If you read any part read this. This is long but a fun read and story about the progression of a group of buddies car built for the Grassroots Motorsports Challenge over the last 3yrs. I played the part of one of the Chicago buddies who worked on the mechanics (turbo kit/suspension etc..).
I know it isn't a miata... but I think you guys will still appreciate it.
The Grassroots Motorsports Challenge
requires entrants to spend a maximum of $2009 to produce a race car that will be tested in three categories. (1) Drag Race (2) Autocross (3) Appearance. This CRX took 7th place in the 2007 Challenge and 4th place in the 2008 Challenge. We finally took home the top spot overall in the 2009 Challenge last week.
The car (or shell)
The shell that we started with is a 1988 Honda CRX HF and was purchased in October of 2005 for $400. This car has been in our circle of friends for seven or eight years now. It has seen many different duties, as well as a variety of drivetrain combinations in its years. At the time of original purchase it was a mere shell. The car had no engine, no interior, stock suspension, and spare tires were used to make it a real “rolling” shell.
There were several reasons why this car could easily be turned into a Grassroot Motorsports Challenge race car. Most important is the lack of weight. A stock 1988 CRX HF weighs in at 1812 pounds. Take out the interior, the passenger seat, the spare tire, the heating system, and some loose change and we figure on right around 1700 pounds. This is where the car got its nickname of “Gutty”. In addition, the CRX is a very race proven chassis with millions of parts available, which means we could find used parts for cheap.
To make back some money in our budget, we sold the OBD0 to OBD1 conversion harness ($40) that came with the car.
Parts Car #1
The first parts car that we picked up was a 1990 Acura Integra for $250. The timing belt had snapped and the car had been sitting for over a year. After dragging the Integra for a block to get the rusty brakes loose, we flat towed the car to the garage. We took the ecu, battery, injector resistor box, throttle cable, intake arm, the rear disc brake setup, and most importantly the engine. We were hoping that a used B18 timing belt ($5) would show that the motor still had straight valves, but we would not know until the engine was in the new car and running.
To make back some money in our budget we sold the automatic transmission ($100), the axles and midshaft ($50), and the fenders and front bumper ($75), and the master cylinder ($25).
Parts Car #2
The second parts car proved to be a gold mine. It was a rusty 1989 CRX Si with a b16 swap. The engine had stopped running, so the owner had taken the head off to inspect. He decided to keep the VTEC for himself and sell the car with a missing head. Wanting badly to dump the project before moving out of state, he sold us the car for $600. Parts that would be used from this car were the close-ratio YS1 transmission, the b16 flywheel, the motor mounts, the axles and midshaft, the shift linkage, some Tokiko Illumina adjustable shocks that were missing the adjuster, and ITR rear LCAs.
To make back some money in our budget, we sold the b16 ECU ($111.36), the b16 shortblock ($150), and the shell ($410).
Finding used parts for cheap takes forever. Countless hours were wasted in pursuit of the deals. This is one of the major reasons the car took two years to complete. Parts were purchased from a variety of venues, including internet forums, the local junkyards, and local car dudes.
The websites Honda | Acura Research, Reviews, Performance Parts, Owners - Honda-Tech.com
, ef-honda.com the ultimate technical resource for the 88, 89, 90, 91 Honda EF Civic and EF CRX.
, B20Vtec.Com. B series and beyond
, eBay - New & used electronics, cars, apparel, collectibles, sporting goods & more at low prices
proved to be our most valuable resource for information and used parts. We bought the used turbo and oil lines ($300), the used Integra Type R LSD ($280) and ring gear ($75), the used intercooler ($75), the used clutch ($55), and Ebay strut/tie bars ($46.30) from these sites.
The local junkyard provided the DSM 450 injectors ($24.37), an 88 CRX seat bracket ($9.26), BMW wheels ($45) and a Hyundai slim fan ($18.65).
The “Design 2000” seat ($10), intercooler ($75), used wastegate ($25), used DSM blow off valve ($10), fuel pump ($35), ebay coilovers ($35), used BM FPR ($20), used B18 timing belt ($5), and the used tachometer and boost gauge ($40) were all purchased from local car guys.
The battery box came from Autozone ($12.88), the chalkboard spray paint ($21.10) from Menards, and the Rustoleum flat black ($17.12) came from Home depot. The XO wheel paint ($10), radius rod bushings ($8.47), fuel filter ($11.73), heater hose ($2.52), and miscellaneous hardware ($2.44) came from local auto parts stores.
The used autocross tires were pulled out of the garbage at an autocross event in 2006 (Thanks Tom!!). The 92-95 Civic radiator with a giant hole was pulled out of the garbage. JB weld ($1) fixed up the hole real good (so far).
