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Thread: Lawson's 818C

  1. #1
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    Lawson's 818C

    While I've technically been working on this project for 6 months, the real progress on the build has just begun and the 818 part is still a few months down the road. I figured now would be a good time to start a build thread and introduce myself since I'll be asking more questions on the forum as I begin working on the donor and kit parts. I'm a Georgia Tech mechanical engineering student from Georgia, but my build will actually take place entirely in Michigan. I'm co-oping with General Motors (alternating school/work semesters) and all of my time on the build will happen during my work semesters. This means that I will only be making any progress during 6 months or so out of every year but the upside is I plan to make that a very productive 6 months. I've gotten to look at Hindsight's 818S in Atlanta and there are lots of great builds on here that I know I'll steal a few good ideas from.

    A little info on my build as it stands:
    • Donor Car- 2004 Subaru WRX with an STI shortblock and WRX heads that I picked up for $2300. It's not in great shape, but perhaps worth what I payed.
    • Kit Delivery and Options- I ordered an 818C kit with the ktuned shifter, carpeting, and powder coated frame. Kit delivery in May 2018.
    • I'm currently tearing down the donor and rebuilding the engine before I take delivery of the kit.


    Goals:
    • Street legal car
    • Comfort features such as power locks, A/C, and stereo. A/C especially for a coupe that I plan to drive in GA.
    • Modest power goals- ~300hp at the crank


    I don't plan to use this thread as my main way of sharing the build. Most of my frequent updates will be posted on the website I've created for the build. I like the Google Sites webpage because it makes it much easier to share photos and content in an organized format compared to a really messy build thread. I'll update this thread at most major milestones though as a sort of overview version of the website (think like 3-4 posts a year). The thread is also a good way for people to contact me about the build so I'd like to keep it semi up-to-date. I've got a blog on the website that you can subscribe to email updates for if interested.
    Website Link: 818coupe.com

    Donor: 20170624_121136.jpg
    Disassembly:IMG_20170715_182952591.jpg
    Engine: MVIMG_20180114_121221.jpg
    Last edited by lsfourwheeler; 02-17-2018 at 10:07 PM. Reason: Update info

  2. #2
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    Wow! Garage space and a lift? Being a student these days is certainly different from 35 years ago when I was a student. (I'm envious.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by CdnCarNut View Post
    Wow! Garage space and a lift? Being a student these days is certainly different from 35 years ago when I was a student. (I'm envious.)
    Haha, yeah I'm borrowing my brother's shop to build the car. Sadly he just moved and the new house doesn't have room for a lift (yet) and the shop isn't nearly as nice. His last one had heat too which really made the winter work more tolerable. Still a great space to build the car though!

  4. #4
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    By the way, does anyone know how to get access to posting photo galleries and setting a signature/profile picture?

  5. #5
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    If you built an 818 from a Saab 9-2x donor, would you be allowed to park in the GM/Domestic parking only spots at the GM plants?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by phil1734 View Post
    If you built an 818 from a Saab 9-2x donor, would you be allowed to park in the GM/Domestic parking only spots at the GM plants?
    That's a good question...maybe if you carried over the Saab badge and installed the ignition switch in the center console instead? It'd be just as much a Saab then as the 9-2X

  7. #7
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    Updated website address! Unfortunately it just forwards at the moment because of the way the new Google Sites is setup. I also setup a subscribe-able blog so checking the site for build updates isn't necessary.

    As for the car, just working on the engine rebuild at the moment. Slowly but surely...

    New website: www.818coupe.com

  8. #8
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    I like the website. Slick.

  9. #9
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    I like your website too. If you do as good a job on your car, it will really be something.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by lance corsi View Post
    I like your website too. If you do as good a job on your car, it will really be something.
    I have more experience thus far building websites than kit cars, but I hope so too haha! Trying to get all the bones for documentation setup before the kit arrives.

