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The project car thread


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I know at least a couple of you on this board have busted a knuckle or two fixing that POS beater or a building something cool in your garage @Dirty_habiTI'm lookin in your direction.


Post some photos or share some knowledge this isn't a vehicle specific thread just a place to share those money pits.


The photo below is the small block ford 302 that a friend of mine helped build for my hot rod. It took about a year and a half to get it running and about another 6 months to work out the kinks. That car and I have traveled about 6000 miles in the last 2.5 years.





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Prepare your modem's anus, there are a lot of pictures following.


Sometime in 2017 I got the great idea that I wanted to turbo my well-running and reliable 2001 Lexus IS300.   I got this car on accident years ago when I had $5000 and was looking for a good Lexus SC300 because I knew this car had the potential of being a "Luxury Supra".  A Mk4 supra, I trade someone else's left nut for.... but that's another story.  So this Lexus was sold to me by a friend of a friend who had just bought a new vehicle and had this Jade Mica Pearl (a color found on only 4% of these cars total, so very rare in color) IS300 sitting in his garage.  He sold it to me for $1000 less than blue book, which was $5000 at the time.  I got a better car for cheaper than I was wanting to spend.  I didn't know it at the time.


I drove this car for years, fantastic car.  I would recommend this car to anyone.  It's not slow, it's not fast, it's comfortable, it's sporty, it looks good, it's easy to drive, and it has 4 doors.  I never knew how much I'd like 4 doors until I got this car.







This is Talon.  He's a Westie/Schnauzer mix known as a Wauzer (pronounced wowzer).  He's a fucking genius... literally.  Here he is driving me to get some of that sweet sweet chicken.  So I drove this car for probably 5 years or so before I decided that it was time to make it unreliable.  Enter, the cast stainless 2JZ GE Treadstone manifold.  Supposed to be a bolt on part for my GE head, mind you this is not a GTE engine like the Supra has but it is nearly identical with the exception of not having the turbo stuff and having slightly weaker rods and slightly thinner ring lands on the pistons.....




Most people don't fuck with the GE engine because a GTE is the turbo motor and is the iconic supra engine..... everyone that knows anything about cars knows what a 2JZ GTE is capable of in the right hands.  My goals for my upgrades were simple.


* No CEL

* Retain auto trans

* Add power

* Maintain stock appearance


This turned out to be much more of a chore than I originally gave it credit for.  This was the first non turbo car that I was turbo'ing.... and the platform is not one that lends itself to being turbo'd easily despite sharing many parts with the supra that can easily be used.  The stock ecu and auto trans are an absolute bitch to mess w/ in this car and I won't get into the details on that..... but just know that it's not easy.  The reasoning for me choosing to go this route is because I wanted something nice that wasn't a drift missile, and I wanted to do something that nobody else does with these cars/motors.  I'm fairly certain my setup is unique and probably the only one in the world done the way it is done.  It took me a lot of thought and planning to get it right.... and I will go into detail on some of the nuances later.




This is a 4x8 trailer I bought, we'll get back to this as well.... it ties into the turbo Lexus story.  That's also the father of Dirty Habit there pumping gas.


First thing is first when modifying a car for more power.  You must establish goals.  3rd gear sprague in the Toyota A650E transmission is weak and hard 2-3 shifts w/ a lot of torque (over factory torque) will break this sprague clutch and torch your shit.  I knew because of this I only wanted to go maybe 100hp over stock.... putting me around 320hp.  Realistically it will end up somewhere around 400hp or more..... but for now this is a conservative goal.  In any case, this goal being established allowed me to select the turbo charge I intended to use to achieve the power output I was after.  I decided upon a Borg Warner EFR 6758 w/ 90 degree housing and some aftermarket ceramic coatings on the exhaust side.






Here is the car on the lift, getting the auto trans swapped.  I bought a used A650E off a seller on ebay and had it shipped directly to PTE in New Jersey.  I spoke with John on the phone @ PTE and told him that I wanted a built trans w/ higher stall converter and crisp shifting.  The trans they sent me back did not disappoint.  I still have the one that came out of my car on the shop floor at the lake house.






