The engine being re-fitted marks a milestone in any project build, and it’s no different when it comes to race cars either. I was particularly keen to see if my modified crossmember, and the idea of lifting the engine, gearbox, and subframe into place as one unit would prove successful. So keen, in fact, that I totally forgot to take any photos while I was doing it – although, in fairness, I was a little preoccupied with worrying about dropping a really heavy (not to mention expensive) engine on my head!
But the great news for head and wallet is that it all slotted up just as I had planned (hoped!) it would. With the engine solid-mounted to the cross member, and the gearbox lined up and bolted in place while still on the floor, it gave much better access… without the extra strain of having to hold these heavy components above your head while fitting all the nuts and bolts. With the whole then gently lifted into place, it was just a simple case of attaching the crossmember to the chassis legs, and connecting the rear gearbox mount. Job done.
It actually saved quite about of time compared to the traditional method of fitting the engine from above, so I was able to crack on with getting the freshly installed engine all plumbed I too. The engine itself was rebuilt by GGR to RS500 Touring Car specs; I actually bought a complete car that the engine was fitted in, removed the engine, and sold the car on, as this proved the most cost-effective, and time-efficient way to get a 550-560bhp YB that complies with the regs ready in time.
Because reliability is key with race cars (we don’t want our race ruined by something as simple as a leaky hose or fitting) I opted to renew all of the car’s oil and fuel lines with stainless steel braided hose and alloy hose fittings. After measuring up for everything I’d need (which is a job in itself!) I placed an order with Torques UK, as soon as it all arrived I set to work making up the numerous oil and fuel lines needed to keep that highly-strung YB happy.
With that all done, I also found time to fit the ECU and wiring loom (which was pretty much a plug-and-play job), as well as modify the exhaust too – which definitely wasn’t plug-and-play. The downpipe is a huge 4in diameter to ensure backpressure is kept as low as possible, but this gradually reduces to 3in by the time it reaches the floor area – because a 4in system under the car would cause serious ride-height issues, 3in is close enough! The system, them mates to the original side-exit tailpipe that was fitted previously, fanning out width-ways as it tapers in height to ensure maximum clearance.
The engine’s in, and it’s very close to being ready to fire-up, but that will be another job for another day. In the meantime, there’s still plenty to get cracking with: the brakes need sorting; front and rear roll-bars need fitting, the fuel fillers need cutting into the bodywork… the list is endless.
Looks like they’ll be a few more late nights in the workshop before this RS500 is ready for race action, but when myself and Karl Jones are busy thrashing around against some of the greatest cars (and drivers!) ever to compete in then BTCC in a few week’s time, I know it will be worth all the effort.