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zep

zep's Gemini Coupe

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Just ordered some slotted ball joints from the states as these new wheels are looking like they might need to come in at the top.

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Max front camber here I come / fail warrant under new rules.

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I might have a dying viva, but the Gem is having life thrust into it, few pics to show how I'm getting along.

Dash with tacho in place of the clock and the gauge panel coated black (with additions of switches and isolation switches)

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Engine bay tidy-up progress and new catch can I made (my mum has a sieve the same as the tin!)

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And a photoshop concept I did for black bumpers. I like it, makes him look like he has a pencil thin moustache

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I'm still not sure whether or not to go with the gem or Chevette bumpers. The Chevtte bumpers will require cutting up the Gemini mounts which I'm not that fond of. Either way, I'm not willing to shell out to have the Gemini or Chevette bumpers rechromed at the moment so I'll paint the Gemini ones black and see how I like it - if it's total shit I can always open the wallet.

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Cleaned the garage.

Phone camera does weird things to my car - it stretches it out, looks funny. Looks way better irl.

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I've almost rewired everything under the dash. It's taking a while and my soldering is improving vastly, but it's all going well and I've probably removed a few kgs of wiring.

- Installed my slotted ball joints yesterday. They're used to adjust the camber - unfortunately at maximum negative camber they foul on the control arm where it starts sloping up. I'm going to need to smash them with a hammer or weld in a flat section.

Pictorial description of problem.

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So I pulled my old (aftermarket) fuse box out to see how it has been hold up since @slacker.cam and I replaced it about 8 years ago. It did not look good. Heaps of wires falling out of the crimps. So I fixed it up. Just need to get some of that braided wire cover stuff to finish it up.

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I also bought a new intercooler. Thought it was gonna fit quite easily but after checking I'm not so sure. Considering I gain something like 130mm of room between the radiator mounts and engine with the new block, I'll probably make up a frame to mount the radiator back towards the engine about 80-85mm. I should be able to make something that mounts to the standard radiator mounts, and holds the rad, i/c and the oil cooler. Otherwise I'm gonna end up doing a whole lot more cutting to the front of the car and, if anything, I want to patch up the cuts that have already been made. Watch this space for frame thinking.

Old v. new - that old vr4 cooler has seen better days since coming out of the factory 30+ years ago.

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Otherwise, I decided to pull apart my old engine to have a look. I am no expert but friends tell me that it's looking a bit worn, a bit too worn for an engine that probably saw max 15,000km. Also there was some oil inside the inlet manifold on runners 2 and 3 which is a bit suspect. Makes me happier to be retiring this engine.

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Did a quite sketchup concept for the radiator spacer/intercooler mount. It's just a concept - I didn't measure anything yet, but I think it should work.  All sorts of different options for holes in the plates as well.

Radiator will mount to the back, the intercooler on the inside and the front lip is for the oil cooler. the front of the frame will bolt to the radiator supports using the original mounting points.

 

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Engine is now sitting in the garage. I've spoken to a few of the Aussie 4Z engine boys about what I picked up and they are mostly confused. It seems that there is some difference between the Isuzu and Holden 4Z engines. Basically, none of then Aussies have ever seen a 4ZD1 with an alloy sump, they typically have steel sumps. The 4ZE1 (which is essentially the same block but taller and wider bores) usually has an alloy sump. My 4ZD1 has an alloy sump.

A normal E1 alloy sump looks like the one in the back of this next picture, and you cut and shut it as shown.

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My D1 alloy sump is basically flat. Two of the Aussies had never seen a sump like that before, and one thinks it might be similar to very early E1 sumps. Here are some pics:

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The hopeful part about this is that I might not need to modify the sump, it should clear the steering rack. However, the third Aussie thinks that the bowl might sit too low and I might need to reduce its height and shorten the oil pickup. My thoughts are that that is more difficult that using my other E1 sump (pic 1) and doing the cut and shut.

Anyway, need to drop the engine into the car to see how this mystery sump fits around everything.

Pic of engine looking nice and grotty. Dude who sold it to me says it wasn't blown when he got the car, but that the fuel pump gave out or something. It turns over by hand super easy which provides some hopefulness.

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I found a workshop manual that clearly lays out the two different sumps. The 4WD one looks to be quite a bit lower. I could potentially space the engine up, wouldn't be difficult. I've also heard, though, that this sump leaves little space for the exhaust, so spacing it up would probably reduce that space.

