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 Post subject: Re: Add some Life to your spice
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 9:40 pm 

Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 12:37 pm
Posts: 547
Location: Sugarhouse, Utah
I was afraid you were going to start stacking tires on the hood...

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 Post subject: Re: Add some Life to your spice
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2013 5:17 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 2:54 pm
Posts: 478
Location: Nagoya, Japan
Alright, it's time to solve this little mystery! These arrived in the mail last Thursday.

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They're FET made (whoever that is), but in extremely good condition. If the wires weren't a little dirty looking, I'd say they were brand new! Most importantly, they're massive! They're about 19 cm, which is a solid 1 cm larger than my headlights.

So, I had to create a mount for them. All I had laying around to get the job done though was this big old sheet of 2 mil aluminum.

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So, I sliced out something that would run horizontally from bumper to bumper and have an extra bit in the center to fold down and bolt on.

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Well, I took my measurements with the grille off, stupidly, so that bit in the center wasn't even kind of fitting. So I sliced it off and made two little tabs that bolted into the spot where the license plate bolts. Here's my first test fitting.

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A few things to notice. Firstly, I knew it would be too flimsy, but I wanted to test fit it to see where the best place would be to strengthen it up. Secondly, my license plate is now partially hidden, which is illegal. Both of these needed to be solved. First up was building some down bars to make the lights nice and solidly mounted.

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That's them in the process of being cut and bent. They were made from some flat stock pieces of 5 cm wide, 2 mm thick aluminum I had leftover from a previous project. Here they are test fit up. The foglights thread directly through them and they then head down and bolt onto the sway bar mounts. So the fogs are now solidly attached in 6 places (2 spots in the center, 2 on the bumpers and then 2 down on the sway bar mounts).

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So, now that it was very solidly mounted and I was happy with it, they came back off and got a lick of paint.

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While that was drying, I made a small plate to drop the license plate down about 6 cm or so. It got a light coating of paint and bolted into place (it has two extra holes in it here because it was made out of some scrap 2 mm aluminum that I had laying around).

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Here we are with all mounts painted and bolted on!

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Next up was wiring. Once upon a time, I owned a Hakosuka project that was rusty beyond what I could handle. One of the things I pulled off it and kept though was the aftermarket Bosch relay setup for some heavy duty fogs. If my math is right, the 100W H3 bulbs in the fog lights will pull a hair over 8 amps each on 12 volts. I had two relays from the old Hako setup and each relay was rated for 30 amps. One relay should get the job done beautifully!

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So I mounted the relay right behind the passenger side headlight and wired the fogs up.

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I still had the problem of how to handle a switch to turn the lights on and off. I wanted something that even if it was on with the ignition off, the fogs wouldn't come on. Turns out though, I had all my work cut out for me. The GS model (which was the top of the line model) came with a 5 speed and factory fog lamps. The factory fog lamps were controlled by rotating the headlight switch to the right. I have no idea if it was installed by a previous owner, or if to save on money the factory installed the headlamp/fog switch in all models, but there it was, in my SL model, just begging to be used!

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The fogs only come on when the switch is rotated to the right and is pulled to the first or second notch, turning the accessory lights on or the headlights on respectively. If I push it all the way in while still turned to the right, everything shuts off, including the fog lights. Perfect!

Here's the fogs on with just the accessory lights on.

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And the fogs on with the headlights. I own the night.

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Another view of the mounting bars with the fog lights wired up. Everything hides very nicely.

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I think it looks awesome too!

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I think the whole character of the car has changed. It's gone from a cute little runabout to some mean looking rally machine. I'm very pleased with how they turned out!

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Now I just need to get an engine to back it all up with, haha.
Thanks for reading guys!

Cheers,
David

_________________
1967 LT23 Mitsubishi 360 // 1967 L10A Cosmo Sports // 1971 S30 Fairlady Z // 1973 PR95 Bellett 1800 GT // 1973 Honda Life // 1988 Z31 300 ZX SS // 1996 EK11 March 1.3 // 1997 AC15 Dream 50
My Homepage: http://sites.google.com/site/nakazoto/home


Last edited by Nakazoto on Sun Aug 11, 2013 11:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Add some Life to your spice
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2013 9:24 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:11 pm
Posts: 96
Location: 世田谷区
Looks real good! I can see this slowly transforming into a mean monster! FET is actually a really good brand. They are along the lines of PIA and were even used a ton on 80's toyotas, even the auto-flip fog lights.

