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BFMR 323 GTX build/resitifcation?

 
Old 08-15-2018, 11:56 AM
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Default Engine out and autopsy.

So getting the engine in and out of these cars is always both easier and harder than it seems. I tend to be very conservative with removals and pull things that I probably don't rather than risk breakage or that inevitable hangup at a bad time. I must be getting old.

The pile of removed parts:


Engine ready to be lowered out of the car:


On the ground, or, rather, on a tire on the ground:


It had sounded like it had an exhaust leak under the header wrap. So I cut all of the wrap off, and scrubbed off the flake and rust:



I guess that screwing with rolling anti-lag hadn't helped much...

Empty engine bay before cleaning and rationalizing a bunch of things:


So the engine was removed, and everything I needed for the new one stripped off and cleaned (or repaired and repainted). So it was time to quickly take the head off and see the damage.

And there was none. Bore and pistons look perfect. Valves look like they're sealing. WTF? And then I see it:





So, this engine (supposedly built by a well known shop in the Seattle area) had a bit of an issue. The dowel pins were installed in the head, not the block. So when the head was slid down the ARP head studs, the dowels pressed into the head rather than locating the head and gasket. And the eventual result was a gasket that blew between cylinders #2 and #3, and possibly pressurized the oiling system. Dumb mistake.

Engine mounts are all NLA for this car, and as you can make out from at least one picture, the trans mount was completely destroyed. So I did some measuring and discovered that a 1996-2004 Tacoma front lower control arm bushing from Energy is almost exactly the right shape and size. So I cleaned the mount out and pressed the bushing in, and then urethaned the edges, and urethaned a pair of structural washers one on either side which brought the width up to the same as the steel sleeve I swapped over. Works perfectly. Then I reinforced the other mounts by using stacked high quality hose urethaned into the voids; this allows for some squish but much firmer mounts than before. Everything cured for a few days, and it all looks good.

Next, engine prep and install!

Last edited by Toiyabe; 08-15-2018 at 12:01 PM. Reason: More info.
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Old 08-16-2018, 11:02 PM
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Looks like I'll be doing wheel bearings here as soon as I get the engine built for this NA6. Ah well. Passed 500 miles on the new engine today so it's time for a thorough nut-and-bolt anyway.

I'll post the engine install here soon. After that wheel bearings, and an attempt to get FC RX7 calipers to work.
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Old 08-17-2018, 12:58 AM
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Dude, this is my favorite thread right now. Keep it up! Please document those wheel bearings, gonna have to DIY that one on my car soon too!
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Old 08-17-2018, 01:41 AM
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Default Engine install.

So then everything gets reassembled.

The manifold got welded up by my awesome ancient Miller turned way up, after cleaning as best I could. Absolutely not worth trying to TIG. Holes drilled at the terminations of cracks, hopefully it'll last a bit.

After some bad luck with multiple clutch manufacturers including ACT and Spec, I decided to take a gamble on an ebay XTD. The pressure plate is a Daikin Exedy spray painted red, and the clutch disc looks fine. It drives great, and most importantly, it doesn't slip. Seals in the transmission were replaced, bushes for the clutch shaft pivot were replaced, and all the shifter bushings were replaced with Delrin. Many wires and hoses were removed, and a whole lot of Adel clamps and the like were employed to tidy it up. Still not perfect, but I decided to not hack things about too much, because you never know.

Engine was filled with Total 30wt as a break-in, and given the classic high vacuum coast-down treatment, and then changed to a Total high ZDDP racing oil for the next 500 miles. Oil consumption has been non-exsistant, although the BOV has reminded me I forgot to clean all the oil out of the intercooler. Oil is going to be Rotella T6 now. Transmission is a 50/50 blend of Redline MT90 and Heavy Shockproof, and the angle drive is heavy shockproof. Coolant is the Pentosynth Blue Asian stuff. Plugs are a BKR7E, I initially tried the racing one that NGK makes, but the non projected tip was fluffy for starting. We will see how these look later.

