We got the engine in the Spyder last week with a little help from my friend Cory. But then there was a problem: The two lower motor mount bolts bottomed out on the crossmember and could not be tightened.
Looks pretty good, don’t it? But the engine is sitting maybe 3/16ths of an inch too high, and only one of the motor mount bolts is in.
This came about because I tried to cheat. I put the bolts in the mounts, facing down, before bolting the mounts to the bell housing and attaching the engine. The correct way to assemble this thing is to put the engine in the cradle first and then climb under it and contort your body however and feed the bolts up through the steel frame into the motor mount, but I didn’t like that—there’s no room to do it and the bolts don’t want to go in unless the whole powertrain is pushed forward and everything has to be lined up perfectly and did I mention you’re under this thing while it’s just hanging there over your head and there isn’t room to bend your elbows?
It’s a goddamn slog, so I figured out a better way: capture the bolts first, then shimmy the engine into place so they drop right through the slots and you put the nut on from underneath at your leisure.
As with most of my theories, it didn’t pan out quite perfectly. What I neglected to do is measure the space above and below where the bolt goes through. Turns out there’s a skosh more room on top. A little less underneath. And so getting the nut started from the bottom was super tough.
—and when we finally got them socked in, the bottom of the bolt hit the frame before the bolt head snugged up against the urethane mount.
This all happened approximately 9 pm on Tuesday night. It was six the next morning before I realized how bad that is.
But back up a step. Here’s how the process went on Sunday, Monday night and Tuesday when I installed the throwout bearing, bolted the mounts to the bell housing, cinched the trans to the engine, assembled the engine crane and made some brackets to lift the whole mess over the shock towers:
First I checked through my Big Bucket O’ AN Stuff (TM) to see about getting the oil out to the remote filter and back, and plumbing in the Accusump.
Turns out I have enough AN10 and AN6 stuff to plumb a race boat but my oil take-offs are AN8 adapted to 3/8 NPT and I only have a little bit of that. So I needed a couple adaptor fittings. Ordered.
With the engine married to the transaxle for the first time I drilled the final hole in my Imitation Type 547 Breather and tried it on for size.
I have no idea if this will impress anyone else but I freakin’ love it. Again, the reference:
Then the crane…Oh and prep the frame by drilling more holes, cleaning everything and touching up my welds and any scratches with frame epoxy.And fold-over, seal and rivet the last little aluminum tab from the belly pan.
Make lifting brackets because these engines were not designed to be lifted from the top like this, but rather cradled/jacked from below, which isn’t really an option on the Spyder.
On Tuesday morning before work I hoisted the engine into the car.
With the top bolt started on one side I figured I was golden. Cory came over after dinner and had a few beers and advised me to allow him to paint the shroud cream or body color. I said nope.
We hung the wheels back on and fussed about with the lower engine bolts/nuts for a while when it started to become clear that this wasn’t going to get it.
Wednesday morning, 8:30 a.m.:
A little later:After dinner I spun a die on the bolts and cut off the bottom quarter inch.Then I hoisted the powertrain back in and screamed at those bottom bolts for like an hour each trying to thread the nuts on them. I mean, Goddammit! I was done about 10:00 pm. Then I dug out my exhaust and tried it on for fit. The 4-into-1 system that came with the car es no bueno. The front pipes hit the oil sump and, while it could go away (it’s not needed with the Accusump), the rest of the pipes also don’t want to fit.
I tried the Sebring style pipes and they fit nice, if a little tight to the bottom of the engine. Ordered a pair of very small turbo mufflers (Walker PN 21598) that should work well with it.And that’s where things stand as of now. Today I plan to install the battery and fat wires, then start hooking up the lights to test the circuits. Hoping to get the wiring tucked in by week’s end, and the hydraulics soon after that.
Ordered new tires: Vredstein Sprint Classics and tried to contact my tire guy to put them on the aluminum wheels. The Carlisle Import & Performance Nationals are less than three weeks away. Crunch time.
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