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2001 Coupe
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi guys and gals. Figured it was time to stop peeking in your windows and come on it. I guess this is as much of an intro as it is about my new RS.

I have been lurking here for years. Made a profile after I bought my RS just to PM folks for parts, and have finally decided to get the ball rolling here as I’ll have some questions and need some opinions.
Here’s a long winded story of my Subaru love.

I have been a Subaru guy for years, but they have always been my winter beaters. I work in the motorsports industry and have a summer street/strip car, so something fun to slog around in through the Ohio winters was what I was looking for. Years ago in college I landed a clean low miles 96 5-speed 1.8 liter Brighton. I drove the piss out of it for years. Changed the oil, rolled the windows down and cranked my door only speakers until they were popping and cracking and enjoyed every minute of it.
Then, my buddy, a Sergeant and Motor Transport Operator in the United States Marine Corps at the time, did this.




It was all good. He was fine, no one else hurt, so I was cool. Here’s a quick excerpt from the time. Mind you, he was 3 days out of a deployment:

"The issue is that Stan was on his way home from a shooting range when he ass-fucked my Subaru. As soon as he slid across the oncoming lanes, puckered over a 6 inch concrete curb and bounced into a cement light pole base, he went into Iraq mode. His marine buddy screeched up next to him and flung the door open. Stan grabbed his rifle out of my back seat (yes he did actually have enough inertia to bounce off a concrete pole, and yes the door still opens and closes fine) and dove head first into his buddies back seat. I'm lucky as shit he didn't have a grenade on him, protocol is to disable the vehicle so the enemy can't use it. I understand, he bashed the fuck out of his head on the window. It looked like someone took a mark mcguire roids infested swing for the fences, and stans head got in the way.
Anyway, explain that one to the impound lot. "I swear sir, the guy jumping out of the car with a rifle and screeching away in another car isn't fleeing the scene, he's just going to get medical attention."

A great insurance policy and a great body guy got me rolling again. I loved the car too much to give it up.
Fast forward 4 or 5 years and the Brighton is still my winter beater and hillbilly offroad buggy.
I’m living in an apartment/shop/garage when the city opens the reservoir North of town and floods me out.



I had my project car, tools, and apartment belongings to worry about saving…. So the Brighton sat out front, under water, while I strolled around in waders packing shit up.
A few days later a couple buddies I work with dragged it to our shop at work, stripped the interior, sprayed out the computer with electrical contact cleaner a few times and fired her up.
Believe it or not… besides some rusty exhaust and brake rot, and some squeaks and rattles and cracking seat covers, she’s still running.
She’s rough around the edges now. She moans like an old girl, but she still gets me where I need to go. Talk about a survivor.
She’s undergone all of her regular maintenance by me, and received a rear disk swap thanks to her new surrogate father in law, Buurma.

Fast forward about a year and my life is settling back in and it’s time to find the RS I have been dreaming about for years. I was having trouble finding a clean RS and broke down and started looking for bugeyes. One I really liked fell through, as the woman who was selling it had a last minute change of plans. But… her boyfriend just happened to be selling an 01 rs 5-speed. The car I couldn’t find in acceptable shape for years was a few blocks from my apartment

So, I bought this beast: http://www.rs25.com/forums/f171/t166891-wtt-2001-rs-coupe-no-rust-tastefully-modded.html

Here's the first pic I took of her:



A big thanks goes out to Buurma for letting me peek all over it night after night and answering a slew of questions about it. I was more purchasing Buurma, his knowledge and his willingness to be on-call for those “what the fuck is this green wire” phone calls. It came with a stack of receipts and maintenance logs and all showed that the car was well cared for. In talking to Buurma, I felt confident.
Drove it for less than one oil change over a few months and decided to take a 7 hour road trip to see some friends and a bitchin rockabilly band.
And of course. She stopped on the highway. In Maryland. Not sputtered. Not choked. Stopped.
I pulled her over, checked the obvious, then called for a flatbed. I got it to a buddies house in Gaithersburg Maryland (I live in Norwalk Ohio) and tried to figure out what the fuck to do next.
My girlfriend is a teacher and needed to be home the next morning, and the lopsided cranking of the motor led me to believe it was timing related. So, I borrowed my buddies truck (the same buddy that wrecked the Brighton) and drove home, turned around the next morning and put his truck on a flatbed behind my work rig and towed it back down south, and turned around with my RS on the trailer. And yes, the Rockabilly Band was a great show.







