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Thread: My VR-4 Build Diary--and life story(long read)

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    My VR-4 Build Diary--and life story(long read)

    My obsession with these cars started way back when I was in grade school. I don’t remember exactly when I saw the first one, but it was the wide stance of these cars made me fall in love with them…especially the rear end.

    The 3000GT VR-4 was the car of my dreams. I didn’t want anything else. Back in high school, I used to drive by all the Mitsu dealers around my town to check out the VR-4’s in the showrooms and parking lots…it was a hobby of mine. Anytime I was doing anything, if I laid eyes on a VR-4 parked anywhere I would immediately tell whoever was driving to stop and turn back around and take me to the car..lol

    I used go to the libraries and read through the old publications of Road and Track, Car and Driver, Motortrend, Turbo, etc…every article that was published about these cars, I read over and over again. It was always disappointing to me that the VR-4 rarely placed 1st, but it didn’t diminish the love that I had for the car.

    The first chance to drive a VR-4 came in my junior year of high school. I had saved up about 9k and found a red 93 VR-4 for sale not too far from where I lived. I took my mom with me and actually test drove the car! Looking back, I don’t know how the owner of that car let me (a high school kid) test drive his VR-4…The car was perfect, I was ready to give him my wad of cash, but for one reason or another, I didn’t get the car. I’m glad I didn’t, otherwise I would’ve been broke for the rest of my life…

    My love and obsession with these cars only grew over time. I promised myself that I would probably never own one only because I liked the car too much it would make me broke and make me make stupid decisions. The closest I ever got to these cars was going to a few NG’s and making a video of one.

    3000GT/Stealth 2006 National Gathering St. Joseph,


    Fast forward a few years. 2010, I’ve graduated from college, got my degree, Ive been blessed to own and manage run my own repair shop (with my brothers) for about two years now…and thank God things are going pretty well. I’ve got a crotch rocket, a turbo miata and a camry as a daily driver. I’ve been lurking and posting on 3si since 2001…every so often just checking the classifieds, my curiosity getting the most of me.

    So one day browsing the classifieds I find a Sorrento Red 95 VR-4 for sale. Mostly stock, sunroof (It was a must for me!! If I was ever going to own one…) and owned by an older gentleman. Relatively low miles and it was fairly priced too….so I told a few friends just for kicks and made nothing of it.



    Well the car remained in the classifieds for some time….and each day as it sat, I somehow convinced myself that it wasn’t too expensive and I could just buy it and keep it relatively stock and just enjoy it for what it was. So I called the owner of the car just to get a few details and just ask a few questions….and before I knew it, the 95 VR-4 which called Texas home was coming to Chicago!

    Now this is where the fun starts. So the day comes, August 25th, 2010 my VR-4 officially arrives at a trucking port/hub in Illinois, about 30 miles away from my house. It was gonna take the shipping company an additional two days to bring the car from the port to my garage. I couldn’t wait…I called headquarters and told them I was coming to get MY own VR-4(I still couldn’t believe it..!)

    So I arrive, show ID, pay them off and grab the keys to my VR-4...and I’m off!! The drive back to the shop was amazing, it was a nice day, sunny and I had the sunroof open and I was just cruising in my very own VR-4! It was unreal, I actually now owned the car of my dreams, the keys that I had in my hands were for my own VR-4…I still couldn’t believe it…!!!



    So I arrive at the shop, all my friends are there waiting to congratulate me, I pull into the shop, with a huge grin on my face unable to control myself. I let the car cool down and shut her off and pop the hood to show everyone my new pride and joy…everyone was happy for me…

    Now its time for test drives, I gotta show them what 320hp Twin Turbo’s are all about…So I start the car and hear an awful sound, sounded like lifter tick but louder. In the back of my head I was like no way, it can’t be a spun bearing. No way. So I rev the car and it got louder (the knock). Was this for real? Its gotta be the lifters. I recheck the oil level, (I checked it before I left the shipping facility) and oil level is fine…I didn’t want to believe it, but this was the reality. My VR-4 had spun a bearing. I drove it 38.6 miles exactly now my car sat with a spun bearing. The car of my dreams had a spun bearing. This was unreal. I knew it was a problem with these cars but never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I was going to be a part of the Spun Bearing Club…well now it was reality and this was it.

