Wednesday, 7 September 2011

My Cefiro #11: Bringing it back to life.

My Cefiro #10:

After the months of being essentially bedridden during late 2010 and the first part of 2011, by April I had started being able to get out again here and there. Towards the end of April I was gaining a bit more strength, and when one of my friends David dropped round with his 'new' Nissan S14 200SX, I thought that since it was such a nice day, we could try going for a bit of a drive. 

 After he had driven up the Port Expressway to Wingfield, I thought that since I was still feeling relatively ok, that I could try having a bit of a drive in the S14 myself. So after pulling over in a side street we swapped seats, and for the first time in nearly a year, I was finally back behind the wheel of a turbocharged car for a proper drive. 

With the 110 km/h zone on Port Wakefield Road only a short drive away, we headed up north for 15 minutes or so, giving me a chance to put my foot down a bit legally. It was so nice just being able to go for a relaxed afternoon drive on a pleasant day, particularly in a turbocharged sports car, rather than my parent's Commodore. After a little we reached the 110km/h zone, so after pulling off onto a side road, I turned around and merged onto Port Wakefield Road. The SR20 engine only had a pod filter and exhaust so it wasn't particularly fast, but after months of driving nothing it felt really good to open it up a bit.

 The tank was running very low so we filled up on the way back to my place.

I was pretty worn out after that, but it was worth it. After being a bit hesitant about driving my own car for a while, going for a trouble-free drive in the S14 helped give me some confidence and incentive to go about getting my Ceffy up and running.

So a couple of weeks later I made a post on Performance Forums asking for help with getting the car back on the road, and organised for a few people to come around on June 5th, a Sunday afternoon.

Given that there were heaps of spider webs all around the car, particularly underneath, I thought it would be a good idea to grab a couple of bug bombs, to kill any spiders or other insects that might be lurking around the chassis and suspension. I then went to Supercheap Auto to pick up a few necessary bits and pieces, like fresh oil, coolant, oil filter, fuel filter, oil change pan and so on.  I put them in the garage next to the Ceffy, and hooked up the battery charger again, ready for Sunday afternoon.

Dad put a couple of the bug bombs under my car on Saturday evening, closing the Cefiro in the garage so they could do their thing.

 I woke up on the Sunday morning feeling rather crook, but fortunately once I turned the Ensure feed off and gave myself a few hours, the nausea had settled down somewhat by the time a few of the guys showed up. Adam & Marek from PF showed up around 2 in the afternoon, followed by one of my old friends Prach.

With my dad cooking up a few chops and sausages on the BBQ, the guys set about getting the car ready to be driven again, while I sat down and took photos.

First item on the list was putting some air back into the tyres, they looked fairly ok, but Marek had brought along an air compressor, which he hooked up to his Pajero and re-inflated the tyres to their recommended pressures.

 While the bug bomb was fairly effective at killing the wildlife living in the Ceffy, there were still a few redback spiders clinging on to life underneath the car, which was a little unnerving when working in close quarters. Or so I'm told.

After pumping up the tyres and removing excess redbacks, topping up, flushing and replacing the old coolant was next.

 The coolant they drained out looked pretty gunky, and hadn't been changed since I bought the car.

 After draining the old coolant and refilling it with the fresh stuff, it was on to the next pivotal step; starting the car up again.

Despite having been charged for a couple of days, the battery in the Cefiro was completely dead after so long that not even the lights worked, if I recall correctly. So it was out with the current battery, and we then pillaged a working battery from my parents' old Corolla hatch.

With a few minutes of spanner spinning, the battery was hooked up to the leads in the Cefiro.

And then came the big moment; firing up the engine. I neglected to have a video running at first for some reason. After a second or so of cranking the ignition, the RB20 roared into life. It was idling quite high and somewhat roughly, but for a car that hadn't been used for so long, I was expecting it to be a lot harder, particularly with such old petrol sitting in the tank.

After running it for a while to let the engine settle in, as well as moving the coolant around and getting the oil warmed up, I decided it would probably be easiest and best to just grab a new battery from Repco at Port Adelaide.

I took a few photos of the cars the guys turned up in. Prach (in the 2 photos above) has this 1997 JZX100 Toyota Chaser. With a custom tuned computer and some extra boost, it makes around 200kw at the rear wheels, which makes overtaking very easy.

 Adam has a cool little Mazda MX5 Clubman, with a 1.8 litre turbo engine making 114kw at the rear wheels. You know a car is small and low when a Corolla hatchback looks kinda big in comparison. I haven't been in it, but considering how light the car is standard at 1010kg, the handling must be similar to a go-kart.While Prach's Chaser obviously makes more power due to a 2.5 litre 6 cylinder 1JZ-GTE turbo engine, it's also much heavier, tipping the scales at around 1500kg.

 Marek drove his much more practical Mitsubishi Pajero 4wd on the day, which we jumped in to head over to Port Adelaide for the new battery.

Spotted this nice Ford Falcon FPV GT-P at a set of traffic lights.

After lugging the battery back to the Pajero, we headed back to my place.

This bright orange Ford Escort on a trailer caught my attention.

Pulling up at my house, you can see the size difference with the MX5 and Corolla more clearly.

So with a new battery installed, I started the car up again, and let it run for a while, before carefully easing it down the driveway and onto the road, for the first time since September 2010.

After getting it warmed up first, the engine only stumbled a bit as I very carefully took off in first gear up the street. The wheels bearings or something related made a bit of a scratching noise at first, but it had stopped by the end of the street. I puttered around the block a few times until the oil was up to temperature, then pulled back into the garage for the oil change.

 Here's a short video of the engine running, and me going for the first short drive.

Marek then backed the car out into the driveway so we could set a few things up to drain the oil.

Just after getting it back into the garage, one of my other friends Daniel turned up in his Nissan Pintara wagon. It's quite a good sleeper, running a CA18DET engine from a Nissan 180SX, the car makes around 160kw at the wheels. Certainly enough to surprise some V8 Commodore owners.

This is the HKS intercooler that came with the Cefiro.

The guys then got some wheel chocks, stands and a hydraulic jack, so the car could be lifted up to drain the old oil.

After the car was dropped down back onto all four wheels, Marek started pouring in a few litres of fresh oil.

Once it was topped up again, he started the engine again to let the new oil spread around a bit.

Following about 5 hours of hard manual labour from everyone except me, the Cefiro was back on its feet, finally ready to just be driven after such a long hibernation.

You can see a bucket half-full with the old oil sitting on the concrete.

Coming up in post #12; on the road again.

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