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Mr. Dabolina's EM1 Street / Track Build

 
Old 02-18-2017, 04:36 PM
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Default Mr. Dabolina's EM1 Street / Track Build

This will be the build thread for my K20 swapped B16A2 turbo EM1 all-around fun car. I've always been a forum person. Facebook, Instagram or whatever never appealed to me so I'd like to do my part to bring some traffic back to this site.

The first post here will mostly be a history of my time with the car so far. It's a lot of pictures, but you all like to scroll and look at pics right?!

Winter 2013
I started my first Civic build. It was a shitty, rusty 1994 EG sedan with a B16A2 and GSR trans. We went through the entire suspension and replaced or upgraded nearly every piece of its worn out undercarriage. The chassis itself was super rough, but was a blast to have as a daily. I started assessing the amount of work it would take to fix all of the rust in the body and I decided it would be best to find a cleaner shell to move all of my parts to.




Spring 2014
Fast forward a few months and some saved cash later. I spied an EBP EM1 shell sitting behind a barn along my usual route from school to my parents house. My friend and I knocked on a few doors and eventually got in contact with the owner. He indicated the shell wasn't for sale, but he had another EM1 in the barn that was. I was in love.





She was flawed and stock but had low miles and was overall in very good shape for the age. We loaded her up on my friends tow truck and started getting her ready for DD duty.






Summer 2014 - Winter 2015
The car stayed mostly stock for awhile aside from coilovers and wheels. I was enjoying maintaining it, and, frankly, I didn't have time, money, or facilities to do anything to crazy to it.










I also got pretty heavily involved in working with the University of Cincinnati FSAE team, which is a huge but rewarding project.



Spring 2016
In the spring of last year I was able to scrape up some money while working on my Master's degree to buy some used CCW LM16's and a legit First Moulding Lip from ICB.






Around the same time, my friends tempted me with his autocross prepped R50 Mini, which put the Civic into weekend and nice day status. I only really took it out to Cars and Coffee and IA that spring.





At the end of the summer, I moved to Detroit to start working as a powertrain development and engine calibration engineer for a company that consults for Ford's high performance street car programs. A few paychecks into my new job, I picked up a newer and nicer daily than the Mini.



The Civic sat parked for months, while I got settled in Michigan. I kicked around selling it for weeks, but eventually I talked myself into doing my first and probably final major Honda build.


So that is where the fun begins.......

Last edited by Mr. Dabolina; 05-31-2018 at 03:27 PM.
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Old 02-18-2017, 05:13 PM
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Default Re: Mr. Dabolina's K20 EM1 Street / Track Build

So onto the build....

The goal for this car is to be mediocre at everything. I want to be able to do some HPDE events, local autocross, and be able to drive the car comfortably in nice weather. I'll be using OEM style upgrades where possible to keep costs down. I'm not interested in making a show car, but I will be making an attempt to make it as clean and well assembled as possible, while doing some custom fab in spots that I think the aftermarket offerings are too expensive. This will be a super slow build because most of my money isn't being spent here, and I'm not in a hurry to have this on the road so that's fine.

November 2016

We started disassembling the K20 short block so it could make a trip to the machine shop at work. I got this short block for basically free from a friend at a Honda dealer since it was a core from a customer car. The insides were a little snotty looking from sitting with coolant in the cylinders before I picked it up.





The machine shop gave the block a clean bill of health so I went ahead and started planning the engine build. This is super rough right now, but the tentative plan is:
  • Supertech 12.5:1 86mm pistons
  • Stock K20Z3 rods with ARP bolts and resized big ends
  • Stock K20Z3 crank
  • K20A2 oil pump swap
  • Canton / Moroso baffled pan
  • K20A2 head
  • Undecided on the head build right now (cams and such will be involved)
I'd like to be around 250whp on E85 with a fairly flat torque curve.

December 2016
The EM1 officially started coming apart. The fluorescent lights in my garage makes the pictures look goofy.







I also purchased some parts to do an ITR/Mini/TSX hybrid front brake setup for my DC knuckles. This should be sufficient for my needs if I get some good pads. It's also a really cheap upgrade compared to on off-the-shelf BBK.






January 2017
The engine comes out of the car on New Year's Day. I didn't have access to an engine hoist so I took advantage of the lowness of the car and a furniture dolly to drop the motor and trans from the bottom. It was one of the sketchier things I've done, but who can argue with success.







We got a weird one day warm snap a few days later I took the opportunity to roll the chassis outside and wash the grime out of the engine bay with a garden sprayer full of Simple Green.





