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Robbie
Robbie UberDork
4/11/17 10:33 a.m.

Excellent. Please, continue.

randman2011
randman2011 New Reader
4/11/17 11:47 a.m.

I bought a chassis wiring harness to play around with while I wait. I whipped out the multimeter to try to identify some of the connectors and where they go. My goal is to locate that damn radio connector so that I can get a harness for it, but that's not going too well. Here's my setup: Ignore the dirt on the floor. My cats are shiny happy people. Starting at the top left is the driver's side headlight connector and ABS connections followed by the passenger side headlight and some underhood relays. From there the harness goes through the front firewall grommet and splits. The branch going to the right goes back to the passenger door switch and fender indicator whereas the left branch runs across the dash. The big blue connectors go into the back of the gauge cluster and the fuse box and relay holder mount in the driver side footwell. From there, the harness runs along the driver side door sill and I stop being able to identify features. I am hoping that the bright white connectors at the bottom are for the ECU since it is located behind the driver seat. So, in essence, this harness is upside down. You can envision it as looking up at the car from the bottom, I guess.

Anyway, I started by the two fender indicator connectors looking for things that might be a speaker connection, and then used the multimeter to follow those wires into the suspicious-looking connector that would be located in the center of the dash, but to no avail. Maybe one of the two contacts would trace to that connector, but never both. SO I took a different route. I opened up the fuse box, identified the fuse for the radio (Google Translate is fantastic!) and followed that wire. Because it's funny, here's Google trying to translate one of the other fuses: The radio fuse is third from the right in the top row, 15A. I followed that wire to the bundle of center dash connectors and to the connector shown in my hand. It's really looking to me like this radio uses one or all of the connectors shown in the background. When I get home tonight I'll follow those possible speaker lines again and see if they all go to that group of connectors instead of focusing on finding ones that both go to the same connector. It would be really great if the AZ-1 owners that I am in contact with hadn't stripped the stock wiring last year and could answer this question for me...

randman2011
randman2011 New Reader
4/11/17 4:28 p.m.

I just got an email back from an importer in Texas quoting me a $1200 price tag for the K6A. The supplier's email was terse and lacking detail, so I asked the importer if that would include the transmission. I should also confirm that they are indeed sourcing a K6A from a car with a manual transmission since I now know that automatic cars didn't get variable cam magic. And I mentioned the HA21S in my original request (kicking myself for that one) so I need to make sure that it's an HA22S engine.

My first reaction to the email was to try to throw a credit card at them, but after having problems with sourced transmissions in the past I need to take this a little slower. I'm just so excited to finally have a Yes!

Autolex
Autolex Dork
4/13/17 11:28 p.m.

do you mind me asking what the actual car purchase cost?

randman2011
randman2011 New Reader
4/14/17 8:00 p.m.
Autolex wrote: do you mind me asking what the actual car purchase cost?

I offered $10,000 for the car, and shipping and registration will be $2150. So after $172 in finance charges, I will have paid $12,322. They can be had for a little cheaper, but most of them are around the $10k range and some get all the way up to $25k before shipping. The one that I was originally offered was $18k.

randman2011
randman2011 New Reader
4/21/17 12:55 p.m.

Progress has been very slow this week. My phone died and the replacement for it has been out of stock this whole week, so I'm doing without a way to take pictures, among other things. I'm also working toward a promotion, so my free time has been really short.

But anyway, I am almost done with the gauge cluster trip counter reset rod. I have added a return spring to the Integra movement and modified the old Mazda reset rod to be able to mount to it. All that I have to do now is position the correctly and mount them together. As much as I'd like to reuse the stock screw to make the system removable, I'm probably going to go the lazy route and JB Weld the rod holder to the movement. I shouldn't ever need to separate them again, right? Once that is done, I'll just need to clean my fingerprints off of the hideous white gauge faces and reassemble everything. I realized that I can widen the openings on the gauge face to make them better line up with the numbers on the speedo movement and I'm probably going to do that, but had to stop myself when I decided that attacking the gauge faces with an Xacto knife was a good idea. More sleep, less mistakes.

No news on the engine front. I provided a very long email with both engine and transmission cross-references, that included pictures and concessions for mid-year updates so the importer and supplier know exactly what to look for, but I haven't heard back from them.

