Well that first entry was messy... Must go back and tidy it up.
So where did we leave the poor Celeste... That's right, time to go turbo!
At this stage I'd moved out of home, into a bachelor pad with a good friend and his brother. There was a massive garage and driveway, perfect for working on cars! This was March 2006, I'd just got my first proper paying job and I was also trying to have a social life...It didn't work too well!
I'd made the decision to go ahead with the conversion without asking my flatmates/landlords, and they were a little pissed off after a week of the Celeste sitting around doing nothing. little did they know that a year on, it would still be sitting there!
Here she is the day I started, at the front of the property. She was soon moved to the back, where she would stay for many months!
I got started with the engine bay. Here it is sans engine, but still with all ancillary business.
I was always going to move the battery and delete the tray, as it was in the way, and it was an easy way of moving some weight to the rear.
So I started hacking the tray out after work. It took 3 nights in a row, as it was winter now, which meant I only had around an hour each night to work on it.
While I was doing this, I dropped the engine down to the same garage to be rebuilt... I was assured it wouldn't take too long this time...
So I continued with the engine bay, and ended up with a fairly smooth tray area. I had planned from the beginning to repaint the engine bay as it seemed easy. I wanted it done professionally, with the prep done by myself, but this was logistically difficult as I couldn't move the car easily.
I also had the MAJOR issue of the ECU. I had recieved the engine with the loom, and two funny lookin boxes. Of course, one was the main control unit, the other was just to control windows or doors or some such. Anyway, I had no idea, I didn't even know if it was the correct ECU. So I started stripping down the loom with the intention of retaping it up and going from there. What a mess. I had no way of testing it, as I had no multimeter and didn't know how to use one anyway!
I started to learn more about this series of engines now. I knew it should have had a TD05, not a TC05 turbo. As such, I purchased one off our online auction site, Trademe.co.nz, which was apparently set-up for a Starion engine. Of course, it wasn't, but it sure was pretty!
I needed to mix n match a bit from the TC05, but I got there in the end. As the stock manifold was cracked, I needed it repaired, and the external wastegate mount welded on. The guy did a great job, but did the mount wrong! Do A friend re-did it, but it was a terrible job
So the external got the boot, and I purchased a stock manifold, as well as a better downpipe.
So it had taken around 4 months with the garage to sort out my engine. I wasn't happy, but the availability of parts for this motor was slim to say the least so I wasn't too harsh on them. The rebuild cost me quite a bit, close to $1000.
I had finished prepping the engine bay, and opted to paint it myself. I purchased a small $100 compressor, and a $50 paintgun, and did it on the driveway, with acceptable results! I dropped the engine in a week later with no problems, except the driveshaft not fitting the box! Different splines for Starions and Sigmas.
At this stage, I decided to flag the stock ECU and shop around for an aftermarket model. I talked at length to both Link and Microtech about my engine and both assured me they had a model that would work with my engine. I decided to go with the Microtech, as a friend had great results with it. It was a costly decision, as they have no proper support within NZ, and are actually not like by NZ tuners much. I opted for the LT-10S model.
Of course, it was designed for the standard turbo 4G63. That is, a fairly different beast. The 12 valve model used staged injection, with the larger injector coming in at around 4000rpm, along with a solenoid which opens the extra 4 smaller inlet valves. Quite a cool setup, but hard to plan around. As it eventuated, one of my injectors was stuffed, so I had to bring one in from Australia. i also purchased a unit to allow tuning via a laptop. Not cheap, as I purchased a laptop also!
Unfortunately, at this point, my best friend was killed overseas. This was extremely difficult, understandably, and I knew then that I was never going to finish it. The project went on the backburner for a number of weeks.
EventuallyI started fitting all the extras, such as manifolds. This is where I started to have major issues. The ECI unit was old, and pretty crusty, so I decided to refresh it with new gaskets, and clean it up.
I STUPIDLY used a far too harsh brush on the alloy, and gouged it quite badly. This lead to water being allowed into the inlet manifold when it was running, and I was lucky to not lock the whole motor up! This happened a number of times, until I tracked down a secondhand manifold and ECI unit and made one good unit with two "big" injectors instead of the staged setup. I had managed to get it running, I should mention, but as the ECU wasn't turning the second injector on, it wouldn't rev. I decided to take a week off work and just go hard at it with a friend.
In one afternoon, we mounted the ECU, the fuel pumps and fuel lines, replaced all locks and ignition barrel, mounted another turbo, installed the battery and cabling, a new stud for thermostat, and had the ECU 90% ready to go.
It had now been a year since I started the swap, and with the death of my friend, the changing of what I held important had happened, and decided to sell up and move to another, bigger, city. I now wish I had waited a month to get it going with the better ECI unit and turbo setup, but life is life! I purchased a new daily and made for the hills, having lost close to 10k, but having learned a lot for it. Drove my daily, the below 1983 Sigma, on bumpstops, 550km south to Wellington and back about 5 times in the following year. Great car, it's now been retired also. Don't ask what I drive now
I recieved huge amounts of flak from forum members at oldschool.co.nz, but I know that without their help with the technical nature, and support after Chris died, I wouldn't have got as close as I did. So cheers to them!
My advice to everyone is to do stupid amounts of research and take time with little stuff. Also, try not to drink too much beer.