So this installment is not for the feint of heart. The purists out there (If there's any left following this at this point.Lol) are about to have heart attack. Because it's time to fire up the plasma cutter and grinder to make the room necessary for this ridiculous drivetrain choice. So here we go...
In the last installment of the blog, we talked about the VH45, subframe spacers, and hood clearance. Well what we opted to do was not go any thicker and keep the 1.5" spacers for fear of beginning to move our suspension geometry the wrong way. So the easiest way to accomplish this in a strong, permanent fashion was to make the permanent spacers out of .750" 6061 aluminum plate and stack 2 on top of each other to get our 1.5".
Here's what they look like installed. The plates are 2"x8" with .500" holes to accomodate the grade 8, 1/2" bolts we're using now. We also cut spacer plates for the tension rod / sway bar backets to help keep the geometry of those in line with the rest of the suspension. But those will be for another day.
After mounting the subframe permanently and setting the engine back in, we realized that we'd need a little more space for the massive spider-like intake manifold to clear the hood. So we decided to cut out the center support section of the hood. This left us with about 3/4" clearance between the intake manifold and the hood.
Now it was time to get down to business. We had marked on the firewall roughly how much needed to come out to fit the bellhousing of the massive FS5R30A tranny, and we went to work. First cutting the firewall...
...Then cutting the trans tunnel all the way back to the back of the shifter hole where there's a cross-support. The sound that made was like 1000 JDM purists crying out in pain. Get over it pansies! This is some serious shit!
After hurting Takumi and Bunta's feelings, we set the engine back in place and bolted the bellhousing on to see how we did....
...The verdict is that we did ok. The shifter may actually sit back into that little dished area you see in front of the e-brake, but that's ok because Mike is a tall dude and sits back from the wheel a bit. What we'll end up doing in here is cutting the area aboe the bellhousing out because, if you remember from earlier, that was not factory, it was created by the previous owner for clearance on the 20V engine. Then we will clean up the final cuts, line the entire thing with 3/4" square tubing and create a skeleton for us to attach removable aluminum panels that will create our new trans tunnel. Easy access to the bolts to remove the trans, easy acces to the fill to change the fluid.
Then it was on to motor mounts! with the engine in place, and our Revshift E30 isolators attached, we measured for the new ears that would be welded to the crossmember.They're made of 3" square tubing with a .125" wall. In measuring, you have to also measure the angle of the crossmember and the angle of the isolator on the engine. The crossmember sits at a 20° angle, while the isolator sits ata a 25° angle. That means to get everything to sit proper, you must have a straight cut on one side of the tubing and a 5° angle cut on the other. We did that here and voila! You can see that when sitting at rest, everything looks proper.
The next step then was to box the tops in with a 3"x3" cold rolled steel plate theat has a 3/8" diameter hole that is slotted slightly upward in them. This serves as the mounting plate for the isolators. Then, we cut out a window on the sides to fit a wrench to attach the isolators. Finally, we sat the engine in with the isolators and lower mounts attached.We measured very carefully to make sure that the engine was sitting perfectly center in the car, and perfectly square to the chassis. We noticed that this point, the passenger side had to come up about 1/8", so we slid and extra piece of 1/8" under that mount and tacked everything in place.
Now, with the engine bolted in place where it needs to be, you can see that it all fits under the hood with about 3/4" of clearance to the hood and around 5/8" of clearance from the oil pan to the crossmember. Tight tolerances we know, but that's how it is when you try to follow the tried and true formula of "The biggest motor you can fit in a little car." Until next time!