My 2020 can be summed up in two words- Broken EJ. Let's set the scene, one Legacy, one bloke a bit too hungry for another PSI. Most people will already be aware that a stock block EJ isn't the world's strongest motor, let alone one built nearly 30 years ago with no history. But that didn't stop ya boy here from cranking up that boost and putting the foot down.
Then it all went wrong. Yep, that heart shattering moment when you come to the realisation you went that bit too far and your poor car has taken all the abuse it can sustain. HeAdGaSkEt? Nope. BiG eNd? Nope. Two broken pistons? Yep.
I'm sure a few out there can relate to the emotions at this point. You know there's no turning back, the damage is done, but the size of the task and the path forward is a bit daunting at this point. Engines are complicated, they're expensive, not the sort of thing you can casually resurrect and certainly not without holding your bank account to ransom.
Except that’s where I was perhaps mistaken. I have had my fair share of experience working on cars, particularly RS Turbos/Gen 1 Legacys. Call it my reward for persisting with one type of car for so long. I had already done an engine swap too, but the whole building an engine from scratch, that was daunting. Cue my amazing friends at Techworkz Automotive. Mick held my hand and guided me through the assembly of the short motor and I must say, provided you take your time, it's not an overly complicated process. Gap the rings, assemble the rods and crank, put the case halves together and carefully tap the pistons into the bores. Lance then watched over as I put the heads on,
timed the engine and got the rest ready to drop into the car.
It had gone from an absolute disaster to an enjoyable and valuable lesson. Not only was I armed with the skills to rebuild my engine, but I took the opportunity to clean and assemble an engine ten times better than what was in there before. I wasn't really sure when I started if I could pull it off, but with hindsight it was one of my most rewarding experiences to date. In the end I went from wanting to hide the engine bay, to showing it off. It's nothing epic, but the effort that went into it is something I'm proud of. I also want to thank Mick and Lance for their time and guidance, I certainly didn’t do it alone.
There's never a good time to blow your engine to bits, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a dagger through the heart either. It can also be the opportunity you need to clean up that bay or take your own skills to the next level.