CRX Road to Racing – Part 5 : Internal Frustration Engine

September 16, 2013

CRX Road to Racing – Part 5 : Internal Frustration Engine

When I purchased the parts car, I really didn't have much hope for the engine. It had 235,000 miles on the odometer and the odometer was disconnected, so it might've had even more. The car also had no coolant in it when I drove it home, and who knew if it was driven in such condition under its prior ownership. Regardless, I decided to see what, if any, parts would be useful.

After tearing the engine down and inspecting the components, I was surprised with the age of the motor how good things looked. Performing a quick search I found a local machine shop and brought the block and pistons to be cleaned as well as the head to have the valves cleaned and new guides installed. When I received the parts back, they let me know the tolerances were still within factory specs. Wait, What? 235,000+ miles and still factory specs? They assured me I would be fine going with stock bearings and piston rings.

Almost as soon as I got home, I started ordering parts to rebuild the engine: A full gasket kit, Water pump, Timing belt, Piston rings, Bearings, Etc. I masked off the engine block and painted the exposed metal to cover up the aged aluminum. I also painted the valve cover which I had media blasted. Since this was the first time I ever put an engine together, I doubted my abilities, but started to carefully re-assemble the components. I used a strip of Plastigauge to check tolerances and, sure enough, everything was on the looser edge of factory specifications. I used a moly assembly lubricant on all moving surfaces to make sure nothing would be damaged on initial start up.

After installing a fuel cell and pump with twin filters, I used my engine hoist and re-mounted the transmission before lowering the engine solo into the bay. I bolted everything up and connected the wiring harness. The first attempt to start the car was unsuccessful. Turns out I somehow installed the distributor 180° off even though the cam was offset. After resolving that issue, the car fired but wouldn't hold idle. I adjusted the distributor a couple times and the car started up and idled rough. I later set the timing and everything has been running rather smooth since.


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