Right... where do I begin...
Last July I hit a newly laid speed hump (more like speed mountain) and damaged my chain tension and therefore the engine too through timing issues. Luckily the car decided to break whilst parked in Tesco's doing the shopping.
After getting towed home to the misses house by a DC2 (not recommended) I set to work in seeing what had gone wrong. All looked ok after removing the cam cover so had to dig a little deeper. My mate works for Honda so he took it in and on first inspection it looked like the big end had gone on piston 4 and looked like it was going to be a £400 repair, sadly that lasted a day as on further inspection the head had taken a pounding and the cylinder wall was scored.
I had 3 options:
1. By a new engine for around £1400 and swap them over
2. Bin the car and fix my Impreza
3. Sell the Impreza and do something crazy
I chose option 3.
I had read on forums that it was possible to take an Accord Type-S engine (K24) and mate it with the head of a K20. After 2 months of searching the net for what is possible I decided to go for it. At first there was confusion over what variant of the engine I needed as most of the information I had sourced was from American websites and they have access to many different permutations of the K24, some having stronger pistons, some having better oil cooling options and some with higher HP.
Turns out we have the best option on our doorstep in the K24A3 so I set out on the hunt for one for me to start breaking up in the misses garage. I had tried ebay to find someone breaking but struggled so turned my attention to breakers yards and I eventually found one in Birmingham that had what I was looking for (I highly recommend getting one from a car you can see for reasons I will come back to later). I managed to pick up an engine that had just done over 25k for £1200 and had it delivered on a pallett to the misses at some ridiculous time in the morning...Not sure her neighbours were impressed but they arent my neighbours so i dont care
After stripping back the black wrap I finally got to lay eyes on my purchase
Now as I only got to see the misses at weekends as she lives miles away the next stages took me forever..
First thing was to get my socket set out and pull the engine apart (removing manifolds, clutch etc)
I had managed to source a new head off a garage on ebay for £200 so that was delivered too
(word to the wise, open every ebay package straight away and inspect thoroughly...this came back to haunt me!)
Next job was to pull the head off as I intended on building the engine at home completely before shipping the car off for mapping.
Once the head was off I got a look at the pistons, in my opinion didnt look like the engine had come straight out of a car? The deposits on top of the pistons were quite thick and were adamant that they were not coming off without a fight.
Next job was to get the sumps and the oil pumps switch over from the K20 as the K24's oil pump cant handle the high revs and will cause starvation (not good). The problem I had with this was that I couldnt get mine off my K20; the car had done 110k with it on and decided I couldn't have it, so I let the garage do that. at this stage if you can afford it there is a lovely conversion kit you can buy for an S2000 oil pump which If you can afford I would advise going for. I would also look into getting a baffled sump (either through a complete kit of a DIY kit that you weld in yourself).
I decided to keep my internals standard for now as that way I would keep the OEM reliability but also I couldnt afford forged pistons and cams, although this is something im thinking about for the future but at this stage I just wanted my car back and mr bank manager was saying no to any extra's.
Due to cash flow issues I had to put the entire project on hold until February 2012 but this hadnt stopped me doing a little shopping over Christmas for parts I wanted.
To do this engine conversion you need the additional engine bracket from a CRV, this is fairly in expensive and I got mine delivered from Honda in a couple of days, at the same time I got a few minor gaskets and a new thermostat.
I decided that I wanted a lightened flywheel so I found a Competition 4.9kg forged light weight flywheel as many have commented that they had see vast improvements over the stock flywheel, especially as I had a pre-facelift EP3
I also purchased a Competition Stage 4 clutch to make sure that I would have no problems with the power; its obviously heavier than standard but is fine for stop start traffic..unless your a wuss. I chose this as I like to over engineer where possible and the last thing I wanted to do was fit a clutch and then have to pay labour to put a new one in months later.
I picked up cometic gaskets for the K24 on ebay for £5 as it was from a liquidation company that were just selling off stock Uber Bargin! I then paid for thermal gaskets from Tegiwa for both inlet manifold and throttle body, I can safely touch the inlet manifold now even after a heavy track session (which has got to be good for air temperatures).
I retained my AEM CAI as that would still fit and I didnt have the cash for a GruppM or Tegiwa replica, so more gains would be made possible from that.
I had been told that my current DC Sports 4-2-1 race header was going to be too restrictive and that I needed a 2.5" exhaust system to see the best gains, so I had to sell that along with my Spoon N1 (sad sad day, still have the unsilenced b-pipe). Also I would need a customised header as the block would sit at a different height. After asking around and looking on youtube to make sure I liked the noise it would produce I made my choice.
A week or two later my neighbour waddled over carrying a small package covered in Japanese writing for me..
(I say small in jest as that is a size 12 nike shox next to it)
This really got me back in the mood as it looked beautiful.
Full system £400..Bargin!
It came with one of these...(will probably never use it)
With money lining my pocket I was ready to ship the car upto the northern gods that are TDi North. I had been emailing them over the last few months when looking for advise when deciding on parts. Parts I wanted that I couldnt afford were:
2. Baffled Sump
3. Forged Pistons
4. Skunk Cams
5. Uprated Valve Train (just to over engineer)
6. Skunk2 Inlet Manifold
So anyway I had arranged for a car delivery company to take the car up north and had to get everything boxed and ready.
It was at this point when things started to go wrong..
TDi had previously set an estimated 5-6 days to get the job done, they emailed me 2 days after delivery with some bad news. I turns out that the K24 had been sitting around somewhere and hadnt come straight from a doner car; how did they know this? ... The block was full of gravel!!
They told me they would have to spend at least a day flushing the engine out to make sure they got all the particles out. THe next day I get a phone call..
" Hey Scott, um... there appears to be a problem with the new head you supplied us with"..
"Yeah, it appears that it is not new and in fact has just been sprayed in some silver rubberised paint! Its going to take us atleast another day to try and get it off as its sprayed over the valves, spark plugs...everything"
It was at this point I was looking for a sturdy piece of rope and the nearest lamp post, but Paul talked me down and said they would do their best but I should probably look to source another as it would be cheaper than paying labour to clean the paint of and even then not keen on using it in case some paint came off after the rebuild.
Also TDi were going to use my car as a test car for their own manifold. They were going to fabricate one from scratch which would of been perfect then after they got it spot on, sell it to others to use, however at the last minute their steel supplier went bust and it wasnt going to be cost effective to do their own so they came up with a plan. They customised a Tegiwa one to make it fit...good work fellas
Im now trawling the forums like a mad man and facebooking friends all over the country as in 10 days I was due to go to The Fast Show 2012. Eventually I found someone who was willing to do a next day delivery for £350 for an entire engine! Over the next few days I heard nothing as TDi were hard working on my car, only offering me a teaser ..
The big day came and after a 4 hour train journey I arrived just as they were cleaning my car, there were still a few kinks as the idle control valve was sticking but Paul threw the keys at me and said go take it for a spin. After 7 moths of driving a 1.2 Corsa coupled with the sticky valve, i nearly binned it on the first roundabout as the cars clutch bite point was totally different and the valve was making the car rev.
I put my foot down and as I did this massive grin shot across my face, now I had just sold a 350bhp 352ftlb Impreza to fix my civic and yet the power delivery was more enjoyable. With the Impreza you put your foot down and it shot you forwards at a stupid speed, this however was like someone constantly pushing me in the back and the power felt firmer...if that makes any sense.. either way I was well chuffed, when I got back to TDi I asked how much power it had and what Paul told me not only shocked me but also some of the guys that work there..
As good as 260bhp and 210 ftlb
This is how she looks today