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Old 04-20-2011, 08:47 AM   #1
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I didn't know how good I had it.

Some of you might cringe a little when you read my story. After reading a lot on forum pages like this I've learned a lot in the last few months.

So my old man bought a Tahitian Green 92 VX in 1992, he is an extremely practical man and commuted 28km each way to work. He was diligent about maintenance, ran it on Mobile1 for the most part, and kept diligent notes on all maintenance and every drop of oil and gas, the fluids and mileage were recorded in a little book that stays in the glove box. I have since turned the book into a travel diary and then abandoned. I learn to drive stick in this car, as did my sister, my younger brother, and later some cute chick at summer camp years ago and my now and always girlfriend. I inherited this car in 2004 with 300k km (about 180k miles) and a warning that it's due for a timing belt. The wheel well rust was just starting and everything worked as can be expected. When the stock exhaust roted out my old man replace it with a stainless steel Ractive high flow oversized noisy exhaust system that I never really liked.
I put another 240k km over the years and got most of the maintenance done, 2 timing belts, odd suspension bit. To make this short, I drove that car everywhere at better than 55mpg (note: I think U.S. gallon is different).
Up until last fall it was almost all original, which up here in the big fridge is uncommon. Original windshield, starter, clutch, rad. This impresses me anyway. I cooked the original alternator with a 12v George Foreman grill I got for Christmas. Yes pork chops and chicken wings simmering in the passenger foot well as I cruised from Montreal to Toronto repeatedly. It seems ridiculous now but believe me it made perfect sense at the time. After I stopped cooking on the road my younger brother borrowed the car for a while and had to go over the whole interior with kitchen clearner to get smell of home cooking out.
Right I was making this short. So I happily drove to every corner of the country including up past the arctic circle. Then last fall it died.
It (or I) stalled pulling through an intersection, i coasted through to the sidewalk and couldn't get it going again. CAA brought it to my house where I went through all the trouble shooting I could think of or find online. Once it proved fuel air and spark I was stumped. Some neighbourhood kids helped me push it to the garage a couple blocks away so a "pro" could have at it. He came up with a poor igniter, and two cylinders are down to 65 psi. The JDM shop in my hood sold me a whole knew distributor assembly (from Taiwan?) for the same price as an igniter from Honda. That got me going but now for the first time I could feel this low compression thing. I was winding it out in third gear just to avoid getting run over on the highway. So the JDM guys were so damn friendly that when I told them what was up and that I'm looking to rebuild the engine. They said nobody rebuilds anymore, you can get a low time JDM for $400 bucks. I insisted that other than being a VX the car is a piece of ****, so unless you can get the same engine it's not worth it. They assured me that they could, and furthermore their guy could install it for another $450. Having never done a swap and not really equipped to do it I said right on. While he had everything open I swapped out the clutch plate, brakes and some other stuff thats quick and easy while it's on the hoist.
Now the story gets scary, (I've abandoned the short version, cheers to you for sticking with it this long.) My gut instinct was to keep the old engine and rebuild it as a leisure project to learn a thing or two, but everyone around me was saying don't do it, you've got a new engine you're back in go mode, bla bla. I have a few other projects i've been dragging around that I haven't touched so I thought OK I can let it go. After reading the various threads about the VX Vtec E swap I realize there was a bunch of stuff I should have kept. But they didn't know and I didn't know, they tell me the old block has gone to scrap. I come to learn that they aren't very sophisticated and I asked them to do something unusual. Most guys go in there and want a 2.5L in there 93 si or whatever. I think it might have been the first Vtec E they played with. Live and learn. So now I have a VX with a Vtec E with that big intake manifold. What burns a little is that the intake from the air filter doesn't even fit the JDM manifold, that should have been a clue but they thought bigger more air more efficient, and I hadn't done my own research yet.
After asking the gearheads in my neighbourhood they tipped off that the JDM intake manifold doesn't jive with my computer. So I'm looking for a B15Z1 intake. And after looking online it appears I'm not alone on that search.
So I'm here online watching, waiting, learning. If there's any other info I might find useful about getting back to normal good performance I'd appreciated it. Cheers, Andrew

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Old 04-20-2011, 09:13 AM   #2
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Re: I didn't know how good I had it.

I cooked the original alternator with a 12v George Foreman grill I got for Christmas. Yes pork chops and chicken wings simmering in the passenger foot well as I cruised from Montreal to Toronto repeatedly. It seems ridiculous now but believe me it made perfect sense at the time.
That is ridiculous. The efficient way to do it is using waste heat by cooking on the exhaust manifold!

Also you risk spillage...I had a crock pot full of barbecue sauce and meat spill on my passenger side speaker...

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Old 04-20-2011, 12:39 PM   #3
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Re: I didn't know how good I had it.

I wouldn't worry about having the wrong intake manifold, unless your fuel economy flew out the window with the engine swap. The OEM intake will probably cost you more than it will ever save you in fuel savings.

And yes, tinfoil-wrapped, exhaust-heated ears of corn and tamales/taquitos/burritos/corn dogs are the way to go.
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