Cars, Computers, & Random Thoughts
Addressing The Engine Bay
Addressing The Engine Bay

Addressing The Engine Bay

I’m waiting on more parts to come in and some funding for other parts I need but haven’t ordered yet. So this week I didn’t really get to work on the engine, but I did work on the engine bay. Since I’ve got my beautiful copper block, exhaust header, and some other planned bits, I’ve settled on a nice silver color for the bay to provide some contrast. I know I went over the cars story previously but I recently heard the full story from the previous owner, and you’ll see the cars original color in the upcoming pictures so now seems like a good time to go over it.

The car was originally owned by an older lady. I know I know, every one says that, but this time its true! As far as I know. Anyway, it was originally a non-turbo car and jumped timing. The car was towed and the lady didn’t want to deal with the tow bill and then having a new engine installed, so she left it there. Tony, the previous owner, came across the car and had a chat with the owner of the yard it was left at. The owner told Tony it was his if he paid for the tow bill, so $50 later Tony had a new car. He did what any gearhead would have done, and swapped in a turbo motor. Many a year and a few engines later, the car exchanged hands a few times in a short period before landing in mine. That about brings us up to speed, give or take all the latent years it spent dreaming of driving fast at a normal and totally acceptable speed.

So what was I doing with it this past week? Well, I painted the header and a few other small things, but those will come later. The main thing I did was prep the engine bay for painting.


I ran to Portage Saturday morning after finishing some sway bar end link fun on the Mazda (more on that in another post). My missions was to drop off my flywheel for resurfacing and leave my alternator and intake to get hot tanked and cleaned up. I had done some scheming previously on how to paint the engine bay, and figured this would be as good a time as any. Not like I could work on the engine much.
I hit up Wal-Mart and picked up $40 worth of supplies. After comparing the many offerings (and by comparing I mean trusting my future paint quality to the words written on the side of a can filled with pressurized air and magic) I decided to go with Rustoleum Professional paints, they sound professional. I picked up a nice primer, two cans of silver acrylic, and two cans of clear coat acrylic to make sure the paint lasts. I’m supposed to head back to Weavers tomorrow to pick up my parts and I’ll also be picking up some self-etching primer I scoped out earlier.
Arriving home, I got straight to tearing the car apart. I moved the hood out of the way and peered into the vastly complex engine bay full of wiring and other bits. Honestly, it’s hard to know where to start when you stare at it all.


Armed with a scant supply of tools (Horse show this weekend, Dad takes the tool box in case they break something), some ziploc bags and a marker, I started tearing things off the car. The fenders were first, don’t want to scratch the paint. They would match the other major scratch we’ve accidentally put in the paint, can’t have that. The bumper was held on by a whole two bolts afterwards, I suspect there are a few missing. With those out of the way it was time to get the wiring taken care of.
A lot of people completely remove the entire harness. These people are madmen. I decided to just unbolt everything and gather it all up to keep it out of the way. Of course, I promptly broke three bolts. That’s what happens when you leave a car sitting out in the open, yay rust


I didn’t get very far in the few hours I had, so I threw the hood back on and decided to wage war in the morning, and that’s exactly what I did, as soon as 11 rolled around. That’s still morning right?


The windshield wipers and valance were the first causalities. Then it was back to the wiring, which is depressingly unfun to deconstruct. Chrome tells me I made a word! Most of the wiring is held to the body of the car with zip ties that have a little push-clip on the back to secure it to the body. Some of these clips can be removed and some are clipped into body panels that don’t have any access to the back, those got cut and will have to be replaced later. I’ll be removing all the clips for the painting process anyway. There were also plenty of things bolted to the firewall that I needed to remove for better paint-ability.


In that last picture you can see that I got the wiring down to it’s single source through he firewall on either side. Since I’m not tearing the dash apart to remove the whole harness, I left it at that. Time to break out the aluminum foil and wrap some stuff. This is done to protect the wrapped bits from whatever you’re doing, and it’s a lot easier than wrapping tape around everything. in this, I am the voice of experience. The wires are a pain for this step, as in pretty much every other step.

So shiny, so chrome!
So shiny, so chrome!

At this point, it’s about nap o-clock. Pick a place in the shade, dig down a little for added cooling, and curl up.


Done napping? Good, time to start washing. We recently got a pressure washer so I hooked that up and started blasting the bay. It actually wasn’t too grimy, mostly just dust and some dirt built up that came off pretty easily. The pressure washer was just extra insruance too fling crud off the metal. This is where the scotchbrite pads come in. Spray it all down and scrub the grime off. Rinse and repeat until you are happy with the state of the metal.


Eventually you’ll finish the whole thing and if you’re lucky you’ll only have one mouse jump out! I guess I will be digging into my dash a little bit after all. The grimiest part was the crossmember since it’s in the way of whatever you’re leaking and it’s escape to the pavement. My scrubbing revealed the cars true colors, the previous painter must not have done much prep work and only laid one layer of paint.


I gave the bay some time to dry as I had some wheels to clean up with the power washer anyway. After a bit of drying, I came back to see the fruits of my labor. I have to say, I’m pretty happy with how it looks. I had to over-expose the pictures a little, but it shows the base of what I’m going to be working with pretty well.


Much cleaner, closer to being ready for paint, though I’ll be using some more of those pads in conjunction with dish soap to get some parts that still need a little work. Then it should be ready for the base layer of self-etching primer, after which I’ll throw down a few coats of regular primer, followed by a few coats of silver, and a few more coats of clear.
You’ll notice that I unwrapped all the electronics as I don’t want any trapped moisture to wreak havoc on the already crusty looking connections. I left everything else wrapped though, don’t want to worry about painting them, and the wiring can be moved around as I work. After a good 6 hours of work (my running total is 37.75 hours on the rebuild so far!) I was ready to be done, and didn’t have the supplies to go any further. So I threw the hood back on and called it a day.


That’s all I’ve got for this update. Hopefully I’ll get the engine bay finished in this next week and receive most of my parts as well. If I do, you’ll see it here!

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