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Steve O's Build

Posted: 10 Dec 2015, 14:50
by steveo
OK, read the websites, brought the book ...... time to commit!

So this will probably be a very long thread as I'm a busy professional (aren't we all?) who spends nearly half his time out of the country, but if you never start.....

So first off I have to say major kudos to Kurt for his book. It's worth the price for the insight, knowledge and tips alone. The plans are just a nice plus! Got it Tuesday night, finished it Thursday morning. Wife was wondering if I was going to move.

So bit of background .... been a petrol head for years. Built a Westfield Seven when I was 21, well to be honest half a Westfield Seven, then women and music got in the way. Also raced karts for 10 years, and was fairly sure that the work on the kart was as much fun if not more than the racing.

So I figured it is time to finish what I started all those years ago.

Project Goals:

1) Learn something new
2) Build a moderately performing car on a moderate budget - I don't need Kurt's 400hp fire breathing dragon. Something in the 150-200 range will still blow yer socks off
3) Do it right - it's as much about the journey as it is about the destination

Looking for some advice on engines. I have three in mind at the moment and wondering what people think:

a) The Honda H22 or H23 as Mike Uhlinger used viewtopic.php?f=5&t=104&start=0
Pros: Relatively compact and light
Cons: Getting a bit long in the tooth?

b) The DOHC from a Dodge Neon
Pros: Lots of them around, cheap
Cons: Not a bad little engine, but hardly glamorous

c) VW 2.0i with DSG Gearbox (or even a TDI?????)
Pros: Power, awesome gearbox, easy shifter and clutch pedal installation (None!)
Cons: Relatively expensive

I love the idea of the VW with the DSG. I have a 2010 TDi with the DSG and driving it on track is incredible. So easy! My little TDI was giving a BMW 335 a VERY hard time indeed, just because it was so easy to drive quickly.

Re: Steve O's Build

Posted: 11 Dec 2015, 01:12
by ChrisS
Welcome from another Midlana newb.

If the budget and complication are tolerable, how about a VW TFSi with DSG. That would be epic.

Or, a very different tack, one of the new small Ford engines. A turbo Sigma would be very light but powerful.

Re: Steve O's Build

Posted: 11 Dec 2015, 01:58
by freakynami
I drove a MkVI(?) Golf GTi recently, and I strongly believe the DSG is a thing of beauty. If I didn't already have the drive-train sorted that would be what I'd be investigating.

Re: Steve O's Build

Posted: 11 Dec 2015, 04:49
by steveo
Sadly they don't have the smaller engines with the DSG over here, just the GTI and TDi, but it is most certainly a thing of beauty. In traffic it behaves like the finest auto box, but as soon as you want to take over, reach for the paddles and take total control. Seamless shifts, very smooth!

I think the GTI with the DSG is certainly the way to go. Sure there will be some complexity on the electronic side, but that should be compensated somewhat by not having to deal with clutch pedals and shift linkages. We'll see. First thing is to find a donor! I need a GTi that has been total stuffed up the rear but no harm on the front. epairables ( has a few floating around so we'll start looking in earnest after the holidays.

Re: Steve O's Build

Posted: 28 Mar 2016, 18:58
by steveo
Ok, definitely time for a long overdue update....

Things got off to an excellent start. Completed the workshop over Xmas and very happy with the results. Looks smaller in the pic than it actually is. The racking and water heater will soon move out to an extension under planning creating excellent space.


Work is about to start on the build table. Got hold of some 3" I-beams at a good price that should form the basis of a strong, steady table.Thinking I'll make the base of the table from the beams with 3/4" MDF on top, then a layer of Hardiboard on that. The Hardiboard should give two advantages:

a) Very stiff and flat
b) Fire resistant

The Xmas fairies were extremely generous and delivered a Lotos TIG Welder from Home Depot: ... lsrc=aw.ds

Of course then spent Xmas teaching myself TIG welding. Hard to get to grips with but slowly coming together. Spent January widening a pair of gates using the TIG and the results were quite fair. More practice and some lessons needed but you can definitely see the difference in control between MIG and TIG. Some great online lessons are on YouTube from a guy named ChuckE2009

Also decided on the motor - more by accident than design. Setup a couple of searches on Craigslist to find the right sort of thing with the idea that it would take a couple of months for something to turn up. 30 minutes later up came a '93 Integra with 3 3/4 wheels at just the right price - $850. Three wheels point where they should but the drivers rear is at 45' to the car due to it being wrapped round something. However, don't need anything from that corner of the car, so the only problem was getting the car lined up to back it into the garage.


Think about it - but made it first time.

Engine runs great and recently went through a major service, all belts etc, with great compression.It's not a VTEC, just a B1, but even that gives a healthy 140 hp with plenty of tuning potential, so going to do the build round this, and we'll upgrade the engine once it's on the road.

