and unable to source a loose ball joint to fit the Escort struts, I opted for stronger Maxi ball joint, however I had to enlarge the taper on the struts if I wanted to use them, thus I had to wait for a reamer from the States as I was not willing for another rapping from SA tool shops.

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Taper Reamer - yes my first thoughts was also, damn this thing can be dangerous. This is a 1.5inch per foot taper reamer, what you are not willing to learn or research to buy the correct parts, thanks for the internet in this regards as our local part stores are either too stupid to be interested or just know a part number, not actual details around it. For those not as stupid as they, 1.5inch per foot tapers is what Ford used during the 70's and 80's on vehicles like the Cortina, Escort, Sierra, etc. onwards tie-rod ends and ball joints. At least we have a lot of work for this one, it will also be used to make tapers for my steering arms and parts for two other projects.

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Rims - Since I decided to use 15" Rally rubber, I had to get the pcd changed of my Smith Wheels, when it comes to wheels, there is only one person that we use in Cape Town called Kassiem from A&K Magwheel Repair Centre (021 692 4412/4483). He was tasked to change the pcd and make sure they will handle the gravel roads. I'm still waiting on these, luckily they will only stop me from making spacers. While I was looking around in his shop, I noticed my next set of 15" wheels, seeing that these units are OEM VW Microbus units, they will be super strong and a good fit for the car.

Fuel & Oil Hoses

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At least I did not spend the whole month waiting for parts, I actually did some work, starting with the fuel hoses front and back. These push on units are such a joy to work with, you can easily make a few hoses per night. But be damn sure about measurements before assembly as removing fittings are virtually impossible without the aid cutters and knives  Now that two of the hoses in the boot is black I want all of them black, the silver are just to overplayed and hard to work with, as I experience issues with the old ones I'll replace them with black units.

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Seeing that I moved the oil cooler to the front of the radiator to aid with Intake temperatures and space was limited, I had to use some clever fittings to make everything work, here I opted for -10 AN units and Nylon braided hose, the final results is slightly different to what the pictures state as I added additional insulation in the spots were it could rub. I'm very happy with the neat outcome and will be replacing some of the old stainless braided lines with these black units in the future.

Rear Shocks

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These units are originally designed for the Ford Escort MK2, I'll be using them with 225lbs/in x 12" long main springs and +-80lbs/in helpers, to always keep tension on the mains if at full droop. A few minutes in front of the lathe and the top and bottom bushes were done after some careful measuring and a few new techniques learned to cut taper surfaces. I must admit, since all the mounting is in place and originally designed for this kind of shock configuration, mounting them actually went quite easy, what took the longest was moving the suspension from full droop to maximum compression over and over to make sure nothing is touching or rubbing, especially the lower bushes.

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While all of this was going on, I got my new front bearing retainers back from the machine shop as they were tasked to cut the bearing surface and circlip groove for the front top mountings, they also tapped the M18 thread in the bushes for the lower control arm's inner bearings. I'm still waiting on the suppliers stock to arrive for a set of Teflon lined plain spherical bearings, luckily I have some local units to use in the meantime. Here is a picture to illustrate how the 15" rubber will look on the car. I really prefer the look of the 13" rubber, but in RSA 15" rally rubber is just the best option without killing piggy bank.

TPS Adaptor

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Just after the BMW E46 M3 OEM TPS (Part #: 13637840383) arrived, I noticed that the orientation is not what I needed as it was hitting the air box backing plate with the connector attached. The only option was build a recess into the backing plate or make an adaptor, seeing that the extra welding will destroy my idea of a clean look and the fact that I have access to a milling machine these days, I opted to make an adaptor that will change the units orientation enough to look neat and move the connector away from the backing plate and make the internals water tight from the shafts side at least. Seeing that the TPS body will be moving away from the original throttle shaft I had to extent it with another adaptor, this allowed me to make sure the flat surface on the shaft is in the correct position to allow full movement of the TPS.

Sill Stands

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Seeing that the car is being transformed from a tarmac vehicle to a gravel vehicle, I felt it is absolutely necessary to make a set of Sill Stands for the car, unfortunately I'm unable or not willing to weld to the current paint covered sills, I'll make some special brackets that will be fastened to the bottom of the roll cage floor supports. While I was busy designing this stuff, I decided that I absolutely need small buckets on each stand to place wheel nuts in, nice and safe from the gravel which likes to end on the threads. Once I'm waiting on something again I'll continue with these.

