DAY 1 – Wednesday 8/15
The mission for Day 1 was to pull the turbo SR, remove the transmission, and check out the clutch. I had put myself into a corner of not having a new clutch. I spent time trying to figure out what to buy and where to order it from, then, when I was ready to order, it was Obon in mainland which meant three or four days of work holidays and no way a new clutch would be in my possession by the time the swap was happening. I needed to see what the clutch was like in the donor SR so I could figure out how to proceed – move forward or put swapping on hold.
I pulled all but the driver seat out of my kei car, Daihatsu Move, and loaded up my 3mx3m canopy and engine hoist – which only showed up two days prior – and set off on the hour drive to the parts car. I unloaded everything and hit up the local home improvement store to buy two sheets of plywood, my plan for coaxing the hoist to roll on dirt.
The beauty of working on a car you care nothing about is you can ding things up and not worry about the damage…this is really important when you are pulling an engine alone! Around noon, I finished running errands and getting everything setup. I pulled the 180’s hood off and finished disconnecting everything.
Pulling the engine itself went surprisingly easy. As you can see in the picture, I had a “second set of hands” helping in the form of gravity. The very slight hill worked in my advantage and the engine slid right out even with one front wheel dragging in the dirt (again see pic).
I popped the transmission off with the feeling of unwrapping a present. Opening transmissions, differentials, and valve covers all elicit the same feeling of anticipation if you aren’t quite sure what’s on the other side. All house expensive parts if they have been replaced with good quality aftermarket items. The Nismo slave cylinder I removed from the bellhousing was hinting that something good might be waiting on the inside. Sure enough, to my surprise/relief, there was a Nismo clutch disc visible through the pressure plate. Oh baby! Pulling the pressure plate revealed how much life was left in it and the signature copper in the disc material lead me to believe it was a Nismo coppermix. After noting parts numbers, it would be a Google project for later.
So at 4:00pm-ish, I was looking at the engine and trans apart on the ground before me, a sign that great progress had been made, but I was much worse for wear. The Okinawan sun, heat, and humidity had completely drained me even working under the shade of the canopy and drinking three liters of water. I was spent but couldn’t close a garage door and leave things on hold. I had to press on…sigh.
The dilemma was what to do with the engine – wrap it up and collect it later with a truck or try and get it in the back of the Move. If I got it in the Move, then I would also need the plywood and hoist so it was all or nothing. Poor kei car. I measured the back door opening on the Move, the interior space, and the height of the engine hanging on the crane. It looked good on a tape measure. I raised the engine and backed the Move up around it. The engine slid inside with just a bit of manual maneuvering. Yay but damn. I now needed to break the hoist down into loadable pieces and pick up all my other tools. My head was starting to pound and even a little movement took a few breaths to recover. It was like being on a mountain.
The hood was back on the 180SX, everything was picked up, and the Move’s back springs were begging for mercy around 6:00pm when I headed home at a very ojiisan-driving-a-kei-truck speed of 40kph. I was exhausted but Day 1 was a success.