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Winter in Michigan

October 27, 2008

With the Michigan winter quickly approaching (sleet can down this evening), the car will soon be garaged and the next stage of the project started during its long hibernation. After driving it as my daily driver since I put it on the road back in mid-August I have a new found respect for the 1UZ engine.

Its power band is smooth from start to gear shift 😉 which is a big change for me and after the first few days of driving I quickly got used to the lack of big push coming on later in the gear when the turbo would normally have kicked in. Much of the torque is already available at 1k with smooth onset of the rest of the torque as the rpms climb.

The engine is ultra smooth. I designed and created solid motor mounts to attach the engine to the ’87 sub-frame using 3/8″ plate for all pieces except for the foot where I used 1/4″ plate so as to have the ability to shim the engine using 1/16″ steel shims to level the engine out. Having previously owned 2.0L cars with semi-solid mounts I was expecting quite a bit of vibration in the cabin. I can state this is not the case with this engine. It is well balanced and has no more vibration in the cabin then the 7M-GTE it replaced.

As I put it into the garage, I can only note a few small issues which will hopefully be easy to address over the winter:

1. Leaking power steering pump – I do not think this is the dreaded PS leak which most of these engines’ pumps are known for but instead the filling neck’s gasket/o-ring having dry rotted during storage.

2. Water pump and/or thermostat housing is leaking – The water pump may be leaking from where the metal line slip fits into the housing. Unfortunately I did not replace this o-ring during assembly and the original may have been damaged due to age and reapplication. I did, however, replace the thermostat housing o-ring but it appears it may not have seated correctly in to the water bridge and is now allowing coolant around it once the system has heated up to operating temps.

3. I believe I may be running too rich now. I may address this with an aftermarket fuel computer. Not only do I need to test the mixture to find out, but I also need to check the fuel pressure in the system to make sure that it is not out of spec and that it remains consistent.

4. Tach is functional but off. Need to purchase a converter for it.

That is it for the issues I have observed. Otherwise the engine is running perfectly well without the automatic transmission and no tricks were used to fool the ECU into believing it has an automatic attached to it.

For the next stage of this project I plan on upgrading all of the suspension as it sorely needs it after 196k miles on the original struts/springs. I plan on obtaining the following parts, or equivalents to install on the car before it is time to bring it out of hibernation in the spring:

1. ST anti-sway bars – already obtained just need new bushings
2. Tein Flex coilovers or equivalents
3. One piece Al drive shaft
4. New wheel bearings and ball joints
5. New wheels – looking for deep dished, staggered width 17″ or 18″ sets
6. Front and rear strut braces – I may have the front, just need to reshape.

Optional (only if I have any budget left over):

1. Rear hatch spoiler/shade for the top of the hatch
2. Move the battery into the rear
3. Upgraded sound system, nothing big, still want to save weight – most likely upgrading fronts to the 6.5″ pods, plus tweets and the rear will just have a small sub for fill.
4. Dress up the engine bay – blue silicone hosing, polished or powder coated parts, etc
5. Lip for front bumper
6. Steering wheel replacement and at minimum, driver’s seat replacement
7. Composite hood and headlight lids
8. Piece to cover space between radiator top and front valence
9. Piece to cover space between radiator bottom and engine (forget what this is called)
10. Tint rear windows and hatch
11. Obtain clear front signal lenses

From → Lexus, Supra

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