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After the fire

The Fire 

Unfortunately my car suffered an engine fire due to a a problem with the fuel rail connection to the manifold. This occurred on the track at Texas World Speedway. From the picture above the damage did not seem to bad but once the manifold was removed the real damage became apparent. All the wiring and plastic parts were totally destroyed and the paint was damaged badly enough that it had to be stripped away. 

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The teardown begins

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Brakes and harnesses toasted

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Hydraulics and plastics toasted

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Paint burnt

As can be seen from the pics it was necessary to remove the engine to clean it and also because it was necessary to respray the engine bay. The dry chemical extinguisher agent proved to be very corrosive and I hate to think how much damage it would have caused if my girlfriend and I had not immediately started to clean up the mess from every nook and cranny in that engine bay. The stuff is so bad I would not buy a car that had had a dry chemical extinguisher used on it unless the engine had been pulled and everything cleaned. I also understand why the insurance companies will total a car if a dry chemical extinguisher has been used inside the cabin.

 Painting:

 The fire damage to the paint was enough that I had to completely strip the paint from the middle of the firewall to the drivers side shock tower. That task was painful and time consuming and required various tools to do the job. I used various combinations of wire wheels on drills and die grinders, hand sanding, air sanders and paint stripper to get that done. Porsche also used a lot of seam sealer in that area and a lot of that got stripped away and had to be replaced with new seam sealer. The remaining paint was in a condition that it could be partially sanded back or rubbed back with gray/red scotchbrite pads in preparation for sealing and respraying.

 The line of Sikkens paints that I used involved cleaning the area with M600 degreaser then applying washprimer CR which is a corrosion resistant etching primer for areas with exposed bare metal which included the firewall and various other areas I had sanded in the engine bay. That was followed with a yellow tinted primer sealer, then by a mixed yellow basecoat with clearcoat. That final mixture should not be used for exterior panels but provides a hardy and somewhat glossy finish which is suitable for areas like the engine bay. Probably the best thing about this painting process was the fact that each paint step did not require intermediate sanding between coats.

 The engine bay painting with all its odd shapes and angles was tricky compared to doing nice flat panels but the results turned out pretty nice. I had managed to fix several flaws that existed in the original job and felt very pleased with the outcome. I have reinstalled a bunch of gear in the engine bay already and I am happy to say that the paint seems durable and I have not chipped it like I did when doing the original restoration.

 I had completely masked the car off to prevent overspray. It was probably a bit of overkill because I did not find that much overspray in the garage afterwards but I will say this, a few hours of masking is a hell of a lot easier than a few days of scrubbing away paint overspray from all sorts of odd places (like after my car was ‘professionally’ sprayed the first time). I would mask it exactly the same again in the future.

 To paint the car in the garage I had to drape plastic over all the benches and shelves etc. The floors were scrubbed clean and all excess dust removed. I put some extractor fans at one end of the garage and sealed around them with cardboard and plastic sheeting. At the other end of the garage I drew in air from the house through some AC unit filters. That helped to keep the garage a little cooler (its hot in the Texas summer) and helped prevent any dust and so on from getting into the garage whilst I sprayed the engine bay. If you do this yourself make sure there are no cars  in the area where the exhaust fans dump their air, I parked my cars well around the corner.

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The car stripped, cleaned and masked, my garage floor has never been cleaner

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Sikkens paint products

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Me sweating in the Texas summer heat

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My makeshift spray booth complete with filtered air and extraction

Reconstruction

Let the reconstruction begin! I only painted the engine bay initially so that I could get on with the bulk of the rebuild tasks. The interior of the car was stripped of its old carpet and such and dynamat was applied in an effort to reduce road noise. Since the car is used as a street car as well as a track car I decided that I would just have to live with the weight.

