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:::SirSSpec::: 1999 base to S-Spec

 
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Old 09-05-2013, 06:21 PM
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:::SirSSpec::: 1999 base to S-Spec

---The Plan---
I have always liked things that were different, which is probably why I loved the Prelude. In keeping with that theme:
What can I do that would be different from other builds?
What can I do that will fit within my budget?
What can I do that will be challenging, but not impossible for me?
What can I do that will balance my taste for purism, performance, and, reliability?

Why not build a clone of a high performance model that Honda has already built? That takes care of purism, performance, and, reliability.
Instead of buying a motor swap, why not build it myself from "spare parts" I have acquired over the years? That takes care of budget, and the challenge.
What about being different? Something very few other people have, or have built... Type-S? Nah.. everyone wants one of those... besides, I don't have ATTS so it would be pointless. The answer for me was the Type-S's often overlooked twin sister, the S-Spec.

For those of you who don't know; The Type-S and the S-Spec is a tale of two sisters, high atop the Prelude family tree. The Type-S receives all the glory, and is highly sought after, while the S-Spec never really gets asked to the dance. But why? Even I am baffled by this. The Type-S is closely related to our Type SH. In fact, the SH is for all intents and purposes, a virgin Type-S. They both share many components, and use the ATTS system. The only difference is they took away the power and the cool interior, and gave us a sunroof instead.
The S-Spec on the other hand, is more like our base model. She has the same output as the Type-S, but instead of ATTS she uses a flesh and blood limited slip differential. In spite of the lower number of ATTS equipped cars around, and the number of people who complain about the limitations it imposes, everyone still goes for the Type-S. I realize this is in part to the number of Type-S engines available to be purchased. For every true S-Spec engine and transmission I found listed for sale, there were at least ten Type-S's. Pricing is also a consideration.

So we have established the S-Spec is rarer, and parts are more expensive. ~$2000 for a Type-S swap vs. ~$3500 for the S-Spec. I don't have $3500 around to buy a motor and transmission, so what am I to do? Well, luckily for guys like me, Honda's of this vintage seemed to be inspired by Lego. No matter what car (or set) you buy, you are guaranteed to find the same parts in others. Armed with this information, I can set to work building myself an S-Spec engine!
The Type-S and S-Spec both use the H22A. They both put out 220HP. The only difference between them is the block of the Type-S is different, for the accommodation of the ATTS, like our Type SH model here. The S-Spec uses the same block as our base models. This means, the "Type-S" pistons shared between the Type-S and S-Spec will easily fit into a USDM H22A4. Well that's easy enough. What else?
The head. The Type-S and S-Spec both shared the same head, which is almost identical to that of the USDM head. Again, a lucky strike for me. The only difference between them is the S and S-Spec come form the factory ported and polished. This isn't necessarily a hard task for one to do, but I was lucky enough to come into possession of a Type-S head and cam shafts. So with these parts assembled, I am mechanically on track to reaching my goal.
The transmission is arguably the most expensive piece of the S-Spec puzzle. The M2Z4 transmission is both hard to find and expensive. If you are lucky enough to find one on it's own, you could buy an entire engine for what they are asking for it. In most cases though, you won't find anyone willing to part the engine and transmission. I don't have that kind of money laying around, so I have to improvise.
In December, I picked up a JDM M2B4 transmission in Waterloo Ontario. The M2B4 is from the JDM 4th gen prelude and comes equipped with a viscous LSD. The only problem with the transmission I purchased was it had the notorious 5th gear grind. The grinding wasn't a problem for me. I know what causes it, and how to fix it (mechanically). I had no intentions of installing the transmission without first opening it and inspecting it for any other problems (hey, when it's on the bench in front of you, why not?). When I opened it up, I found what I expected to see; A bad synchro. No big deal. I can fix that in no time. I headed over to the computer and began looking up parts to rebuild the entire gearbox. I was quite taken by the master rebuild kit with carbon synchros that two sites offered. They were both the same price, $699.00 USD. I was just about to pull the trigger when I had an ADD moment and clicked on their LSD tab (sounds bad I know), and had a look at what they were offering. I ended up looking at a Team MFactory helical LSD, which seemed like a pretty good deal at only $684.00. Now I was faced with a problem; Rebuild a whole transmission with a viscous LSD for $699, or get a brand new helical LSD with a lifetime warranty, and put it in a transmission I know has been a strong performer for $15.00 less? Hm..


Engine:
- I will be installing Type-S pistons on the current rods.

- I will be using OEM rings, but it would be great if I could find the name of the company who makes them, because Honda want's $400 for them, and they claim there is only one set left in Canada.

- Bearings: I will look at once the engine is opened up. I know some of you are screaming at the screen right now, but if they are within spec (checked with a bore gauge and platigauge against a micrometer blueprinted crank shaft) and in good shape, I'll let sleeping dogs lie. If they show they are getting long in the tooth, I will definitely change them out.

- Gaskets and seals: I had originally put together an order of around $1000 in parts for hondapartschaep.com. Unfortunately they will not ship to Canada anymore, and they won't work with me on the customs declaration, so I will have to 86 that order. I will however see if I can trick them with one of those border shipping places because their prices on certain items can't be beat. I will be changing out all the relevant seals and gaskets. Anything that is, or can start to leak, and that is a pain in the ass to get to once it's in the car.



Head:

- I checked it with a straight edge and feeler gauges, it appears to be within spec. I will be taking it to a machine shop to have it looked at though just to be sure. There are a couple scratches on the mating surface which may have to be milled out. Aside from that, all the work will be done by me. The valvetrain is complete, except for the valves themselves. I will swap out the valves from my current head, and put them in the Type-S head.




Transmission:
- I will be installing the MFactory helical LSD into this. I am hoping to not need shims, but we shall see. Getting them from Honda Canada will be a pain. They want $10 a pop for them, and they are apparently discontinued. I may end up having one made.



Tuning:

- In keeping with the current rip off the government is running, I have to keep the car as stock as possible. So we will have to see. I have an OBD1 ECU from a 93 Prelude, on my desk. maybe I can make something happen with that.



Cosmetic stuff:

- The engine bay will be scrubbed down. Any corrosion will be sanded out and primed. The engine bay itself will be painted the stock B92P and have a generous layer of clear coat applied. It will be colour sanded and hopefully will look like the exterior of the car. This will all be done by me.

- Freshly painted wrinkle red valve cover. (Done!)

- All brackets and hardware will be restored. Polished, painted,or replaced. (Getting there...)

- I will be painting and installing a JDM S-Spec mid rise wing.

- The head, block and transmission case will all be polished.

- This is a restoration, so there will be no tucking or shaving.




The car:
Year: 1999
Make: Honda
Model: Prelude
Sub-model: Base
Build date: 10/98
Colour: B92P
Engine: H22A4 DOHC VTEC
Transmission: M2Y4 (manual)
Owners: 2
Purchased: September 2004
Purchase KMs: 137000
Current KMs: 199000

Items in RED I am currently seeking.
Items marked with an asterisk are my own work.

Exterior:
OEM front lip.
JDM fog lights.
Putco Jet Yellow fog light bulbs.
OEM spoiler. (on its way out)
JDM S-spec mid-rise spoiler (painting)*
Refinished belt/window sill moldings.*
Depo retrofits with E46R shrouds.
OEM back and sides
Body work + new paint
New belt/window sill moldings.






Hopefully the finished product will look like this:


Pretty tame I know, but I'm older and I can't wear the boulevard race car hat anymore.


Interior:
No base model 3rd brake light.
OEM heated leather seats.
JDM door sills.
JDM Type-S gauge cluster. (modified to work with immobilizer and cruise control lights)*
JDM chrome gauge rings.
JDM ash tray.
JDM cup holder.
OEM carbon fiber (look) trim kit.
JTC customs short shifter.
Type SH shift knob.
Chrome door panel trim.*
Mugen pedals.
Custom made Mugen (style) dead pedal.(Courtesy of a friend from college)
USDM fog light switch and bezel.
Type-S red stitch steering wheel.
EDM cruise control buttons. (waiting to be installed)
EDM red door courtesy lamps. (waiting to be installed)
OEM trunk mat
New floor mats.

Some form of double din nav set up.













Engine/transmission/exhaust:
JDM Type-S intake w/K&N filter
Refinished valve cover.*
Neuspeed strut tower bar.
Mugen oil cap.
Mugen reservoir cozies.
Hand polished cylinder head.*
Hand polished heat shield.* (no longer required)
Hand polished reservoir bracket.*
Hand polished battery tie down.*
Hand polished radiator supports.*
Hand polished lift ring.*
All under hood paint de-swirled, buffed, and waxed.*
Refinished OEM horns.*
OBX twin loop 2.5" muffler.
Vibrant 14" x 2.5" resonator.
Magnaflow high flow cat 2.5"
Hytech replica exhaust manifold.
2.5" tig welded, mandrel bend stainless steel piping.