I love the new look, and the old. If I had one suggestion, it would be to paint the top bracket bar that runs along the 2 front bumper halves just the length of the bumper so whatever the bracket bar is touching on the bumpers is silver, the center section is black like you have it. I think the two halves of bumper is really neat and if you can, preserve that look.


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 Post subject: Re: Add some Life to your spice
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 4:54 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 2:54 pm
Posts: 478
Location: Nagoya, Japan
Alrighty!

Since the JNC forum crashed and we have gone back in time a month, we need to bring this thread up to date again! Fortunately, I keep backups of everything I post, so the following is almost exactly what was posted!
(Note: "======" indicates a break in the original posts.)

======

So lately, the little Life has been pumping out a lot of smoke when under load. Particularly, if I go wide open throttle in third gear it looks like a smoke screen behind me. I at first thought it was just burning oil and decided not to go wide open throttle. Then, I got thinking about how the car's been acting lately. It still has plenty of power (it'll peg 90 kmh without even working too hard), but it gets hot awfully quick. The cooling system is able to keep it in check, unless I'm not moving and then I'm pretty much guaranteed to overheat. I chalked this up to the 40+ C days we've been having lately, but there's always that little nagging voice in the back of my head saying that something is not right and I should look into it.

Yesterday I decided to do just that. The oil level hadn't dropped any at all, which didn't really support my burning oil theory. So, I decided check the coolant. I popped off the radiator cap and all looked well in there. Then I took a look in the coolant overflow tank and was greeted with this:

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Ya, that's gross. What does the inside look like?

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Yummy. You can see that the level has actually dropped about 2 to 3 centimeters leaving this nasty concoction on the walls of the tank.

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That looks an awful lot like oil mixing with coolant to me. It would explain the white smoke out the back, too. All of this is pointing to a bad headgasket, maybe not decimated, but certainly on it's way out. I tried to get a picture of the back of the head to see if there was any evidence of anything afoul.

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There was a lot of wetness back there, but that could be from anything really. So, I took a step back, looked at the engine...

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... and then consulted with my new found garage buddy about what we should do.

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He concurred that we should remove a few parts. So I pulled out my wrenches and ratchets and got to work.

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It took surprisingly little time to remove all of that, so I figured while I was on a roll, I should just keep parts coming off (please excuse the blurry picture).

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It took me about an hour and a half from driving it into the garage to cylinder head on the ground! Here's a look at the combustion chambers.

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A (blurry) look down the intake port.

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And two pistons right at top dead center. I actually forgot that it was a 360 degree crank and when I pulled the head, I was expecting one piston to be down. This motor is so super smooth for being a 360 degree crank.

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I pushed the pistons down to the bottom of their stroke to get a look at the cylinder liners.

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They look surprisingly good with no major scoring at all!

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I pulled the water pump off as well. I have a rebuild kit for it, but I think I need a press to get it done.

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I took a short breather and talked to my garage buddy again about what shape he thought the headgasket would be in.

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And then I took a look!

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There's no obvious cracks, splits or wanton destruction, but it does look awful. The material looks puffy and like it's ready to separate at any time and there's a lot of gross buildup on the places where the coolant hits.

It also looks like it's the original headgasket from 1973. Given the torque that the head bolts were on with, I'd say this is the first time the head has been off this engine in 40 years! The fact that I was daily driving on this thing is a testament to how well built this engine really was.

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So, I called it a night there and put a new headgasket on order. Unfortunately, we're currently in the middle of the Obon holidays so the new gasket won't get here until sometime mid next week. So, I closed up the garage and found yet another garage buddy. I love these little guys, they're so cool looking. I say little, but this brown one was nearly the same length as my hand!

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Seeing as how the gasket won't be here for a while, that gives me plenty of time this weekend to focus on the Bellett, which it so desperately needs!

======

So, my new headgasket arrived in the mail last week and some comparison shots highlight some interesting differences.

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First, the new headgasket doesn't look like it's made from toilet paper. Second, the old headgasket water channels were about 3/4 the size of the new one. I can only guess that 40 years of build up slowly closed the channels up a bit, restricting flow to the head.

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I spent some quality time cleaning off all the gunk and crap on the top of the block. It's much shinier now!

