Saturday, March 31, 2012

1st Dyno Drama

At long last, the guessing game has finally come to an end. With the turbo, i often ask, how many horses is my Charmant making? Today, i get to put a number to that question.

The Dog has gotten its long overdue dyno-tuning finally today. I had been using rough fuel map and safe ignition timing so far and never dared enough to push the 4A-GTE to the maximum from being too afraid of having to rebuild the engine for the third time. With the dyno tuning she just had today, i can feel safer in hitting full throttle on The Dog.

The tune was done in Khatulistiwa Surya Nusa workshop in Jakarta. As far as i know, KS Nusa has the only steady state dyno in Jakarta. A steady state dyno is best when you want to tune each important cells of your fuel and ignition map as it allows you to set a defined load to the engine. For example, if you want to tune cruise speed cells, you can set a load of 50kPa and just play with the gas pedal to get you the desired RPM and tune away.

This being my first time seeing a dyno tuning process directly, i was really unprepared for what i'm about to face. Well, i know that's what they do on the process but, still, hearing the engine being revved to 7,000 RPM made me cringe. I was afraid something might just break and had to do another rebuild. Luckily, everything went smooth and the engine was safe..

Or is it?

At the finalizing phase of the tuning, the engine died a few times after just being revved to 6000+ RPM. At first, it was only the connector to the VR sensor that came unplugged suddenly. The same happened on the second time. On the third time it happened, i decided to tie the connector tight to the VR sensor. Sadly, the engine refused to turn back on. After a short panic, i finally found that now the VR sensor has gone to auto parts heaven. My guess is that the sensor's bracket still not sturdy enough and vibrated too much at high RPMs, causing the sensor to hit the trigger wheel.

Luckily, the tuner managed to get a power run before the engine died. So, here's the result..
See anything weird? Other than a note saying that my VR sensor was damaged, there was an unusual slope on both the torque and hp curves. Here's what happened.
Notice how the boost pressure slope matches the previous curves? So what we have here is an unstable boost pressure. That's the bad thing about using manual boost controller. They tend to be unpredictable. I guess i better look at getting the electronic boost controller feature on MS to work now. I was also a bit discomforted seeing the AFR on boost region. The tuner aimed to just around 12. I always thought that boost regions should get at least 11.5 but the tuner explained that with such small boost, AFR of 12 is still safe.

Obviously, i couldn't get the engine running with a damaged VR sensor and getting a replacement sensor will take a while from Ebay. Thus, i had to call a towing service to get The Dog home.. Sadly, this also meant i was unable to attend a gathering held by my fellow Charmant lovers from Daihatsu Charmant today. Oh well, there's always next time, i guess..
Getting the engine running again is top priority now. I need to get a replacement sensor ASAP.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Moment of Truth

This project reached an important milestone yesterday. It was the time to see whether i'll have a functioning brand new LSD inside the RT182 Corona axle or just end up with US$1,000 worth of Cusco paper weight. Before we get to the main discussion, here's the latest situation under the hood.
That ugly strut bar you see there is custom made. I used 5mm iron strip plate and stacked two of them for the main bridge just to be sure on the strength. The strut mount uses only single layer. Cost me 10 bucks, not bad huh? Here's a view on the strut mount side.

Getting back to business, here's what kept me from doing the LSD conversion sooner.
It's unsurprisingly difficult finding LSD gear oil here in Lampung. I got those FK Pulse LSD Gear Oil in Jakarta. I'm pretty sure it's just that i haven't looked for it hard enough as with all those off road SUVs and 4-by-4s i see roaming everyday here, there's bound to be a local shop that sells LSD oils for those vehicles.

The Cusco LSD i have is the RS-type and set to 2-way although i can set it to 1.5-way whenever i feel like it later. Here's the 2-way cam ring gear profile, you can see the center pin here.
and here's the 1.5-way profile.

LSD conversion is not something to be done by many of us, me including. It's a long tedious process and could easily fill up the swear jar with 50 bucks worth of small changes if done by inexperienced individual. First you need to take off the drum brakes and pull both axles out which probably have locked themselves frozen to the center diff after years of no maintenance.
Then you unbolt the center diff from the axle housing, after you drain the oil.

With the pumpkin out and the ring gear disassembled, i can finally calculate my final gear ratio directly. Here i count 11 teeth pinion.
and here's a stamp on the ring gear telling me that it's 43 teeth.
So, my final gear is 43:11 = 3.909 after all. A bit disappointed that i was right and it wasn't at least 4.1 but 3.909 should do just fine.

Next, transfer the bearings to the new LSD piece and bolt up the ring gear. You should always use a cross-pattern when fastening the ring gear bolts. In fact, always use cross-pattern anytime you can. It's just good practice. Oh if you have the retained plates for the ring gear bolts from the old diff, you can throw them away as they can't be used on Cusco's LSD. Use some thread-locks just to be safe. Why didn't i change the bearings? Well, i should have honestly but the old ones should be good for another year at least.
The mechanic fastened the bolts to 9 kg/mm using this big-ass torque wrench.
After that comes the hard part of adjusting the bearings and lash so that the pinion sits perfectly to the ring gear, preventing that dreadful whining sound.

