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 Post subject: Eli's black forged Piazza
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:56 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 7:12 pm
Posts: 1938
Location: Windsor Gardens
Car(s): TX G180W+T, TE G180W, TG G180Z, Piazza 4ZC1T +more
Hi everyone,

I bought this car somewhere in the middle of building Abi (the white TE) which did slow things down a bit. This thread's long overdue! (Copied from OzGem and IsuzuPiazza):

About two years ago, I saw a Piazza come up for sale on GemiSA, complete and running, for $3500 ono. I didn't have that kind of cash, but remembered thinking it was cool, and wanting it (for a Piazza, not as a donor for my 5 Geminis). Anyway, someone else bought it to rip the engine out and put in their Gemini. It spun a rod bearing on the way home, but he pulled the engine out for his Gemini anyway. A month or so later, I saw it back up for sale, no engine, for about $700. I couldn't let such a nice, shiny, unique Isuzu end up getting crushed! So, not knowing what I was really in for, I bought it.

I knew it'd be a tough task getting a Piazza running again. The over-complexity, the cramped engine bay, the scarce parts (at least, those not useful for Geminis). I even drove to Melbourne for a 4ZC1-T engine, since nothing was available locally. That was a nightmare trip, don't get me started, and the POS Gemini of the time didn't make it all the way home. Alas, I digress.

I've rebuilt the 4ZC1-T with forged pistons (custom JE pistons, around $1200-worth), and ARP head studs. I had everything cleaned, balanced, and bought a head that had already had lots of money spent, from Ethan (hachikansai77 to some of you). I also had the original clutch rebuilt as a heavy duty, 6-puck cushioned button, with organic material. That cost about $550 I think, but the result is very light pedal feel, and (hopefully, going by my track car) very linear drivability with massive clamping force.

Over the last year and a half or so, I've undertaken the monolithic task of reverse-engineering the Piazza; figuring out "what the hell is that", piecing it all together, sourcing and purchasing the bits that were missing, and cleaning/servicing those I had. The plan is to run it stock for the time being, and then upgrade to Megasquirt, a Gemracing turbo manifold, T28bb turbo and a cam, and aim for around 200rwkw, but still have it drive nicely and be fairly original throughout.

I also fitted some Koni Red oil shocks to the front, and will be doing so for the rear when money allows (I had these sitting around). I have a full factory bodykit to fit, when time allows, and will actually wash the thing (and cut and polish imperfections) later on.

Current status: Driven, bedded in. Had some initial issues, a blocked oil line and consequentially a VERY dead IHI turbo (RIP), then an oil leak from behind the timing cover, but it seems to be running nicely now. The LSD (I'm assuming) is VERY worn, ie, completely open wheels all the time, so that will need attention soon too. I made a battery bracket and bought a battery the other day, and should be rego'ing it in the next few weeks!

I'll post pics in a separate post.

Eli

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 Post subject: Re: Eli's black forged Piazza
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:56 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 7:12 pm
Posts: 1938
Location: Windsor Gardens
Car(s): TX G180W+T, TE G180W, TG G180Z, Piazza 4ZC1T +more
Okay, here we go, I'm going to try and put these in rough chronological order!

Before I got her, when she was for sale, complete:

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When I'd just got her home, without an engine:

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 Post subject: Re: Eli's black forged Piazza
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:57 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 7:12 pm
Posts: 1938
Location: Windsor Gardens
Car(s): TX G180W+T, TE G180W, TG G180Z, Piazza 4ZC1T +more
Here's the build pics. They're not quite in the right order, but vaguely followable. As you can see, I test fitted one of Gemracing's manifolds, there's plenty of clearance. Sorry about the lowish resolution (not even worth thumbnails), I've got full res scattered everywhere...

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 Post subject: Re: Eli's black forged Piazza
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:58 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 7:12 pm
Posts: 1938
Location: Windsor Gardens
Car(s): TX G180W+T, TE G180W, TG G180Z, Piazza 4ZC1T +more
(Copied from Wed May 02, 2012 1:56 pm)

HELL YES! I "think" I found the oil leak! ahahahahaha

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What's wrong with the oil pump in that picture! I didn't notice, because it was brand new, so I didn't give it a second glance... Plus, I've never had a 4Z before!

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For those playing at home, it doesn't have any front seal on it, AT ALL! Apparently it came without one? I'd assumed it was internal inside the channel the shaft goes through... buuut, no. It just wasn't there! I can't believe it leaked as little as it did.

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 Post subject: Re: Eli's black forged Piazza
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 3:01 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 7:12 pm
Posts: 1938
Location: Windsor Gardens
Car(s): TX G180W+T, TE G180W, TG G180Z, Piazza 4ZC1T +more
Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:23 am

Time for an update!

The car thinks it needs coolant, but it doesn't. Maybe I missed a wire or something, I'd better check it. Has anyone else had this?

I drove it the other day, the first real time since fixing a lot of stuff. It works! I can actually feel the turbo come on boost (just), and it pulls alright. Not lightning fast, but not bad. The turbo is definitely getting oil and there are no real flat spots. The headlight motor issue persists, even with the motor from the other Piazza, it just instantly blows the fuse. Bah. Oh, no more hard starting either. Turns out that was the uhh.. immobiliser... lol. So now that I've fixed the remote it actually starts like you'd expect.

