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Street Build Project 1g (NBA DSM)

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15+ Year Contributor
Aug 6, 2004
Richmond, Virginia
Here is the start of my 1g build, but not with a little background info first. My first dsm that I bought in 2000 was the infamous, potent 1.8l 1991 Plymouth Laser similar to this one: This is what got me started into dsm's, especially 1g's.View attachment 308571 This is the beginning of project NBA DSM aka ( Never Buy A DSM).
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Different aspects of the build has changed throughout the years, but the ultimate goal has stayed the same: A clean street driven machine that will showcase the potential of these extraordinary vehicles. I will be documenting this project in different stages of the build, so bear with me as I will try to update frequently. Without further a delay, here is my never ending sink hole of moolah:
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I picked her up in 2003, for a mere 400.00 dollars, a blown engine and a bunch of eBay parts. I was headed out the door for my first deployment to Iraq, so I knew I wanted a project for when I came home. The car only had two previous owners, but I could tell through the maintenance and so called performance mods that they were younger guys that only wanted to go fast. Here is the car moving to its permanent residence in Richmond Va.
So in the beginning all I wanted to do was get the car up and running, so at that time taking a bunch of pictures and documenting my progress wasn’t a top priority. So documentation of the engine build will be limited. This was my first build ever so I didn’t want to trust my engine rebuild to anyone including myself. So I had Automotive Engine Specialists Inc. out of Lynchburg Va. to perform the short block and cylinder head rebuild. The short block consists of .040 over NPR pistons, 1g big rods, ARP rod bolts, ACL main and rod bearings and ARP head studs. The cylinder head is hot tanked, lightly ported and polished with 1mm o/s valves, new valve guides and valve stems, 3g lifters, evo 8 valve springs and retainers and Web 546/547 camshafts. Also all new timing components, BSE kit and adjustable cam gears were installed. The cam gears has been replaced with OBX units
Update: So I’m going to jump around on the build since I’m waiting for some components to get back from Detective Coating. So this installment will consist of the engine and fuse box tuck, I am also adding an auxiliary fuse box for gauges, cooling fans, etc. This will be a lengthy thread so please bear with me. So initially I wanted a clean, shaved bay since I believe it's a main focal point in a build. So lets get started. We all know that a 1g dsm harness is a complete mess and mine was no exception, so first thing first, rip it all out.

. Next it was time to remove the wire loom and decide what connectors are staying and what’s leaving
. So the plan for the engine harness was pretty simple, I relocated the injector resistor pack, power transistor, tach interface resistor and ignition timing plug to inside the dash where the radio is located. The only plugs that remains in the engine bay is the fuel injector plugs,coil pack, knock sensor, ECT, TPS, ISC, throttle position stop switch, MAF, windshield wiper and battery/ starter connector. Everything else was depinned and removed. I purchased all my wire, braided sleeve, terminals and pigtail connectors from McMaster-Carr and OHM Racing. Did I mention I really hate wiring LOL?

Well here is the finished product, although I might switch some things around, I think it turned out great. (The loose wires connect to the fuse box and interior harness and will be shortened, and loomed at a later date.)
Update: So back to the infamous wiring, since the engine harness was 95% squared away, it was time to tackle the interior fuse boxes. So the plan is to relocate the main fuse box to the glove compartment, shorten, reroute and get rid of the unnecessary air conditioner connectors. I basically split the fuse box harness in two parts and routed each section through the drivers and passenger side fender wells. Before I started laying the ground work for the wiring, I laid down four layers of Fat Mat sound deadening material on the roof, doors, hatch area and on the floor. I wanted the car to be Lexus quiet on the inside.
Now on to the fuse box and interior wiring
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Haha usually most people cut out as much as they can... Should be nice and quiet now
Update Continued: So to continue the interior fuse box tuck, I ran all the wiring underneath the dash, of course I had to remove the dash for this process. I also removed all the HVAC system, the car will mostly be a summer/ weekend driver, so it doesn’t mean that much to me. The rear defroster relay and wiring also got deleted later in the build.
  • Next order of business was the auxiliary fuse box. My requirements were pretty simple, a high amp rated capacity, enough fuse locations for my required needs, dedicated connections for either 12v switched sources or multiple ground connections, trusted manufacture, and a decent since it would be hidden. I searched online and at my local auto stores and didn’t really find anything that suited my taste, either the amp rating was too low or the fuse box was too cheaply made. I contemplated on purchasing one from Painless Wiring, but they were a little too expensive. What I eventually found was perfect for my application, a Blue Sea System Safety Hub 150: It’s actually built for the marine industry :Here are some specs:Accepts four AMI® or MIDI® Fuses for high-amp circuits up to 200A
  • Accepts six ATO® or ATC® Fuses for circuits up to 30A including bilge pumps, electronics and lights
  • Sealed cover protects fuses from the harsh marine environment and satisfies ABYC/USCG insulation requirements
  • Negative bus provides common location for negative connection
  • Circuit identification label with write-on capability
  • Fuse puller easily removes ATO® or ATC® Fuses
  • Cover provides storage space for two spare ATO® or ATC® and two spare AMI® or MIDI® fuses and mounting screws
  • One-piece stainless flange nuts ensure safe and secure connections
    IMG_0036 (1).JPG

    Now the key task was finding a location for the auxiliary fuse block. I wanted it to be in a central, easy to access location. Guess what it fits perfect in the center console without any cutting or grinding. It just drops right down in there securely without a problem.

    The fuse block will provide power to the MPI relay (20A), Ignition (30A), Alternator (100A), SPAL Radiator fans (50A), fog lights (25A), meth injection (30A), Dual 255 fuel pumps (60A), Gauges (25A), Headlights High/Low beam(50A). I also mounted relays in the console for the headlights hi/low beam, fog lights and radiator fans plus a couple of spares.

    Power consist of 2/0-gauge wire running straight from the battery, I also converted the negative buss bar into a 12V switched power buss bar. Iran a 10-gauge power wire from the 12V switched ignition wire to the buss bar. This will power the components that also require a 12V switched source.
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Update: Since the auxiliary fuse block wiring is pretty much finished, I decided to place an order for my battery relocation kit. That should be here sometime next week. Well waiting for that, I decided to wire up my gauges and find a sleek, low key location. I could have easily just got a gauge pod, but a couple of friends got theirs ripped out during a car theft. I just think it becomes more of a target. I decided to go with the Prosport Premium amber/white collection. I read the reviews and they seemed to be decent for the price. The gauges I picked up was the electric boost/vacuum, electric oil pressure, electric fuel pressure, fuel level, water temperature, and voltmeter, my only complaint so far was that they didn’t come with a black bezel. I also picked up am Innovative LC-1 w/ red DB gauge.
The plan is to relocate the oil pressure, water temp, fuel level to the gauge cluster, and the boost, fuel pressure, voltmeter, and wideband to the HVAC console.
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Next I started cutting out the gauge hole in the white bezel holder, I was worried about my indicator lights not working, so my solution was not to disturb the gauge circuit board. Hopefully this thing works.
IMG_0052 (1).JPG
IMG_0160 (1).JPG

Before I bought the fuel level gauge, I wanted to replace the oem boost gauge with a oem fuel level gauge. Lets Just say that, that idea didn’t work out too well.

Here is the finished product, I added a weather pack connector and painted the gauge bezels satin black. It wasn’t that difficult of a project. I also changed the tach to a n/t model because I think it makes the cluster look that much more clean.
I wanted to do the gauges in the dash like that as well. Looks killer!
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