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Boden's RVR HSGR

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#1
BodenM

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So now that my car is running I thought I should make a little thread to document progress and the things I do to it. My name is Boden, I'm from Brisbane, and this is my RVR Hyper Sports Gear R. I came to own this car almost by pure chance. I had just sold my previous daily driver, a 2002 Smart Fortwo and I was in the market for something new. I nearly picked up an E39 BMW 525d wagon with a manual (how's that for weird and rare?), but someone sniped me before I had a chance. Disheartened, I turned to Gumtree, and said to myself "hm, I haven't looked at RVRs in a while, I wonder what the market is like right now." Punched in "RVR", hit the search button, and there it was. A black, manual RVR HSGR, not only very close by but for a very reasonable price. I sent the guy a message, and worked out to check it out the next day. Owner was an old bus driver, real nice guy, although I'm 99% sure he was pretty much unaware of what he was selling. Considering it came with rego and a roadworthy, I almost felt a little bad for how little I paid for it, with just 147,000km on the clock it drove sweetly and pulled strong throughout the rev range. I was smitten immediately. I've always had a major soft spot for the oddballs of the car world, and the RVR has to be right up there near the top of the list of my favourites, so to have an opportunity like this fall into my lap at just the right time was awesome. I told the owner "I'll take it!" and bought it on the spot.
 
The day after I picked it up:
jFmGrl1l.jpg

 

The only modification on the car, an RS*R exhaust (likely fitted before it left Japan in 2008), which has a lovely tone to it when you give it a bootful but is very civilised when just pottering about.

SDccmRpl.jpg
 
Unfortunately, the honeymoon came to an unexpected and displeasing end very soon. The same day after the picture above, I was driving home after hanging out with a few friends. Indicate right to pass on the highway, roll onto the throttle just a bit in 5th, and after a second, I hear a strange noise. A, short, muffled "ping!". Immediately, the car loses power, and sounds weird. I limp it home, fearing the worst. "maybe it's just a bad plug lead or plug?" I tell myself. The next day, I pulled the plugs, and immediately, there was a problem.
 
The first three plugs came out alright, if not a touch oily.
s3mdjgRh.jpg
 
But, then there was cylinder 1's plug, can you spot the problem?
wlDazhTh.jpg
 
I mean, I don't know about you, but I'm 90% sure a spark plug shouldn't look like that. Then, praying that by a stroke of luck the engine was ok, I threw a fresh set of NGK BPR6ES plugs in. Quick spin around the block. No dice. Still down on power, running on 3cyl and sounding like a god damned Subaru. "If I wanted dead engines I would have bought a Subaru, quit sounding like one!", I yelled at the car. Unfortunately, cars are not living objects and hence do not respond to being yelled at. I borrowed a compression tester from a mate, dreading what was to come. "Maybe it's just a clogged injector?" said an increasingly nervous me. Hooked it up, throttle open, give the starter a few turns.
 
fvnUB2wl.jpg
 
WELP. Not even enough compression to make the needle wiggle. Cylinders 2 through 4 all reported 170psi+ each of compression, which confirmed the engine was basically cactus on cylinder 1. I put the call out on an RVR group on Facebook. Bazeng responded, coming through with the saving grace, a freshly rebuilt RVR HSG motor with ARP head studs. A deal was struck. I dropped the car off the following weekend with Taz (who is also an awesome guy) to begin the engine swap. By this point, I was ready to light the car on fire, so having someone to do the bulk of the heavy lifting (both literally and metaphorically) was a good thing. The weekend after that, I headed over with a mate to help get the old engine out and the new engine in and sorted. Despite our best efforts we were foiled by a ridiculous storm, so we had to stop and call it a night, with only a little more work to go. Taz got the rest of the work done during the week, and I was able to go back to driving it! That leads us to today, and a much happier me now that I'm back in a properly grunty, boosted car, especially after coming from a car, despite being turbo, with just 55hp.

 

Now, what do I plan to do, you might ask? Well, in short form, in the short term (and in no particular order):

  • Enjoy it, naturally.
  • Evo 8 ECU
  • New wheels (the Koyas on it currently are F U G L Y)
  • Evo Brembos
  • Evo 7-9 coilovers
  • Hektik stereo uleh
  • More sound deadening
  • Get the driver's side seat repaired (the right hand side lower bolster has collapsed, and there's some holes worn in the fabric on the bolsters)
  • Clean up the body - repaint the bumper to get rid of the failing clear coat, buff and polish out the scratches and love marks, replace the fugly bumper lights fitted for compliance with either OEM or some better fitting ones, slap some TME stripes on it because they look awesome, etc.
  • Other misc. things that I've forgotten about.