Awaiting installation:

TYPE-S CYLINDER HEAD (hand polished)
TYPE-S CAMS
TYPE-S PISTONS
MFactory helical LSD

JDM M2B4 LSD (rebuilding) To be swapped into my 96 Si


















Wheels/brakes/suspension:

Type SH wheels with red centre caps.
Stock suspension. (roasted, toasted, and ready for the trash)
Freshly installed ATE brake rotors and pads.*
Painted calipers *


Awaiting installation:

TEIN Street Advance.
Energy Suspension master bushing kit.
Roca endlinks.
New OEM ball joints.
Stainless steel brake lines.
Perhaps more...

*I wasn't planning on doing the suspension this year, but throughthe course of tearing the front of the car down, I found the suspension was in preety poor shape. To put the car back together on suspension like that would be silly. Now I am playing catch up on researching suspension parts, so any suggestions for better handling are welcome.


Work to be done:

Remove, sand blast and repaint all suspension components black with POR15 paint.





The introduction ------^

The work--------------------------v
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1997 Prelude base [wrecked]
1999 Prelude base, ["frame off" restoration + SiR S-Spec build]
1996 Prelude SR(Si), daily driver --> H23A VTEC (+ 4ws) [SOLD]
1990 Nissan 300ZX [Summer fun]
1994 Subaru SVX LSi [daily]
Project "C" - coming soon
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Old 09-05-2013, 10:32 PM
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Re: :::SirSSpec::: 1999 base to S-Spec

oh man.. Im liking this! I love your attention to detail on your build! Love the interior goodies too. Keep up the great work! :)
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:07 PM
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Re: :::SirSSpec::: 1999 base to S-Spec

^^That means a lot coming from you. Seriously. I've admired your car for quite a while now, long before I registered here, and as I said in your thread, yours is one of the cars I use to gauge my own work. You'll probably see a few things on my car in the near future that were inspired by yours.

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1997 Prelude base [wrecked]
1999 Prelude base, ["frame off" restoration + SiR S-Spec build]
1996 Prelude SR(Si), daily driver --> H23A VTEC (+ 4ws) [SOLD]
1990 Nissan 300ZX [Summer fun]
1994 Subaru SVX LSi [daily]
Project "C" - coming soon
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:15 PM
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Re: :::SirSSpec::: 1999 base to S-Spec

The following is my build/restoration thread!


December 2012:


I check the oil and notice it's a touch low, so I go to top her up and noticed:

A milky coating on the inside of the oil cap. Uh oh. Unfortunately, because of the timing of this discovery, looking at the
tail pipe wouldn't tell me anything (every car makes white smoke in the winter). The oil on the dip stick was deep amber,
and the coolant looked great. Nothing to worry about, right?

Compression test:

Cylinder 1: Looks alright.



Cylinder 2: Looks good too.



Cylinder 3: What the..?



Repeats tests on cylinders 2 and 3.

Cylinder 4: A picture is starting to take shape.



Low, but equal compression in two neighbouring cylinders. Any guesses?

- Bad block? What are the odds of both cylinders going at the same time, and the drop being identical?

- Bad valves? What are the odds on having an equal compression drop on two neighbouring cylinders?

- Bad rings/ring gaps: Again, what are the odds of both cylinders having the rings let go, or ring gaps meet up and allow an equal drop in compression?

These all seem pretty remote to me.


The most probable cause in my mind is a head gasket leak between the two cylinders. Normally at this point, I would run a leakdown test, but I was planning a rebuild on this motor anyways, so I am going to pull her out and do a visual diagnosis of the internals.

If it turns out I need a new block, so be it. At this point I am committed!
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1997 Prelude base [wrecked]
1999 Prelude base, ["frame off" restoration + SiR S-Spec build]
1996 Prelude SR(Si), daily driver --> H23A VTEC (+ 4ws) [SOLD]
1990 Nissan 300ZX [Summer fun]
1994 Subaru SVX LSi [daily]
Project "C" - coming soon
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:18 PM
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Re: :::SirSSpec::: 1999 base to S-Spec

APRIL 8, 2013:


Lets begin! Grab your wrenches and start ripping stuff out!!!

Whoa, slow down turbo! There's some things you should know if you're going to do a job like this.

You have to plan it down to the smallest detail. Once you get the engine out, where are you going to put it? Do you have all the tools you need? Can you get the parts you want? Are they on backorder?
Do you have all the resources you need? Helms manual? Service documents?

I have planned planned this build for years. The final stage of planning and visualization has been going on since December. You can't go into something like this, half cocked. Stuff will go wrong no matter how thoroughly you plan the job, out, but being meticulous will cut down on surprises.


A couple of months ago, I picked up a power steering pump and alternator bracket from a local Toronto shop. They were off of a scrap engine and rusted up so they let me have them for free.
Why am I talking about brackets that were never on the car? Well, simple. You have to pace yourself and use your time wisely. While you're waiting for parts, work on something else. When I can't be out in the garage, due to weather or because it's late, I bring in small items and work on them in the house. This way progress continues, and these little odds and ends are done and ready to install when the bigger jobs are done.

Back to the brackets...
This is what I was faced with:



You could deal with this one of four ways:
1) Say to hell with it and put them on the car as is. (Leave my thread at once!)
2) Paint over the rust. (Why don't you just stick a knife through my heart?)
3) Grind, sand, wire wheel the rust away. (Ehhh)
4) Use a chemical rust remover. [I have since revised my rust removal tactics]

This stuff works like a charm:

Normally I'm pretty old school, and go the way of grinding and scraping. I don't tend to spend money on stuff to do what I can do for free, but I caved in and gave this stuff a shot. I was surprised. It was ~$9.00 from Canadian Tire, which isn't bad, and it really works!
What you do is you soak the part you are working on in this stuff. You can either submerge it, or paint it on. Leave the stuff to soak for a while, and, when you get back, it will be covered in this purplish crust. Supposedly, you can paint right over it, but I wasn't taking any chances. Paint isn't cheap, and the time it takes to properly prep a part, only to find out it looks like crap, is time wasted. I used some steel wool and rubbed the crusty stuff off, and to my surprise, the brackets were a nice iron gray, with a couple black spots on them where the rust had been. I repeated the process a couple times and more of the black spots came off.
When I felt it wouldn't get any better, I thoroughly cleaned the brackets with soap and water. I dried them and immediately shot them with Duplicolor black caliper paint. The results were great!
Brackets hanging in my paint booth:




After they dried, I brought them back in and had a closer look. They were flawless. I was really impressed with how they turned out.

I then turned my eyes to the hardware. The fasteners looked pretty grungy, so I set to cleaning those up. I just used some steel wool and a dental pick and they came up like brand new. While While I was at it, I polished the adjustment piece for the PS pump. Yes, I did this by hand. No, it didn't take that long. It was done with a file to take out the large imperfections, and then some old sand paper which had ween well worn. It polished the surface to a mirror shine. I will shoot this with some clear coat to protect it from rusting in the future.






With the polished Type-S head:



Other bracketry I have been working on:
Hand polishing:


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Normal service has been resumed as soon as possible.

1997 Prelude base [wrecked]
1999 Prelude base, ["frame off" restoration + SiR S-Spec build]
1996 Prelude SR(Si), daily driver --> H23A VTEC (+ 4ws) [SOLD]
1990 Nissan 300ZX [Summer fun]
1994 Subaru SVX LSi [daily]
Project "C" - coming soon
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:21 PM
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Re: :::SirSSpec::: 1999 base to S-Spec

My plans called for removing the bumper and fenders. This will make it easier to paint the bay and core support thoroughly. It also allows me to work around the front end without worrying about damaging the paint or panels. Fluids are going to be spilled, and an engine is going to be pulled, so I want all finished surfaces removed if possible.
Another reason for the fender removal will be discussed later on in this post, but you probably just want to see the gory details, so here's some pics!
I started by removing small pieces that were easy to access. Things like lights, intake/airbox, brackets etc. I highly recommend taking as many pictures as possible of EVERYTHING. This way you can refer to them if you run into a problem.