While I saved some cash to buy more parts, I started rehabbing my EG subframe, shock forks, and control arms and DC knuckles. I sweet talked the fab shop manager into letting my use his sandblaster, which was a huge help. I'm missing pics of everything else blasted, but trust me, they're tremendous.



Today!
Now we're up to speed with my months of slow progress. It was 60 degrees in Michigan today so I decided to hang and spray my blasted suspension pieces that I've been sitting on for weeks. I'm really happy with how they turned out for a rattle can job. I used VHT Chassis and Roll Bar paint, so we'll see how it holds up long term. The subframe will most likely be getting blasted and powdercoated professionally since the blast cabinet at work is too small to fit it.





That's it for now. I'm hoping to have some Karcepts hubs ordered this week along with more build parts for the engine.

Stay tuned and thanks for looking....!
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Old 02-19-2017, 07:36 AM
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Default Re: Mr. Dabolina's K20 EM1 Street / Track Build

Great work . Car has come a long way .
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Old 02-19-2017, 04:41 PM
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Default Re: Mr. Dabolina's K20 EM1 Street / Track Build

great start man.. Looks like it will be a promising build.
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Old 02-21-2017, 09:12 AM
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Default Re: Mr. Dabolina's K20 EM1 Street / Track Build

Looks great! Can't wait to see updates!
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Old 02-24-2017, 12:00 PM
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Default Re: Mr. Dabolina's K20 EM1 Street / Track Build

Nice work giving that EM1 a second shot a life.
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Old 04-01-2017, 03:10 PM
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Default Re: Mr. Dabolina's K20 EM1 Street / Track Build

Thanks the kind words everyone. I appreciate them! But, now it's time for a long overdue update! I've been busy buying and waiting for parts (stupid backorders).

One of my engine machinists checked the block and confirmed that I could run 86mm pistons... Score! So I order a set of Supertech 86mm 12.5:1 pistons. The block is out getting piston-fitted right now and I should have it back this week. Then it's off to another shop to get the rods resized and the remainder of the bearing measurements taken. After that, it's time to order bearings and build up a short block.




I also took evening after work to notch my K20A2 oil pump for the K20Z3 girdle. Its a pretty simple process. Chuck it up in the mill and cut until there's clearance. A little bit of free hand grinding on the tapers and it's done. I also have a K20A2 windage tray that isn't pictured. Just need to block the necessary block holes and the swap will be complete. This deletes the balance shafts and should buy me a few HP and, more importantly, better baffled oil pan options.






While the engine's been away, I exploded my EG power steering rack (yes, I'm keeping PS) into a bunch of little parts and ordered an Edelmann rebuild kit. The rack was full of water from sitting outside for months so I didn't trust it as-is. No real progress on this yet, but I'm hoping to put together a detailed rebuild when I finish stripping and repainting the exterior of the rack.




Since the weather has started to turn to Spring, I've been able to spend a little more time in the garage getting a start on shaving some things in the engine bay.






Also started thinning out my headlight and accessory harness and checking it's routing. I like how it routes without any wire extensions so far (aside from the wiper motor), but I'm going to hold off on looming it until I get everything set in the car. There's nothing worse than having to unloom a finished harness to add another circuit. The harness has had the AC, cruise, washer, etc de-pinned andremoved from it so I didn't just have the connectors or cut wires hanging out doing nothing.







And, my Karcepts KWH02 hubs finally showed up along with a care package of Honda parts from my friend Korey at Allen-Nott Honda in Ohio. I'm going to run these hubs with OEM K-series axles. None of the swap axles available have really impressed me and this seems like a nice option. I like the idea of being able to buy repair parts off-the-shelf, and the ARP wheel studs are a nice plus. I'll hopefully have these installed in my knuckles this week to finish up my front knuckle rebuild.




That's all I have for now. Hopefully, I'll stop forgetting to update this thread as things come together this week.
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Old 04-02-2017, 04:01 PM
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Default Re: Mr. Dabolina's K20 EM1 Street / Track Build

Did a little more work today since the weather was nice. Shot a coat of silver paint on my ITR calipers and brackets, and a coat of black on some miscellaneous pieces (sway bar brackets, tow hooks, etc).






I also got a little crazy with a flap disc on my EG subframe. Not sure I'm happy with how it's coming out. A 4.5" disc doesn't get in to where I need it to, and I'm not going to like it if I half-*** it. I guess I'll just end up taking it to a blaster like I originally planned.