  11. #11

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    Nice WEB site ! The links to forum build topics is a nice touch too. With your background this will be a fun and great build to follow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aquillen View Post
    Nice WEB site ! The links to forum build topics is a nice touch too. With your background this will be a fun and great build to follow.
    Thanks! The whole photobucket fiasco reminded me that forum how-to's can disappear and there are some great write ups on here that I knew I'd need later on so I saved them as PDF's. Hopefully they can be of some help to others that see them on my site.

  13. #13
    Senior Member shinn497's Avatar
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    Where are you doing your build?

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    Quote Originally Posted by shinn497 View Post
    Where are you doing your build?
    Southeast Michigan at the moment, but I'm considering moving the kit down to North Georgia and building it down there where I go to school. I guess I've got until May to decide where I want it.

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    Senior Member shinn497's Avatar
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    Oh I mean what kind of facility. Is that your garage? I say because it looks like you have a lift.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shinn497 View Post
    Oh I mean what kind of facility. Is that your garage? I say because it looks like you have a lift.
    Gotcha, those pics are from my brother's old pole barn. He's since moved and the new one doesn't have a lift but the lift was definitely nice for pulling the donor powertrain.

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    Donor Teardown Complete and Kit preparation

    Here's what I've been up to the last few months: Lots more pictures and info on my website if you're interested.

    Big Milestones:
    1. Donor fully stripped and the shell has been taken off to scrap.
    2. I tore down the engine, replaced just about everything, and now have it mostly back together.
    3. Kit is paid for with pickup happening on May 14th, 2018!


    Engine Rebuild:

    • Since my donor engine was a bit of a mess, I quickly got to rebuilding it in January. It's been a long process learning how to get this thing back together but I've certainly gained a few new skills.
    • The entire engine has either been machined or replaced except for the rods. New (used) block, new pistons, machined heads, valve job, new (used) STi oil pan, new (used) STi side-feed injectors and fuel rails, and new TGV's. Plus lots of new bolts and everything else has had a thorough cleaning. All maintenance items like oil pump, water pump, and timing belt components have been replaced.
      • Had to replace the block because of cylinder damage and lots of stripped threads. A used block proved to be the cost-effective solution.
      • Pistons are JE Hybrid pistons that drop the compression ratio since I am running EJ205 heads on a EJ257 block.

    • Rebuild is almost finished, it needs the accessories, timing belt system, and intake.


    Donor:
    • Got all of the donor parts removed from the car. Shell has been scrapped.
    • Wiring harness was as big of a mess as I anticipated. I don't know what route I'm going for the kit, but this harness will only be used for connectors at most.
    • Sold lots of parts! In total, the net amount I payed for the donor parts after sales is ~$1000 (does not include engine rebuild costs).





    MVIMG_20180310_151734.jpgMVIMG_20180309_214705.jpgMVIMG_20180128_160156.jpgMVIMG_20180114_124952.jpgIMG_20180422_151622.jpgIMG_20180418_181709.jpgIMG_20180411_204043.jpgIMG_20180406_201210.jpgIMG_20180311_122618.jpgIMG_20180310_204541.jpg
    Last edited by lsfourwheeler; 04-23-2018 at 09:16 PM.

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    Kit Pickup

    I picked up the kit!


    • Everything went smoothly transporting it.
    • I have unpacked everything into the workshop, but I have some organizing to do before I get started. The kit stuff takes up more space than I expected as do my donor components.
    • I should hopefully start some progress on the kit this weekend. I'll soon go back to doing some donor parts prep but I'd to like to do at least a task or two on the kit.

    Snapchat-486354128.jpgIMG_20180514_092238.jpgIMG_20180514_162530.jpgIMG_20180514_101845.jpgIMG_20180514_092710.jpgIMG_20180515_185822.jpgIMG_20180515_155109.jpgSnapchat-261976415.jpgSnapchat-304713569.jpgIMG_20180515_203130.jpg

  19. #19
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    Awesome! Finally time to start building rather than tearing down.

    What are the wheels on the trailer? I thought you were going with RPF1s
    Factory Five 818c #456

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn818c View Post
    Awesome! Finally time to start building rather than tearing down.

    What are the wheels on the trailer? I thought you were going with RPF1s
    Those are the donor WRX wheels. Ran out of room in the truck for them...