I have, however, made fairly significant progress on the wiring front. I found an AZ-1 ECU harness extended for sale in Japan. It was $44 before ~$100 in shipping and fees, so I just stole the pictures of it and sent it to a harness adapter company here in the States.

We're going back and forth at the moment because the connectors in question used two different styles of pins that aren't easily visually distinguishable and aren't interchangeable, but I'm hoping to have a connector order placed pretty soon. I also acquired this!

I'm so excited! I haven't yet taken the time to map all of those wires to the appropriate wires on the MegaSquirt, but I'm finally prepared to do so! The same person that sent me that diagram also sent me this! Thanks fxdlidon!

This is the radio that came in his AZ-1 from the factory. The connector pictures match various radio connectors used in Mazdas throughout the 90s. While I don't know which connectors were actually used in the AZ-1, I can cover my bases by getting the install kit for the Miata and I think Probe and RX-7. I will try to narrow this down before I make any purchases, but I have something to go on now! And for the record, my chassis harness does not have any of those connectors, so it looks like there is a subharness that I am missing.

On an unrelated note, I made the mistake of getting really drunk with a credit card in-hand, so now I have a complete new suspension for my Miata on the way. I'm very much regretting spending that money but at least I picked a good one...

Acme Lab Rat
Acme Lab Rat Reader
4/21/17 1:16 p.m.

My extensive experience in Gran Turismo has taught me that you can easily get 250+ HP out of the stock engine by simply throwing parts at it.

But seriously, this is ambitious and super cool. That car...swoooooon.

randman2011
randman2011 New Reader
4/21/17 1:50 p.m.
Acme Lab Rat wrote: My extensive experience in Gran Turismo has taught me that you can easily get 250+ HP out of the stock engine by simply throwing parts at it. But seriously, this is ambitious and super cool. That car...swoooooon.

I'm currently using GT as a suspension modeling tool. So far I have learned that both the stock suspension and the game's upgraded "Sport Hard" suspension are complete trash. Making any change at all to either configuration improves the snap oversteer. Not reduces it, but improves it. I can get some decent drifts going if I accidentally come into a corner too hot.

I am very excited for this car and I'm glad that there are others that are just as crazy as I am!

Sky_Render
Sky_Render SuperDork
4/21/17 2:04 p.m.

The process required to import engines is fascinating. Part of me reeeeeally wants an R34 when they're available for legal import in a few years, so this is good information to know.

Acme Lab Rat
Acme Lab Rat Reader
4/21/17 2:11 p.m.
Sky_Render wrote: The process required to import engines is fascinating. Part of me reeeeeally wants an R34 when they're available for legal import in a few years, so this is good information to know.

Farrah took a more-or-less stock R-34 out in the canyon the other day on his channel, it was...woof.

Doubleoh9
Doubleoh9 New Reader
4/29/17 9:46 a.m.

In reply to randman2011: You might hit up revlimiter to see if he could make you some gauge faces if you aren't a big fan of the white stock ones. I've always loved these little things so I'm excited to see how it goes.

Vigo
Vigo UltimaDork
4/30/17 9:56 a.m.

Just found this thread. Very cool project!

randman2011
randman2011 New Reader
5/8/17 12:55 p.m.

Lots of really small updates. An AZ-1 owner that I think in the UK but maybe Canada sent me the link to the radio install harness that he used. It is identical to the NA Miata install harness except for a large red connector that he says wasn't used anyway. So I guess the plan at this point is to just bring the radio from my Miata with me for the drive home from NY and then deal with picking out a new head unit once I have the car and can better match its interior. Case closed?

And speaking of case closed, I learned something interesting. The ECU connectors are not on the chassis harness. I believe that they are on the engine harness which will be removed or the engine bay harness which will be stripped and remade anyway, so I won't have to deal with matching the connectors on the factory ECU to make an adapter harness. Instead I'm just going to use several weatherproof connectors from DIYAutoTune that are specifically marketed as firewall connectors and I'll be making my own complete harness between the ECU and the K6A engine harness connector. Which means that all of the wires will be labeled! But anyway, now that I've bothered that ECU adapter harness maker guy for about a week, I am scrapping that expenditure entirely. Sorry, dude.

