the fun continues...

Step 1 - Repairing the engine bay walls

By removing metal from the walls of the engine bay to accommodate the subframe, this may have compromised the strength of the front of the car. Now having said that obviously the design of the both the old and new subframes meant that front of the car really didn't add much to the strength of the subframe (eg like an engine being a stressed member). But even so it was still used to locate the subframe at the front and possible add to keeping the frame locked in place.

Either way I intend to repair the gaps in the sides of the engine bay and generally strengthen it a little by applying 1.1mm plating along lower part of the engine bay walls. This will both cover the gaping holes I have made in it but also make things alot neater. The other reason I am applying this to the sides is because the engineer as I told you earlier wanted me to bolt the sufbrame to the engine walls. I am hoping that this little effort will dissuade him once and for all.

Anyway stay posted for this as next weekend is Easter and I should have the subframe painted and the walls partially or fully done.

Update 1 April 2005: Well I have added some images to help describe what I am trying to do. Technically it may not be necessary and in some ways is aesthetic. But I am convinced that the front of the car insome ways supports the subframe unless you want to go the route of making the car a flip front, which this isn't. So this is also to return some of the strength provided by the engine bay walls.

The essential steps are:

  1. Obtain some sheet metal (mine was approximately 1.1mm, you are aiming for something of a similar or slightly heavier gauge than the car's)
  2. Take some cardboard and a pen and then measure the space you want to occupy.
  3. Cut a template based on this and then cut the same shape from the sheet metal using a metal cutting blade in your jigsaw (goes through it like butter).
  4. Bend the sheet metal to follow the contours of the original engine bay and weld in place.

Pretty simple really. I am also going to attemp to beef up the front mounts and also create a new front area by bending the lower front out a bit to create more room for the turbo but also the possibility of installing a front mount intercooler (no guarantees this will work). The welding in the last pic isn't pretty but with Mig it burns through sheet metal pretty easily even on the lowest settings. I have decided that only real way to do it is tack welds.

Anyway the last two images are the final works on the engine bay walls. Still need a bit of polishing up but overall I am pretty happy with the end result especially on the right hand side (last image).



















Step 2 - Attaching the rear dry cone subframe

Strictly speaking this isn't really part of the ancillaries section but I had really no where else to put it and I guess it is all part of the conversion process. But I won't spend too much space on this.

These are the essential steps:

  1. Source a dry cone rear subframe (which I did at the start of the project, if you are going to the trouble of doing the front subframe I suggest you think about getting a similar subframe, unless you already have a like subframe, ie wet front and back etc). Done
  2. Disassemble the subframe - This assumes that the subframe needs an overhaul. I have checked the subframe and will not bother overhauling the bearing etc as I get them impression this has already been done. I have the kits but this can wait until the conversion is complete and the car registered.
  3. Off to the sandblaster - I am sending it to the sandblasters as I can't be bothered doing the whole subframe with a wire wheel. Next weekend I will have the rear subframe off. And hopefully the new subframe put back together.
  4. Remove wet subframe from car
  5. Paint various parts of refurbished dry subframe
  6. Reassemble subframe
  7. Install in car - Now just like the remove process it isn't just a case of removing some bolts. You have to take out the tank to get at the right shock if you have them and then there's the removal of the handbrake cables which is a pain, and so on.

Update 2 May 2005: Well I managed to remove all the bits and pieces off the subframe so hopefully tomorrow or the next day it will be back all shiny and clean. Then it is a case of cleaning all the parts and giving them a coat of chassis black and away we go.

Update 4 May 2005: Have a look at the sandblasted sufbrame (images 2 & 3). Not only did they sandblast it well but they also gave it a coat of primer (which will save me alot of time. I am just going to lightly sand it and then give it a few coats of "chassis black". If you have a subframe like this I recommend getting it sandblasted for sure, as this only cost me $50 which seems like a bit but when you think about the amount of work it would have taken with a wire brush and degreaser, trust me it's worth it. Now I have to get started on degreasing and overhauling the radius arms etc and we should be sorted.

As you can see in the photo the boot is in need of a little attention but overall it is more chipped paint than rust so a bit of wiring brushing and some DIY and she'll be sorted. Watch this space.

