We have our newest project vehicle on our hands here at Turbo. Making its debut is the eBay Project Integra. Putting our all-motor Project Integra aside, we have joined with eBay to produce an all-new project car.
The folks at eBay Motors approached the Primedia import automotive group of magazines and asked us if we wanted to build them a car made from all eBay-purchased parts. They certainly didn't need to tell us the vast array of parts available on eBay as we are veteran eBay purchasers, so we knew it was definitely achievable. The eBay Motors Editors Challenge is a competition where Primedia magazine staffs are grouped into 10 teams and given up to $25,000 each to buy and modify a car, truck or motorcycle using eBay as the vehicle and parts pipeline. The entries would be tested in a number of empirical categories and voted on by "eBayers" so performance and style are at issue. All the entries will then be auctioned on eBay with the proceeding going to Charity Cars, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping those who help others.
This Integra is a joint project involving Turbo, Import Tuner, Car Audio & Electronics, Honda Tuning and Super Street. True, the idea that all these titles and the vibrant personalities behind the logos can get along and pull this off is in itself ludicrous. Heck, our offices are 40 miles apart. But we all decided to rally. We took the name Deadly Viper Assassination Squad (DVAS) and set out to conquer ... kinda.
With Honda Tuning in our group we couldn't spend $18,000 on a Supra and boost it to kingdom come with the remaining $7 Gs. We had to go with a Honda/Acura product. In the end we elected to reflect, go retro and represent the core of the import movement. So we purchased a ratty 1994 Integra LS for $3,675 and set out to prove that this "founding father" of the import scene can still pack a wallop. OK, there was a little "path of least resistance" thinking involved.
We had the ideals but no direction and the car languished while waiting for someone to start buying her parts and more importantly installing the stuff. Each magazine had its own responsibility and each would write about its portion of the project. We had a feeling we'd end up doing the wrenching, so we took over things.
As you can see from the "before" pictures, there is a lot of work to be done. We bought a banged up diamond in the rough with an engine that barely passed smog and had more than 165,000 miles on the odometer.
In order to get her body back to form, we'll need a new paint job and some minor bodywork. We at Turbo plan/hope to go with a steel gray color as to not deviate too far from its original color scheme. We're hoping for this so we don't have to pull the engine for a color-change paint job. But this is shaping up to be a color-by-committee thing, so who knows what color it will turn out to be.
Now that the DVAS eBay Project Integra is underway, it has been a mad flurry of purchasing parts. We have a more targeted plan in effect--Type-R upgrades that include interior, five-lug suspension, wheels and many interior and exterior accents. Feature Editor Scott Tsuneichi has been the eBay guru scoping the site for parts.
Turbo's portion of the project will be under the hood where we plan to boost the beast.
However, the first parts score was a set of Tanabe coil-overs with front and rear strut tower braces and lower front and rear tie bars. The entire combo was scored for $1,300.
The second score was locating a fully built LS/VTEC engine with turbo kit. The powerplant was advertised as fully upgraded with a knife-edged, heat-treated crankshaft, Saenz rods and low-compression JE pistons. Up top sat a DOHC Civic Si cylinder head and intake combo. A custom turbo kit with 3-inch exhaust system came with the engine purchase.
The turbo kit featured a tubular exhaust manifold attached to a T4/T3 turbocharger. The I/C piping is constructed from mild-steel and the exhaust system was a muffler shop special, three-inch unit with a Blitz canister at the tail end. We'll probably end up dumping the exhaust system in favor of something much nicer since some of the welds on the system were not finished all the way around and it was leaking pretty badly.
Scott was also able to locate a complete JDM Type-R interior with red Recaro suede seats. The last major purchase we found on eBay was the five-lug suspension and wheels from a 2000 USDM Type-R. These three items cost us ... er, eBay, $9,000 via Paypal.
Before stripping the Integra down to the bare essentials we decided to take the Acura to SP Engineering's Dynojet dyno for some baseline numbers. Surprisingly, our Integra was able to lay down 129.2 hp to the front wheels. Did we mention this car has 165,000 miles and looks like it has never been washed once in its lifetime? Can't imagine how often the oil has been changed.
After dyno testing we utilized Blitz's facility for all of the installation. We were able to remove the stock engine in about two hours. But hooking up the built engine required more time. Just to be sure we weren't getting our legs pulled we decided to disassemble the eBay engine to see for ourselves if it was buffed or fluffed.
Sure enough, there was a knife-edged crankshaft with Saenz rods and JE pistons. The JE pistons were even hand polished around the rough edges to prevent any hot spots. The previous owner said the engine only had about 1,000 miles on it and from the looks of the flawless cylinder walls his comments rang true.
The block has an older JG Engine Dynamics closed-deck treatment with welded in coolant jackets and new ductile iron sleeves. Also, the owner had the block O-ringed for better head/block sealing. Upon checking the cylinder head we noticed it was a newer 1999 Civic Si head with stock valvetrain and camshafts. A new headgasket was used to button up the long block.
After installing a six-puck ACT clutch, the LS tranny was bolted on and the engine made its way into the engine compartment. Crossing our fingers, the engine rumbled to life on its first crank. There were no fluid leaks so we took the car for a spin. The engine ran smooth with no hiccups.We will install the turbo system after the car comes back from the body shop. We hope to generate 350 to 400 whp with our engine combo. We will probably end up using an AEM EMS engine management for fuel and ignition control if our Paypal account is still alive.
Before the paint booth we installed the five-lug suspension and Tanabe coil-overs. With the help of Blitz's William Law and Jason Dang the suspension upgrades bolted up in under an hour. The Type-R wheels finished off the car beautifully. We will probably decide on a bigger wheel and tire combo, but for now the car looks light years better than it did on day one.
Last on our agenda list was slapping in the Type-R interior. A few bolts and the red Recaro seats were in. The rear suede seats went in with no problems. The Recaros are extremely comfortable and I wouldn't mind a set in my own Integra.
With all the major modifications done we passed the torch to Car Audio & Electronics for the sound system. Once the volume is pumped up, the car will head to the body shop for some much needed cosmetic work.
Once back in Turbo magazine's realm we will install the turbo kit and engine management and then head off to the dyno for some numbers. As we put together this eBay project we'll keep you guys posted.
In the meantime, all you eBay sellers post up your Integra parts and we might just purchase something from you! Check the progress at a link on turbomagazine.com.