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    Summer 2018 Update

    Time for a Summer progress update!

    I haven't been updating this thread over the Summer, but I've posted everything to my website as I've gone along. If you're looking for more pictures or info I have tons on my website updates, but I can also share more details here. Just let me know!

    I've been working on the kit since I received it in May. I took classes during the Summer, but spent as much time as possible working on the car when I got the chance.

    Engine:
    • Completed the engine assembly by installing the fuel system, wiring harness, timing belt, coolant pipes, and wiring.
    • I had to buy a new engine wiring harness to replace my donor's.
    • Relocated turbo boost solenoid to mount on the intake manifold
    • Repainted the intercooler to freshen it up. Mine looked horrible before and it's so easy to see in the 818 that I wanted to pretty it up a bit.
    • Installed the engine into the car with Group-N Sti mounts.


    Transmission:
    • The transmission became an unexpected nightmare to deal with...
      • It all began with the harmless task of installing my limited slip OBX differential into my donor's transmission. I followed Hindsight's write-up, which was excellent. What was not so excellent was what I found once I opened the transmission. The previous owner had clearly rebuilt this transmission (which was also a 2006 trans not original to my 2004 donor) and forgot a spacer for the pinion shaft. This meant the pinion had about 1/8 in of for-aft play which allowed it to machine itself and the old differential. I was disappointed, but not entirely surprised considering the donor, so I set about getting a new transmission. I bought a used transmission from a guy in Chattanooga, TN that I was told was in good shape. I brought my new purchase back to the shop and began to take it apart to install the differential just as I had the first. Except this time I found something even worse! Sheared third gear. Pretty frustrated by this point, I was able to use the pinion from one trans with the gearset from the other to create a single functional one. Hopefully everything will work as intended now, but time will tell.

    • Installed into the car with an ACT Heavy Duty Street clutch kit and a lightweight steel flywheel.


    Chassis:
    • I've installed the floor, front firewall, and cockpit side aluminum panels. The floor panels were covered with 3M rubberized undercoating for protection and some sound deadening.
    • All the donor suspension components were freshened up to be used on the kit.
      • Front and rear spindles were wire wheeled, coated with Corroseal rust reverser, and sprayed with bedliner to give them a much more attractive appearance than the rust. I also replaced the wheel bearings in all of them. This was very labor intensive work but I think it payed off in the end.
      • Steering rack had new inner and outer tie rods installed.
      • Lower control arms were repainted.
      • Rear lateral links were replaced because my donor's were bent from it being an ex-salvage car. Junkyards tend to bend these with forklifts apparently.

    • Front and rear suspension installed with my refurbished parts and the FFR supplied components.
    • Subaru 4-2 pot brakes and rotors.
    • NC Miata Brake Booster
      • I started a separate thread on this, but I decided to install an NC Miata brake booster on my 818 to improve the braking experience. The booster is smaller than the Subaru unit and is just barely short enough to provide clearance to the ports. The booster to firewall bolt pattern is the same as the Subaru so I did not have to make any permanent chassis modifications to accommodate this booster. I could undo and switch to manual brakes easily if I so choose.

    • Pedal box and steering column installed.


    The car is essentially a rolling chassis now with the next few phases of work being the systems required for running the engine and driving the car. The car still needs cooling, brake lines, fuel system, wiring, clutch lines, and a shifter to be a go-kart.

    Unfortunately, I won't get to work on the car much until after the middle of December. I just moved back to Michigan for another co-op work term with General Motors and the car has to stay down in Georgia. I plan to gather some more components for the car before I get back to it such as wheels, tires, and seats while also receiving the iWire harness sometime in the near future. If all goes to plan maybe I can have the car running or go-karting by the end of the year.

    IMG_20180604_223421.jpgIMG_20180612_000818.jpgIMG_20180613_195648.jpgIMG_20180713_183009.jpgIMG_20180810_120824.jpgIMG_20180812_112735_1.jpgIMG_20180812_112806.jpgIMG_20180816_172810.jpgIMG_20180817_172747.jpgIMG6387424666738320836.jpg

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  23. #22
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    Looking Good!

