K20 project off to a good start


True Classic

Yes, the seats are leather, except for the Alcantara. The door cards are vinyl but they match the leather nicely. Yes, I also had the upholstery shop do the shift boot to match.

Thanks for the link to the LSD install. I have the factory shop manual but the article is a nice step by step with great photos.


True Classic
Finally starting to put it back together

Well it seems like it has been nothing but taking things apart, cleaning the grease and grime off of everything, sandblasting, painting, etc. Finally, yesterday I actually got to put something back on the car:dance2:. It was only the brake lines, but it is a start.

I have the engine pretty much back together. Just need to get the transmission back together with the limited slip and then it will be ready to reattach to the engine.

Here is a before:

Here is it as of yesterday:





My next step is to get the front suspension back on so I can get it off the rotisserie and then put the engine in to work out the plumbing, wiring and intake. The to do list is endless but at least it seems like I am moving forward now instead of backwards.
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Darin Nelson
Nice Rodger!

Looks great! Did you have a coating done on the valve cover? I dig it. One question on your brake lines: did you get all new ones, and if so where did you source them? Did you bend them yourself?

BTW, I thought you mentioned you were going to put on AC? I don't see that yet. Looking forward to posts regarding AC for sure - and your LSD (I think I remember you mentioning picking up a Quaife).

New alternator to it looks like (I know - those aren't cheap :king:).

Keep up the work. I should start a thread for my project, but I'm just so lazy :)


True Classic

The valve cover is a Honda part. This is what comes on a JDM Civic Type R (I think). I could have had mine coated, but I liked the red Honda one better.

The brake and clutch lines are all my originals. They were actually in good shape and I was able to get them all apart with minimal rounding of the fittings. The Vice-grip style hex wrenches from MWB are the only way to go to get the stubborn ones loose without damaging them.

The AC is still planned, but I need to get the engine in the car to figure out how and where to mount the compressor so it will fit. That is why the engine does not have the extra pulley from the MWB kit on it, as that is where the compressor will most likely go.

Lastly, the alternator is a rebuilt one I got from O'Reilly's Auto Parts locally. The original alternator was fine but really dirty, and taking it apart looked kind of complicated. The rebuilt one was about $170. I also put in a new water pump, new tensioner, as well as replaced just about every oil seal and o-ring on the engine and transmission.


True Classic
oooh purty!

That's about as pretty as an IL4 engine can get! You are (obviously) building this to a high standard which is really nice to see. Hope it doesn't preclude you from getting it out into the world of idiots and using its potential. Thanks for sharing the progress.


True Classic
Transmission done and on the subframe!

Well I can finally close the chapter on the engine/transmission reconditioning. :dance2: Got the M Factory LSD together,

remembered how all of the insides went back together,

closed it up and put it back on the engine,


and got it on the subframe.

Next up is to work on the air conditioning retrofit with the Old Air Hurricane unit that I started in this thread http://xwebforums.com/forum/index.php?threads/25483. This was before I got the K20 bug so I spent a bunch of time on the compressor mounting to a 1500, but I want to get the main evaporator unit mounted under the dashboard of the X and then get the plumbing run. It is a lot easier to work on this phase with the X still on the rotisserie.
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True Classic
Pedal box restoration complete

So I finally wrapped up the air conditioning part of this project, at least as much as I can do at this point. I need to get more of the car together to finish it. I was starting to work on the wiring harness, but needed to take a break from it for a while, so I decided to finish up the pedal box. Here is what mine looked like as it came out of the car. The brake master did not work.
Pedal box before.JPG

I was really inspired, as I know we all were, with Bernice’s write up on her ’74 pedal box restoration. :worship: http://xwebforums.com/forum/index.php?threads/25800 Her skills, knowledge, and attention to detail are amazing. I could not hope to replicate what she did, but I did want to do it as well as I could. I did reach out to her regarding the bronze bushing she made. It turns out that for the best performance, they are custom made for the individual box and pedals, based on their precise dimensions. She generously offered to machine one for me as a contribution to my project. I sent her my box frame, the pedals, and assorted parts after I had them all powder coated and/replated. She machined the bushing and then reassembled the box with the pedals for me to add the master cylinders.

Here is a close up of the modified clutch pedal.
Pedal box restore 03.JPG

The K20 kit from MWB includes a recommendation to move the attachment point of the push rod for the clutch pedal, closer to the pivot point of the pedal by about 1/2 inch. This is to compensate for the shorter travel of the Honda slave cylinder to disengage the clutch. I removed the original shaft, redrilled the hole closer, then had it welded in place.

My car had the original Fiat clutch and brake master cylinders. Based on some of the issues it seems like some of the aftermarket cylinders have, I took Bernice’s advice and sent mine in to Karp’s Power Brake for stainless steel resleeving and rebuilding. She recommended that I purchase a couple of NOS Strada brake master cylinders on eBay and send them along to use for the internal parts. Karp’s only needed to use one of them as it was good inside, so I have one more to use for when I need to do my ’79 cylinder. The major delay on this phase was the slow turnaround time at Karp’s. I had to call them several times to get them done. They are very busy and mine kept getting put aside. In all, it was 3-4 months before I got them back. I’m sure they did a good job, but don’t be in hurry to get them back if you go this route.