Some retuning, new ground straps and she runs beautifully-smooth power to redline, and full boost at 3600.

Also built a proper VTA set up using all three breather ports.

Known issues:
Right front wheel bearing is loose I think. Could be top bushings in the DMS, but I don't think so.
PS pump is noisy. I'll rebuild at some point.
Tach goes bonkers over 6300. No idea on that one, but I'll start figuring it out some day.
Closed loop boost control is weird and hard, and the 1 point higher CR and 49cc extra made a HUGE difference. Running about 15psi right now, pretty consistently.
Closed loop idle control just doesn't seem to have enough authority for the land the lights put on it. I'm sure it's a matter of small tweaks.
The brakes are great: Hawk blacks work really well on a street car. But the Escort GT calipers suck, and shift on the pins enough to cause insane taper wear.

Engine getting reassembled with new injectors and harness.





Evil Bay clutch!


Engine and transmission reunited:



Back in the car, and all hooked up:




At this point I grabbed the US market side skirts (NA only!) off the other car and cleaned and prepped them for a Duplicolor touch up paint that ended up matching the lower body perfectly. I then installed:




At this point I started working on other things, which maybe I'll do as another part of the build thread so everyone can laugh at me:



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Old 08-17-2018, 11:03 AM
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Everytime I see a 323gtx it just makes me smile
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Old 08-17-2018, 12:32 PM
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Nice build! Jealous of your shop space, I'm hoping to build a shop with a lift on my property someday.
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Old 08-17-2018, 12:42 PM
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Default Shop space.

Originally Posted by dleavitt View Post
Nice build! Jealous of your shop space, I'm hoping to build a shop with a lift on my property someday.
Yeah, the last place we lived I had a nice shop on the property. This place I rent, obviously. But the price was so good, and it's so easy that I'm pretty happy with it. The only thing I need more of is space to put cars while I'm working on them/stripping them for parts.

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Old 09-05-2018, 12:43 AM
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Default Advances, none miraculous.

So I am waiting for some brackets to get cut and shipped to install some Dynapro calipers on real Galant VR4 rotors, but I took the opportunity to shuffle some tires around, do some planning, and cleaning up. Also, front wheel bearings.

First mockup: FC RX7 calipers with Acura Legend Coupe rotors. Not really workable.



Here are the Dynapro calipers with the VR4 rotor:



Put on some Continental Extreme Contact Sport tires in a 205/50-15. Love them on this car. Swapped the Z2* to a set of Tecnomagnesios for now.



Wheel bearings went well except for the drivers side. The race had previously spun in the hub and the outer race was shimmed with a piece of a soda can. I found a shim from an FZJ80 hub that worked perfectly and preload was almost right. Worked a treat. Also bought enough seals and bearings to do the whole car like three times.






Stacks and stacks of GTX parts:


A few odd things in the shop recently. Here is an 18k mile 1990 Miata on its original tires.


Here is a Mitsubishi Delica RHD, turbodiesel, 4wd, manual. Note the gear failure, which is a new one for me. The oil was perfectly clean and clear.







L92 showed up for an FZJ80:


Finished wet sanding my rattle can paint job on the Miata:


And organized some special tools:


Now I'm trying to get some struts made to replace the DMS suspension. Can't decide whether to sell it or keep it as spares...
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Old 09-05-2018, 08:41 AM
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I loved my GTX. Interesting thread so far. Subscribed!
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Old 09-05-2018, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Toiyabe View Post
Now I'm trying to get some struts made to replace the DMS suspension. Can't decide whether to sell it or keep it as spares...
I'm loving all your updates! Why would you replace the DMS suspension, and what kind of struts would you go with?
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Old 09-06-2018, 11:18 AM
  #31  
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Default Suspension.

