Now that things are coming into place, it’s time to get to work!
The next step in the process was to actually get the car to a suitable work space in which to prepare it for track duty. Fortunately, Zac recently purchased a property with a 30 x 50 foot workshop. He graciously offered space for the duration of the build!
With the help of a friend and his F250, we transported the Civic across the county on Superbowl Sunday afternoon, in the rain, with a tow rope. The biggest stress-inducing factor in this activity was the fact that the car had no electrical power, and thus, no windshield wipers. While being towed a mere 15′ behind an F250 at 40+ miles per hour on wet roads…the winshield tends to get somewhat, shall we say, less than perfectly clear. Realistically, this wasn’t a big factor, as my job in the towed car was to simply keep tension on the tow rope, and try real hard not to rear-end the tow vehicle. At one point, when I couldn’t see the tow rope so well, we stopped and I got out and removed a winshield wiper from the car to manually squeegee the winshield clean. Mission Accomplishied!
However, if there was ever any hope of using the brakes pads that are currently installed on the Civic for racing purposes, those hopes can officially be put to rest at this time! Keeping tension in the rope on the long downhills certainly resulted in some olfactory evidence of what one might expect of a ~2,500 lb car trying to stop a ~4,500 three quarter ton truck.
Right about now is where I’ll shift gears from past tense to present tense-ish type writing…mainly. Thus far, my entries have been of the happenings of the last couple weeks which were prior to the start of the blog. Now we’re going to be documenting on a more as-it-happens basis.
With the car neslted snugly in “Zac’s 50/50 Race shop,” it’s time to get to work. We don’t have aspirations of a quick or particularly professional build, but we do expect to get it done steadily and in time for the Carolina Motorsports Park, Kershaw, South Carolina, entry deadline of May 17, 2008.
Since the car hasn’t run in 1.5 years or more, I decided that before trying to start the engine we would pull the sparkplugs and put a little bit of oil down in the cylinders to soak for a few days. In removing the sparkplugs, I confirmed, first-hand, what the service records from the previous owner had told me: The valve cover gasket is shot and letting oil leak down into the spark plug ports on the head. I suppose it’s time to price a valve cover gasket vs. a tube of RTV silicone. Hmmm, it seems that the set for the valve cover gaskets is on the order of $26.00! Yikes…that’s like what, 5% of the budget!?
While the rings and such soak up the oil, we proceeded by performing an initial hose-down to remove the majority of the protective layer of organic materials from the exterior of the car.
Then it was time to start on the interior. This is an aesthetically pleasing portion of the process, as you see lots of progress in relatively little time. We went from this:
In about an hour and a half. Not bad for a couple of guys with screwdrivers and a 12mm socket.
I feel compelled to take this moment to say that this car is WAY nicer than my daily driver ‘82 Corolla Wagon (http://i123.photobucket.com/albums/o313/clemsparks/1982%20Corolla%20Station%20Wagon/DSCF0752.jpg).