The tubed crossmember, homemade turbo manifold, intercooler piping, exhaust, and door panels were all constructed with scraps that were lying around the shop ($80). We also used $50 worth of welding materials to make all this stuff.
We used a few parts that we had sitting in the back of our garages. For these parts, we claim fair market value, including some abused drag racing slicks ($100), a used air filter ($10), several used couplers/clamps ($15), and a Xenocron chip ($19.50).
Step 1: Get motor in and running
After sourcing parts for almost a year, it was time to put it all together and see if our motor had any bent valves. Wiring prevented this process from being a quick one. The last motor setup that lived in Gutty made for some serious wiring nightmares. For the last motor, the CRX HF cabin wiring harness was used with a CRX Si engine harness (not the same as HF) all converted to OBD1 with lots of random wires everywhere. It took us several hours and lots of multimeter testing to get it all right. After finally sorting out all the wiring issues, the engine fired up and sounded healthy. A compression test revealed that the valves in our engine were still good and Gutty hit the streets.
Step 2: Boost!
Once we knew that the motor was good, it was time to boost it to the moon. In the interest of saving money, we decided to construct the turbo manifold using the top half of the stock Integra exhaust manifold. We decided to mount the turbo up top for the bling bling factor. The stock crossmember had to be chopped and tubed to make room for the manifold and the radiator. We also decided that the shorter the exhaust could be made, the quicker the spool and the cheaper the materials to construct it, so the exhaust is simply a three foot dump out the front bumper (LOUD!!!).
Step 3: Make it Pretty
Although the exterior looked nearly rust free, we found quite a bit of the Honda cancer when we got right down to the shell. The rockers on both sides had rusted away to almost nothing. The rear trailing arm on the driver’s side was actually falling off due to rust. Adam considered abandoning the whole project because the rust was so bad. John Decker convinced him otherwise, and they cut out the old rusty stuff and welded in some spare steel they had laying around the garage.
The exterior still had a decent chalkboard green spray paint job from the previous owner, but we were planning on really turning some heads. Hours and hours of sanding and bondo work, along with five cans of spray paint ($18) provided the perfect touch up for the car. The car is an actual working chalkboard where chalk marks can be created and erased as if it were right in a classroom.
While the engine and transmission were out for the limited slip differential install, the engine bay received a serious degreasing. The engine and transmission were also shined up using an air powered wheel. In addition, several hours were spent cleaning up the wiring mess that was created. The engine bay received a full tuck with fuse boxes, wiring harnesses, and relays all hidden behind fenders and up under the dash.
The interior needed some help as there were several holes that allowed you to see the ground beneath. Since we didn’t want this to be a Flintstone car, we welded in some new floor. The whole interior then received a thick coat of brush on Rustoleum flat black. Adam fabbed up some door panels out of tin and then painted them chalkboard green so we could have more surface area to write on with chalk.
Step 4: Test and Tune
For the new Integra B18 engine we used the old school OBD0 wiring and electronics. To account for additional fuel and timing needs of the turbocharger, we will be running a chipped stock ecu. Xenocron Tuning: Fuel Management and DIY Tuning Resource Center for Honda and Acura Performance - Hondata, eCtune, Neptune, Crome, TurboEdit, Uberdata
provides the chip kit ($19.50) and PopFind (sm)
supplied the free software. The turboedit software allows you to run bigger injectors and adjust fuel and timing maps according to boost levels. The free basemap was tweaked with a street tune using a wideband o2 sensor.
We also wanted the car to see some race duty before we hauled it all the way down to Florida. We found an autocross event at the Tire Rack in Indiana two weeks before the Grassroots Motorsports Challenge. ITA Tom from Kentwood was to be our driver in Florida and we wanted him to have a chance to get a feel for the car. The autocross event had 25-30 cars total and ITA Tom and Gutty took 2nd place for the day!!! We were only beat by a 5 time AutoX National champion driving a Porsche Cayman. The autocross proved to us that Gutty had a real chance of competing down in Florida.
Step 5: The Grassroots Motorsports Challenge 2007
We brought a large crew down to Florida to help support Team Gutty. Overall we were thrilled with the results.
AutoX: 5th place overall
Concours: 11th place overall
TOTAL: 7th place overall.
We were bummed out that the drag race was rained out as we were confident that Gutty would have placed well. We learned a lot about the competition in our first year. We were amazed at the attention to detail on some of the cars at the event. We decided that our car needed a different “look” to help us in our concours judging for 2008.
CHANGES FOR 2008