More to come this week....
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Old 05-07-2017, 05:34 AM
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Default Re: Mr. Dabolina's K20 EM1 Street / Track Build

Back again with a long overdue update...

The EK subframe and front suspension has been pulled and thrown aside like the useless pile it is.







That gave me the space I needed to finish removing the last few studs and brackets from the firewall. I don't have a picture of it, but I also removed the dangling fuel and brake lines in the engine bay. There's plenty of room for activities now.




I got my EG steering rack rebuilt and repainted. It looks a lot better than before. I couldn't stand the rusty hardware so I picked up a variety of stainless Allen head hardware from McMaster-Carr. It really classes up the joint.






Shortly after the rack got finished up, I got the subframe back from the blaster and shot a coat of high gloss trim paint on it. Then assembled the rack to it.








The new ES sway bar bushings showed up yesterday evening, so I'll be finishing up the subframe later today. The subframe will hopefully be going back into the car next weekend when my Hardrace control arm bushings show up. They're the major piece holding me up right now.

Aside from that the K20 block is back from piston fitting...



My machinist couldn't quite get the 0.0032" piston-wall clearance I needed because of how the sleeves shifted when the torque plate was installed. It was super close to spec when the block was relaxed. The smallest bore diameter he could get while squaring the bores was 3.389". That leaves a P2W of 0.0063". I guess I should have gone 86.5 mm after all,

So I'm going to have the pistons coated by Line2Line coatings to add back the 0.003" I need get the fit-up right. Their abradable powdercoating process is pretty interesting. I may have them throw some thermal barrier coating on the piston crowns also.

The goal is to have the short block assembled by the end of May and to have a full engine put together at the end of July.

That's all for now...
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Old 05-07-2017, 06:08 AM
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Default Re: Mr. Dabolina's K20 EM1 Street / Track Build

good stuff dude. looked good with the ccw's and first molding.
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Old 05-31-2018, 03:56 PM
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Default Re: Mr. Dabolina's K20 EM1 Street / Track Build

Back from a nearly year long hiatus. After discovering some issues with both my K20 block and B16 drop-out, I didn't touch the car for awhile. After some soul searching, I decided to freshen up the original B16A2 and slap on a turbo kit.

July 2017
Before I listed the B16A2 for sale I did a leakdown to make sure I wasn't selling a piece of ****, and to my surprise, it had A LOT of leakdown on 3 cyliders (20 - 60%). I'm surprised it ran as well as it did and even managed 30 mpg on the highway. The cause was burnt exhaust valves. When I bought the car, I found that the PO had set the valve lash way too tight, but it never seemed to be a problem, aside from a marginally rough idle.










So I pulled the Skunk2 valves and Supertech valve springs and retainers I had from a spare head to fix the problem. A little clean-up and machine work across the street, and she's good as new. I also picked up a set of GSR cams from a co-worker to hopefully help with breathing.



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Old 05-31-2018, 04:22 PM
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July 2017 continued...
Since I plan on tracking the car and I'm a ***** for cool looking parts I picked up a Moroso 6qt oil pan from Summit Racing. I also bought a MyHondaHabit oil pan gasket to help with sealing it up.









September 2017
After a decently long wait, my Sheepey Mini Ram arrived. I ordered it with a 38mm Tial V-band wastegate flange and a Tial V-band turbine flange. Why all the V-bands you may ask? Because they're my favorite and because I snagged a slightly used GT2860RS with a .86 AR Tial exhaust housing a couple months ealier. You'll also see a Tial 38mm MVS wastegate hanging out on the manifold.















Then she sat alone and unloved for most of the winter because my garage is unheated and I spent a month and a half escaping the Michigan cold in Arizona for work.
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Old 05-31-2018, 04:38 PM
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February 2018
The weather started to break and I had tentatively agreed to buy a 2-wheeled project, so the Si got pushed outside and spun around to give me better access when working and to free up some garage space.







And the previously mentioned project: a 1979 CB750F Supersport. It was in pretty good shape aside from questionable brakes and some severely clogged carburetors (I haaaaaate carburetors). I'm a sucker for old bikes, and I'd had my eye on this one sitting at my friend's house for quite awhile.



April 2018
My gunmetal Hasport 70A mounts arrived courtesy of ICB Motorsport, and the engine made it back in to the car for hardware mock-up.







Definitely not enough room for an off the shelf full-size radiator, but that won't be a problem...
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Old 05-31-2018, 05:22 PM
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May 2018 (i.e. the present)
Everything I've read made it seem like even a nice half-rad would be insufficient for cooling 300 whp on track so I really wanted to run an Integra full-sized rad. Too bad there's a wastegate in the way and the Integra rad isn't the most efficient design. So I started researching tuck radiators and wasn't impressed with the price or the marginal size increase over a good half-rad.