Update 5 - 8 May 2005: Well finally got the hand brake cables disconnected and voila out comes the subframe (image 5). I also started taking apart the radius arms. These will obviously also require a cleanup but overall they are in very good condition. Hopefully I can get the whole thing apart, painted and back together this weekend? As you can see in images 6 to 9, I managed to get some painting done. I painted the subframe and radius arms with chassis black and the drums in red with special brake paint (good to 900F). The drums had started to get some light surface rus so I just scrubbed them back with a steel brush and cleaned them with metho. Once all done I think this should look very nice indeed.

Well it is Sunday and I have got a fair amount done. Not back together and in the car but close. I have removed everthing off both subframes necessary for putting the best stuff back into the car.

Update 15 May 2005: As you can see in image 14 & 15 I put the subframe back together today. No major grief really, but i had to be really careful that I didn't assemble the subframe with the radius arms back to front (it is possible). But I think I have it right. The only other issue is trying to get the Hi Lo's into there respective positions. Buggered if I know how (if you have the lowdown please send me an email). I only tried for 10 minutes before I quite for the day but it still looks close to impossible, but there must obviously be a way.

But either way I am just happy to have the thing back together. The next issue is making fuel lines for the car. This will be tackled in the next section which will also cover the installation of the rear subframe as the lines have to go in before the installation of the frame!

Update 21 May 2005: Well finally installed the rear subframe. I realised that I can still put in the Hi Lo's later (and in some ways it is easier with the frame in place). I now have the battery lead and rear brake pipe in place and that all seem to work out well (Image 18). The only down side is that because I was installing it alone I managed to jam one of brake cables between the body and the subframe which mean having to lower the subframe again to remove it, but not a big issue.

Now the only outstanding issue is the cones. I went to a mates place to compare and the connecting bars are some 25mm shorter and the actual trumpets are 15mm shallower. So overall I have to reduce the bar by some 40mm! I'll let you know how it goes.

Well the mystery of the Cones continues but the mystery part maybe getting sorted. I went back to Classic motoring to have a talk with Warren about these rods that were too long. It ends up their not. They are the same length as the original trumpets in the car.And then last night I realised that I had lost the spring to go in the rods. So anyway I put the cone in and the rod with out the connecting plug and they come pretty close to meeting up. So I think I should be able to get them together if I can find a spring. The moral of the story don't try and put the Hi Lo's in without the frame in the car! I should have this together this weekend so I will post some pics when done.

Update 28 May 2005: The Hi Lo's are in! Well one anyway and I think the other will go in also. So I think things are starting to work out here. I ended up getting some 12mm steel bar to replace the lugs I ended up having to drill out of the Hi Lo's because they were wedged in. I think my problem can from this issue. The lugs were jammed in to a certain distance so there was no spring action whatsoever. I subsequently replaced this with the 12mm bar which slides in and out (but with little freeplay). So some trial error and with the spring in place and hey presto they go in, as you can see in Image 18.

So the subframe is in the other Hi Lo should be sorted by tomorrow so then I can install the Koni shocks and then comes the installation of the EFI system and fixing up the interior of the boot.

Image of floor unrepaired
Image of floor repaired
Image of Plate above
Image of Plate below
Image of Plate below

Sidebar 26 May 2005 - Rust Repairs in Boot

Update 26 May 2004: As you can see in Image 1 the rust was pretty bad having eaten all the way through. Now I could have probably bogged this up and with a bit of paint gotten away with it come inspection time, but if a job's worth doing...So I bit the bullet over the last couple of days and welded some plate into the wheel well to overcome the rust that had gone all the way through. This is a very difficult task when you are dealing with welding very thin metal to very thin metal. Especially if the underlying metal is rusty and weak. Whilemy effort doesn't look that pretty, it is strong and new and clean. And let's face it this ain't supposed to be a concours winner. Plus it will keep the RTA guy off my back. So I will clean it up and then wack some bog in to smooth her out a bit and Bob's your uncle. Still once again a job that I really couldn't afford to waste time on, but the more I looked at it the more I realised I needed to do it, and unfortunately I had put the rear subframe in, before wire wheeling the area to reveal the extent of the rust. Still tomorrow the subframe will come out again and I will sort out the underneath and give it a coat of rust protector and primer and that'll be that. I will add a photo when she is bogged, sanded and painted.

Update 28 May 2005: Well got the subframe out and got under the car. Took off all the loose paint off. I then gave it rub over with some acrylic lacquer to clean it a bit and then gave it a spray with some underbody spray paint. Did a reasonable job and should protect it from the elements. That is pretty much the underside sorted. I have some bog ready to do the inside and then that should be the wheel well sorted.

