Monday, July 25, 2005

Trueno AE86

Well, went by Kam Seng's workshop on Saturday afternoon. Was woken up by a phonecall from Kong. He said he needed some help in getting around KL. So he told me to go over to Puchong. Since he came all the way down from Penang, I couldn't just turn him away. Kam Seng was too busy taking apart the engine that was just installed in the Trueno.

I vaguely remember those words from Kong, "Kam Seng will take only one day to install the engine. The rest of the electronics are all plug and play..." I said skeptically, "Yea, you don't know much about engine transplants do you..." He was so confident as the 7A engine was sitting in the workshop and most of the parts have been replaced and serviced. Hehe, I just told him to wait and see.

True enough, when Kong came on Friday night, he tested the Trueno with the 1.8 block. He thought that he'd be getting a lot more pull from the car, but it totally seemed out of breath. Apparently the 7A has low compression pistons. Hit brick wall number one. With the low compression pistons on an N/A (Naturally Aspirated) engine, it doesn't equal more power. He drove the car for one lap around Puchong and shook his head. It felt worst than his old engine. Kam Seng adviced him to install a turbo, but Kong resisted. He wanted N/A anyway. So the other alternative was to take apart the block again, and change the pistons. Kam Seng selected pistons from a B8, the ones from a TX3 and we had to go get a metal gasket for the top of the block from Weng Hing, located in Cheras who specializes in TRD parts.

Since Kong didn't know the way, I went there and drove him to Cheras. Traffic was a bitch and everywhere we went, we just ran into gridlock. Sigh, luckily I was driving Kam Seng's little Kelisa and a good thing too cause it was an Automatic transmission. There's a lot more work that needs to be down with the gasket that we picked up because the original size is 80mm, but it needs to be bored to 82mm to be able to fit into the 7A block. That's when I said to Kong, "See, told you it'll take longer to get the job done." He just laughed.

I just called up Kam Seng and he says the car is still sitting in the workshop. Apparently the exhaust system is just too small and the car still feels a little restrictive. I've always been one to support big bore exhaust systems. Mine's running a 3" pipping from the front to the back paired up with a HKS Super Drager. I've always sworn by this exhaust. Never liked any other.

Now that I've gotten a confirmation to work for an MNC, I'm probably gonna plan to get my new car before the end of the year. Look out for this space to see what I'll be getting. Anyhow, I will still be getting another turbo/supercharged car. Can't live without force induction, overtaking will never be the same...

Kong's AE 86

Kong's AE86 Posted by Picasa

The engine bay looks rather like an empty shell with the 4AGE engine out.

Kong's AE 86

Kong's AE86 2 Posted by Picasa

He's done a pretty good job of immitating the Initial-D car complete with the yellow foglamps (which don't work by the way!!!). I wanted to switch them on while I was driving back at night only to find that they are there just for looks! The only thing that's missing is the engine and the Fujiwara Tofu stickers. Notice the stick holding the engine bonnet up? The rims were specially imported from Japan during one of his trips there. These are the exact replicas of the ones used in Initial-D. Talk about Initial-D fever man.

The only thing he doesn't do is drift. He says he loves the car too much to punish it like that. (Yea right!)

Monday, July 18, 2005

A weekend of AE86s

OK. I know I haven't been blogging for a while. Due to unforseen circumstances I will be on my way to being jobless once more. My current company is facing some financial difficulties and they are having problems paying off suppliers and our wages. Since I'm still on probation, I will take this opportunity to leave a.s.a.p. Sigh, back to looking for work again.

Took Wan Yee to visit Kam Seng on Friday to have his car looked at. Upon reaching there, Kam Seng gave me a proposition to go up Penang with him for the weekend. Since I was looking forward to forget about this ordeal with work, I thought it'll be a relaxing weekend. He was going there to collect an AE86 Trueno, which will be undergoing an engine transplant. The owner wanted more power out of the ol' car, so he chose a 7A engine. I didn't even know what block it was until Kam Seng explained that it was a 1.8 liter block from a Toyota Carina. Rear wheel drive and will suit the AE86 just nicely. It didn't sound too enticing at first, but when Kam Seng mentioned that we will be driving his AE86 Trueno up, my eyes just widened!

You see, from my previous blog on this AE86, the last time I drove this car was about 5 years ago. It was still stock with the 4AG 1.6 liter engine. Nothing too fancy, had a short shifter plus a one-way LSD (Limited Slip Differential). To drift the car, you'd have to really force it. The 1.6 liter block wasn't too responsive either. Now, fast forward to January this year, I went to visit Kam Seng and saw the AE86 Trueno sitting on the hydraulic jacks. Sigh, no chance to drive it again. It had gone through an engine transplant and since it was sitting high up there I couldn't tell what block he used. He didn't want to say too much either. All I saw was the massive exhaust system that ran through the car. 3.5" pipping all the way from the headers to the back. Sitting nicely at the end of that exhaust system was an A'pexi Megaphone Dunk. Sweet... Now, back to the block. When I saw the car on the ground on Friday, sitting in the engine bay was a 3S-GTE (MR2/Celica/Altezza) block. Though, this one's highly tuned with high-lift cams. The turbo itself was 3 times bigger than my damned B8's.

