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Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/30/22 10:58 p.m.

It didn't start out this way.

The way it started, I was eyeing the RallyCross Constructors' class ruleset, and approached EvanB in November with a proposal:  Let's take the '83 GTI that I'd bought to do a mid engine conversion with, put a CR-V drivetrain in it, and run it in C4.  K24 or B20 didn't matter, as long as it was mid engined and made all the boost and weighed under 2000lb.  We'd build it in his shop and he'd haul it to events but I'd front most of the actual parts and put in effort every available weekend until it was done.  The goal would be to do it as expediently as possible and (this is the part where we throw our heads back and laugh) get it done in time for the first rallycross of the year, which is May or June, weather depending.

I watch too many Group B videos and I keep having visions of a twincharged four cylinder making 500-600hp through all four wheels, with a bare skin of a shell over a tube frame.

"Is it rusty?"

"Kinda... but mostly in parts we won't need anyway"

"I'm going to be getting rid of the Mini soon, can we use that?"

"If you're willing to use it.  I'll come down this weekend and take measurements."

The Mini in question was the subject of a five page long troubleshooting thread where we mostly determined, after much poking and prodding and smoking and scoping and even ripping the valve cover and oil pan off to verify that the cam timing and crank wheel had not shifted, that there was nothing wrong and the car was simply possessed by some sort of eldritch demon.  The previous previous owner fired an 1812 Overture's worth of parts cannon at it, which is how Evan got it.

 

Went down to Columbus, spent a day stripping the interior and airbags and all sorts of stuff out of the Mini, and measured the back of the car.

It's about five inches too narrow for a K24 drivetrain.  Looked at the front of the car.  The rack is too low to sling a diff under.  Scratched heads, sat, contemplated.  Looked at Evan's Forester XT.  Got out a tape measure.... this might work.  Did some research, formulated a plan.

It should be noted that no plan survives contact with the enemy.  After all, I'd started out wanting a Honda engined VW and now we were looking at doing a Subaru engined Mini.  That is the overarching goal with the project:  Be flexible and be pragmatic.  The Vision is minimal weight with maximal power and all the cool noises and roost.  The rest is just details to be worked out to realize that Vision.

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy MegaDork
1/30/22 11:00 p.m.

I have high expectations for you guys.  Subscribed with my popcorn ready for the fun to begin.  

StripesSA1
StripesSA1 Reader
1/30/22 11:22 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

It didn't start out this way.

The way it started, I was eyeing the RallyCross Constructors' class ruleset, and approached EvanB in November with a proposal:  Let's take the '83 GTI that I'd bought to do a mid engine conversion with, put a CR-V drivetrain in it, and run it in C4.  K24 or B20 didn't matter, as long as it was mid engined and made all the boost and weighed under 2000lb.  We'd build it in his shop and he'd haul it to events but I'd front most of the actual parts and put in effort every available weekend until it was done.  The goal would be to do it as expediently as possible and (this is the part where we throw our heads back and laugh) get it done in time for the first rallycross of the year, which is May or June, weather depending.

I watch too many Group B videos and I keep having visions of a twincharged four cylinder making 500-600hp through all four wheels, with a bare skin of a shell over a tube frame.

"Is it rusty?"

"Kinda... but mostly in parts we won't need anyway"

"I'm going to be getting rid of the Mini soon, can we use that?"

"If you're willing to use it.  I'll come down this weekend and take measurements."

The Mini in question was the subject of a five page long troubleshooting thread where we mostly determined, after much poking and prodding and smoking and scoping and even ripping the valve cover and oil pan off to verify that the cam timing and crank wheel had not shifted, that there was nothing wrong and the car was simply possessed by some sort of eldritch demon.  The previous previous owner fired an 1812 Overture's worth of parts cannon at it, which is how Evan got it.

 

Went down to Columbus, spent a day stripping the interior and airbags and all sorts of stuff out of the Mini, and measured the back of the car.  It's about five inches too narrow for a K24 drivetrain.  Looked at the front of the car.  The rack is too low to sling a diff under.  Scratched heads, sat, contemplated.  Looked at Evan's Forester XT.  Got out a tape measure.... this might work.  Did some research, formulated a plan.

