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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all, this will be detailing my progress in rebuilding my 96 Baleno GTX. I recieved the car as a gift from my father after he just about destroyed the engine... a lovely gift i know 馃槀. Sadly he hit a wallaby which in turn did some decent damage to the bumper but the more important thing that broke was the radiator, which is where the damage to the motor stems. Sadly it has sat for two years after taking the engine out.
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The resulting overheating resulted in the cylinder head warping 11 thousands of an inch, the top of the block was warped 5 thousands of an inch, the cylinders were out of round by 3-5 thousands of an inch and the mains where warped 2 thousands of an inch. Its safe to say it got really HOT!! The cylinder head was savable and has been fully reconditioned, but he block was too far gone to be worth reconditioniong. I have been able to source a long block from a Grand Viatra which i am having reconditioned, as well as bored out for 85mm pistons. Using the crank and rods from the Grand Viatra this will increase the desplacement of the engine to roughly 2.1L. I will aslo be increasing the compression ratio of the eninge to roughly 10.5:1 to aid in gaining more power as well as increasing the efficiency of the engine, this means i will have to use 98 octane fuel only. I am still waiting on the block to be finished but hopefully that will be done this month and i will be able to start putting the engine together.

In the mean time i decided i would paint the brake calipers but ran into a slight problem, with one of the front caliper mounts.
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As you can see it is bent out of place by a considerable amout as well as having a large groove. My attempts to find a replacement part prooved to be unsuccessful, so i looked for an alternative and saw Chief2001's thread. He swappped the calipers from a Aeria onto his Esteem, so i decided would use the brakes of a Liana (the version of the Aeria we got in Australia). The stock baleno on the left and the Liana on the right, as you can see both the caliper and brake pads are much larger.
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But unfortunatly it wasnt as easy as bolting the new calipers in and calling it a day, the top of the brake pads sat roughly 5mm above the rotors. So bigger rotors were in order, i sourced bigger brake rotors from the EK1 Honda civic. These are a 162mm rotor with 45mm hat hight, which is 5mm less then that of the baleno's. This means that i have had to space the calipers out by 5mm in order to fit correctly. But the result i would say is great, the larger brakes will serve to give better brake performance not only in stopping power but the larger disk will serve to lessen the effect of brake fade in repetative hard brakeing.
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I have taken off the rear brake calipers and have painted them to match the front, i will install them in a few days after the paint has set properly.
 

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Depending on ecm being used and how it's doing its timing, (you dont tell us which engine it had originally) 10.5 compression is not that much in this day and age. You might need to do some digging into what sensors and ecm you will be using, you might be surprised. You mention using a grand vitara block, this name covers many years and different engine types so you're fitting a low compression 1.9 diesel? You may find the ecm will compensate and you may only need 95. My GVs (admittedly newer ) run 10.5 on 91 just fine.

Let us know exactly what bits and models you are using, we may be able to advise on what will work with what.

Another thing you may need to look at is brake balance, do the liana calipers have same piston diameter as the removed ones? Last thing you need is a situation where because the piston size has increased you end up with the rears working worse (or better) than the fronts and you swap ends under braking. The Aussie market stuff is different to the US market and a lot of the stuff they can interchange we cant.

Apart from that, looks good, keep us posted on progress.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Depending on ecm being used and how it's doing its timing, (you dont tell us which engine it had originally) 10.5 compression is not that much in this day and age. You might need to do some digging into what sensors and ecm you will be using, you might be surprised. You mention using a grand vitara block, this name covers many years and different engine types so you're fitting a low compression 1.9 diesel? You may find the ecm will compensate and you may only need 95. My GVs (admittedly newer ) run 10.5 on 91 just fine.

Let us know exactly what bits and models you are using, we may be able to advise on what will work with what.

Another thing you may need to look at is brake balance, do the liana calipers have same piston diameter as the removed ones? Last thing you need is a situation where because the piston size has increased you end up with the rears working worse (or better) than the fronts and you swap ends under braking. The Aussie market stuff is different to the US market and a lot of the stuff they can interchange we cant.

