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Dusterbd13
Dusterbd13 Reader
6/5/12 10:07 p.m.

please pardon the blatent cut and paste. needed to start a legt build thread on here, is\nstead of a bunch of little odd posts.

So I bought this 1997 neon ACR on Friday after work in Burlington, NC. That’s about 90 miles from where I live. 127XXX on the odometer. Still has the adjustable konis, and they’re not leaking. Would have driven it home, but the front right wheel bearing is so bad it scares me. The wheel moves about a half inch.

Ive been looking for a 1st gen, 2 door, five speed, twin cam car for a while. Was NOT expecting an ACR, though. Don’t know if ill keep it long term or sell it to a guy to make a dedicated racer. I was looking for a pocket rocket commuter/STS car. This may be more than I want. These are the pics that made me drive 180 miles round trip and spend money that was slated for an EFI and 5 speed swap on my duster.

So we went up and got it today. Spun over three times, and fired right up from dead cold. No smoking, no noises, which is a good sign. After I had it on the trailer, I got to looking at it a little harder. This thing is tired. But solid and absolutely rust free.

It has been tapped in the right side at some point, hence the door and some waves in the quarter. They also painted the taillight trim on that side when repaired.

The front left fender is pretty much crushed, and I have no idea how I missed that.

There’s no brake fluid in the reservoir.

3 out of the 4 wheels only have 4 nuts on them, and they’re all only finger tight.

The passenger’s side window doesn’t roll down. Or up. Or seal.

New battery! No two tires are the same brand, and there’s three different sizes. All bald.

Fresh timing belt and water pump by appearance.

Both front headlights are busted.

Power steering works intermittently. And it’s full of fluid.

Doesn’t overheat, but smokes lightly when hot with the thermostat open.

No adjuster knob for the Koni's.

Fresh-ish belts and hoses.

That’s the inspection that ive given it so far. I also cleaned it up some, and drove it around the block to get a better driving impression. The shifter is vague, the clutch releases at the floor, and the motor moves around A LOT. Plenty of power and the clutch don’t slip, though. No noises that I can hear over the wheel bearing/cv axle.

All in all, I think I may have overpaid a bit at 650.

cleaned up pretty good so far, and backed into the shop so I can get it up on stands, knock the wheels off, and start giving it a thorough once over. My goal is to get it to the 2012 GRM challenge. And have it daily drivable.

So ill be tracking the budget. Car and title fees: 650 Booger bushings to fix the shifter: 22 from eBay. Cleaning supplies: free! Used the same castrol super clean I use on my concrete and siding, and dishwashing soap. Total to date: 672.

On to the pics!!

Please, feel free to comment. Michael

So, time for a good bit of an update: When I got the car home, I had 672 in it. So far, that number has one up a bunch to make it roadworthy. 61.82 At pull a part for the following items: trunk liner, PS spindle/hub assembly, rotor, brake pads, clutch pedal pads, glovebox door, air snorkel, trunk weather-stripping, a couple of lug nuts, and a few bolts. 49.99 For a new CV axle from AutoZone 10.87 for a valve cover gasket from e-bay 34.00 For plug wires 7.82 For plugs 3.49 For a PCV valve

Parts that I installed that I had lying around the shop: various rubber hoses, RTV for the gasket, various nuts/bolts/pushpins from my coffee cans, Mopar trans fluid left over from the early 2000's (had a pretty neat 98 Dakota with a 5 speed at the time), Fuses, crimp connectors, speakers (cheapie pioneers from the box sets that wal-mart sells every Christmas)

Once I got the car up in the air, I started to really look at it good. Passenger’s side door didn’t work well, and the window didn’t seal or roll down. Brakes were out of fluid. Lots of engine movement Missing intermittently Check engine light on Tires shot FILTHY (hence the build thread title) Radio only worked when it wanted to Only half the electrics worked Door ajar light stays on Shift know trashed Loose shifter linkage Wheel bearings, etc. Valve cover leaking Vacuum leaks And that was the short list. I truly began to wonder why I bought this pile of crap, and if I had just completely blown 800 bucks.

Ill admit that I felt some better after getting ~3/8 of an inch of dirt off of everything underneath it and the inside of the wheels. Don’t ask me why, but it made me feel better about my purchase.