 Wiring:

 The fire destroyed the battery wiring harness as well as the DME/KLR and lighting harnesses. I obtained a replacement DME/KLR wiring harness from a friend, it was an 86 version but was adapted to my 87 model simply by connecting a plug from my old 87 harness into a plug from the 86 harness. My 951 is fitted with a Guru MAP for engine management and a Delphi injectors so the wiring harness also had to be tapped for the MAP connections and ballast resistors. I am not a big fan of piggy back connectors or crimp connectors and I also had the wiring harness out of the car so I took the time to trim away the insulation and solder each connection into the harness without cutting the DME/KLR harness. This resulted in a tidier, less bulky and I would expect more reliable connection of those systems into the harness. I connected the Apexi AVCR electronic boost control system into the harness in the same fashion. I mounted the Apexi boost control valve in the area formerly occupied by the cruise control servo mechanism since I had decided not to bother installing the cruise control. I connected the boost pressure sensor to the KLR boost line in the passenger footwell.

I picked up a used lighting harness from Ebay for $50 and it was in typical shape with various damaged connectors for lights and fans etc. With some time on the bench I managed to replace all those connectors with either better used connectors or generic connectors. I was a bit concerned about how difficult it would be to install that harness into the car but it was not a great problem, basically the interior end of that harness plugs into the fuse box. The main point to note there is that the connector blocks on the bottom of the fuse box are held in place by a slider bar. In order to disconnect the blocks you need to slide the bar out and inch or so and then you can unplug each block of wiring. If you just yank the connector blocks out of the fuse box you will break off the retaining lugs on the individual wiring connectors and they may then work loose at some point in the future. That fuse box actually lifts up reasonably high so that you can work on it if you need to, at first it didn’t seem like it would so I thought it would be a PITA, but it did lift high enough.

INTERIOR

After the fire I decided I would put in race seats and the roll cage amongst other things and I already had new german carpet to go in the car so I stripped the interior and took some sound deadening steps whilst I was in there.

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Engine bay immediately after spraying

 

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Dynamat to keep things quiet.

 

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Fuse box showing plug release lever

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86 harness modified to 87

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MAP Kit and EBC modifications to harness

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Engine bay reconstruction.

ENGINE WORK

With the engine bay and electrics well on its way to being finished I decided to start work on the engine. The engine wasn't damaged in the fire but I wanted to drop in the lightened crank whilst the engine was out. The engine only had 6000mi on it since the rebuild and I figured it would give me a good opportunity to see how everything was holding up. Thankfully everything was looking very good. All the bearings looked in good shape and the cylinder walls were nice and smooth. After I put the engine back together I was fortunate enough to not have any leaks. I included a pic  which shows the only sealant that I used on the sump gasket. Basically I only used sealant in the four corners where shown.

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Sealant in corner of sump gasket

 

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Block almost ready for new crank.

 

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Cylinder bores looking good 6000 mi after previous rebuild.

 

24 Aug: Reassembly went fine but I am still waiting on some parts so I didn't get the engine back in today, shouldn't be long though.

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1Sep: I put the engine back in yesterday and got stuck into the peripheral stuff and suspension today.

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14 Sep - Back on the ground at last. Starting to work the interior stuff.

 

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16 Sep - Roll cage is bolted in. That went in without too many hassles thankfully. Now I can get to work on the race seats.

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Oct 12 - I have decided to swap the standard tranny for the LSD oil cooled tranny from a turbo S.

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Turbo S LSD Oil Cooled tranny.

 

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Oct 16 - After putting in the Turbo S transmission I found that it had a synchro problem that would necessitate pulling out and rebuilding it.  Was not very happy about that at all as I am supposed to be leaving for the track tomorrow and I still have a bunch of prep work to do.

Sonja, bless her heart, scrubbed the old transmission while I was at work and was still scrubbing it when I got home. She finished it off whilst I pulled out the LSD tranny. I put the old tranny back in while she made dinner - you can't beat help like that. Thanks Sonja.

 

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Oct 17-19 Texas World Speedway.

We made it. 

Oz951 back on the road

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mailto:Aus951@hotmail.com

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