Episode 13

On the road, in brief spurts.

Drove the Cortina home from Performance Options post re-wiring and working through the "let's-make-it-a-running-car" punch list. First impressions: A million rattles, and driving home in traffic it seemed like I was having a hard time finding 5th and 6th gear. Counting up, they were there, but it was turning alarmingly high rpms in traffic driving home. Decided to take it up to Skyline where I shot the photos above. Five minutes later, while getting on Highway 13 to check the speed dispayed on the Honda dash against the GPS on my phone, I experienced a crazy vibration at about 65mph (and roughy 6800 rpm in 6th gear) which grew to a giant "THWACK" noise. I limped it off the freeway and home, with smoke rising through the transmission tunnel, and transmission fluid running out of the rear area of the gearbox. Total drive time before massive failure: about 20 minutes.

Towed it back to Performance Options using the LeMons truck and former LeMons trailer - thanks to David Link for the trailer. Something was obviously wrong with the tranny / driveshaft / rear end combination. We pulled the differential and found out the rear end ratio wasn't what I had spec'd. Pagel grabbed the wrong limited slip when he put the rear end together, and instead of a 3.9 it was running a 4.87, which explained the superbike style acceleration and crazy RPM on the freeway. Pagel immediately built a 3.9 which was swapped. The vibration had cracked the rear remote gear change portion of the transmission case in two.

During the rear ratio change.

So we decided to weld the transmission case where it cracked. The driveshaft was also ballanced for a second time, and the ballancing shop noticed an imperfection in at the rear of the shaft. Performance Options put it all back together, with the taller 3.9 diff and we tried it again.

Back on the street. The rear diff ratio made a huge difference in the freeway RPM, and it still seems plenty quick.

I drove it a few more miles, before getting on it a bit on the freeway. This time, the speed was higher (indicated high 80's) when the vibration built and "THWACK" it happened again. Same results: massive vibration, smoke and fluid loss. Got it home and put it on stands.

Broken again, this time straight through the welds. The Honda donor had suffered a hard hit at the right rear wheel. I wasn't sure that the transmission wasn't injured in the crash, so I sourced a junkyard S2000 transmission, cleaned it up and brought it back down to Performance Options. I siliconed the cracks in the transmission, refilled it and drove it to the shop. After installing the second transmission, the driveshaft still had a vibration. After sending it back out, we determined that the driveshaft wasn't centered on the rear transmission mount. A new coupling that fit into the flange designed (on the S2000) for a CV joint was made to locate the front mount. That fixed the transmission breaking vibration in the driveshaft.

This was the crack after the second outing in my now "spare" transmission.

In use as a car again. More sorting to come.... currently working on fixing the exhaust rattles.

Next on the list: Sorting the exhaust.