Plastic is Fantastic – Part 5, the Eagle Has Landed


Here’s the first down-tube tacked in place. I’ve tied into the main hoop right behind where the side hoop meets the main hoop, and I’ll do the same on the other side.
Here’s the completed frame rails and rear cage structure. Not only does this provide us with the necessary driver protection, but it also provides an extremely rigid structure for us to mount the IRS module.

Meanwhile, back at the other end of the car, it was time to start on the driveline swap. The EW motor was set up with a dry-sump oiling system. I debated back and forth on whether to set the B18 up for dry-sump oiling, and decided that if I could adapt the existing system to the new motor, then all I would need to do is buy or build a dry-sump pan. With that in mind, out came the old motor and transaxle. The gearbox is actually a very trick piece, made by Houseman Autosport in London, Ontario, featuring a close ratio, dog-engagement, straight cut gearset with a limited slip differential. This transmission built was based on the 86-89 Integra gearbox, with the clutch housing adapted for use on the EW motor. Another GT-Lite racer was interested in the transaxle, but his car is set up to use the original Integra clutch housing. Fortunately, the car came with a spare, stock Integra gearbox, so I was able to swap the housings and send the tranny off to a new home. I’ve included a picture of the gearset so you can get a peek inside this trick piece of machine work.


Moving to the front – time to bid a fond farewell to the trusty EW 3-valve. It’s a testament to Honda engineering that these engines can still be competitive 40 years after their introduction. It may find a home in another car, but for now it has a comfortable spot in a corner of the shop.
As promised, here’s a shot of the internals of the trick dog engagement gearbox. Note the straight-cut gears, and a good view of the dog engagement system as well. With a dog-box, the transmission can (and should) be up-shifted very quickly, without any need to disengage the clutch. Just ease off the throttle a little to unload the dogs and flick it into the next gear. Proper downshifting is done with the clutch, but, again, the shift should happen quickly! Over the course of a lap, the amount of time saved shifting can easily equate to significantly faster lap times. Too bad we won’t have this luxury with the B-series drivetrain, but we’ll need the weight break anyway.

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