With the next step to be getting the engine and gearbox back in the car, I thought I would get the engine checked and the head gasket replaced as a bare minimum before the start of the season. Time limitations mean a full strip down is not going to happen this year but doing the head gasket and checking the internals is really a minimum.
This is really quite straight forward when the engine is on the deck in front of you and you have the experience having done the damn thing endlessly for 15 years! In line with the original K Series Designers and MGR recommendations I continue to use the original silicone bead single layer head gasket as opposed to the new MLS one I would use in any road car K series replacement. A genuine old stock one costs about £20 these days.
A couple of hours is more than enough for me to strip down the engine, remove the head, change the leaky exhaust cam shaft seal, clean up the faces (no need for a re-skim), copious amounts of well seal and reassemble the engine. Getting the new belts on is straight forward and she’s ready to be put into the new shell when I visit next!
Got a busy week this week so I know I’m not going to be able to get as much done as I have been. This means every opportunity counts to get some build work done. This Friday Mrs M was out so once the kids were in bed I thought I’d get the front and rear bumpers painted up.
The paint was not quite so good as I remember it last time, but with a lot of masking up and only a few runs to deal with they’ve come up OK. Shame it took so long to get the over spray off the kitchen floor and candles lit all day Saturday to lose the smell!
With a Saturday and Mrs M amusing the kids for a few hours at parties, I needed to maximise the time and get some more fitting up completed. Starting with the new rear ‘front’ subframe box I purchased as they are different on a 160 and the race one was mangled – I fitted a replacement steering rack into that and got that bolted into place under the car. Then hanging the suspension in place through the top mount holes I had decided that with the o/s/f taking the impact of the crash I would replace the hub completely so it was off with the calliper, disc and unbolted from the shock absorber. Then refitted a replacement one in place, just a ABS sensor to fit as this drives the speedo in 160’s.
Next it was in the car and running the handbrake cables back in place and the handbrake unit refitted. Then the brake lines could be run through new holes in the arches in a neater way then I did in the other car. Fitting the brake bias valve and pipe through the bulkhead to link this to the master cylinder completed the connecting up of the new rear end. The heat shielding removed underneath, I then hung the Janspeed 160 back box in place and fitted the 160 selectors and gearstick. Then the steering could be completed connecting the final lot of electrics under the dash and making sure the earths are connected.
Round the front, the charcoal filter is fitted, my race battery is fitted and the sealed ECU is installed. Again making sure the earths are bolted in place and the one in the o/s/r these are the things that bite you if forgotten. The power steering pump is hung in place and the pipes and reservoir put back in place. The front brake pipes are run so other than fluid and some pipe clips in the rear that’s the braking complete.
Starting to feel like we are getting there!
Deciding to start at the back it was time drop out the 1.4 rear subframe and refit the 160 one from the original race car. This apart from being tricky to get the height on your own when refitting the beam was relatively straight forward as I removed it in one piece leaving the brake cables in place and just unbolting them from the body. The just bolting the 160 unit in, fixing the 160 cables to the body and pushing them back through the floor.
Next the wiring needed to be secured to the fuel pump and taping up the ABS wires as I don’t need them connected, the 160 tank including pump can then be fitted. This is done with the usual swearing as I am not using a ramp remember.
So with the morning of my day off spent painting the inside, I needed to leave it to dry so I decided to spend that time at the front end getting the seam welding painted up with some Anthracite in a can and the 1.4 rear subframe and steering rack removed along with the rest of the front suspension. With a torque gun and a set of impact sockets this takes absolutely no time.
The inside of the car is now dry enough for the 160 loom to go in, although daunting if you lay it in the cockpit its easy to start hanging it in the right area starting with the o/s door loom feeding back through and the rear loom feeding that under the seat bars and pushing the fuel pump wiring through the grommet hole it all sort of falls into place. Then putting the majority of the loom back through the bulkhead starting with the left hand loom with the ‘chunky’ ECU plugs and light wiring then working next on the rear bulkhead loom that flows round the engine to the alternator and Oil pressure sensor etc.
Its then the reinstallation of the dash support frame and this allows the bolting up of the fusebox and then the pedal box. Next, in with the heater box, using the 1.4 non-aircon setup instead of the heavier 160 factory unit. Then its on with the 160 facia and in with the 160 dash and its starting to look like a car again!
Then with a stiff neck, time to move to the front and fit some of the bulkhead items i,e the coolant bottle, 160 brake servo and master cylinder then home for a long soak in the bath!
So I decided it was time to get the car back together, a day off work was required to get the floor painted now the sound deadening was removed and welding complete. Using a litre of the finest Kawasaki Green cellulose paint and my spray gun it was time to brighten the inside up.
As with all these things it took longer to mask up than paint and the breezy day in my draughty workshop didn’t help the finish either – but its the inside and isn’t heading for a flat n polish so who’s fussed!