Next, I had to modify the stock oil pan to have a drain for the turbo to dump oil back into the pan from.  This is easy because the bosses for this part are already in the GE oil pan.... all I had to do was drill a few holes a put a fitting on it.  I had the pan powder coated white as well so that any future leaks/dirtiness could easily be seen.  The powder coater seemed pretty confused as to why anyone would want to paint an oil pan white...... but after explaining it, he was like O_O dude you're a genius.








This picture is of the 90 degree outlet housing they sent me for my EFR that had a broken boost control solenoid nipple.  They replaced it no questions asked..... it was "FullBoost" btw, the vendor I purchased from.



This is what I feel like most of the time when I'm working on my car.



This is the car on the lift.  We were removing the factory A650E transmission to replace it with the one I had built by PTE in New Jersey.  I ordered a used trans to be shipped to PTE and after a discussion on the phone with them we had a deal to build an auto trans with a higher stall converter in it.  This, however, still doesn't get around the weak 3rd gear sprague problem.



This is the relay panel I build to control aux circuits like the fuel pump.  More pictures of this as I worked on it and completed it later.



This is a custom gauge pod I ordered from "Ortiz Custom Gauge Pods" (look them up).  It fit perfectly without any modification.  This is the trans temp gauge I installed since I decided to stick with an auto trans in this car and heat kills auto transmissions.  There is also an inline steel element trans filter I added when the transmission upgrade was done.



At night.



What's this?  ID 1050x injectors.  These are the good good injectors to get.




Gauge pod populated with BTI CANBUS gauge.  This will provide output of almost every parameter the ECU can see with the car.  Very slick.



Genuine Greddy 3" catback for the SXE10 chassis. (Lexus IS300)



The ABS block on this car sat in direct competition w/ the exhaust manifold/turbo setup.... so did the hard lines.  To fit the turbo, I had to relocate the ABS block using flexible stainless braided lines.  I relocated it to where the battery used to be and this got it out of the way of my turbo/manifold.



Cusco Rear Strut Bar installed.



Greddy Catback installed.



Cusco Front SwayBar close up and view of where the new manifold/turbo will reside.



Radium Engineering FST-R installed.  The stock fuel pump on a Lexus is the same fuel hat/hanger assembly that is used in the turbo cars with the exception of a return port on the hat.  The IS300 is a "dead head" fuel system which means fuel is bled off to achieve proper pressure inside the fuel tank vs. using a regulator attached to the fuel rail itself.  This presented a problem for turbo'ing the car because as manifold pressure rises you must rise the fuel pressure at a 1:1 ratio to maintain the same fuel pressure..... otherwise, as boost rises, fuel pressure drops.  This creates a lean situation that will torch your engine..... so we use regulators.


The only way to get a return line on an IS300 is to get a different rail that includes one..... then people do stupid shit like cut the stock fuel pump hanger/hat and epoxy an AN fitting into the stock hanger for a return.  This is GHETTO AF and I refuse to do that to a Lexus.  I got a pump hanger from an Aristo which bolts into my car directly and has a return fitting on it.  The aristo pump is now just a lift pump that feeds into this can in the trunk.  Once the can is filled, the remainder of the fuel overflows back into the main tank.  The big fuel pump is inside this can and feeds pressure to the stock dead-head rail.  The can has a built in FPR on it, on the top.... and bleeds excess pressure directly back into the can like the stock dead head system did.  This allowed me to upgrade the fuel supply in a "bolt on" fashion.  I didn't have to modify any pump hangers or do any ghetto shit to get this to work, and as far as I know, i'm the first person to do this to solve the problem of turbo'ing a car w/ a dead head.  Don't fuckin tell my secrets.



This is the fuel pulse dampener and mechanical gauge.  These two items ended up installed in the engine bay, but the filter you see pictured here ended up installed in the trunk w/ the surge tank.



More progress on the wiring panel.






This is a fitting I got from Radium engineering that allowed me to adapt the stock fuel feed line to a larger -8AN fitting.  There is another adapter that adapts the rail's connection to -8AN also.





Switch panel install that controls the relay board that will be trunk mounted.  Shift knob from Lexus IS-F installed to replace the chrome ball shift knob that is stock.




Relay panel mounted in trunk and view of surge tank w/ fuel filter installed on it.  Routing and connections of fuel lines is also pictured below.






