Plastic is Fantastic – Part 5, the Eagle Has Landed


While the car was still in Detroit, I located a donor motor and transaxle, and got a head start on the transmission build. After disassembly and inspection of the stock gearbox, I found it was in need of a few synchros, so it was the perfect time to upgrade. I opted for a set of carbon lined units from Synchrotech. Everything else was in great shape, so I replaced a few bearings that didn’t feel absolutely perfect, along with new seals and a Kaaz 1.5 way clutch type LSD. I’ve used several different types of diffs – from welded to a Gleason Torsen, and I really prefer the action of a clutch-type for roadracing, especially in a FWD car. It seems to suit my driving style the best, and I had zero problems with the Kaaz I used in the past.

Here’s the donor motor and transaxle. An unmolested B18 LS motor out of a 1996 Integra, bone stock, no aftermarket modifications yet. This should provide us with a good basis to start from.
One greasy transaxle, drained and ready for disassembly. The oil that came out actually didn’t look too bad, which I took for a good sign.
At first glance, the inside looks exceptionally clean. No chipped teeth, and no flakes of brass floating around either. The magnet in the case had the usual light coating of very fine metal whiskers, which is normal in a gearbox of this age.
The trickiest part of working with these transaxles is removing and replacing the gear shafts. After removing the shift mechanisms and detent balls, the mainshaft, countershaft, and shift forks all have to be lifted out of the front housing as a unit. Getting it out isn’t too bad, but putting it back together takes patience, dexterity, and a third hand if you can get it.

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