Once I popped the inspection cover and peeked inside, I saw this:
Look close. There's something there that shouldn't be there.




And then, of course, the inevitable:



I had receipts for belts, water pumps, tensioners.... but no idlers. The one that popped was from the factory. 170k+

So... let this be your lesson, from your good buddy Jonny-O. Change all the idlers at least once in 200k.

There were ball bearings everywhere. A couple actually made it North to the Crank sensor which I thought was pretty artistic:




So, On to the next chapter.... I found a great deal from a guy who buys junk cars for $500 running or not.

By the way. Here's a picture of me showing off a knuckle buster.
I like hotrods, loud music and long walks on the beach.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
.
UPDATE: Teardown carnage and scratching out a plan.


UPDATE: Waiting on parts and what I did with the downtime.



PHOTO UPDATE: Disassembled bottom end.

.
PHOTO UPDATE: Port Work Porn.



UPDATE: Days into weeks.


UPDATE: Conduction Killers.



UPDATE: Call me crazy. Conduction Killers-Part II


UPDATE: The "one bolt" philosophy.



UPDATE: Running out of **** to do.



UPDATE: Damn.



UPDATE: The flood. And paying penance to the Subaru gods.


UPDATE: Shortblock assembly with a side of head flow work.


UPDATE: Assembling the heads.



UPDATE: A hillbilly solution to a redneck problem.



UPDATE: Dirty bunghole.


UPDATE: The move.


UPDATE: Install. Part 1.



UPDATE: Install. Part 2.



UPDATE: Loose ends.


UPDATE: Wreckoning day. Part one. (sic)


UPDATE: The rest of the Start Up Story.



UPDATE: Injector issues.



UPDATE: Well. It runs. And how a Barbie water bottle will hopefully save the day.


UPDATE: Thanks Buurma.


UPDATE: Doing something I hate. And driving. And clearing off the camera.



UPDATE: Break in finished, new shop and a passing grade for the Barbie oil catch can.


UPDATE: An over-engineered coolant recovery and scrounging for a work bench.



UPDATE: Winterizing, some Brighton work and getting used to the new digs.


UPDATE: The list.


UPDATE: The best 150-bucks I have ever spent. Warning: minimal Subaru content.


UPDATE: Cat Homework.


UPDATE: No time to update. Still chasing a misfire code. And Bob liked my moped so there's a moped update for him.



UPDATE: Busy guy finally gets time to put his header on.


UPDATE: Oil cooler (warmer) finally on.


.
 

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Hey i remember this car, fun times, you always remember your first ;)

i'm hookin up ol jonny-o on some cylinder head port work. i still drive by his place and rev so he doesnt lose interest in his subi lol
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The story had no ending :( Great work so far.
This story is long from over as it's in progress as we speak. Those cats you sold me are on the Brighton by the way, the one in the water. Thanks again.

I came for the cursing and crude humor, but I'll stay for the gore pics
Plenty more of all of the above.

Well, I see why your car decided to just stop.
The cams were still turning with the crank, but obviously the passenger side was WAY late due to the slack. I'm thinking the crank sensor taking a ball bearing bukkake is what shut spark down. Unless the crank and cam sensors talk to each other.

i'm hookin up ol jonny-o on some cylinder head port work. i still drive by his place and rev so he doesnt lose interest in his subi lol
Jonny O's girlfriend: "Is that Buurma again? You shouldn't have given him that exhaust. Fuck. I thought it was annoying sitting on the floor in the living room."
 

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you seem to be in the rockabilly style of fashion

and you like hotrods

youre cool. shitty luck about the timing though
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
UPDATE: Teardown carnage and scratching out a plan.

We had the accessories off the motor, changed the bad idler and performed a compression test before I even had the thing off the damn flatbed. 180 and 184 on 2&4 and zilch on1&3.
Also managed to let the wind whip the radiator off the trailer to it's probable doom. I swear I think I'm cursed.

