Tuesday, 1 September 2015

The VR6 Story

The VR6 has been in the fleet for just over a year now. It wasn't a planned purchase, more an opportunity I couldn't turn down.

The car was listed on an auction site with the starting bid set to $900 NZD. Despite lots of questions and views there were still no bids. So with a minute to go on the auction I bid at $900....and got the car.

It's an ex Japan car with one New Zealand owner. It had no Warrant of Fitness but the previous owner had listed what it had failed on - ABS, engine mount and a few other things. When I picked up the car the airbag light was on. That was fixed with a replacement clock spring. Reset the ABS light and took it for a warrant. It failed , as expected, but on a completely different set of items than expected. All it need was a couple of tyres and a rear wheel bearing so later that day the VR6 was back on the road!

Unfortunately I suffer from automotive OCD do so set about getting the car up to my standard. I ordered new suspension bushes, engine and gearbox mounts, full set of filters and spark plugs and have the car a birthday. The fuel filter on the car turned out to be the factory original and some nasty black stuff poured out of it.
 Of course all these parts came from the UK or Ireland as sourcing anything locally is stupidly expensive. The week long wait for car parts to arrive is always torture.

There seemed to be a slight coolant leak from the electric water pump. Brittle with age one of the flanges was cracked. A replacement genuine one came from Latvia. The pump and a few litres of G13 coolant and all was well. 

The ABS light came back on and a trip to the local scrap yard yielded a new ABS computer, miscellaneous trim parts and a near new inlet hose from the two VR6s that were being broken.
Summer was approaching and the air con wasn't working so that was next on the list to sort. The system held pressure but the compressor wouldn't kick in and the fans weren't going. Replaced the fan control module which was rusty and falling to pieces. 
AC still no go after the change but the afterrun water pump now worked as it should. Working through the wiring diagram I traced a wiring fault between the AC switch and fan module. Once repaired the air blew nice and cold!

After driving the car for a few months there started to be a few drops of coolant on the drive. Looked like one of the coolant hoses from the crack pipe to the oil cooler. Ordered the whole crack pipe and thermostat housing and associated hoses from UROtuning and changed them out. 
After spending hours contorted in the engine bay replacing parts I was gutted when the dripping of coolant continued. Turns out the oil cooler has sprung a leak and had to wait another week for a new one to come from Dublin. Swapped out an inner CV joint as well.

Ignition leads, serpentine belt and valve cover gasket were brought over from the UK when family came to visit.

I've also upgraded the stereo and speakers and retrimmed the headliner.

The car is running great although being 17 years old there are a couple of jobs to do. There's a leak from one of the output seals in the diff. It doesn't leak much and will be dealt with when I drop the transmission out to do the timing chain. Ideally I will be doing a manual conversion at the same time. The timing chain is pretty quiet but will change it for fun. Rear axle beam bushes should get changed at some point and there's a scuff on the bumper I want to repaint.

It's a great car that makes an awesome noise and uses less petrol than you think it would.


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