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Galant VR-4 Restoration

techboy

Proven Member
465
237
Feb 3, 2018
Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
Finally made the trip to purchase a car I've known about for almost 2 years now ... a Galant VR-4. I always thought it would be cool to own one of these cars and add it to the collection, however, they are getting harder and harder to find. This one has been sitting for quite some time and is long overdue for a complete restoration. At the time of this writing my son is 10 years old and we are hoping to restore this car together over the course of the next 6 years and have it ready by his 16th birthday ... hopefully.

Here it is upon arrival for transportation home. I love this picture here of him checking out his "future" ride.
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Loaded up on the rollback.
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We have the front bumper cover, grill, and headlights. However, the front bumper support is pretty rusted out, so that's going to be one of the first things I try to track down so we can get the front of the car back on.

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Time to head home.
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techboy

Proven Member
465
237
Feb 3, 2018
Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
First things first. We gave this thing a bath. Much too our surprise, the moss and other garbage on the car actually protected the paint a bit. I expected it to be all chalky and very oxidized underneath, but it was actually smooth and didn't look half bad. It's not show quality, but it was better than either my son or I anticipated.

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And since someone is gonna ask ... that's actually a full turbo back Apexi 3" exhaust on the car. We'll be pulling that off and putting it in storage.

Last, and just for fun - I did some digging around on the internet and was find an old picture of this car back in it's glory days. I have no idea when the picture was taken, but it was obviously before it's demise.

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techboy

Proven Member
465
237
Feb 3, 2018
Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
Thank you for saving it!! Can't wait for you guys to get it back on the road :thumb:

Man what a night and day difference a simple wash can do. I have 1209/2000, she currently JSB. Good luck to bringing this beauty back to life.

Well thanks gentlemen. We're going to try. I've been inventorying everything over the last few days and we are missing a lot. So, I'm not so sure. VR4 parts aren't easy to come by. The wiring harness is a bit more cut-up than I realized when I looked at it initially, so that makes me nervous. This might be a situation where it's gonna take 2 cars to make 1.
 

techboy

Proven Member
465
237
Feb 3, 2018
Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
The trunk was full to the brim when we got it, so we decided to empty everything out and take a look at what we got. In the midst of all that stuff some critters had made the trunk home as well ... another reason wanting to clean it out.

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Here's everything that came out of the trunk laid out in the grass. It doesn't look like much here, but when it was in the trunk, it was pretty full.

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We found front axles, 2 front grills, a fuel rail, 2G intake and MAF, headlights, corner light, radiator, marker/fog lights, bunch of engine parts and pulleys, random plastic bits, and a whole bunch of trash we threw out.

We have the left and rear trunk liner, but we're missing the right. I'm not familiar with a VR4 trunk, but I assume there was some sort of carpet or fiberboard on the bottom as well. Jack tools are there, but I need to look in the FSM and figure out where they mounted. Spare is also missing.
 
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techboy

Proven Member
465
237
Feb 3, 2018
Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
We got a decent cover for the car and put the shell on ice.

In the meantime, we're gonna to focus our attention on the engine. We purchased an engine with car as well, although it's not the original engine to the car. It is however, a 1G 6-bolt 4G63 in-tact long block the previous owner intended to refresh and use in the car. The engine was kept indoors in a garage, so it appears to be in really great shape. We're gonna start with a complete tear-down and refresh ourselves and go from there.

Here's a look at the engine:
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As an owner of 2G's for the last 20 years, I'm not fully versed on 1G engines. Other than knowing the basic differences, I haven't really worked on 1G's but a few times. I'm guessing this 4G63 came out of a N/T car looking at the TB elbow. It looks pretty narrow to me, although I could be wrong and I'm sure someone will jump in and tell me otherwise if I'm wrong. Not sure if there's a significant way to tell turbo from non-turbo 2.0.

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And, finally, here's a walkaround video of the engine:
 

19Eclipse90

DSM Wiseman
5,282
1,146
Sep 29, 2003
OKC, Oklahoma
The turbo 1g's had tiny throttle body elbows, so that's normal. If it has the oil feed line hole for the turbo on the side of the head (which it looks like it does) then it's a turbo block.

A feed line from the head means nothing about the block. I've got a non-turbo block running in one of my dad's cars, feeding the turbo from the OEM location. Suffice it to say it's got all the turbo bits there (throttle body and elbow, water cooled oil cooler attached to the oil filter housing, turbo water pipe, and, as you mentioned, the oil feed line), so you ought to feel pretty good about it's chances at being a turbo block.

Looks like a nice car! Nice save!
 

techboy

Proven Member
465
237
Feb 3, 2018
Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
Thanks for the feedback and input guys. I feel a bit better knowing that it was most likely a turbo engine since we're going to be using it that way. Not that it matters much anyhow since we're rebuilding the whole thing.

Didn't work too long on the engine this weekend, but we get a little bit of time and got some things removed.

Started with pulling the A/C brackets and tensioners.
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Popped off the P/S bracket and the timing cover. You can tell looking at these tensioner pulley it's been sitting a long time.

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Removed the intake manifold and support bracket.

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And took off the water housing off. So far so good ...

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Next time we'll get it untimed and maybe pop the head off.
 
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techboy

Proven Member
465
237
Feb 3, 2018
Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
My son and I have spent a lot of time over the last 3 days of Thanksgiving break working on the Galant. We started were we left off last on Black Friday by continuing to take apart the engine. This time we focused on getting all the timing components off.

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Removing the water pump yielded exactly what I expected it to.
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I was really hoping we might be able to reuse this water pump since it is an OEM one and they have a much better reputation than most of the aftermarket ones, but that's not gonna be the case.
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Just about everything other than the balance shaft belts and pulleys removed.
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A look at where we're at.
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techboy

Proven Member
465
237
Feb 3, 2018
Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
Yesterday we drove over to where we are storing the car to work on removing the interior seats and carpet before the winter months set in.