I then went to pull-a-part in Winston Salem on weds day, as I was in Greensboro for training for work. Managed to grab the aforementioned items, but was unable to locate good headlights or a good passenger’s side door panel or door. Did look at the AC and cruise setups for these cars, which I found that I could easily add to the ACR if I keep it and daily it. I also have to say, pulling a spindle assembly like I did SUCKED. Granted I was spiking a 103 degree fever along with low blood sugar by the time I got done, so it probably should have gone easier. I still don’t know how I drove the 2 hours home. I honestly remember paying for my stuff, and then crawling into bed after a shower with my wife calling the doctor.

By Friday night, I felt good enough to putter down in the shop again. Figured id start with the tune up and valve cover, as that should be simple and not too strenuous for a sick guy. Got it all pulled apart, and found that all 4 plug tubes were full of oil up to the valve cover seal. Sucked what I could with a shop vac, and let the rest lubricate the top part of the cylinders. Cleaned up everything real good with break clean, paper toweled, and lacquer thinner. installed my eBay valve cover gasket, and put it back together with RTV at a few points in the gasket channel, and at ALL corners or turns of the gasket.

Gapped my plugs to .35 like the FSM calls for, installed my new plug wires after cleaning up the terminals on the coil. Fired it up, found a few vacuum leaks from cracked hoses. Fixed those with what I had on hand, and installed a new PCV. Ran a whole lot better now. I also installed the factory snorkel and hardware that was missing.

I then had to sit down for a while. I was still not feeling well. So I sat in the passenger’s seat and pulled the wal-mart stereo that came with the car. Whoever put it in should not have been allowed to. He just stripped everything and twisted stuff together until it worked somewhat, and then finished the install with a combination of electrical and scotch tape. In the process of all this, he had blown the cigarette lighter fuse, dash light fuse (probably from where these leads were left bare and dangling), dome light fuse, cut the factory connectors off, and broke the antenna wire. Wow. (and these people are allowed to vote!!)

He also didn’t even install the stereo to the dash adapter correctly. I don’t know how he figured this out, but he used the removal tools to wedge the mounting collar and stereo to the adapter.

So I chased the factory wiring and hooked up the stereo with crimp connectors, as well as mounted it properly and replaced the fuses. Only the two rear speakers worked, and those intermittently as they were blown. Just like the fronts. So ill toss in those previously mentioned cheap pioneers I have taking up room n my storage shelf.

When I felt better later on, I decided to work on the door. Again, a non strenuous, sick-guy-trying-to-make-progress kind of task. Pulled the door panel, which was held on with balls of duct tape and drywall screws, to watch it fall apart in my hands. I figured before I even started on the door innards, I could sit in a chair and work on the panel. Using some 3M super weather-strip adhesive and spring clamps, I started to glue it back together.

I also took this opportunity to swap out the glove box door that kept falling off. The plastic flap that Chrysler considers a hinge had split in half, leaving only the latch holding the door on. I had scored one at pull-a-part, and it only took three bolts. Before: After

I also spent some quality time inside the door at this point. I figured out why the window wouldn’t roll up and down: it was zip tied into place. Apparently the hardware for the tracks had come loose, and instead of buying a few nuts and spending some time, someone zip tied it. I had a coffee can full of nuts, so I found some that fit. All the parts were there except for one glass retainer. Ill have to figure out if a 4 door is the same and get one. Other than that, the window is back together and operable. Still needs lubed and adjusted, but then again, so does the drives side. And as a bonus, now that the window track parts aren’t rammed into the linkage, the door latches a lot better and easier

Now onto the harder stuff that I had to wait until I had more energy for. Things like shifter bushings, spindles, etc. I did the bushings first because I figured they’d be easier. When I looked at the ends of my cables, I learned that there weren’t ANY bushings in them. Just plastic loops. Saved me the trouble of removing the old bushings, I guess. I got the two fronts in, but have not done the sifter end yet. But what a difference!!! It feels so much better. Still feels slightly notchy and balky, so I may have to pull and lube/adjust the cables after I do the sifter end. I then moved on to the spindle. When I pulled things apart, this is what I found: A trashed rotor Trashed pads And a SEVERLY trashed spindle (no lie, all the parts fell out when I pulled the spindle nut. These were all the balls left to the bearing. Scary, aint it!)