The to-do list on the gauge cluster is pretty slim at this point. Clean the faces, find new speedo face screws, open the holes for the odometer and trip counter a little, and replace all of the incandescent bulbs with LEDs. I hadn't really put any thought into swapping the gauge faces because I had assumed that I wouldn't be able to find any and I really like the stock orange illumination. But if I can convince someone like revlimiter to design a set for me that are identical to stock but adjust the odometer holes a little bit and say mph instead of kph and are black instead of white, I'd probably jump on that. Because ugh, white gauge faces. And here they are in all of their awkward blinding glory. Still filthy, but at least the trip counter reset rod is fully functional now!

The next project is headlights. I have the left headlight in my basement and the right headlight is in Japan ready to be shipped out (along with some other goodies!) so once the second one comes in I will start practicing fabricating plastic lenses to replace the stock fluted glass ones. I'm going to wait until I have the car in hand before I take any steps toward mounting projectors in the stock housings, but the lenses will take a lot of practice to get right so I'm starting early. This project has opened a few questions, though. So the AZ-1 uses halogen reflectors with H4 bulbs. I will need to buy the same H4 relay kit from TheRetrofitSource that I used on the Miata. And I will be using the same ballasts and 4500K bulbs as well, but this time I am going with TL projectors and clear lenses instead of the FX-R 3.0s that I had to use in the Miata because they were all that would fit. In the Miata, I tried to stay as OEM as possible, painting the projector and reflector bowl chrome to look stock. It didn't, but they are pop up headlights so you don't see them unless they're on anyway. This time, however, they are fixed headlights. So the option is painting the headlight reflectors black and going with what could be described as a more "modern" look. I have zero artistic or Photoshop skills, so I don't know what to think about my options. The other option that I have jokingly kicked around in the past is to make a set of body-colored headlight covers and use some spare Miata headlight motors that I have to move them out of the way when I turn my headlights on. It would be a fun technical project, but I'm not sure how I feel about it aesthetically. But it would mean that I don't have to care about what the projectors look like. Because I took them, here are some pictures comparing the TL projectors to the stock headlights.

randman2011
randman2011 New Reader
5/30/17 8:14 a.m.

Big news! I have sent payment for a complete HA22S RS/Z VVT K6A and HA21S RS/Z FWD manual transmission! They haven't shipped out yet, but I am told that it will be 4-6 weeks until they arrive in Baltimore. From there I am responsible for the package, so my plan is to take a New England vacation with my boyfriend and stop at the port in Baltimore on my way back. Shipping dimensions (from other sellers) for these parts together were 80cm x 70cm x 70cm, so it should fit nicely in the back of the Focus.

I made a quick spreadsheet to help me compare the effect of throttle body bore and engine speed on intake restriction and found that the stock 38mm throttle body on both the F6A and K6A is just barely at the limit of acceptable on the stock tune. Raising the redline or increasing the displacement means that you're asking too much of it, and I plan to do both. Ideally I would end up with a throttle body bore at ~41mm depending on the thickness of the butterfly valve, but I found a 45mm one with a stepper motor idle control valve for less than $200 new, so I'm going with 45mm. The bad news is that a large throttle body would make precise torque modulation on the low end difficult because of how much flow changes with small throttle inputs, but given the fact that this engine will have a very large turbo and likely won't see boost until 5,000RPM, that might not actually be a bad thing. Look how restrictive the stock throttle plate is! And by the way, my HA21S RS/Z intake manifold and throttle body arrived!

randman2011
randman2011 New Reader
6/9/17 7:39 a.m.

Small conceptual update. The AZ-1 was sort of a parts bin special in the sense that it is the front suspension from the Suzuki Alto Works in both the front and the back. And the Alto had this stupid problem where the front brake rotors and hubs were one piece. If you need to replace the rotors, you have to buy a new wheel bearing and press it into the rotors and then you get to have a fun time disassembling everything until you can get it off. This is something that has been on my mind for a while, as I was hoping to find a way to use the brakes from literally any other car because the stock ones suck, but the rotor setup would make that a no-go. Except...

Suzuki made lots of parts bin cars at the time. It just so happens that Geo Metro hubs and bearings (and brake rotors and calipers and brackets) bolt right onto the Alto/AZ-1 steering knuckles! This means readily available performance rotors and pads in an easily-serviceable package. Aside from the concern that these larger brakes might not fit inside the wheels that are on the car, the Metro bolt pattern is 4x114.3 as opposed to the AZ-1's 4x100. So I wouldn't be able to use the TE37s that come on my car with this swap. However, that's not such a bad thing.

