J30A4 V6 SWAP INTO AUSSIE EG Civic RACE CAR

This is a discussion on J30A4 V6 SWAP INTO AUSSIE EG Civic RACE CAR within the Project and Build-Up Section forums, part of the TunedTech's Features category; Fitted a replacement clutch master cylinder today, then spent two hours with all the cut Accord wires at the drivers door trying to find the two for the petrol guage. ...




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Old 05-18-2011, 04:47 AM   #31
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DefaultRe: J30A4 V6 SWAP INTO AUSSIE EG Civic RACE CAR

Fitted a replacement clutch master cylinder today, then spent two hours with all the cut Accord wires at the drivers door trying to find the two for the petrol guage. I blew a few fuses which was to be expected, but having tried EVERY combination of 30+ wires to power, earth and each other (do the math on that), I guess I'll have to chase a wiring diagram on the net.


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Old 05-27-2011, 07:34 AM   #32
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DefaultRe: J30A4 V6 SWAP INTO AUSSIE EG Civic RACE CAR

My car spent the week at my exhaust sponsor where Danny made a two and a half inch downpipe off each head, joining them into a collector under the sump.


This copied American after market extractors for the V6, and was then joined onto a three inch full length system I'd bought off another mate. It's mandrel bends all the way from the heads to the cannon and to say it's a tight squeeze is putting it mildly.

When I went to pick the car up the battery had gone flat, the clutch pedal had fallen to the floor, the fly by wire throttle wasn't responding, and the front brake calipers were still binding. We jump started the beast to try and get it on the trailer, but I'd no sooner heard it's crisp idle than a fuel hose burst at the engine. So we couldn't start it - couldn't push it - and had to snatch strap it onto my trailer with a 4wd!

I suspect I've mixed up something in the fuel hose connections so the fuel regulator isn't working and all the pressure has nowhere to go but split the fuel hose despite it being brand new and the proper stuff. Plus I've obviously got other problems to iron out as well.

Despite loosening the front calipers on the hubs I still had to winch the Civic off the trailer back into my garage at home. Looks like I may also have a seized rear brake piston after everything sitting for over 2 years. By now it was dark, freezing cold, and lightly raining as I worked to unload the trailer so I could put my other Civic on it tomorrow arvo and go racing Sunday. By the time I was finished I was FINISHED !!
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Old 06-03-2011, 06:57 AM   #33
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DefaultRe: J30A4 V6 SWAP INTO AUSSIE EG Civic RACE CAR

When I removed a front wheel a couple of days after I got the car home from the exhaust shop I found one reason why the car was impssible to push by hand. The tyre was dead flat, but being a rally tyre with a mega stiff sidewall it still looked like it was inflated. But when I pulled it off it was a "D" shape. One binding wheel cause fixed. One to go.

More experimenting with a number of washers revealed I needed to push the front calipers a total of 5mm out on the Prelude hubs to line up with the Accord discs... more than I'd had with just one washer. I then made two spacer plates - bolted it all up - and there we have how to easily do that brake fit. I painted them orange so you can see them easily.


I think it's safe to say the same spacing would work if anyone decides to fit these 290mm monster brakes onto a Civic upright as I doubt those hubs would be any different in this respect to the 1981 4WS Prelude ones I'm using.

Over the weekend I've got to remove the exhaust to fit the two threaded lower oxy sensor plugs and get them welded in, plus examine my clutch hydraulic issues. I'll check the FPR or something else isn't the reason why the remote throttle is on "limp home" mode - but won't be able to really narrow things down until the exhaust is back on, all 4 oxy sensors in place, and the radiator fitted and filled. The more I think about it the more likely those latter things are likely to be my throttle problem as any engine with a "brain" would certainly protect itself when it had no water.
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Old 06-04-2011, 03:37 AM   #34
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DefaultRe: J30A4 V6 SWAP INTO AUSSIE EG Civic RACE CAR

The front brakes are finished, but get a load of the clearance of the fifteen inch wheel. Just enough for the mag wheel balance weights to clear.


I put the car up high on blocks today to remove the front exhaust system for tidying up and painting.
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Old 06-05-2011, 02:23 AM   #35
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DefaultRe: J30A4 V6 SWAP INTO AUSSIE EG Civic RACE CAR

I ground down all the welds on the twin header pipe and got my mate Dave to weld on the last two oxy sensor fittings prior to painting.
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Old 06-09-2011, 06:40 AM   #36
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DefaultRe: J30A4 V6 SWAP INTO AUSSIE EG Civic RACE CAR

The scratch built headers came up really well thanks to the grinder, flapper disc, and aerosol ceramic paint. Both pipes were joined above the lower oxy sensor bungs, but you can no longer see those welds.

