September 20, 2021

PROJECT LOG: #PoisonIvy [5-4-17] The Diet

I know, it’s been forever since I have updated Poison Ivy’s project log. It’s been a pretty busy period in life between my medical problems and the dirt race cars. But, I haven’t forgotten about ivy. In fact, the determination to finish her and get her up and running again has been at an all time high.

I have taken a hit financially since I haven’t been allowed to work and receiving hardly anything from short term disability. In the process, I sold a good bit of DSM parts to live off of more or less. Kind of like my Evo 3 16G setup that I sold, only to buy another Evo 3 16G. Yeah…

Words By AJ Hunsinger // Images By AJ Hunsinger

So, because there hasn’t been a Poison Ivy project in the last couple of months, you are probably assuming that not much has happened with her. Fortunately, that is not true because I have been banging things out the entire time. I just didn’t have enough time (or motivation) to actually make a project log update. So, this will be a big one.

But, let’s start from beginning. Remember, she needed a clutch. Or at the very least, the transmission had to come off to see what the clutch issue was. Well, i removed the transmission a while ago and the clutch was indeed bad. A couple of the springs had popped out, which is kind of what I was thinking/hoping was going up.






















The transmission bolts backed out a long time ago which eventually caused my beautiful, new, low mileage, Fidanza clutch to shit out on me. It’s 100% my fault though. I’ve never had transmission bolts back out like this before, but given that she is running solid motor mounts & no balance shafts, I should have considered the possibility. From now on, I am using loctite on these bolts.







A friend of mine was selling his low mileage South Bend clutch with a kevlar clutch disk. I picked it up off of him for only $100. That will be going on shortly.


After I removed the transmission, I decided to remove the 16G turbo setup as well so I could clean it all, take pictures, and sell it. I figured if I sold it, I would be forced to buy a bigger turbo like I wanted instead of quickly throwing the car back together with the 16G. I sold the 16G to a lad up in Canada for $550 shipped and included the manifold.


Once I sold it, I had several people that were selling their HX35. I was waiting for them to remove the turbo setup from their car, or whatever the situation was, for weeks. Finally, I got tired of waiting for an hx35 and decided to buy another Evo 3 16G since one of my more trustworthy friends was selling his. I picked his up for $260 shipped.





Now, of course I sold a lot of my stuff from my previous 16G setup. Things like the header, tubular o2 housing, aluminum intake pipe for a 2G MAF, etc. Plus, I removed my throttle body and put it on Charlotte. I also loaned a brake rotor and caliper to a friend in a pinch. So, I still need to buy back quite a bit of parts, but these parts will still be much cheaper than buying the supporting mods needed to run an HX35. Like a $250 external wastegate for example.

I am in an extreme hurry with getting Ivy done because I really want to drive her again ASAP. But, I still can’t put the transmission on because I want to buy a new OEM throw out bearing and a new Fidanza flywheel friction plate while the transmission is off.

Throughout this entire process, I have been doing some serious ass work on getting Poison Ivy’s weight down. Last year I weighed her and she was around 2730lbs by herself. Considering an AWD DSM usually weighs between 3200-3400lbs from the factory, 2730lbs is already pretty great. But I know I can get down some more.


To start off the weight reduction project, I began by stripping the interior. Back seats, door panels, interior plastics, hatch plastics, carpet, all the basic stuff. I then started getting a little more in depth as I started drilling out the spot welds for various items like the rear seat support piece. I also gutted the doors a little bit.



Originally, I decided to keep my dash knowing the it hides a large mess of wires. But, that too came out as well as the center console. I have been currently working on making new brackets and panels to attach my gauge cluster, toggles, gauges, and more to.

I wanted to simplify my wiring for all of my aftermarket gauges and toggles. I bought two “fuse blocks” and used one for power, and one for ground. The one for power is fed by my distribution block. The one for the ground is fed by a secure chassis ground. Now, any time that I add a new wire for a new gauge or anything, I have a place to tap into for power and ground instead of splicing into wires and other jazz.


Once I am able to drive the car, I am immediately driving the car down to the garage and putting a cage in it. Once the cage is in, the stock front seats will come out and I will be using some aluminum racing seats like we use in the dirt cars. These seats weigh maybe 5lbs compared to the 25-30lb factory 1G seats.

Because I am trying to remove weight, I know the cage will add weight. So, I need to get rid of everything that I possibly can to make up for the extra weight from the cage. I am going to be buying some Lexan from Lowes and installing that in at least the side door windows. I may do the windshield and hatch glass as well since the windshield is cracked to shit anyway from when my hood blew up last year.


There are several other things that I plan to do once the car is done and I can get down to the welder. I am still using the factory rear bumper support. Although I won’t be doing a whole lot of street driving, I do plan to go to car meets and go into town on some nice days. So, I don’t want to ditch some of the important safety parts. So, I will remove this when I can fab up a lighter, tubular bumper support. I also removed my aftermarket sunroof assembly. I will be simply riveting in some sheet metal over the roof to cover the hole.

My goal is to get the weight down to around 2500lbs. Even less would be sweet too obviously, but considering I’ll be adding in a cage, anything less than 2500lbs may be very difficult to achieve without cutting the front of the car off from the strut towers forward. Then again, maybe it is possible. I have seen plenty of FWD DSM’s down around 2200lbs or less, so we shall see what happens.

I have said ever since I built this car that I wasn’t going to run a 16G for long before upgrading to an HX35. Well, that obviously didn’t work out. So this time around, I am going to say that I am going to use the 16G for awhile. With the weight down, she should be able to embarrass a lot of faster, high horsepower cars. 16G cars have somewhat easily gone into the 10’s. Hell, even the 14b’s have done that. So running mid to low 11’s should be a realistic possibility with my setup.

I am going to continue working on the interior to get it to look as decent as a gutted interior could possibly look. Once everything is in, the wiring is squared away, and the cage is in, I think it will look pretty good.