Originally Posted by Fireindc View Post
I'm loving all your updates! Why would you replace the DMS suspension, and what kind of struts would you go with?
I have a long and complicated relationship with DMS, and the NA service arm of them; that kind of makes me conflicted. I won a bunch of rallies with them, and do like them, but I wanted something a bit different, mostly because I like to tinker.
This setup is a 40mm single adjustable inverted for a bugeye GD, and it is very good, but not quite what I want in terms of valving and springing. So I am talking with the NA rep for Hotbits (I've used their stuff before and had fantastic luck) and they are very willing to do EXACTLY what I want. We will see.

Then the question is whether I sell the DMS or keep them as spares.
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Old 09-06-2018, 11:26 AM
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Ok so..... I have a Gen2.5 Montero, so that Delica hits my buttons. And we have an FZJ80. So that hits my buttons. (Although i love our 1FZ.)

Do you have ins with any importers? I need a diesel 2.8 Pajero halfcut.
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Old 09-06-2018, 11:35 AM
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Default Importers.

Originally Posted by concealer404 View Post
Ok so..... I have a Gen2.5 Montero, so that Delica hits my buttons. And we have an FZJ80. So that hits my buttons. (Although i love our 1FZ.)

Do you have ins with any importers? I need a diesel 2.8 Pajero halfcut.
I used to do some imports back in VA, mostly Subaru and Evo. Out here I know a bunch but they have been really uninterested in getting me some Mazda stuff, even with gas on the barrelhead. They only want to do Honda with the occasional 2JZ.
I have a standing half cur order for a BG GTR, and a few other things.

I'll do some digging, Seattle seems to be much better than Portland for this.
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Old 09-06-2018, 11:38 AM
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Much appreciated. I'm closing on a house/moving/sorting shop so i'm not in a huge rush, but first big project in new place will be replacing the horrible 3.5 V6 in the truck currently for something that can propel it. (I could gear it, but i suspect i'd still want a different motor anyways)

I'm in Indy, so VA is closer, but i hear we have a technology called "shipping" these days.
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Old 09-06-2018, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Toiyabe View Post
I have a standing half cur order for a BG GTR, and a few other things.
May I ask.. how much does something like this cost?

Also, do you agree that BG transmissions are slightly stronger than BF counterparts? I've read folks saying both (that BF trans are stronger than BG, and vice versa). Curious what you think. Also, have you ever considered the toyota transmission swap? What has been your experience with the GTX transmissoins, are they as weak as folks say? Mines a 100% stock anemic b6t so there's no way I'm breaking it, I'm more just curious than anything.

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Old 09-06-2018, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by concealer404 View Post
Much appreciated. I'm closing on a house/moving/sorting shop so i'm not in a huge rush, but first big project in new place will be replacing the horrible 3.5 V6 in the truck currently for something that can propel it. (I could gear it, but i suspect i'd still want a different motor anyways)

I'm in Indy, so VA is closer, but i hear we have a technology called "shipping" these days.
All the good places in VA (including my old shop) have sold or stopped doing importing. Iíd say try DelicaUSA in PA, but Iíll do some digging. Usually shipping in the US is the most expensive part.
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Old 09-06-2018, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Fireindc View Post
May I ask.. how much does something like this cost?

Also, do you agree that BG transmissions are slightly stronger than BF counterparts? I've read folks saying both (that BF trans are stronger than BG, and vice versa). Curious what you think. Also, have you ever considered the toyota transmission swap? What has been your experience with the GTX transmissoins, are they as weak as folks say? Mines a 100% stock anemic b6t so there's no way I'm breaking it, I'm more just curious than anything.
The last half cut I bought was a Liberty RS and it was $2200 shipped to Seattle.

The BG trans is stronger, but not by a huge amount. The last serious rally GTX in the US was BG swapped (Doug and Sue Robinson-2000 Open Class Champions) and they did ok. Doug is very mechanically sympathetic, and that is probably the only reason why. The major advantage of the BG is the VLSD center diff.

I have never ever broken a GTX transmission. I have also not broken a WRX transmission in any of my street cars. I have changed hundreds of Subaru 5-speeds in our rally cars and customer cars. Itís all in how you drive it.