I have no idea how many miles he put on it after the wheel bearing started going bad. But it did a number. I popped the CV shaft, as I knew it was shot as well. That’s when I learned that on a Mopar FWD, the trans lube will come out after removing the CV axle. I let it drain, and finished it out by pulling the drain plug. Reinstalled the drain plug and axle

And filled it with genuine Mopar trans fluid

Couple of neat pictures of the factory adjusters for camber on the front struts:

Got it all buttoned back up with the junkyard spindle and hub (from a 99. has a different hub thickness and bearing retention, but its what they had. I’m going to TRY to save the original ACR spindle and hub, but I'm not holding my breath), filled the tires to 35 PSI cold, and took one last slide under the car to give it a visual before test drive that’s when I discovered that the front motor mount was shot, and the rear bobble sheared.

I have ordered prothane inserts for the motor mounts, and ill weld the bobble back together for the time being.

So, I was off for a test drive. I was really tired, and just wanted to try out my new car. Got two blocks from the house before the noises started. Turned it around to come home, and they got worse. Apparently I forgot to tighten the wheels down. Take this as a safety note: don’t work when feverish!!!! You WILL make mistakes. And some of them could kill you, or damage your car.

Luckily I only lost one lug nut and boogered up a stud. I had to walk back to the house to get a torque wrench and socket, and upon returning and tightening the wheels, the car wouldn’t start. I figure it was god’s way of telling me to double check all my work.

So I parked it for the day to check my work in the morning.

Sunday after church, I got home and changed, fixed the loose battery terminal I had created when I was doing the booger bushings (took em loose so as to not arc from the battery), and went for another test drive. This one went very well. The clutch felt good, the shifter much improved, the car pretty tight and solid. Check engine light came on about a block from home. So I went to the gas station about 3 miles from here, filled it wit fresh gas and some sea foam, and went to see my buddy at o-reilleys. I was honestly expecting an 02 sensor code based upon what the previous owner told me. It wasn’t. It was a P1390, timing belt slipped a tooth. I had visually checked the timing belt to see if it looked fresh, and it does. So I'm assuming he screwed up the cam timing, which as I understand from my research is easy to do. No biggie.

The motor cleared of smoking within a mile or two, and has some decent power. Not what I was expecting though, and I’m hoping retiming the cams and gutting the stopped up cat converter fixes that.

I spent Monday driving t around town getting a feel for it, and took it the 20 miles to my dads place Monday night to park it on the lift for the mounts and timing belt job. Were planning on working on that Friday. I also got a set of free tires to replace the redneck racing slicks that are currently on it. Ill be picking those up tomorrow night after work. They’re a set that were on my Camry, went to a buddy of mines truck, and now are coming back for the neon.

I still haven’t had enough seat time in the car to decide whether or not I want to keep it.

Next steps:

  1. Fix tires. Right front started to separate
  2. Fix speedometer. It only works intermittently.
  3. flush and bleed brakes
  4. flush radiator
  5. change oil
  6. install motor mounts
  7. re-time cams
  8. gut cat and make 02 simulator
  9. align
  10. drive
  11. Drive some more.

Ill be back with more when I do more.

Again, as always, please leave feedback.

Michael

Javelin
Javelin UltimaDork
6/5/12 11:36 p.m.

Subscribed!

And I still can't explain why I desire this car so much.

Dusterbd13
Dusterbd13 Reader
6/6/12 7:11 a.m.

neither can i!!

theres just something about it that makes me giggle. ill give you first dibs when it leaves my stable if youd like.

i forgot to add: repair power steering, clean interior.

Billy_Bottle_Caps
Billy_Bottle_Caps HalfDork
6/6/12 8:37 p.m.

diggin the color

tuna55
tuna55 UltraDork
6/6/12 9:14 p.m.

Whoa - pouring your heart and soul into that little beast. Good luck.

Appleseed
Appleseed PowerDork
6/6/12 11:00 p.m.

There was/is a Saturn wagon build/restoration on there, so you're not weird. Plus, with the "paint" that's on it, no one will fault you for doing something gnarly with it. I vote bedliner.

Dusterbd13
Dusterbd13 Reader
6/7/12 7:13 a.m.
tuna55 wrote: Whoa - pouring your heart and soul into that little beast. Good luck.

nah, just giving a somewhat rare car what it deserves (a better life). its 1 of 1050 ACR's in 97, 1 of 40 in lapis blue.

thanks for the feedbac guys.