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The car was pretty infested with critter feces and urine when we got and I knew I wanted to remove the interior before winter so it doesn't get chewed up even more and we wanted to carpet out, deep-clean it, and put that in storage as well. The idea was to just get things down to the bare metal so there less chance of inviting animals back in.

Started with the rear seats.
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Didn't take very long to find signs of critters. Two huge nests under the back seat. :barf::barf::barf:
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I guess there was a foam insulation backing between the back seat and trunk that they decided to chew up.
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Luckily the seat itself is still in really great shape.
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Now onto the front seats.
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After removing the drivers seat, we started working the carpet out of the car. But, we quickly ran into a problem. We could only get so far. The passenger rear door has not opened since we go the car and I wasn't sure why. The carpet is held under a trim piece that is not accessible when the door is shut. So, it slowed us down about an hour, but we removed the door card with the door shut (not an easy task to do at all) without damaging it, cut away part of the vapor barrier to get the door latch mechanism and was able to figure out what was wrong and fix it.

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Once we were able to get the rear door open, we were able to finish up removing the carpet pretty quickly.
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The interior seats have been moved to an attic storage area, and we loaded carpet up and took it home with us.
 

techboy

Proven Member
465
237
Feb 3, 2018
Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
After bringing the carpet home, we spent some serious time scrubbing, power washing, scrubbing, power washing and repeating that process many times.

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It came out better, but not great. I've been searching up and down all over the internet, and it doesn't look like there is an aftermarket carpet available that I can find. I might look into how hard it would be dye it, or maybe have an upholstery shop re-dye it. Other than the stains, it's not ripped or torn which is good.
 

techboy

Proven Member
465
237
Feb 3, 2018
Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
Run evaporust through the engine when you put it back together. It should help get the rust out of the block.

I'll be dropping the block off at a local machine shop during the summer to have it hot tanked, checked for cracks, crankshaft journals spec'd, decked and honed. So, that won't be necessary ... it should come back like brand new. I have used Evaporust before though. I have a gallon jug of it in the garage right now - it's great stuff.
 

techboy

Proven Member
465
237
Feb 3, 2018
Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
Got a little box of parts together to drop off at the powdercoater. Going to have everything done in a gloss grey.

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Also, a few weeks back we started wire wheeling down some parts and getting a fresh coat of gloss enamel black on them.

Prior to the wheel...
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After the wheel ...
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Getting new paint.
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techboy

Proven Member
465
237
Feb 3, 2018
Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
Started working on the head over the weekend. Original owner told me this was the original head to the car, this is not the head that is pictured above on the stand. I figure we'll send this one out to be pressure tested and refreshed, and if it comes back good, we'll use the original. If it's bad, we can always fall back on the other one. No problems getting the cams out.

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Got new valve stem seals already, all I have to do is drop it off at the machine shop to be cleaned.
 

techboy

Proven Member
465
237
Feb 3, 2018
Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
I haven't posted an update on this vehicle in a long time. The parts we dropped off for powdercoating we should be picking up any day now. I have a call in with a shop to have the head pressure checked for cracks. As soon as that call comes in we'll be dropping that off.

Earlier this summer I drove to NYC to meet up with a fellow dsmer who had a front bumper for us. The car we have has a bumper, but the metal support is complete rotted out. This one is pretty much perfect. The owner replaced the OEM front with a JDM version and had it hanging on garage wall ever since. Nice little piece of luck finding that.

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techboy

Proven Member
465
237
Feb 3, 2018
Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
Once again it's been a while since I've updated this thread ... that's partly b/c not a ton has happened though. But I did want to update you all on the few things that have happened. I dropped off the head at the machine shop back in September, so about 5 months ago now. It's getting pressure checked and rebuilt. I haven't heard anything, so I assume no news is good news. I did think I might hear something by now, but I know a lot of machine shops are really backed up b/c not many people do this kind of work anymore.

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I removed the rockers and lifters and have them soaking them in kerosene in pickle jars.

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techboy

Proven Member
465
237
Feb 3, 2018
Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
The other thing that happened is we picked up our first round of powdercoating and dropped off a second round. This first round got a gunmetal grey with a clear on the coolant pipe, fuel rail, and thermo housing ... and some other brackets. The second round is a batch of gloss black.

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Cutlassjim

15+ Year Contributor
184
12
Dec 1, 2005
Berlin, Massachusetts
So awesome to see you saving this one and doing some amazing looking work.
 

techboy

Proven Member
465
237
Feb 3, 2018
Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
In post #21 I mentioned that we dropped off the original VR4 head to this car at the machine shop. Well, about a month ago we got it back. It was pressure checked and all was good. It was completely disassembled cleaned and rebuilt. Happy to have this checked off the list of things to do.
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Now it's time to start working on the bottom end.
 

techboy

Proven Member
465
237
Feb 3, 2018
Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
Now that we got the VR4 head back from the machine shop and verified everything is good and usable it was time to start tearing the spare 4G63 the rest of the way down (from post #11) so that we can get the block sent out to the machine shop to have hot-tanked, decked and honed. Here's a time-lapse video of me teaching my son how to tear down the remaining long block.


Here's what we were left with when we were all done.
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Unfortunately, there is a score in cylinder 1. It looks something got stuck in the ring gap and put a slight groove in the cylinder wall. I don't think we're going to get away with a hone, I think the cylinders are probably going to have to bored over. We'll see what the machine shop says. The other cylinders look real good and still have a nice cross-hatch to them.
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