What is the sound of one piston slapping?
What is the sound of one piston slapping?

Now a little confession. This is my first manual, and this car was not easy to drive. The throttle seemed to snap open real fast which meant feathering the throttle was difficult. I thought it was just a bi product of a carb/me being terrible, but later found out it was a bent linkage as indicated in the first start video with the struggle we had trying to blip the throttle. Anyways, on one of my practice sessions I stalled a couple blocks away from the garage at night. I cranked it back up and it felt like the car didn’t want to start, a quick look at the voltage gauge confirmed low voltage around 12.5 volts and dropping. I now had the challenge of making it back without stalling. I gingerly rolled it into the garage and found a loose belt. I tightened it backup and stepped out of the garage feeling proud of not having to call AAA for a 300 yard tow and slipped in a puddle of oil. I looked around and found drips leading into the garage. I put a piece of cardboard under the car and went to bed.

I woke up in the morning to this.

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Holy shit...

Another head in the hands moment. Jesus. I’m such an idiot. I should have just paid to have it done. Oil leaks from everywhere, the oil filter, the oil pump the starter...wait a second, the starter doesn’t have any oil, why is it leaking oil?

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I pulled my head out of my hands and started feeling around (remember my block is black). I dabbed my way higher and higher and found oil flying out from the valve cover and being blown backwards and coating everything.

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Removed the valve cover and found this.

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I had been struggling with the gasket and it seems that I had managed to flip the gasket, being a single cam it was completely the same except for where it stepped out a bit to accommodate the timing gear. The oil had been leaking from that little hole.

Put it back together cleaned up the motor and was happy to find only one drip every couple of days (either residual oil that I didn’t wipe coming off or maybe a poorly seated RMS).

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Then this happened.

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I had actually made my first trip out of the garage and parked it outside for the first time, I rolled the window up and wound up to fling the door closed (new weather stripping) and realized just a moment too late that it was too hard, I tried reaching for the door, but it was too late.

A couple calls and I found a replacement. I also decided to go with the much softer kia sportage door seals to prevent that from happening again.

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Then onto the fuel gauge. I had never seen it read above 3 or 4% despite how much fuel I had.

I grounded the sender and it showed

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And left it unattached and it showed

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So the gauge was fully functional. That led to the sender being suspect.

I called up summit and asked for any advice, and the guy told me to buy a new sender at an eye watering 90$. I mean I just put fuel in the cell for the first time a few weeks ago and I had to pay more then half the price of the fuel cell for another sender? Well damn it if I am going to spend the money, I’m going to find out why I’m spending it.

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I removed the sender from the cell

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And found that the float was stuck.

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It was too large and was binding.

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I sanded the foam down a bit until it would move nicely, and reinserted it.

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Voila working fuel gauge.

I also took the time to science up the car a little bit with an AFR gauge from innovate

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Illustration for article titled What it cost me to own a $500 car part 15

And decided to lower the car a little bit with a little bit of spring removal.

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Before anyone gets on their soap box, I had planned this in advance. I bought 280z linear springs with higher unchanging spring rates. The car does not have a flat seat so the cut ends still cradle nicely. I followed a guide from a fairly well established individual/race shop owner who had outlined the process. The only downfall is that when the suspension is completely unloaded, I do have to seat the rear springs. Some droop limiters would solve that issue, but I have been eyeing a set of coilovers so who knows.

With the car running, driving, looking good, I put about a 1000 miles on it, even took it to a car show and an autocross, and even to a Z-specialist then it all changed.

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Lessons learned:

Don’t panic, take a breath, take a step back, then come back to the problem.

...don’t wind up and slam your door with the glass up.

Coming out to your completed project car is an amazing feeling.

Costs:

150 - New used window

150 - innovate lc-1

100 - carb tuning bits (sync meter, sm needle, gross jets)

Subtotal: 400

Total spent: 12285

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