よし！ It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything about my 240 so here’s a long over due summary of what I’ve been up to over the last year with Aka-chan! (BEWARNED! This is a really long post!)
In a nut shell, as you might be able to tell from the title, I finally went TURBOCHARGED! Ever since I purchased my 240 back in 2004, I’ve always dreamed about having my car turbocharged. Over the years I’ve saved my pennies, and purchased parts here and there. To give you an idea of how this went, the 3″ turbo Trust downpipe I’m running on my car I purchased back in 2008. Waaaay before I even purchased a turbo, manifold, intercooler, clutch, and all that other necessary stuff haha. So pretty much every now and then I’d just buy things when they’d go on sale during group buys or when they pop up on forums.
Anyways, lets jump to Christmas 2011.
School is out for break and I’m tired of my stock ka24e drinking oil and just being slow, so after many years I decided to pull the trigger and order the rest of the parts I needed to finish my turbo kit and get my motor prepped to be turbo-charged.
Side-note: Another reason for me to finish this project of mine, is because during the summer of 2011 I had sold my daily driver, a candy white MKV 2006 Volkswagen GTI. (Another absolutely amazing car!) So I needed give my 240 more power and reliability to get me around~
In terms of parts, I ended up ordering new rods, pistons, arp head and main studs, injectors, fuel pump, oil lines, intercooler pipes, rom tuned ecu, and various other things. You can see a full break down of stuff in this earlier post I made, Mai Waifu!
So once I ordered all these things, my plan was to rip the motor out, rebuild it, and throw the turbo on before I went back to school January 21st 2012. If life worked out how we always want it, this would have definitely been a sure thing, but life doesn’t always work perfectly…
While I waited for parts to come in from all over the country, and for some parts to fly in from outside of the country, I decided to tear out the motor and start work on one of the most tedious things in my life. During this entire ordeal, with the help of my dad, pulling the transmission and engine was probably the easiest part of it all. The tough part was cleaning and scrubbing the engine bay once everything was out, and this is partly because I had NEVER washed my engine bay except for one time back in 2005. Why do you ask? Well because I have no reason to clean and show off a bone stock KA24E. Ain’t nobody got time to look at that junk hahaha.
Once I spent many hours scrubbing years of dirt and grime out of the engine bay, I realized how old and faded the engine bay had become after years of neglect and abuse from heat of the engine. As a result, I decided to repaint it myself. Once I finished cleaning the engine bay, I started to remove everything from the engine bay, when I say everything I mean everything with the exception of the brake lines and booster. With the fuse boxes, reservoirs, and wires out of the way, I started sanding and taping. Once everything was taped up and sanded down, I realized I actually had some rust in some parts of the frame that weren’t there years ago. I promptly cut out all the cancer and with the help of my dad, welded up new metal.
After welding up the new metal and sanding and cleaning everything, I sprayed a couple layers of primer over the entire engine bay. I went light at first, then a little bit heavier. In between sanding, taping, cleaning and just before putting down the primer, I was also completely tearing down my motor down to the bare block so that I could have it cleaned up and prepped at the machine shop. After tearing the motor down, I had the machine shop hot tank everything, bore out the block for my oversized pistons, deck the head and block, completely rebuild the head and valvetrain, counterbalance the entire rotating assembly, and then I had them reassemble the block for me. This took them about two and a half weeks. At this point, my winter break was over and I had to go back to school, leaving my engine bay empty and only with primer. Time really flies when you’re busy doing work lol.
As school grudges along with the only thing I can think about is what to do to hurry up and finish Aka-chan, spring break finally rolls around! As most college kids, plan to go to the beach, get drunk and party, I make a date to be with my car lol. This is when I get to see my new motor fresh out of the machine shop. Also this is when I go ahead and spray the engine bay with a fresh coat of AJ4 Ultra Red paint to match my exterior.
As the paint dries, I go ahead and prep and reinstall parts on my new motor, like my clutch, manifold, motor mounts, transmission springs, throw out bearing, injectors and fuel rail. On top of all this, I deleted my EGR, intake manifold butterflies, simplified the vacuum hose setup, and I shaved my throttle body plenum a little to give it a cleaner look.(Side note: Notice the exhaust wrapping around the manifold, second most tedious thing I’ve had to do with this project… if you plan on wrapping with heat wrap, always remember to soak them in water and WEAR GLOVES!)
This is also when I did a mock up of everything with the turbo and wastegate on to see if everything even fits together, because this is not an off the shelf kit that I bought. These are parts I’ve purchased separately over the years. Parts like the IAP manifold and downpipe, are not parts a lot of people run, so there’s very little working knowledge of whether or not it will all fit together decently. Turned out, the universal dump tube for my wastegate doesn’t fit on my car because it hits the frame, so in the end I had to make my own.
