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Old 08-14-2018, 11:07 PM   #1
89HondaLegend
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Default Turbo Coupe - KA3 Project Time

Yeah, so, I keep sort of disappearing and then after a random amount of time I pop up again. Anyway, hopefully this thread will be interesting, informative, completed.

I will post a link to FB at some stage, just because people favour that platform for reasons that absolutely elude me

Mods: I started this thread in the G1 section so that it's not missed by the G1 community. Please feel free to move it to the 'Legend Builds' section when you see fit.

So, the back story...
I've been working 3 jobs for 5 years now (which partly explains my random absence from the forum) and haven't had a lot of time to devote to the Legends. Also, I've had two BMW's, 2 Mercedes limousines and a couple of motorbikes.

More recently I started considering a project that I've wanted to do for over a decade. A project that, in my opinion, will see the birth of a vehicle that Honda should have offered all the way back in 1988... a pearl white Turbo KA3.
This project is 'my version' of what the 'top spec' G1 Legend should have been. It is not an unrealistic statement as I will be using basically all the parts that Honda had available to them in that era.

So the plan:

Well, I happened to be talking to a fellow Legend enthusiast in South Australia who pointed me in the direction of a very cheap JDM coupe. I had missed the listing because they had advertised it as a Honda Ledgend... after having a look at the ad and seeing that the car had been listed for over 2 years ago. I contacted the seller, however he did not respond, then the ad was removed.
One day, I jumped online and the ad had been relisted. I telephoned the seller and made the purchase. I got myself a $400 turd bucket KA3 with some big plans!

EDIT:

So, onward with the project! I organised for the car to be trucked from Adelaide to Melbourne, sight unseen. This is not the first time I've purchased a Legend sight unseen... so I had a fair idea what to expect. My first clue was when the seller told me that the trucking company wasn't going to accept the car because it had no battery. I thought battery's were included in most car sales, however I had to pay for one over the phone and pray that it would start because I then found out it hadn't been started for , oh, say, 5 years.
After being advised that the car had hit the depot in Melbourne (some ~200 miles away) I packed some tools, spare coolant hoses and hoped for the best. So I loaded up my sister's car with the spare parts and tools and we sped down the freeway to get there and back before dawn so we could get some sleep before work the next day.
The best part of the trip came when were were half way down to Melbourne, I turned to my Sister and said, "Weren't you worried when I loaded all the tools and parts in the back of the car?"
To which she of-course replied "I know you can fix it... I'd be worried if you didn't bring any tools!" (This was not her first rodeo...)

So we had a good run down, got there relatively on time and picked up the car. The seller had purchased the smallest battery I had ever seen but it started the car and we were on our way.... well for 1 mile... then we overheated...

So here it is, a man that couldn't be happier with his overheating 29 year old Legend.






Then again...



Then again...


Finally after deciding it wasn't going to hold water for more than a mile at a time I bypassed the heater core which was leaking into the cabin and we were good to go!



3/4 of the way home, we stopped to get some fresh air and stretch our legs. The car wasn't keen on starting back up. I probably should have checked the water, however I couldn't be bothered







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RIP Fut

Last edited by 89HondaLegend; 08-15-2018 at 06:35 PM.
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Old 08-15-2018, 03:50 PM   #2
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Can't wait to see the progress. I miss seeing build threads happen here on the forum. It sucks people have drifted to the FB Legend page, but I'm still around here and will be staying too.
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Old 08-15-2018, 06:18 PM   #3
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Can't wait to see the progress. I miss seeing build threads happen here on the forum. It sucks people have drifted to the FB Legend page, but I'm still around here and will be staying too.
Glad to see you here James! Hoping to see a few of the other familiar faces... Erik, Gabe, Kennon, Waseem, EarlthePearl, Alex (3GCVC) is he still around?

Fortunately I started this project a couple of months ago, so I have updates! The only down side is I don't have much time on my hands at the moment and I'm not highly motivated in the cool weather at the moment.

The car sat in front of my house for a week or two while I formulated a plan and took care of some other business. Then it was time to get started.
My brother in law helped me with the disassembly which looked like this;


























On to the unfortunate part, the donor car.
As you might have spied from some pictures above, it is my much loved KA5 Manual Turbo Sedan. This car has been around for a while and as far as we know was the first factory turbo Legend to be mated with the 5 speed manual gearbox. Unfortunately it never realised its potential as it hadn't been 'engineered' when it was brought into Australia and I didn't wish to spend the money to have that done on a car that didn't tick all of my boxes (no sunroof, no TCS, cloth seats, rust, slightly damaged rear end etc.) So I'm sorry to everyone for gutting this car, however its heart shall live on in another Legend!









