Making More Progress
 
I spent about 10 hours out in my garage today. I got alot of little things done. I don’t think I got anything major done. I started with the brakes. I wanted to see what would have to be modified to make Daytona steering knuckles work with the Omni. Well between my test fitting and my measuring with a micrometer, I found some interesting results. The knuckles ALMOST fit into my struts, they are about .050 thicker than the stock knuckles, where they slide into the strut. The bolts that go through the struts are also bigger, next size up pretty much. And there’s a bit more meat behind the bolt holes on the knuckle, which I’ve read would also have to be shaved down. So rather than go through all that hassle to try and get these knuckles to work with my struts, I’m going to get a set of Daytona struts, and see if I can just get those to work with Omni strut mounts. That would solve my problem very quickly. I’ll keep everyone posted on my progress with that.
Next I moved on to getting the engine reassembled to the point it was before I removed the head. I started with the waterpump inlet tube. I stopped by Tacoma Dodge on Monday and picked up a new o-ring for said tube. So hopefully when I put some water into the engine, it won’t come dribbling out this tube this time. I also picked up some heater hose, so I went ahead and ran that around the engine today too, one hose went to that tube on the waterpump that I just installed, and it’s nearly impossible to get to with the intake installed, so I put the hose on that fitting before installing the intake.
As for the radiator, I dropped that at the shop that built it last summer. They’ll be modifying it to work better with this engine. One of the mods is to remove the filler neck on the radiator, since it’s now part of the engine.
If I didn’t mention last week, the bracket for the bobble strut that I welded to the K-frame snapped right off. It had nearly snapped off from the 3 cylinder engine banging against it when it was trying to get the 4th cylinder to fire up. When I went to remove the bolt through the bobble strut to free the engine up for the timing belt fiasco, the bracket came the rest of the way off. Needless to say, my welding skills are not good enough. I contacted a friend of mine who has done alot of welding for me in the past, to see if he could come out and weld this part properly for me. He may be out this week to do it, I hope.
Making More Progress
Saturday, March 10, 2007
There were some fairly simple things I did today as well. I went ahead and bought a K&N oil filter, as I mentioned I would be doing. These filters are made of far thicker sheet metal than most any other oil filter out there. Should help protect it from the road debris it’ll be seeing down there.
I also installed new spark plugs. I went with some fairly basic plugs, NGK V-Groove plugs. My only complaint with V-Groove plugs is they seem to wear out FAST. But they do seem to run better than normal plugs in my experiences. I gapped them to .050 as the Neon Haynes book said for DOHC engines.
I think I have a solution for the front motor mount. I think I’m going to try to use a stock 1st gen Neon front mount. Both the part that bolts to the block, and the part that bolts to the core support. I will post more about this when I get the parts and try to fit them. Obviously the spacing between my core support and the front of the block is going to be the big unknown until I try this.
You may have noticed in the picture I posted at the top of today’s post. The wiring disaster is coming under control. I have probably 75% of the wiring in the engine bay taped up now. I spent at least 3 hours working on the wiring today, just getting everything routed just right, making sure it wasn’t tangled, and that every wire was taking the same path. I taped it up with 3M Super 33+ electrical tape. That’s some VERY nice electrical tape. Amazingly, Wal-Mart sells it. I went through a whole roll. The factory wiring seemed to have been done with Gaffer’s tape, and I do have some of that stuff, but for now I’m happy with just the e-tape.
I learned something the hard way today as well. I tried to set up the oil pressure sending units today. Well I ran down to the hardware store and bought a 1/4” NPT T. Got home and unscrewed the oil pressure sender from the back of the block. Low and behold, it’s much bigger, probably 3/8” NPT. So I put it back in the block for the time being. Tomorrow I’ll go get an adapter. I have a pair of 3/8” NPT to 1/4” adapters that came with my oil pressure gauges. Most cars use either 3/8 or 1/4, I had no idea this engine would have such a huge fitting in it. I want to have a T back there so that I can run both my aftermarket pressure gauge, as well as the stock dummy light in the dash.
While I had the intake off the car, I figured out my high idle problem. I may have mentioned this last week. Bare with me. Anyways, it turns out the Neon has a fairly unique throttle body setup. It has a side passage for the AIS. Well the standard Holley made throttle bodies that came on most MPFI Dodge engines isn’t setup like that. The bolt spacing is the same, so I though that if it bolted up, it must be covering that hole. Well it wasn’t. Not completely
anyways. So rather than having to track down a Neon throttle body, I figured I could just make an adapter plate. Pretty much all I needed was a piece of sheet metal that would cover over that hole and just give me a normal single opening.
The above picture is a template I made of the intake flange. I simply put some oil all over the flange, and laid some thick paper down on that oily surface. Picked it up and cut it out. I grabbed an old computer case I had laying around to use as my source of sheet metal. Once I had the template, I traced it out with a marker onto the metal, and cut it out with some tin-snips. I used a dremel with a cut-off wheel to cut the circle out of the middle.
Here it is completed. It may not look very flat, part of that is the cardboard I had it sitting on was very wavy. I hammered it nice and flat before installing it. I used large amounts of RTV to seal both sides of this adapter plate.
Once I had this installed, the only thing remaining that was keeping me from being able to fire this engine up to check out the new head was the lack of bobble strut (or other front/rear motor mount). Well my desire to hear it run finally overcame me.
The good news? This plate does seem to have worked. It idles nicely, just like I’d like it to now. More good news, the head was my starting problem and the engine just about fires immediately now. It’s just a matter of fine tuning the cranking pulsewidths, I’d imagine.
How about a killer video of the engine itself, bouncing around the engine bay with flames coming out the exhaust ports? Click the link above..
Oh, and one of the circuits I added to the Megasquirt last week, to drive the tachometer. Well it works. I wired it in while I was taping up the harness today. Was nice to see some life in my instrument cluster for once.
I think I’ve covered everything I did today. Like I said, a whole bunch of little things. Finally starting to come together, but still a good long ways to go. The big Mopar event at the local drag strip is at the beginning of May, so that’s pretty much my timeline for having this thing at least roadworthy, if not raceworthy. I’ll be working on the car more tomorrow. Not sure what I’ll focus on, other than the oil pressure senders.