Author Archive: wae

Back to the Car

The project has been on semi-permanent hold for the last year or so due to a multitude of factors, not the least of which is a lack of time and garage space. I have, however, managed to tear down the paint booth for the Mazda while i wait for the temperature to come back up, so I have room to work on the Neon. I dug in to the AN plumbing that I have on hand was able to remove the oil pressure sender and its associated tee. With that thrown into the trash heap, I wrapped the NPT threads in teflon tape and torqued down the 3/8″ NPT to -6 AN adapter plug. I put the -6 AN female hose end on the -6 hose and attached it to the oil pressure port, and then ran the line up to the turbo’s oil input.

In a fit of pure stupidity, I managed to purchase a tube nut and sleeve for the oil input. As well as female hose ends (which, as best I can tell, are the only hose ends available). Since I lack a tubing bead roller, I went searching for the appropriate adaptater, which I found from Jegs. Once it arrives, I can put a male -6 on the 3/8 tube that goes to the oil input, push the -6 female hose end onto the hose, and then (hopefully) seal up the oil system. Once that’s done, we’ll back out of the driveway for another pressure test and see what happens.

If that doesn’t fix the oil leak, then we’ll go ahead and drop the oil pan and set up the oil return line with AN fittings as well, but it really looks like the oil is leaking on the input side.

Also en route from Jegs are 4 pair of hood pins. We’ll go ahead and remove the hinges on the hood and trunk, as well as all the associated catch and release mechanisms, and pin them down.

Started Taking Stuff Apart Again…

The parts are flying off the car already! Despite yet another wrenched back, I went out and started taking the oil input apart. I was able to remove the hard line to the turbo, the rubber hose, and the hose barb, but I don’t seem to be able to get to the oil pressure sender connector latch — it’s in a place that human hands attached to a wrenched back just can’t reach.

In other news, I’ve also started taking some of the wiring apart to try to clean up the engine bay a bit. I think I need to find a little bit of scrap steel to make a new bracket to hold the under-hood relay box off to the side so it doesn’t interfere with the shift linkage.

It Wasn’t the Return Hose

Just got back in from the garage. I’ve been just piddling around a little here and there on the car, and have done two things to try to abate the oil leaks. First, I shortened the turbo oil drain hose by about 4 inches to take the low spot out of the hose. Second, I replaced the spring-type clamps with screw-type to make sure I had a good seal on the drain hose. After taking the car for a quick spin, I found that neither of those have actually worked.

I’m thinking that the oil is coming from either the pressure sender tee assembly, or from the drain line flange off the turbo. To test the pressure sender tee assembly, I’ll remove the whole thing from the car, disconnecting only the electrical connection from the sender, the thread into the block and the thread into the turbo. I’ll get a cap for the thread into the block (3/8 NPT, for future reference), and then apply pressure on the turbo side. If I get leaks, then there’s my problem. If I get no leaks, I’ll see about building a new flange for the drain line, only this time I’ll weld on an AN -10 fitting, put an AN -10 fitting on the oil pan, and use some braided hose between the two.

It’s Been a While…

Having a new baby around is a truly wonderful thing, but there’s been way too much happening on that front to be able to get out and fight the battle of the leak.

In an attempt to get the car street-able, I’ve bought some switches and started installing them. Of course, along the way, I started to wonder why I wasn’t just using the stock control. Deciding that was actually the smart way to go, I found it in a box in the basement and dragged it out. I’ve re-built the connector that I had hacked apart to connect up various switches, but stunningly, it doesn’t work at all. In fact, not only do the turn signals not work, now the brake lights are broken again, too. Bonus.

In other news, I’ve been giving the oil spray a little more thought. Basically, there’s one of three things going on:

  • There is an actual hole or loose connection in the turbo oil plumbing
  • There is too much crankcase pressure that isn’t getting vented
  • The oil drain is getting backed up.