Now, you can imagine why the trip sounded so enticing. He was going to tune the Haltech E6K engine management system with his fancy laptop and he'll need someone behind the wheel while he does that. At first, I thought the car was around 350 bhp (break horse power), but when he drove the car towards the toll the boost meter registered 1.8 bar! He still hasn't dynoed the darn thing, but it's roughly pushing out around 500 bhp! Now that's a lot of horses for such a small car!

When I took over the wheel from the Rawang Rest Stop, it was quite scary. I haven't even driven such a powerful Trueno in my life. Though the reinforced clutch and transmission was assuring, it was still scary. He installed a full racing clutch on the car and it was damned heavy. I'd really hate to get stuck in traffic with that car. Balancing was a bit of a bitch, but once I got the hang of it I just drove it normally. After Kam Seng had booted up the laptop and started the Haltech program he gave me the green light to boost the bugger. I didn't want to push it first, so I thought I'd just floor it from 5th gear. The turbo spooled really loudly as the gush of exhaust gasses ran through the manifolds. You could really hear the air twirlling in the turbine as more boost registered on the boost meter. 0.5 bar... 0.9 bar... and it jumped all the way to 1.5 bar. By that time I had already passed the 180km/h speed limit on the speedometer and I really didn't know how fast I was going.

I reached the long corner and still continued to floor it and he asked, "Do you feel the car's tail slipping?" And sure enough, I was doing 175km/h on the corners and the car was oversteering slightly. I was instinctively going to initiate a drift, but then I realized this wasn't my S13 180SX. It was the AE86, with a freaking large turbo. To go into a drift at this speed on the highway with so many cars on the road, I will definitely lose the drift and probably hit some poor soul on the road. I just let go of the accelerator and the car slowly regained its grip. This AE86 was definitely not a car to be messed with. With so much horsepower, it'll eat up and souped up Supra or Skyline in a blink of an eye.

Speaking of eating up cars, in one of the straight stretches a BMW 528i flashed his headlights from very far away. Kam Seng was behind the wheel and I told him about the Beemer flashing his headlights from so far away. The moment the Beemer got to about a car's length behind us, Kam Seng dropped to fourth and floored the throttle. It was amazing to once again hear the turbo spool from inside the cabin and by the time we reached 7,000 rpm the boost meter registered 1.8 bar and as I looked into the side mirror, the 528i disappeared from my sights. We were easily about 1 kilometer away from the bugger.

To think that with such a huge exhaust system, the cabin noise would not be affected. I'm running a HKS Super Drager on my car and it's not as noisy on the highway. I swear, each time we stop at the petrol kiosk or a rest place, my ears would ring. It's that noisy! Somehow this weekend, I've driven 3 different AE86s, two Truenos and one Levin, I'm beginning to hate this car more and more. To be honest, the drive back with the standard Trueno wasn't quite as exciting. The engine was standard and the car was bouncy. Plus the condition of the Trueno that we brought back wasn't exactly prestine.

When we got to Penang, Kam Seng introduced me to his friend, Mr. Kong. He owns two AE86s, one Trueno for himself and another Levin for his son. Starting to sound more and more like Initial D? Well, unfortunately this guy doesn't make tofu and neither does his son delivers any. He's a tools manufacturer and sometimes uses his Trueno to do delivery for his customers. So I asked him, "Do you drift and make the rounds in Penang in record time?" Kong just laughed and told me not to make fun of his cars. The night was spent drinking, lots and lots of drinking. These jokers don't even eat dinner. Beer is just sufficient for them to fill their stomachs. Damn, luckily I still speak Hokkien and was able to find some food by myself.

Driving the other two AE86s, it was not as fun as driving Kam Seng's. The standard versions of the car is nothing to shout about. They are really bumpy, noisy and the cabin noise is really unbearable. At first I thought it was the exhaust system. But it turns out the noise was coming from the engine. I guess the firewall's really thin on cars from that era. The engine sound is really remarkable for a 1.6 liter, the same sound that you would hear from the Initial D anime. But imagine having to bear with that noise all the way from Penang to KL. A 4 hour ordeal. The drive home was really less interesting. The standard block had trouble pushing to 160km/h and the car was struggling for breath. Plus it didn't help that Kong's AE86 was pretty old and there was a grinding noise coming from the transmission. The LSD gave a really loud cranking noise when you drove it from standstill. The car was basically feeling like it was going to fall apart. Nothing compared to Kam Seng's AE86. The standard seats didn't provide sufficient grip as compared to Kam Seng's semi-buckets. Sigh, I'd still love to take Kam Seng's AE86 from Penang back to KL though we had to stop twice to fill up in order to reach Penang with half-tank of gas.

I did however forget to mention about the petrol consumption. The car is really thirsty and does about RM 0.45 per kilometer on the highway. I won't even want to drive that car in the city. It'll probably drink more than an RX-7 with a rotary engine. It's probably the price to pay for having such a powerful car. You want the figures, you'll have to pay the price. That's why Kam Seng still drive his little Kelisa when he travels around KL.