Apart from that, looks good, keep us posted on progress.
Hey mate, the GTX in Australia came with the J18A engine, where as the GLX had the G16b engine. So the long block I will be using out of the Grand Viatra is from a J20A engine.

As for how I'm raising the compression of the engine, from my research the J18A cylinder head has a lower volume then that of the J20A head, this in combination with the larger pistons having the same dish as stock will bring the compression ratio up to my desired level of 10.5:1. The use of 98 with this compression was what my old boss (an engine builder with 15+ years of experience) told me to use, not to mention that I use 98 in my cards regardless as it's simply better for your engine. You will get less carbon build up in the engine, especially on the valves, where it is most important there is a good seal and no obstruction for airflow.

I will also be running an AEM F/IC-6 piggy back ecu to control the engine as the displacement will have been increased by almost 300cc as well as much higher compression. I have it sitting on my desk ready to install but haven't tackled that monster yet.

You cannot see it very well in the picture where they are side by side but the pistons are the same size, it is simply a larger caliper design with a larger pad. I don't expect there to be any issues with brake balance but we can revisit that once it is on the road.

But anyways thanks, I have more progress to post it's just a matter of sitting down and writing it up.
 

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As for how I'm raising the compression of the engine, from my research the J18A cylinder head has a lower volume then that of the J20A head.
That might depend on exactly which J18 and which J20 - just as an example - the 11100-65G00 head used on the J18 in the SY418 Baleno is the exact same part fitted to the J20 in the SQ420 Grand Vitara, and the SV420 "wide track" Vitara. The head on a J18 from the SV418 Sidekick Sport however, is a different part number 11100-77E00.

Internet forum "research" is often misleading as what you're looking at, more often than not is uncorroborated information from unknown sources - my source, in case you're interested is Suzuki's official dealer parts catalog. Feel free to verify these part numbers at megazip or any similar site that allows you to lookup the manufacturer's part numbers.

Similarly, the idea that higher octane fuel is "simply better" for your engine, is nothing more than an old wives' (or old mechanic's) tale - kind of distressing given the fact that it is the older cars, that these older mechanics would have been working on, that would have benefited least from high octane fuel. Simply put, a low compression engine capable of running on low octane fuel, would not benefit in any way, from fuel with a higher octane that was required.

More modern vehicles are equipped with knock sensors and electronic ignition systems & fuel injection and are capable of adjusting "on the fly" to compensate for octane changes, but back in the day of carburettors & breaker points, which by the way is what "I cut my teeth" on, there was absolutely no advantage to be had from running a higher octane fuel than the engine was "tuned" for, there was, in fact, a disadvantage - the impact it had on your wallet.

What you're doing is confusing cheap gas with high octane fuel - it is the detergents that are added to the fuel that are responsible for cleaning the valves, and cheap gas has less - "top tier" gas on the other hand has the detergents, regardless of which octane level you choose.

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Edit - I just noticed something interesting - megazip which lists the part numbers I mentioned above - also lists "upper level" numbers - and all of the vehicles now use the same part 11100-65G03. Now the thing with part numbers is this, a different part number is assigned when a part is sourced from a different supplier, so it is conceivable that the chamber volume on all three of the numbers I've listed could be identical, which might mean that it was never possible to raise the compression ratio on a J20 by swapping on a J18 head ...
 