The other issue was the inlet fitting for the clutch cylinder. Bernice’s thread mentions this and she fabricated a custom one and tapped the cylinder for it. The original design uses a plastic fitting with an o-ring that is held in place with a toothed lock washer. The original got pretty beat up in the process of getting it out. I got the cylinder back from Karp’s with no inlet fitting as they did not have one that would fit. Fortunately, I located one on Chris Obert’s website, got a new o-ring to match the original size and found a toothed washer at my local hardware store that was a perfect fit over the spout and would grab the inside wall of the cylinder. I bought a cheap 5/8” tall socket and drilled a hole through the side it so it would fit over the spout, then used that to press the toothed washer down. It appears to be a nice tight fit, but I will find out for sure once it is installed and brake fluid added.
Clutch master.JPG

The plastic brake master supply inlets are readily available from most of our vendors. The rubber grommets that hold them came from the Strada cylinder.
Brake master.JPG

The astute members with sharp eyes may notice that when I got the brake master back from Karp's, they had mistakenly installed the cylinder end outlet from the Strada cylinder instead of the closed end plug that the X uses. They had sent all of the used rusty parts in a bag, which I tossed because I did not notice the issue with the cylinder until I was installing it a couple of weeks later. I assume the plug was in the bag I tossed. :sigh: Fortunately, my mechanic friend, Tino, was able to scrounge one for me, so I was able to remove the Strada one, anneal the copper washer to re-use it, and place the correct end plug.

Bernice was also nice enough to send me two new SAE grade 8 long bolts to attach the master cylinders to the box, as well as the Gates supply tubing. I shortened the threads, and used a few extra washers on one of them as the shank is a bit too long for the stock set-up. Here is the whole pedal box assembled and ready to install.
Pedal box restore 07.JPG

Pedal box restore 08.JPG

Pedal box restore 10.JPG

Pedal box restore 11.JPG

I can’t thank Bernice enough for her guidance and generosity on this project. :heart::heart::heart:

I also finished up restoring the radiator fans so I can get these parts back on the car.

Next will probably be installing the front suspension and steering rack. Then back to the wiring harness.
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Tim Hoover

I wish you had some before/after of this mod. I did NOT do this mod and I am TIRED of the near top engagement of the clutch...

Well done - as usual.


True Classic
Here's what I did

Here is a picture of the clutch pedal pivot area before I took it apart.
Clutch pedal before.JPG

The shaft where the push rod attaches is welded on the back side of the pedal arm. I ground off the weld "lump" and was able to drive the shaft out of the hole. I then made a mark for a new hole, 1/2 inch closer to the pivot shaft and drilled the corresponding hole for the shaft. I had the body shop that did all of my other work weld the shaft from the back. They then ground off the excess part with the original hole.

The new location does put the push rod at an angle to the master cylinder, but it seems to work just fine when I push the clutch pedal. I am just relying on the guidelines from MWB that were in the notes that came with the K20 swap kit.

Since you did not make this mod and you say that the clutch engages near the top all the time, do you think that had anything to do with why you had to replace the clutch recently?
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True Classic
Gas tank in, firewall done

Thought I would share a few photos of my latest progress. I installed the gas tank and filler neck. I had the original tank etched and sealed and cleaned up the filler neck and replaced the hose.

Here are some photos of the firewall as it came back from the body shop.


Here it is with the insulation in place, the fuel sender cover installed, the inside ducts in place and the brake lines installed but not tied down yet. I also installed new cables for the trunk and engine cover releases before I put the duct in place.

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True Classic
Beautiful :)

No access point from the cabin, though? Or does a section of the heat sheild remove?
You had to mention that didn't you! Here I have been oblivious with my 76 and now I realize a later year would have made engine work so much easier. Gee thanks :p
It does look gorgeous in there though doesn't it. Nice job.


True Classic
Access panel

Yes, there is a large access panel that comes off. You can see the size of the opening in one of the before pictures. I just tried to get the insulation on the panel trimmed exactly to fit the opening so it would be as effective as possible. I really want to try and keep the cabin as quiet as I can, considering.


Tim Hoover
Yes, there is a large access panel that comes off. You can see the size of the opening in one of the before pictures. I just tried to get the insulation on the panel trimmed exactly to fit the opening so it would be as effective as possible. I really want to try and keep the cabin as quiet as I can, considering.
Rodger - I added a thicker layer of insulation to the back of the access panel, like 1" or more. HUGE difference in sound and heat in the cabin once I did that.

I also just noticed the cooling vent on the passenger side is installed. I don't have mine in since I have the SC oil sump and lines there, but I also wonder if it will get in the way for you some. You might want to consider shortening the end that is closest to the engine or maybe just minimize the bolts that attach it to make it easy to pop in/out?


True Classic
Thanks for the advice

I did shorten the duct on the passenger side so it does not stick out past the frame rail so I think I am good. I do plan to add more insulation on the other side of the firewall. I am going to try and fit a small subwoofer in the space I have left.