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    Senior Member AZPete's Avatar
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    Nice work. The pioneering that you, and Turbomacncheese, have done on the power brake booster will be very helpful to future builders. I look forward to hearing how it works when you go-kart.
    818S/C : Chassis #25 with 06 WRX 2.5 turbo, ABS, cruise, PS, A/C, Apple CarPlay, rear camera, power windows & locks, leather & other complexities. Sold 10/19 with 5,800 miles.
    Mk3 Roadster #6228 4.6L, T45, IRS, PS, PB, ABS, Cruise, Koni's, 17" Halibrands, red w/ silver - 9K miles then sold @ Barrett-Jackson Jan 2011 (got back cash spent).

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  27. #24
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    So...I got a little bored and decided to work on the car virtually while I was away from it. Created some Martini vinyl ideas!
    818c-white martini.png818c-dark martini.png818c-black martini.png818c-blue.png

    A few more items have been purchased:
    • Advanti Storm S1 17x8-40 and 17x9-45 wheels (they're on sale at TireRack right now!)
    • Dunlop Direzza Star Spec ZIII tires 215/40 front and 255/40 rear
    • iWire Wiring harness arriving next week


    I'll get to visit the car briefly next week before finishing my work term. I'll be back in full swing around the third week of December.
    Last edited by lsfourwheeler; 11-19-2018 at 07:10 PM.

  28. #25
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    After installing a new passenger-side cylinder head, the car runs!

    The low idle is pretty rough and lumpy. I'm not sure if my slightly larger STi injectors are causing this or if I should be tracking down a vacuum leak somewhere. Anyone have some tips for troubleshooting this?

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/ApBg6RKVL6Cn6Q516
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/VDqCGi1Bx6wLmho59

  29. #26
    Senior Member STiPWRD's Avatar
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    I had a similar sounding idle when I put in 820cc injectors and didn't scale them in the ECU. The idle was very lumpy. I rescaled the injectors with a tactrix cable and everything was much better.

    Troubleshooting: Try data logging AFR at idle - larger injectors will almost definitely cause it to run rich. Also look at your short term fuel trims, large negative trims mean the ECU is trying to correct a rich condition. Another thing to try is pulling the spark plugs and seeing how black they are.

  30. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by STiPWRD View Post
    I had a similar sounding idle when I put in 820cc injectors and didn't scale them in the ECU. The idle was very lumpy. I rescaled the injectors with a tactrix cable and everything was much better.
    That's good to hear because that's what I was thinking. I watched the AFR's via OBII on the Torque app (I don't have an actual wideband installed) and they didn't seem crazy rich. I got a ECU (third one for me...but this one is a replacement from the eBay seller so thankfully I didn't pay extra) that I will put in this weekend and hopefully it's not locked and I can change the injector size on it with my Tactrix cable. I'll update the thread if I get the idle sorted by doing that.

  31. #28
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    Sharing some info on how I made my build website in case anyone else is interested. Requires no coding/web experience and costs only $12/yr for the custom URL (which is optional). I've simply found a website to be best for documentation with the Forum solely for discussion topics/help.

    CREATING A BUILD WEBSITE:



    • So, the reason why I created a build website over a very thorough and up-to-date build thread is that this platform allows me to present the information however I would like and be free from forum interface restrictions. It also allows me to avoid the clutter of conversation within the documentation. I've had some experience with web building in the past but this setup should be simple enough for anyone to duplicate.
    • What I'm using(everything is Google owned because I like the integration between them)
      • Google Domains Domain Hosting: $12/yr
        • This is how I get the 818coupe.com custom url. Default is sites.google.com/*

      • Google Photos: Free!
        • I already use this with my phone and it integrates well with Blogger and Google Sites. I make an album with all my 818 photos and I can easily use those on Google Sites and Blogger.

      • Google Sites website builder: Free!
        • Google revamped this in 2017 and it is now a very easy to use website builder. Drag and drop with pre-made templates that work on all devices. Not the most flexible or feature filled but great for a simple site like this. I use things like blogger to help enhance the site.