It should be noted that no plan survives contact with the enemy.  After all, I'd started out wanting a Honda engined VW and now we were looking at doing a Subaru engined Mini.  That is the overarching goal with the project:  Be flexible and be pragmatic.  The Vision is minimal weight with maximal power and all the cool noises and roost.  The rest is just details to be worked out to realize that Vision.

This is going to be fun... 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/30/22 11:39 p.m.

I spent a while hitting up eBay for JDM drivetrains.  Built a Google Sheets spreadsheet for collaboration.  After much research I discovered that there ARE a lot of cheap Legacy GT engines on eBay.  And they are cheap for a reason. The twin turbo models have weakish internals and need the turbos scraped off and single turbos fitted for all sorts of reasons (besides clearance in a LHD car, they are SEQUENTIAL turbos, with a control system that makes an FD RX-7 look simple).  The later EJ20X twin scroll engines are a little more expensive, but you can't use the turbo (and therefore exhaust manifolding) in the US because all of the gaskets are different from anything sold here and they are apparently hard to come by, and good luck finding gaskets.  They are also dual AVCS, but using DIFFERENT components from US market single AVCS/dual AVCS.  A whole lot of incompatibilities that lead to frustration in the future.  My best bet was an EJ20X engine, trans, and (VLSD) diff for $1900 shipped.  Then we'd just need a driveshaft, axles, uprights, subframes, brakes, exhaust manifolds, non-AVCS exhaust cams, and a turbo.

Ugh, this is gonna suck.

Evan was hitting up IAAI auctions for parts cars for the suspension and miscellany that we'd need, and nothing terribly interesting or budget-conscious was showing up.

A bit before Christmas, I saw this on Craigslist.

2003 WRX partout or $1200 for everything.  I went to the used car lot it was at to check it out.  It's rusty.  Like, really rusty.  And it looks like the engine is mooshed.

You can't quite eat corn on the cob through the rear subframe but give it a minute.  I told the guy I'd have to think about it.

Time passes.  Evan pulls the drivetrain out of the Mini and I go back down there and do more work measuring and thinking and planning.   We find some interesting things, like that 1.6 Miata rear axles spline into Mini front hubs.  I get some idea that I might be able to fit an Audi drivetrain in there, since I have a complete Quantum Syncro drivetrain sitting around, contact The Driveshaft Shop and ask them about what kind of CV articulation is acceptable.  Their tech guy didn't quite laugh in my face at my inquiry, but he did do a very good and professional job of answering my question and more or less letting me down gently.

More time passes.  Christmas has come and gone.  I'm getting anxious, May is right around the corner!  I contact the guy with the WRX, he won't budge on $1200 because he was able to jump start it and verify that it ran.  Evan narrowly misses a bid on a GD Outback Sport, finds a GC 2.5RS in possibly worse shape for $1500.  Guy with the WRX contacts me, he needs the car gone, we make a deal.  Money changes hands, paperwork is signed, Evan plans a road trip to Cleveland.

And so, on the day before New Year's Eve...

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/30/22 11:40 p.m.

In reply to StripesSA1 :

2/3rds of "fun" is "F U"!  wink  And there is a lot of that happening so far.

Shavarsh
Shavarsh Reader
1/31/22 12:19 a.m.

Fantastic, subscribed

Patrick
Patrick GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/31/22 8:33 a.m.

Finally i can stop staying quiet 

84FSP
84FSP UltraDork
1/31/22 8:47 a.m.

Love where this is going.  Bastardized VW with boost and hopefully AWD..... 

StripesSA1
StripesSA1 Reader
1/31/22 11:55 a.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

In reply to StripesSA1 :

2/3rds of "fun" is "F U"!  wink  And there is a lot of that happening so far.

Sometimes that "F U" is more meant as Up than You... 

GasTungstenArc
GasTungstenArc Reader
1/31/22 12:55 p.m.