Over the longer term, once I fix up my other car and get that on the road so I'm not left with no running cars again:

  • 4-spider center diff
  • Holset HX35
  • W2A intercooler
  • MOAR BOOST
  • when engine goes pop, forged rods and pistons.


#2
Taz

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Glad you're back in the game mate. Was a nice clean car to do a swap on.
I too remember when I said I'm just gonna leave it stock, enjoy the daily life.... Hahahahaha

#3
BodenM

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Glad you're back in the game mate. Was a nice clean car to do a swap on.
I too remember when I said I'm just gonna leave it stock, enjoy the daily life.... Hahahahaha

Yeah know better than that now hahaha, I cannot not fiddle with my cars. I said I'd leave the Smart alone too but I ended up putting a stereo in it worth more than I paid for the car in the first place  :w00t:



#4
Rvr_HSG

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Nice to hear the rvrs back up and running! I've just cooked my engine and sourcing a replacement. I've been in contact with Taz too!! Great to hear good things!

#5
CAM280

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Did you diagnose the engine failure, did the timing belt slip a tooth?

#6
Rvr_HSG

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Did you diagnose the engine failure, did the timing belt slip a tooth?


Well I drained the oil to discover there was only 1.5l in the pan (I forgot to check the oil when I bought it...rookie mistake) and the oil smells of fuel. Pretty sure I saw glitter in the oil too. And there's a massive rattle from 2.5k

#7
CAM280

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I nearly bought that car but had no room for it plus I was just trying to pretend I didn't already have one in the driveway for the last 3 years wanting my attention. I did like the idea of a manual but I'm determined to make lemonade out of my auto which I've finally got going again. Hope to catch up one day on the street.

#8
BodenM

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Did you diagnose the engine failure, did the timing belt slip a tooth?

 

Taz pulled the head the other night and there was a big fat hole in one of the exhaust valves on cyl 1, and after we pulled the old motor the knock sensor had appeared to have leaked all of its magic black goop out, so I imagine it just pinged itself to death. Given the previous owner was an old dude he probably never even hit boost to make it ping so who knows how long it had been dead for.


Edited by BodenM, 23 February 2018 - 01:56 PM.


#9
BodenM

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Also to add to my lucky streak with cars, let's have a run down of how my week went:

 

Monday: nothing to report

Tuesday: spat an A/C belt, luckily only nicked alternator belt. Fine, ordered new A/C belt.

Wednesday: Exhaust starts making a strange moaning noise, thought dodgy flex pipe, planned to replace on weekend, drive gently in the mean time

Thursday: nothing to report
Friday (i.e., today): Driving home, exit roundabout, hear a strange noise from the exhaust (short enough that I don't even know how to describe it), car doesn't want to run, stalled when I put clutch in, sounds like garbage when I tried to clutch start while still rolling. Won't start on key, turns over but doesn't appear to even attempt to crank and start. Get flat towed home by a grumpy Dad (thanks Dad). Think clogged cat. Cat flange bolts rusted in place (because of course they were). Sawzall cat off flange. Zero difference. Car sounds like it's constipated when you try to start it. Have put battery on charge since it wasn't too happy when trying to start the car. Going to try and crank it again tomorrow and look at it with fresh eyes but I'm not sure it's going to be something so simple.



#10
brisvr4

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Did you check the flex section in the front pipe?
I’d also do a fresh compression test to rule engine issues out too.

Tim
Dsmlink V3 + E85 :drool: 11.37 @ 131.46 ... still more in her

Remember Kids... Google does not equal research!
 

Magnus
How much time do you spend in a parking lot with your performance car? If you do a lot of parking lot driving, and hang out in parking lots, chances are you are a ricer, go home and read import tuner. If you’re complaining about noise you should not be modifying your car. You should also consider no longer being a man, please hand in your genitals at the door.


#11
Taz

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Ive been talking to baz and he made the good point of checking the ECU, so it doesnt tell the motor to lean out again. Ill bring my ECU with me tomorrow to rule that out, just in case.



