Returned home from a fine week's snowboarding in the Alps to find that my engine and box are ready. The engineer delivered it back to me last night, and it all looks very neat:
The bellhousing is mated to the engine by an adaptor plate:
The gearbox input shaft was a bit too short to reach the crankshaft - not surprising because the alfa one didn't actually bear in the crankshaft at all, but was supported by the clutch release bearing. So the input shaft has been extended by bonding in a hardened steel pin (arrowed), which fits into a roller bearing that has been pressed into the end of the crankshaft. The right hand pic below shows it all in place.
The splines on the honda input shaft don't cover much of the length of the shaft, compared to the alfa one. But it looks as if it should be in about the right place for the clutch plate. If not, they can take down the thickness of the adaptor plate a touch to bring it closer to the flywheel.
This has, as expected, cost rather a lot - more than the price of the engine and box put together. Part of the reason for this is that they stripped the gearbox down, which as it turned out they didn't need to do in the end. But that's how things go when you're dealing with the unknown.
I still need to sort out a clutch (which I'm sure is going to be an adventure in itself). But that can wait, I can now ship the engine down to Dax so that they can build me a chassis to fit. I've booked a van for a couple of day's time to take it down - while I'm there I will also be finalising the other parts of the build, like colour.
Took a day off last week and shipped the engine and box down to Dax. I naturally chose the day which had severe weather warnings across the whole country because of heavy snow, but managed to do the 4-and-a-bit hour (each way) journey without too much trouble.
Had a bit of a surprise when I got down there. Simon took me into the workshop and showed me my chassis, sat on the bench almost complete. So it's finally real. Spent a bit of time finalising the last of the options:
Plus build packs 1-5 (I think it was - basically everything mechanical such as brakes, suspension etc, but not brightwork, gauges, seats etc which I will sort out as I go). So that was that.
The next night I had a go at fitting the final driveshaft boot, which Alex kindly sent me the other week. At first glance it really doesn't look as if it will fit, and after struggling for an hour I was begining to wonder. However, with an extra pair of hands drafted in, and a couple of pairs of pliers, it popped on in minutes. It does seem rather too undersized from a pure mechanical point of view, and I suspect its life will be somewhat shorter than the others, but I dare say it will be fine:
So that's about it for work I can do until I pick up the kit in a few weeks time. Really looking forwards to finally getting my hands on it all.
Well, a few weeks have passed and I'm still waiting. My chassis is done, and apparently the engine fits in without any problems. There is a delay on the fiberglass however - Dax told me last week that it should be done by the middle of this week, so hopefully not too much longer to wait.
In the meantime I have managed to source some inlet runners from a 3.2 GTA. The runners on the Alfa 164 engine, which I have, are smaller, and a known restriction to airflow. Alfa used larger, 45mm runners on the tuned "Cloverleaf" version of the 164, and on later versions of the v6 such as the 166 and GTA. Using these larger runners is generally reckoned to be worth 10-20 bhp on their own, which is about as easy as tuning gets. Of course, this means that they are as rare as rocking horse poo, so I'm dead pleased to have got hold of them. They're also in better condition than the ones on my engine, and shiny is good.
I've also decided that I'm going to by a lathe - various other builders have confirmed my thoughts that it would be a very useful thing to have, so I'm currently trawling eBay for a suitable bargain.