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I thought the standard J20a from that era were about 9.7 to 1, 84mm bore and 90 mm stroke and about 130 hp standard
So I would think the ecm for that engine should handle 10.5 if you use the appropriate ecm and sensors and should be fine on either 91 or 95 octane. 98 is a waste of time in my opinion, all the ecm will do is alter injection and timing for best operation. My GVs specify 91 or better and they are at 10.5 to 1. Its got VVT so it will handle it as the timing will compensate for the additional compression and will compensate for octane levels. Watching mine on a tank of 91 and a tank of 95 is interesting. Cam timing is a lot more retarded, while ign timing advances a bit more to compensate. No different in " seat of the pants" feel but noticed on the timing and fuel graphs. I went thru this exercise because mine specifies 91 for the 2013 and 2015, while the 2016 models specifically state 95 octane. Same engine, but different timing mappings in the 3G "safari" models sold here in 2016 to 2018
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Similarly, the idea that higher octane fuel is "simply better" for your engine, is nothing more than an old wives' (or old mechanic's) tale - kind of distressing given the fact that it is the older cars, that these older mechanics would have been working on, that would have benefited least from high octane fuel. Simply put, a low compression engine capable of running on low octane fuel, would not benefit in any way, from fuel with a higher octane that was required.
That statment is far from correct, although the engine is capable of running on low octane fuel that does not mean that it is running at optimal performance with that lower octane fuel. Using a higher octane fuel allows you to use more agressive timing which increases the efficentcy and power of the engine. Meaning that you can use less fuel to get the same power as you where with the lower octane fuel. Thats why you will use less fuel when using higher octane fuel.

More modern vehicles are equipped with knock sensors and electronic ignition systems & fuel injection and are capable of adjusting "on the fly" to compensate for octane changes, but back in the day of carburettors & breaker points, which by the way is what "I cut my teeth" on, there was absolutely no advantage to be had from running a higher octane fuel than the engine was "tuned" for, there was, in fact, a disadvantage - the impact it had on your wallet.
Yes that is true but these systems serve as a form of protection for the engine. Yes the car uses them to adapt to the fuel that you have used in the car but their main use is to stop damage to the car in the event you were to say put 91 in instead of 98 when the engine is tuned for optimal performance when using 98.

What you're doing is confusing cheap gas with high octane fuel - it is the detergents that are added to the fuel that are responsible for cleaning the valves, and cheap gas has less - "top tier" gas on the other hand has the detergents, regardless of which octane level you choose.
In autralia we have 4 main grades of fuel: 91, 94(E10), 95 and 98. These modern cars in australia specify for 95 or better, some like my mazda 3 could use E10 as well. But that being said i always use 98 because like i said before you will get the best econamy but it also burns more completely. Meaning that it is creating less carbon and there for wont be depositing these build ups in the first place.

I thought the standard J20a from that era were about 9.7 to 1, 84mm bore and 90 mm stroke and about 130 hp standard
So I would think the ecm for that engine should handle 10.5 if you use the appropriate ecm and sensors and should be fine on either 91 or 95 octane. 98 is a waste of time in my opinion, all the ecm will do is alter injection and timing for best operation. My GVs specify 91 or better and they are at 10.5 to 1. Its got VVT so it will handle it as the timing will compensate for the additional compression and will compensate for octane levels. Watching mine on a tank of 91 and a tank of 95 is interesting. Cam timing is a lot more retarded, while ign timing advances a bit more to compensate. No different in " seat of the pants" feel but noticed on the timing and fuel graphs. I went thru this exercise because mine specifies 91 for the 2013 and 2015, while the 2016 models specifically state 95 octane. Same engine, but different timing mappings in the 3G "safari" models sold here in 2016 to 2018
Yes it would most likely be able to run the enigine but you are not going to get the best performance you can out of it, not to mention that you are going to run into issues with knock in the high rpm's as there will be too much timing for the high compression. Using a fully programble ecu allows me to get the car tuned to optimal performance with the changes that i am making, as well as the fact that most factory ecu's are tuned quite conservatively. They tune them richer then needed to protect the engine as it brings the egt's down. The octane rating of a fuel doesnt always dictate what compression ratio you can use in an engine but it limits the amount of spark advance you can use, using more timing allows for more performance and higher efficiency but you will run into knock earlier with lower octane fuels. You say that 98 is a waste of time because all the ecu will do is compensate for the best performance, well thats the point, im trying to get the best performace out of the engine and using lower end fuels wont accomplish that.

