Well, here it is....all the people out there who have been following my little engine ordeal, I finally got to see it running and revving although due to a small snafu it's not on the road yet (the stupidest thing in the world, when you hear this you'll wanna smack me). I got the OK from Rich at Precision Tuning to come down to Brick this weekend, unbeknownst to both of us that there was going to be a small parts problem. I showed up at about 6:30 on Saturday night and pulled into the parking lot to see Rich at his workbench custom fabbing some tools to get all the oil fittings right, my car in the parking lot looking for the most part 100% put back together. After a bit of chatting, fidgetting at the banjo bolts he was struggling with, and hooking up the battery charger my car came to life for the first time since July 5th. With the UTEC not turned on, it idled a bit rough for a while but eventually the computer started to come around and learn how to work with the different cams/heads. After a bit more fiddling and a good amount of coolant burping, the car was pretty much running with the slight exception of a few little pieces and parts that needed to get cinched back up and a slightly high idle (probably a little tension in the throttle cable that needed to get loosened out). Everything sounded wonderful, and the common "slapping/knocking/clanking" I've been warned about with a built engine were not there. Sure there was a tiny amount of knocking initially, but once it warmed up the car just sounded beautiful, like stock to the untrained ear (me...I had to listen very carefully to even tell the difference).
For those of you that weren't around when my first shortblock gave out, I'll give you a brief synopsis of what happened. Running the car really hard on July 5th, I had what has now been pinpointed as a critical oil failure, causing my car to run dry for a few seconds. At the high RPM and load I was at (erm...redline in 5th ) the engine didn't last very long, as is evidence by the huge splinters of metal located on my old crankshaft where the bearings evaporated. The rods took a ton of abuse during this time and my number 3 rod is bent totally out of round where it attaches to the crank. After disassembling the engine, Rich also noticed that there were slight cracks around my spark plug hole in my heads, and that the headgasket was probably on its way out due to some residue around the sealing surface. This is probably more a result of slightly lean conditions and age. To remedy the situation, I decided to rebuild the block and go with a set of JDM v7 STi heads, replacing my Prodrive ECU with a stock ecu/UTEC combo. The block was sent out to Rich's machine guy along with all the internals, and after getting it back it was all carefully put back together, with exceptional clearances and refinement. The final assembly was done with:
JE Forged pistons
Eagle connecting rod
Balanced/polished stock USDM WRX crankshaft
Machined EJ205 open-deck block
ARP Head bolts
JDM v7 STi heads
Everything went together very well according to Rich, and the way the car runs and revs, it is evident that this will be a very very happy little motor. The engine just flys through the RPM when you give a tug on the throttle, evidence that everything is matched to the same size/weight and there is very little imperfection in it.
The reason I don't have my car back yet is stupid, and looking back I realize that more information was needed on my part before I sent the heads to Rich to get installed. On the JDM STi, there is a slight variation in the intake cam gear, and that variation doesn't allow the stock WRX timing belt cover to fit on the engine, so without that cover I couldn't take the car out on the road. It'll be 100% ready to go once that cover is on and the car can be driven around, but until then it was decided it's too huge a risk to drive the car now that we've come this far in getting everything prepped. No HP or TQ numbers yet, but hopefully within the next 3 months I'll be on a dyno to get this puppy tuned. My full setup is listed in my mods on my profile if anyone has any questions about what I'm running.
I'm very excited to get this thing out on the roads and see what the v7 heads do for me, it's a very promising engine and just by sound and feel alone I can tell that it's going to be an infinitely stronger car now.
Here's a few pics of it in "Precision Tuning Blue," the calling card of the master himself, Rich Ellis