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GasTungstenArc
GasTungstenArc New Reader
12/22/21 2:18 p.m.

I love an X1/9 project.  I used to work at MWB and install Acura K20 engines in these.  

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/23/21 8:40 p.m.
GasTungstenArc said:

I love an X1/9 project.  I used to work at MWB and install Acura K20 engines in these.  

Nice! Well welcome to the thread. I would be lying if I said I don't honestly consider that kit about once a month.

Do you feel like the swap kit they offer is solid quality?

dherr (Forum Supporter)
dherr (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand Dork
12/30/21 8:47 a.m.

I hear you Robbie, I have an LKQ alert that tells me regularly when an Acura TSX comes in to the yard, as a K20 in my X1/9 seems like the perfect marriage.....

My understanding of the kit is that they have solved the hard parts (axles, crossmember, shifter cables, etc...) to make it a pretty easy swap by our standards. The rest of the work is no big deal for most of us here at GRM.

Would love to hear more from GasTungstenArc on the kit and how well this works out in these cars as it seems like the perfect swap.

GasTungstenArc
GasTungstenArc Reader
12/30/21 2:31 p.m.
Robbie (Forum Supporter) said:
GasTungstenArc said:

I love an X1/9 project.  I used to work at MWB and install Acura K20 engines in these.  

Nice! Well welcome to the thread. I would be lying if I said I don't honestly consider that kit about once a month.

Do you feel like the swap kit they offer is solid quality?

Not tooting my own horn here, but they were quality when I built them.  I am the designer, also.  The kit is well designed, or at least the way I intended it to be.  After I left, another welder-fabricator was hired.  After he had enough and left, the welding went to the owner's inexperienced stepson.  So far, the kits seem to be holding together.  But a welder can see the flaws in the work.  

Considering the cost, if you have the skills, you might consider building it your own way.  I am happy to offer advice along the way.  I built five complete conversions and numerous kits, so I can help with any jam you get into. 

For my part, I have considered building a conversion of my own, and if I did, I would not build it like a kit.  I made the kit as a way for people lacking fabrication and welding skills to save $30k minimum and do the work themselves at home, and the design is a compromise to that end.  I wanted to build the in-house cars differently from the kits, but the owner wanted to showcase the kits, and that is understandable.  

If you decide to go your own way, I actually have a spare set of pieces to build the shift linkage.  I could sell the pieces or the completed linkage if you are interested.  

The K20 conversion totally transforms the car.  The performance and feel are awesome.  

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/6/22 9:41 p.m.

In reply to GasTungstenArc :

Thanks for the feebdack! That is great to hear 'from the horses mouth'. I think that is the eventual goal for this car, but I need to get this engine that's already here running first.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/6/22 10:00 p.m.

To that end, I got to dig in a bit today:

Took off the big air filters and was treated to this image of weber throttles mixed with original fuel injectors to form a pretty sweet ITB package.

My goal was to swap the timing belt, but first I pulled the plugs and put a bit of marvel down each hole. Found 3 nkg's and one autolite. Weird. 

Just by luck I had other things to do so I let it sit a couple hours and when I came back it was time to turn the engine over by hand to line up the timing marks. Turns like butter. Sweet.

The removal procedure is very simple, but I first had to remove the accessory belt. Which I think might be the wrong one (too short?) Because I had to actually completely unbolt the alternator to get it off the pulleys. Anyway, once done, slackening the timing belt tensioner we

nt fine, and the timing belt came off after some futsing with the crankwheel and pickup that was installed so the aeromotive knows where the crank's at.

With all that done, I'm excited to get it all back together. I have a set of new plugs to go in along with the new timing belt, and then I'll be seeing if I get any fuel pump action with a fresh battery. If so, I might try to fire it up at that point.

GasTungstenArc
GasTungstenArc Reader
1/7/22 8:06 a.m.
Robbie (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to GasTungstenArc :

Thanks for the feebdack! That is great to hear 'from the horses mouth'. I think that is the eventual goal for this car, but I need to get this engine that's already here running first.

That's probably a wise decision, as long as you don't have to sink an unreasonable amount of money into it to get it running.  