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I did the same to the bottom of the head too, although to be honest, they both could really benefit from some machine work.

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So, now that the block and head were prepped, it was time to clean all the head bolts and bolt holes. While cleaning the head head bolts I stumbled across this one. If you look at the very tip you can see the threads flattened out. It was a chore to get this one out when removing the head and now I can see why.

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So, I ran a tap through all six bolt holes on the block and a die around this bolt to fix the threads. Then I ran a separate nut up and down all the bolts to clean as much gunk out of the threads as possible. A bit of oil and all the bolts threaded in beautifully!

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Here's the headgasket sitting on the block and you can just see the clean threads in the head bolt holes.

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Cylinder head on and torqued! On that note, the torque for the head bolts is ridiculously low, like 36 NM. I quadruple checked the FSM and there it was plain as day. I torqued to that spec but still can't believe how low torque it is. It could have something to do with the fact that the block and head are all aluminum from the 1970s, but still.

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Back together enough to do a test run! I slowly turned the engine over by hand to make sure that I got the timing belt hooked up right and that there was no undue friction anywhere. Then I turned it over with the starter a little bit to get the fuel pump going. Then, with the choke out, a dab of throttle I twisted the key and she fired right into life!

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I let it warm up enough to make sure that nothing insane was happening (like peeing coolant or oil somewhere) and then shut it down for the night. The next morning I went out, let it warm up fully so I could bleed the cooling system. With that bled, I started reassembling the rest of the engine bay and the front end. Then, it was out for a test drive in the spitting rain.

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The smoke out the tail pipe is 95% eliminated. What remains is to be expected from a car with no cat under high load on the original rings from 1973. In other words, it runs damn well, haha. I was surprised in that it actually takes considerably longer for the engine to warm up now. I haven't gone on any long drives yet and it's been a surprisingly cool weekend, so I haven't had a chance to stress test it and see if it's still prone to overheating. At any rate, I'll daily drive it to and from work (which is just 3 km away) for a week and keep an eye on all fluids.

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Hopefully, all is well! Although, I'm still a little concerned about the super low torque specs on the head bolts. To be fair though, I'd rather follow what the FSM says than over torque them and warp the head or rip threads out of the block.

======

This weekend I was really hoping to focus on my Bellett and maybe get a little work done on the fog light mount for the Life, but my brakes had different plans. Now that I had the front left wheel cylinder mostly sorted (after replacing everything), the front right decided that it was time to let loose. It was leaking fluid into the drum and making a very nice grunching noise everytime I pressed the brake pedal. So, Friday night it all came apart!

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The biggest problem I ran into was getting the little hardline that runs between the soft line and the wheel cylinder off. When I first did the brakes, that hard line didn't want to let go of the wheel cylinder, so I left it mounted and did my best to clean the wheel cylinder that way. Well, this time the wheel cylinder had to come off, which meant I needed to get that hard line off. Getting it loose from the wheel cylinder was painful, but no where near as painful as getting it loose from the soft line. It was a battle to the very end and the fittings show the results.

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Ya, those will have to be replaced... One trip to the parts car on Saturday morning and voila, two much prettier fittings.

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I slid those on, reflared the pipe, then reinstalled it. Then I swapped to a cleaner wheel cylinder that I pulled off the parts car, put in some new seals and reassembled the whole thing. After a quick bleed, it all seems to be working just fine now!

So, I focused on cooling next. Now that I have a new headgasket in, I want to make sure that I don't overheat, even in extreme situations, like being stuck in traffic on a 100 degree day. So, the first step was removing the old fan.

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Then, I pillaged a new fan from a 4 door automatic Honda Life.

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The original fan is on the left in that picture. So you can see right away that the major benefit is having a full shroud. That's going to make the fan way more effective. But the good news doesn't stop there. The fan blades themselves are actually larger and the motor itself is bigger.

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So, more efficient, more powerful and larger and all in the same space as the original fan. I don't know why they didn't run this fan from the get go. The shroud was pretty rusty and since I needed the car to be mobile soon, I didn't have time to get someone to sand blast it. So, I rubbed it back with some 80 grit paper and then painted it with some cheapo rust stopping paint.

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Then I sprayed some black over top of that, which turned out awful, but black.