      • Blogger: Free!
        • This is how I create all my "updates". Blogger helps me manage all the posts individually and I simply use a embedded webpage to bring it into this site. This is truly as simple as putting the blog link into the "embedded page" widget on Google Sites.
        • Blog functionality such as subscriptions, searching, etc. are all benefits of this.

      • Feedburner: Free!
        • This is how I share a email subscription option for people. It gives people a recurring email subscription to my blogger RSS feed that is updated every time I post. The interface is old and kinda clunky but it is simple for the subscriber and requires no maintenance from me once setup.

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  33. #29
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    Post Go-Kart Stage Update

    Recap of My 818C Build to Go Kart Stage


    • Engine
      • ​The engine has caused me quite it's share of issues...I destroyed the passenger side head on first start because I swapped up the cam caps by accident (must have been done on a late night or something). I've sorted quite a few small issues and leaks with it along the way, but it's still not in great running condition. My replacement passenger head bought from eBay was not rebuilt quite right its seems and has way too little clearance between the valve buckets and the cams. I plan to remedy this after the Summer and fingers crossed that the engine issues will be behind me.

    • Chassis
      • Wheel spacers and extended studs have been installed to fit my 17" Avanti Storm S2 wheels. I love the look of them and after the spacers I think the fitment should be good as well! Running Dunlop Direzza ZIII tires.
      • Shifter linkage installed and installed my K-Tuned aluminum shifter. Feel is not perfect, but I have not fiddled with it too much yet. I would not call it horrible either.
      • I had to convert my clutch slave cylinder to a pull style to match my transmission case, but the clutch feels great and seems to work just fine now.
      • Hydromat installed with my STi fuel pump

    • Wiring
      • Installed my harness from iWire. Great product! They rerouted my fusebox to the front of the firewall to leave space for my vintage air A/C system. This was super nice to have all the wiring done for me.

    • Brakes
      • So I am planning to run ABS brakes and also power assisted brakes. Right now I am using the booster and master cylinder from a NC Miata, but I'm not happy with how the pedal feels now. I think the master just isn't pushing enough volume so the pedal is mush for most of the travel. I will be looking into alternatives in the meantime and can hopefully find a setup that works. Maybe looking for a master cylinder with a 1" bore and a longer stroke plus a compatible booster for it that will fit.
      • Brake lines are all run and bled so I have been able to confirm all the hydraulics at least work. I have not tested ABS yet.

    • Cooling System
      • Leaks, leaks, and more leaks! I'm going to replace FFR's adapter setup with something else. I will think about this over the Summer. I got my car to the point that the leaks are more like very slow seepage, but still a nonzero amount.

    • Interior
      • I made some custom seat brackets to bottom mount by Corbeau A4 seats. They work great! Or at least one does because I haven't installed the second one. The A4s are very comfortable and fit perfectly in the car.


    Tons more details, photos, successes, failures, etc. on my website if you're interested.

    IMG_1626.jpgIMG_20190503_112536.jpgMVIMG_20190224_011906.jpgMVIMG_20190309_201256.jpgMVIMG_20190323_150644.jpgMVIMG_20190323_150704.jpgMVIMG_20190330_122158.jpg

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    Consider Bob Boig's coolant tubes to cure those leaks. Available through Mike Everson or directly from Boig.

  36. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by idf View Post
    Consider Bob Boig's coolant tubes to cure those leaks. Available through Mike Everson or directly from Boig.
    Yes, they are a good solution, but a bit too expensive for me to justify right now. I've actually found some true coolant hose diameter adapters that I'm going to check out.

  37. #32
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    I don't know what price Boig has on the coolant pipes, but I made my own using 1 1/4" 16 ga aluminum tubing & mandrel bent elbows. It may be cheaper. I ran from engine to rad, using silicone hose to connect the ends. I'm also using spring-type hose clamps.

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  39. #33
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    Definitely looking good!

    Im having buyers remorse on my FFR k-tune (bought before reading all the forum feedback about it)... interested to hear if your able to clean up the feel.

    Im a big fan of safety but I must say: that is more helmets than any one person should own!