The Lampredi single cam engine is OK, and surprisingly responsive to good porting (that is to say, not the "100HP" porting of a well-known FIAT shop, but that's another story.)  But it is severely limited past 120HP or so--and that is to be expected since it is an economy car engine from the early 1970s.  

At MWB, I was responsible for some pretty wild builds, including two stroker 1.6L engines.  One stroker was turbo and the other was NA.  I never got to drive the turbo car because I left the company before the car was built.  The NA stroker was pretty nice on the road, but after what was probably for the customer an $8k engine build, it had likely less than 140HP; that's just enough to get smoked by a soccer mom in a minivan who doesn't even know that she's racing you.  

But with good suspension and tires, 120HP in such a raw little car is plenty enough to have fun.  I miss them.  I miss building them.  I miss the first test drives after resurrecting one or completing a K20 build.  Sometimes, I even think about building K20 cars for my own customers.  But MWB is the shop with the reputation; I was just the man behind the curtain.  

TurnerX19
TurnerX19 UltraDork
1/7/22 10:22 a.m.

In reply to Robbie (Forum Supporter) :

The alternator belts available at the FLAPS come in two lengths now....Too long, and Too short....Take your pick! There used to be a correct one. I went with too long last time and shimmed the bracket out.

TED_fiestaHP
TED_fiestaHP HalfDork
1/7/22 11:01 a.m.

   Mine has very limited belt adjustment, so removing the belt does require unbolting the alternator.  The engine compartment has rather limited space.   

     The original engine is great but as someone else pointed out will be limited to about 100 horse, should be enough to be fun and will make fun noise, but won't be a rocket.  When new, these were not exactly fast cars, but they are good fun.

GasTungstenArc
GasTungstenArc Reader
1/7/22 11:17 a.m.
TED_fiestaHP said:

   Mine has very limited belt adjustment, so removing the belt does require unbolting the alternator.  The engine compartment has rather limited space.   

     The original engine is great but as someone else pointed out will be limited to about 100 horse, should be enough to be fun and will make fun noise, but won't be a rocket.  When new, these were not exactly fast cars, but they are good fun.

Very limited space!  On the K20 conversions, I built a firewall extension with an access panel that was roughly 20" high and 24" wide.  With the K20's intake, starter, alternator, water pump, pretty much the whole cooling system all on the front side of the engine, and most engine wiring coming down the front of the engine, I thought it would be awfully cruel to future mechanics not to provide a decent place to work.  This meant that all K20 cars lost their spare tire in order to make room for the engine, access panel, and ECU.

Yes, even at a paltry 100HP, they are plenty of fun.  The car is so low, so light, and so crude that 100HP at 100% is actually very fun.  It's not fast by any modern objective standard, but it's still fun.  

TED_fiestaHP
TED_fiestaHP HalfDork
1/7/22 7:30 p.m.

   On mine the rear trunk became part of the engine compartment.   This one does have AC and twin carbs.

      I am a little farther along, this is a older picture. 

 

  

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/9/22 2:12 p.m.

The new timing belt went back in last night with little fuss. The only thing was I replaced a small bolt (that wasn't there when I took it apart, but clearly should be) that holds two small sheet metal belt shields together. It was very interesting because it was a situation I don't find often in mechanic work. I could touch the bolt hole front and back from both top and bottom of engine bay easily, with right or left hand. BUT, I wasn't able to actually hold the bolt and get it to the hole in any position with either hand. Eventually I was able to use some extensions and a swivel and a screwdriver handle to get the bolt started, and once it was started it was easy to tighten. The lack of space is really no joke!

After reinstalling and tensioning, everything still turned over perfectly and lined up great. Other than the small space and the aftermarket crank trigger and wheel, this is a really simple timing belt job. 

I also installed my new spark plugs, even though the old ones look just fine. I didn't reinstall the v belt yet, since I will probably source a new one.

Next up: new battery to see if we have fuel pump action. Also want to change oil for sure before attempting to start.

Here's the old v belt old timing belt and new timing belt mostly for my own reference.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/16/22 11:13 a.m.

Big day yesterday!

I got a new battery and a v belt at the parts store that is supposedly a half inch longer than the one I had. It did install without me removing the alternator but still was just a hair short of perfect. I had to cheat it on by rotating the engine a bit to get it over the last pulley. But it seems to have tensioned correctly. It's listed as a 33 inch belt.

