I’ve been teasing a Laser update for a while now and it’s about damn time I throw one together. I’ve got a massive amount of work to catch everyone up on and it’s going to get a bit ungainly so let’s jump right in!
Once the car was moved into the garage, I cleaned up a few small things like my alternator wire which had pulled off it’s little boot. I also ran the supply line for the oil cooler, capped off my unused vacuum ports, installed my power steering pump and then installed the power steering belt along with the serpentine belt. Yes, I did use a socket to make sure the power steering pulley didn’t turn when I was tightening the belt, I feel pretty good about that one.
That was probably the week after my last Laser post, I can’t really tell you what the time line of all this work was but I do know it will more or less be in the right order from here on out. We went for a nice cruise the next day because it was just the perfect day for it. We hit up some back roads around Baraboo and then ended up near Devils Lake, a while later we were riding the Merrimac Ferry and then we ended up back in Baraboo for a tour of the Driftless Glen Distillery and some Pizza at a bar down the road. We cruised back through Portage and decided some Popcorn Corner ice cream was in order. I’d highly recommend the tour, the pizza, and the ice cream.
The next day I got to working on the intercooler setup. For some reason I was able to get the stock side mount intercooler to thread one bolt but not the other. I didn’t want to force the second bolt as this would be the intake side of the turbo and thus made of aluminum. Cross threading or stripping a turbo bolt seems like a good way to have a bad day very quickly. I tried cutting several bolts with smaller heads to length (and burned some holes in my gloves in the process) as the real issue was the bolt head hitting the intercooler pipe. I wouldn’t be able to get the bolt tight enough before it hit the piping and I certainly don’t want that to be loose. I even tried using a wrench in a wrench as a better way to get some torque to it (socket wouldn’t fit) but no go.
Eventually I gave up and just moved to the back of the car to take care of the brakes, shocks, springs, and wheel hubs. This is hands down the easiest wheel hub change I’ve ever done. First, there’s a 24mm nut on the end of the axle that you back off and then there is a little key you slide out and boom, the wheel hub slides right out after it. It made me really happy that something on this car was easy to work on. Then I moved to the rear shocks.
The rear shocks aren’t actually that bad as you’ve only got a hand full of bolts to undo. On the bottom you’ve just got one that runs straight through the mount on the axle. Up top are two more holding the shock hat to the car. Undo all of those and wiggly the shock out. Easy. Next up, compress the spring (you don’t really need to on these, there isn’t much tension on them) and then back the top nut off and take everything apart. I chose to pull the spring seat out of the hat as I was painting everything with POR-15 and didn’t want to miss anything. Do make note of how your spring hat is set up, there are a few pieces of rubber and a guide. Your shocks will likely come with a bunch of different pieces, so I picked what looked the closest to what came off the car. The old shocks were dead, I could compress them very easily and they didn’t rebound at all.
While I let all my suspension parts dry, I attacked the brakes. The calipers are pretty easy to get off (provided you don’t strip the damn bolts) but the parking brake does provide an interesting challenge. There is a small clip that holds the cable in place, plus the end that does the actuating on the caliper. Getting the cable out of the caliper bracket bit can be interesting, but you’ll get it eventually. Once the caliper is off you can pull the brake line bracket as well and paint those with POR.
With all the POR dry I was ready to re-assemble my shocks. I got new bump stops since my old ones kind of disappeared into little pieces. The I moved on to the fuel tank supply line and it’s little air relief hose. The thing was rusty as hell so I pulled it out (3 small bolts up top and one 12mm about halfway down the pipe) and painted that as well. It took me a while to find another hose to actually fit the supply line as it’s 1.75″ and nearly a 90 degree piece. I found one on Amazon for $20 and ran with it.
Then it was on to putting the shocks back in, just as easy as getting them out. The only issue I have is that I still haven’t been able to get the top nut to tighten all the way which is worrisome. I even put the tires back on and let the car sit on the shocks but those top nuts just won’t tighten up as the shock tube just keeps on spinning. I think I’ll eventually take a vice grip to it or something to see if I can stop the tube long enough to crank the nut on.