#12
Taz

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also check the cam sensor pickup bolt, if its worked loose i know all too well the problems that can cause, will cause a funny sound trying to start, throw timing out etc etc. lines up with symptoms. ive got a spare sensor, pickup if the legs are now twisted etc. will bring round my ecu and swap it over to have peace of mind too ive got my haltech so not needed anymore



#13
BodenM

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Did you check the flex section in the front pipe?
I’d also do a fresh compression test to rule engine issues out too.

 

 Yep, after cat wasn't clogged I unbolted the DP from the O2 housing and still no bueno.



#14
CAM280

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Are we still talking about the RVR?

#15
BodenM

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Are we still talking about the RVR?

Yep, but it's irrelevant now anyway, as we found the problem.

 

Anyone wanna spot the problem? This is what it looks like under the valve cover.

fEkKyAbl.jpg

 

Yeahhhhhhh, not great. I'm just impressed they all managed to come off at once. Engine still turns over OK which leads me to believe it hasn't bent valves, but at this point I'm about 3 seconds away from lighting this thing on fire so I'm going to get some quotes, drop it into a shop and say "fix it". Not really ideal when you have a fresh engine but not much else I can do at this point aside from push it off a cliff and claim it on insurance  :blink:



#16
evo-gsr

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So...who exactly, rebuilt this "fresh engine" ?
[qoute name="BMGTZ" post="331212" timestamp="1467451744"]I don't know anything ...
Trust in the master of taxis.... He will set you straight[/quote]

#17
brisvr4

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Engine will still turn over fine with bent valves.
Looks a lot like a tensioner crapped our leading to skipped timing.
Do all of the timing marks line up still?
I’d be taking it back to whoever rebuilt it/ sold it as a rebuild and asking for a fix....

Tim
Dsmlink V3 + E85 :drool: 11.37 @ 131.46 ... still more in her

Remember Kids... Google does not equal research!
 

Magnus
How much time do you spend in a parking lot with your performance car? If you do a lot of parking lot driving, and hang out in parking lots, chances are you are a ricer, go home and read import tuner. If you’re complaining about noise you should not be modifying your car. You should also consider no longer being a man, please hand in your genitals at the door.


#18
BodenM

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Engine will still turn over fine with bent valves.
Looks a lot like a tensioner crapped our leading to skipped timing.
Do all of the timing marks line up still?
I’d be taking it back to whoever rebuilt it/ sold it as a rebuild and asking for a fix....

 

We dug deeper, if you turn the crank bolt by hand, the balancer and accessories rotate (and the rest of the rotating assembly does), but the timing belt and cams don't. Valves are also definitely bent, on most cylinders we could put the rockers back on by hand with no tools at all, so now I wait to hear what the go is with putting another motor in (quite likely my old one with new valves, since the bottom end seems ok but the valves are a bit crusty and one has a hole in it), and who's footing what bills, because this motor is quite likely going to need to be completely torn down and rebuilt.


Edited by BodenM, 25 February 2018 - 06:28 AM.


#19
Taz

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I’d be taking it back to whoever rebuilt it/ sold it as a rebuild and asking for a fix....

 

The problem with taking it back to the source of the build is that its over a year since the rebuild, has changed cars and has been redlined so grounds for "abuse" and voiding any warranty.

 

There are 2 possibilities as far as i can see. Facts are that the cams/gearstiming has locked up, the timing keyway has sheared and separated the rotating assembly from the timing. Now the question is what caused those cams to lock up, was it redlining it and the subsequent backfire forcing a valve, spitting the rockers and twisting the cam tunnels etc or was it the other way around and the cams locking up, putting the timing out and thats when the valves bent, causing the rockers to spit. If the latter, what suddenly caused cams to lock up after being running fine in the car for just over a week?

Was there something else externally that caused the problem, that is linked to his other motor going? Bad pump? Ecu? 
Its a shitty situation but its happened, blame has to be put somewhere at the end of the day, and its important to find out the root of the problem, not only to sort out whos gonna be out of pocket as ugly as that sounds, but so it doesnt happen to the next motor thats put in if the root is elewhere and not the motor itself.


Edited by Taz, 25 February 2018 - 06:50 AM.


#20
evo-gsr

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Redlined? How do you know this?
Not sure how that could be blamed for causing the failure.

Edited by evo-gsr, 25 February 2018 - 06:54 AM.

[qoute name="BMGTZ" post="331212" timestamp="1467451744"]I don't know anything ...
Trust in the master of taxis.... He will set you straight[/quote]


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