May 8th, 2008:
Race car progess: engine is almost done.

The engine in my Neon is weak. To better prepare for the upgrade to ITA (from Spec Neon), I decided to shake some of the cobwebs out. A few weeks ago, I disassembled the top end of the engine to install an underdrive accessory pulley, 95 cam, exhaust header, new o2 sensor, new water pump, new water pump inlet o-ring, new thermostat, new seals and gaskets, and new plugs, plug tubes and wires. During the process of disassembling and re-assembling I learned a lot and made a mistake or two. Biggest mistake: don’t wedge a wrench in your cam gear to keep it from spinning while torquing the attaching bolt. Cam pulleys are much more fragile than they appear. Also, order all of the parts you’ll need ahead of time, preferably from the dealer unless you can get a much better price from a parts store. I spent several days trying to get the right o-ring for the water pump inlet tube from Murray’s that I could have gotten for the same price then next day from the dealership. Finally, start earlier in the year. You’ll never have enough time to do everything you hope to complete. Starting as early as possible helps.

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