So a big thanks has to go out to Buurma for keeping up on his sale. Guess he deserves some seller feedback, eh? Buying from the right person is just as important as buying the right car in my eyes. He could have said “sorry about your luck” and moved on. But he was busting knuckles on a flatbed in the cold wind with me, then came back to help yank the motor.

Option A was to buy a junkyard head and go thrash.
Option B was to pull out all of the possible variables and dig into the motor. It didn’t burn any oil and believe it or not, the head gaskets were holding strong at 170+k. But I was scared to button it back up and not know what else is left in there from the factory that could leave my dick hanging in the wind on the side of the road again.


So… here we go…. Jonny O’s naturally aspirated daily driver build:
Plans include:
-Bearings.
-Rings (hopefully the pistons aren’t FUBAR and cylinder walls look ok)
-Balanced rotating assembly. Hopefully my guy can do it with the pulley and flywheel like my old school stuff.
-Delta regrind on the bump sticks.
-Whack the ugly off the heads (maybe a thinner head gasket)
-A lot of fresh “maintenance” items.
-Maybe a lightened flywheel.
-Buurma felt so bad about it that he found a slave labor shop to do some port/polish work on the heads and intake. Quality work for cheap is hard to find.

Here’s a photo update to catch up to current progress.
Happy to be using one of the side shops at work. After the flood I moved out of the most amazing apartment/shop on the planet and it sucks to not have room.



Pumping the jack and taking pictures is usually my strong suit, but sorry for the fuzzy shots. Yeah, I know, that's what she said.




Valves were tweaked like pierced nipples. All 4 exhaust valves on that head.






Definitely kissed the pistons enough to scare me. If this were a chevy I would skim the top of the pistons and be fine with them, I guess we’ll see how they look cleaned up.







A little more carnage. Check out the bearing in the bottom of the plastic.






170+k cylinder walls still show beautiful cross hatch even through a cell phone shot. Unbelievable. Cross your fingers for a hone and go.






Cam cover held the pulley in enough to keep from bending more valves.




Head bolts after a 20 minute parts washer soak and some scotchbrite love. Some discoloration on a couple deep in the threads. Oil from a head gasket? It wasn't rust. More like scale, but not coolant scale. Any fear for reuse, or is this how they all look?






Bumpsticks ready to ship to Delta. Spent a lot of time on the phone with Scott. Seems like one of those guys who cares. That helps. The advice alone would warrant double the cost they charge. I had a lot of questions as all of my previous knowledge of valve lift, timing and cam geometry flies out the window on this little motor. And I already have a radically overcammed street car. I have learned a lot by sitting down with the cam spec print-outs he sent for different grinds. Thanks Scott.




On to a few questions. I have done a ton of reading and searching and found most of my answers, but here are a few things I am still unsure about:
-Do piston/valve makeout sessions in these single cam motors ever squash the ringlands like in other motor designs? I’m hoping the tops can be buffed out. If I have to replace 2 pistons, I’m going for a mild bore and compression bump with 4 new slugs.

-Scott from Delta recommended leaving the stock springs. I’m cool with that as skimming the dead side of the lobes will effectively raise the pressure a little bit to compensate for the increased ramp. But what about retainers and such? Anything else I should replace in the valvetrain since I’ll expect the motor to go another 100k? Obviously the valve seals will be replaced.

-On the same note, I’m fine with heavy pump gas, but don’t want to run race gas. I’m not going to toy with that just from decking the heads and a thin gasket, am I? Or do I need to start doing some compression ratio math assuming stock pistons and valves?

-I have read all the posts about reusing head bolts, but do mine look like common reusable 10+year old bolts, or is that discoloration worse than I imagine?

Thanks for the help in advance, and thanks for coming along for the ride. And by all means, if anyone has any questions, comments or advice let's hear it. I'm new to the subaru motor.
Here's some eye candy as your prize for reading through all of this. First real progress on the rebuild. Want to get this done before they go back to machine shop for a bubble bath and shave.

 

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Discussion Starter #12
Good news and bad news.
Got word from the machine shop.
Bores are good. Crank mains need turned, no biggie there.
Couple rockers are shot, and two pistons are pretty gouged up on the skirts. And it's not the bottom side. And it's not the two that got fucked by the valves. I'm going to have to go take a look for myself. If the coating is shot on the "good" two I'm going for 4 slugs.