To remove the bumper you will need to remove the splash shields under the front of the car. No lie, this was a total pain in the ass. All of the fasteners were heavily corroded. I twisted the head off of one completely. Although being soaked in WD40, the rest came out a quarter turn at a time, allowing a second or two to cool off before turning them another quarter turn. Those who have used a die to cut threads will understand this procedure. Most still came out, warm or hot to the touch. Take it slow, or you will twist the heads off of the fasteners, or stretch the threaded portions.
Another problem I had with the splash shields were those folded clip things that hold two pieces of plastic together. The fasteners were seized solid in those, and the entire clip would turn, chewing the bejesus out of the splash shield. There was one on each side of the bumper that I completely destroyed the holes they went through. I will have to go back and fix those with washers.
The fasteners that hold the fender liners in can also be tricky. Prying on the button in the middle of them made a couple disintegrate. I can buy more of these, but if you try this, be careful. All fasteners were put in a ziplock bag and labeled.
I brought the fender liners and the splash shield inside and washed them down with some Mean Green. They came up pretty good.


The next step was to get the bumper off. Again, I ran into some problems. On each edge of the bumper, where it meets the wheel well opening, there is a screw. The passenger side screw came out just fine. The driver's side was happy where it was. It turned and turned but wouldn't come out. I pulled back the fender liner (this was before I removed them), and saw the screw had this little plastic clip on it. When I turned the screw, the clip turned as well. What I ended up doing was having my girl Stancie gently pull the bumper cover down a bit, while I inserted a pair of needle nose pliers between the top of the bumper cover, and the bottom of the fender. I clasped the clip with the pliers and turned the screw. It eventually came right out. The clip was missing a lot of the little spikes it originally had as a result of my efforts to get it out, BUT the base of the clip did such a good job of holding the screw in, I might just reuse it.
The grille has to be removed in order to reach the push pin clips that hold the central portion. Once the splash guard is gone and the grille is removed, you can pull firmly on the sides of the bumper (above the markers). There are two side clips that will make a nice little pop as they let go. I urge you to use firm pressure, ramped up slowly to overcome the clips. They are plastic. Old plastic. Old plastic that has been exposed to heat and cold for many years. If you jerk them they could crack. If you crack them, you now have the infamous FRONT BUMPER SAG, so be warned.


Once the bumper is free, you can pull it forward, and away from the car. Watch out for the styrofoam bumper underneath. It may want to fall off when the cover is removed. Put it, and the plastic mounting pieces on the back of it somewhere safe. You now have the metal "rebar" exposed. You can now remove the headlights if you wish. There are measurements for aiming the headlights, and you must make them on the rebar.


In order to remove the fenders, you must remove the side skirts or sills. They make this sound easy. Trust me, it isn't. There are push pin style fasteners under the floor pan of the car that must first be removed. Then there is a screw in the front wheel well that you have to take out. In my case, I had to take off the mud flap. You then have to slide the whole skirt/sill forward, towards the front of the car. DO NOT PULL OUTWARD ON THE SILL! The clips are SLIDE CLIPS and pulling outward will snap them off. Sliding the sill forward is not easy. Well, it wasn't in my case. Fifteen years of crap was holding them in place. I used a long johnson bar between the back tire and the back of the sill to slip it forward.

Finally, its time to remove the fenders. This isn't easy either. There are two bolts at bottom of the fender, under the door. There is another up by the mirror. There are three that run along the sill (you can see these with the hood open). Then there are two on the front of the fender, above where the marker light is. One of the last two was sent by the devil himself. These bolts have all been painted over at the factory, so they require a bit of torque to get them to pop free. The biggest problem I had with the fenders was the bolt closest to the wheel well, above where the marker light would be. This bolt is on a flimsy peninsula of sheet metal, and bolts up to another flimsy tab that tuns to the inner fender/engine bay. A wiring harness is clipped to this as well. This bolt was corroded, and wouldn't turn. The tab it goes through is so flimsy, it began to twist and buckle. I could see the fender beginning to flex, so I unbolted both tabs from the inside of the engine bay. This was a pain because the ABS module is right there, and I couldn't get a socket on there.
The fenders are just stamped sheet metal. You can warp them if you pull on them, or store them with weight on them. Be careful when working with them.

Fender removed:


This is the OTHER reason I wanted to take the fenders off:

Note the rust on the spot welds. I didn't know it was there, but spotting it early, means I can fix it with little work involved.




My car hasn't been winter driven in a few years. When I wash it, I always take care to spray out the wheel wells carefully. Even with that care, you can see the amount of rust that has formed. I am glad I found this when I did. I can fix it easily. This is one of the reasons I do the "spring clean" and take the car apart. it isn't just because I am OCD and love having a clean car. When I take things off, I am inspecting them. I could have done this rebuild without removing the fenders, but I wouldn't know what was going on under them.

I highly recommend having a look around your cars and see what you can find. A new leak, a spot of rust under the spare tire, corroding connections etc.
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Normal service has been resumed as soon as possible.

1997 Prelude base [wrecked]
1999 Prelude base, ["frame off" restoration + SiR S-Spec build]
1996 Prelude SR(Si), daily driver --> H23A VTEC (+ 4ws) [SOLD]
1990 Nissan 300ZX [Summer fun]
1994 Subaru SVX LSi [daily]
Project "C" - coming soon
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:23 PM
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Re: :::SirSSpec::: 1999 base to S-Spec

That rust I found was annoying me so much I decided to have a prod at it today. And prod, I did. The metal had started to scale and flake, so I used a screwdriver to rake the loose material away. I was glad to see that the thickness of the metal wasn't diminished all that much.

I grabbed my trusty wire wheel and began chipping away at what was left. It wasn't easy though, I don't have an angle die grinder, and wire wheels aren't the best for doing this kind of work. I got some parts of it down to bare metal though. It isn't pretty, but as long as the rust is gone, I don't care what it looks like. It isn't a visible are of the car.

After wire wheeling the rust down to bare metal, I grabbed some coarse sandpaper and gave it a rub with that, then went back to the wire wheel, just to make sure.

Finishing up for the night, I didn't have any primer or anything to cover the sections of bare metal, so I grabbed my bottle of Rust Check and wiped all the rust spots with it. Within an hour, they had all turned purple and crusted over. Tomorrow, I will wire wheel it off and see what I'm left with.

Pictures!




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1997 Prelude base [wrecked]
1999 Prelude base, ["frame off" restoration + SiR S-Spec build]
1996 Prelude SR(Si), daily driver --> H23A VTEC (+ 4ws) [SOLD]
1990 Nissan 300ZX [Summer fun]
1994 Subaru SVX LSi [daily]
Project "C" - coming soon
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:26 PM
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Re: :::SirSSpec::: 1999 base to S-Spec

APRIL 13, 2013

I got to do some more rust removal today. Let me start off by saying; if you want a die grinder, DON'T be tempted by Mastercraft. Last year when I painted my calipers, I killed three of them. They were alright about exchanging them, but still, I had to take time out of a job to go to the store. This last one was babied. It probably had only like 60 minutes of work on the clock before it packed up on me. Be warned. Mastercraft die grinders are ****.
My Jobmate electric rotary tool came to the rescue and totally saved the day. Not bad for $10.

So basically, I just used a stone and ground the rust off. In the last pictures you can see a few dark specs. These are pits in the metal. I don't want to grind away too much metal in case it weakens the structure. What I will do is look into some rust converting primer or something. before packing up for the night I soaked the entire area with that Rust Check stuff again to kill off anything I may have missed.

A few days ago:


Today:


Before:



Today:






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1990 Nissan 300ZX [Summer fun]
1994 Subaru SVX LSi [daily]
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:27 PM
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Re: :::SirSSpec::: 1999 base to S-Spec

APRIL 14, 2013

Today I got an earlier start on the car...and it's a good thing I did. It turns out the passenger side was by far the worst for the rust.

I'm not going to lie, I was really concerned by the sight of this...






Before and after of a joint that's covered by that caulking/sealant and undercoating. Does anyone know what that sealant is? Where I could buy it?
Looks like a bit of surface rust, right?

I get in there with the grinder and find it's rusted all the way along the seam...


I got the rust ground out of the wheel well, and where the washer bottle goes. I'm sure I'll find more as I go. The sub frame at the front looks pretty poor so I don't know.. I may just replace it if I can find a good one.
The headlights were a bit tricky to remove. The top tabs on both were trashed, so I will have to fix them up. I saw a repair once where the guy stitched them together with wire. I never understood why he didn't just use some adhesive. I'll try gluing them back together. Also, on the passenger side headlight, the bolt on the inboard edge (it hold the light to the radiator shroud), was a total pain in the ass to get out. I couldn't get anything but a long 10 mil wrench on it and turn it a quarter turn at a time. Eventually that tab broke as well. I'll be fixing that one as well. I can't have jiggly head lights.

