The CSX: August 23, 1999

by on Aug.23, 1999, under CSX

Well, I have done a lot of work to the car over the past months.  Basically, I have been gathering all the parts I need to replace the head on the car.  The head that came on it is shot, so decided to try a reman head.  Big mistake.  I have never seen such crap work in my entire life!  Here is a short list of what was wrong with it:

  • Someone took a bad belt sander to the back of the head, ruining the sealing surface for the manifolds by putting 0.02″ gouges in it.  I managed to smooth the surface out by wet sanding with an orbital sander.  Actually worked quite well.
  • There were 2 exhaust manifold studs in there (out of 8).  They came out no problem, but I had to buy a new set of those as well.
  • Most of the valve train was new except for the lash adjusters which were shot, so I had to replace those.
  • Then I noticed that 3 of the 4 threaded pipe connections on the thermostat housing had been drilled and heli-coiled.  I’m not sure how well that is going to seal.
  • The only thing that was nice was the headgasket sealing surfaces.  Then I realized that the reason it must be so nice is because the head was shaved.  After some measuring with the calipers, I found the head to be shaved by 0.020″.  I’m sure glad I have that spare 0.020″ Fel-Pro head shim.  Would have been nice if they put some kind of documentation with the head.

In addition to the crap reman head, I installed ARP head studs so that I can stop buying head bolts.  I am also trying the MP headgasket this time.  I also opted for the FM ported exhaust manifold.  This along with the 2.5″ exhaust system I am planning to get should make the top end pretty nice.   I did weld a Products For Power 2.5″ high-flow cat onto the stock down pipe.  The down pipe is 2-1/4″ at the turbo, but actually necks up to 2-3/8″ after the first bend.  This fit fairly well into the 2.5″ cat without a reducer bushing.  I then adapted the stock exhaust off of my Shadow as a temporary measure until I find a place to do my 2.5″ exhaust.

I also pulled the trans to install a new LUK Turbo III clutch (with a Turbo II disk) I got from FM.  The plan was to reset the preloads on the A520, install new seals, and toss it back in.  Well, as luck would have it, I happened upon someone selling an A568 transaxle here in IL!!!  An hour’s drive and $550 later, I had myself the ultimate of transaxles: the A568!  Thanks Gerry!  He also sold me the cables and shifter.  I ordered a new set of seals for it since the input shaft seal was leaking and I called FM to ask them to send me the other half of that TIII clutch I bought.  I found the shifter knob and boot at a boneyard on a ’92 Shadow with a A543.  During the installation I found that a few mods were required, but nothing major.  I will have a page up about this sometime in the future.  Drop me a line if you’d like the details now.

While I was waiting for parts, I addressed the nasty water leaks in the passenger compartment.  The leaks were causing the insulation and carpeting to shrink and rot.  I completely GUTTED the interior, insulation and all.  This car is noisy enough and I don’t care about 2 or 4 lbs of weight, so I replaced the insulation with heat shield/sound deadening insulation.  I also ordered a new molded carpet from Newark Auto.  It was an OK fit and a mediocre color match.  While it was gutted, I traced all the water leaks by sitting inside during some heavy rain.  Most of the leaks were due to bad gaskets and seals.  One leak was a body caulk issue, which the car may have had all of its life.  I spent a lot of time cutting and gluing the insulation back in, and it feels pretty sound now.  I also bought new weather stripping for the doors and had the headliner and visors reupholstered.  The interior now looks quite respectable, especially since it is all Shadow ES instead of half ES, half CSX.  If everything else holds up (yeah right) I will address the body next year.

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