If the problem is a hole, then there should always be leakage, and it appears that we only get spray under boost. If there’s a loose connection, though, it could be “good enough” for regular pressure, but once the crankcase pressure builds, oil could leak past the seal. That leak, then, could be:

  • Oil pressure sender nipple to block
  • Oil pressure sender nipple to OPS
  • Oil pressure sender nipple to turbo inlet
  • Oil inlet connection
  • Connection from oil inlet to turbo
  • Connection from turbo to oil output
  • Oil output metal-to-rubber connection
  • Oil output rubber-to-pan-barb connection
  • Oil pan barb
  • Oil pan gasket

I’m doubting that it’s anything at the pan, since the oil-spray is hitting a bit higher and there’s a whole lot of steering parts in the way. I suspect that there’s a little too much car in the way for the oil pressure sender plumbing to be the cause, but it’s not impossible.

If the problem is that the oil drain is getting backed up, then there are two things that could solve the problem. Either a flow restrictor needs to be put in the oil inlet line to slow down the flow going in, or the oil drain hose needs to be replaced with something a little more direct.

Took a Test Drive

I went out tonight for a little drive up the hill in the car. Boy does it pull hard! Bad news, though, is that the catch-can had zero oil in it, and the street now has lots of oil on it. So, still not fixed…

The Future of the Car

I stopped by the Courthouse today and chatted with the Sheriff. As it turns out, I would need to make the following modifications in order to get a rebuilt title for the car and get it tagged:


  • Re-install side-view mirror
  • Re-install the front parking lights
  • Install a switch for high-beams
  • Install switches for turn signals
  • Secure passenger seat
  • Re-install rear-view mirrorInterestingly enough, airbags are not required.Anyway… After looking at the wiring diagrams, I need to go to RadioSnack and get (2) 275-711 and (1) 275-730 switches at $2.99 (plus tax) each.

    Turn Signals: The pink wire should be the output from the flasher unit. Switching that to the Tan should activate the right turn signals, and switching it to the brown/red should activate the left turn signals.

    High-Beam: Switching light green/white to red/orange should provide power to the high-beams.

    Wipers: On a SPDT switch, using dark blue as the input and switching it to dark green/yellow should park the motor, and switching it to red/yellow should run the wipers on “high”.

    I’ll need to source some ovalish amber lights to use in place of the factory front turns/parking lights, since I only have one original, but then all of the electrical project should be okay, and I can move to putting the mirrors on for the inspection.

The Re-build begins

Tonight, I pulled out the intercooler piping made of PVC and sprayed it black. Looks much better now.

At the same time, I also built a catch can out of a bit of PVC, the cap from the black spray paint can, a paper towel, some left over vaccum line from the evap system, four zip ties, and (of course) some duct tape. I strongly suspect that the oil was spraying from the turbo return lines because blow-by was pressurizing the crankcase and the easiest way out for that pressure was the return hose and fittings.

Recap of $2006

The $2006 Challenge was a major disappointment for the Turbo Neon. It pretty much went like this:

– Blew exhaust off car before the autocross
– Wrenched my back
– Blew off an intercooler hose, prevent the car from hitting boost
– Lost an injector’s electrical connection, preventing the car from running on four cylinders.
– Blew a coolant line, fouling the drag strip.
– Fuel map too lean.
– Spark map too retarded.
– Blew an oil line, fouling the drag strip yet again.

When the dust cleared, we managed a mighty 15.8-something ET, being beat handily by a stock Neon that someone else brought down. After discussions on the way back from Gainesville, we decided that the primary cause of our miserable failure was that we brough an untested and unproven car. The reason for that was simply that we didn’t spend the time that needed to be spent on the car. Based on what other folks are seeing with a similar setup, we should have been in the top 15 at the autocross and running at least a 14 second quarter mile. Our goal is to return with the car in $2007 with all those problems sorted.

The car is a 1997 Dodge Neon Sport Coupe, which was purchased from a friend of a friend of my wife in mid 2005 for $100, plus $260 in transportation. Through the magic of sell-downs, the car is now worth $0 in the budget. I bought a used SRT-4 turbofold, injectors, intercooler, and plumbing, moved the battery to the rear, stripped out the power steering, A/C, interior, hood bracing, bumper supports, cruise control, and anything else that I could get my hands on. The car came with collision damage, so we bent the core support back out, replaced the radiator and the fender, and put window nets in to replace the busted glass. To meet the fuel demands of a turbocharged engine, a MegaSquirt v2,2 kit was bought, converted to MSnS-E, and installed. When it was all done, the total cost in the budget came to $843.98.