How things stand now:


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1990 Nissan 300ZX [Summer fun]
1994 Subaru SVX LSi [daily]
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:28 PM
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Re: :::SirSSpec::: 1999 base to S-Spec

APRIL 15, 2013

I contacted hmotorsonline yesterday and received some bad news about the pistons. They do not have any "B" bore pistons in stock, and they are on backorder. I was told to call back again in two weeks.

For those who don't know, Honda uses two piston sizes in these motors; A and B. Honda is a stickler for clearances, so it is possible to have two different bores in the same block. My block is stamped: "B" "A" "B" "A". This means cylinder 1 is a "B", cylinder 2 is an "A" and so on. You can also have a block with all A's or all B's.

The pistons being on backorder is bad news for me since it screws up my timeline immensely. I won't make it to the first meet of the season. On the other hand, the delay gives me more time to work on other things, like the head, preparing the block, and painting the bay.

Also in the good news column is that hmotors carries the piston rings. Honda Canada wants $400 for a set of piston rings. There is no way I am paying that much for piston rings. I'd sooner use ghetto-girl hoop ear rings. Honda in the US charges $145 for a set. I originally thought I would have to use one of those border shipping places to get around the US distributors screw Canada, no shipping policies. However, hmotors does ship to Canada, and they aren't greedy like Honda Canada.

I'm probably going to pick up a little hand-held sandblaster to ease with the rust work. I'll review that when I pick it up. Sorry for the weak update today... but that's how the cookie crumbles.
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1999 Prelude base, ["frame off" restoration + SiR S-Spec build]
1996 Prelude SR(Si), daily driver --> H23A VTEC (+ 4ws) [SOLD]
1990 Nissan 300ZX [Summer fun]
1994 Subaru SVX LSi [daily]
Project "C" - coming soon
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:29 PM
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Re: :::SirSSpec::: 1999 base to S-Spec

APRIL 22, 2013


I haven't touched the car in a few days now, but I have been busy on the "nuts and bolts" of the job. There's always something else you can be working on...

Recognize this thing?

Yes, it's one of the snap latches that holds the air box lid on. Obviously it's current condition wouldn't do.

I soaked it down with that Rust Check stuff, and when it had dried, I clipped the crusties away and found a nice silver surface below! After a light brushing with some fine sandpaper it looks pretty good in my opinion. It will be clear coated to stop the rust in the future.




In other news, I found a place that apparently sells automotive seam sealant, which is good news for me. I had been toying with the idea of mig welding that seam up, but then it occurred to me that welding that joint solid may cause problems in the form of a hard spot in the structure. that seam may have been designed to have a certain amount of flex or "give" and taking that away might screw some things up. I have decided to replace the spot weld I had to grind off, and replace the original sealant with the same rubberized caulking installed at the factory. This also means new undercoating in the wheel wells. ...which also means I have to restore the steering knuckles.

I have also elected to use the POR-15 rust converter and sealant/paint for the rusted areas. I may even do the entire front end in it. it is reasonably priced and everyone raves about it, including professional restorers, so I will be ordering that tomorrow...or today.


I have also sourced out a possible alternative to the overpriced and discontinued in Canada differential shims I *may* need for my LSD. I have found a place that sells precision shims in varying sizes and thicknesses, and, if need be, can custom fabricate a shim for me. Oddly enough, it is the same place that sells the undercoating and seam sealing products. Having the shim custom made probably won't be super cheap, but when you take into account the OEM shims from Honda are $3.50 a pop + shipping from the states + Bongo and reshipping, they can add up. Oh, and did I mention there are 28 of them? The money and the shipping times will add up. You may have noticed I put "may" in asterisks.. that is because I don't know for sure if I will in fact have to shim the differential. I am hoping I won't have to, but if I do, I want to know who I can go to, to help me out.

Now, it took me at least 10 hours of chasing down leads all over the internet and in person to find out about the shims, the sealant and the undercoating and where I can get it all IN Canada.
Some people would say I'm crazy, and wonder why I'm going to all the trouble I am going to. This is what you have to do when you are building a car. I don't mean walking into a performance parts store with $300, buying parts off the shelf and installing them because they look cool. That's building an image. Building a car is thinking long and hard what you want the car to be. Then sitting down and researching for hours, days, months, every part you are considering buying. Studying other people's builds. Comparing reviews. Comparing them to other parts. Then you have to find a supplier or vendor to deal with! It is a slow process, it's dry and boring, yes... but it pays off in the end. For me the researching isn't that bad, because I enjoy the learning, and the challenge of hunting down what I am looking for. To me it is satisfying to know every spec of each and every part I am putting on the car.
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1999 Prelude base, ["frame off" restoration + SiR S-Spec build]
1996 Prelude SR(Si), daily driver --> H23A VTEC (+ 4ws) [SOLD]
1990 Nissan 300ZX [Summer fun]
1994 Subaru SVX LSi [daily]
Project "C" - coming soon
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:30 PM
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Re: :::SirSSpec::: 1999 base to S-Spec

APRIL 23, 2013


I drained the radiator, that went well. The coolant was still bright green, like NyQuil. It looked like it had a bit of an oily "surface" on it, like heavily diluted oil/gasoline on water. The lower rad hose, right where it connects to the radiator didn't look so good, so I'm glad I decided to do this work now, rather than later. The hose clamp was heavily corroded. In fact, it had no spring left to it. The upper hose looked great though. It's clamp was still nice and clean.

I had a struggle with the connector for the fans. What A pain in the arse it was to get unhooked! It's so far down there, and it has the usual dickish electrical connector from hell setup that almost requires a 12 ton hydraulic press to pop, and two teams of wild horses to separate. Total pain in the ass. I don't know why Honda couldn't have given four inches of wire to get the connector up to a place where you wouldn't have to dismantle the whole car to get it apart...

Anyways...
The lower rad hose came off easy as pie with light pressure from channel locks. The upper rad hose didn't take much coaxing to get off by hand. In fact it popped right off...

D'OH!

I think I was more surprised by my reaction than I was at the fact that the radiator basically dissolved in my hand when I pulled the hose off of it. You'd probably expect a lot of swearing and violence.. instead it was a calm "Oh... okay." I think the violence of the reaction is proportional to the expense of the part you just broke. However, above a certain price point, yelling just doesn't cut it. All you can do is shrug it off and carry on.



I think my subdued reaction can also (partially) be chalked up to relief that the radiator decided to check out while the car was on stands in the garage, rather than a week after I rebuilt and re installed the engine. As you can see in the picture above, the plastic was pretty rotten.

Where to from here?

Well, my budget has taken another hit because of this, so I'll have to cut back on something.. I'll reuse some gaskets, or use PAM instead of assembly lube... I kid, I kid... relax. I won't be skimping on essential components, or those that fall into the "while I'm here I should replace them because it's a PITA to replace them in the car" category.

I have my eye on a Mishimoto rad/shroud/fan set up now. I like the OEM look, but I am not paying $1380 (yes one thousand, three hundred and eighty dollars) for a new OEM rad. I'm not keen on a Partsource rad either. I'm sure they're alright, but I don't want to trust my cooling system to a brand I've never heard of.

The Mishimoto seems alright, and it comes with a lifetime warranty. My only concern about it, which will sound silly to you guys is; it looks kind of blingy to me. It's so big and shiny. It looks like it should have its own wing or something. I suppose I'll get over it.

I'll be starting the undercoating/rust removal + repair this week, so stay tuned for that.
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1999 Prelude base, ["frame off" restoration + SiR S-Spec build]
1996 Prelude SR(Si), daily driver --> H23A VTEC (+ 4ws) [SOLD]
1990 Nissan 300ZX [Summer fun]
1994 Subaru SVX LSi [daily]
Project "C" - coming soon
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:32 PM
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Re: :::SirSSpec::: 1999 base to S-Spec

Soapbox moment:

There are several reasons for me posting this thread...

(in no particular order)


1) Entertainment. I know I enjoy a good old fashioned build/restoration thread, and I know a lot of you do too.



2) Historical record. To show what I have done, and record my steady decline into madness.



3) To show you what an ordinary, average guy with a garage and some tools can do with a bit of imagination and research. I hope that after reading this thread some of you will be inspired to roll up your sleeves and take an active role in maintaining your cars. I don't mean for you to jump from hand waxing to what I am doing in this thread in one leap. I find a lot of people are intimidated by their cars. They wish they could do their own work, but they lack the confidence, or they feel they don't have the right tools.

You don't have to be a licensed technician, or have a $40k SnapOn set up to tackle most jobs, including the ones I'm doing in this thread!

Don't dive into this because I'm doing it. This is advanced work, but I started off somewhere. Oil changes, rad flushes, brake jobs in the driveway with my dad. I graduated from watching, to being in charge of placing the lug nuts in the hubcap, to actually doing some of the jobs myself. It's the best way to start. Change your wiper blades, rotate your tires, change your oil, change bulbs etc. Work your way up to more advanced tasks. Your confidence will grow.

