Archive for the ‘Engine Bay’ Category

I actually had some spare time to work on the car yesterday… that hasn’t happened in like 3-4 months.

I’m working on the air conditioning setup at the moment:



My quest for a clean tidy engine bay has led me to doing a “tucked” air conditioning setup. I don’t really like the idea of lines going everywhere in the bay. So I’m going to simplify it by running the lines out of the compressor directly to some custom bulkheads on the firewall. I can run the lines down the same path as my heater hoses alongside the block. Typically the firewall fittings are at each end of a giant loop that takes place in the engine bay. I will essentially relocate that loop to behind the dash and down the inside upper portion of the passenger fender. Then the dryer and condenser will be up front out of site behind the bumper.

I want to use all XRP air conditioning hose and fittings. Which means I have to convert everything over to o-ring pilot fittings. Since I bought an aftermarket dryer and condenser, I had the choice to get them with o-ring pilot ports… so those were no big deal. However, I had to figure out what to do with the compressor, evaporator and the ports at the firewall. I’m still in the middle of all of this, but I’ll show you my progress so far.

First thing was to figure out how to modify the evaporator to work in the “tucked” setup. As it sits from the factory, the evaporator hard lines come out through the firewall. These have to go bye-bye since I’m going to use the firewall locations for my compressor lines. Which means that the connections for the evaporator lines will now need to be done inside the car instead of at the firewall. So I cracked the evaporator plastic housing open to see what I was up against. The evaporator core sits in the middle of the housing as seen below. You can also see where the hard lines exit the housing and normally would protrude through the firewall:


As luck would have it, the evaporator is square. I rotated the evaporator core, inside the housing 90 degrees, so that the hard lines would now point down over the passenger foot well. This would allow me to do my connections inside the car and leave me room on the inside of the firewall for some custom bulkheads. I cut off the plastic protrusions that held the OEM hard lines in place:


Housing back together… I will simply seal over that figure 8 shaped hole with some thin ABS plastic and epoxy:


I cut the hard lines down so that the new 90 degree fittings would hug the housing as close as possible. As mentioned, these are going to exit right above the passenger’s feet. So I don’ want them hanging down where they are going to get kicked. Had some aluminum male o-ring pilot fittings welded on:



I hogged out an area in the bottom of the housing for these to exit:


Some closed cell foam on the inside around the fittings and some machined 90 degree o-ring pilot fittings… this part is complete:


Test fit back in the car… they really don’t hang down lower than the surrounding items:


Second order of business are the bulkheads for the compressor lines. It will be a o-ring pilot #10 and a #8 on the firewall. Unfortunately the two holes on the firewall are huge. Had I known I was going to do a tucked setup, I would have welded those closed and made new smaller holes for a pre-made bulkhead. Oh well, time to do something slightly custom and make it work. I bought one of the aforementioned bulkheads from Vintage Air just so I could use the male-to-male fittings. This is what they look like once pulled off the Vintage Air firewall plate:


I figured I would do somewhat of the same setup I did for my heater hose bulkheads… custom machined aluminum plates that would cover the OEM holes and house the male fittings. I came up with these:





Coated with the some black epoxy paint:



Mounted in the car:




This is what I’m looking at inside the cabin:



I now need to get all of the XRP AC hoses and fittings ordered up so I can start mocking everything up. I also need to buy a CTS-V compressor. I have both a C5 and C6 compressor and neither one of those are going to work. The C6 compressor fittings exit out the side into the frame rail. There’s not enough clearance by a long shot. The C5 compressor fittings exit out the back. But by the time I add a compressor o-ring pilot adaptor block, the fittings will hit the #2 primary on the header. The CTS-V compressor angles the fittings out the side and angled up.. perfect!… I think!?!?! Once I have the compressor squared away, I can make the two compressor lines for the bay, the lines inside the cabin and the lines down the fender to the front of the car.