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Not the prettiest thing I've ever done, but functional and it actually blends in with the rest of my tired and old engine bay rather well, haha. Then, because I don't fully trust the thermo switch yet, I wired in a backup switch.

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This backup switch uses power from an ACC controlled line, so I can't run the battery down by forgetting about it. It also doesn't disable the stock thermo switch, so, theoretically, I will never have to use it. But after having just done the head gasket, I enjoy the peace of mind.

And we're back up to date!

_________________
1967 LT23 Mitsubishi 360 // 1967 L10A Cosmo Sports // 1971 S30 Fairlady Z // 1973 PR95 Bellett 1800 GT // 1973 Honda Life // 1988 Z31 300 ZX SS // 1996 EK11 March 1.3 // 1997 AC15 Dream 50
My Homepage: http://sites.google.com/site/nakazoto/home


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 Post subject: Re: Add some Life to your spice
PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 4:40 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2010 12:16 am
Posts: 74
Location: Adelaide South Australia
Good to see we're back up to date David, never fear though, I have kept the link to autospot and check in regularly to see if he's listed any cams, as yet no luck though :(

Have you retorqued the head bolts yet?

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 Post subject: Re: Add some Life to your spice
PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 5:18 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 8:57 pm
Posts: 8526
Location: Arlington, TX, USA
Nakazoto wrote:
It's gone from a cute little runabout to some mean looking rally machine.


So, adding some mudflaps then? :mrgreen:


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 Post subject: Re: Add some Life to your spice
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 5:46 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 2:54 pm
Posts: 478
Location: Nagoya, Japan
Anyone who's been keeping up with my Bellett build (link) may have seen that I stole something off the Life for the Bellett.

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That's right, the massive fog lights have transferred over to the Isuzu. The Life got the Sev Marchals that were originally on the Bellett though. You can see the size difference here.

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The Sevs are much smaller and lighter, so my mounts will be getting a complete redesign to be a bit more stealth (and give me back the top of my bumpers).

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But that redesign is going to have to wait for a little bit because I may have accidentally bought something on Yahoo Auctions.

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Oops! Well, when that goes in, I think I'll redo my fog mounts. I've also got a list of other things that need to be handled at the same time as well. I just need to collect parts first!

Cheers,
David

_________________
1967 LT23 Mitsubishi 360 // 1967 L10A Cosmo Sports // 1971 S30 Fairlady Z // 1973 PR95 Bellett 1800 GT // 1973 Honda Life // 1988 Z31 300 ZX SS // 1996 EK11 March 1.3 // 1997 AC15 Dream 50
My Homepage: http://sites.google.com/site/nakazoto/home


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 Post subject: Re: Add some Life to your spice
PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:49 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:24 pm
Posts: 100
Location: Monrovia CA
I am amazed at how much the Life engine looks like a (2) cylinder version of a Civic engine. Gone is the motorcycle design found in the N600. I am also amazed at how tight the evolution from N to Z to Life is. Not at all like early American cars. From model to model there is hardly a connection except for the "badges".
I really like the light bar on the blue car. I would go with that design. Very clean and it puts the fogs nearer the ground which where they should be.


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 Post subject: Re: Add some Life to your spice
PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 4:43 am 

Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2008 10:28 am
Posts: 110
Location: Melbourne, Aust.
Sorry to see more work was required & interesting to see the radiator fan differences, the radiator & coolant capacity both tiny so they seem to have had quite a reputation for head gaskets here when thermo-fan switches failed. (must buy a gasket for an eventual rebuild....)
The smaller Fog lights look a lot less comical & will look even better once remounted.

So does the new purchase mean Honda actually got around to developing a 5-speed for the water-babies? Very interesting, always thought that was only for the late, top spec. air-cooled 360s. Nice.

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'79 Accord, '89 CR-X SiR, '81 Prelude, '74 Z360 H/T, '71 Z360, '64 S600, '75 Lancia Beta.


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 Post subject: Re: Add some Life to your spice
PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 9:35 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 2:54 pm
Posts: 478
Location: Nagoya, Japan
Thanks for the comments guys!

8803, I'm always surprised when I compare the Life engine to the N360/Air-cooled Z360 engine. They're so incredibly different. The air cooled engine is really like a modified motorcycle engine, but the water cooled engine is so much closer to a modern car engine.