Will
Will Dork
6/7/12 10:27 p.m.

I think the same guy that installed your stereo installed the one in my MR2. When I bought it, the owner said the dash lights didn't work. It turned out that he used the dimmer switch as a stereo ground, and when he did that, he blew the switch. Well, kill the switch and the lights go, too.

He also ran the wire to the door speakers so that it was crimped between the factory rubber boot for the wiring and the door. So sure enough, after opening and closing the door enough, the insulation got worn and the speaker wires shorted on the body.

But the degree of boogering and "there, I fixed it" mentality on your car is something else.

SilverFleet
SilverFleet Dork
6/8/12 8:23 a.m.

I like this thread. + 1 internet points for you for rescuing this car from the evil clutches of it's previous owner.

These are cool cars. That reminds me... I really need to post up a build thread on my CSX sometime. It's like a 1980's version of the ACR with a turbo!

Sky_Render
Sky_Render Reader
6/8/12 8:49 a.m.

I love FWD Mopars!

Double_Wishbone
Double_Wishbone New Reader
6/8/12 9:35 a.m.

I definitely want to see how this progresses.

Keep up the good work!

Winston
Winston Reader
6/8/12 10:03 a.m.

Great thread, keep working and posting :D

Dusterbd13
Dusterbd13 Reader
6/10/12 8:58 p.m.

thanks guys.

ill probably post a full update later this week, but lets leave it at the fact that i retimed the cams. it now gets rubber in 4 gears when power shifted at 7600 RPM.

this damn thing is gonna kill me.

unless i get the steering and brakes fixed before too long.

tomorrow ill gut the cat, and see if i can nurse the power steering pump back to life. lucas steering in a can, here i come!

oh, and i put new used tires on it before the cams. 195/70/14 michelin all seasons. that are almost down to the wear bars. but will pass inspection, and were free.

michael

Appleseed
Appleseed PowerDork
6/10/12 10:38 p.m.

Those will make some nice burnout tires when you upgrade rims and rubber.

Dusterbd13
Dusterbd13 Reader
6/11/12 9:45 p.m.

So, a non-picture intensive update.

Budget first:

Exhaust band clamp: 11.99 at o'reilleys

Tires mounted and balanced 40 at crossroads tire

Prothane motor mount inserts: 20 shipped from amazon

(I won’t count oil and filter, as that’s a consumable)

Stuff I used from my stashes

Power steering fluid and power steering in a can

High temp copper RTV

Window retainer from a corvette (88 z51 car I gutted and turned into a dry sumped, caged time trial car for my dad)

1 hose clamp

4 used Michelin 195/70/14 tires

Total budget expenditure to date: 911.98

Not too bad, really. I thought I had more in it.....

So I picked my tires back up from my best friend. These were on my 99 Camry when I bought it. They started to get pretty thin, and hydroplane. Seeing as how I drive roughly 500 miles a week for work, that was unacceptable. I threw some 16s on the Camry, and gave these to Dustin for his Mazda. He ran them for a little while and when back to his 15's and chrome wheels. He sat them in his shed, and there they sat until I picked them up last week. Took them and the car down the road to crossroads tire, where they mounted them up for me. They’re not the best tires, but they are a far sight better than what the car had. And the price was right. Size is 195/70/14, which according to my calculations throws the speedo off 10%. Only applicable when the speedo is working though.

They do clear everything, which was my main concern. Pretty tight at the rear spring perch, but I’ve got about 3/8 to spare. They do fill out the wheel wells nice, though.

Unfortunately I don’t currently have a picture.

I also ordered and received my prothane motor mount inserts. Going this route would be cheaper than replacing all my broken mounts, and I like the additional throttle response that filled motor mounts give. Installed the front so far, and it made a world of difference. Tried to install the passenger’s side but it kept fighting me. I finally tried pressing it in with a vise and made it work. Until it popped out. Turns out I was doing it wrong.

Here’s a link for how to's http://www.baneon.org/howto/prothane.html

Ill finish this up, and re-install the passenger’s side when I get it home this week. Ill also take pictures to prove it. Additionally, I think I’m going to fill around the inserts with some RTV to help them stay in place better. The front mount has also started to work its way loose form where I set it. These inserts do work, but not nearly as well as the corksport ones I bought for my protégé years ago.

Onto the other fix it items....