Well, I bought a battery, welded up a battery bracket, put Chassis Black (tar) on the battery tray to prevent future rust, and touched up another spot of surface rust in the engine bay with some Cold Gal (rust proofing) primer and acrylic black. I gave the car a wash, and tried to cut and polish it, but it really didn't work... The paint's just shit. However, I found some more unexpected rust, a giant patch on the bottom rear of the driver's door where the paint's just fallen off. The good news is that it doesn't need plating. It's eaten in but not enough to compromise strength too much. I'll clean it up, hit it with some Cold Gal and/or a thin skim of bog, then just touch it up with some pressure pack black for now. There's also some light bubbling starting on the lip of the bonnet under the "turbo" badge, and in the rear window sill. I should touch them up before they get too serious.. I'd rather patchy touched-up paint, than rust.

I'm hoping to *drum roll* register the car in coming weeks. It's still not how I want it, but it's driveable, and hopefully enjoyable (or just a change from the R31). First on the list is getting the air con gassed. Second step, getting the rear window popped out so I can fix the boot lid rust. I have to hand sand the bloody front lip so I can paint and fit it, then rip the diff out and get the LSD shimmed. I have paints and can chuck my Isuzu badge on any day now.

Then, last of all (for the time being), I'll be visiting Industrial Springs and getting some custom springs made up all around, and grabbing some Koni's for the back to keep them captive.

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 Post subject: Re: Eli's black forged Piazza
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 5:27 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 2:00 pm
Posts: 1134
Car(s): TX SR20DET, TX G200W, Dato 1200 Ute
Im glad you reposted the thread here, I hadnt seen it elsewhere. Interesting to see how this has been going. Awesome car, see so few piazzas on the road these days (well, pretty much none, down from 1 rarely 10 years ago!). Love the dash. Cool as.


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 Post subject: Re: Eli's black forged Piazza
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:36 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 7:12 pm
Posts: 1938
Location: Windsor Gardens
Car(s): TX G180W+T, TE G180W, TG G180Z, Piazza 4ZC1T +more
That's it! The only other driving one I know of is Lachlan's. After I bought mine, he sat in it and decided it was cool and he had to have one! We were looking Australia-wide for the right car for a few months. I saw one in peak hour one time but couldn't get next to it, then months later I saw it in the carpark at U Pull It. It turned out there was actually a Piazza being wrecked there too, and a guy working on it, so I asked if he owned the black one outside. We got talking, and I asked him if he wanted to sell it. Turned out he was taking care of it for Rick Ludgate (who's from the Eastern coast), so the guy called Rick and a deal was struck. Lachlan now owns that, and it's basically a clone of mine, but lower, and it has a front lip and rear wing.

Anyway, awesome news! I fixed the headlight motor today, which was the last thing stopping it from hitting the road... so I'll try to rego it tomorrow!

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 Post subject: Re: Eli's black forged Piazza
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:32 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:40 pm
Posts: 206
Car(s): LC Torana, TD Gemini SL Sedan, TX Gemini SL Sedan
It's looking great Eli, I have seen a silver one driving around Gepps Cross/Pooraka earlier this year so there might still be one other on the road. Seeing your update reminded me of this book I picked up recently(I hope you only take it in good humor & get a laugh) :D

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That's right, the humble piazza gets pride of place in this book as one of Japan's contributions. My camera is shite so here is the write up it gets:

ISUZU PIAZZA TURBO (1986-90)

After commercial success building lorries and four-wheel-drive vehicles, Japanese firm Isuzu decided to try its hand at a sports car. But with no experience in this area of the market, it turned to smaller companies for assistance. The first to be called in was Italdesign, which offered Isuzu the use of the 'Ace of Spades' concept car seen at the 1981 Geneva Motor Show. The concept was developed into a production reality, but to cut costs it used a General Motors platform plucked from the Vauxhall Chevette - a car not renowned for its sporting agility.

The car's handling was atrocious and, to make matters worse, the build quality was also dire. Isuzu turned to Lotus for help in developing the Piazza's handling, but by then it was too late and the damage had been done, costing the company millions. Isuzu never ventured into car building again.

Points of note next to diagram:

- Build quality was poor, especially on early cars, which rotted around the rear wheel arches, sills, wings and floorpans

- The cabin seemed to have been thrown together, with no design harmony and a haphazard switchgear arrangement, while the seats were uncomfortable

- Choosing the Opel Kadett/Vauxhall Chevette chassis for the Piazza was not an inspired move - it was crude and far too tail-happy. Later models were improved after Lotus lent Isuzu a hand.

*Only Aussie car to make the cut as one of the world's worst was the Leyland P76*


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 Post subject: Re: Eli's black forged Piazza
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:47 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2008 9:35 pm
Posts: 791
Car(s): IPRA G180 TX coupe, TURBO TX COUPE
there is a australian book listing the whereabouts of the piazza's in australia, not sure what it's called but you may have heard of it??

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 Post subject: Re: Eli's black forged Piazza
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:49 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2008 9:35 pm
Posts: 791
Car(s): IPRA G180 TX coupe, TURBO TX COUPE
here it is : D

http://shop.abc.net.au/products/in-sear ... den-piazza

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