79cord, the top spec water-cooled Z360s and Lifes (the GS models) here did indeed get a 5 speed transmission. They were a dog leg with no synchros on first. The first gear ratio is the same between the 5 speed and 4 speed, but the 2nd through 5th ratios are all completely different. They were designed to give a little more top speed, but also to act as a close ratio transmission for more acceleration. I'm pretty excited to see how it'll change the character of the car with it installed!

Before I can go slotting that new transmission in, there's a few things that need dealing with. Here was my list:
Find out why it's still running hot
Figure out the whining noise coming from the front of the engine
Fix the half shaft that clicks everytime I turn the wheel
Magically change the number 4 into the number 5

So, I took a look inside the coolant overflow tank to make sure my headgasket was still doing its job.

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It wasn't...

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Well, that's upsetting. Guess it's time to start taking stuff apart again. Getting the cylinder head off was pretty trivial, it's so simple.

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I don't have a huge amount of experience with head gaskets, but what experience I do have tells me that when you take the head off, the head gasket usually stays in one piece.

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As you can see, the head gasket didn't do that. It came apart into a million pieces, with most of it still being stuck to the head and the block. It seems the gasket material completely separated from the metal material in the center.

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Don't mind the oily looking piston in the picture above. I may have been a little messy when I was removing the head...

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What remains of the head gasket.

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It doesn't looks like I was getting a massive amount of leaking or combustion gasses escaping, but I swear it doesn't look that great either.

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You can see here, even on a not hugely important part that will never see oil, water, or combustion pressure, the material has completely separated. That can't be normal, can it?

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At any rate, I still had work to do. So, with a few more bolts and a little arm strength, I pulled this lump out. Miki wanted me to get my hands in there to give an idea of scale. The engine really is miniscule!

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And the engine bay looking emptier. Next up is the transmission and shafts, but it was at this time that the skies decided to open up for the rest of the night and the entire next day. So I had to call it quits at that point.

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I slipped the engine inside and realized that with the head off, it takes up about as much space as the battery.

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And that was as far as I got! I've got a new (used) timing belt tensioner on the way as I think that's what is causing my whining noise. The one on there is a little too hard to turn for a bearing. I've also got some new CV boots and grease on the way, so both half shafts will get rebuilt. I just need to get a new head gasket and double check that the head isn't warped or something!

Hopefully, it'll drive infinitely better when I'm done with it! The good news of the day was that I got to inspect my brakes. They seem to be doing great finally!

Thanks for reading!

Cheers,
David

_________________
1967 LT23 Mitsubishi 360 // 1967 L10A Cosmo Sports // 1971 S30 Fairlady Z // 1973 PR95 Bellett 1800 GT // 1973 Honda Life // 1988 Z31 300 ZX SS // 1996 EK11 March 1.3 // 1997 AC15 Dream 50
My Homepage: http://sites.google.com/site/nakazoto/home


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 Post subject: Re: Add some Life to your spice
PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:43 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:11 pm
Posts: 96
Location: 世田谷区
Pretty nuts! So the HG was just junky or defect? Will you do a tear down of the trans too, make sure there isn't a broken gear or anything?


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 Post subject: Re: Add some Life to your spice
PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 5:33 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 2:54 pm
Posts: 478
Location: Nagoya, Japan
Sideglide wrote:
Pretty nuts! So the HG was just junky or defect? Will you do a tear down of the trans too, make sure there isn't a broken gear or anything?

Not sure what was up with the HG. Could be that my head is slightly warped and this caused the headgasket to fail, resulting in it breaking apart like that, or it could just have been shoddy manufacturing. Either way, I got my hands on a Honda original NOS headgasket, so that should no longer be a problem!

As for the trans, Since I can't get any new seals for the casings, I'm going to keep it all together and hope that all the gears are good. Plus, with only 36 hp, you'd have to be trying really hard to damage one of these transmissions, haha.

Short update this weekend. I suffered a massive hard drive failure last week, losing over a years worth of photos and data. So, I spent most of the weekend inside massaging the beast back into life. By massaging it back into life I mean mostly playing FTL: Faster Than Light. What an awesome game. The weather was awesome the whole weekend though, so I made it my mission to remove the transmission. Starting with the half shafts.