When I got the car out for my test drive, it was throwing a code that said that the timing belt had slipped a tooth. So Friday night, my dad and I set out to retime the cams. That was a serious pain in the ass. I think next time I do a timing belt on neon, I’m pulling the motor. It HAS to be easier and quicker.

Anyway, the previous owner had done a timing belt and water pump in the car. He had also missed a tooth on the intake cam. So we got that fixed, tensioned the accessory belts, and generally tidied up and cleaned things while we were in there. On the test drive, it was a whole different car. Incredible difference in power and drivability. Also made me notice the rattling cat converter more.

I did not take pics of the timing belt job.

Tonight, I went down to my dad’s shop, where the lift and the car are, to take care of the cat and the power steering problems.

I started with the steering. Sucked all the fluid from the reservoir with a turkey baster. The fluid was extremely thick. I think the previous owner used motor oil in this thing. Once I had gotten all I could out, I pulled the return line from the rack and let it drip. I also jacked up the front of the car and cycled the wheels back and forth the pump what I could from the rack. Used a hose clamp from the bolt bucket to reinstall the return line, as I had to cut the factory crimped band off the line. Filled the system with a bottle of "steering fix" that I fund in a Honda I had flipped used a combination of Valvoline synpower fluid and NAPA fluid, as I had two half used bottles on the shelf. They’ve been there for years, and it was time to use them up. Tensioned the belt, and tried it out. Steering s still somewhat stiff, but operable. After you wind on the motor a bit, it goes away. But it comes back after a while. I’m pretty sure the pump is bad; I just don’t want to spend the money on one yet.

After the steering, I decided to work on the cat. The entire honeycomb had broken free, and had cracked, causing the exhaust flow to be restricted. Using a chain cutter, I cut the pipe about 4 inches behind the slip connection to the midpipe. That connection was NOT going to come apart. Dropped the two bolts at the manifold, and lifted out the cat. Al gore will hate me for this next part....

20 minutes with a 3/4 pipe and a 3 lb. hammer, and.....

Reinstalled it using some high temp copper RTV on the donut gasket at the manifold, and a 3 inch wide band clamp from o'reilleys. No leaks, no rattles. Job well done. (I’ll get a pic for anyone that wants it, or just for giggles)

I also had time to align it while I was on the rack. 1 degree negative camber at all 4 corners, and 0 toe to start. I do my own alignments, so if I don’t like it, ill change it.

The car is driving so much better now, it’s incredible.

Whole different beastie.

Changed the oil and filter as well, as god only knows the last time it was changed.

I also started digging through my nut and bolt collection at that shop, and found a glass retainer from the 88 vette. Used it to finish the glass re-install in my passenger’s side door. Still need to adjust and lube both windows, but I’m getting close.

Additionally, I began to make my new bobble strut. Think heim joint and sway bar end link bushings, with large tube and bolt. Need to buy a longer bolt, as I don’t have one long enough with threads that match my used heim joint. My solid bobble will be free when I’m done, and slightly adjustable. Well, unless I find fine thread metric all thread, in which case it will be fully adjustable.

And lastly, just a picture of the ACR on the lift.

I’m hopefully going to be bringing it back home tomorrow night, as well as getting it inspected and putting a legal plate on it. That way I can start driving it and seeing what I’ve got.

Michael

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury UltimaDork
6/12/12 9:41 a.m.

awesome thread!!!

Dusterbd13
Dusterbd13 Reader
6/12/12 10:19 a.m.

thanks!

mazdeuce
mazdeuce HalfDork
6/12/12 11:02 a.m.

I really enjoy threads like this (and the dirty 911) as they show a sequence of going through a well used car and bringing it back up to snuff. I see a lot of cheap cars that I'd sort of like to buy but the thought of really going through them is sort of scary. You guys do a great job of showing how it's done. Thanks.

njansenv
njansenv Dork
6/12/12 12:53 p.m.

This thread makes me miss my ACR. Mostly. ;) Good work: that generation of Neon was WAY under-rated.

