Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Jumpstarting The Project

Finally, after months of hibernating, this project gets its long awaited jumpstart. My reason of neglecting this project is classic cliché: busy with work. Hey, if you can pay someone else to do the job while saving a little extra cash for you, why not?

Anyway, as it was last year, i get to go back home for Christmas last week. With work easing up a bit, i decided that it's time get the project rolling again. The project halted when i was working on the ECU and engine wiring. Now realizing that it's impossible for me to wire them myself and finish in time before i get bored, i decided to let the expert do the work. Only this time, i add a little twist..

Meet Megasquirt. Megasquirt is basically a DIY fully-programmable standalone ECU system developed by Bruce Bowling and Al Grippo. I won't bore you with the details but the i can tell you that Megasquirt obeys the "DIY equals cheap" golden rule. You'll pay only a fraction of any other branded aftermarket standalone ECUs not unlike AEM, Haltech, EMS, etc. But in my case, it won't be DIY by me. I am paying someone else to do it. I don't want to repeat the same mistake of neglecting the project due to business.

(image courtesy of Bowling and Grippo)

There were two options for me when i wanted to kick start the project again. First one is to get someone to wire the stock ECU and the second is of course Megasquirt. First option is much cheaper but then i thought why not shell-out extra money and future-proof The Dog. By future-proof i mean that if someday i want to upgrade the engine performance, Megasquirt is there to fine tune to my needs, be it N/A or Forced Induction upgrade.

The workshop where The Dog hibernated previously had no experience building Megasquirt so it was necessary for me to move it to some place else. If you're an Indonesian car lover and familiar with Megasquirt, surely you know where my destination was. I won't disclose the new workshop name yet until i can say that i am satisfied with their work.

Anyway, here's some pics of The Dog moving to the new workshop. Final payments were made to the old workshop and using their towing service, The Dog was moved.

The workshop seems unappealing to me at first but then i smack myself on the head and realized that this workshop belongs to a guy who has installed dozens of self-built Megasquirt himself. Not only that, the workshop is known by turbocharger freaks and the likes as usually this is where they go when they have forced-induction problem.

So there you go. The Dog project is rolling again now and hopefully progress will be much faster now that its in the hands of someone with better knowledge of injection systems.

Another thing i did for The Dog during my Christmas holiday is extractor hunt. As you know, i am still short of 4AGE RWD exhaust system for The Dog and with Megasquirt coming in soon, i will too need to get an exhaust system so that the engine can be started.

There were three options for me. First, the new workshop can built me a full exhaust system themselves. However, they're charging me premium for it since they're using full stainless steel pipes. These pipes will last forever hence the premium price behind them. Second option would be just to get me a set of extractors first. That way i can get the engine running, albeit with loud noise, and move the car to a cheaper exhaust system workshop. Third option would be to hire a towing service (again), move it to the exhaust workshop, tow it again and put it back to the Megasquire workshop. Doesn't sound to efficient for me.

I saw an ad for used RWD-mounted 4AGE extractors a few months ago but didn't get the chance to see the stuff myself. Luckily, the item was still available when i asked the seller a few days ago and it's cheap! However, it's built for KE70 so i can't be 100% sure if it'll fit my Charmant. My biggest worry would be from firewall and starter motor clearance. But since it's very cheap, i decided to buy it anyway. Here it is.
It turned out that the KE70's 4AGE had a similar transmission as mine which is the T50 coming from a Charmant. What this means is that the starter motor is placed on the same position. One less thing to worry about. Now as for the firewall clearance, i have yet to find out as i didn't get the chance to deliver the extractors to the new workshop. Dad will have to help me get it there. Crossing my finger here.

Anyway, i have decided that if the extractors don't fit, i'll pay the premium and let the workshop built me a custom stainless steel exhaust system.

So there you go.. The project's now running again with a slight change of direction but it's nearing the end nevertheless. Wish me luck!