This car came with 13" wheels. I am not completely sure what the stock size was, but the ones that come on mine are 13x5" and are probably carrying 155/65R13 tires. The only tires that exist in this country even remotely close to that size are trailer tires, and that's not okay for a performance car. I was desperately hoping that I could fit 185/60R14s on the car because then I could use the same 10 lb wheels and Direzza ZII Star Spec tires that I have on the Miata, but I have been assured that 170/60R13 is the largest that would fit in the front, and even that size rubbed under normal cornering with a very stiff suspension. So short of grey market importing tires for this car (165/55R14 Direzza ZIII exists in Japan!) it seemed like I was SOL. But someone locally with a Honda Beat directed me toward a set of Kumho Ecsta PA31s in 165/50R15 available from TireRack and other US-based retailers. Ultra High Performance instead of Maximum performance, but a performance tire nonetheless. I guess I can settle.

So what does that have to do with changing bolt patterns? Well the TE37 is available in 15x5.5" and that size is dual bolt pattern. 4x100 AND 4x114.3. I could acquire a set to use on the car when it arrives (I have no idea what the condition or model of the existing tires are) and then keep those same wheels and tires once I do the hub and brake swap! There are one and a half downsides to this though.

The half is that RAYS TE37s are ugly. I kind of like them when they're small and white, but large sizes in any other color are absolutely hideous to me. Fortunately this application is both small and white (I really don't think that this car could pull off any other wheel color). But the big downside is cost. I haven't looked for other sources (or even for other wheels) yet but the one vendor that I found offers them for ~$450. Each. So where this expense fits in with the rest of my summer engine build expenditure hasn't been decided, but it seems to me as though this should probably take higher priority than the metallic clutch and flywheel or the 720cc piston kit. Or Megasquirt. Or K6A engine rebuild kit.

Oh, I almost forgot. I learned a few other things recently. The AZ-1's F6A setup uses a cable clutch and cable shifters. The Alto Works setup also uses a cable clutch but uses a mechanical linkage for the shifter. It seemed as though bracket designing was in my future, but I have been informed by a fellow AZ-1 owner that the HA21S transmission has the same turret/shifting mechanism that the AZ-1 transmission has for the shifter cables, but on the Alto Works it is covered with a blockoff plate. It is entirely possible that the cable shifter mechanism will swap directly onto the new transmission. No news on a blockoff plate for the Alto Works shifter bar hole thing, but this is yet another line of investigation to revisit once the hardware arrives. And on that front I don't really have an update beyond the fact that I switched the port of ingress to Philadelphia so that I can make a vacation out of the trip to pick it up. Shipping arrangements are still being made.

randman2011
randman2011 New Reader
8/8/17 8:47 a.m.

Look at this thing!

I need to buy an engine stand. My wallet hurts. That is all.

(When I get more time I will tell the story of this delivery because it is quite a story)

randman2011
randman2011 New Reader
8/15/17 12:41 p.m.

I figured that I should probably give a recollection on the fiasco that was the engine import process, so here it is from the beginning.

I contacted Trust to purchase the engine May 25th. After a series of incorrect invoices, I paid for the engine, transmission, and accessories May 28th. I was told on numerous occasions that Trust would arrange shipping to the US port but that I would be responsible for hiring a freight forwarder to handle US Customs and to ship it the rest of the way to me. I picked Philadelphia from a list of US international ports as the nearest to me and planned to handle Customs and transport from Philadelphia myself. Trust approved of this itinerary and told me that nothing else was needed from me until the package arrived in Philadelphia.

The engine shipped from Nagoya on June 22nd aboard the Bay Mountain Bridge vessel. I was able to look up the shipping schedule and found an ETA of July 19th. I also discovered that the package would be arriving in Los Angeles on July 5th where it would be unloaded and placed on a train. That train would be passing through Indianapolis 11 days later on its way to Philadelphia. I mentioned this observation to Trust who confirmed that they could have shipped it directly to Indianapolis for no additional cost (it would have actually been cheaper for them) but that it was too late to make changes to the shipping itinerary. It was again reiterated that nothing else was needed from me until the item arrived at the port.

