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Street Build 1997 Talon TSI AWD - Project Perfection

Year:
1997
Model/Trim:
Eagle Talon TSi AWD
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  1. EShield

    EShield Supporting Member

    43
    25
    Joined Jan 14, 2020
    West Warwick, Rhode Island

    Street Build 184  1

    1997 Eagle Talon TSi AWD
    awd · manual · 2G DSM
    Loading...
  2. EShield

    EShield Supporting Member

    43
    25
    Joined Jan 14, 2020
    West Warwick, Rhode Island
    Bought this vehicle in New Jersey last week off a member here. I want to stress that any of the issues we are about to uncover are not his doing. It was a great transaction and I am happy with the car. However, the previous owner he got this off of did some pretty stupid things to this vehicle.

    From the pictures I will uphold this vehicle will look really clean, but it has issues. I want to give each arbitrary category I list a grade from 1 to 10 and a breakdown of what issues caused me to give that grade.

    Basics
    1997 Eagle Talon TSI AWD
    5 Speed Manual Transmission
    Split Thrust Bearing 7 Bolt Design
    Black on Gray with no Sunroof

    Rust 9 of 10
    This is about as rust free as you can get for the northeast. There is a small spot of rust on the driver side strut tower but not your typical situation. A paint chip about the size of a dime has left an area exposed and it has surface rusted but is still solid. There is surface rust underneath in a few small areas which will be cleaned and treated by me this summer.

    Paint 6 of 10
    This vehicle has clearly been repainted, my guess is to correct the normal faded clearcoat. However, it was done poorly and there are several runs. There was some poor bondo work done on the driver rear quarter. The rear bumper is clearly replaced and with one from a base model as the TSI AWD molding in the bumper isn't present.

    Body 7 of 10
    Normal dings and scratches as well as some significant damage to the passenger door moldings.

    Interior 5 of 10
    Missing and loose trim pieces, what used to be a black but now faded brown replacement carpet, locked 3000GT factory radio, hacked A pillar cover, hideous Dodge Neon-esque interior combined with a previous owner doesn't care attitude and I clearly have work to do here.

    Mechanical 6 of 10
    The engine and driveline seems strong. It survived the 4 hour drive home. However, numerous hack work exists that needs to be addressed and we will get to that one by one as I tackle it. There is a, how do I explain this, squeak/scrape noise from the engine bay under load that sounds like either an input shaft or throw out bearing issue or possibly a failing turbo. I say failing turbo because for some reason this thing is set at 9 pounds on a 16G. There is a bad thunk when shifting from a bad mount and the telltale lower control arm click. There are more issues but this is a good start.

    Overall 7 of 10
    It is a 23 year old car with 110,000 miles. I wasn't expecting a cream puff at the price I got it at. Now it is my turn to make this car what it desperately deserves to be.

    received_901479053627470.jpeg received_216212902781234.jpeg received_812758585883113.jpeg received_510223879660464.jpeg received_586827785251143.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2020

    Street Build 184  1

    1997 Eagle Talon TSi AWD
    awd · manual · 2G DSM
    Loading...
    ErikTande likes this.
  3. EShield

    EShield Supporting Member

    43
    25
    Joined Jan 14, 2020
    West Warwick, Rhode Island
    So, on the test drive I could smell fuel. I asked the seller if he knew what it was and he stated he thought it was from build up in the down pipe. After I bought it and filled it up for the drive home it reeked of fuel. I had to drive the entire ride home with no music, poor lighting and the windows down in the 30 degree evening. Midway through the smell got better, then we stopped for gas and back it came.

    At this point we decided to investigate the source of it. Popped the hood no fuel odor, could only smell it from near the windows while outside and very strong inside. We pulled the clips, of which one is broken, to slide out the rear seat to find a puddle of fuel by the pump side access plate. Decided to just get it home and investigate. Someone was on my side that night because a very bad disaster was looming from what we found.



    The previous owner decided to run new wires to the pump by drilling holes in the top of the sending unit and running them through there. It is clear he realized his Foley from all the layers of shrink wrap and the clear, gunked up RTV (seriously, RTV and fuel, wonder why that failed /sarcasm) around the holes.

