We know how difficult it can be to work on cars; believe us, we’ve had more than our share of problems over the years, too. Good thing we’re willing to share this knowledge of problem solving with you and act like we know something technical about cars. Feel free to ask us about your tech problems by writing to Super Street at firstname.lastname@example.org or Super Street, Attn: Tech Support, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245. We’ll try out best to answer your questions but can’t answer every one we receive personally or in print, so if your issue is urgent, we highly recommend you seeking the help of a nearby mechanic! Also, try to do some basic research online; while the Internet and forums aren’t all foolproof, it is a very good start as there are many excellent resources to look at. If it helps to include a few photos to describe/illustrate your problem/project, please do so.
A Your build sounds very interesting and we wish you luck. By definition, if you’re using a stock ECU from a Skyline it is not a “standalone” system. Unfortunately most true standalones (MoTeC, AEM, etc) are very expensive and a custom harness for your application will likely cost more than the car. Unless you’ve got around $8k to spend on a computer, wiring and tuning, we’d recommending taking the long way out by hacking the factory harness to integrate into the Ford yourself.
A Using a feeler gauge is sort of like taking off a girl’s bra with one hand; you can describe it all you want but you really have to get in there and practice to get the hang of it. The more you do it the easier it is to tell when the amount of drag on the gauge is just right. Sometimes experience is the best teacher. Keep in mind the D17AZ is a VTEC engine and will have a lot of valve noise from the lost motion assemblies, regardless of valve lash.
A You’re not going to like this answer, but if we had $10k to spend on making a non-running, rotted-out AE92 better we’d spend $10 on gas and matches to burn it to the ground and the remaining $9,990 on a new car. Just sayin’.