Obligatory baller pic.

Once done, reassemble everything back. Don't forget to fill up the oil. You'll be pouring at least 1.5 liters in before it overflows from the fill hole.

Don't get too excited yet and skid like there's no tomorrow when it's done. It's advised that you do the boring figure-8 break in procedure for at least 30 minutes. It's no fun, i can tell you that. What you do is basically you find an empty space like a parking lot and do a figure-8 a few times. You'll want to accelerate in first gear on the straight part and push the clutch down when you turn as narrow as possible. Below image from Kaaz website should be clear enough.

As i said, i was pretty relieved to see that everything went smooth on the conversion. All those hours spent researching on the internet has really paid off. Everything that could go wrong, didn't. As John "Hannibal" Smith would say, "I love it when a plan comes together!"

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Running Time

As my speedometer cable's missing, my odometer's not working and i have no way to control the oil change interval. Rather than finding a replacement cable, i decided to just get me one of these.
This engine-hour meter will be wired to the fuel pump terminal as this should ensure that the meter's activated only when the engine's running.

With The Dog seeing more and more stop-n-go traffic jams, changing the engine oil based on the engine operational hours, and not on the odometer, seems like a good decision. Your engine's still running although you're stuck at traffic right? After some googling, it seems 100-150 hrs is safe enough for oil change interval.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Christoffer's Low Budget Shakotan

Christoffer emailed me some time around August last year. He had just bought a stock LC Charmant and was in need of a right headlight as the last owner broke the glass. Sorry that i couldn't help you get one with all the work lately Christoffer, but i noticed from your email a few days ago, you managed to get one finally! Good for you.

Anyway, Christoffer hails from Sweden and so does his sweet Charmant.

He didn't send me any specs of it but i managed to squeeze some from his page in His Charmant is an LC trim that went out from factory in 1985. This is interesting actually as i thought those bumpers and side moldings weren't out until late 1987s. Were these stock bumpers Chris?
Oh and that front lip is from a Golf MK1. Nice touch!

This one is still running the stock 4A-C but Christoffer decided to upgrade the exhaust to 2 inches. His future plans include swapping the carbs using R1 or Weber 32/36 carbs and welded diff. That should be enough for some weekend fun. If budget allows, however, he'll be saying goodbye to the 4A-C and go for the old-yet-reliable 4A-GE.

What you see below is Nankang 180/45-15 wrapping an 8-inch wide XXR 002. Funny tire size. Pretty sure it's nearly impossible to get that size here in Indonesia.

Sadly, Christoffer might have to sell this beauty to make space for another project.. If that should happen, make sure it falls into the hands of another Charmant enthusiast, will you Christoffer? Save the breed, mate!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Twin Weber KE70

This KE70 was on the autoshow i joined last weekend. I saw this Corolla DX a couple of times before and have been wondering what's spinning those wide Watanabes. It was at this autoshow that my curiousity was satisfied.
Now, i'm not particularly fond on KE70s, mostly due to them being the typical "go-to" choice for our local Jap retro enthusiasts. This makes them sell for such ridiculous price right now, i consider it unjustifiable to get one when there's other cars that can be had for much less with better features (oh i don't know, Charmants perhaps? *wink*). However, every now and then, there's another KE70 that stands out from the other and made me admit that it was worth every penny of the ridiculous price. This is one of those KE70s.

What you see below is not your typical banana wheels. This RS Watanabe is two-piece and was made by SSR since RS Watanabe's factory never made a multi-piece version. Seeing the stretch on the tire, this is at least 9 inches wide.

Here's another angle to show how wide these are.

This KE70 was built by K-Zero workshop located in Cilandak, Jakarta which explains the quality bodywork.

So what's running under the hood? Good thing the judges were as curious as i was and they popped the hood. Here's what guzzling the gas on this KE70.
Hmm with all those nice exterior work, it's still a KE70 after all. I gotta admit that i was expecting at least a 4A-GE in there but i wasn't too disappointed. A twin Weber and the fully rebuild internals should be enough fun to cruise with.

Monday, March 5, 2012

How About a Little Show Off?

Joining an auto showoff contest was never my intention when i build The Dog. Those cracks on the dash, dusts under the hood and minor dents all over the exterior aren't really bothering me. However, when i heard there was going to be an auto-show here in Lampung, i didn't hesitate to join. It's just for fun and i'd rather pay as a participant than to pay about the same cash just to see the show. So, me and The Dog decided that it's time for a little show off of our hard work for the last three years.

The show was held last Saturday afternoon on Hotel Marcopolo's parking lot. Despite of the heavy rain season, it's was fortunately dry during the whole show. I was surprised by the number of participants as there were nearly 50 cars joining. I surely underestimated this small town i'm working in. Can you spot The Dog on the pic below?