Dusterbd13
Dusterbd13 Reader
6/12/12 8:54 p.m.
mazdeuce wrote: I really enjoy threads like this (and the dirty 911) as they show a sequence of going through a well used car and bringing it back up to snuff. I see a lot of cheap cars that I'd sort of like to buy but the thought of really going through them is sort of scary. You guys do a great job of showing how it's done. Thanks.

i actually do this on a somewhat regular basis. its how i get my daily drivers.

when doing this kind of thing, you always have to remember to buy really cheap, with a good knowledge of what it will need and what it will cost. dont let lust for a particular car at a really good price cloud your judgement. its how you wind up with cars that cost more than you plan, are not worth as much as you have invested, and dont do what theyre supposed to.

just a bit of advice.

michael

Dusterbd13
Dusterbd13 Reader
6/12/12 9:45 p.m.

i go it inspected and regiustered today, as well as put about 100 miles on it. oddly enough, the PCM reads that the cat is operational and functioning within limits at the moment. it would not do that before gutting. that being said, ive really been thinking about what the gentleman earlier today said. i WILL be ordering and installing a cat before too long. im looking at high flow bullet styles in particular. hes absolutely right about my actions. and the fact that im being dishonest with the state and federal laws fo an OBD2 vehicle.

anyway, with that bing out of the way and laid out on the table, heres a recap of today. passed inspection with no issues. got the car tagged. drove it all over, about 100 miles. the car is a pleasure to drive. except fr the power steering issues that come and go. its rather unpredictable when you will have power steering and when you wont. due to that, i have not pushed it at all to see how it handles.

somewhere along the cars travels, it was infested with ants. now that its warm, they are out and swarming the car.

im pulling trhe car into the garage in the morning, and throwing one of those bug killing foggers on the roof. with the doors open and the trunk/hood up. ill kill em all.....

also, the instrument cluster made me late to an appointment out of town today. it was running fine, and i looked down and saw the temp gauge pegged. shut it down and coasted it into a parkin lot. popped the hood, and checked over things. cooling fan oerating, no hot smells, upper radiator hose withing reason of temnperature. i let the car sit a few minutes, and started it back up. was fine. then i noticed my gas gauge moved by about 1/2 tank from where it was "overheating". also, the turn indicators, speedo, and tach would onley work when hey wanted to. so when i got my daughter to bed tonight, i pulled the cluster and fixed the bad solder joints on the circuit board. most of the broken joints were also starved for solder, so i used a little extra. works great now.

i also finished up and reinstalled my door panel. used some 3/8 long sheetmetal screws to reinforce things, and wetherstrip adhesive to hold it topgether. also used some leftover GM door panel pins i had laying around. that side looks SOO much better now.

tomorrow ill bug bmb the car, and pobably get mu motor mounts finished up. or my drivers side door taken apart, speaker installed, and window adjusted. dunno yet. depends on what time i get off of work.

Dusterbd13
Dusterbd13 Reader
6/13/12 7:34 p.m.

didnt get off of work yet. wound up driving 400 miles in the camry today, and by the end of tonight will have worked ~15 hours.

bunch of dead ants when i got back to the house a few minutes ago. bug bombving worked well.

made the car greasy as hell, though, as i just sat the fogger on the roof. i mean really, im not worried about hurting the paint.....

Michael

Dusterbd13
Dusterbd13 Reader
6/14/12 9:01 p.m.

and today i worked out a deal with a bodyman friend of mine. hes going to straighten and paint the car in exchange for me dropping the motor, trans, and disc brake conversion in his 53 ford pickup.

how do i do that as FMV for the challenge? my time is free (well, a gift from god, but...) so would i qualify the paint and body as free? or just throw a 300 dollar price tag on it? thats what i normally pay for DD/race car paint jpbs....

michael

Dusterbd13
Dusterbd13 Reader
6/17/12 8:50 p.m.

So, between work, church, and family, I really haven’t had a lot of time to work on the car this week. I have, however, found plenty of time to drive it. So far it’s been to concord twice, charlotte 3 times, Indian trail, Monroe, and all over Stanly County. I've put about 400 miles on it in the last three days.

The last tank I got 35.6 mpg out of it, and that was NOT being nice to it.

It’s definitely a keeper, as it gets roughly 50% better gas mileage than my current daily, and doesn’t suck to drive. Both wins. Only fail is the seats are horrible, and there’s no AC. both easily correctable, though.

With that being said, I’m at a crossroads with this project, and I think I’ve found the middle way through it.