All of that aside i have made some progress on the car today, I got the rear calipers installed and inlisted the help of my younger brother to help me flush and bleed the brakes. I used Castrol React Dot 4 brake fluid, i do plan on doing track days in this car and so it will benefit from the higher boiling point of the Dot 4 brake fluid.
 

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Remember to flush ALL brake components before using Dot 4 in a system that has had Dot 3 in it, failure can and probably will occur. Good idea to change seals, I've seen nasty things happen when dot 3 and dot 4 is mixed.

Regarding your tuning for performance, I'd be interested in your timing curve and your static and full advance values. I dont think you're going to get much out of the thing at 10.5 to 1 as they aren't that free breathing. 130 hp std with factory ecu, let's see the dyno slip on your one when it's done.

These things only rev to 6500 which is nothing spectacular and factory they quite often hit 45 degrees of ignition advance on 91 octane fuel depending on the VVT timing. Speaking of which, how are you going to do the vvt timing control? You will find that plays a bigger part in knock prevention than you think. Try running one of these engines with it unplugged and see what it does.

You changing cams? Or leaving them standard?
 

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That statment is far from correct, although the engine is capable of running on low octane fuel that does not mean that it is running at optimal performance with that lower octane fuel. Using a higher octane fuel allows you to use more agressive timing which increases the efficentcy and power of the engine. Meaning that you can use less fuel to get the same power as you where with the lower octane fuel. Thats why you will use less fuel when using higher octane fuel.
BUT - it doesn't do it by itself.

I am not saying that there is no advantage to running high octane fuel, but rather, it is not "simply better" as you are claiming - there is NO advantage if the vehicle is not adjusted to optimize performance.

Yes that is true but these systems serve as a form of protection for the engine. Yes the car uses them to adapt to the fuel that you have used in the car but their main use is to stop damage to the car in the event you were to say put 91 in instead of 98 when the engine is tuned for optimal performance when using 98.
That may depend on your point of view - the majority of cars on the market specify "regular" as the required fuel, and not "super", which to me says they are coming out of the factory "optimized" for fuel economy and that means the lower grades of fuel .
 

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Ah sweet! We're resurrecting these balenos and saving them! :D But I wonder why your rotors didn't match. I had to do zero modification. I guess there is a difference in the AUS Baleno rotor? If you check my picture, they were identical.
 

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Ah sweet! We're resurrecting these balenos and saving them! :D But I wonder why your rotors didn't match. I had to do zero modification. I guess there is a difference in the AUS Baleno rotor? If you check my picture, they were identical.
They are significantly different in a few aspects between the Asian and US market models, this us why using the marketing name can be confusing
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Remember to flush ALL brake components before using Dot 4 in a system that has had Dot 3 in it, failure can and probably will occur. Good idea to change seals, I've seen nasty things happen when dot 3 and dot 4 is mixed.
I think you are confusing dot 5s compatability with dot 3, 4 and 5.1. Dot 5 is silicon based and thats why you cannot mix it with the other brake fluids. Not to mention that it says on the back of the bottle that it is compatible with all other dot 3, 4 and 5.1 brake fluids but is not advised as you will get redused performance. That being said i did take as mush brake fuild out of the reservoir as i could before flushing the brakes. I used 1L of brake fluid flushing the brakes and then another 0.5L bleeding them properly, so i think it is safe to say there is none of thhe old brake fluid left.

Regarding your tuning for performance, I'd be interested in your timing curve and your static and full advance values. I dont think you're going to get much out of the thing at 10.5 to 1 as they aren't that free breathing. 130 hp std with factory ecu, let's see the dyno slip on your one when it's done.
What do you mean by they arent that free breathing? I worked a cylinder head reconditioner and looking at the ports are a fair bit larger on the J18A head compared to other heads from engines of similar sizes, as well as the valves being the same size if not bigger.