Weeks later, I received an email from the shipping company informing me that the crate was on a train en route to Philadelphia and that it would arrive there Friday July 14th. I took that Thursday and Friday off of work and drove to Philadelphia, arriving at the Customs House Thursday at noon. I had already filled out a 7501 and 3520-1. I wasn’t aware of any other necessary documents aside from the Bill of Lading, original invoice, and packing slip that had been mailed to me by Trust back in June. I was there more than 24 hours early in case other forms were needed. The customs officer told me, however, that there was nothing that she could do with the completed paperwork until the crate was unloaded at the port the following day. She affirmed that I had the correct paperwork and gave some advice about how to fill out the sections that I had left blank.

I left, trying to enjoy Philadelphia, and called the receiving warehouse in the morning to check the engine’s status. I was told that it had not arrived at the warehouse and that the train had not yet been spotted at their checkpoint facility along the way, so I should call back Tuesday for another update. She affirmed that it would not arrive before then. So after a brief detour at Yuengling and Kennywood, I returned to Indianapolis empty-handed.

Knowing that I would not be able to take any more time off for travel, I began calling freight forwarders to handle shipment to Indianapolis. Knowing that I had been shipped original documents from Trust and knowing that freight forwarders would require these documents, I began calling freight forwarders in Indianapolis. Immediately, however, I ran into a problem. There were a grand total of zero freight forwarders in Indianapolis that were willing to handle personal shipments. Every single one of them said that they do commercial imports only. One suggested that I would have better luck calling around a larger port like Philadelphia and told me that they would not need original documents to file, so location is unimportant.

I immediately found a few companies in Philadelphia that would handle personal imports but ran into another, larger issue. Every import is required to have an accompanying Import Security Filing. And that is required to be submitted by the owner/importer (me) no less than 24 hours before the boat leaves the origin port, or almost a month prior to this discovery. The freight forwarders in Philadelphia were unable to help me because their insurance policies wouldn’t let them touch cases with missing paperwork like this. One suggested a larger company that might be able to handle it without exposing me to the risk of a $15,000 fine for a missing/late ISF.

Enter Paramount Transportation Systems, who happily picked up the case for the low low price of $1375 including shipping to my door. I gave them all of the documents that I had, including the filled out 7501 and EPA 3520-1 and waited. Before long, I received a forwarded email indicating that the customs broker assigned to my case had rejected the proposal. According to him, engines without an EPA certificate that are less than 21 years old cannot be imported into the US under any circumstances and that I would be responsible for any fees associated with destroying the shipment. Knowing that this was not the case, I provided examples of companies whose entire business is importing Japanese engines and had recent motors in stock. I had spent a fair amount of effort trying to figure out exactly how to file the paperwork for the EPA to do that and had not come up with anything, but only one item in the list of EPA exemptions applied to non-classic loose engines so the decision seemed easy enough. The customs broker didn’t buy it. He sent me what he thought was the phone number of an EPA employee and told me to ask him directly.

At this point I left for a two week business trip to the UK where I would be traveling without my personal phone. I had already called and left messages with several EPA employees and also with several JDM engine import companies, asking for advice with the import process and continued to make calls from my hotel room in England but never learned anything new. I provided regular updates on the lack of progress to my representative at PTS who forwarded them all on to the customs broker.

The engine arrived July 24th and, after I paid an additional $500 in dock and shipping fees, was ready for pickup Tuesday the 25th. I contacted PTS asking if any progress had been made on their end. After all, handling the customs documentation is what I’m paying them to do. Thursday afternoon they get back to me saying that they had not done anything with the paperwork that I had submitted to them. They would submit whatever documents that I provided but would list me as the importer so that I would be directly responsible for any fines or delays that came as a result of incorrectly populated paperwork. I told them to submit the paperwork that I had given them two weeks prior, and they did Friday morning. The paperwork was approved by Friday afternoon and was scheduled to be picked up Monday, the last day of storage offered by the port. If they missed that pickup date, the port would start fining me and wouldn’t release the crate until those fines were paid.