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Those were surprisingly difficult to remove. Getting the hub separated from the shock took some doing and then, once separated, it still was a tooth and nail fight for space. I also had to completely remove the front brakes, which means I get to play with brake fluid again. I'm so tired of messing with the brakes on this car, haha. Of course, once they were out, there was only a handful of bolts standing between me and this:

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Yup, tiny little four speed out and on the ground!

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I pulled the five speed out for some comparison shots. The five speed is on the top in this picture.

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The most obvious difference is at the end of the transmission. The five speed casing extends a bit further, necessitating the need for a completely different mount. Fortunately, I have just enough of the mount left over to make it work. The speedo cable thing is a different shape too. That's something I didn't anticipate. I may need to find a different speedo cable to make it work right.

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From the front though, they're practically identical.

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I was brought to a halt here by the need for some parts. The side seals that go around the diff exits (whatever they're called) are toast. Without replacing those, it would leak oil like crazy around the half shafts. Fortunately, I can still get those, so I put those on order. I spent some time cleaning the outside of the transmission up, but I'm going to need to cycle some oil through it to clean the insides out. I also popped a screwdriver through the shift mechanism and check that I could get into all five gears and reverse. Also, need to rebuild the CV joints on my half shafts, but that's a hugely messy job and I totally didn't have enough rags to handle it.

There's still a huge amount left to do, but it's getting closer!

Cheers,
David

_________________
1967 LT23 Mitsubishi 360 // 1967 L10A Cosmo Sports // 1971 S30 Fairlady Z // 1973 PR95 Bellett 1800 GT // 1973 Honda Life // 1988 Z31 300 ZX SS // 1996 EK11 March 1.3 // 1997 AC15 Dream 50
My Homepage: http://sites.google.com/site/nakazoto/home


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 Post subject: Re: Add some Life to your spice
PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:09 am 
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Posts: 303
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Head gasket looks fine to me. It's not uncommon for the graphite type ones to fall apart on dis-assembly. Doesn't appear to be any breach from any of the coolant galleries into the cylinders either.

Does the motor consume any appreciable amount of coolant? Or is it just getting hot? Also, forgive me for not searching through all the images (which are fantastic, by the way :tu: ), but what other parts have been checked? Thermostat, water pump, etc.

I know the frustration of trying to find cooling issues. Not much fun at all.

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 Post subject: Re: Add some Life to your spice
PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 5:22 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 2:54 pm
Posts: 478
Location: Nagoya, Japan
ill-minded wrote:
Head gasket looks fine to me. It's not uncommon for the graphite type ones to fall apart on dis-assembly. Doesn't appear to be any breach from any of the coolant galleries into the cylinders either.

Does the motor consume any appreciable amount of coolant? Or is it just getting hot? Also, forgive me for not searching through all the images (which are fantastic, by the way :tu: ), but what other parts have been checked? Thermostat, water pump, etc.

I know the frustration of trying to find cooling issues. Not much fun at all.


Howdy ill-minded!
Thanks for the reply! The motor is getting hot and hard to keep cool, it tends to spit out a lot of smoke after 6000 rpm and the coolant overflow tank has a frothy oil and coolant looking substance in it. Really, I guess it could be anything, but the head gasket was my first guess. As far as other parts go, the water pump has been checked (although I'll be swapping it out with another one as I explain below), the thermostat has been replaced, the fan switch has been replaced and the entire system has been flushed and bled a few a times to get ti as clean as possible. I've got some new stuff going on soon and if I still have issues, I'll probably replace the radiator with something more substantial.
All part of the fun of owning a classic as a daily driver, haha!

Color me exhausted! I had three events in a row, two of which were back to back (for my full time job). The back to back events resulted in me doing on average 12 to 14 hour days for 12 days straight with no day off! Took me three days just to get a little bit of life back into me. I did manage to steal a day this last weekend to get some work done though!

I got my hands on some parts, most notably, new axle seals for the transmission. I also got a new (used) cam belt tensioner as mine makes an awful noise and is quite heavy to turn.

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As you can see, the old axle seals were properly nasty.

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Once I hammered in the new seals, I got to work getting the transmission in and mounted. I was really worried about everything lining up, but only one mount is different between the 4 speed and 5 speed, so everything bolted up beautifully!

Image

The only thing different with the shift linkage is the 5 speed shift linkage has a reverse lock out that requires you to push the stick shift down to slot into reverse, but the 4 speed linkage does not. I'll just have to be vigilant at stop lights, haha. Here it is in fifth gear.