These things only rev to 6500 which is nothing spectacular and factory they quite often hit 45 degrees of ignition advance on 91 octane fuel depending on the VVT timing. Speaking of which, how are you going to do the vvt timing control? You will find that plays a bigger part in knock prevention than you think. Try running one of these engines with it unplugged and see what it does.

You changing cams? Or leaving them standard?
The J18A only revs to 7000 rpm which isnt all that much higher, but this is going to be a fun daily that i can take to the track so its not going to spend a whole lot of time in near the rev limiter. But due to the undersquare bore design they make peak torque really low so it will be quick off the line. The programable ecu i have can control VVT on up to one cam, but this engine doesnt have VVT. It is the J20B that has VVT, which i might look into the possibility of using a head off one of them down the line. Im not entirely sure on the cams, im tossing up on if im going to get them reground, but that might be a see how much power it makes and decide then.

Ah sweet! We're resurrecting these balenos and saving them! :D But I wonder why your rotors didn't match. I had to do zero modification. I guess there is a difference in the AUS Baleno rotor? If you check my picture, they were identical.
Yeah it surprised me as well as the part numbers for the brake disks are the same for Baleno and Liana. Like 2013GV said there is quite a few diiferences between the Aeria and the Liana, you got 2L and 2.3L engines where as we got 1.6L and 1.8L engines but they are both based on the same chassis.... So im not entirely sure but they work and hopefully will work better then the old smaller ones.

I have been working all week so i have not had a chance to work on it but i will hopefully be able to this week end so should have another update on my progress.
 

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I think you are confusing dot 5s compatability with dot 3, 4 and 5.1. Dot 5 is silicon based and thats why you cannot mix it with the other brake fluids. Not to mention that it says on the back of the bottle that it is compatible with all other dot 3, 4 and 5.1 brake fluids but is not advised as you will get redused performance. That being said i did take as mush brake fuild out of the reservoir as i could before flushing the brakes. I used 1L of brake fluid flushing the brakes and then another 0.5L bleeding them properly, so i think it is safe to say there is none of thhe old brake fluid left
I can understand your confusion, what doesnt mix is dot 3 and the new synthetic dot 4. Make sure you did get the plain gold colored stuff. I should have been more specific in my post.

You certainly can't mix dot 3 or 4 with dot 5 as that's a silicone based fluid and can require different seals. It's also a bit more "compressible" so brake feel will alter if you ever swap to dot 5

By not as free breathing, i mean they have a different cam profile and lift, valve head size I think are the same, ports are bigger but cam duration and lift is different, hence my comments re cams.

Ok, wasn't aware yours was non vvt. If you do look at the j20 vvt head remember its hydraulic controlled so it wont work as the block wont allow you to control it as it wont gave the oil passages and control solenoid castings. You would need to modify the inlet cam and make it fixed timing.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
By not as free breathing, i mean they have a different cam profile and lift, valve head size I think are the same, ports are bigger but cam duration and lift is different, hence my comments re cams.
Don't quote me on this but i belive the j18a cams are more agressive then the j20 cams meaning that they will flow better. I might call a few cam shops and see what they recomend.

Ok, wasn't aware yours was non vvt. If you do look at the j20 vvt head remember its hydraulic controlled so it wont work as the block wont allow you to control it as it wont gave the oil passages and control solenoid castings. You would need to modify the inlet cam and make it fixed timing.
There is no real point then if the control solenoid is in the block and not in the head. I might as well get the full engine realisically, but thats something to consider later down the line.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
With restrictions in Australia easing i was finally able to hang out with some friends that i havent seen in over a month, so i got nothing done this weekend. On the plus side i just got told that the machinging work on the engine is done and i will be able to pick it up tomorrow afternoon or the day after. Im really looking forward to getting the engine put together.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I went and pickled up the cylinder head the other day and its looking great, there was some corosion on face of the head which needed to be welded up and it turned out great. The entire head has been vapor blasted to remove all of the carbon build up in the ports and clean up the 24 years of oil on the outside of the engine.
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I have been painting parts for the engine as i go and have gone with matte black for the mounts and brakets, gloss red for the timing cover and fuel rail and gloss black for the rest of the engine. So todays job has been to pain stakinly mask the cylinder head so that i can paint it gloss black.
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All of this took me a solid 3-4 hours but i think the effort is worth it with the first coat of black looking pretty good. I will be putting another two coats on it tomorrow.
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oohhh. they look so strange with a single chain sprocket setup. I'm used to the double row or HYVO plate chain setups now.