In reply to 84FSP :

I think you skimmed over the second half of the OP.  They are using a Mini instead of the Golf.  

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/31/22 1:04 p.m.

Awesome!

barefootskater5000
barefootskater5000 PowerDork
1/31/22 1:33 p.m.

Oh boy. Just when I was getting bored with the builds section. this is gonna be rad. 

Toyman!
Toyman! GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/31/22 1:51 p.m.

I can't imagine any way this could get more interesting. 

But I'm hopeful. 

 

cghstang_chris
cghstang_chris Dork
1/31/22 1:59 p.m.

What do you call the exhaust tips on the WRX? They appear to be pointing in towards each other.

Noise canceling? 

Brap enhancing?

EvanB
EvanB GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/31/22 2:03 p.m.

In reply to cghstang_chris :

A clue to the condition of the rest of the car. 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/31/22 4:29 p.m.

Which segues nicely into the rest of Week 1:

The temporary spare that was not just bald, it was corded!  Just what you want with an all wheel drive car that has two limited slip differentials.

Too much to write right now, will get when I get home.

solfly
solfly Dork
1/31/22 4:38 p.m.
cghstang_chris said:

What do you call the exhaust tips on the WRX? They appear to be pointing in towards each other.

Noise canceling? 

Brap enhancing?

horizontally opposed!

rustomatic
rustomatic Reader
1/31/22 5:13 p.m.

Dig the idea here.  Hope to see the crazy come to fruition.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/2/22 9:10 p.m.

I'm home from work and didn't fall asleep right away so let's continue this thread.   Previously, at the COG, Evan hauled my WRX down to his place for dissection.

Saturday:

First step, peel off what was left of the front of the car so we could see if the crank was bent. 

Tractor helped with the peeling process here so we could get sockets on the bumper bolts. Sawzall was also employed a lot.

 

This was a major worry for me: if the crank was bent from the frontal, I'd need to source an engine.  Granted, what I paid for the car was less than I'd have to spend for the suspension bits alone, so this didn't bother me TOO much, but it would be nice to not have to source another engine.

 

Crank looks good, no misfires so the valves and pistons are probably okay, no piston slap either which is a miracle for 203k miles.

Have no idea what happened here.

Rest of the day was spent removing the accessories and intake manifold and other misc stuff in preparation for pulling the engine, trans, and suspension out.  Interestingly, the hoses for the boost control solenoid were broken, along with a lot of other hoses.  As much as people like to rag on EJ20s they can be tough SOBs.

My view as I left for home... looks like a nice end card, yeah?

B13Birk
B13Birk GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
2/2/22 9:39 p.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

There is a guy down here who did a similar thing with a mini only he DSM swapped the thing. Its pretty wild. 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/2/22 9:42 p.m.

Weekend 2, day 1 (January 8)

I got to the COG, opened the hood of my WRX, and immediately regretted removing the intake manifold.

We moved the car to the garage and, first order of business, I marked the engine's position and made sure the engine could rotate freely, not that water had gotten into intake ports that had open valves, and stopped after 12.566 radians.  Second order of business, I removed all of the torque converter bolts, again stopping after two revolutions.  Don't want to let the water into the engine after all.

One of the issues we had the previous weekend was FU heat shields around the turbo not coming off.  Some of them would only be accessible with the engine out.  And they also needed to be off in order to separate the transmission.  And so...

...I learned that there is not enough room to remove the engine and trans as an assembly with the subframe in the way.

All that done, now it was time to attack the rear.  Problem being, there was no place to actually support the rear.  The jacking points were LOLNO.  The trailing arm and diff T mounts were unusable because those were coming out of the car.  The rear of the body U-channels were.... soft.  I had thought ahead and brought some 2x2 steel tube with me, and it turned out to be very useful.

The rear crossmember collapsed while jacking the back of the car up.  The body statrted to collapse and only stayed up due to the hammock I'd put between it and the jackstands.

The left rear trailing arm was completely disconnected from the car and was removed by lightly pulling.