I'd hope that some of you out there will read this thread and say to yourselves: "If that guy can restore an entire car with a 322 pc. socket set, two jacks, four stands, and a compressor... why can't I tackle my snow tires?" You can do it!

Start small. Build your skill and confidence.



4) Vehicle maintenance: I hope this thread will demonstrate to you, the need to be vigilant with your maintenance. You can't assume everything is okay because it looks alright.

For example, I thought I knew where all the rust on my car was. Boy was I wrong. I never would have found that had I not embarked on this adventure. Would that have been okay? No! That rust would have gotten worse and worse until my car would have folded in two like a cashew. On the surface, my car looked like an extremely clean and well-maintained vehicle. A spot of "normal" Honda rust here and there but nothing else. I hope that by seeing this thread, some of you will take the extra time to have a look around your car for anything that might be going on. Next time you check your tires, look up in the wheel wells. Run your fingers along the sills. Have a look around your engine bay for leaks. (Tip: your engine should be spotless. Any oil or grease on it indicates a leak somewhere. Today's engines are sealed and don't have oily grime on them as a norm, like in the old days).

The reason I keep my car so clean is not only because I am OCD... it is a maintenance item. My engine looks great because it is all polished up and spotless, yes... but the real reason I keep it that way is because if it sprung a leak, I would know right away, and I would know where it was coming from. It's easier to detect unwelcome changes when something is tidy.
Also, when I am cleaning, I am inspecting. I am looking for leaks, damage, wear (both normal and abnormal), rust/corrosion etc. While cleaning I may notice a wire showing signs of chafing. I can see why it is doing that, and rectify the problem before it becomes a driveability issue...before it becomes expensive.

My rusty wheel wells are a prime example. I caught them in the nick of time. Had that rust gone on unchecked for much longer, it could have cost me thousands of dollars to fix, IF I found it before the unibody failed. My radiator is an example of a lucky break (no pun intended). It looked okay, so I never gave it a second thought. How many of you do the same?

The next time you pop the hood, have a good look at your hoses and belts. Check the wiring for chafing and corroded connections. Chances are you will find something that surprises you. Take a snapshot in your mind of how everything looks, so that when you go back you will notice if something has changed. You don't have to know what everything does, but you can tell if something doesn't look right. If you're in doubt, that's what we're here for!
When you change your brakes or tires, pop out the clips that hold the fender liners in and have a look at the pinch weld. It takes two minutes (just be careful not to break the clip). You may find what I found, and you may just be lucky enough to be able to fix it yourself.

Never assume because it's clean and running right that a problem can't be brewing. Catch it before it catches you!
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1997 Prelude base [wrecked]
1999 Prelude base, ["frame off" restoration + SiR S-Spec build]
1996 Prelude SR(Si), daily driver --> H23A VTEC (+ 4ws) [SOLD]
1990 Nissan 300ZX [Summer fun]
1994 Subaru SVX LSi [daily]
Project "C" - coming soon
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:34 PM
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Re: :::SirSSpec::: 1999 base to S-Spec

APRIL 24, 2013


I was shocked at the rad coming apart the way it did, especially since it looked fine from the outside. The really flaky part was inside the hose so I guess I wouldn't have seen it without taking the hose off. I have a Mishimoto rad and shroud on order. I should have it sometime next week.

I was working on more polishing of bits and pieces last night:
This is the power steering pump reservoir bracket. It is badly corroded... probably the worst I've seen on the car so far. I began scraping it down, but some areas are pitted pretty bad. I will most likely ceramicoat this, along with the other brackets.


Before:



After:

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1990 Nissan 300ZX [Summer fun]
1994 Subaru SVX LSi [daily]
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:35 PM
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Re: :::SirSSpec::: 1999 base to S-Spec

It's been a few days since my last update. I am not making as much progress as I would like. People and things keep getting in the way.
On Monday, I finally ordered my Type-S pistons, and rings. $495.00 (US) all in.

I would recommend to any other Canadians here that if you are in the market for OEM rings, you buy them from the states.

Honda Canada:
130511-P5M-013 RING SET, PISTON (STD) (TEIKOKU) $101.28 (EACH). That comes to $405.12! Also, they are apparently "discontinued" in Canada.

South of the border (not quite Mexico way):
13011-P13-004 RING SET, PISTON (STD) (RIKEN) $36.30 That comes to $145.20.

Getting them to ship to Canada might be difficult, so you'll have to call around. H-motorsonline was willing to ship to Canada, but they wanted $175 for them. The other US distributors all seem to be locked into some agreement to not sell to Canada. I was told it has something to do with "licensing". It probably has more to do with the the Canadian Honda parts racketeers.. oops! I meant Canadian Honda Parts distributors, getting their panties in a bunch because everyone was taking advantage of the lower prices in the states. They bitched that another crew was taking over their turf, and they were losing sales. Now with a blockade, they can proceed to bilk us dry. Well, they can try. I'd put a Ford motor in my lude before I'd pay them $400 for a set of rings that I know are being sold for $150 somewhere else!

H-motorsonline is not bad to deal with. The on-the-phone ordering is a bit of a throw back to the old days though. I'm sure they have their reasons for doing things that way, but it does seem to take longer, and I was worried something would get lost in translation. I like the personal touch of actually talking to someone, but on the other hand, if I know what I want, I prefer to go get it myself, rather than tie someone up on the phone.

I went back to rust removal this week. I decided that since I chewed up a lot of the rubberized undercoating, I would remove the rest of it and replace it all with fresh seam sealer and rubberized undercoating from 3M. The problem is getting that rubberized undercoating off. My solution was one of these:

For those who don't know what it is, it's a needle scaler. How it works is those needles on the end basically go nuts when you pull the trigger. They vibrate like mad and dislodge rust, scale, paint and anything else you want to remove. Don't use it on body panels, as it is an impact tool. It will leave little dings in the surface. I picked mine up from Princess Auto on sale for $24.99.
This was about half an hours worth of work. As you can see the surface is bare metal but not smooth. If you push hard enough on one of these while working with sheet metal, you can poke through it. Again, DON'T use it on exterior body panels!

Another use I found for my needle scaler was my steering knuckles. These are heavily corroded. There is a picture of them somewhere, possibly in this thread. The picture isn't the best, but the shiny area is 100% bare metal. That was around 60-90 seconds of work.


With that type of progress, I should be done and ready to paint my wheel wells, right? Absolutely! Unfortunately, my compressor decided it was time to retire. No air = no needle scaler. F$*^!!! So I am faced with a choice. Scrape it off by hand, or bite the bullet and buy another compressor.

Soapbox:
Those of you who have done builds before know all about this. You've been there, done that. For those who haven't; you will run into this stuff. I don't care how prepared you are. I have planned this down to the last detail and I'm still running into walls. Fortunately, most of them I saw coming with enough time to brace for impact (or to grab my wallet).
I don't mean this to discourage anyone. The amount of problems you encounter is probably about 75% up to you. If you dive in without the proper tools, without the knowledge, without the money, without the planning, it will eat you alive. The car will still be a vicious bitch and fight you every step of the way, BUT the 25% resistance you get from the car will be on top of the 75% you brought on yourself. The more prepared you are for the project, the more likely you are to complete it.
I know all of this sounds super boring. Researching? Reading? Not spending every minute in the garage? Lame right? It's not fun...it's boring... it's oatmeal, when you want chocolate cake. Trust me, on something like this, if you don't eat your oatmeal first, the chocolate cake you'll end up with, will come with bricks in it.
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1999 Prelude base, ["frame off" restoration + SiR S-Spec build]
1996 Prelude SR(Si), daily driver --> H23A VTEC (+ 4ws) [SOLD]
1990 Nissan 300ZX [Summer fun]
1994 Subaru SVX LSi [daily]
Project "C" - coming soon
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:37 PM
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Re: :::SirSSpec::: 1999 base to S-Spec

MAY 8, 2013


Allllllllriiiiiiggggghhhhty... I picked up a great new compressor, and a hand held sand blaster.... and not a moment too soon. I was growing tired of the Amish craftsman-like way I had to work on the car.

As of today, there is still no word on my pistons. According to USPS they are "in transit" but they can't tell me anything more about them. Four days since the last update, and I'm getting antsy.

