The previous chapter ended on a note of desperation. A junk engine, an excess of RTV silicone, and a pile of useless aluminum was all we had to show for our efforts on the donor engine at the KL#2 shop (Aaron’s house). Meanwhile, at KL#1 (Gary’s House) plenty of other destruction was taking place, except this time, the good kind. The crisp afternoon air of this December Saturday was filled with a symphony of sawsalls and grinders. A borrowed plasma cutter and body saw were the guest performers in the orchestral sound my neighbors were treated to that day. The aroma, heavy of metal dust and spent cut-off wheels bellowed out of the single bay garage catching the nose of every car guy within a 2 mile radius like bacon on Christmas morning. A crack team of world class beer drinkers were assembled here this afternoon with one goal in sight: get the engine in the car. We cut, hammered, plasma’d, sawed, sniped, grinded, sanded, and smashed for hours and hours. We finally had a hole in our Metro big enough for an inappropriately large engine!
In order to mount the big engine, we’d need motor mounts, suspension pickups, and hubs. Luckily for us, most of this was already packaged directly to the subframe out of the Contour; so we figured, meh, we’ll just attach bolt subframe to the Geo! We got our high-precision Pittsburg measuring tapes and some twine found in a box to carefully measure and align the subframe. Once aligned, we’d realize we needed more clearance and move it all and go back to grinding. After about the fourth time of doing this, we finally got it right and tack weld the subframe to the body. We’d later make brackets to bolt the subframe to the body, but in the interest of getting the engine in the car today, tacks will have to do for now. Next comes the fun part, getting the engine from the floor into the hatch/trunk/backseat…whatever you want to call it; we intend to call it the engine bay. Imagine you’ve got a big v6, suspended from a chain on the end of an engine hoist, and now you have to get that through a 2 1/2ft tall hatch opening. Impossibru! We debated on picking up the engine and sliding it in sideways. Nope. Too heavy and still won’t fit. Joining the engine and transmission inside the car? Nope. Too much work. Then, eureka: We have doors! We popped one of the rear doors off, took the engine and hoist in through the side of the car and sat it right down in place; fits like a glove!
Over the next few weeks after fitting the engine and subframe, we worked on all the boring things you need to make the car run and lemons legal. We’ll skip a few mundane chapters on stories of our roll cage, getting another junkyard engine, fuel cell mounting, radiator plumbing, brake lines, and wheel clearances… but I will assure you that every bit of is was a PITA and much more difficult than it ever should have been. Such is life when you are making a rear engine Metro. In the next chapter: the one final true test of our team’s worth: wiring!
Next Up: Chapter 4 – Ford used Lucas Wiring?