Nearing the Bottom… Pt. 1

There has been a flurry of work done lately which is great news for the timeline of the project, but with every step forward, I see at least another half step to go. It’s truly difficult to predict the amount of work a project of this magnitude requires having done nothing quite so extensive and particular. No excuses, let’s look at the progress.

I started by working on the exhaust studs. These had to be replaced since a few of the studs sheared off when attempting to remove the nuts – and yes, one sheared off deep in the threads. I have yet to attempt to remove the buried stud but I’ll be waiting until I purchase a proper stud extraction set, certainly not something worth attempting without the proper tools. But otherwise, all the studs came out with a good bit of penetrating fluid, heat, and sweat. I used a two nut technique to extract the studs.

Essentially, you thread two nuts onto the stud, tighten the second nut against the first nut and then try to remove the inner nut. The friction created in the threads from the two nuts locked against each other is usually enough to bring the stud out. So, with 9/10 studs out and the side of block cleaned up a bit, it started to look like progress.

I then turned my focus on the wiring harness of the car. Since I’ll need far fewer features in the car for Rally use, there is a lot to gain by removing the wiring harness and stripping out the wiring behind the creature comforts that have been removed. Often, services in rally are just 20-40 minutes which is not a lot of time to debug a wiring issue, especially with the amount of wiring in a typical car. A simple, well-labeled, and properly secured wiring harness is a must for long-term abuse.

I started removing the wiring harness by uncoupling all the connections (carefully labeling along the way) and working my way towards the driver’s area. Working first on the driver’s door, then the passenger door, and then finally all the wiring rear of the front seating location, I got to this point after many hours.

This is where you need another person if you attempt to remove the harness in one piece as I did here. I still had all the wires hanging in the engine bay as well. The wires in the engine bay first had to slowly be pulled through the holes in the firewall into the driver’s compartment. This is a tough task because the connectors at the end of the wires are barely small enough to fit through the small holes in the firewall where the wires are fed through. With much communication between a person in the engine bay and one in the driver’s compartment, all the wires were pushed/pulled into the car. To fully remove the harness from the car however, the entire harness needed to be pushed up through the fuse box located in the splash tray – between the engine bay and firewall. Carefully pulling and pushing various strands slowly yielded the result we were looking for – but not without much effort and sweat: The entire wiring harness of the car removed as one.

I later weighed this bundle, and it came in at 40 lbs! There was also a lot more weight removed in controllers, actuators, and brackets. But of course, this is only half (or likely less) of the battle. Now, the harness will need to be laid out, labeled further, and dissected to remove unnecessary strands then relabeled and shielded from the harsh environment. More to come on that and lots of other work soon.

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