Braille motorsports grade AGM battery installed in trunk, remember this had to be moved because the ABS box lives in it's place under the hood now.  A really high quality cable kit was used to do this from https://ceautoelectricsupply.com/

I highly recommend these guys.  You can also, barely, see the Cusco trunk brace bar that is closest to where the trunk opens.





ABS and Battery relocation completed.  You can also see the oil feed filter for the turbo in red towards the radiator side of the engine bay.




Things are starting to get fun here.  Stock exhaust manifold and down pipe removed.IMG_2550.jpg



Treadstone manifold w/ custom adapter I had to have made to adapt it to an EFR's v-band turbine inlet.  You can also see the aftermarket poly motor mounts in this picture.



Turbo installed.




Water to air intercooler core wrapped in DEI reflect-a-gold.



Here is my welder buddy doing me a fuckin solid.  He came over to my house with his mobile welding rig and made a downpipe for my car out of 3" tubing.  4x o2 sensor bungs were also installed in strategic locations that would be easy to service in the future once it's installed.



Finished custom down pipe installed on turbo.








Intake piping is beginning to come together.  I've also installed heat barrier/wrapping on a lot of stuff around the exhaust manifold.



All done.... for now.  Air filter installed, stock MAF still intact pre-turbo.  The stock ECU in this car doesn't know it's turbo at this point but still drives around like normal.  There is no wastegate actuator on the turbo at this point so it is not able to make more than maybe 1psi of boost if you're really leaning on it.  This was done for tuning purposes while I ironed out the ECU programming.




A full set of replica wheels were bought with new tires for this car..... the front one is changed in this picture and you can see how much cleaner it looks.




Upper intercooler pipe wrapped in DEI Reflect-a-gold.





I wanted to see if this looked good, it didn't so I removed it.  Maintain the sleeper status.



Here's a video of the car running w/ all this shit installed.


ProEFI 128 installed in parallel w/ stock ECU.  This is a VERY nice aftermarket ECU that you won't see in many cars.  It costs about twice as much as the "nice AEM" computer you see people using so often in motorsports..... but that's with good reason.  It's an excellent ECU with a truck load of awesome features.



Old injectors vs. new injectors.  The fuel system upgrades were all done, but the injectors were last since changing the size of the injector requires the ECU to know what size injector you have.  I couldn't change these out until I installed the Pro EFI..... but with that done, it's time to up the fuel even more.





CANBUS gauge showing one if it's data output screens.


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the car ive been working on is a 57 mercury. As shown above the engine is a ford 302 with an AOD transmission. To answer you question I am actually not sure what gears are in the rear end the only thing I know is that it is a 9" ford rear. The push button transmission had been disassembled  before i got the car and rather then try and retrofit it with a modern trans I opted out for a floor shifter.


its taken quite some time to put it together and its taken even longer to find some parts as there were not many of these cars out there.





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Very nice and classy.  So, how close is it to being done?  The next vehicle project I will post about is one that I have currently in progress.  I'm turbo'ing a Kubota B5100E that I bought a few weeks back with an IHI RHB31 turbo.  Right now I have some pipe fittings that I'm going to use for an exhaust manifold soaking in vinegar to remove the galvanization at home.

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What I would really love to do is air bag suspension to lower the car, paint, fresh set of full white walls and I'd love to do a disc brake conversion .


it's going out to get the exhaust redone and a bunch of little things that I dont have the knowledge or time to repair. so I'm having a friend give it a once over and start fixin it.  I have a custom set of exhaust tips that will be made by  local machinist that use to help build exhaust for choppers.


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I really want to get to the point to where I can bang out project cars quickly.  I dunno if any of you guys watch Cleetus, but ever since he bought his shop with lifts, he's just been building all kinds of stuff and I bet that shop is printing money too with all the internet fans trying to pay him to let them dyno their cars and such.

