Archive for August, 2009

Plug wire construction, O2 sensor bung installation

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Anyway I did a couple of little things to prepare for the addition of electronics to my car:

I went to the junkyard and got a coil, some escort coil-side plug ends, and the connector for the coil. I already had the blue Ireland Engineering 8mm plug wires. They’re like $50 from IE but I got them off a junkyard 2002 for $5.

This little gizmo is an MSD piece that was incredibly helpful in making these wires. In this picture I am cutting the insulation off of the wire; to do this you stick the cable in like so, put a razor in the slot on the top, and spin the cable.

Twist off the insulation and blammo, exposed core wire with no fuss. At this point I found out that I have solid core wires with resistors in the plug ends, about 4.6kΩ. Nik tells me that this might interfere with the VR sensor depending on how its wires are routed but hopefully it’s nothing too serious.

Then I folded the copper wires back on the insulation, slipped on the terminal, and used that same tool from before (plus the other piece of it) to crimp the terminal onto the wire.

Ta-da. Even though this picture looks good, I fucked up about twice before I got it right. It’s important to make sure the boot and cap are both on the wire BEFORE putting the connector on!


Yay. The plug ends are worlds better than the Beru or Bosch pieces because they sit much more solidly on the end of the spark plug. They aren’t floppy like the OEM pieces.

This O2 sensor bung cost me $8. At least it’s nice as far as bungs go

I decided on putting it not on the header collector but on the center resonator for 2 reasons. The turbulence should be mostly over by the time it reaches the 2nd part of the exhaust, and also because there is a ton of room to work with there.

Make a mark…

… then make a 1″ hole…

… make sure the bung fits…

… And then weld it in. I put the old sensor from my Focus in there to make sure that it didn’t warp – it didn’t.
Hopefully the next post I make in this thread will be pictures of the trigger wheel on the crankshaft pulley. 😀

Crank pulley restoration, VR sensor bracket

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

Anyways I’ve been lagging on posting photos so here’s some more:

A bead welded around the pulley to fill in where the front main seal ate away at the metal

Turned it down in the lathe and then hit it with some emory cloth

Then I beadblasted the rest of the pulley. I’m not really happy with the grooves on the seal part, anybody have any suggestions on how to polish it better?

Mocking up where the VR sensor will live. The 36-1 wheel was hotglued to the AC crank pulley I have so I could have somewhere to judge off of for the pickup. The VR sensor being a magnet was pretty

I used a blank junction box cover to make the bracket. Originally I was going to just mock it up with this…

… But I ended up trimming it down and filing it as I was pretty happy with how it went together. I made it so that it’s about .020″ (.500mm) away from the trigger wheel.

I had to get rid of some of the pegged behind the hole on the VR sensor. I think I might have get a little too hot on the belt sander because the plastic cracked – probably due to the metal expanding enough to break it. No worries because I’ll just pack it with epoxy or something.

I still need to put the trigger wheel on the crank pulley, but that will happen the middle of next week at the earliest as I’m going to the Monterey Hystericals.

Poly steering coupler, VDO gauge restoration, TPS bracket

Friday, August 7th, 2009

Been doing some random stuff the past week.


Actually I was changing the steering column rag joint. The factory manual calls for you to just loosen a bolt that clamps the flange on the steering wheel side to the splines on the shaft, but like that would work with how much dirt/grime/corrosion was undoubtedly in there. So instead I decided to just pull the whole column out.


Now because I’m poor and stupid I decided to “restore” some old VDO gauges that I had lying around that I wanted to use and have look nice.

Water temp gauge:


Sanding some more…

Primed 🙂

It came out decent enough, although I masked a little bit too much off and instead of there being black paint everywhere there’s a little bit of surface rust showing up. 🙁

So I thought I’d try a different method with this tach, leaving some glass exposed so that I could later just go over it with an x-acto knife to clear any stray paint off.

Left side is sanded and the right side isn’t, I think the bezel was found on the deck of the Titanic or something

Getting there


First coat of satin black Rustoleum

Looks good and I’m happy with the outcome. I found the tach on craigslist for $35, apparently it came out of some guy’s old bug. It’s perfect for my car, I ditched the stock tach because it was on the bad side of intermittent, but this one has the same count (8000rpm) and fits right into the trim ring on the factory gauge pod. It also seems to be a little bit more accurate than the other tach in terms of keeping up with the actual engine speed (not flinging around like crazy on rev matches), although unfortunately I think it reads about 100rpm too high. but I have one question: for some reason I have to set it to 8-cyl in order for it to read correctly, any reason for this?

Anyway onto tasks more pertinent to the project at hand

Some new junkyard purchases

’89 E30 325i in-tank fuel pump and level sender. It’s a direct drop-in replacement for the 2002 fuel sender, although it’s about 10mm shorter than the stock one so the tank capacity effectively decreases. However, the level sender still functions as it should so there shouldn’t be any surprises, and I figure with the fuel injection I’ll have the same or better range with less fuel.

’84 E30 318i ICV assembly. The cold start injector is missing, but $15 for something I wasn’t planning on using anyway was a bit too much to ask. I had a busted one anyway that I used the plenum cover for.

VDO apparently isn’t ideal for megasquirt, and I’ve heard that the Bosch unit is the way to go, but there really isn’t much evidence to support that

Closeup of the plenum cover/idle air inlet. I’ll have to make up some kind of blockoff plate/plug for that hole, I’m thinking just an M8x1.25 Allen head bolt with some loctite on the threads should suffice.

I made a TPS adapter plate to allow me to put the Nissan potentiometer-style TPS on the 325i throttle body because the bolts on the Nissan part are much further together than the BMW switch-type.

All finished! I had a hell of a time getting the holes to line up everywhere, but the stepped ring on the TPS fits perfectly into the large hole on the adapter plate, and all the bolt holes line up pretty well now that they’re filed out a little bit.

I didn’t take into account the space the M5x.80 bolts would take up behind the plate, but I made short work of the problem with a few files.

Now comes the problem with using the 51mm M20 throttle body versus the 45mm M10 throttle body. The bolt patterns are a little bit different between the two. meatpotato in his thread bought a part from Tom Rafalski’s 02Again that clocks the bigger throttle body and adapts it onto the intake manifold, rotated so that all the bolt patterns line up. But after looking at how close this one is to fitting on its own, and understanding how little force is on a throttle body, I wonder – Is there any reason at all why I can’t just cut the aluminum from the shorter holes and leave them open-ended, and just file out the closer holes?

I started to play around with putting that pulley on the lathe, unfortunately this 3-jaw chuck we have was out .030″ which is far, far more than ideal. I messed around with the 4-jaw chuck and while I got a lot closer it was frustrating for a newbie like me to make and adjustment and then have the thing go from .018″ out to .113″ out.

For some reason my dad wants to slather some JB Weld on the polished surface, and machine it down leaving the epoxy in the groove left by the front main seal. I’m afraid this will crack, either that or be too rough for the seal after it’s been machined down. I’m trying to tell him to weld a bead on it but he seems reluctant to do that, which I don’t understand because a) we have the means to do it in about 3 minutes and b) it’s not currently centered on the chuck, not even close.

OK I’m done for now.