Using Boersma Racing's time attack Civic as my inspiration I decided to cut out the hood latch and T-bar and stuff the biggest radiator I could in there. That led me to a Griffin 15.5x26x3 dual pass radiator that was mostly what I needed, but wasn't so expensive that I would feel bad hacking it up. So 6 hours of cutting and fitting later it was loose mounted.













Definitely a tight fit but it turned out really well. I made some more adjustments after these pics to move the bottom of the rad forward to make more room for the wastegate. I ended up with about 1/2" of clearance to the hat of the wastegate, but with 70A mounts that should be more than enough. I still may make/buy a 90 deg adapter to turn the wastegate away from the rad so I don't have to struggle with changing wastegate springs on the dyno.

To keep with the theme of cooling, I also found an off-the-shelf intercooler that would fit perfectly with my radiator set up. It's 1G DSM intercooler from Extreme Turbo Systems. It's dual back door and and core is 26" long so the radiator nests in nicely and the intercooler pipes fit around the end tanks. The bumper needs a tad more trimming to fit perfectly, but overall I'm happy.



The next hurdle with the custom cooling package was radiator hoses. I tried stock hoses. They're surprisingly close to working, but would require resizing the radiator inlet and outlet and some shortening and splicing of the hoses. For the sake of cleanliness, I didn't want a mess of **** and hose clamps so I decided to fab up a set of custom aluminum lines.



The upper pipe was nice and easy since it only require a step up coupler, a straight coupler, and a pre-bent 45deg piece of 1.5" aluminum. The lower was a bit more of challenge, but it was fun to make. I did all of the pipe fitting with a cut-off wheel, flap disc, and deburring tool so you don't need any fancy tools to make clean custom stuff.







The lower hose uses two step-up couplers and a mix of sectioned pre-bent 1.5" aluminum tubes. All of the couplers and tubing came from SiliconeIntakes.com. I'm usually a proponent of buying name brand parts, but I couldn't get matching materials I needed from Vibrant or any other company.



That's where I'm at now. The lower hose is getting finished welded early next week, and the intercooler piping will be getting ordered tomorrow along with parts to plug and mod the stock intake and throttle body since I won't be using a lot of the stock sensors or coolant passages.

Thanks for looking. Hopefully I remember to update more than once a year...
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Old 06-01-2018, 10:11 AM
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Default Re: Mr. Dabolina's EM1 Street / Track Build

Damn that's a hell of a radiator!
If it makes you feel any better, I've had some pieces from Siliconeintakes on my old Miata for years before I sold it.
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Old 06-04-2018, 12:04 PM
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Pretty cool thread.
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Old 06-10-2018, 02:29 PM
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Back for another update. I put a few parts on order earlier this week: material to make my coolant filler neck (which is back ordered for a few weeks) and parts to make the intercooler pipes.

My SiliconeIntakes.com order showed up on Friday after ordering it on Tuesday so I got to work on the intercooler piping. I decided to run a 2" hot side and 2.5" cold side with step couplers to make transitions where necessary. A 3.5" hole saw made room for the backdoor intercooler pipes. The holes need to be cleaned up but it'll work for mock-up. The pics show the clearance from the couplers to the radiator end tanks, which ended up as well as I hoped it would.





The hot side pipe is going to end up lower than I'd like, but it's higher than the oil pan so that a splitter / flat bottom still shouldn't be a problem. There also should be a nice straight shot to the driver side of the bumper for the air box I'm planning.



I only got the cold side pipe finished up today. I'm trying to finish my Master's thesis this summer so that's chewing up a lot of my time. Hopefully, I'l have the hot side knocked out this week. It should be a lot more simple to fab up than the cold side since its only one 90 deg and one 45 deg bend joined in the middle rather than 3 45 deg bends meeting somewhere in space.











You may notice that the lower coolant pipe was finish welded and is complete. The top pipe isn't completely finished because I still need to integrate the fill neck into it. Aside from that, I need to pick out a blow-off valve (thinking HKS SSQV) and start modifying the stock intake. I'll be deleting the TB and IACV coolant lines and most of the visible vacuum ports to simplify the plumbing in that area.

Thanks for the support. I hope to be back with more soon.
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Old 06-25-2018, 04:52 PM
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Small update. Been busy with grad school and waiting for parts to arrive so I've lost a little bit of momentum.