    Being that this is one of the cleanest sending assemblies I have ever seen on these cars, I decided to salvage it and this will be my project tomorrow. I also discovered a non-working fuel gauge so I did some testing, found the potentiometer for the float was no good and bought another sender to piece together with this one.

    Here is a top down shot of the previous owner's misadventures:

    received_200219438070730.jpeg

    Finally, here is the hackery that I found that made me angry. This could have been very bad and even resulted in my death.

    You may think that the above drilling and wiring nightmare was part of a poorly done rewire on the Walbro 190 I found in the assembly. You would be wrong. It appears that the mini jumper harness from the connector underneath the sender plate was eliminated due to...well I can't really figure out why. What they actually did was just run them through the holes and then they cut out a section of insulation from the stock harness on the body side and twisted them, no solder, no butt connectors, just finger twisted them around the now exposed harness wire. Then they didn't even tape over the shoddy work.

    That's right they left an exposed power and ground wire centimeters from a fuel leak and fuel vapor. Had they have touched on a bump...bad things could have happened.

    received_207389707194042.jpeg

    And yes, that is speaker wire they used.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2020

    Street Build 184  1

    1997 Eagle Talon TSi AWD
    awd · manual · 2G DSM
    Loading...
    ErikTande likes this.
  4. EShield

    EShield Supporting Member

    43
    25
    Joined Jan 14, 2020
    West Warwick, Rhode Island
    Nothing but rain today so all I did was tackle the fuel sending unit.

    Here is an underneath shot of the holes:
    received_209083730352237.jpeg

    First I used a file to fix the rounded off flange nut and made sure a flare wrench would fit and hold at all angles:
    received_2918188208261568.jpeg received_229749941410583.jpeg received_827259287684162.jpeg received_692941791274377.jpeg

    Used some JB Weld SteelStik and pushed the putty through the holes while applying a liberal amount underneath to ensure it is completely sealed:
    received_496724781211065.jpeg received_2839699396113316.jpeg

    Next I sanded the top putty flush and cleaned up the top of the unit for paint:
    received_638504473361773.jpeg

    Masked off:
    received_144452710315727.jpeg

    Paint:
    received_283483689328033.jpeg

    Donor sending unit for the broken float:
    received_2872950526129133.jpeg
    received_657074705131479.jpeg

    Reassembled final product: received_1033318447037005.jpeg received_2592253554355216.jpeg
     

    Street Build 184  1

    1997 Eagle Talon TSi AWD
    awd · manual · 2G DSM
    Loading...
  5. EShield

    EShield Supporting Member

    43
    25
    Joined Jan 14, 2020
    West Warwick, Rhode Island
    Between work because I am an "essential" and stuff, I have had zero time for the car this week and I completely forgot to order a new fuel strainer anyway. However, parts are arriving left and right. Here is a little teaser: received_2873199796094145.jpeg

    I got to give a shout out to Twisted Frogg Powder Coating for this one. Its gorgeous, zero flaws in the coat. This is the second crinkle red one I have bought, one for my old GSX years ago, and the difference in quality is astounding.

    Hopefully this weekend brings me time to put the pump in and fix the harness so I can drive it in between fixing it up
     

    Street Build 184  1

    1997 Eagle Talon TSi AWD
    awd · manual · 2G DSM
    Loading...
    ErikTande and RWD4G63 like this.
  6. ThunderChild

    ThunderChild Supporting VIP

    2,875
    960
    Joined Jan 5, 2012
    Rathdrum, Idaho
    Love the attention to detail, great car man :thumb:
     

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  7. EShield

    EShield Supporting Member

    43
    25
    Joined Jan 14, 2020
    West Warwick, Rhode Island
    Being "essential" is great because I keep getting paychecks. It sucks because with reduced staff I have had zero time for the car. I do want to share something, rare as a unicorn, I couldn't help but pickup because I am a perfectionist.
    received_2622857914487029.jpeg received_214965263262283.jpeg received_549959902591449.jpeg received_235771960872278.jpeg
     

    Street Build 184  1

    1997 Eagle Talon TSi AWD
    awd · manual · 2G DSM
    Loading...
    ErikTande likes this.

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