Update 5 June 2005: This weekend was quite a productive one in that I sorted out the boot for the most part and got the engine in (more about that in the next step). I forgot (or can't find a pic of the sanded bog, but lets just say it was a workman like job. I wasn't going for perfection this was purely to keep the RTA guys at bay. As well as bogging I also did some rust converting for those areas still in reasonable nick, like the bottom of the battery box. Anyway in image 4 you can see the finished result after the application of some spray primer. No perfect but better than I expected...

Wheel Tie

I also spent a little bit of time developing the wheel tie down system for the spare wheel. This isn't really compulsory, and it obviously didn't come standard. But given how much this thing is going to move around etc, I thought having the spare wheel secure would be a good idea. Fairly simple premise. Weld a nut to a piece of plate steel with a hole to let the bolt through. Bolt that to the base of the wheel well (you can weld it but it might be handy to be able to remove this at some later stage). Then create another plate with a hole in it to pass the bolt through and then through the centre of the wheel and then down into the plate. Tighten the bolt and hey presto, your wheel is secure.



SARD Fuel Regulator










Step 3 - Setting up the EFI System

Creating the EFI Fuel System

Essentially what we are talking about here are the following items that require creation and they are:

  1. High Pressure Fuel Pump - probably located on the rear subframe close to the tank;
  2. New Fuel Line - Creation of a new steel fuel line to the front of the car (of equal diameter to the line on the Starlet. The original line in my opinion will be too small and create undue stress on the fuel pump as it tries to force the fuel through the smaller tube.
  3. Return Line - in all EFI system there is a return line that send excess fuel back to the rear tank. This bit could be a little tricky but what isn't on this car
  4. Fuel Pressure Regulator - basically a valve that ensure that pressure is kept within limits. I will hopefully be purchasing a SARD brand pressure regulator for this purpose.

These are explored in detail below:

Due to the fact that the car is going to be running EFI it is advisable (and some would say necessary) to replace the standard fuel lines with ones of a larger diameter. The existing fuel line is currently 1/4" and as a replacement I have opted for 5/16ths or 8mm tubing (The roll can be seen in Image 1). This is because the EFI system runs under greater pressure and also has alot more fuel being supplied in order to increase the amount of fuel sitting behind the fuel injectors. A smaller line will can do some if not all of the following things. Firstly, it may increase the already high pressure in the line by going from a larger to a smaller diameter tubing. Secondly, it will tax the pump alot more because it is trying to force the fuel through a smaller line. And finally it will lead to fuel starvation because even with the pump working harder it still can't get the fuel up to the engine at a high enough pressure and flow.

A lack of flow will not only make your car run badly (if at all). It can also ruin your catalytic converter!

The other issue is also the creation of a return line which is a necessity in all EFI applications. This is simply a case of having a similar line running back from the engine bay to the fuel tank (well easy in theory).

Essentially I will have one line running along underneath the car where the original fuel line sat and coming up to the engine bay to be connected to the existing Starlet inlet. A high pressure fuel pump will be located at the back of the rear subframe to be fed under gravity from the existing fuel tank. Placement of the fuel pump will have to be precise to allow room for the fuel line and the line from the tank.

A similar line will be made to go from the engine bay back along underneath using the tray that carries the battery lead (a new one which can be seen in Image 4). Then enters the tank at a location yet to be determined (probably the fuel sender like most people do). I am thinking of welding a small inlet spout somewhere near the bottom of the tank, but this will have to be confirmed. On the engine side I will be using high pressure fuel hose to connect the line to and from the engine.

The final (hopefully) is including a fuel pressure regulator (image 3) as this is a necessity. Without a fuel pressure regulator you will have not control over the rate of fuel being delivered to the injectors. This means that given that the pump produces a reasonably constant flow (which really can't be altered) you may end up running a lean or rich mixture (probably rich) which cannot be altered. By increasing the flow through the regulator you let more fuel return to the tank thus in effect reducing the fuel pressure which reduces the amount of fuel passing through the injectors.

Anyway as usual I will post photos when I have ironed out this one.

Update 21 May 2005: Well I am finally starting to assemble all the bits and pieces I need to do the fuel system. The latest addition has been the flexible high pressure fuel hose (expensive stuff at $35 for 1.5 metres, image 6). This will help me connect the petrol tank to the pump and filter, and then at the engine bay end to connect both the fuel line to the engine, and the fuel regulator etc to the return line.

