What it cost me to own a $500 car, Part 26

So managed to get cracking on the front suspension.

For those who are severely bored you can watch the slow tedious process here.


I made an effort to record, but it makes everything take longer, makes you feel crazy since you are talking to yourself, and then afterwards you have to watch all the takes, over and over and pull out the ones that don’t make sense/are boring/or long. Yes that is shortened down believe it or not.

On the flip-side, while reviewing it is really possible to catch a mistake that you made that you may have otherwise not noticed for the next few years.

Not sure if I’ll keep doing comprehensive videos like that, they tend to take longer to do everything.


Welded up the front spindles along with the rears for the coilover adapters. The person that pretty much originated this style of swap or at least popularized it for the US, chimed in very recently and stated it is not a very good idea without inverted shocks. Checking over mine, I found that they aren’t inverted, but I trust that BC would have done some testing in house, and the originator was running megan coils so I’m hoping there is a difference in quality.


As you can see in the videos, everything is reinstalled in the front. I am going to need to find an alignment shop that can handle my fully adjustable setup now along with corner weighing and balancing.


Of course it would not be complete without problems. While the front end was up I decided to take a look around underneath. Found a pretty consistent oil leak even though the car handn’t moved in a week or two, which on retrospect really points towards the oil pan. I found many of the oil pan bolts really loose so tightened all those backup still have an oil leak so I fear maybe a hairline crack in the black pan or maybe from further up, I have a UV kit I bought on standby to hopefully help pin it down.

Out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of the engine mounts.

The nut wasn’t there.

On the driver side the nut/lock washer/washer was missing. A quick check to the passenger side and the nut was halfway down the stud. That might explain some of the vibrating when pointing downhill. Maybe even some of the clunking. I racked my brain and came to the conclusion that either I completely neglected to tighten it when I first installed the engine, or they vibrated out over time. I revisited both sides with new washers, and a healthy does of blue locktite. Interestingly enough, that seems to have affected idle. With the engine more firmly in place it seems like I’ll need to bump it up to keep it from stalling.


I really wanted to spend some time to go over everything, but I wanted to do that at my leisure and not fall into a “while I’m at it trap” so I popped the rear end up and pulled all that apart.


(note missing the dust shield, I went back and added it shortly after the picture)

To prep parts for the rear I had the new rear lower control arms and some other bits and pieces powder coated at a local powder coating company to a cost of ~$300. The sticker shock hit me hard, I mean all the parts were sand blasted and a can or two of paint would cost $10-20. Apparently the coater I chose blasts everything that comes in the door to ensure quality, and now that I’ve dropped some of the pieces a few times or subjected them to the press and the coating is still intact it seems to not have been a waste of time. So in total my RLCA cost me roughly $8-900 if I think about it, probably more if I really considered.


I also went down to Fastenal on my day off to grab some new hardware for the rear. Dropped $90 on bolts and hardware including getting new 9 inch bolts since the 11 inch bolts I bought at a great cost were for a stock arm and not a tubular A-arm with rod ends.

Also went down to drivelines NW to drop off my driveshaft to have it lengthened 2.25 inches since my previous failure. The cost was not bad at all for the lengthening, but the balancing which is really integral put it over the edge. $13 for the tube, $70 for the welding, $80 for the balancing, put me at about $175 with tax for referencing the wrong picture.


Found a differential shop and called about having my differential put back together. After a quote of $800, I decided that I’ll do it my self and if my VLSD fails, I can pick up a CLSD unit up and new axles and STILL be ahead.


I wasn’t completely lazy though, I noticed the lip on the side input seal of the differential was torn, so I bought some new seals from NAPA and smacked them in. Also took some time to blast off the grime and the rust scale and treat it on the differential and some other rear end parts.

The plan is to throw some paint and start the process of reassembly for the parts now that everything is in house.


Also made up some 1/2 inch spacers for the ST sway bar which apparently has a problem of being too forward in the chassis and causing the rear suspension to bind. My wrists are still sore from using a cheap harbor freight drill to drill through the 1/2 inch aluminum bar stock while my dewalt was charging.

Also inbound are some adjustable height end links. I was kind of running out of fabrication steam and at $50 for a pair, it wasn’t worth trying to circumnavigate by buying rod ends and cutting up box tubing and such along with welding while having my workspace drastically diminished with a car in the air.


If all goes well I can say good bye to the rear clunking, get easier steering with the VLSD, get less understeer, and have access to tons of adjustability. Then I can focus on any pesky leaks, building up the driveline, and the interior along with my bonus purchase....

Things I learned:

Call your powder coater to see if they blast in house

When swapping to an R200, use a reference picture to how an R200 is installed, not an R180


Leaking engines are not fun. While it is out of the car, really consider going over the main leaky seals, oil pans, front timing cover, rear main seal etc.


Powder coat - 300

Drive shaft extension - 175

Hardware - 90

New differential seals - 30

Quick release end links - 50

Bonus purchase - 440

Subtotal - 1085

Total spent - 21535

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