DAY 4 – Saturday 8/18
I started Day 4 with four hands. My buddy, Seth, had showed up the night before and was ready to help making good on his word. Like every other day, the first thing we had to do was setup. Get out tools, set up the canopy, get the car jacked up, and work out the plan of attack. You’re already hot and sweaty before you event start! Oh, the days of having a garage!
Lucky for me, Seth isn’t a complete nincompoop when it comes to things mechanical. I was able set him about doing something leaving me free to work on something else. Accomplishing two things at once was incredible and the simple process of removing all the necessary parts was done rather quickly. He disconnected electrical and worked on stripping the bay while I working on removed things under and inside the car.
Everything was going slicker than snot until it came time to actually pull the engine. The transmission cross member was loose, the passenger side motor mount nut was off, but the driver side nut was seized. Seized, seized, SEIZED! It was not moving and, worse yet, it started stripping the first time I tried to loosen it. WD-40 didn’t help and access was limited with the steering rack in the way. We had resolved to get the engine out before taking a lunch break. This was a showstopper. All progress halted.
Luckily Nissan designed a back up plan into the motor mount. There is also a top nut that holds the engine in place on the mount. I removed the top nut, which spun free by finger after breaking it loose (go figure). We set the hoist up and laid out a plan of how to leap-frog the plywood. The engine slid out easy-peasy and we felt victorious taking our late lunch break.
We resumed work turning our focus to preparing the engine bay for the new engine. Some super stiff bolts made getting the new steering rack bushing in more difficult than anticipated. But the major task was breaking the nut free on the old mount. Room was still limited by the rack so we dropped the rack and I tried again with vice grips and a hammer to loosen the nut. That too simply stripped the nut. I was getting mentally defeated and wasting too much time dicking with the nut.
We had to call it a day in order to make it to Makeman before 8:00pm. We put the hood on, put everything away, showered, and made the drive to Nago pulling into Makeman as they were playing the closing song. I fast-walked back to the bolt isle and luckily spotted exactly what I was looking for, a nut breaker. It seemed like our best shot moving forward and gave me hope we would overcome the road block early on Day 5.