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Old 06-15-2011, 05:22 AM   #37
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DefaultRe: J30A4 V6 SWAP INTO AUSSIE EG Civic RACE CAR

In the immortal words of Al Pacino in "The Godfather" movie, "Just when I think I'm out - they drag me back in!" . By this stage of my project I thought I was just about finished, but only since the exhaust has been fitted have I been able to rev my V6 without disturbing my neighbours too much. Problem is - I now find it won't rev past 2,500rpm - even though it ran perfectly when in my front cut before being transplanted.

So I get a good mate of mine over who's a trained Honda mechanic. He tells me the car is in "limp home" mode, plugs his diagnostic reader into my car, and it shows seven transmission "faults". The bloody ECU still thinks it's an automatic and is looking for signals from loom plugs I still have in place but have nothing to plug into on the manual gearbox.

Next day I phone another ace mechanic & friend who runs the best non-factory Honda centre in Newcastle. He's also a petrol head and won't be put off working on a race car swap. However he says he wouldn't know where to start and says it's a problem for an auto electrician.

Then I phone the best pro car sparky I know and he says I can't solve it by bridging the un-used terminals - not even with resistors - as the signals needed will vary as the car is operating. The only cure in his opinion is to change the ECU to one from a manual V6.

So I've got back on the car-parts.com American & Canadian search engine tonight, found what I need, and am hoping to get responses. Fingers crossed more dismantlers will reply than when I chased my gearbox. At least an ECU is easy to pack & send.
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Old 07-06-2011, 03:51 AM   #38
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DefaultRe: J30A4 V6 SWAP INTO AUSSIE EG Civic RACE CAR

I was concerned that the oil filter was in a low, vulnerable spot on the V6

Luckily a good relocation and oil cooler kit came up on e-bay and the seller was right here in Newcastle, so I jumped on it. There wasn't enough room to fit it in the engine bay, but it snugged up under the front guard really well

I was able to put the cooler where it'll get great air flow

and having a fibreglass front bar meant a hole was easily cut
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Old 08-05-2011, 06:08 AM   #39
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DefaultRe: J30A4 V6 SWAP INTO AUSSIE EG Civic RACE CAR

We left our intrepid EG builder with a V6 only running in "limp home" mode because the donor car's computer was still looking for it's long gone automatic transmission, and with advice from car electrical experts that he needed to get an ECU from a manual car to fix his problem. So two months ago my search began.

I spent a month chasing ECU's in America where most of the Honda/Acura V6 manuals were sold. My chief difficulty was that the wreckers and after market suppliers all wanted the factory id numbers - which no-one could supply me with. Whenever a wrecker identified their ECU listed on car-parts.com or E-bay as coming from an auto I'd try to get the bar code number. This enabled me to build my own list of what I WASN'T looking for, so I worked through a wide range of cars, narrowing my search by a long process of elimination. Eventually two contacts gave me half a dozen numbers of what they thought I might need. Two turned out to be autos yet again - but I pressed on.

I had worked out the exact car with the right ECU. Since 2000 Honda had sold an automatic 2 door coupe Accord with a 3.0 litre V6. By 2002 all American Honda Accord/Acura V6's came with either 3.2 or 3.5 litre engines. The 2 door coupe remained the only 3.0 litre model, and in 2004 (and that year ONLY), they released a 6 speed manual version. Reaching a point of feeling like I was driving into a dead end, I decided to change my approach. I swapped my starting point from ECU's listed for sale to those who said they had the 6 speed manual gearbox from that car available, asking them if they had the ECU from the car they'd wrecked. By this point I had sent over fifty email enquiries, but almost at once my new tactics paid off. Although the majority of my emails still brought no response at all, a guy in Canada replied positively.

I asked him to send me a photo of the computer’s input sockets for three reasons. The first was so I could check that my loom connectors would plug into it. Secondly I wanted proof that the item existed and that I wasn’t gonna get ripped off. Thirdly, his effort in doing this would build his personal credibility with me. I taped the five plugs in my car together, photographed them, then reverse flipped them in Photoshop for an easy comparison. When I got the pictures from Canada things were an exact match!