Correct Color

Posted: December 18, 2011 in Engine Bay, Toby Broadfield's S13
Tags: , ,

Busy time of the year for me with remote start season and then of course all the seasonal family stuff. I just wanted to post up a quick pic of the engine bay with the proper color. It was too white the first time around. Neither my good friend Dave who painted it or I realized that it was too white… not until I got it home and slapped the fenders on did I realize it. Now I can start installing stuff more permanently.

I got the car back on Sunday from Dave’s shop.

I didn’t really get a chance to work on it much on Sunday though as I had my youngest daughter’s 1 year B-day party at our house. I did get it on the jack stands so I could get the dollies back to Dave’s body shop and cleaned up some rubber grommets. It’s gonna be go time now though on getting it back together!

I went ahead and had the cross member, Nismo Power Brace and steering rack brackets powder coated a gloss black. I fought for a little while on the color, but came to the conclusion that black is the only color that fits my style for that type of part:

Cleaned up the wiper motor and mounted up the new Chase Bays master cylinder setup:

My steering rack needed some serious cleaning and help. Even though you won’t really be able to see it under the motor, I needed to address it:

I cleaned all the cast aluminum up with some Maxx Solv and painted the rods and body with some gloss black epoxy paint.

At this point I couldn’t really think of anything better than dropping the motor in for a test fit. I want to give a huge thanks to my boys Kyle and Jeff for giving me a hand with this:

Me struggling putting the driver’s side header in. I actually had to have the motor mounts up and out of the cross member, then drop each header into the car. Then lower the motor into place and bolt the headers up:

It’s officially in… well, temporarily:

The nice thing is that there isn’t going to be much else in the bay that isn’t in there now. I will be tucking the radiator, battery in the trunk, tucked coolant overflow etc. So really the only other things that will be seen in the bay are just a custom intake setup, black braided AN radiator hoses with all black fittings, AN heater hoses also with the all black setup, custom oil filter relocate setup… again with the same all black AN stuff.

Last Wednesday night I applied the guide coat. Now in the past I have always just “peppered” the surface with a black aerosol paint to create a guide coat… actually works pretty darn well. But Dave had me try a product from 3M that is specifically a guide coat. I’m not sure what the composition of it is, but it’s basically a powder that you apply with a round wax applicator pad. Just wipe it on with a little pressure over the areas you want to block down and you get the results below:

Now you will be able to tell how this stuff works. First picture is after a couple passes with 500 grit:

The next picture you can see where there is an area where it’s just white… that area does not need to be sanded anymore. If you can see guide coat, then it’s not perfectly sanded yet… even if it’s just a speck:

After some more sanding and now I’m starting to make a little progress:

So this is why the guide coat is so great. Shows you where you need to sand and keeps you from sanding too much where you might create a minute low spot.

After 9-10 hours of straight sanding with 500 grit and a grey 3M scuff pad, the bay is blocked:

Next up is the seam sealer to replace the OEM sealer I removed:

I have never used a seam sealer before, so I taped off the upper fire wall to give it a shot:

Applicator gun, which is same gun I use for the other 3M product I use for my custom interior work:

I applied a small bead then smoothed/forced it in with my finger… wearing a latex glove of course:

Now this is when I should of removed the tape, but I didn’t know that. I’m use to removing tape once paint, resin, glue etc. is dry. But this stuff you need to remove it before it dries…. it has about a 10 minute working time. So apply then remove the tape within a few minutes.

The rest of the bay masked off:

Seam sealer finished. Like I said, this tape should of been removed, but I let it dry until the next morning before I removed it. You live and learn I guess… it just made it more difficult to remove:

Dave let me borrow some bad-ass dollies from his shop. They have several mounting options… I chose to clamp them to the pinch welds for this application:

It’s time!