I do do the same thing I did with the Subies. No launches, slow shifts, minimize shock loading, no full throttle until 2nd or 3rd. Use the clutch as a fuse. Clutch in when you jump. No donuts. Never drive on pavement with the center diff locked on a GTX.

And then thereís the magic fluid trick I was taught by the Subaru NA Motorsports director:
1 qt Redline Heavy Shockproof. 1qt Redline Light Shockproof. 1L Motul 75-140 Comp 300 Gear FF. Remainder Lubromoly or equivalent GL4 75w-90. I keep a batch mixed up in a pressure vessel for filling weak transmissions. Not the slickest shifting fluid but it definitely works for keeping gearboxes alive.
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Old 09-07-2018, 01:35 AM
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Those racing hearts are so hot...

I'm also very much enjoying this thread
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Old 09-07-2018, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Toiyabe View Post
I do do the same thing I did with the Subies. No launches, slow shifts, minimize shock loading, no full throttle until 2nd or 3rd. Use the clutch as a fuse. Clutch in when you jump. No donuts. Never drive on pavement with the center diff locked on a GTX.

And then thereís the magic fluid trick I was taught by the Subaru NA Motorsports director:
1 qt Redline Heavy Shockproof. 1qt Redline Light Shockproof. 1L Motul 75-140 Comp 300 Gear FF. Remainder Lubromoly or equivalent GL4 75w-90. I keep a batch mixed up in a pressure vessel for filling weak transmissions. Not the slickest shifting fluid but it definitely works for keeping gearboxes alive.
You really are a wealth of knowledge. Thanks again for contributing to this forum.

My GTX is running 1qt of heavy shockproof, and the rest redline MTL. Shifts fairly smooth since I rebuilt the shifter, replaces the shifter bushings, and have new(er) cables. Do you worry about punching it out of corners on the edge of traction? I do it to mine all the time in 1st and 2nd gears, but again, on stock b6t power it's pretty quick but not very torqey with it's stock 130hp.

What about snow donuts? I spun a few with it last year, and as long as there was even snow coverage it seemed pretty easy on the drivetrain for the most part.

And what about gravel? Ever power it out of a dirt corner sideways? I do with mine from time to time, and again, it doesn't seem that bad.

Otherwise I drive mine pretty gently, shift normally, and save the launches/donuts for my miata.

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Old 09-08-2018, 12:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Fireindc View Post
You really are a wealth of knowledge. Thanks again for contributing to this forum.

My GTX is running 1qt of heavy shockproof, and the rest redline MTL. Shifts fairly smooth since I rebuilt the shifter, replaces the shifter bushings, and have new(er) cables. Do you worry about punching it out of corners on the edge of traction? I do it to mine all the time in 1st and 2nd gears, but again, on stock b6t power it's pretty quick but not very torqey with it's stock 130hp.

What about snow donuts? I spun a few with it last year, and as long as there was even snow coverage it seemed pretty easy on the drivetrain for the most part.

And what about gravel? Ever power it out of a dirt corner sideways? I do with mine from time to time, and again, it doesn't seem that bad.

Otherwise I drive mine pretty gently, shift normally, and save the launches/donuts for my miata.
I like snow donuts.
And gravel donuts.

Really, you want to avoid two things in a GTX gearbox as far as I can tell and see: shock loads and serious differentials in speed from front to rear. I have had no issues doing hard acceleration on corner exit in 3rd, but I have lots of travel and reasonable roll stiffness so it doesn't lift a wheel. This is part of why I put the rear vlsd in. At 135bhp I'd not be super worried.

I lock the center diff on gravel, which seriously reduces rotational speed differential, and as long as no takeoff occurs you really aren't shock loading it.
I'd say 75% of trans failures I've had on gravel have been fairly heavy shock loads, so...

Everything I can tell about the GTX is that it is a car that likes smooth, and if you do that you'll be fine. Same with wheel bearings.

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