DAY 3 – Friday 8/17
The goal for Day 3 was clear; I needed to get the new battery tray setup figured out and move the car back to the parking lot to be ready for the swap the next day. I had asked a buddy to help me with the heavy lifting swapping the engines on Saturday and Sunday. I needed to finish up this slight side project to not waste his time.
First things first, I had to clean up the rust the best I could. I used my angle grinder and wire-wheeled the surface to get rid of all the large flaking rust. The real rust in the metal was going to get rust converted. A while back, I had found CRC rust converter at the home improvement store, Makeman, and this was the perfect job for it. I squeezed it out expecting a liquid substance but was surprised at the really thick gooey gel that game out. It spread out like really thick honey. It said wait 10 minutes but I had stuff to do so I just let it sit.
I got busy making my new battery tray out of a small piece of 2mm aluminum plate I also bought at Makeman. I had drafted up my idea of how I wanted the tray so now it was time to actually make it. I needed to turn the battery 90 degrees and recess it into the floor to clear the hood when closed. In picture above, you can see the markings. The “X” areas would get cut off and the sides folded up around the floor.
The hardest part of working with aluminum is cutting it and bending it. When you cut it with a regular metal cutting wheel, the wheel hops around and doesn’t cut cleanly, and, when you bend it, it likes to tear. The first problem was remedied by buying an aluminum cutting wheel, again from Makeman. You can see the word “アルミ” on the blade which is “arumi” or aluminum in Japanese. It worked like a champ and quickly and cleaning cut the unused portions off. I would strongly recommend to anyone cutting aluminum to spend the five bucks on the proper blade as it makes a huge difference.
The next hurdle was bending it. Two milimeters sounds thin in writing but when you are holding it in your hands it’s a little harder than making a paper airplane. Hammering really scars it up and can also tear/crack it. I needed a metal brake so instead of the real thing I found this bar across the manhole cover pictured above. The flat bar would pinch the aluminum when the nuts were tightened on the side. I just lined the bend lines up I had marked and pulled in into shape.
The tray was done and I was stoked on it but it was early afternoon. I needed to get stuff done!
When I turned my attention back to the car, it looked as though nothing had really happened with the rust converter. It was still there, looking gooey and the same color. Hoping it had worked it’s magic, I doused the whole area in water and thoroughly rinsed off the converter. After the water dried, I was left with a surface that was 100% different from when I applied it. It was phenomenal.
I set to working cutting out a rectangle in which the battery tray would drop through. I switched back the the metal cutting wheel and went at it. Cutting a little then checking and measuring. I used an orange, hard stone-ish wheel to finish shaping it and cleaning it up. It really eats the metal while not wasting itself like a cutting wheel. Again, proper tools really help.
I finished the exposed metal off with “Chipping Spray” which is like rubberized undercoat but advertised on the can as being good for rocker panels. I wasn’t really sure what to expect since I was reading the Japanese but was hoping it was a bit thinner like paint but durable like undercoat. The biggest seller was that it was white so it would “match” my engine bay. You guessed it, I bought it at Makeman (メイクマン = Meikuman).
Knowing it would only get in the way during the swap, I removed the frontend leaving on the hood and fenders. I then temporarily assembled the cooling system to make the 50 meter drive and parked it in its proper parking spot. However, the day was not done. I had to make the two hour round trip to Nago to pick up the transmission and buy some more supplies to have everything ready for Day 4.