Brake Rotors

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With the rotors sitting on the spares shelf, I developed quite an itch to mount these to the new aluminium hubs. But again the issue regarding the rotary tables voyage over the vast waters was placing a burden on these, but I quickly decided spending the extra money and effort on making a third hat/bell would pay off in the long run. For that I was more than willing to spend the extra R60 on extra slice of 150mmx15mm OD Aluminium. This units will be machined exactly as the other two units, the only difference are in the holes, which will be drilled by hand on this once versus the rotary table on the final two units, seeing that I'm not worried about thousands on the mock unit.

Next Steps

Mount the callipers, while I wait for the rotary table, build lower control arms, finish air box, make wheel spacers, do a few wiring changes and hope for the best.

Posted on: 2013/5/14 13:56

Edited by racetech on 2013/12/23 11:31:31
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Re: racetech's 1200 SR20VE Project
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March 2013 - Fixing the list

Hmmmm, why am I sitting here in front of this machine and not slaving away on the car, well March was one of those months that a lot happened but not a lot of pictures to prove it. Everything is just quite frustrating currently as everything is half due to some sort of part, tool or work on the way or still on order, but this presented itself with the unique opportunity to do some planning, especially spending time behind the computer designing a few parts for the throttle bodies and front suspension, I even found some time to design a camping table, but more of that at another time.

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Since all my parts arrived back from either the machine shop or the states, I was finally ready to close the motor again. Seeing that I polished the ports and combustion chambers, the head was washed various times to make sure everything is out that has no place in a motor, I started assembling the head, but this did not last long as I looked at the new set of BC valve springs and the previously bought Valve Keeper installation tool, this thing is great at removing the kotter's  but definitely not at installing them, maybe it has something to do with the fact that the new springs are much stiffer than the OEM units. I must admit, after building 3 years on the car, I'm finally starting to learn some patience  not a lot, but just a little. I realised that I will need to get a better tool to install these valves without damaging anything. I ordered a new contraption, by this time you may ask why I ordered it, I only had enough patience to realise I will have to wait before I can install the valves, but not enough to wait for laser cutting to arrive to make my own tools. Maybe oneday I will be able to wait for both. Once the tool arrived it literally took minutes to have to bunch assembled.

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Seeing that the OEM head bolts and head gasket will be replaced with a ARP Head Stud Kit and Cometic head gasket, neither that I have used before I was quite cautious since these stuff is a little more expensive than the normal parts. The threads was cleaned over and over, studs test fitted to make sure they enter more or less the same amount into the block etc. Head Gasket test fitted. Ian from Rezlo Auto Works also warned me to not install the head with the studs pre installed as they limit the head movement dramatically which makes getting the timing chain thru the head a mission, part of this warning was the installation of the head studs, the mandate was, hand tighten and then half a turn back. After reading the attached instructions the process was quite easy, apply a decent amount of ARP lube to the washers, studs and nuts, torque them down in 3 equal steps. After that the rest was quite familiar  as it was not the first time installing the followers and cams. Timing was triple checked, checked again and confirmed a few times. During this whole process the original crank pulley went back on until it can be replaced with a decent harmonic balancer. Just on a side note, I did notice the water pump turns a little slow if the underdrive crank pulley and water pump pulley is used on low rpm.

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For those reading this that have not done business with companies or individuals in the States, make an effort to import something, you will be pleasantly surprise to realise that in South Africa we have no customer service. I placed an order for a new set of Bosch 0280156127 440cc 42lbs-hr EV6 Blue Giants, in a matter of 3 hours the order was packed and a tracking number was sitting in my inbox, 5 working days later a phone call from Customs asking me were I want these delivered. And the best part of it all, They actually have functional websites with detail descriptions etc, not like the current RSA trend to create a &#!%(&^ facebook cover page with your companies contact detail. Better for me to stop here regarding this thing called facebook and the way people use it.

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During this time I played a little with my brothers new toy, a milling/drilling machine, I used it to start the work on a set of adaptors between the throttle bodies and new backing plate, they will form the seal around the units and the backing plate will be welded to it, this will form a practical and clean solution. The throttle cable mount kept me busy for awhile as I lost the ability to Tig weld, everything was a mess, until I disassembled everything and started again, still not my proudest piece of work, but not that bad to hide it. Seeing that the injectors arrived I was able to complete the fuel rails mountings and fittings, these are in the form of -6 AN units. Finally I managed to finish with my 50mm ID velocity stack mould. If I have to say I spend 10 hours on it, I will be telling a lie, I destroyed one, learned a few lessons working with fibreglass on small parts, etc Even this mould is not perfect, but 95% there.

