It's been a litle while since we gave you guys an update, so here's a pretty big one. After our last test fitting, we went and ordered some parts.
First on our list was to throw away the old rubber engine mount isolators and replace them with a more up to date poly unit. The easiest and most cost effective way to do that was to use these medium density units from Revshift that are actually made for an E30 BMW. They are a single stud through design instead of the single/dual stud setup on the factory mount making them easier to fab the motor mounts on the crossmember and allowing us the ability to adjust the engine angle via the new transmission mount aftewards.They're low profile helps get us as much room as possible for the headers as well.
The next thing that we needed was an adapter to allow the Z32 FS5R30A transmission to bolt up to the VH45. After looking at a few options, we settled on the VH Power .25" steel adapter. Thinking that not having to machine the bellhousing would be the way to go. Let me just say the After using the Mazworx one on our Z, this one is pretty disappointing. On the VH Power website, they say " Essentially, the plate mounts to the engine using custom machined M14 flat head screws, and the transmission slides on to studs welded into the rear of the plate (not shown in above photo), allowing for perfect matching of the input shaft and clutch". Bullshit. Come to find out after you receive it, that they somewhere along the lines decided to quit custom machining M14 flat head screws, and now they give you five M12 flat head screws and 5 helicoils to put into your block. Thus making that $30 worth of M14 bolts that you bought to put this on your engine stand useless. Then, you find out that the studs welded into the rear of the plate aren't shown, because you have to do it yourself. Next time we do one of these swaps it's back to the Mazworx. If I wanted some backyard engineering like this, I would've grabbed the plasma cutter and drill press, ordered $20 worth of hardware from McMaster-Carr and saved myself $275. My suggestion to anybody looking for an adapter, spend the few extra bucks and get the Mazworx. They'll even machine your bellhousing from N/A to TT for free.
Next on the list was preparing the subframe for the engine. As you can see here, we cut the old mounting ears off to make way for the new ones that we'll fabricate. Then we decided that we needed to get the engine lower in the bay. And by lower, I mean low enough to get the hood to shut completely. This will be done by spacing the subframe done from the frame rails themselves. To test out how far we want to space it, we cut some 1.5" DOM we had laying around into four 1.5" long pieces. Then we removed the M12 subrame bolts and replaced them with longer grade 8, 1/2" bolts. We did this because A.)Standard bolts are readily available. B.)The holes through the frame are larger than 1/2" anyway. And C.)Slightly bigger diameter bolts should be slightly stronger. Right? So let's set this thing in there and see what we get!
As you can see here, that 1.5" set the motor down into the bay nicely. In this photo, the oil pan is resting on the crossmember and the crank pulley is resting on the sway bar. We're figuring on the oil pan sitting 1/2" above the crossmember as it's final resting spot and we're going to space the tension rod/sway bar mounts down to match what we did with the crossmember. But we sat the hood on and...
...voila! The hood closes and clears the engine very nicely. Taking that 1/2" clearance above the crossmember into account though, we may actually go a full 2" on the spacing. After the engine is mounted, the sump of the oil pan will sit even with the bottom of the crossmember, so we'll just build a heavy-duty skid plate to keep it protected from the occasional debris. The only question now was "What did lowering the crossmember, and thus the control arm mounting points do to the suspension of the car?" So we took the hood off, and set her on the ground to find out!
In looking at the front suspension geometry, the ride height has basically remained the same. The caster of the front end appeared to have gotten better, and we believe that the flattening out of the control arm geometry could mean that the roll center adjusters may no longer be necessary. But, we won't know for certain until we get the car done and back on the alignment rack.
That's it for now. Stay tuned for next time, when we break out the plasma cutter and start hacking up clearances for our transmission!