The cold side IC pipe got finish welded and I'm super happy with how it turned out. I also fitted up and had the hot side IC pipe welded up. It's a fairly straight shot. I'll have to put a small jog in the intake pipe when I get to building it, but nothing major.







Most of the parts for my downpipe arrived. I'm waiting for one last 3" 90deg bend that should arrive tomorrow. Then I can get that started. It should be the last major piece I need to fab unless I decide to get fancy with my PCV setup (which knowing me is almost a definite thing). And BTW V-bands are a beautiful thing.





Besides the last 3" 90 bend, I have a low profile 90deg wastegate adapter coming from ATP Turbo that should give me clearance to take the wastegate springs out without having to remove the wastegate itself. Things are definitely coming together, and I'm actually feeling pretty good about this project for the first time in a year. So on that note, I'll leave you with a front shot and a picture of a sweet Kei truck I stumbled upon while drunk wandering down Woodward Ave by my house.





P.S. These pictures suck so I'm going to stop being lazy and get my Nikon out for pics in the future.
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Old 06-27-2018, 08:33 AM
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Default Re: Mr. Dabolina's EM1 Street / Track Build

The progress looks great. Love the way you set up the inter cooler piping through the front
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Old 06-28-2018, 09:37 AM
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Default Re: Mr. Dabolina's EM1 Street / Track Build

Progress looks great. Making a proper intake system for the compressor inlet will be pretty easy. You'll help assist spool up of the system with an actual 3" + length tube w/ k&n filter on it, and not just doing what most do and stick a 3" filter on it.
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Old 07-02-2018, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by slowDB7 View Post
The progress looks great. Love the way you set up the inter cooler piping through the front
Thanks. It's definitely a lot cleaner than trying to pass it through the sides of the engine bay by the fenders.

Originally Posted by TheShodan
Progress looks great. Making a proper intake system for the compressor inlet will be pretty easy. You'll help assist spool up of the system with an actual 3" + length tube w/ k&n filter on it, and not just doing what most do and stick a 3" filter on it.
Thanks, Shodan. The intake idea was mostly an exercise in heat management. I'd really like to keep IAT's down so sucking hot air off the radiator isn't productive. I'm glad to hear it'll help with spool though. I'm still debating whether the GT28 with the .86 AR exhaust housing will be too much turbo for a stock B16 to get spinning.

Anyways, another small update. I'm getting killed with school right now, but that "should" be wrapping up in 2 weeks so then I can get back to work. My ATP wastegate relocation elbow arrived, and it is exactly what I needed. Clearance to the radiator increased by about 1/4 of an inch, and I'll have tons of room to change wastegate springs if necessary. I think I decided to run an open wastegate dump so I should have a nice clean shot to the ground from where it sits now. This will make plumbing the watercooled diaphragm a bit more difficult, but it's totally worth it.









And a couple of artsy ones for the lurkers out there:





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Old 07-03-2018, 06:03 AM
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Default Re: Mr. Dabolina's EM1 Street / Track Build

IAT's will be based on intercooler quality and its ability to properly exchange air, not from an intake system, really. The intake does a tiny bit, but not as much of a difference as a quality intercooler.
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Old 07-29-2018, 09:29 AM
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Welcome back everyone. Nothing huge to report on right now. I lost pretty much the entire month of July to school, travel, and prepping the CB750F for the road.





But on the topic of the EM1, my roommate talked me into picking up another set of wheels after he decided he didn't like them on his Miata. They're a set of 15x8 +28 SBC RPF1's with a decently new of BFG Rivals. I've always liked the look of SBC RPF1's and these should be a more performance oriented wheel than my CCW's.









I'm going to start CAD modeling a catch can setup this week since I can't find anything that is exactly what I need. I'm going to use an exhaust evac setup connected to a sealed can to draw on the block ports and an open-to-atmosphere can to allow fresh air in through the valve cover. This is pretty similar to the stock venting scheme so I hope it works well.
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Old 07-29-2018, 04:14 PM
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Default Re: Mr. Dabolina's EM1 Street / Track Build

Love this build, its really coming together now!
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Old 08-11-2018, 06:41 PM
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Got the downpipe mocked up today. It'll get tacked up at work on Monday, but it won't get finish welded until I get a full exhaust in the car so I can make sure it lines up correctly. This will at least let me get an idea of how much space I have for a fan, plumbing, ducting, and what ever else ends up in front of the engine.









And I finished trimming the bumper and did a little shameless product placement...

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