Previously, the shell swap was finished. So what's this "one more part" about? Well, that's not the end of the story. You see, there's a lot to do after finishing "put it together" for a project like this.
Unlike every other post, I'm dividing this one into two parts which will somewhat overlap chronologically, but will make the post a lot easier to follow. The first half is the fresh "new" car itself.
The first issue to appear in test drive(s) was that the horn didn't work. After much troubleshooting (including going deaf after accidentally setting the alarm off inside the closed garage, I determined that the clock spring (one of few parts not swapped from the other car...) was bad.
Fortunately, when you just finished putting a car together from its component pieces, this sort of thing is easy to swap out. The good clockspring in fact fixed the horn (and cruise control) so that's good.
Around this time I noticed as well that I was leaving power steering fluid anywhere I stopped. A quick investigation pointed to the double crush washer on the pump outlet. I'm 60/40 on reusing such things, and this was the 40% that leaked.
Once again, easy enough to fix - I took the crush washer(s) out, got it red hot with a torch and let it cool back down to anneal it, and reinstalled + torque to spec. No more leaks!
Next up? Alignment.
My favorite alignment shop was booking three weeks out, so in typical fashion I said "fine I'll do it myself" and broke out the toe plates, string, and camber gauge. The string is still necessary to set the thrust angle (i.e. make sure the rear wheels are pointing straight ahead), and gives a nice sanity check on toe.
I did end up having to buy camber bolts for the rear to take camber out of it. These springs, while OEM parts, lower the car over an inch (depending which forum thread you read, they're either STI springs, re-branded Eibachs, or both). Stock there's no rear camber adjustment, but I don't have enough stock in rubber companies to want to run nearly -2deg of camber on a daily driven car.
Here's the results for the curious. It's worth noting the "before" is after I roughed the front end a day or two prior to get the wheel almost-centered and address the 1/2" of toe out it had. Angles are camber. I didn't even measure caster since there's no adjustment for it.
That means it's done, right? Not quite yet. Next up was an oil change (no pictures because it's just an oil change) and making a mess of the underside - i.e. spraying on a heavy layer of fluid film to help stave off the rot. I'd been doing inside panels/cavities/etc. as I went, but this was the "all over" underside application.
Successfully made it a mess, which will help repel the evils of the salt and radioactive brine that coats everything here for the next several months.
Anyways, at this point there's just one more thing. I had alluded to a functionally necessary but aesthetically optional upgrade coming for this. As I've mentioned, winter is approaching so I need to put the snow tires on. These are quite sensibly on steel wheels from last year, but they fit weird (offset isn't quite right) and look not-great. I think I have a solution for that...
So anyways, that wraps up the car - it's entered "drive it" phase and so far, so good. The emissions monitors passed and I have plates/registration on it, so all is well. I even added the most important part, saved for last:
The second half of this project epilogue addresses the elephant in the room: the rusty shell. So many good parts, so little structural integrity.
As a reminder, this summarizes its condition:
The plan? Remove all viable parts to keep as spares or sell, and scrap the husk.
Fun fact: the total wiring from this car (all harnesses) completely fills two 48-quart plastic totes.
Unfortunately, the left fender was completely rotted off at the bottom, so while the upper 3/4 is nice, it's destined to become a fridge or whatever they recycle stuff into these days. The doors have all gone off to my storage unit. Everything else has been removed, roughly sorted, put in bins (if it fits), and awaits a chance to become useful again or be recycled (cue brave little toaster in the scrap yard).
(This is nowhere near all of it, just one load to storage plus a yet-to-be-filled tote.)
Which leaves this:
Yes, the chassis is sitting on furniture dollies. It rolled around way easier as such than it has any business to do so. Shortly after the above photo was taken I rolled it outside and easily could have taken it down the street. The stripped shell is pretty light, I could pick up either end by hand.
Farewell, rusty ol' pal. You've done all you could, and so many of your parts will live on.
So, the big question - Would I do it again?
Absolutely, but not on such a tight timeline. It wasn't unreasonable to finish this in 3 months, but there definitely were times that, say, not being up against the weather to finish paint would have really been nice.
I'm not going to delve into the financials of this project in detail here but I will say this - my total cost on this project (including the southern shell) is maybe 50% of what I'd expect a car such as the one I've built would sell for, if that's your sort of thing. If we exclude "nice to have" like the new wheels, exhaust system, and paint... it was downright cheap to do this - just lots of time.
Thus concludes the Great Shell Swap / Shell Swap '22. I hope you had fun following along, I know I enjoyed this overall.