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A warning for those interested in importing some parts with a value of more than R20 000.00 in a single shipment, either have your story straight with signed affidavits stating it is for private non commercial use and a one time deal, or just ask the company shipping it to ship it as individual items. Let me explain, my brother wants four a coil overs for his Mini project, a friend wants a set of front shocks for his up and coming MKII rally car and I'm in need of front and rear shocks for the car, after more than 4 months of research we place a order with Gaz Shocks in the UK. Let's not kid each other, this is one big order, so big we had to confirm that the credit card used for the transaction can handle that amount of money in a single daily transaction, thus a few k more than R20k in a single go. A few days after I received confirmation that the order is shipped, one of TNT custom officials phones and asks for an Importers permit, the first reaction is why, well the answer is easy, any single order bigger than R20k must be done via a company holding a Importers Permit, well well, we did not know this as we were just importing a few shocks, seeing that the current rand-Pound exchange is so bad, they should make this limit a R100k and leave us alone. We want to trade and don't mind sending our money over the water. Anyways, we were instructed that our only way out was to sign a affidavit stating it is for private non commercial use and a once of deal sort of thing and hope for the best. At the end of the day our shipment was released from TNT's storage facilities without additional fees besides the normal customs.

To add the cherry on the top, once I finished opening all the packages, i realised that they forgot to include 4 helper springs, main springs and retainers. Luckily Gaz send these promptly as back order items.

And the moral of the story, the majority of the parts are cheaper to import yourself, we are rapped by the performance part resellers in this country, the only person I would recommend contacting for parts out of the States is Ian from RAW. If he can't source it, import it. I have forgotten about the "Proudly SA" saying, I'm more than happy to send my money to the States or the UK, becuase I do like to be handled in a individual manner.

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Mini project: Securing Throttle Body Screws

Seeing that thsi was the reason for all the fun since January on the motor front, I was determined to try my best this time around to not have another screw loosening and starting a party on the pistons.

This is my story.

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1. Remove throttle screws and plate from throttle shaft

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2. Clean, clean and clean them again, in my case I used thinners and acetone

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3. Dry and wipe clean with a clean cloth

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4. Re Install the throttle plate while taking care to align it with out scratching the sides of the body

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5. Apply a decent amount of genuine Super Strong Loctite, no fake stuff here

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6. Fasten the screws without stripping the thread, if you did, turn it a half turn back and be done.

7. Clean the excess loctite

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8. Apply a droplet of paint to the underside of each screw, this will form a bond between the screw and throttle shaft.

Posted on: 2013/4/17 8:39

Edited by racetech on 2013/12/23 11:35:25
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Re: racetech's 1200 SR20VE Project
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Ford Escort MKII Adjustable Monotube Gravel Shock

Some goodies arrived from the pommies, but they forgot to add the springs for the front units.

2 x Gaz GMO-368RBT - Ford Escort MKII Adjustable Front Monotube Gravel Shock
2 x Gaz GP6-2069 - Ford Escort MKII Adjustable Rear Monotube Gravel Shock

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These are Ford Escort MKII Adjustable Monotube Gravel Shock Units, basically the same spec Bilstein units that were run on the legendary MKII of the late 70's and 80's but the shocks is adjustable. A friend and I will use the same setups, thus we will need less spares between the two of us, also making playing with imported springs easier on the pocket.
You will also notice these are all steel, ALU does not last to long on a gravel car.

Current spring rates will be 250 lbs/in front and 225 lbs/in rear for the initial setup until I have a better idea of what I'm doing on the gravel, all springs will be 12" long with a 2.25" ID with a helper spring to assist with keeping tension on the main springs in the event of some airtime.

Now the fun starts to build new lower control arms, top mounts, spacers and steering arms.

Posted on: 2013/3/12 7:36

Edited by racetech on 2013/12/23 11:37:49
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Re: racetech's 1200 SR20VE Project
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As long as there is some progress, my old man always said, do at least one thing per day, as long as you can show progress.

Posted on: 2013/3/6 11:18
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Re: racetech's 1200 SR20VE Project
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Unfamilia, seeing that the car is in my garage these days and he is not close, I just had to rise to the occasion.

For an IT geek I'm able to work with my hands without losing any fingers, but compared to the old man, I'm still a junior in his shoes.

Posted on: 2013/3/6 7:38
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