ae86 hatch update — super duper long awaited

Soooo… I think the last update I had on my hatch was almost a year ago. When I was pulling out the 16v and dropping in my 20v. The last post featuring the hatch was 8/6 day of last year, 8 months ago. Over the last 8 months this is, in short, the progress of the hatch:

-broke down
-20v didn’t run properly
-pulled motor
-stripped interior
-swapped levin front end from coupe to hatch
-fiberglass doors
-mounted shine auto trd style wing
-new sideskirts
-custom DIY purple plastidip
-slammed
-f20c swap

I’ll pick up from where I left off from the story of the coupe:

As soon as I got the coupe up and running with the 20v, I began to focus on reviving the hatch. Which at the moment, had no front suspension and I mean NOTHING.
IMG_1611

Little did people know the real reason for swapping my hatch. Nobody knew that I was already preparing to swap a new heart into the hatch…

A few weeks after the coupe was finished, Christmas came around and I received a beautiful package from Virginia. I had been in contact with Alexander Nguyen from Living Dreams Auto Salon based out of Chantilly, VA about the old swap in his ae86. A fully functioning, drop-in f20c swap. My dream swap since high school!

IMG_1621

That same night, I was soooo eager to take everything apart and start organizing my swap — I decided to sort all the parts into different locations. All the wiring, coolant, fuel, and drivetrain in separate locations. It was a freezing cold night, but luckily Joseph came over to help and we quickly dissected the package and called it a night.

cold outside working on cars?  build a fire with your bbq haha

cold outside working on cars? build a fire with your bbq haha

IMG_1626

After getting the motor into the garage, Joseph and I decided to call it a night, since we could no longer feel our fingers or toes. Us Texans can’t handle the cold too well. With the motor safe in the garage, we passed out for the night and would continue the next night, after I get off work.

10 pm came around and Joseph was there at my pho shop waiting for me to close up so we could dive into this new swap. We had no idea would be in store after swapping a ~200 whp motor into a super light ae86 — we were soooo stoked! However, the hatch was sitting outside my garage and didn’t have any front suspension, so we could just ROLL it into the garage. But with some asian/redneck ingenuity, I figured we could use a dolly to roll the front of the hatch! And boy, it worked like a charm.

first time moving a car with a dolly

first time moving a car with a dolly

As soon as the car was in the garage, we quickly started working on the car. After talking to Alex (the guy I bought the swap from) he mentioned to me that I would have to hammer the firewall where it meats the transmission tunnel. With a 5lb hammer in my hand, I just went crazy on the body of the car.

“OH MY GOD THAISON, DON’T HAMMER A BEAUTIFUL, RARE AE86!!!” You might say…

I dunno, after hammering my fender wells the year before to fit my 15×10 -45’s, I wasn’t too phased anymore.

hammer time

hammer time

Then it was time to grab the cross-member and bolt it to the chasis with the subframe spacers. In case you didn’t know, for the f20/f22c swaps, you have you drop the front subframe ~1.75″ unless you plan on making a new transmission tunnel and hood. The motor and tranny are substantially larger than the puny stock transmission and 4age. I also ended up cutting the front radiator/core support for ease of swap.

After a lot of trial and error (about 8 times putting the motor in and pulling the motor out) Joseph was really starting to get mad at me (he had work at 7am and it was close to 2am by now). Both of us were absolutely frustrated because the new motor and tranny wasn’t fitting. I hadn’t hammered the body enough. So I had to hammer more in the transmission tunnel to clear the clutch slave and ended up cutting a hole on the top section of the transmission tunnel, where it meets the firewall — just below the holes for the heater core. THEN VIOLA! It fit like a glove.

<3

Stay tuned! I'll update tomorrow more!

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