The original plan was fairly straight forwards; put the C20T in the KA3 and call it a day. Plans however should always be open to suggestion and allow for new ideas... this of-course occurred as any car person would understand.
The new plan was to see if the C20T components would work on a C27 engine. After all, the worst case scenario would be some time lost, otherwise if it didn't work I could default the turbo parts back to the C20. So the following couple of pictures are of the intake manifold sitting on the C27, making it a theoretical C27T





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Last edited by 89HondaLegend; 08-15-2018 at 08:11 PM.
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Old 08-15-2018, 08:39 PM   #4
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Just for good measure, I decided to put the concept C27T into the KA5 chassis to test the theory 'before' pulling out all the wiring and working out if there were compatibility issues after installing the C27T into the KA3, smartest things I've ever thought of! I can say that because I had some less accomplished achievements such as installing everything into the KA5, engine, gearbox, however I forgot to install the flywheel :fml: The next issue was wiring the spark plug leads back in the correct order which I failed to do (what am I a N00B?) and finally the lifters in this engine are all basically fubar so they lose all pressure when it's not run for a couple of days resulting in my first start attempt going a little like this...





My second attempt went a little better, however the lifters still weren't pressurised. I was speculative about the mixture being correct after adding 0.7 in displacement and later found out that it was of-course running lean which is why it won't idle in this video...





Another video after it had warmed up and everything had settled down, still running all stock settings, ECU etc. It still stalls, however it was a lot happier.





I thought history was repeating with this engine, it looked like it was overheating, despite the temperature gauge indicating that it was somewhere in the 'safe' range. It turned out to be the heat wrap on the exhaust manifolds which had coolant and water spilled all over them throughout the removal and re-assembly.





The next day I went to get an adjustable fuel pressure regulator to try and bump up the fuel pressure in an attempt to richen up the mixture and see if the engine would run good enough 'in theory'. Long story short, this is what happened after trying to start it up from the night before with a brand new AFP installed...





The lifters were de-pressurised once again and that knocking noise was most likely some water in the #1 cylinder (more on that in a moment). Unfortunately I didn't take any other videos, however when I finally got it started, it ran quite well and sort of proved the concept. I would have liked to apply a load, however it was all guess work and hackery anyway. The test was good enough to confirm that it can work.

There was a slight miss that I couldn't clear up which I thought may have been a bad injector. I swapped injectors and the miss seemed to be on #1 and #2 cylinders at odd times, I couldn't put my finger on it. I did a compression test and realised that this motor had been overheated one too many times...










These images are basically pointless because it is of the front bank which wasn't too bad. Also, the water came out after removing the heads, I've got no idea if there was water in them prior to removing the heads, however it is unlikely there was much or any because the engine was 'running' prior to removing the heads.



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RIP Fut

Last edited by 89HondaLegend; 08-15-2018 at 09:52 PM.
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Old 08-16-2018, 08:04 AM   #5
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Just for good measure, I decided to put the concept C27T into the KA5 chassis to test the theory 'before' pulling out all the wiring and working out if there were compatibility issues after installing the C27T into the KA3, smartest things I've ever thought of! I can say that because I had some less accomplished achievements such as installing everything into the KA5, engine, gearbox, however I forgot to install the flywheel :fml: The next issue was wiring the spark plug leads back in the correct order which I failed to do (what am I a N00B?) and finally the lifters in this engine are all basically fubar so they lose all pressure when it's not run for a couple of days resulting in my first start attempt going a little like this...





My second attempt went a little better, however the lifters still weren't pressurised. I was speculative about the mixture being correct after adding 0.7 in displacement and later found out that it was of-course running lean which is why it won't idle in this video...





Another video after it had warmed up and everything had settled down, still running all stock settings, ECU etc. It still stalls, however it was a lot happier.





I thought history was repeating with this engine, it looked like it was overheating, despite the temperature gauge indicating that it was somewhere in the 'safe' range. It turned out to be the heat wrap on the exhaust manifolds which had coolant and water spilled all over them throughout the removal and re-assembly.





The next day I went to get an adjustable fuel pressure regulator to try and bump up the fuel pressure in an attempt to richen up the mixture and see if the engine would run good enough 'in theory'. Long story short, this is what happened after trying to start it up from the night before with a brand new AFP installed...





The lifters were de-pressurised once again and that knocking noise was most likely some water in the #1 cylinder (more on that in a moment). Unfortunately I didn't take any other videos, however when I finally got it started, it ran quite well and sort of proved the concept. I would have liked to apply a load, however it was all guess work and hackery anyway. The test was good enough to confirm that it can work.

There was a slight miss that I couldn't clear up which I thought may have been a bad injector. I swapped injectors and the miss seemed to be on #1 and #2 cylinders at odd times, I couldn't put my finger on it. I did a compression test and realised that this motor had been overheated one too many times...










These images are basically pointless because it is of the front bank which wasn't too bad. Also, the water came out after removing the heads, I've got no idea if there was water in them prior to removing the heads, however it is unlikely there was much or any because the engine was 'running' prior to removing the heads.



