Magilla Gorilla: Sunup to Sundown

I have been starring at a growing pile of parts in my apartment for a while now either because of lack of time, waiting for other parts, or uncooperative weather. Well, yesterday all three of those stars aligned and I hit it hard knowing I only had the number of hours the sun was in the sky to get done as much as I could. So from sun up to sun down, I was working full tilt.

First priority on my list was to change the valve cover gaskets and the spark plugs. I got the cam covers off and was pleased to find it looking so clean in there. The old gaskets were definitely squashed and hardened. And after having absolutely ZERO luck finding NGK BKR7E’s here in Japan (and it’s a Japanese brand), I had a dozen sent over from America in a lovely care package.

With the cam covers off, I took the opportunity to paint them and dress up the engine a bit. Here they are primed.

While the paint was drying, I turned my attention to the rear of the car to address the second priority – replacing the blown rear struts. I don’t think my working conditions could be any more different from the good ol’ days of building Hulk Smash in the Brickhouse driveway/shop.

Replacing the old blown GAB Sports coilovers is a set of Tanabe Sustec Pro coilovers I had just picked up on Saturday from a local guy for $150.

I’ve had this massive knot of wiring in my trunk since I bought the car. Judging by the number of wires and the Dynamat in the trunk, it must have been a serious system. Now, they are a serious eye sore…

…so I took the opportunity of having to remove the rear seat for the coilover install to get rid of the unnecessary wiring.

A shot capturing all the new bits in the rear. In addition to the coilovers, I installed my new Cusco rear sway bar while the coilovers were off. Having a “free” suspension made the sway bar swap a ten minute job. I cannot adequately convey the weight difference between the stock unit and the Cusco one; the stock bar is like a flexible straw in comparison. Cusco’s spec chart says it is supposed to be 161% stiffer if I remember correctly. Also shining brightly in the rear is a new OEM fuel filter. That was also a snap of an install with the rear of the car jacked up.

The work in the rear provided adequate drying time so I got the under hood items back together. I am quite pleased with the color if I do say so myself.

That was it (not to down play the amount of work). I worked up to the minute the sun went down tightening down a fitting on the fuel filter to stop a small leak that appeared when it was pressurized. With the hour glass literally running out, I began to triage the work that could wait and the work that would keep me from being able to drive it to work. As a result, I now have my rear seat, trunk lining, and front strut bar sitting in my living room. No worries though. The interior will get more torn apart before it goes back together. I still have a round of fun upgrades for it to come.

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