At this point I wondered WHICH 3.0 litre V6 engine the coupe had used. Typically for Honda, they developed this motor each year, producing it as a J30A1, J30A2, J30A3, and the J30A4. Mine was the last – the only one with 10:1 compression, the exhaust manifold built into the head, and with fly-by-wire throttle. When I researched the 2004 coupe on Wiki I found this was not the only manual model produced – it was also the only one with the J30A4. Bingo!

But there was more to discover. Close examination of the overseas snap showed the socket for the middle plug had no pins in it. It was just a blank – but this looked like good news. My guess was that this would be where the plug from the automatic connected on the ECU I was wanting to replace. I wrote down the colours of the wires on all of the unused plugs for the automatic – and then checked them against those on the central ECU plug on my loom. They matched… which proved I’d found precisely what I needed!

I’ll have the $$$$ to send from items I’ve got bids for on e-bay ending this weekend. Ten days later I should be revving well past 2,500rpm.
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Old 08-23-2011, 01:46 AM   #40
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DefaultRe: J30A4 V6 SWAP INTO AUSSIE EG Civic RACE CAR

Well today was definitely another day of big ups and downs on this project. Having wired money last week for a 2004 manual V6 Accord coupe ECU to the overseas dismantler I tracked down on the net I was keenly tracking it's movements through Canadian Post. Yesterday it showed it had left Montreal two days ago, but to my delight it came to my front door today.
Typically with this build I had mixed emotions as I started to swap the plugs over to wire it into place. Would my key and it's ignition lock talk to it and the engine start? Would the V6 rev past 2,500rpm? Did I stand a chance of having the car ready to race in our citiy's big annual hillclimb by the sea at King Edward Park?


With the 2 ECU's side by side you can see where there's pins on the central original ECU plug and none on the Canadian one. The black plug is now redundant.

I turned the key. Everything lit up. The motor fired. Excellent!
But the bloody thing is STILL stuck in "limp home" mode and won't rev out. Aaaarrrggghhhhh!!
One thing's for sure it's not chasing sensors from the now non-existent automatic transmission anymore. (I am telling myself this repeatedly to convince myself that I haven't just wasted $400 and two and a half months o the ECU swap).
I don't think it's a fly by wire throttle fault. When I manually open the butterfly the engine stutters and doesn't increase revs. Plus this new Canadian ECU came off a car with fly by wire throttle anyway.

I'm thinking one of two causes:
1) There were a couple of wires on that central plug going into the ECU from the auto that were NOT colour matched to any on the auto plug, so they probably went elsewhere out into the loom. Maybe they are an open circuit that keeps the engine in limp home until they are closed?
2) Perhaps I've connected up something incorrectly in the fuel circuit. There seemed to be excessive pressure where the main line goes into the engine - kept blowing new high pressure fuel line there until I put in braided line.

I'll now have to get another read-out from the dashboard diagnostic port to hopefully find out what the remaining problem is.
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Old 09-08-2011, 03:51 AM   #41
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DefaultRe: J30A4 V6 SWAP INTO AUSSIE EG Civic RACE CAR

On the weekend Dylan & I got a diagnostic reader attached to my V6 electrics. It confirmed all the search faults related to the ECU looking for the removed automatic gearbox had been solved by swapping in the imported one from a manual Canadian Accord coupe. Instead of over seven faults we now had only three, two of which were of no consequence. There appeared to now be just a single obstacle to overcome "Lost communication with Accelerator Control Actuator Module". Wonder what the hell that is, and where it is!
The only electrical piece I'd not connected from the donor car was something no-one could identify - a module that had been in the passenger foot well. I dug it out, found the taped up connector plug, and put it back into the system. No change. Maybe it was the timer for the intermittent wipers afterall?

Today I took the car to David Brown - our local Honda ace mechanic and fellow petrol head. At least I can drive the car onto the trailer - even with only 2,500 rpm. The same lone fault came up on his wiz bang diagnostic reader as we'd got on Sunday. Gladly he was able to identify the mystery module by it's factory part number as being a piece of the fly-by-wire control system. Glad I didn't bin it!



But the revs didn't increase. We checked all the throttle system electrical plugs and found no bent pins or broken wires. Then Brownie had a Eureka moment.
"These late model Accords have an anti over-rev protection mechanism," he said, "that limits the rpm unless the car is in gear." I showed him the unconnected gearbox plug I'd played with linked to the dash board "Park" & "Drive" lights. He rummaged in his workshop, and came out with a switch off the side of an early model Accord - which plugged straight into my loom. By turning the switch we could change the dashboard lights.