The right rear was not much better, but one of the captivated nuts uncaptivated itself and required that I hack it out with an air chisel so we could get the subframe out.

If anyone complains that I scrapped out a usable WRX that just needed a new nose... no.  No I did not.

Parting shot from end of day 2:

Why is all that stuff on the hood?  It turns out that the rearmost part of the floor is also the balance point of the chassis once you remove the engine and trans and front suspension and stuff.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/2/22 10:01 p.m.

Weekend 2, day 2 (Jan. 9th)

Not so many pictures today.  Mostly just breaking down the WRX bits removed into more manageable chunks.  Taking the axles out of the rear diff without being able to remove the uprights from the crossmember was an act of puzzletry, but it was done, and I discovered that the diff had next to no oil in it.  What came out did look like oil and not glitter, which is nice, and the LSD seems to have some semblance of function, which is also nice.

Removed some interior bits while it was in the garage, along with the struts, steering column, brake booster/master, pedal box, accelerator pedal and cable, all of the struts, other things I am forgetting...  I am still not sure what of this we may or may not need but it is easier to take now.  Sawzalling the wiring harness off of the column was also fun.

We dropped the car onto some dollies and Evan moved it with the tractor like a big ugly shopping cart.

Weekend 2's end card:

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/2/22 10:13 p.m.

Weekend 3 (Jan. 15th-16th)

Very light on photos.  Mini was moved back into the garage, jacked up onto stands, front and rear suspensions removed.  Found out that the rear suspension is also what holds up the rear of the fuel tank.  Dang.  I kinda wanted to try to keep the Mini fuel tank but also it would make things a huge pain, so it's just one of those things.

Took a lot of measurements of the Mini, the subframe, and the handy Forester nearby.  Jacked the Subaru subframe up into the Mini for the first time, got this shot and posted it in the Minor Win thread:

Framerails are close to the same width.  Looks like a 1" spacer will work just fine.  Maybe 2".  Let's start with 1".

Went to Jeg's to pick up some 1x2 steel tube, cut some to lengths, took more measurements, brainstormed, found a complete inability to locate the fasteners I wanted, got frustrated, left for home on Sunday feeling not very accomplished.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/2/22 10:30 p.m.

Weekend 4 (Jan. 22)

I measured and, sacrificing a cordless drill, made two of these:

12x1.75x60 Allen headed bolts are threaded into 12x1.75 flange nuts inside the tubes.  After much, much measurement.  They were then reefed down, welded, and ground flush.  The engine was then flipped onto its front, the subframe bolted to the motor mounts, and then the mess was lifted into the car.  Some Mini parts had to be removed.

Half of that little guy on each framerail had to be cut off.

But then...

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/2/22 10:46 p.m.

Weekend 5, day 1 (Jan. 29)

More measuring, decided that we needed to space the subframe down an inch.  And so, after spending faaaar too much time, I made these spacers out of some more 1x2 and some leftover thickwall tube from when I made spacers to use rod ends where bushings used to be in the rear of my RX-7.

Things looked much better drivetrain-wise after that.  Dropped the intake manifold on, it baaaaaarely clears the hood.  Something tells me to hold off before welding the adaptor spacers to the shell.  Must have a think.

Weekend 5, day 2 (Jan. 30)

I decide to see where the accessories fit.  Engine is at the same 8 degree up-angle as in the handy reference Forester.  Power steering is a no-go.  That's okay, I have an electric column we can use, although it would suck to do.  Alternator.... hmm.

I decide to shift the engine and trans back another half inch.  This puts us at 1.5" further back than WRX relative to axle centerline.

Not only does the alternator fit, but so does the power steering pump!  No idea yet where I will put the reservoir, but we'll worry about that later.  Sounds like a good time to tack the adaptors in place so we can remove the subframe and attach the trans to the engine, then lift it up into place and see just how much floor we have to lose.

Drivetrain angle is practically Subaru standard:

General rule of thumb is if it looks wrong it probably is wrong, if it looks right it probably is right.  

That looks pretty good...

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