Its been a few months, so probably time for an update!
Work has progressed slowly over the past few months. Its not that Ive lost interest in it, its just that theres always more interesting things to do. Uni is getting more intense, Ive started navigating in proper competitive gravel rallies with a friend in a Subaru Legacy and I went on a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia for a few weeks - all good fun but not helping the X much. Until suddenly the other day the bug bit again, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now so full steam ahead!
In a bid to reduce unsprung weight, I decided to go ahead and order the Whoa brakes Brembo rotors to go with the Wilwood brakes I have already purchased from them. They seem pretty big (they wont fit in 13" wheels) so Im keen as mustard to get them on the car and give them a go.
I wasnt sure what to do about the exhaust system until I discovered that PBS engineering still had one of their manifolds left over. I quickly ordered it, and Im told it was the last one which was lucky. I'll probably get the rest of the system made up by a local exhaust specialist here in Adelaide. I was quite happy with the price, which was about $350 landed in Australia. Ive been quoted upwards of $500 to have one made locally so I thought this was pretty good value as the local ones would be a bit hit and miss as to how well they perform, whereas the PBS item is tried and tested. Thats my theory anyway and I'm sticking with it!
Ed from the Xweb forums here sold me these DCNF 40 Webers on a PBS manifold. This will take care of carburation for the little 1500. I just cant wait to hear these babies roar! All I need now is to find a decent warm to hot cam to go with it and I'll be set!
Needless to say, work on the body is taken a very long time. I worked out theyve had the car nearly a year now, and it still doesnt have any paint on it. However, the job they are doing on it is absolutely first rate so I am willing to let them take their time. The whole car has been bare metalled, theres not a ripple or anything to be seen anywhere. The use of fillers has been kept to an absolute minimum, with the guys hand panel beating out any imperfections they find.
The car has had its final coat of primer and is now ready for color coat. The whole underside has also been taken back to bare metal, and fresh underbody protection sealant has been applied - its very sexy. You cant really tell from the photos, but even if you run your hand over the primer coat its just so smooth. It has taken a year, but I worked out that if I were paying the normal aud$60+ per hour I'd be well over $20,000 by now. However, Ive paid not much more than a quarter of that so I think Ive done pretty well.
The only real work to do now before paint is to give the engine bay, rear boot, front boot and interior a quick sand. It will then have the normal coat of paint but only one coat of clear, as opposed to the 2 or 3 the body will get. The paint is in pretty good shape here, I only want something just to make it look presentable. It doesnt need to be as perfect as the rest of the car.
The only problem Im facing now is that Im building this car to use in hillclimbs, circuit sprints, limited road use and as a course car for tarmac rallies. Except Im a little worried the body will be too nice for this, I'll be too scared to drive it fast! Its a pretty good problem to have though
I heard a rumor the other day that there was an X19 at U Pull It North, our local self serve auto wreckers. Essentially you take your own tools, and rip out anything you want from the cars and pay for it on your way out. I got about 5 SMS's from different people telling me about this X19 there, but I was overseas so couldnt go have a look. Anyway today a mate and I finally got out there just for a look and maybe to grab some small bits when we discovered that this X19 had a 1500 engine and 5 speed transmission which is fairly rare here in oz - whats more nobody had taken it already! I want a 5 speed as the driveshafts have bigger splines into the hub and are harder to strip than 1300 splines. This will be a big plus when doing full bore takeoffs up steep hills with sticky R compound race tyres at hillclimbs which I will be doing a bit of. Also having 5 gears is cool.
It was 2.30pm, and the wreckers closed at 5. Im going to rebuild the entire engine and gearbox anyway meaning condition is unimportant to me, so we decided to go for it and launched into pulling this poor little X apart. It was very dodgy, as the cars arent supported that well and we were working in less than ideal conditions (try working lying on your back in oil stained dirt littered with broken car bits!). After 1 hour 45mins, we managed to get the engine, gearbox, drive shafts, rear arms and hubs out all as one assembly. We had to slide it down the little gravel alley between the cars as the engine crane was too big to fit down the gap. Just as we got it free, it was 5pm and we were in the process of being kicked out. We had made it, if we started 10mins later we wouldve been kicked out before we got it.
I was pretty happy with our work, neither of us are mechanics and have learnt what we know through tinkering around and we got it out in less than 2 hours. Whats more they only charged me $300 for everything in the above photo plus an instrument cluster, speedo cable and some other odds and sodds. I thought that was good value for a 1500 5 speed!
Only problem was there was no way in hell it was going to fit into my little Alfa 33, and we had to be out of the place by 5. So we dumped the engine and trans on the footpath out front, sat down and got my dad to drive out with the trailer once he finished work and pick it up.
My mate Michael who helped me tried to carry it home with this seatbelt strap we used to lift the engine out of the body shell. However it prooved to be a tad too heavy. Some of the Adelaide guys might know Michael, he has built an immaculate red Alfa 33 16V with black wheels that he sprinted for a while. The car is so perfect you could and would eat off any part of it! He's now building an Alfa Sud specially for Sprinting, so he is my main competition when the X19 is done!
In the end we just sat for an hour and waited, got some pretty funny looks from the people who drove by!
Anyway thats about it for now. The snowball has started again, and when Uni finishes for the year and I get the shell back from the painters it will be on like donkey kong!
Thanks for sharing.. Did you folks figure out a way to get that drive train home?