I also drained out the gas in the tank (thankfully there was almost none in there), and added a gallon of fresh 93. Plugged the battery in and I had fuel pump noises.

Tried the starter and I had spinning. But no pops.

So I tried a squirt of starting fluid and she started right up!!! Still nothing on the fuel system though.

After a good amount of cranking, I was getting a pop on cylinder 4 every revolution, but nothing in the others. And I could see a bit of fuel leaking around the fuel rail parts and the injectors. My suspicion is that 3 fuel injectors are completely fouled and the 4th is barely working. But the entire rail needs a rebuild anyway because of the leaks, so I think my next step will be to pull the rail and injectors, send the injectors off for cleaning and flow testing, and then rebuild the rail with all new rubber parts.

wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
1/16/22 4:16 p.m.

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
1/16/22 6:44 p.m.

In reply to Robbie (Forum Supporter) :

I love the previous owner's solution to the crank trigger wiring being out in the open.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/18/22 9:07 a.m.
Mr_Asa said:

In reply to Robbie (Forum Supporter) :

I love the previous owner's solution to the crank trigger wiring being out in the open.

Here's a truly bad picture of more of it. Yes metal flex conduit.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/18/22 10:03 a.m.

Turns out pulling the fuel rail was much easier than expected, that's a win.

And out

Then I disassembled the rail, wow hose clamps and potential leak points.

That said, whatever this car has extra in short fuel lines, it make up for in lack of vacuum hoses. I fugured while I had the fuel rail out I should go ahead and replace all the vacuum lines. To do so mean pulling the intake manifold, which was easy at that point.

Those 6 vacuum lines are the only 6 on the engine. And the 4 clearly are connecting to the blue box, which then feeds the map sensor and the fuel pressure regulator. So I assume the blue box is some type of normalizer for balancing out the individual throttle body vacuum pulses.

Unfortunately the lines connect to the blue box with a weird kind of fitting - they didn't just pull off - so I need to investigate that a bit.

Hoping to send my injectors off today or tomorrow!

Lof8 - Andy
Lof8 - Andy GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/18/22 10:25 a.m.

Wow!  Cool car!  I'm in to follow!

Stefan (Forum Supporter)
Stefan (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/18/22 12:38 p.m.

In reply to Robbie (Forum Supporter) :

Those are compression fittings, basically AN fittings only made of brass/bronze instead of aluminum.  They are screwed into small banjo fittings (the flat head screws).

You could likely replace those fittings with basic ribbed vacuum fittings to make it easier for you.

The fuel rail is concerning, but as long as the fuel hose is in good shape with good clamps, I don't see an issue.

You could likely design a fuel rail that makes you feel more secure and removes rubber lines, but the angled injectors adds a bit of a challenge.

TurnerX19
TurnerX19 UltraDork
1/18/22 1:09 p.m.

That fuel rail is an extended stock rail, with the same number of clamps as the car had when new. I just billed a customer for 28 hose clamps on his X1/9, and all I did was fuel and master cylinder supply, no coolant lines!

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/18/22 6:44 p.m.
Lof8 - Andy said:

Wow!  Cool car!  I'm in to follow!

Thanks! I like it too haha

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/18/22 6:49 p.m.

In reply to Stefan (Forum Supporter) :

I suspected they might be compression fittings but I didn't have a chance to try and take em apart yet. As long as I can replace the tubing I won't worry too much about switching to barbs; replacing the tube with this all installed on the car would be really hard due to the confined space anyway.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/18/22 6:56 p.m.

In reply to TurnerX19 :

Yeah holy hose clamps batman. 

On the whole however, I don't really mind the rail setup, and I probably will just replace the soft lines and go. I do like that the cold start injector has been eliminated, meaning there is another port on the rail that can easily be used for pressure testing (or nitrous) if ever needed.

TT86
TT86 New Reader
1/18/22 7:14 p.m.

Love this! I know nothing about this car, but is it ECU controlled in any way?

Stampie
Stampie GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/18/22 7:17 p.m.

In reply to Robbie (Forum Supporter) :

My brain translated.

Robbie (Forum Supporter) said:

Yeah we couldn't get the X1/9 into the 9s so we just 200 shot it.

 

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