Today I broke out my new sand blaster and attacked some of those brackets I have been toiling over. Yes.. again with the brackets. I promise this will be the last you hear of them until I finish them with ceramichrome. (sp)?|

Remember this guy? The power steering reservoir bracket:

I had my doubts about this one. I didn't think I would be able to do anything with it, aside from painting it black and hoping no one would ever see it.
In an earlier post I showed you a Rust Check product that converts rust. Since then I have found an ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC product for getting rid of rust.
This stuff:

I didn't even know this stuff existed. It was 5.99 at Princess Auto, and, to be honest.. it blows the other stuff out of the water. The permatex stuff is thicker and clings to parts, which makes it easier to let it soak in and work on the corrosion. When it dries, it doesn't turn into a rock, so it is easy to rinse off. When it comes to actually removing the rust, this stuff makes it possible to simply wipe it off. If you want to get rid of rust, I highly recommend this stuff.
I slopped some of the permatex rust disolver onto that bracket, and got most of the surface rust off the bracket. It took a couple applications but it came up a lot better than before, as you can see here:


Obviously that rust isn't good enough... not when Princess Auto has hand held sand blasters on sale for $13.99!





Work on the car is progressing slowly. That rubber undercoating is a bastard to get off, but the more I remove, the more spots of rust I find. Sadly, I have scrapped the May 25th deadline. I am going to focus on doing this properly. I will be removing the cross members, blasting and painting them, along with the suspension parts. I will be replacing the bushings.. and I might even look into some form of upgrade in the suspension. Something adjustable with a good ride... open to suggestions on that front. My main concern with this work is doing it right and being thorough. I also want it to last. I don't want to have to do this again because I schlepped it together to meet an unreasonable deadline. I would love to have it on the road again at some point this summer, but I am no longer racing the clock. It'll be done when it's done. :)
I will be experimenting with a new rust removal method for the larger parts, like the cross members and such. Blasting is cool and all, but it's messy (I have sand in places I didn't even know I had), and the blaster goes through a ton of sand, which is a pain when having to reload often. This new method will involve soaking the parts in a chemical solution and rinsing the rust off with the hose. I'll show and tell you all about it when I get there.
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1997 Prelude base [wrecked]
1999 Prelude base, ["frame off" restoration + SiR S-Spec build]
1996 Prelude SR(Si), daily driver --> H23A VTEC (+ 4ws) [SOLD]
1990 Nissan 300ZX [Summer fun]
1994 Subaru SVX LSi [daily]
Project "C" - coming soon
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:39 PM
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Re: :::SirSSpec::: 1999 base to S-Spec

MAY 10, 2013

On the weekend I dragged out the box containing the valvetrain that came with the Type-S head. I gave all the followers a thorough cleaning and checked that all the pistons used for VTEC were all in good shape.

I laid them all out after a thorough cleaning. The reason for the clean was not to make them look pretty. They are meant to be soaked in oil and aren't seen, so the cleaning was strictly for visual inspection.


Keep in mind, two sets are still in a ziplock bag, tightly bound with rubber bands, probably for reference purposes from the previous owner, so that accounts for two missing sets, but notice anything else missing? Yup, I have 7 and 2/3rds of the set. It seems one of the followers went missing during the uninstall. I'm not that worried though, I have a complete set in my current head.

Aside from the VTEC pistons and their bores, I was also concerned with the condition of the faces that the cam lobes ride on. They are highly polished surfaces and should be smooth. After cleaning them off, there were a couple that still had some discolouration, which could be hiding problems.


So what I did was I lightly polished off the discolouration to have a better look at what was underneath. This only took a light buffing. I don't want to buff away too much material and start changing clearances.

Here you can see the same follower with a little less clutter on the surface. It isn't perfectly clean, but remember, I'm not looking for a show 'n shine finish, I just want to see what the surface is like. As you can see, there is some scarring near the tip. I can feel the gouges with my fingernail. I'm not crazy about this particular piece, so I will most likely replace it with one cannibalized from the other head.


All of the springs, seats and retainers are present and accounted for. I am however, missing a couple of the "keepers". I am not particularly worried about this, nor do I fault the guy who sold me the head and valvetrain. This stuff happens, and because I am prepared it's not a big deal.

::Soapbox::
Being prepared is huge in a job like this.
Mentally, you have to prepare yourself by accepting the fact that stuff will go wrong. You will break things. Bolts will round and shear. Stuff will be hopelessly corroded. You have to eat, sleep, breath that fact, so that when it happens, you can shrug it off and add the corrective action to the list of jobs you have to do, and whatever you broke to the list of parts to buy.
You also have to start thinking of "outs". These are plan B's. The worst thing that can happen is you end up backed into a corner. You've broken something that cannot be replaced, or is beyond your budget. What are you going to do? Before each and every job I do, I look at it, size it up and thin think of everything I can possibly conceive of going wrong. Pessimistic? No. I then think about all the ways I can get myself out of trouble.
"If I do this, and it goes bad ... what will I do?"
"Can I fix it?"
"Do I have a spare?"
"Can I buy a new one? Can I afford it?"
(If you don't have answers for these questions, STOP!)

This came into play with this valvetrain. I am missing a couple pieces, and one cam follower doesn't look so hot. I was mentally prepared for this because though experience (both mine, and friends), I didn't expect everything to be "all that". I already had a backup worked out in my mind the day I went to pick the stuff up.
I got to thinking about this after a friend of mine had a new transmission installed in his car yesterday. He isn't mechanically inclined, and has quite a bit of money on hand, so he tends to rush into things with absolutely no research. As a result he is always left with egg on his face. The transmission he purchased pops out of 5th gear. The one he replaced was grinding in 3rd.
His problem (and a problem I find with a lot of "tuners") is that they are not prepared. They don't have a way out planned. They aren't prepared for the eventual headaches that come with this hobby. My friend is now stuck with a bum tranny *chuckle* and there's nothing he can do about it. He isn't prepared to be off the road long enough for me to rebuild it, AND in his haste, he purchased two different transmissions, so the parts are, to my knowledge, not interchangeable.
In his case, he is prepared to shell out the cash, not not willing to sit down and think about what he needs to get the job done right.

This is an expensive and frustrating hobby. The car will always fight you, but the majority of the headaches are caused by us not being prepared, and leaving ourselves in tricky spots.


Oh and...

Let the games begin!
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1997 Prelude base [wrecked]
1999 Prelude base, ["frame off" restoration + SiR S-Spec build]
1996 Prelude SR(Si), daily driver --> H23A VTEC (+ 4ws) [SOLD]
1990 Nissan 300ZX [Summer fun]
1994 Subaru SVX LSi [daily]
Project "C" - coming soon
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:39 PM
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Re: :::SirSSpec::: 1999 base to S-Spec

JUNE 5, 2013


Update!

Alright alright.. I've been lazy lately. I'm back in the game though with a small update.

I didn't like the looks of a couple of the valve guides on the Type-S head, so I took it to a local machine shop. He had a look over it and confirmed what I knew before; that the head was in great shape, and straight as a die. He goes on to tell me it will be $350 to install new guides. This is on top of the $89 or so for the supertech guides I was going to order. He then goes on to tell me about how he's never really dealt with a head like this before. Annnnd that concluded our business.

I called up Gord Bush to see what it would run me to have the guides replaced, and have the engine blueprinted. Nice guy, and his work is highly recommended, but it's a bit rich for my blood. He quoted me $15 per guide to install, plus $12 each for the guides... then the work on the valve seats was more.. it totaled out to be around $600...on a head I paid $100 for. I'm sure his work is worth it, but I don't have that much to devote to valve guides. The blueprinting (just measuring clearances) would have come to $1200. Again, too rich for my blood.

Mississauga engines never did get back to me, so they are a mystery.

Last on the list was Canada Cylinder Head. I was up that way a few weeks ago when a friend got his car tuned by a fellow by the name of Nick. Apparently he used to own Teknotik.. I dunno. The guy I spoke to on the phone was very helpful, and offered me a cheaper option than replacing the guides. Boring them out and sleeving them. Apparently this will cost me $80 for all 16. The valve seats will be another $300 or so. Not bad. The head will be going up there next Monday.

One of the guides:

Work on the wheel wells has been slow, but I am making some headway. I got 90% of the rubber coating out, and sanded a lot of the metal bare. The rust that is there, I am sand blasting out. The reason for the sanding the metal bare is the rubber undercoating is really difficult to get rid of. Scraping it off leaves a thin film of it which the primer will not stick to. Keep in mind, the primer is there to seal the metal. If it can't contact the metal, its no good.
My next step will be to shoot the entire are with self etching primer, then primer again to seal it. The seams will be sealed up with the automotive seam sealant, and then a nice fresh coat of rubber undercoating to protect it all, and make it look fresh.
Here you can see some of the undercoating still up around the control arm. I'm going to have to remove these to get right up in there. The splotchy areas are low points where some of the rubber still sits.

Gray = factory primer. Beige = rubber.