I hadn’t heard anything else on the subject until Wednesday when I contacted PTS. The shipper was supposed to have contacted me to schedule delivery as soon as the package was picked up. PTS said that delivery would be Thursday but they would call the trucker and have him confirm. I reiterated that I was out of the country and could try to have someone sign for the delivery but that it would be difficult. I was told that the shipping company could store the engine until I got back on Monday but that there would be an additional fee. The shipping company called my boyfriend, who didn’t want to be bothered with my package and scheduled delivery for Monday between 9 and 1 so that I could accept it myself. I was furious.

The package was delivered at 8:10 Monday morning. The engine is too small to fit on my engine stand so I had to make modifications to the stand. The engine was finally mounted on Sunday.

All in, I spent $4593 to acquire this $500 engine, $600 transmission, and $200 in engine ancillaries. And the engine’s harness had been cut out. And the ignition coils and spark plugs also weren’t included. Nor was the vehicle speed sensor. According to PTS, $900 of their fee was transportation from Philadelphia and wouldn't apply to future imports assuming that I pick the correct port next time. Although technically $1320 of their $1375 fee wouldn't apply since I wouldn't need a freight forwarder at all and I only need $55 to submit the ISF on time.

coexist
coexist Reader
8/15/17 1:19 p.m.

"Trust"? Sorry to hear of this headache and wallet lightening experience.

monknomo
monknomo Reader
8/15/17 1:21 p.m.

In reply to randman2011:

Ouch, that sounds like a goat rodeo, but at least you got your engine

Sky_Render
Sky_Render SuperDork
8/15/17 1:31 p.m.

Holy crap. I knew it was difficult to import stuff, but that is ridiculous. The amount of ignorance in an industry that specializes in international transportation is staggering.

randman2011
randman2011 New Reader
8/15/17 2:00 p.m.

Trust Japanese Vehicles is a Japanese used car listing website. I don't know if they function like an online dealership or if it's more like Craigslist for dealerships, but the important part is that they have a used parts division. They have pretty much everything for old Japanese cars, but they don't dabble in formal exports like the companies that handle Yahoo Auctions do. I would definitely order from them again if I needed a large collection of large items because now I know that I do have responsibilities to the shipment before it arrives in port. And in their defense, I knew that the engine didn't include the harness before I bought it. This specific engine is so hard to find that I was willing to buy it anyway.

But yes, the engine is here. Now I get to start going down my long list of expensive parts and start stockpiling them. Turbos and pistons and rods, oh my! Maybe in September I'll have the time to tear the engine down.

Zomby Woof
Zomby Woof PowerDork
8/17/17 9:46 a.m.

What's your plan for cams? Suzuki is very conservative with their cam profiles, so even a mild upgrade will make your life a lot easier trying to make that kind of power reliably.

randman2011
randman2011 New Reader
8/17/17 12:17 p.m.
Zomby Woof wrote: What's your plan for cams? Suzuki is very conservative with their cam profiles, so even a mild upgrade will make your life a lot easier trying to make that kind of power reliably.

I don't know. This is the first time that I have heard anyone else talk about cams on a Suzuki. I have looked in the past and discovered that no one really seems to replace the cams on this engine. Monster Sport sells a high performance camshaft set (240/240/8.1mm lift) for the JB23 Jimny for $760. I don't know how this compares to the cams that I have and I don't know if they will work in an engine with VVT which I have, but I do believe that the JB23 was only available with a turbo so at least they'll be designed for boost.

For ~$500 I can get a 248/248/7.2mm lift profile from Junauto, but I have to send them my factory cams for a regrind and then get all new shims to redo the valve lash (I believe this engine has solid lifters). This obviously guarantees that the new cams are compatible with the VVT system, but then I don't have any spare cams and I don't have any cams at all while they are being shipped out for the regrind. I haven't looked into buying a spare set of cams yet, but then I would start running into the compatibility issue again. I need to get my engine apart and look at how the cam gear attaches to the intake cam.

So I'm not terribly excited about the two options that I know of (although I'd prefer the Monster Sport parts if they fit). Does anyone else know of any sources? I guess it's time to contact JDPRacing to see if they have any K6A cam suggestions. I also need to source some stiffer valvesprings and probably retainers as well. The rods that I'm getting from JDP are a modified Hayabusa design and I am told that they'll rev quite high.

Zomby Woof
Zomby Woof PowerDork
8/17/17 4:51 p.m.

