Short version - She's back, for now
Long version - I guess I'll pick up where I left off. Haven't been updating the thread but good progress has been made.
Could never find anyone that was willing to weld my manifold for a reasonable price, so I picked up a second-hand one for pretty cheap from Facebook. Wasn't perfect but definitely wasn't cracked.
So I dedicated the past couple Saturdays to getting it back together. On the 2nd I assembled as much as I could without my torque wrench (had left it at work) and actually thought to put the manifolds on the head before putting the head in and it made life a lot easier. Also did a bit of cleaning up the wires but it still looks like crap. Gonna need a complete re-do at some point but it's good for now.
Brought the torque wrench home Monday and torqued the head down that evening. Pretty sure I did it right.
This past Saturday I got back to work and threw everything together. Didn't really stop to take pictures or anything, just wanted to get it done. Everything went together pretty well. Only managed to strip out one bolt, but it's the one that holds the dipstick in place so I'm not worried. Threw in a new battery (FINALLY) and some fresh 15w40 and after some tweaking got it started and running right.
Loving the gold tho
Got it timed up decently and felt for blowby from the oil cap, still there but seems less pronounced than before.
Funny though, I made an interesting discovery. I think someone that rebuilt this engine didn't line up the timing marks properly. I say this because on Sunday, I did a little more tweaking with the timing, and at -10 I was able to replicate the same cutting out problem I had before, and after advancing it quite a bit got it to go away and run a million times better. Checked the timing with the light again and the mark was way off the gauge on the block. Would have read something like -25 and I know that's not right. Said screw it and set it where it ran best and pretty much ignored what the timing light was telling me and it's running better than it ever has.
All in all I think this may have been a timing issue this entire time, but right now it's doing better and I'm not going to question it.
Not perfect though, still tends to hiccup and backfire in boost above 4k but that's something more tweaking can fix. As of now she's doing pretty well and seems to be reliably driving at a reasonable pace, and I'm happy for that. Can still get on the highway and listen to the cool turbo noises.
Sunday I drove it the 10ish miles to my parent's house and made it perfectly. I'll try to drive it this week and one day take it to work for an inspection, since the reg has been expired since August LOL.
Next to my step-dad's Duramax. The Quest looks tiny.
Altogether I'm happy she's up and running again, but we still have a lot of work ahead. As for plans, I need to get it registered again, need to clean it (never actually detailed it before, hard to believe if you know me), and need to clean her room (the garage). Gonna throw in a few parts and tinker with some stuff to try and clear up those backfires.
Till next time
Sorry for the massive pictures, Flickr done sold out so now I have to go back to imgur