Rusted seam picked, blasted and sanded bare. Ready for primer and sealant.
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1997 Prelude base [wrecked]
1999 Prelude base, ["frame off" restoration + SiR S-Spec build]
1996 Prelude SR(Si), daily driver --> H23A VTEC (+ 4ws) [SOLD]
1990 Nissan 300ZX [Summer fun]
1994 Subaru SVX LSi [daily]
Project "C" - coming soon
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:40 PM
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Re: :::SirSSpec::: 1999 base to S-Spec

JULY 8, 2013


I'm back with a small update.

I started a new job working on boats. Friggin hard work in this weather, made worse by the fact that people don't maintain their boats the way they do their cars. Take the worst DIY renovation you've ever seen on a house, and put it into a big fiberglass tub that is impossible to move around in. It's a nightmare.

Needless to say I have been "slacking" on my car since by the time I get home I have absolutely no energy left to work. Weekends I have to spend some time with Stancie (the wifey) after sleeping in a bit longer. Lately though I have been harassed by friends to get my car back in order, yet when I get a chance they call me up with "emergencies." Lesson learned there. They all have their cars but I don't. Weekends from now on are going to be dedicated to getting my car back on the road. /apologetic explanatory rant.

So I left off with the rust removal in the wheel wells. The passenger side is just about done. There is still a bit of rubber undercoating up around the upper mount/upper control arm. I was going to do my best to scrape it out and just prime it with the suspension still in the car. The plan was since the budget and time are running on, I would use the stock suspension for the remainder of this season and then replace it with Tein Super Streets next summer. The current stock suspension is rusted badly but it was holding its own. There was a mystery scraping sound over speed bumps (sounded like the splash guard scraping pavement) but I was easily clearing the speed bumps.) Anyhow, I moved over to the drivers side wheel well and in a moment of rest I poked the spring to get some of the old paint off of it and this is what I found:

****!

Looks like the Teins are coming this summer. I can't say I'm not at least partially thrilled. Who in their right mind would want to sand and blast the wheel wells down to bare metal, prime, and then replace all the seam sealant and undercoating, and put the old rusted crap back in there? Granted, I am not in my right mind for doing all this work myself.. by hand.. but I can definitely tell you it was giving me blue balls to contemplate those rusty old springs in my fresh wells.

Last month I was concerned with the state of my valve guides on the Type-S head. They were a little chewy and had rust in them. I priced out a new set of Supertechs from a Canadian distributor and began calling around for shops to install them. I called up Gord Bush after seeing many recommendations for him. He was very nice to talk to on the phone, but I couldn't stretch to the quoted $600 to install 16 valve guides and hot tanking the head. Next I contacted Mississauga Engines after a friend of mine had his head sent there. They never contacted me back. Either they are too busy, or I slipped through the cracks. In either case, that doesn't fit my needs. The last place I called was a small shop I vaguely remembered seeing when a friend of mine had his car tuned. Canadian Cylinder Head Technologies, in the Allen and Sheppard area.

The fellow I spoke to, (Graeme) was incredibly helpful on the phone, which considering what I found out when I took the head in for him to look at was surprising. I'll get to that in a minute. I described what I was seeing and instead of immediately throwing a high dollar figure out at me, and recommending replacement right off the bat, he took the time to explain different options which would be more cost effective. I was really impressed with how he took the time to talk to a prospective customer. The reason I was shocked upon arrival is because he is there by himself! When you call, or visit, he has to stop what he is doing to talk to you. When you do make contact he takes the time to talk to you, rather than brushing you off the way some larger places will. In the time I spent discussing the head with him, I never felt like he was in a rush to get rid of me. Those of you who have dealt with shops know what I mean. You know your stuff when you call, but they act like you're an inconvenience, and speak to you like you're an idiot. Not at all the case with Canadian Cylinder Head Technologies. I highly recommend Greame (I hope I'm spelling it right).
How is his work? Well, he charged me less than the cost of a tank of gas to hone out the guides, which I can't complain about. He worked fast, considering he is a one man show, and he even gave the head an extra wash for me. I was really impressed. This shop is small and has no advertising that I can find, but don't let that fool you. He does great work, not just on cylinder heads, but he does engines as well. If you need work done, check him out.
I don't have any pictures of the head...yet. You've all seen it. It's all shined up, and now the guides are ready to accept their valves.

Next purchases:
- Tein Street Advance coilovers
- Mishimoto rad w/fans
- Ball joints
- Energy Suspension master bushing kit
- Automotive seam sealant
- Rubber undercoating
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1997 Prelude base [wrecked]
1999 Prelude base, ["frame off" restoration + SiR S-Spec build]
1996 Prelude SR(Si), daily driver --> H23A VTEC (+ 4ws) [SOLD]
1990 Nissan 300ZX [Summer fun]
1994 Subaru SVX LSi [daily]
Project "C" - coming soon
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:43 PM
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Re: :::SirSSpec::: 1999 base to S-Spec

JULY 21, 2103


Yesterday was supposed to be a balls to the wall work on the car day. Supposed to be...

First I headed out to Grounded Conceptz in Pickering Ontario to order some parts. I have to say, I am really impressed with the shops I am dealing with lately. I guess the research is paying off. Grounded Conceptz was recommended to me by a friend of mine. I took a spin over there the week before last and had a long chat with the guys there. Incredibly friendly and helpful crew. Like Greame at Canadian Cylinder Head Technologies, the guys at Grounded Conceptz never made me feel rushed, or as though they didn't have time to deal with me. They also lack the holier than thou "we work at a parts store so we know more than you" attitude you run into at some other stores. If you're in Pickering, or want to try out a new store, give them a shot. They're on facebook too! In my case, they not only matched Teknotik's prices, they beat them.

So what did I buy?

Tein Street Advance coilovers: GSH92-2USS2 $899.
I originally wanted Super Streets but Tein touts the Street Advance as the "next generation" of the Super Streets. The 'Streets are still a lot more expensive than the Street Advance, which I don't understand since they are apparently discontinued. My main concern was support for a discontinued product in a few years time. For $1500 I don't want to come back in a few years to have them rebuilt and have them say no.

Tein Street Advance coilovers $899.99

ACT pressure plate H026X: $320

Exedy OEM clutch disc HCD015U: $80

ACT alignment tool AT58: $6

I am adding a suspension bushing kit and the Mishimoto rad and fan shroud to this list as well.


Next stop was to Canadian Tire to pick up some primer. I found they had all their paints on sale so I went wild and bought up all the B92P and clear coat they had, tow cans of primer and one of those rattle can handles. I get home and discover the cashier while distracted by another employee didn't put everything in the bag. Back to CT I went. More time down the drain.

A quick check of the weather upon my return home indicated the conditions were within the parameters to do some painting so, here is what I did...

What you all really come here to see...










I also got most of the driver's side wheel well stripped and ready for primer.


More work today!
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1997 Prelude base [wrecked]
1999 Prelude base, ["frame off" restoration + SiR S-Spec build]
1996 Prelude SR(Si), daily driver --> H23A VTEC (+ 4ws) [SOLD]
1990 Nissan 300ZX [Summer fun]
1994 Subaru SVX LSi [daily]
Project "C" - coming soon
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:45 PM
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Re: :::SirSSpec::: 1999 base to S-Spec

July 21, 2013


Well I think I found the reason for the crunchy/scraping sound from the front end.

Exhibit A:


The bottom of the spring broke off and caused the spring to bow. The upper coils are rubbing against the shock tube. The shock tube itself is also bent and I can see where it has been rubbing.

While down there I also noticed the upper balljoints boots seem to have failed. The tops of the steering knuckles are encrusted with old grease from inside the boots. Ill have to look up the part numbers for those accord ball joints that fit 5th gens or those TSB replacements, cause I'm not buying new knuckles and upper control arms.

On top of the ball joints, the end links and their bushings look trashed as well. All the other bushings in the front end seem to have their best days behind them as well. They'll all be changed out, and the components stripped and restored.

I didn't get as much work done today because my compressor (my third one since May) blew up and I had to go exchange it.

Oh well... Maybe next week ill make some headway.
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1999 Prelude base, ["frame off" restoration + SiR S-Spec build]
1996 Prelude SR(Si), daily driver --> H23A VTEC (+ 4ws) [SOLD]
1990 Nissan 300ZX [Summer fun]
1994 Subaru SVX LSi [daily]
Project "C" - coming soon
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:45 PM
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Re: :::SirSSpec::: 1999 base to S-Spec

JULY 27, 2013


I quit my job. No more fixing old boats that aren't fit enough to become artificial reefs. Not to worry, I had another job lined up before I told the boss man to take a long stroll on a short pier. The flow of parts will continue!