  40. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by MonzaMan View Post
    I’m having buyer’s remorse on my FFR k-tune (bought before reading all the forum feedback about it)... interested to hear if your able to “clean up” the feel.

    I’m a big fan of safety but I must say: that is more helmets than any one person should own!
    Yeah, I'm hoping I can make the FFR ktuned setup work for me. All the helmets are ATV helmets, haha. We've got a few atv's of various sizes hence the assortment of helmets.

  41. #35
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    Somewhat less cheerful update to share, but my build is definitely still progressing!

    Big news: My rebuilt motor did not survive the dyno tuning session . Developed rod knock after a couple hours (I haven't torn it down yet to see what exactly happened). Sad but not entirely unexpected from a first-attempt at a full engine rebuild. Made 260 WHP at 6,000 rpm before it failed.

    However...I already have a new engine- a JDM EJ207. This is the JDM WRX STi motor and is a high-revving twin scroll turbo variant of the 2.0L EJ. I chose this option because it makes plenty of power and I can drop it in stock without touching anything or getting it tuned. Everything will be run as it came from Subaru (my engine building days are behind me haha). Only some small fixes/tweaks required to get the engine ready for 818 duty.

    I expect to have the car back in go-kart shape in the next couple weeks and then resume fixing all the small mechanical issues/improvements I've been working on. I have A/C to install, brakes to sort out, throttle pedal mounting to improve, shifter to improve, parking brake to finish, and seats to finish installing before I turn to body work.

    IMG_20190827_103010.jpgIMG_20190901_181430.jpgIMG_20190901_181445.jpgIMG_20190914_173849.jpg

  42. #36
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    One EJ207 in and running! Time to continue working through go-kart bugs and finishing touches on mechanical stuff.

    Had to wire up AVCS by using a signal wire harness from iWire and to save money I just swapped TGV wires over to cover the solenoid power wires. So the engine can now run exactly as intended by Subaru but with a slightly different exhaust configuration. Also had to borrow a fancy snap-on code reader than can do Subaru Select Monitor diagnostic protocol because the JDM ECU does not support US-standard OBDII protocols.

    IMG_20190921_163937.jpgIMG_20190921_225036.jpgIMG_20190922_155825.jpg
    Last edited by lsfourwheeler; 09-26-2019 at 08:53 AM.

  43. #37
    Senior Member AZPete's Avatar
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    Congrats on reaching the engine running milestone . . . again! That's certainly a quick recovery!
    818S/C : Chassis #25 with 06 WRX 2.5 turbo, ABS, cruise, PS, A/C, Apple CarPlay, rear camera, power windows & locks, leather & other complexities. Sold 10/19 with 5,800 miles.
    Mk3 Roadster #6228 4.6L, T45, IRS, PS, PB, ABS, Cruise, Koni's, 17" Halibrands, red w/ silver - 9K miles then sold @ Barrett-Jackson Jan 2011 (got back cash spent).

  44. #38
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    Second engine install is definitely easier. All the connections are already there waiting to be plugged in

  45. #39
    Senior Member mikeb75's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about the blown engine, but you will be very happy with the 207! High revving and the 818 seem made for each other.
    818SC chassis #206 EJ207 2.0L VF37 twin scroll || Cusco type RS 1.5 LSD || Wilwood pedal box (firewall attach) || Wilwood superlite front calipers
    BUILD Phase 1: 6/6/2014 car delivered || 5/24/2015 first start || 6/7/2015 go karted || 4/20/2016 hard-top-topped || 10/25/2016 registered || 11/18/2016 inspected & complete
    BUILD Phase 2: 3/8/2017 EJ207v8 || 5/29/2017 re-first re-start || 7/17/2017 re-assembled with race car bits

  46. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeb75 View Post
    Sorry to hear about the blown engine, but you will be very happy with the 207! High revving and the 818 seem made for each other.
    Took it for it's first EJ207-powered spin this weekend! Besides being unable to figure out how to satisfy the ECU not having a secondary O2 sensor everything was working well. Hopefully that O2 thing will be a non-issue once the exhaust is complete.

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