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BA5 Reader
9/27/22 3:18 p.m.

Working on bolting the transmission back up to the engine.  Everything is looking pretty good!


Now, if anyone has any suggestions on the best path to get a starter on there, I'm all ears.

It's a 2003 Outback transmission bolted up to to a J series Honda V6 using a 99 integra flywheel.  My thoughts are:

  • Cut/Grind/Modify the transmission bellhousing to fit a 99 integra starter.  I'm not sure if an integra starter would have enough oomph for the V6, though.
  • Swap an integra pinion onto a subaru starter.  I'm not sure how easy/possible swapping a pinion is, and the subaru starter might not have enough oomph either.
  • Cut/Grind/Modify the transmission bellhousing to fit an Honda V6 starter with an integra pinion.  Now I'm basically doing the work of both the above options, but the starter power should be good.
  • Maybe some sort of remote starter?  Like I'm starting an F1 car?  I can deal with some hassle if it's easier/cheaper.  Plus then I don't have to stow a full size battery on board just to start the car (weight reduction!)

Anyone have any thoughts?  I'm not super knowledgable about the ins and outs of starters. 

AxeHealey Dork
9/27/22 3:21 p.m.

Weld a bike gear to the crank pulley and make it a chain-drive starter. 


Wait, no, that's a terrible idea. Don't do that. 

BA5 Reader
9/27/22 9:11 p.m.

I am looking at going at it from the crank pulley.... Only problem is that it's up against the firewall....

wvumtnbkr PowerDork
9/27/22 10:13 p.m.

4 cylinder starter should do just fine.

Run_Away Dork
9/27/22 10:39 p.m.

Agreed that a 4cyl starter should be fine, you're not going to be using it in -40 weather.

I seem to remember a lot of rwd J swaps putting the starter underneath the oil pan on the engine side, bolted to the adapter plate. Maybe a solution for you?

BA5 Reader
9/28/22 11:50 a.m.

Thanks for the confirmation, folks.  

I did some 'Rockauto Research' (which has been a major component of this project) and found that the TL and Integra starters are rated for very nearly the same power (1.4 kW for the Integrat vs 1.6 kW for the TL).  So yeah, I'm pretty comfortable using the integra starter. 

I have looked at mounting the starter on the bottom, but unfortunately due to:

  • Ground clearance
  • Smaller diameter flywheel

I can't make it work on the bottom.  So I think the answer is going to be option 1 from the post above.  I'll be modifying the transmission to fit an integra starter.


Oooooo one other bit I just remembered.  The J series spins clockwise, which is opposite all the old Honda 4 cylinders....

I guess I should just be able to reverse the polarity.  I'll have to see if the solenoid is polarity sensitive, but surgery to rewire it so that it gets 'normal' polarity (the as designed polarity) while the motor gets reverse polarity should be relatively easy.

Run_Away Dork
9/28/22 11:08 p.m.

Good call on direction of rotation, swapping polarity doesn't address the one way clutch on the pinion though.

Maybe a different starter is called for, I can't see there being a ton of options for gear tooth sizing.

BA5 Reader
9/29/22 6:55 a.m.

In reply to Run_Away :

Ah good catch.  And I just disassembled an old one I had and was playing with the one way clutch on the pinion.

I think that puts me back to looking at the Subaru starter......

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
9/29/22 7:31 a.m.

In reply to BA5 :

On the Subaru starter, it might be worth looking into what (if anything) is different about the 6 cylinder Subarus- I know they bolt up to the same transmissions, so the starter should probably bolt up too.

BA5 Reader
9/29/22 8:27 a.m.

In reply to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :

I did look and see that the Impreza starters are considerably more powerful.

BA5 Reader
10/14/22 2:44 p.m.

So I wound up going with a subaru impreza starter.

1st things first, looks like the starter gear is exactly the same as the Honda one.  I'm gathering that starter pinion sizes are standardized.  Which is nice for me.  The nose length is different, but luckily I needed the shorter one anyway.

I should mention I did some light mockups in SW before I got to marking and cutting.

For a personal project like this I don't spend much time trying to model every little nook and cranny.  I just kind of get the major features and then massage the final product.

But it was super useful, and I marked up the transmission based on my modeling:

I didn't take any pictures during the cutting, I was too busy cutting!  It's really not very pretty, anyways.  But it should work!  After an hour or two of chopping and grinding, I got it temporarily mounted up.

Looks like it's in the right place!  I've got to do a bit more tweaking tonight and hopefully I'll have a short video of it working soon!

I'm excited, because once that's done I can put it in the car and start plumbing and wiring everything up!

BA5 Reader
10/19/22 1:49 p.m.

My first go was a swing and a miss.

I made the mistake of assuming that the stop for the pinion gear extension was limited by how far I could pull it out.  I think it's actually the solenoid that limits how far the pinion extends.

I think I'll push it in just a hair as well, so I get more tooth engagement.

It's frustrating, it's all just sitting there so ready to go back in the car (except for the starter):


Shavarsh HalfDork
10/19/22 2:03 p.m.

You're making great progress! Keep it up, part of what makes it so cool is the unknown aspect of the parts matching!

BA5 Reader
10/25/22 10:13 p.m.
BA5 Reader
11/4/22 1:51 p.m.

Picked up some metal to fabricate into a firewall.

The small square tube is going to be cut up into brackets to mount it to the roll bar.

As a general question to the group:

What kind of sealant have you all used for the firewall?  I was looking at this stuff:


But I'm open to suggestions if anyone has something they've used and really liked.

11/18/22 1:08 p.m.

Awsome build. I was thinking the same type of setup in my Gen 3. I will be here watching you get the car finished. I have new insperation.

BA5 HalfDork
12/9/22 1:46 p.m.

