Monday, August 24, 2009

anyone looking to rent industrial space for less than 75c/sq ft?

As some of you may remember, when we last left the Mystery Machine, she was making a horrible hammering noise and blowing out magic black smoke, having retired from Reno Fernley with less than an hour left in the race. So we towed her home, in all of her family-appeal majesty, parked her in one of the back lots at work, and took a couple of months off.

The engine does still run, but with the noise it's making, its lifespan is probably measured in minutes of runtime rather than days, especially since I'm pretty sure there's no oil left inside it. (Lots of it on the outside, though.)

With August rapidly coming to a close we went on the hunt for possible replacement engines. The 4-cyl 2.5L turbo is moderately rare, having appeared in only a small subset of the k-car line, so we were thinking we might have to settle for something naturally aspirated, or maybe the more common straight-6, and graft on one or two of JH's spare turbos after the fact.

But I guess maybe Cash for Clunkers put a run on turbo minivans, because a local junkyard scouting run turned up not one but five possible candidate replacements. Sure they're from pick n pull, but surely between five of them we'll get enough good bits for one or two working engines, right?

We turned up bright and early Sunday afternoon and pulled the best-looking one. (Best-looking by virtue of still having the oil cap on. Though it also has 200k+ miles on.)

Here it is, getting winched out and carried away, following a couple of hours of high-precision cutting and prying loose:
From Mystery machine rebuild

From Mystery machine rebuild

Since according to JH (a devoted viewer of How it's Made), these minivans are assembled with the body being dropped onto the whole pre-assembled front end, engine to running gear, we pulled the entire extremely long block as a unit -- engine, transmission, turbo, etc. It even still has the power steering pump attached. I also picked up the matching computer, just in case. We basically used every part of the animal, on the theory that everything comes in handy eventually.

The extremely empty carcass of the donor van:
From Mystery machine rebuild

Now if only we had a garage.