Goodness we are all the way to part 50. Going to be a bit of a written long one.
Well the plan was to go on a little road trip. The route wasn’t exactly ironed out, but a friend suggested going on a drive. The group of us with fun cars decided it would be nice to get out.
We decided to meet the night before for a BBQ and car wash.
I decided since I had 0 miles on this I might want to try getting on the freeway before actually taking a drive so I went a little bit early to fire up the car and take it for a spin.
The car was having an intermittent miss, some people suggested the spark plugs could be the culprit, so I sprung for a set of BKR7EIX NGK iridium plugs.
I even went out and ordered a CO detector and a fire extinguisher and mount for my added safety.
Went to start and found no power. Turns out I hit the running light switch while messing around near the steering column. Battery voltage was a meager 3.2V
I threw a rapid battery charger on and decided to kill an hour or two.
Came back threw the charger onto engine start and turned the ignition. I recall being confused when I heard the charger kick the fans on and go into cool down. It must have sensed the amperage draw from the fuel pump and thought I was trying to crank the engine.
I decided to try again and the car sprang to life. I moved the car out, let it warm up, and started to pack my emergency roadside tool kit.
I started to hear a miss as I was checking the exterior and sealing up some holes. Poking my head in to read the display I noticed AFR’s were at a staggering 18-19! Voltage was also dropping from 14 down to 13.8V
I shut the car off.
“Well there goes that idea” now it was a matter of trying to get the car back into garage, I sat down turned the key and nothing. No gauges online, no fuel pump, the key did nothing. Checked the battery voltage and it showed 11V, the alternator belt was tight.
I spent about an hour and a half pushing the car up a slight incline. It went a bit smoother when I grabbed a chock and chocked the wheel every foot I pushed it back.
After being drenched in sweat and still at an odd angle. I decided this just wasn’t going to work. Sat down, thought about it, grabbed my wiring kit and hot wired the car. Sending a direct ignition signal from the battery and jumping the starter the car fired up, still huffing and puffing at a 19-20AFR. I limped it back in.
Decided I wasn’t going to miss this trip like I did a couple years ago and took my daily driver.
We started off in the typically gloomy morning of Seattle,
passed through some amazing roads into Mount Rainier National Park,
then ended up in the near desert of Wenatchee.
Having that stare at the whole drive was also a real treat
I was a bit bummed that I didn’t have the massive kick in the pants from the Datsun, but these roads were long and fast, not sure if reliability was there in the braking or cooling department.
I was very thankful when the Noble broke down. Don’t get me wrong I felt bad for the driver, but it was relieving to know for the first time it wasn’t me stuck on the side of the road. The Miata driver signaled me over and I walked over. He said the Noble wouldn’t start. We asked the Noble driver to kick it on, only to hear the starter motor whizzing. Having had the gambit of problems with starters, I deduced either starter wasn’t throwing the gear out, or the starter was falling off the block. After pushing the car in the shade, sure enough we found the starter was hanging maybe 1/2 an inch off the block. I had brought a trunk full of tools so we tried to get the starter back in place, but in the end there was just too much in the way, we push started the car and the driver had to play a game of don’t stall for the remaining 200 miles.
The 33 mile backup of traffic we ran into really gave all the drivers an unexpected leg day. For me I was thankful at this point for strong A/C and an automatic.
Upon getting back I made a plan of attack and pulled the alternator and battery.
The alternator was supposedly a replacement completed with the engine swap. The parts store did confirm it, but they also found the alternator was off of the later VVTI motor outputting less amps. It passed the test with flying colors
The battery was only a couple years old.
Turns out a cell had blown in the battery. I had to have a replacement ordered as I had built my battery tie down around the size. Turns out it was from an AMC Pacer.
With the alternator reinstalled, and the new battery in place as well as a new ignition switch I sat in the driver seat and turned the key.
Nada. Nothing came on, even the horn and headlights refused to turn on or sound.
That was confusing. Those should have nothing to do with the ignition yet they refused to cooperate.
I hot wired the car again and found the battery wasn’t charging which pointed to the alternator that tested good.
I traced the wire from the alternator and close by I found an inline fuse holder.
Opened it up and...
Blown fuse. My assumption at the time was that I had blown the connection from the alternator to the battery.
I looked up some numbers and found my wire to be supremely underrated. So I ordered an 80 amp fuse and a 6 AWG wire and rewired the power connection from the battery to the alternator. Bypassing the blown fuse.
With that done the charging system now worked, but the cabin was still unpowered.
After a lot of head scratching I traced the wire to find the the inline fuse didn’t actually come off the alternator, instead it came off the battery and fed to the cabin. Turns out it was my cabin power fuse.
I replaced that and the car was as it should be.
In retrospect I think this is one of the things that may have happened. Either when the battery charger sensed the discharged battery hit with the few amps the fuel pump drew it dumped 80 Amps into the battery which popped the fuse, or the battery which had blown a cell when the car was running the alternator sensed the voltage difference and attempted to send as many amps as it could output (80 amps for this model) to try and charge it up and ended up blowing the fuse.
I’m still a little weary of the whole charging system and find my eye constantly staring at the voltage gauge which used to hover around 14.7-15, now seemingly happy to hover about 14.2-14.4, but the car seems to be running better then it ever has.
With the car sorted I took it for the first drive the other day. Had a nice chat with a gentleman while filling up with air who used to race Nissans in Japan, got to practice a bit of my broken Japanese, as well as show off the engine bay.
With the new display I was even able to monitor boost. I completely forgot I was still breaking in the clutch and gave it the beans, found that at the current setting the car seems like it makes about 13-14lbs of boost.
A little video with some exhaust sounds. The tablet display is shown a 6:45.
Needs a bit more love for sure, but so far it holds voltage, doesn’t leak any fluids, maintains temperature at 185. Need to work on some heat management as the engine bay is awfully hot. The hot side is pumping heat like crazy. The turbo manifold is heating up the silicone coupler on the cold side as well.
Battery - 100
Pack of fuses - 3
6AWG wiring kit - 20
Maxi fuse holder with maxi fuse - 15
Fire extinguisher - 20
Fire extinguisher holder - 15
CO detector - 20
Total spent - 29178