Huh. So I need 4 good exhaust valves and some rockers if anyone is selling any. Or a head I guess.

The good news is I'm cool. Thanks Jake. If I ever decide to have a signature, I think you just made it for me.
youre cool.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
UPDATE: Waiting on parts and what I did with the downtime.



Had a great experience with Flatirons Tuning. Spent a ton of time with Preston making parts choices, sourcing some hard to find stuff that they have sitting on their shelves and working on a budget. A million phone calls and a zillion e-mails later and all of what I need and most of what I want was here in 2 days. Mind you I’m on the opposite coast. I’m usually not a price buyer, I’m a service buyer. Reality is you have a group of folks who are Subaru nuts giving you advice, service and prices better than anywhere I could find, including those dealer "front" sites. Can’t beat that with a stick. I don't mean to sound like a cheerleader for a supplier, but if you are in the hunt for parts give these forum supporters a shot at a quote. It will be worth your while. Thanks to Preston and Jon.





For reference sake here's what you're looking at:
.25 over pistons and wrist pins.
over rings to match
oem master rebuild kit (gaskets and seals)
oem springs
gates timing kit
fujibond
oem crank sprocket and sensor (damn ball bearings)
manifold studs
the bastard plastic AC idler adjuster thing that I owe Buurma

Still to come are an oil pump, motor/trans mounts, a clutch, flywheel as well as anything else I forget.

In the meantime I have been doing a lot of the things I haven’t had time for while the car was my driver.
I was lucky when I found the car that is was a rust free southern fried ride. Not a touch of rust could be found. And I don’t mean body rust, I mean crawl under it and look for a rusty bolt, or chassis component or panel. None. Unfortunately there was apparently a leaky battery in her at one point, so there was some acid rust under the plastic battery tray that I never spotted. I love having the time to take care of this stuff.





I’m pretty anal when it comes to fasteners. Everything I had off the car is getting cleaned, wire brushed and or painted.




The car had wrx seats when I got it and the inability to get anything wider than an umbrella in the back seat really pissed me off. Chopped the corners off the seat stays after reading about it here on the site. Someone questioned how far to cut, and here’s what I did. Going any further wouldn’t net much, as the side bolsters hit the ass bolsters after removing this much.



Both sides of my seat had a hole in exactly the same place. I used that as a guide of the new "bottom." I believe the seats are '04 vintage in case they are different.



Here’s a reference after doing the passenger side first. Drivers side is at WRX max forward. The drivers side will just about hit the steering wheel now at full slide and full tilt for reference.



I remembered the old vinegar bath trick when I saw the coolant crossover had some gunk in it. It's an old hotrodder restoration method as vinegar is a very mild acid and eats rust and gunk slowly and safely. You should see what it will do to an irreplaceable old steel bumper.

Before:



A few days soaking and running a towel through it netted some good results. Remember to flush with plenty of water. Of course I had to polish it up. May have to do the same treatment to the intake if I have time.





I’m a fan of tall shifters, and made my own knob a while back to emulate the old Snap-On promotional handles. Figured I could rarely afford Snap-On tools, so why fake it with a shifter handle. I made my own for a brand I support a lot.



Only problem was It led to an obviously longer throw. Now I had time to remedy that. Started with an adjustable mock up so I could see how the shifter felt at different heights and test any binding on the linkage.


Ended with a couple different thoughts on extending the bottom of the lever including the realization that a number 7 deep craftsman socket fits the ball perfectly, but landed with cutting and extending the stock pin.



Thanks Buurma for the welding job. Even put a coat of paint on it to keep it from rusting, along with pick-up and drop off service.
This is what I ended up with. 3rd to 4th gear.






Of course I had to trim the seal plate for the trans tunnel, then clean it up and paint it. Why not?




I have never loved the battery tie downs in these cars. It always seemed like an afterthought. Here’s the start of a design I have used in other cars.





Black tubes are heat shrink over the rubberized cable that will be adjusted to wherever the corner plates will go once I pick out a battery. Don't mind the gunk all over. I went nuts with simple green and didn't rinse it well enough one coat.