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Kubota B5100E .  Not sure on the year.71CD39B8-5C09-4D22-9550-39BD965C966D.thumb.jpeg.bb99644426bffe6027e6cc236efd7bf4.jpeg 

Here the wheels are removed to install new tires. B1830D96-26BA-4326-A96B-D0C83D9AA80E.thumb.jpeg.7174f32f08bd11bc088b32a0557b937f.jpeg


this is is a T we installed in the oil pressure sending unit port to provide oil to the turbo. It is capped for now until we complete the install. 



mockup of exhaust manifold adapter. This will make swapping the exhaust stack for the turbo charger easy and not require cutting any of the oem stuff or welding to it. 9BDF8757-7C42-4B3B-BE2F-305303BB7294.thumb.jpeg.abe97a145e5546b9100a8fa19e70e26c.jpeg



RHB31 turbo from a Yanmar marine diesel generator.   This thing is good for up to 100hp of air flow or 10lb/min from the compressor. 



New parts that I will update about soon when I do the install. 


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I didn't go to school for it.  Just buy yourself a project car.  A good thing to start off with that's pretty easy to swap parts on, although it's a little pricey is a Honda Ruckus.  Just make sure you secure yours really well if you get one because they are sought after and stolen a lot.  I have one, never thought doing 35mph could be so fun!  Mine's mostly stock though, people spend ~$10k on Ruckus's pretty easily but I wouldn't suggest doing something like that.


Having money to play with and time to mess with hobbies helps a whole lot..... if you can't fund your projects they will drag out forever.  Ask me how I know.

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I'm at a weird spot w/ what cars I like to mess with.  Most of the "cool" stuff is newer which means OBD2..... which means it's a pain in the dick to modify and still pass emissions.  I don't mess w/ carb'd stuff so much in the automobile application (I have a few dirt bikes, the ruckus, lawn equipment, etc) so that leaves early EFI stuff from the early 90s late 80s.  You can still mess with those cars a lot and pass emissions here in the USA.


I actually just registered my home address at our lake house because it's in a county that doesn't care about emissions for OBD2 vehicles.  This means I can get legal stickers for my Lexus.  There's no way I could turbo it and not have a check engine light.  I tried my damndest, and that was one of the goals of the Lexus build.... no CEL and factory traction control had to still work.  The cliff notes is the car has 3 cat's and 4 o2 sensors..... the configuration of the 2 rear o2 sensors is calibrated in the stock ecu and if you don't get them to report properly like they did stock then the transmission goes to limp mode which means no traction control and a CEL on the dash.  My guess is the stock code (that's encrypted and we cannot look at as a community) expects these 2 rear o2 sensors to be within a certain range of eachother but not exactly the same measurement.  My exhaust configuration included all the factory sensors but I think because the 2 rear sensors now read the exact same because they were right next to eachother the ecu was not happy with this.


I can say fuckit to all of that mess and use the ProEFI 128 ECU's traction control which is basically superior to anything else on the planet OEM or aftermarket.  This will require tapping into the factory wheel speed sensors.

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Bought this before i started traveling for work, so it’s just sitting in a garage back home at the moment. I did the easy part and started stripping all the things i didn’t want or were trash. Was about to tackle the engine but learned about a lovely little thing on Triumphs called a “sludge trap.” If not handled properly i could kill the motor so i decided to do more reading, or eventually say fuck it and bring it somewhere. Then i started traveling. Still had some more things i was going to replace, but was going to wait until i got the replacement parts before i took any more off. 


Bike is: 

66 Triumph Bonneville frame. 

650 Trophy TR6C Competition motor, i believe from a 71, and i’ve been told by someone with more knowledge than I it has a 750 hop up kit.


 I had some pretty grand plans for this thing, then life chose a different path for my financial gains.. would love to see what i’ve had visioned for this thing come to fruition. 







Edited by abrasivesaint
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It needs to be restored. It fires over but doesn't start. Wiring was trash. Obviously needed paint and such. A lot of little thing were just trashed. Definitely fixable though. I was going to sell it recently but where i might not need the money now the project might live again. 


If i’m able to restore this thing how i envision it, it will be a rad fucking bike and a pretty quick little bar hopper type bike. 

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On 9/2/2019 at 10:10 AM, Kults said:

Wish I had the knowledge to fix my own car like this, very cool

You did notice it's a lawn mower? Actually even more impressive, but thought I'd point it out.


I have a current model version of this I use to cut my grass. Underpowered as shit, so might have to sort out some supercharged twin turbo flux capacitor setup of my own.

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