    And so, that was the beginning of my project…

    I’ve owned a few DSM’s…great cars…had a lot of fun with them. Ive also owned two miata’s also very nice and fun little cars…Ive had my fair share of projects so this wasn’t anything new to me, the only difference was this time I didn’t have a choice..

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    First day in Chicago...


    The texas heat really took a toll on the clearcoat and paintjob..


    It came with 13T's..


    Interior is 9/10...Active Aero works and so does the ECS..


    A few hours later with a couple of buddies and this was the end result..


    Neatly organized...


    Last edited by NOMIEZVR4; 06-23-2011 at 06:47 PM.

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    The car will be completely black when I am done with it, so this was the perfect time to paint the engine bay...and delete a few things that I didn't want...

    Before


    The magic stuff...


    After..No more ABS, Cruise Control and Emissions..


    Took off the bumper, Front plastic shrouding, etc..to sand and prep for paint..


    Getting ready for paint..


    Let the painting begin!!


    Last edited by NOMIEZVR4; 06-23-2011 at 06:47 PM.

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    The finished result...






    Now the car sat for a few months like this while I waited for parts..and machine work to be completed...



    After months of waiting, I finally got my block back...Wiseco .60 pistons, Spool Rods and a fully balanced rotating assembly..now it was time for paint!


    I think it came out pretty good...





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    Brother helping with the heads..


    Primered them first..








    Putting it all together again now...






    It looks amazing..

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    Stock heads..




    SS Exhaust Studs


    I also upgraded turbo's...had my 13T's converted to 19T's via Midwest Turbo Connection..



    My 19t next to a evoIII 16g..(16g on left)


    I also ported my manifolds and turbo hotsides...these things are TINY!! I come from the world of DSM's and tdo5 turbos...I was so dissapointed when I saw the hotsides...


    Both turbos ported


    Manifolds were ported...I welded the front one also


    Last edited by NOMIEZVR4; 06-23-2011 at 07:11 PM.

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    I also got Rays BHB...and upgraded to the JDM Gear


    Welded..


    Painted


    The finished project!! (thats me in the pic..)



    I filled the stock mounts with 3M Windoweld..I hate solid mounts but wanted something more durable than the stockers..








    I just fired her up last nite after 9 months FINALLY!! and so far so good, oil pressure is great, I think my oilpan has a slight seep but otherwise she is purring like a kitten..

    Thanks for looking!! Up next is breaking the engine in, Full 99 conversion then upping boost and fuel mods/fmic...stay tuned!!

    Nomie
    Last edited by NOMIEZVR4; 06-23-2011 at 07:08 PM.

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    | @/|/| +|2()|/| verified Feedback Score 6 (100%) terrets's Avatar
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    Verryyy nice looking car! And bay, that bay is sexyyy.

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    Thanks, I have a battery relocation planned next in line and I'm going to get rid of the goofy couplers and hoses..I just wanted to get it together..

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    First of all, I didn't know (or maybe I forgot) you bought a VR4! I've always enjoyed your banter in my threads so it was great to read this story until it took the terrible twist.

    Something tells me the engine had spun a bearing while the previous guy owned it. He dropped the pan and replaced the bearings so he could sell it. It's just way too coincidental for me to accept as "bad luck".

    Anyway, glad to see you stuck with it! Looks like you did great work.

    Regarding painting the heads -- It looks like you didn't mask anything off... Are you worried about paint chipping off the cam bearing blocks? Did you allow paint to get onto the mating surface of the head??? You've got enough turbo to lift the heads if everything isn't just right.




    Also, in the shot of your intake ports... It looks like whoever did it didn't remove the valve guides. They cut down into the valve guides and left extremely thin aluminum around them. I'm no expert on head porting but this doesn't look like acceptable work to me. Hopefully it will be inconsequential.



    This is more like what I would have expected:



    Anyway, I don't mean to be a debby downer Congrats! I bet that thing will fly when you turn up the boost!

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