On a side note, anyone else feel optima has gone down the tubes?

That's about it for now. Headed to drop off these parts at the machine shop for a final hone.

Here's another teaser text I got from the guy cleaning up my head castings. Pretty, isn't it?
 

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Had a great experience with Flatirons Tuning. Spent a ton of time with Preston making parts choices, sourcing some hard to find stuff that they have sitting on their shelves and working on a budget. A million phone calls and a zillion e-mails later and all of what I need and most of what I want was here in 2 days. Mind you I’m on the opposite coast. I’m usually not a price buyer, I’m a service buyer. Reality is you have a group of folks who are Subaru nuts giving you advice, service and prices better than anywhere I could find, including those dealer "front" sites. Can’t beat that with a stick. I don't mean to sound like a cheerleader for a supplier, but if you are in the hunt for parts give these forum supporters a shot at a quote. It will be worth your while. Thanks to Preston and Jon.
Jon,

Thank you for the kind words! I am very happy we could get you taken care of. One of these days, I will make it out to your neck of the woods...

-Preston
 

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Discussion Starter #16
PHOTO UPDATE: Port work porn.

Got the heads, intake and throttle body back from having some port work done. Buurma's buddy hooked me up proper. Professional high quality work and good rates. Best part is it's from a guy with a lot of education, a lot of practical knowledge and a lot of passion for this kind of work. I think the pics speak for themselves. And yes, he's always looking for more metal to grind on.














 

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Discussion Starter #17
UPDATE: Days into weeks.

Machine shop it taking a little longer than I had hoped. Apparently his supplier for ACl bearings dropped the ball and sent the wrong set. Then he forgot to resend the correct set. Can't polish the crank without the bearings. Can't balance the rotating assembly without the crank.

He also took a few extra days to make a plate to hone the block with. Love that he took the time to do it right and purchased stock and produced a plate for it at his expense. He very well could have honed it free-ballin' style without me knowing.

But... that leads to more downtime, more boxes of parts in my office, and more boredom. So I started cleaning up what I could.

On another note, he was doing me a favor and dunked the oil pan in the hot tank for me. Bad news is the powder or paint on the baffle started peeling like a bitch. Am I the only guy this has happened to?
Going to have to find a way to get it out of there. Blasting won't work on the bottom side and I really don't want sand in my oil pan.




Anyway, on to the elbow grease.

Before:


After: This will probably get a shot of clear as it won't be seen.



Before:





During:


During: Lots of little nooks and crannies here. What a pain. Took some yoga to get a tool in there. Soft touch with a ziz wheel and heavy work with an abrasive disc. Took ages to grind all the huge casting tabs off the edges. Not sure about the finish here. Probably something out of a can to block some heat.


Before:


During:
Made a triple layer scotchbrite deal to try and clean it without yanking the lines. Worked alright. Back hurts.


During:


Pile of fasteners is growing:



Before:


During: Tried some freestyle engine turning. Not sure how I'm going to wrap these up. Just glad the dirt and corrosion is gone.



This is just here because I miss that front end in the parking lot.




On another note, I got some more parts in. Mostly here for documentation sake:
Exedy FF02 13lb flywheel and 15801 clutch.
9mm oil pump.
Belts, hoses and stainless clamps.
Group N lower mounts. Staying away from the dogbone for now.

Stay tuned for why I'm not using the Grimmspeed intake spacers that are sitting on my desk.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
UPDATE: Conduction Killers.

Picked up a set of Grimmspeed Phenolic spacers from christianvwcars. Thanks dude.
Sent them to my port work guru while he had the heads and intake. Wanted him to enlarge the spacer ports to the new slightly opened intake/head port.
Wrong.



Turns out the spacers are cut to oem gaskets. Those gaskets are apparently meant to fit a number of different combinations and is fit huge compared to the ports on my little intake.

Let me back up a minute and say that these spacers are super pieces. Perfect machine work, high quality phenolic material, and definitely worth some temperature drop and denser intake charge on anyone's ride. This is a higher quality product than I have seen in the phenolic industry from hot rodding and racing domestic stuff for a long time.