I like the paint job, but how will you spot an oil leak? I can guarantee Murphy will appear now you have painted it black and cause one.

Does your cover have "Suzuki" embossed in it or is it just plain? or with a couple of casting ridges in it? perhaps a contrast like a silver in the casting lines or the embossed name if yours has it just to really make it stand out? (sand the paint off the high spots as a highlight?)
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
oohhh. they look so strange with a single chain sprocket setup. I'm used to the double row or HYVO plate chain setups now.
I have never seen a double chain setup for these engines. I got a high quality Japanese brand through work for fairly cheep, cost me $250 but retail for $350-$400. As well as a genuine suzuki oil pump chain.

I like the paint job, but how will you spot an oil leak? I can guarantee Murphy will appear now you have painted it black and cause one
To be honest I hadn't though about that until you said it. But the not so wonderful thing about oil is dust and dirt loves to stick to it. And the roads around my house are always dusty (which makes keeping your car clean impossible) so I think you will be able to spot the dust stuck to the oil. But let's hope it doesn't leak haha.

Does your cover have "Suzuki" embossed in it or is it just plain? or with a couple of casting ridges in it? perhaps a contrast like a silver in the casting lines or the embossed name if yours has it just to really make it stand out? (sand the paint off the high spots as a highlight?)
No it doesn't have anything embossed in it, just your standard looking timing cover. I have sanded the paint off the oil cap sealing surface so that it seals properly. I don't have the coil cover anymore (Not that the aftermarket coils fit under it anyways) so I might end up making something out of some 1.2mm steel sheet I have laying around. I think the coil cover painted black would look nice on the top.

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I still have to go and pick up the engine block next week and get that painted black to match. The sump needs a good cleaning and I think I'm going to paint it matte black to match the gearbox sump as well as it will make spotting a leak alot easier.

The front chain cover is painted already but I don't have a photo of that atm so cantshow you it. I'm really getting excited and getting some motivation to work on this now that I'm getting the engine parts back. Hopefully I can start putting the engine together next weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Also don't mind the shed floor being an absolute mess, there is paint dust and saw dust everywhere from me and my dad doing different things. And there is a million bits of masking tape that I trimmed off masking this haha. I'm really looking forward to the extension going on the shed so that his Jaguar XJ6 in the back (it has a toyota 1UZ V8 in it, it's wicked) ground can go into there and get painted so there is some more room in the shed as it's parts are everywhere like mine. Also so I can bring the baleno inside out of the weather.
 

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Nice, I will hopefully be doing the same with my test engine in a few weeks. Its been a VERY expensive week for me, but going to buy a used J23 next weekend that I have my eyes on.
 

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Very nice job on the cover. I realise those only have the single row chain, I haven't worked on one of them for a while. Even the race car has a double row roller chain, but thats typical V8 for you tho.

I do think a coil cover in either black, or polished stainless would look good, just something to break the "sea of red" on the top. Mind you, leaving it bare with clean coil packs and neat wiring would be just as equally nice.

As for the oil leaks...I discovered the hard way how difficult clean oil on a gloss back surface is to find, hence my comment earlier. Hopefully you won't have any. Permatex grey as a contrast on the mating surfaces? or are you going to go boy racer orange, or get the black stuff?
 
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