On top of painting my engine bay, putting the motor together, I painted my wheel wells with bedliner by Duplicolor Bed Armor, which has bits of kevlar in it. Great stuff to weather proof and sound deaden with. I bought a quart of it and did 2 coats on either side and still have about 3/4 of a can left. By the time I did this, my one week of spring break was over, and back to school I went…
As the spring semester finished, and I skipped out on summer classes so that I could go home to finish Aka-chan, the paint was cured and I started on my wiring harness. With my wiring harness, I ripped all the old insulation and tape off the wires and rewrapped all the harness wires on the front of the car, (third most tedious thing of the project). On top of rewrapping the harness, I cut out and deleted a lot of emission and egr plugs and wires. I also cut and lengthened a few wires like the four injector wires so that I could tuck the harness underneath the intake manifold. Throughout this part of the process I became pretty damn good at soldering, and wrapping with electrical tape. And in terms of tape, I used about 10 brand new rolls of tape for all the harness wires in the front of the car.
When I finished with the harness, at this point I figured I could fish the motor back into the engine bay. So around May or June (I can’t remember lol) after five or so months, with the help of my dad, the motor is back in! With the motor in, I shoved harness through and underneath the intake manifold and started scrubbing/cleaning and reinstalling all the other pieces like the radiator, power steering, lines, coolant tank, and ac lines.
At this point it’s about mid summer and with the motor back in, I reinstalled the turbo, fuel pump, spark plugs, injectors, and filled her up with fluids. This is also when I installed my gauges, and sensors. Also, at this point, I had to cut and make my intercooler pipes and make brackets for my intercooler to fit properly. Since I’m running a front mounted intercooler, I decided to run a Odyssey PC680 slim battery, but to run this on my 240, I had deleted the stock battery tray and had to fabricate a new battery tray out of plates of aluminum to secure it properly. Once all this was said and done, it would soon be time to start her up for the first time in over half a year!
BUT! Before that, I remembered I had to reinstall my Jonnie Fraz fender braces and tuck my wiring harness up higher on my frame so my wheels don’t rub through them. I made sure to do it properly, by using Adel Clamps instead of ugly and unreliable zipties everywhere. I also had to notch the seam so the harness could fit a little bit better as well. On top of these things, I also painted my intercooler piping which were originally polished aluminum. I painted them a wrinkle/textured satin black to give it a OEM look and feel to the original intake I had on the motor, because the ultimate goal I wanted with this is to have my motor look relatively stock to the unsuspecting average Joe. (I achieved this about a week after I got her running and was in the parking lot of the hardware store, adding a 90* elbow to one of my vacuum hoses. Guy came up to me to tell me I had a nice 240 and took a peak around my engine bay, then asked me if I was running a stock turbo setup. lol)
So once everything was all together this is how it looked like for the most part. She didn’t run perfectly like I had hope the first time around. Problems I encountered: had the oil pump installed with the shaft for the distributor about 180* out. So I had to fix that timing issue, Also had a major problem with the #3 injector not firing. This turned out to be the result of a bad injector driver on the ECU, sent an Email to Enthalpy, whom I had retune my ecu, and he fixed it after I sent him another ecu. Also had a problem with a few vacuum leaks here and there which affected my idle, which you can see here…
After getting all that figured out and a few other things, I eventually get her running!! Probably the 4th most tedious thing about this project. When you have a problem and you’ve done as much stuff as I have, where do you typically start trouble shooting!? Because it’s not like you have a nice running car, then you change the MAF sensor, and you start having problems, you know the problem is the MAF. So in situations like this, start with the basics and check for fuel, spark, timing, compression, then wiring stuffs and go from there, and if you don’t find anything and get frustrated, walk away and check everything from the beginning tomorrow.
So once I had her running, I installed the other bits that go in my engine bay, like the Nagisa shock tower braces, my carbon fiber cooling panel, turbo blanket, and of course the little jdm sticker that reminds me when I did all this. So at 346,497 miles Summer 2012, Aka-chan is turbocharged!
Of course there’s still a lot of little things I still need to take care of. She doesn’t idle properly yet for some reason, and she bogs a bit when I give her 1/4 throttle. Not sure if it’s the IACV, TP sensor, or what. Also the valves in the head are kind of loud… I think once I put more miles on her that should go away though. I also need to finish shaving my valve cover a little bit so I can install my strut bar since I’m running Nismo motor mounts, they raised my motor up like 2 inches or so and the valve cover hits the bar. As of writing this, I’ve only put about 700 miles or so on her while boosting 7.5 psi. Definitely feels MUCH faster than when she was naturally aspirated though.
For the record, I think total time I put into little KA-T project starting from Christmas 2011, is about 6-8 hours a day over the course of 15 weeks spread out over the last year or so, which comes to about 735 hours!? lol As my roommate told me, when he first saw the car running, “You have too much time on your hands!” Money saved from taking it a shop to be done @ 60 dollars an hours = $44,100 lol… Experience gained from doing everything yourself? Well, you should know…
If you’ve read this far, KUDOS!!! I know this is pretty damn long, but if you’ve read this far, please leave a comment, criticism, hate, or rant of what you think!! lol.