Well, the time is near…. PAINT! I have been sanding on this thing forever simply because the previous owner painted the bay improperly. Remember kids, it’s all about the prep! Whomever painted the bay before I owned it didn’t prep it correctly. So feathering in the edge between the original white paint and the off-white paint that he had it painted in was a real chore. Since it was not scuffed before the off-white paint, it would just flake off when trying to sand it. Some places where ok, so I would just keep sanding until it feathered in correctly. Once I thought it was good enough I would etch primer it. And guess what, the primer would still lift along the edge as seen in the picture below.

So I would have to let the primer dry then sand that area again and try to feather it out further. Total pain in the ass. The bad part is that the areas that were the worst are the areas that are really hard to get to and sand… so I had like 30 hours into just feathering everything out and redoing it several times until it was correct. Had I known it was going to be this way I would have stripped the entire bay down to bare metal before I even welded anything up. However, it’s actually best to not strip if you don’t have to because the OEM E-coat is better than anything you can buy to put on there. So leaving that intact in as many areas as possible is the best solution.

So I officially finished it without any lifting primer and scuffed it all down with a red 3M scuff pad as of 12:30PM yesterday. Which is good because I needed to have it done by 5:00PM yesterday… which is when my good friend Dave came over and shot primer on it for me. He’s the painter at the body shop that I have all of my paint work done at. So he brought some baller Spies Hecker primer with him and shot it for me:

Tonight I will apply a 3M guide coat and block the entire thing down with 500 grit. Then apply the seam sealer later this week. We are trailering it over to his body shop this Saturday morning for paint… so it will be done this weekend. FINALLY!

I decided to fiberglass the front areas behind the headlight buckets. It was pretty wavy and this would allow me to avoid having really thick filler in those areas.

All of the welds are ground down, body filled, sanded and then etch primed on the bare metal left over.

I have kind of been doing an area at a time then etch priming it so it wouldn’t start to get surface rust. Since I don’t get much time to work on it, the bare metal was barely getting surface rust after sitting untouched for a week. So this method was a decent solution. The only thing left is to block the filler in the areas in front of the wheel tubs, then skim coat that… block it down to 320 grit, then etch primer the bare metal in that area. Then it will be primer time.

Continuing on the bay, I blocked down the body filler in front of the tubs on each side:

I then skim coated that area with some Evercoat Metal Glaze to fill in any remaining imperfections, pinholes and the like. Blocked that down then sprayed the area with etch primer to properly seal all of the bare metal. It’s nice to finally be able to get an idea of what the bay is going to look like. Keep in mind, my goal was never to make this a completely smoothed/shaved bay. I simply wanted to fill all of the holes and remove any brackets etc. I absolutely want it to still look like an engine bay with all of the weird metal undulations etc. I just didn’t want it to look like a motor sitting in a perfectly smoothed bathtub… it’s not a show car.

Now I’m at the point of going back and addressing little areas… making sure everything is up to standards before I primer it. I will be using 4 coats of white primer on this. I also need to reapply seam sealer to all of the OEM locations that originally had it before I primer it.

… but hey, an update is an update.


I had two large cutouts that needed sheet metal welded in. One on the driver’s side where metal was cut out long ago from the previous owner and one on the passenger side where there were several medium-sized holes that I simply cut into one large one. The passenger side had a large hole from the intercooler piping, windshield washer reservoir filler neck and smaller holes from where I removed the battery tray. So I figured it would be easier to just weld up one large piece of sheet metal. Now keep in mind I have never welded in my life before all of this, so this is obviously my first attempt at welding in sheet metal or working with shaping sheet metal whatsoever. So hopefully no expert welders come in here and bash my work. Although I appreciate constructive criticism. I taped down a chunk of poster board so I could make quick templates.