So, next steps....

Recalling the Westfield I built years ago, and the fact that EVERYONE says that electrics are the hardest part, I'm thinking the right way to go is to:

1) Build the build table
2) Strip down the Integra piece by piece including the full electric and coolant systems
3) As bits come off the Integra, rebuild the car on the table
4) Once everything's off the Integra and on the table, get the "table" running, especially focusing on all of the electrical bits
5) Once running, go through the electrical system and one piece at a time remove what isn't required. OK, this will take some time, but I'll be able to run the "table" after each change so that we know exactly where we stand, and if something weird happens I can back track and think it through again. Also, debugging the system on the table will be a LOT easier than in the car.
6) Once we've got the loom, motor, accessories etc where we want them, then we label like hell, then strip everything off the table and start the chassis build

Next job - the table....

Re: Steve O's Build

Posted: 28 Mar 2016, 20:29
by Midlana1
Find and order a Honda/Acura Electrical Troubleshooting manual - it's all you'll need to get it running.

Re: Steve O's Build

Posted: 29 Mar 2016, 08:22
by steveo
Ah yes! Already found that, along with the Integra Works Manual, Very useful! I'm just rather wary of the electrical side of things as they have progressed a long way since the last time I played with electrical systems.

Re: Steve O's Build

Posted: 29 Mar 2016, 08:26
by Midlana1
I can help you out with any issues.

Re: Steve O's Build

Posted: 01 May 2016, 20:33
by steveo
OK, I said this wasn't going to be a quick build....

Lots of time out of the country isn't helping but finally got a weekend to work on the build table.

Gave this one a lot of thought, particularly around how to get the table level. I think I've come up with a neat answer. Now don't go thinking that it all happened at once or through brilliant analysis. More sort of ... organic.

First off - stick welding!!!! Oh wow! Never tried that before but suddenly I started to understand what a light sabre must feel like. Melted 3" I-beams like butter. Never thought it would be possible to burn a hole through an I-beam, but with the current up high to start that quickly happened. Brought it back to 80 amps and worked wonders. Spent plenty of time making sure we had the beams level and square. Took a while but happy with the result.


Now we've got a solid, square surface but the trick now was to turn these into a table - i.e. legs. Went through a couple of sketches, settled on one got the lumber and then went about building the table upside down using the welded beams as the square so that when we flip it over the frame would sit on top of the 2x4" base. I was thinking then how to attach the steel frame to the wooden supports when it dawned on me that we didn't need to do that.

As the steel frame rests around the legs, these will keep the frame in place (and a tight fit it was too!) but with the frame floating free it occurred to me that having the support frame and the top frame "floating" would allow me to leave the support frame "as is" and get the top frame level by shimming between the two. Easy! So much easier to adjust a few shims rather than trying to get the whole table level.


I had to laugh though. I've accidentally come up with the "twin chassis" build table, although Colin Chapman would have a shit-fit! Add lightness?!?!?!?!

And once the car's finished, the top frame will become the basis for a car trailer!

Re: Steve O's Build

Posted: 10 May 2016, 16:03
by steveo
OK, just for a change a weekend in the country AND it was only 75' so time for some hard graft.

My wife is starting to complain about the 3 1/2 wheel Integra taking up her side of the garage so it's time for this thing to be dissected.

BUT first we need to finish the table off so we have somewhere to put stuff. Two sheets of 3/4" MDF had things finished off nicely!


And five minutes of activity had it perfectly leveled and it's very flat too! Very nice. A little over engineered maybe, but it paid back in ease of setup and of course if I ever have to move it then it should be just as easy again.

Now the Integra. Items to remove: Motor, gearbox, wiring loom, ECU etc.

I have to say, being a Honda it fought me hard, but I wrestled it down to final result Steve 1 Integra 0.


Removing the entire front end with a Sawzall was a bright idea! Much better access and made getting the motor and gearbox out a doddle. These fought me a bit as I couldn't get the driveshafts out of hubs, so had to take the hubs out of the front suspension. Again, didn't take that long but put up a fight.


Picked up one of Harbor Freight's one ton engine hoists and was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the things for only $139.


And all that pre-planning and thinking meant that the hoist could belly right up to the table to deposit said motor where it needed to be without a hitch!


The wiring loom on the other hand... I think Honda gave their wiring quality some serious thought and that damn thing fought me tooth and nail! Eventually ended up stripping the ENTIRE interior to get everything out. However, does give me a very nice integrated loom that should work very nicely thank you!

So that leaves me with, one very dead Integra....


... and a big pile of spare parts! Lots of potential for use here, so this is all getting stored for future picking over.


Now just need to convince someone to come and take the body away ... RIP...