"All you need now is to find which one of your unused gearbox connectors needs bridging to complete the circuit" he said. So with my factory CD workshop manual with wiring diagrams & trouble shooting sections on the way from o/s we left things there until it arrives shortly. I am staring to feel like I might be getting out of this project "tunnel" and onto a grid soon.
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Old 09-11-2011, 10:50 AM   #42
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DefaultRe: J30A4 V6 SWAP INTO AUSSIE EG Civic RACE CAR

keep up the good work buddy =)
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Old 12-24-2011, 04:32 PM   #43
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DefaultRe: J30A4 V6 SWAP INTO AUSSIE EG Civic RACE CAR

While a local car club electrical guru works on a circuit problem that’s keeping my V6 in limp home mode, I decided to tackle my excess fuel pressure issue, making itself evident by the fuel line into the engine continually bursting. I bought a high quality adjustable fuel pressure regulator, but when I tried to find a place to fit it there was none, because there was no return line coming out of the fuel rail. Putting it in the feeder line wouldn’t work either as those regulators are designed to hold pressure behind them. The only fuel they let through is the excess pressure, what the engine doesn’t need rather than what it does require.
After a long search of the V6 Accord workshop manual I’d bought on line I saw that the fuel regulator on my donor car had the pressure regulator inside the fuel tank itself as an integral part of the fuel pump assembly. One of the few parts that hadn’t been on the damaged vehicle I’d bought from the dismantler had been the fuel tank. A phone call to Sydney had the factory pump and regulator on it’s way to me. I knew it wouldn’t just bolt in, but that I’d have to work out a way to fit it myself. You can see how much bigger it turned out to be.

I couldn’t mount it vertically like the factory had because it was way too high. I’d have to swap the fine end filter from one pump to the other and mount it at 45 degrees like the EG’s had been. Now I realised I couldn’t just do this through the access hole under where the rear seat had been, but that I’d have to drop the fuel tank right out. And yes – it was full of 98 octane and showered me with a face full of 5 years worth of accumulated fine rally dirt!

Using power tools was out of the question for obvious safety reasons even when the tank was drained. So I half drilled out the spot welds on the original pump top mounting plate and chopped it off with a screw driver and man’s best tool.

The key was to place the pick up point within the anti fuel surge baffle box in the tank. The new pump was too big for the hole so (after a brief sharpening session), out came the tinsnips. My plan was to make a mounting plate for the new stud pattern and a sleeve from PVC tube to hold the unit in place. The top would require enlarging the clearance hole in the car floor and a new cover for it, but I was way past having a rear seat and passengers anyway.

Now where’d I leave my 690 epoxy?
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Old 12-27-2011, 03:36 AM   #44
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DefaultRe: J30A4 V6 SWAP INTO AUSSIE EG Civic RACE CAR

Another day on holidays – another day of building race cars. I went to the hardware early to beat the post Christmas sale shopaholic traffic mayhem. Spel lcheck REALLY doesn’t like that phrase! I got a short length of 100 PVC pipe and a flange plate to fabricate into a mount for the Accord fuel pump. Here I’ve drilled the flange to hold the six mounting bolts, and added a little cut up fibreglass to give my 690 a bit more body and super strength. This glue is sold in the shops as Äraldite”- but we manufacture it at my work for the pool industry we supply with resins, etc.

I was able to shape the enlarged hole in the top of the Civic’s fuel tank by putting a 100mm pine log off cut into it and panel beating it to a close fit. Then I trimmed the pipe and aimed it at the anti-surge point inside the fuel cell.

More “hairy” epoxy locked everything in place with a leak proof seal on the tank.

With the new pump fitted and some black aerosol paint the tank was ready to re-install… much easier to get into position with no fuel in it.

Using tin snips and a hammer I easily reshaped the hole in the floor under where the back seat used to be to clear the protruding pump head. Now I’ve got a fuel pump that automatically regulates it’s own pressure, and just have to make a carbon fibre shroud to seal off the tank top from the driver compartment. I would’ve used fibreglass before – but we sell the black stuff at work too, and I can’t wait to get into it.
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Old 01-05-2012, 09:22 AM   #45
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DefaultRe: J30A4 V6 SWAP INTO AUSSIE EG Civic RACE CAR

wow a lot of work going into this car.

Keep up the great work, the write ups and the photos. Even though i don't post here often, i'm religiously following your amazing civic build! It's always a great read when i come on here and i see a new post in this thread!

She's definitely coming along great, you're really good at what your doing, the relocation of everything for better airflow and fixing the impossibles have proven your great mechanic skills!

Keep us updated, Happy Holidays, and Have a great new year! =D
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