I then traced the backside to get the shape I needed:

I cut those out then simply traced them onto some 22ga sheet metal:

I made short work of cutting those out with an air nibbler, then test fit them in the bay:

Tacked it up as I hammered it into place, then welded each one up:


I never run vanity plates, but I thought I would run some this time around. I feel like such a Damon(Greg) Young for posting a new set of license plates as an “update”, but what the heck:


I’m also struggling coming up with the dough to finish this project as far as the parts I need, but have come to the realization that it’s most likely not going to be done before the end of this year. Time and money are both factors. It doesn’t help that I keep buying tools and whatnot, but it’s an addiction for me. My tools were overflowing in my garage, so I broke down and bought a small Snap-On 2-bay. It now makes it much more desirable to go out in the hot garage and work. I’m way to spoiled at work with my massive amount of tools there, so I’m trying to build a collection at home… it never hurts to have tools:

A little bit of an update, but nothing over the top. After 5 weeks of doing nothing, I finally got a chance to get my ass in the bay and start prepping for welding. The standard grinding of all the holes to bare metal on both sides.

I also had the slightest bit of surface rust causing cracks in some areas of the seam sealer. So I decided I would remove all the seam sealer and inspect it, then take care of any trouble spots. Naturally I used a flat blade screw driver to peal away the old seam sealer. I had some surface rust underneath in several spots… as you can see on the top seam:

To quickly remove the surface rust effectively and easily, I used a Speed Blaster sand blaster. I also have the Hot Spot re-collection bag to help collect the media. The other bonus is that the rubber tips that come with the Hot Spot allow you to blast small spots without getting media everywhere. You simply apply a lot of pressure to the surface when blasting and it doesn’t allow media to creep out around the edges of the tip opening.

This picture demonstrates the difference:

Then the finished results:

Since I’m doing a tucked radiator, I also took this opportunity to shave the old radiator mounts:

Battery tray removed and the area underneath opened up to weld in new metal:

The previous owner also had the OEM SR side mount intercooler… so the area was hacked out to accommodate it. I had made a fiberglass plate that covered that entire area and my crankcase breather mounted to it. So it was completely finished off on my old setup. However, I won’t have anything there with the V8, so it will also get fresh metal welded in there:

I also had a little bit of surface rust where the shock tower and top rail meet and are spot welded to a top plate. So I drilled out the spot welds with the proper bit, then used a cutoff wheel so I could peel back the area and gain access to the rusted area.

I had this issue on both sides of the car. So I prepped the metal by grinding it down bare so the rust was completely gone:

Since this area has to be welded back in place, I can’t just spray it with rust inhibitor, then primer, paint etc… because it will just burn up. So I sprayed the area with weld thru primer. This stuff does just what the name implies:

So now when it’s time to weld that back down, the primer will stay intact and protect the bare metal from corrosion again. Then seam seal the area back up and it should be good to go for years to come.

Bare Bay

Posted: March 1, 2011 in Engine Bay, Toby Broadfield's S13
Tags: , , ,

Got the last of the stuff out of the engine bay… cross member, suspension and all the associated parts.  Kyle came over for a tad on Sunday and helped me drop the stuff out.  Also got the headliner out so I can hopefully, finally get the JDM headliner and pillar panels.  Then wrap the headliner in Bride fabric like I had planned 2 years ago when I did the rest of the interior.


I’m a very organized person when I choose to be… and thank goodness I chose to be on this project. A lot of times when I tear the interior out of a car at work I simply just throw all the screws, bolts, push tabs and whatnot into a magnetic tray. Knowing that I’ll remember where everything goes later. However, my S13 has taken on an all new level of “torn down”. Since there are so many aspects of the car that are apart, I chose to organize and label all the fastener locations as I took it all apart. This should save me a lot of headaches later on.

Jeff being… well, Jeff!

Sunday: Motor and trans is out! I want to give a thanks to Kyle, Damon, Jeff and the Loercher brothers; Brad and Paul. Without them I would have much more food left in the house… oh, and my downstairs toilet would not be out of order.

Engine on the ground and stripped of all of its goodness:

Which leaves me with a empty yet dirty engine bay:

So next order of business will be dropping the cross member and start prepping the bay for some welding.