Teins should be here next week, but in the mean time I picked these up from my friends at Grounded Conceptz:



ACT performance pressure plate, for the stiffer pedal, and an exedy clutch disc.


Since the suspension looks pretty much done, I have been hunting down new components. Bushings for starters, and ball joints.

Since Honda doesn't sell ball joints for the 5th gen (by themselves) I had to hunt down part numbers from other cars that work.
51220-SL5-013 seems to fit all four on the bottom. Honda wants $80 a piece for them.
MOOG has an alternative for the uppers: K90492, but they are $130-150 a pop. Expensive proposition.

I am looking at $422 for OEM end links as well. I don't think I'll be going with those.
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1997 Prelude base [wrecked]
1999 Prelude base, ["frame off" restoration + SiR S-Spec build]
1996 Prelude SR(Si), daily driver --> H23A VTEC (+ 4ws) [SOLD]
1990 Nissan 300ZX [Summer fun]
1994 Subaru SVX LSi [daily]
Project "C" - coming soon
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:46 PM
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Re: :::SirSSpec::: 1999 base to S-Spec

JULY 28, 2013


The engine is finally ready to come out!!!

The only problem is the axle nuts absolutely refuse to budge. I've soaked them with wd40 and put all of my 205lbs on the end of a breaker bar. All the resulted in was a cleanly sheared off screwdriver (wedged in the brake rotor to stop it from turning)

I hit them four times each with an impact. The friggin things didn't budge.

I'm at a standstill now. I can use a cutoff wheel and split the nut (hopefully without touching the axle). Or I could try it with some heat. That's all I can think of. If anyone has any ideas, let me know.


Putting the wheel back on or taking the car to a shop is no longer an option. It has to be done where the car stands now.
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1999 Prelude base, ["frame off" restoration + SiR S-Spec build]
1996 Prelude SR(Si), daily driver --> H23A VTEC (+ 4ws) [SOLD]
1990 Nissan 300ZX [Summer fun]
1994 Subaru SVX LSi [daily]
Project "C" - coming soon
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:49 PM
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Re: :::SirSSpec::: 1999 base to S-Spec

I haven't had much time to do any meaningful work on the car lately. The engine is ready to come out more or less. The shop manual is a bit vague. I've found a few nuts and bolts along the way that were not in there.

I have been stripping down the shock forks and wire wheeling the fasteners. I was getting geared up to press out the old bushings, but I left my job at the marine shop and now I don't have access to that equipment anymore. Ill have to find a way around that.

The forks are stripped down to bare metal. Now I am set to hit them with some por15 paint.


I also picked these up at last:


^Stancie's cat, FREYA . We had been calling her Tina for a while since her and Stancie's other black cat "Ike" fought all the time. They've since settled down and had their names changed.

I spoke with Tein about the Street Advance and confirmed that the pillow ball mounts won't work with them. (****!) I didn't want to have to monkey around with the old upper mounts. I could buy new ones.. perhaps the Type-S ones from JDMLand... Or I could just blast the ones I have and paint them.

I also confirmed the pronounciation of the company name. Contrary to popular beliefs, it is not pronounced "tee-in" "teen" "tine" or even "tein" (like FrankensTEIN). It's actually...(ready for it?)... TANE/Tayne. Who'd have thought it? I wonder what the tricky pronoinciation is for Spoon? :p

I was a little disappointed to find that for nearly a grand, Tein didn't throw in one of those little plush mascots. =/


I'm working at a new job now which has better hours, so ill be able to sneak in a few more hours of work on this car of mine and hopefully make some headway.


As of August 11, 2013 this thread is now current! Future updates will now be in "real time".
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1999 Prelude base, ["frame off" restoration + SiR S-Spec build]
1996 Prelude SR(Si), daily driver --> H23A VTEC (+ 4ws) [SOLD]
1990 Nissan 300ZX [Summer fun]
1994 Subaru SVX LSi [daily]
Project "C" - coming soon
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Old 09-06-2013, 06:12 PM
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Re: :::SirSSpec::: 1999 base to S-Spec

Update:

I had originally intended for this to be a quick two month job. Yank the engine out, do a clean up on the bay, swap in the M2B4 and call it a day. As I dug deeper into the car I found a couple of issues, which I'm glad I uncovered when I did. I also found a lot of "while I have it apart" issues that needed to be taken care of. As a result, my project has gone long term. I am hoping to have the car back on the road in the spring. I have decided to lengthen the time line so that I can afford to purchase the best parts and so that i am not rushing around to get the car done. With this much time and money invested, I want it to be perfect.

Since my car has been out of action, I had been using a truck that my brother bought for his work. He found it uses too much gas, and he didn't have to haul around nearly as much stuff as he thought, so he parked it. I took it up and found that yes, it would be cheaper if I converted it to coal. $25 a day is a bit too rich for my blood. When the weather got warmer I started borrowing Stancie's car (Stancie = the wifey). This worked out because she works just down the street from my house. There were some scheduling conflicts but for the most part it worked out. With the winter coming, I needed to find something of my own to drive.

Armed with $500-800 cash, I hit kijiji and autotrader looking for a beater.

I found a couple Integras, a 2000 for $800 and a 98 for $1100. I went to see the 2000, and it was definitely an $800 car. It ran nice, until it randomly shut off by itself. And there was no trunk key so what was back there is a mystery. The 98 looked nice, it was red and had the type-R wing. I contact the guy and he says "by the way, third gear is gone. I have been skipping 3rd for over a year now because it won't go in" Greeeaaaaaat. Thanks for mentioning it in the ad dude! "Runs and drives great!"

I was giving up hope when I spotted an ad for a 1996 Prelude Si. I skipped over it a couple of times because it was $1500, and that was way more than I wanted to spend. I read throughthe ad and saw that it had a new front end, it was certified and e-tested.




This is what I found
1996 Prelude Si. H23 manual.
$1500CAD or $1400US
243000 kms or 151000 miles
Runs great, the transmission is like BUTTER. It has a bit of rust and a few dents, but overall it's not a bad car. Not a bad foundation for a future build.. but...lets not go there. ...yet. Everytime I mention the car, Stancie's eyes flash like lightning and there is a thunderous "NO!" that follows. She'll come around eventually.



My 99 is in the garage.


Relatively unmolested H23. The previous owner cut the stock intake tube to stick that cone filter on it. Now it's not long enough to put the stock airbox lid on and run my K&N. Brokeass tuners ftl. I might thow in a cheap SRI if I can find one cheap enough. (Now I sound like a brokeass lol)

I like how it sounds, but I hate the look of that exhaust.

Door dent and rust. The girlfriends Civic is there too. I've been driving that around a lot lately. Fun car.

This came with it. Handy to have.


Reasonably clean interior. No rips or gouges.



I love this dash!
IMG_0792_zps779da44b.mp4 Video by SilverFox81 | Photobucket <---video!

I have been looking at 4th gen goodies, but I'm finding a lot of cheap chinese ebay ricey ****. OEM stuff is kinda pricey considering it's a 20 year old chassis. $260 for fog lights? Sheesh. Where did all the leather disappear to? People want to hang on to those centre speakers like they're family heirlooms!

I'll have to have a closer look at the 4th gens here to see if I can get some ideas for the future. If I do keep this car (and I think I will, because it's P.F.M. to drive,) I think it'll be the one I really modify.
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Normal service has been resumed as soon as possible.

1997 Prelude base [wrecked]
1999 Prelude base, ["frame off" restoration + SiR S-Spec build]
1996 Prelude SR(Si), daily driver --> H23A VTEC (+ 4ws) [SOLD]
1990 Nissan 300ZX [Summer fun]
1994 Subaru SVX LSi [daily]
Project "C" - coming soon
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  #26 (permalink)  
Old 09-06-2013, 08:42 PM
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Re: :::SirSSpec::: 1999 base to S-Spec

WOW this is a hell of an opening thread! I can't wait til I'm home to re-read it all since I can't get pics here at work.
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Old 09-06-2013, 09:10 PM
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Re: :::SirSSpec::: 1999 base to S-Spec

Coming out on double side blue ray in november
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  #28 (permalink)  
Old 09-07-2013, 12:43 AM
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Re: :::SirSSpec::: 1999 base to S-Spec

Okay yeah, definitely worth the re-read with all the pics. Very impressive work man, I'm excited to see what else you have in store.
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Old 09-07-2013, 02:24 AM
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Re: :::SirSSpec::: 1999 base to S-Spec

holy cow man!!!! You don't mess around do you? Great project man!!!
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Old 09-07-2013, 08:39 AM
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Re: :::SirSSpec::: 1999 base to S-Spec

Lost for words, this build is looking great!!!
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