Being a restorer, racer, and enthusiast all rolled into one, I’m very torn on what to do with this car. With it being such a rare car, and so generally unmolested/unaltered, I don’t want to screw up the collectability or historic value. But with it being what it is, I still want to tweak it, as after all, it IS just neon. So the middle of the road path for me seems to be to do a minor bolt on build that’s easily correctable back to original. No cutting, no welding, very few extra holes. Keep, tag, and bag all the correct parts for eventual collector/resto value. So don’t expect to see any turbo swaps, cutting, gutting, etc. just a clean, semi-restored, mild build. Will be going for STS class in the autocross, as that’s where the fun in my region is. Stock class is so limited, that I’d be pretty much the only guy out there. Guaranteed trophy, but no competition.

The general, loose, completely subject to change plan is this:

Fix what’s broke

Paint it

Add AC

Add header, CAI, sway bars, good brake pads, 15X6 wheels, bigger TB, ported intake, insulation/sound deadening, and possible a bolt in roll bar. Also looking for comfy seat swaps, and maybe AC. add oil pressure and volt gauges. Daily, autocross, GRM challenge, enjoy for a while.

Last week I was able to make a trade deal with a friend of mine that owns a body shop. In exchange for stabbing the brakes and drivetrain in a bare 53 ford f100 chassis, he is going to paint the neon back to its original lapis blue glory. It’s a straight trade, but I’ll probably give him a couple hundred to cover supplies.

With this being known, and with the fact that the car is a keeper and probable daily, I went to pull-a-part today. My father’s day present from my wife and daughter was to sleep in, go to the salvage yard, and have a big piece of steak for dinner. It was a good present. Drove the neon because I could.

Here’s the breakdown, and pics, of what I got. Previous budget balance was 911.98

Reman power steering pump: 23.91

ATX throttle body: 26.31 & 3.0 intake tube: 3.47

Straight, complete, and rust free passengers side door to replace my crushed and bondo'd original: 40.33

Battery tray to cut up for CAI: 4.34

Straight, rust free driver’s front fender to replace crushed original: 34.06

Spare tire cover (mines missing): 5.05

And stuff that they didn’t charge me for, even though I declared it to them. They often do this, just charge you for the big, expensive stuff, and skip the little things. Unless the manager is looking over their shoulder.... Driver side window fuzzies:

Throttle body stuff, hardware and body bumpers, dash speakers, passenger’s side pull cup for the door panel, etc.

Lastly, a picture of the bobble strut replacement I’m building out of my magic bolt bin. The heims are off of a set of giant ADDCO C5 corvette racing sway bars. They got loose, and we replaced them. The spacer, washers, etc. are out of god only knows what cars. Just thrown in my buckets. I need to find a longer bolt or some fine thread all thread, as the current setup is about 1.5 inches too short, and I do not have any longer bolts. So I will have to spend a little money.

Also, I got my new speakers installed Friday night late. The cheap 5.25 pioneers are left over from the box set stereos that Wal-Mart sells every Christmas. I put in the radios for family members, and they leave the speakers, etc. for me to "do something with". I have something like 8 of them from different years all said. My sister in law tried to sell one set of them on eBay, and got 10 dollars once. The buyer sent them back and demanded a refund, as they sucked that bad.

They were the wrong size for every opening in the car, but the right price. I made them work. Yes, they sound like crap. Yes, the rears rattle in the opening.

So, this week, I plan to spend some quality time with the family, as well as get the grass cut and some other honey do list stuff done. After working 60 hours last week, I need to spend some time on the home front. Don’t expect to see updates unless I can’t sleep, in which case it will be motor mount install and power steering pump replacement.

Grand total after today: 1056.39 Not too bad.

Questions: what seats will fit out of what? I know second gen front seats are a bolt in, but will the rears that match fit as well? Any good dash removal how-to’s out there for when I get the under dash parts of the AC system? Are the compressors as brackets the same for DOHC and SOHC?

Thanks Michael

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair PowerDork
6/19/12 8:41 a.m.
Dusterbd13 wrote: and today i worked out a deal with a bodyman friend of mine. hes going to straighten and paint the car in exchange for me dropping the motor, trans, and disc brake conversion in his 53 ford pickup. how do i do that as FMV for the challenge? my time is free (well, a gift from god, but...) so would i qualify the paint and body as free? or just throw a 300 dollar price tag on it? thats what i normally pay for DD/race car paint jpbs.... michael

because he is a team member [1], his labor is free as long as the work is not done in a for-profit shop. so you hit the budget for materials only.

[1] he is a team member, yes?

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