Now that the rear subframe is in I can start this stage. You have to have the rear subframe in so you know where there is space to put the EFI pump which is quite large. This is a fairly straight forward problem so I should have this knocked over during the week. Once this is done things will get easier (at least physically.

Update 26th May 2005: Well I have sourced all the parts I need to finalise the installation of the EFI system. The list of items is as follows:

  1. Bosch "VL Commodore" EFI Fuel Pump (400bhp rating);
  2. Bosch "EP501" EFI Fuel Filter (8mm inlet/outlet - bigger than necessary possibly);
  3. Flexible EFI Fule Hose ($34 for 1.5metres. Tip: Go to Clark Rubber, they have fuel hose rated to 60Bar for $9 a metre, wish I knew this previously!);
  4. Hose Clips for connections
  5. 8mm Coated Steel Line
  6. SARD Rising Rate Fuel Regulator (Rated to 500bhp);

I have basically bent the steel fuel line to roughly the configuration that is required at both ends. I am still in a dilemma about how to setup the steel lines. Orginally I thought about running the EFI line to the engine down the left hand side (looking from the back of the car) and the return line up the right. But the right tray is looking a little congested because of the battery lead and the rear brake line. So I may have the both the return line and EFI line running up and down the left hand side. This may be good as this would place the outlet of the return line close to the tank again. As you can see in Images 7 - 11 I have done the fuel lines it was a little trickier than I first through as you have to practice a bit to know where the bends are going to start with the pipe bender but I managed to muddle my way through. I get the barbs put on on Saturday and then they should be right to go. Once these are installed I can then set about reinstalling the subframes for the final time and getting the Hi Los in and then she's back to a rolling chassis.

Update 28 May 2005: Well took the lines out to Simon at Pirtek and put some very nice barbs on them (image 7). So that was that. I took them home and with a bit of elbow grease they are now in. I replaced the rear subframe and by the looks of it hasn't creased them though it can be a little hard to tell. But they look pretty good and I can jiggle them around a bit so I don't think this is a problem. The whole thing looks very neat so once the fuel pump etc is in place that should be it for this part of the fuel system, apart from running a wire from the fuse box to get the fuel pump running. But that will wait until I have installed the wiring loom.

Update 30 May 2005: With the subframe (and fuel lines) now in place I can't start to fiddle with the location of the fuel pump and prefilter. The prefilter is essentially a standard carby level fuel filter placed before the pump to reduce the level of contaminants that can get into the pump. The final EFI fuel filter will be placed at the engine end of fuel line, this is mainly due to space restrictions. I had a look at Brad's setup because I was having trouble picturing how I was going to sort this. Brad's design solves alot of my dilemmas and takes into account the possible installation of twin tanks (another story to be tackled at a later date). Anyway in Image 19? you can see my adaption of the design. I will also be putting a protective plate from the subframe to the bottom of the wheel well to protect the pump and filter from the heat of the exhaust and from mud etc.

Special Announcement - I have decided to suspend work on the EFI system at least the pump arrangement until I have the engine in and the exhaust done as this will have a direct impact on where I place the pump so I will come back to this section once I have the exhaust setup in place. There is one piece of good news arising from this decision...I can put the engine in and will probably decided on the intercooler once the engine is in as I can get an idea of how much space I have to play with.





Announcement for 5 June 2005 - Engine In for last time!!!

I am please to announce that I put the engine in the car today for the last time and everything mounted up and bolts went in and everything I am very pleased. I decided that trying to do a lot of the stuff on the engine with the engine out of the car would make things very difficult (like doing the timing belt) so I decided to forgo alot of these and race ahead with the engine installation.

This is a very big milestone too as it now means that I can start doing all the less physical and slightly more interesting stuff like the stuff below, installing the gearchange etc. As I mentioned earlier I will book the car in to get an exhaust done during this week and include the pictures when complete (should hopefully only take a couple of days).

Cheers, Matt.

So this is the end of this step with the rest of ancillaries being covered in the next step. Enjoy.


FINAL NOTE: While I have endevoured to give you as much information as I can, I am not a professional engineer, not even close. So anything you take from this website is at your own risk. Due to the increasingly litigous society in which we dwell I am will also be unable to develop or send out full specs for the subframe. For the same reason I won't be making subframes for people. The fact is as much as people like to say that they won't seek you out when things go wrong they will and usually with a lawyer in tow.