Well thatís a long standing question finally answered! So did you use the stock c27 ECU, or the c20? If you used the c27, that would explain the issues. That turbo is variable length and controlled by the ECU.
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Old 08-16-2018, 04:20 PM   #6
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Well thatís a long standing question finally answered! So did you use the stock c27 ECU, or the c20? If you used the c27, that would explain the issues. That turbo is variable length and controlled by the ECU.
I used the C20T ECU. I imagine that the injector pulse is shorter (definitely a different fuel MAP) with the smaller engine and turbo.
All the turbo functions worked fine, it is basically just the fuel mapping that I will have to work on to get it running peachy.
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Old 08-17-2018, 10:25 AM   #7
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Dude the Mad Scientist applauds and lauds you for making the decision to take "a $400 turd bucked" and do what an enthusiast (perhaps a little more adventurous one) does with their love of a Legend. I don't believe I've EVER mentioned this even to the bretheren but my first ever Legend experience was with my Dad and a brand new 1998 LS coupe that a family friend tried to sell him (shout out to Rod) from the Acura dealership when I was about 16 or 17 years old. So although I have never owned a G1 myself they have a special place in my heart and much respect.

Now I'll just pull up a chair and
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Old 08-18-2018, 12:30 AM   #8
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Dude the Mad Scientist applauds and lauds you for making the decision to take "a $400 turd bucked" and do what an enthusiast (perhaps a little more adventurous one) does with their love of a Legend. I don't believe I've EVER mentioned this even to the bretheren but my first ever Legend experience was with my Dad and a brand new 1998 LS coupe that a family friend tried to sell him (shout out to Rod) from the Acura dealership when I was about 16 or 17 years old. So although I have never owned a G1 myself they have a special place in my heart and much respect.

Now I'll just pull up a chair and
If it's good enough for the mad scientist, it's good enough for me

I really hope this build inspires anyone who has had an affiliation with G1's such as yourself. Like I said, this is not going to be filled with aftermarket mods and gizmo's, it is simply an enthusiast trying to make a good car better. With all due respect to Honda they could have done so much more with all their cars (turbo G1, V8 G2, turbo Prelude, turbo, supercharged, V8 or V12 NSX options...) which is just my opinion, however it is one which I know to be shared by many enthusiasts.



Everything on this project has been coming together so fast and with very minimal fuss. So I turned my attention to something that I expected to be rather more difficult and have had no experience with... paint. I rang a couple of paint shops to get a ball park figure for what it might cost to turn this sad silver paint job into glistening NH-515P (pearl white). I was advised that depending on the condition of the body work... not great... It would be $10-15K (Australian Dollars). No matter the denomination it was a bit pricey for me. So I had a chat with another forum member (none other than B+O) who said "Hey, why not do it yourself?" Apart from the obvious answer, ' I will probably do a truly awful job' I saw no reason not to give it a go. Thanks to Bang for the motivation to try something new... I just hope I'm not half as bad at painting as I think I will be

With that in mind, I decided that I'd increase my chances of producing something half decent. That would require purchasing another coupe that was already white. (That makes sense right? ) Plus I really wanted another C27 as the one out of the JDM appeared to have sludge in the cylinder sleeves, most likely from an attempt to fix the coolant loss with that God awful cheap head gasket repair goop

After searching for a while I came across the only white coupe for sale I could find. I had an awkward discussion with the seller who got offended when we started talking price. After much backwards and forwards we made a deal.

Presenting the next piece of the project puzzle!

Take a look at that hood ornament!







This car is in really good condition and the motor is absolutely mint! It pulls hard, didn't overheat, oil was clean, basically well maintained and cared for. It did tick, probably more than any other Legend I've ever owned in my life, I got the impression that the old man who owned it probably babied it and only drove it around town. Perfect donor to mate the wing turbo to!







This is the last time it will ever run as a N/A C27





While I absolutely love the coupe look and design, I make it no secret that I am not a fan of 2 doors. Having said that...










Before I had committed to do an entire re-spray I touched up the inside with some white spray paint.
The previous owner had put some silver rust protection paint over the seat mounts. I also believe this was a smokers car at one stage which I couldn't deal with so it had to be entirely gutted and cleaned up/repainted.











I found out that the previous owner had a real fear of rust. He had basically tarred the engine bay, siliconed the rear tail lights and painted various parts of the car in what I assume was an attempt to keep it from rusting.
While his intentions may have been good, all of his efforts were focused in areas that I have never seen Legends rust





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RIP Fut

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Old 08-18-2018, 06:50 AM   #9
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Amazing work as always Steven! Looking forward to following this!

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Old 08-18-2018, 09:16 AM   #10
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Amazing work as always Steven! Looking forward to following this!

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Great to have you on board Gabe!

I welcome any feedback or ideas from members. I want this to be an iconic car.
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