But I have a lot of time and a little money perfectly matching the port and really don't feel that "ledge" is right for me. Unfortunately it's too far out to re-port the tract to meet the spacer... would be a huge hit in velocity in such a critical area right before the valves.

Let me also note that I have nothing but great things to say about the company after chatting with Matt at Grimmspeed. I had to make sure I had the correct spacers, and that it wasn't an oversight on my part. Good guy. And a Subaru guy at that. He even checked to see if they could get me some "blanks" with the mounting holes and external shape, but no port hole. Didn't work, but thanks for trying Matt.

Let me also say that I'm sure I would have seen some density and temperature gains, and possibly even power gains from these. I just wanted more.

I have made wood spacers in the past. But a one hole spacer for a Weber, Rochester or Holley double-pumper carburetor is a little less dramatic. It's a circle or a square. Wood works there. Not really the perfect medium for the curvy ass needs here. Also don't know how it would hold up to daily driver and seasonal changes as well, compared to being on a fair whether street/strip car.

I had heard of using Teflon, but had no idea how to work with it... what tools would work, and how easy it would be to form.

Then, WOOT! Skidd has a DIY thread on making your own teflon Phenolic spacers. I read with anticipation as I know if Skidd says it, it's gospel in my eyes.

Skidds thread here.

Unfortunately he never went through with it as he was worried about the "squish" with his blower/mounts as well as the "blow" from his air squisher.
Shit.

But I was back to square one. Jumped in with both feet. Here's the journey:

Started with a 12x12 sheet of virgin Teflon. Don't think most "teflon" cutting boards are Teflon. It's shit plastic with a little Teflon in it. Save them for your mudflaps. Real virgin teflon is supposed to handle 500+ degrees. I hope to never test that.

Started with an outline of the oem gasket.



I tried a few different cutting methods. Slow speed on this little air saw worked the best. Remember, this is all work stuff that I don't own and I'm lucky to be able to use it. That's a jigsaw blade, so a jigsaw will obviously work.



It's starting to take shape.
Biggest thing to remember is to take your time. When the blade clogged up, sliding it in and out while still running (as if it were a hand saw) worked wonders.


Oh yeah, as always, wear your safety glasses. Or at least squint back and forth real fast.


Roughed out.


Trim the fuzz.


Perfect the shape. If I wasn't planning on selling these Grimmspeed units, I would have simply bolted the two together and sanded the Teflon down to the phenolic shape, but I did not want to mess up the phenolic as they will go as "used but unmounted" if you will.




Mark and drill. Bit sizes were 27/64, 13/64 and 5/16. Same thing here. I want the Grimmspeed units to go as untainted as possible, otherwise clamping them together to drill them out would have been easy.


At this point, the perfectionist in me started to peek its head and I wanted them smoother, and modified a little from the gasket shape to suit how they sit on the intake better. So out come the files.


Next I needed a starting hole to grind out the ports, so a simple template transferred the shape for safe drilling.


Like see through panties. Makes it easier to find the hole. Hey Backwoods Bob! I said PANTIES in my thread!


Can't miss.


Here's where they sit as of now.
I'm headed to the machine shop tonight, so I'm going to mock these up with the intake and heads before I cut out the port holes. And I have the honest inclination to hand them off to the port guru. We'll see though. I might try to fuck them up myself.




So far I'm happy with how the material feels. Still need cleaned up after the ports are done.
The Teflon I picked is 1/4 inch. 12x12 inches was about 50 bucks. And it may honestly squish and deform and cause me all kinds of trouble, but it is a lot more dense than I thought. One spacer in the form above weighs almost 9 oz.

The 12x12 sheet has room for a second set to be cut out, fyi.

I was out there working on these for a good 3.5 hours. That includes stopping to spray a few layers of paint on other stuff, smoking a million cigarettes, and BSing a lot. But a lot of that time also includes trying different tools and such. Actual work, now that I know what I know would probably be under 2 hours.

Thanks for reading.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks man. It's easier for me to do something productive on the car than it is to sit around and curse the machine shop.
Flatirons definitely treated me right. Told Preston I would owe him a beer if he got me an order on an impossible deadline. Of course an old buddy of mine that lives in Denver was dropping off a puck of Guinness the next week.
 
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