The stock cams will just be the same cams they use in everything else, and because it has VVT, the duration will probably be short - really short. If you go with a reground cam you can use a lash cap and custom grind that for clearance, and if it's like most of te other Suzuki motors, stock springs and retainers will be fine.

randman2011
randman2011 New Reader
9/15/17 9:41 a.m.

There's not too much to report at this point because of another unplanned purchase. I have become increasingly dissatisfied with the company that is importing my AZ-1. I'll start with the good news; it is now scheduled to arrive in Baltimore instead of New York, meaning that there is very little chance of winter weather preventing me from making the drive home. However, in addition to refusing to disclose which vessel has been booked for transport, they are also insisting that I cannot pick the car up at port. Every one of their prior customers, they claim, have paid the extra fee ($650 in my case) to have the car professionally delivered from port to their house, meaning that they have no experience with allowing customers to pick the car up themselves despite this being listed as an option long before I even purchased the car. They refuse to put my name on any of the import paperwork, which presents a slight roadblock for picking the car up in person. However, they don't list the transport company on the import paperwork either and they have no problems getting the vehicle out of the lot. So the import company told me to call the port and ask what would be required in this situation. Which, hilariously, is impossible because they won't tell me what boat or even shipping company they are using so I can't call the associated holding lot to ask. In lieu of fighting further with JDM-Expo, I called the Port of Baltimore who could only give me an overview of the strictest possible course of events. Port lots with the highest security, according to her, would only allow people which are licensed by some four letter acronym into the yard for cargo pickup. My name not being on the import paperwork wouldn't be a big deal as long as the named company (JDM-Expo) has given some form of permission to the yard operator to allow me to sign for the cargo, but since I am not licensed it doesn't matter. She suggested that I hire a transport company to pick up the car and then drive it out of the lot to hand off the keys to me. It's inefficient and obnoxious and I hate involving more people than necessary, but it would work as a backup plan. Typically these yards only require an escort and the one that I am familiar with doesn't even require that.

There is a reason that I am adamant about picking up the car in person. I want to preface this by saying that this wasn't my idea. My boyfriend is a housing inspector and needs a small vehicle to fit down the alleys in his district. I gave him my old Miata and he enjoys it, but we quickly discovered that it severely lacks the ground clearance required to handle its new task. He thought about taking our Ranger instead, but its monstrous size prevents it from even approaching alleys, let alone getting down them. So I suggested a Suzuki Samurai as a perfect combination of small footprint and high ground clearance. And it still fulfills the fun convertible niche. We had little luck finding any examples worthy of investment within a 400 mile radius of us for several months, so he told me to buy one from Japan. And so I did. We now have a manual convertible F6A turbo-powered four seat 4WD 1992 Suzuki Jimny on the way. This time I made sure to pick a company that isn't JDM-Expo to handle the export from Japan and the process is going MUCH more smoothly. It is being shipped to Baltimore. The requested vessel (Hoegh Shanghai/73) has an ETA of November 9th, although the shipping request hasn't been confirmed by the freightliner yet. But the important part is that I expect to already be in Baltimore in early November to pick up a car from port and it would make no sense whatsoever to have my other car arrive at the same port at the same time only be shipped to my home at my own expense instead. I told JDM-Expo that I will be accepting cargo from the Hoegh Shanghai in Baltimore when the AZ-1 is expected to arrive and asked that, if they have the ability, they should put the AZ-1 on the same boat to make this trip easier on me. I received a somewhat rude response insisting that I won't receive any port information until the car has arrived in Baltimore.

But anyway, here's our Jimny. Neither of us are excited about the color, but I'm hoping that a thorough polish and wax will darken the faded paint and move it away from the pastel end of the spectrum. But HOOD SCOOP! Do you think that a shaker hood retrofit would be too much?

After a DOHC F6A swap from the AZ-1 and the Monster Sport HT-07 kit, it should be a pretty competent little machine. And as a side note, the Jimny exporter is also shipping me the coils that I need for my K6A and an HA22S Alto Works upper engine mount that I hope will allow the K6A to mount directly into the middle of the AZ-1. But now I'm out of money so the acquisition of K6A parts has been put on hold temporarily pending payment of all of my overtime from August and the sale of a certain Miata and Ranger.

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