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About this blog

More than 15 years ago, I was living in L.A., and my 1973 2002 had been reported as a "gross polluter" by some nimrod tree hugger, because it was blowing smoke on decel.  I needed to get it fixed to avoid a second citation, but apartment living meant I did not have space to work on it myself, so I took it to a well known 02 specialist to have an in-bay refresh done on the bottom end, and install a rebuilt cylinder head.  Not even 6 months after the work was done, the bottom end developed a death rattle and I had to park the car.  That was the last time it moved under its own power.  Through various moves over 15 years I have often thought I should just sell off the pieces I had collected, but my wife would always refuse to let me sell.  She knew I would regret not having my little '02, so we have hauled the shell and all the parts around all these years.  I can't thank my wife enough for being so steadfast in keeping it.


This blog is all about the rebuild journey of my 1973 2002.  The goal is to complete it as a resto-mod that can be daily driven, but is track focused.  There will be some pretty unique stuff going on, and I am super excited about how it will all turn out.

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Engine Damage Triage

Ok.  Now that the engine is completely apart, the full scope of the damage is clear and next steps can be planned out.


Here you can see that the bearings are all worn, and the #1 conrod. journal is roasted.  Remember that this is an engine with less than 5000 miles on it since the bottom end rebuild.



For good measure, here is a closeup of the burned journal, then one of the main bearings ( #1 on L).





This is what the conrod bearings looked like (#1 on L).




The block and crank are now at a local machine shop getting cleaned up.  The block is fine, but I need to wait and hear if the crank is salvageable, or if I need to buy a good used one.  I also had some preliminary discussion about replacing the conrods with something that can survive turbo HP, and that is looking like it will have an OUCH price tag of around $1500 for the set of 4.




I have decided that the place to start is the engine. 


First off, let me tell you that if you don't have a 1/2" cordless impact, you NEED to get one.  This jobbie was $225 on sale at Harbor Freight.  It performs as well as tools that cost three times as much.




When I took off the head, it looked good, and the pistons don't show any real signs of wear or skirt slap.




Everything will be cataloged, bagged, and stored in separate bins, but here is the whole inventory after initial teardown of the block.




Jiggling things around, I found that cylinder number one was rattling around at the crank end of the con-rod.  Removing just that piston from number one revealed spun bearings, and a scored crank.  The surprise is that while there is scoring, it is not deep and there must still have been good oil feed, because there is no discoloration.




The bearing is all beat up too.  The coating is gone, and pieces are chipped off.




This is what the conrod big end looks like.  It also shows no bluing, but I am not a fan of machining conrods. 



My plan is to pull the crank, and take it to an excellent machine shop we have here in town.  I will rely on their feedback as to whether we can save my crank, or if a replacement is the way to go.  Either way, I think I see H-beam conrods with ARP hardware in my future, because I plan to make this a boosted engine build.  If all the pistons look good (which I expect they should), my plan is to ceramicoat them, but a forged set of JE's sure is tempting.


One last thing, that aforementioned well known shop also did this.  What you see is the rear oil seal carrier with one 10mm head bolt (M6X16) as original, but also a 13mm head bolt of unknown size stuffed in on the right. 




So it looks like the shop mechanic stripped the hole out on the rear seal cover, and "fixed" it by cramming in a larger bolt.  This kind of thing is why I prefer to do everything myself.  I don't need to pay someone to break my stuff.  I can break it just fine on my own, for FREE.  At any rate, this is where we stand today.


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