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And in reverse (which is all the way up and to the left). As you can see, everything lines up just how it should! It slots through all five gears and reverse like it's meant to be! Although, my shift knob needs a bit of updating now.

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Next up, it was time to get to work on the axles themselves. The driver side axle was making a clicking noise everytime I accelerated with the wheel turned, so it was time to pull them apart and repack them with grease.

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I actually picked up a used driver side axle that was supposed to be in better condition than mine. Then I ripped both driver side and passenger side as apart as I dared and got to cleaning!

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Installed!

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Which meant I could get the brakes and wheels back on as well!

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After that, it was time to get started on the engine! I got a new (used) water pump with my new (used) cam belt tensioner as well as a Honda original head gasket. I also borrowed some nice, flat grinding stones to really help me make the head and block as flat and smooth as possible! The head, thankfully, isn't warped, but the pits worry me a bit, so I will be doing a bit of work to hopefully get that sorted. But, it was getting cold and dark, so I called it a night there.

Image

Hopefully, I can get this thing moving under its own power by next weekend.

Thanks for reading guys!

Cheers,
David

_________________
1967 LT23 Mitsubishi 360 // 1967 L10A Cosmo Sports // 1971 S30 Fairlady Z // 1973 PR95 Bellett 1800 GT // 1973 Honda Life // 1988 Z31 300 ZX SS // 1996 EK11 March 1.3 // 1997 AC15 Dream 50
My Homepage: http://sites.google.com/site/nakazoto/home


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 Post subject: Re: Add some Life to your spice
PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 6:30 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:45 pm
Posts: 56
Location: Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada
Nakazoto wrote:
...but only one mount is different between the 4 speed and 5 speed, so everything bolted up beautifully!


Very convenient! If one of the mounts was different, was it an extra mount you didn't need to use, or did you have to make some modifications? Going to look for an original 5-spd shift knob to match? :P

Good luck bringing the Life back to...life (I had to...) before next weekend!


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 Post subject: Re: Add some Life to your spice
PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 9:48 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 2:54 pm
Posts: 478
Location: Nagoya, Japan
darkstrike wrote:
Nakazoto wrote:
...but only one mount is different between the 4 speed and 5 speed, so everything bolted up beautifully!


Very convenient! If one of the mounts was different, was it an extra mount you didn't need to use, or did you have to make some modifications? Going to look for an original 5-spd shift knob to match? :P

Good luck bringing the Life back to...life (I had to...) before next weekend!


The only mount that was different was the mount on the end of the transmission, which, thankfully, was already on the transmission when I bought it. It bolted up with zero modifications! You can see the mount in the following picture, unfortunately, I had already removed the four speed mount. The problem is the 5 speed is a little longer than the four speed, so it it needs a different mount to make up for that length. The rest, so far, is identical.

Image

There's actually a GSS 5 speed shift knob for sale on Yahoo Auctions at the moment, but it's a mind boggling 200 bucks! That's nearly what I paid for the whole transmission, haha.

http://page21.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/a ... j249770481
Image

Thanks for the comments!
Cheers,
David

_________________
1967 LT23 Mitsubishi 360 // 1967 L10A Cosmo Sports // 1971 S30 Fairlady Z // 1973 PR95 Bellett 1800 GT // 1973 Honda Life // 1988 Z31 300 ZX SS // 1996 EK11 March 1.3 // 1997 AC15 Dream 50
My Homepage: http://sites.google.com/site/nakazoto/home


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 Post subject: Re: Add some Life to your spice
PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:08 am 

Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:57 pm
Posts: 48
Location: Lyon, France
I love this car, and I like the way you share the job you're doing on it. Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: Add some Life to your spice
PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 7:16 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:45 pm
Posts: 56
Location: Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada
Wow, that shift knob price is outrageous! I guess when something is rare like that, people take advantage of it to squeeze out every penny then can get...

Any chance you could find one (or a similar one) for cheaper or do you think you'll just have to bite the bullet? Depends on how original you want the car to stay I suppose...

Looking forward to more updates! The more I see, the more I want to import one here to Canada! I've been considering a modern Kei like an Alto Works or Wagon R, but the classics are growing on me, especially the Life...if only parts availability / reliability weren't an issue once I got one here... *sigh* lol.