Sumps.PNG.7b416a908aa4108fb11262a7698aa263.PNG

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It seems that I got prematurely excited about not having to modify the sump. The engine is sitting on the mounts but the sump is just touching the steering rack. That leaves me with two options. Lower the rack by 10-15mm, or cut and shut the sump. I'm leaning towards the second option.

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This is mainly because the steel bowl of these sumps has a fun tendency to sit super low, around 20mm lower than the bottom of the x-member. Lot of people just deal with it, but my x-member is not much higher than 100mm off the ground, so that's too low for me. Since I'll have to modify the bowl and the pickup, may as well just sort the rest of the sump while I'm at it. The other, less terrible but still annoying issue is that the 'wing' on the bowl does not leave much room for the dump pipe:

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So if I'm modding all this stuff then I may as well chop the side off. I can make it up on the other side.

I've got a fair idea of what I need to do; if only I had a fair idea of how to weld things :D

 

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If you've been following my thread about plastic chroming:

then you'll know I've been trying to dechrome and rechrome my plastic (ABS) tail light surrounds. It's been a bit of a saga, but I have some positive news.

Before the lockdown I gave a test part to an electroplater in Onehunga to try and strip the chrome off without damaging the plastic. I never heard anything and assumed that nothing had happened, so I rolled down at lunchtime today and get it and figure something else out. Turns out he'd given it a go and it started to work fairly well. The main issue was that the surrounds have a significant amount of paint on them, as they were fully chromed from the factory but painted over leaving only the edges exposed. The chemicals he was using wouldn't penetrate the paint to get to the chrome, so I need to fully paint stripped and give it back to him. Compare these two images, the first is the back of the surround where the chrome was thinner and had no paint; the second is front that has some paint - you can see where the chrome is starting to come off but the plater dude didn't leave it in the solution long enough because of the paint issue. I'm pretty confident that once I've got all the paint off, it will not be too difficult to get these back to pure plastic. (I'll upload a pic of the back prior to the stripping after I next visit the garage).

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Any tips on paint stripping that will be safe on plastic? I've heard DOT 4 brake fluid should be okay, as well as oven cleaner with caustic soda.

The only other news is that I finally went into work where I had some stuff waiting for me in the in-tray. Nothing totally exciting really, stuff from the wreckers in Aussie: a non-butchered (due to fitting the boss kit) ignition surround and some good condition door handles. Mine were in a bit of a shit condition and the place I got my bumpers restored at wanted $150 per handle to fix and couldn't guarantee how well they would come out - these were $35 each and look pretty good.

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Just another post where I bought a thing and did no actual constructive work.

Injector Dynamics ID1050x - if you're looking for these, Possum Borne Motorsport seemed to have the best price locally.

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Let's do this one more time. This morning I received a full SuperPro bushing kit. And it's missing just one swaybar linkage bushing - who ever packed them put them in loose and the box ripped in transit. Hopefully can get one sent to me asap.

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One thing I need to figure out is how to get the compression ratio I want. I know I want to use a 4ZE1 (2.6) head on my 4ZD1 (2.3) as they have much larger ports. I know I want to run approximately 8.5:1 compression ratio. There are two different E1 heads, "open" chamber (74cc), and "kidney" chamber (58cc). Bear in mind that I am calculating the following with custom pistons at 0 deck height:

If I just bolt on the open chamber head, it will give a 7.8:1 compression ratio with the flat top, 0 desk height pistons. Solution, shave the head down (or add material to the chambers) to 67cc.

The kidney head I can buy brand new online. If I bolt that on it will give around 9.5:1 compression, so too high. I can fix this buy specifying a -8cc dish in the pistons.

As I write this, I'm leading towards the kidney head as if something goes wrong in the future, I won't have the search out an open chamber head and modify it to get back to where I was. I'm not sure if there is any difference in the casting of the heads, otherwise.

Kidney:

4ZE1 910 512

Open:

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I've got the trim back from Lucentt and I'm about 70% happy. Most of the issues (I assume) are to do with the prep of the plastic. I made a poor assumption that the vacuumised metal would fill in some nicks and scratches, but it does not. It must be super thin. So there are still some visable scratches where I had sanded off a little bit of the remaining chrome with sandpaper that's way too high grit - again my fault for not knowing. There is a mark in one of the corners that doesn't make sense to me. It looks like it was put down on something while wet (if it's ever wet). I'm debating whether or not to see if the Morrinsville guy can do a better job - I feel like Lucentt weren't really perfectionists.

Looks okay from afar:

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But there are some issues:

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