Hubs came next and again, those are super easy to put back in, just be sure to use a chisel to make a “stay in place” dent in the nut. I kind of broke mine a little, but I’m sure it won’t be an issue. I’m really glad I replaced these as the old ones were pretty worn and the seals were getting bad.
I had planned to rebuild the rear calipers next, but I lost my rebuild kits and then I broke the caliper slide pin on one of the calipers and decided it would be better to just buy new ones. So that’s what I did, and that’s why people aren’t surprised when I tell them I’ve spent like $7,000 on this car. So far.
Our next cruise night got a little rainy but that cleared up pretty quick and left us with a nice mild evening. Good for cruising and eating.
I was so fed up with my intercooler piping issue that I drove over to Watertown after work the very next day and picked up a nice ETS 7″ intercooler from a nice guy who was parting out a Talon project he had. I paid $300 for the whole kit and caboodle. Well, minus one clamp which I replaced after a brief search on Amazon as none of my local shops had one that fit the 2.5″ piping.
This car has had a front mount intercooler in the past, but it was the type that sat a little higher and more forward. The kind that necessitates some trimming of the front bumper support. Well the ETS kit doesn’t require that, but it does require you to trim some radiator support out to amke room for the short run piping. So I grabbed the sawzall and got to work. I found it easier to remove the front bumper support while doing this, and there are only 4 bolts involved. One of the advantages of a FMIC as opposed to a SMIC is that you have a whole lot more surface area to dissipate heat with. In this case, I also gained a lot of airflow just by going from the stock piping size to the ETS 2.5″ piping.
Getting all of the piping in place was a fun time. I did a lot of test fitting while I was trimming, but I didn’t have the radiator in place (probably a good thing, sawzall vs radiator sounds expensive) which changes things a little. I also had to pull the stock blow off valve off my old piping, create a new gasket, and then throw it on the new piping and figure out how to make it fit by my larger intake filter. The ETS kit has a BOV mount that sits a bit lower than the stock piping so it gets really close to the air intake.
The ETS Kit came with an old Greddy BOV, I haven’t decided what I’m going to do with that just yet. I did decide to paint my stock BOV while I had the chance. I also took the oppurtunity to run to Ace hardware and use their handy little bolt sizing chart, and one of the old intercooler piping bolts, to find new Allen cap bolts that fit into the turbo on the inlet side. These went in way easier than the bolts I was having issues with, and they look nice as well.
Now, I should mention that I’m fairly certain I don’t need an intercooler any larger than the stock side mount intercooler. I’m not going to be making enough boost to really take full advantage of the FMIC. But boy, do they look cool when they’re all mounted up and ready to do some intercooling. As a bonus, my car is now set up to run any of the typical intercooler setups in the DSM world.
Don’t forget to hook up the BOV! You need to have a vacuum line to the intake (to tell the BOV to dump when the intake sees vacuum) and another to the wastegate (I’m guessing to assist with overboost bleed off?) and of course make sure to hook up the big re-circulation hose.
I went ahead and threw one of the fans that Nate gave me (thanks Nate!) on the intercooler and got to figuring out how to make this all fit together. It wasn’t actually that bad, I just had to trim the lower fan shroud a little to clear the j-pipe coming off the turbo. Seriously, look at that sexy catfishy front end.
Now, I’m going to end this post here and leave you with that image. It’s so beautiful. I must admit that I jumped over a bit of brake work and some other small bits here but I’m going to include that in my next Laser update. I’ve been doing a loooooot of brake work recently, so my next Laser post will be mostly that anyway. Don’t worry, it won’t take as long as this one did!
On a side note, the 54′ has been sold to a very excited owner. I’m sad to see it go but Sam and Ashley are looking at buying a house and from my own experience, having a solid chunk of money to plunk down is a must.