There were some categories that we can nominate our cars in. Some of the categories are Best Retro, Best Road Scrapper, Too Damn Low, Best Elegant, Best Cutting Stickers (body decals), Best Paint, etc. I put The Dog on Best Retro and Best Racing Look. Here she is in action..
LOL.. The only preparation i made was washed the exterior and took off the passenger and rear seats. The seats were even supposed to still be there if Nico didn't convince me to take them off an hour before the show started.

I have to be honest that i was a bit nervous about the judges inspecting The Dog. She isn't really the most reliable of car when it comes to starting. Luckily, all went well. When the judges asked me to crank her up, the engine fired immediately. The engine hood was opened and one of the judges rev'd the engine. As soon as the sweet sound of BOV hiss was heard, my worries were gone and i was all smiles. That and being the only Daihatsu Charmant on the show were enough to make me happy.

Anyway, here are some of  the participants.. First, the guys from Corolla Retro Lampung or COREL join the show as well.. Here they are.
How about some widened steelies?

That KE30 on the right you see above, won the Best Retro. Congrats COREL!

Here's my favorite of the show, a proper KE70 with some wide Watanabes.
I'm going to write a feature post about this Corolla DX, as we call it, later.

Here's another one i like. A simple 4th Gen Civic.

Here's the winner of the Best Cutting Sticker. Cutting Sticker is our term for body vinyls or graphic decals. This KF60 series Toyota sported a Hulk themed graphics all over the exterior.

This 5th Gen Civic won the Best Paint. Can't really tell why the judges voted for this one as i didn't get to see it close up. Perhaps they inhaled a bit of the extra gay "cloud" coming from below the car.

I question some of the taste these guys have when it comes to modding their car but to each, their own i guess. Here's a sample.. How about some Lamborghini doors on a Kia Sephia?
and how about being desperate enough to win The Road Scrapper nominee that you just put your body-kit right there on the spot with some double-sided tape that holds for just five minutes before coming off?

Oh did i win? Of course not. With The Best Retro won by one of the COREL guys, there was only one more category left for The Dog: The Best Racing Look and it was won by the KE70 i'll be featuring soon.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Today I Learned: Turbo'd Carb & Dizzy Relocation

On the last post, i mentioned about Nico, a friend i met in Lampung. Nico rides a KE20 but this one is not your ordinary "humpback" Corolla.

Here's why:
That's a 4A-GE (rough guessing from the spark plug leads, bigports) converted to carb and turbo. This being the my first time to see a running carb turbo engine in person, to say i'm amazed was an understatement. I have always wondered how can carburetor work with positive air pressure coming from a turbo and now i get the chance to learn how it's tackled.

After seeing Nico's engine in detail, i learned that the key in allowing turbo carb is this (see arrow):
That is called a rising rate fuel pressure regulator. This is what's stopping you from pushing pressurized air into the carb jets and subsequently pushing those fuels out of the float chamber. This works by sensing the air pressure on the charge pipe and via some membrane and spring system, ensures that the fuel pressure from the pump is always above the air pressure coming to the carb. Typically it's set to 3-4 psi above the air pressure. Here's a short yet good writing about rising rate FPRs.

That's not the only thing i learned from Nico's 4A-GE. Notice where the dizzy is on the engine? Since the engine's converted to carb, the stock distributor is useless since it's designed to work with the ECU. One way to solve this is to use a point-and-condenser dizzy. I don't know what engine's distributor is usually used but i think this one's from a K-series engine. Correct me if i'm wrong. Anyway, that's not my focus now. I'm more interested on where the dizzy is.

Although usually dizzy relocation is more of a 20V RWD conversion thingy as this will keep you from ruining the firewall, it's a good idea also for turbo application as you're now moving the melt-prone dizzy cap away from the turbo heat. You'll also be spared from leaky distributor oil seal.

Seeing it in person, it looks simple. The most complicated work i believe is modding the dizzy shaft so that it'd match the slot you that you machined on the cam sprocket bolt. I think Nico's slot was too wide as i still see a small gap that would allow a small play on the dizzy. This is not ideal as your ignition timing won't be firm but since you're already using a mechanical point dizzy, i guess precision ignition timing is not really what you're after, now is it?
So, imagining myself doing the same work, here's, in order, how i would do it :
1. Make a slot the cam sprocket bolt.
2. Mock up the placement of the dizzy mounting plate. This is so that you can measure how much you need to cut the dizzy shaft.
3. Once you shorten the dizzy shaft, make the key on the shaft that match the slot on the sprocket bolt.
4. Mount the dizzy, done. Make sure the mounting plate is thick enough and firm to withstand the vibration.

Last but not least, Nico also took me to my new playground here in Lampung. I've been looking for a junkyard here and finally i found one! Here's one view of the junkyard..
This is a great find for me.. Why? See the pic above. Hint: this will solve my gearbox problem. Got it? Well, this junkyard have some W58 gearboxes! Now i don't have to hunt one in Jakarta!