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 Post subject: Re: Add some Life to your spice
PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 11:30 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 2:54 pm
Posts: 478
Location: Nagoya, Japan
pierren600 wrote:
I love this car, and I like the way you share the job you're doing on it. Thank you.

Thank you very much! I'm heading home for Christmas in two weeks, so we'll see if I can get it road worthy in that time!

darkstrike wrote:
Wow, that shift knob price is outrageous! I guess when something is rare like that, people take advantage of it to squeeze out every penny then can get...

Any chance you could find one (or a similar one) for cheaper or do you think you'll just have to bite the bullet? Depends on how original you want the car to stay I suppose...

Looking forward to more updates! The more I see, the more I want to import one here to Canada! I've been considering a modern Kei like an Alto Works or Wagon R, but the classics are growing on me, especially the Life...if only parts availability / reliability weren't an issue once I got one here... *sigh* lol.

Totally not going to drop huge dime on a shift knob, haha. Really, for this car, originality is pretty far down the list of priorities. I plan on keeping my Mazda Cosmo Sports 100% original, so this little guy is my main toy for tinkering around with and changing up. I like the feel of the original shift knob, so for now at least, it'll just live there with the wrong pattern on it.

Really, this Honda Life is the most unreliable car I've ever owned. I chalk that up to two things really. Firstly, I bought a lemon. I bought it sight unseen on the good faith of the seller and that was a mistake. Almost everything mechanical on this car was pooched. Secondly, when it's running, I daily drive it, which is brutal on unrebuilt/unrestored mechanicals of a 40 year old car.

If you were looking for a more reliable classic Kei car, I would recommend going for a Subaru R2. I've never owned one, but they have a super simple air cooled, 2-stroke, 2-cylinder in them and make pretty decent power. There's so little to go wrong in a 2-stroke, that they usually end up being dead reliable (if not a little smokey). Although, there's a huge list of modern-ish Keis I would love to have (Alto works like you mentioned, Mira Avanzato TR-XX, Honda Beat, etc.).

_________________
1967 LT23 Mitsubishi 360 // 1967 L10A Cosmo Sports // 1971 S30 Fairlady Z // 1973 PR95 Bellett 1800 GT // 1973 Honda Life // 1988 Z31 300 ZX SS // 1996 EK11 March 1.3 // 1997 AC15 Dream 50
My Homepage: http://sites.google.com/site/nakazoto/home


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 Post subject: Re: Add some Life to your spice
PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 8:05 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:45 pm
Posts: 56
Location: Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada
Nakazoto wrote:
Really, this Honda Life is the most unreliable car I've ever owned. I chalk that up to two things really. Firstly, I bought a lemon. I bought it sight unseen on the good faith of the seller and that was a mistake. Almost everything mechanical on this car was pooched. Secondly, when it's running, I daily drive it, which is brutal on unrebuilt/unrestored mechanicals of a 40 year old car.

If you were looking for a more reliable classic Kei car, I would recommend going for a Subaru R2. I've never owned one, but they have a super simple air cooled, 2-stroke, 2-cylinder in them and make pretty decent power. There's so little to go wrong in a 2-stroke, that they usually end up being dead reliable (if not a little smokey).


Yeah, unfortunate that the seller screwed you over in that regard...once you get around to replacing everything worn out, hopefully the Life will start being more reliable for you!

The R-2 is a neat little Kei, but I'm not as big of a fan of it's styling compared to some of the others. I DO like the styling on the Suzuki Fronte though (especially the Coupe!), which is also a 2-stroke, so that's a distinct possibility...the Subaru Rex could be a candidate too, as could a 2nd-gen Minica or a Daihatsu Fellow Max...so pretty much every other classic Kei, haha :lol:

The Alto Works is my first choice for a modern Kei, I'd say, if I were going to get one - I love the Cappucino and Beat too, but their prices have been rising pretty steadily :(. I like the look of the Wagon R (especially the RR version if I could find it with a manual!), even if it is a "common" car in Japan - as it's a lot more common it tends to be cheaper and probably a bit easier to get parts for when needed, plus, nobody would have one here anyway!

Going to take your Minica for a few drives when you're home for Christmas, or is she going to be safely tucked away in the garage? I don't know how much snow you get in Texas, but they salt the roads like mad up here... :td:


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