Still slowly plugging away at it!  Some of my time for it has been taken away because I'm writing a book, too.

I've done a handful of little things to get the engine ready:

Thermostat and housing:

Also finished cleaning up the and attaching as much of the wire harness as I currently can:

Luckily the connector for the starter landed in exactly the same place so I could just plug that in

There will be much more wire harness work soon.  I'll have to mount everything up once it's in the car and get power and switching to it.  I'll also have to extend the drive by wire throttle harness.

I also have to drill and tap for one last bolt hole for one of the motor mounts.

I'm going to say that it was luck that the bolt hole just happened to center up perfectly on my adapter plate, but I think really it was just all the design work coming together.

And here's where I'm sitting right now:

I'm trying to figure out how to get the rear of the car high enough that I can get the engine underneath it.  I tried borrowing some quickjacks from a co-worker, but they both didn't get it high enough and they were kind of dicey due to the angle I have to lift the car from.  

I think in the end I'm going to use my engine hoist to lift it up.  Without the engine or any suspension components the rear is really pretty light.  And I know in the picture the engine looks like it's sitting a mile in the air, but it's really a lot lower than it looks and unfortunatley there's not a good way to get it sitting any lower and still be balanced on the dolly.  The crane should be able to get it high enough in the air.

06HHR (Forum Supporter)
06HHR (Forum Supporter) Dork
12/9/22 3:05 p.m.

Engine hoist is what I used the first time i took the engine out of my Infiniti G20.  Easily got the car high enough to roll the engine and transmission out on a moving dolly.  Removed the front fascia and ran a chain between the bumper slots.  Worked out great, i should have taken pictures. 

BA5 HalfDork
12/9/22 3:46 p.m.

Ah, good to know!  Thanks for the hint!

12/14/22 8:17 a.m.

Wow, what a build !!

Can't wait to read the first tests

Nice writting too, a pleasure to follow...

I dream a RWD build for a long time, with a ED/EF CRX and a rear B16, like a mini NSX !

But as I have a tired BA5 at home, maybe your path is the one to follow ?


Cheers !

A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ SuperDork
12/15/22 1:22 p.m.
BA5 said:

I didn’t grow up loving cars. Although I come from a fairly long line of engineers, and members of my family have always kept cars running themselves, there’s never been much of a passion for the hobby. That all changed for me on a summer day in…. maybe ’97? Ish? The Honda scene was hitting full stride. I wasn’t really into it, but one day outside my job at Toys ‘R Us I saw it: a 3rd generation Honda Prelude. Mostly what I remember is that it was painted that sort of burnt orange color. It was modified, but not as badly as some cars were in the late 90’s. I couldn’t tell you to this day what it was that made me think “I want a car just like that, it looks so cool”. If we saw the car today we would all probably have a good laugh. But on that random summer afternoon many gears of my life were to be set in motion. Over the next two years I would become obsessed with owning one. But I was young, didn’t have very good jobs in high school, and they were still a little on the pricey side because they were less than 10 years old at that time. But I waited, and plotted…. Finally in the summer of ’00 I worked all summer and saved up and found the perfect prelude. It was actually a little out of my price range, but the guy saw how badly I wanted it and came down a bit into my price range (I recently confirmed this, as I recently found and contacted the original owner. He was pretty excited to hear from me!). So I purchased it! It was completely stock when I got it, but these photos are some of the earliest I could find for it.

These photos are probably 10-15 years old at this point... At the time everybody was all about drag racing them. Even though I wasn’t really into cars, I knew I *really* wanted to take it racing. But I knew that drag racing wasn’t going to be this car’s thing (I'm under no delusions about how fast it is). I knew it really wasn’t going to be my thing. So I searched and searched and somehow found out about autocross. This was in the very early days of the internet, so I think it was on an early Atlanta Region message board. The first event I ever went to was at Lakewood amphitheater and I was hooked. I've been autocrossing and tracking the car ever since.

The second image is actually from one of Atlanta Region's Double crosses (I think that was what they called them) from way back in the day.

To some of us, Gen-X, those are like the souped up '32 Ford roadster was to my father's Silent Generation.  They're near and dear in an almost undescribable way.  

BA5 HalfDork
1/4/23 12:19 a.m.

Slight detour:

I have 3 pretty young kids at home. Tooth losing age.  

I decided a long time ago to spice up the Tooth Fairy with the 'Tooth Dragon'. It comes and battles the tooth fairy to take the teeth.

Mostly it creates some scratches in the dirt in the back yard or over turns some chairs. It once left a talon wedged in a window.

I also once woke up my oldest daughter so she could "hear" it (my brother was in the back yard with a Karaoke speaker we have and a Godzilla roar soundboard). That wound up being a mistake; she was terrified and didn't go back to sleep for a couple of hours! Whoops. Although she still looks forward to the tooth dragon visiting.

Tonight I made some scales from aluminum for them to find tomorrow morning. The Tooth Dragon tends to lose the occasional body part in battle....

At bedtime tonight they asked to keep the Master Sword my son has from when he was Link for Halloween a few years back. I think they'll enjoy the scales.

jfryjfry SuperDork
1/4/23 10:10 a.m.

That's pretty cool!  Maybe some stuff will happen to get burned too??

BA5 HalfDork
1/7/23 12:44 a.m.

I had to get it WAY up in the air. 

But I did it. Inching closer to completion:

Lowering it back onto the engine is a slower process than anticipated. It's pretty tight and next time I'll leave the wiring harness off until its in the car.


Hopefully tomorrow I'll have some time to get it fully lowered and bolted in.

preach (dudeist priest)
preach (dudeist priest) SuperDork
1/7/23 7:35 a.m.

Love this!

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