If it Ain't Broke, Mod it
The Integra was the hardest of the three vehicles to take apart. Not from a technical stand point, but from a practical one. The car ran and drove very nice. And only needed a couple of hundred dollars of work to get back on the road. I probably could have made some money on the car if I had fixed it and sold it but that was not why I bought it. I wanted to to reduce the thing to a shell so that cutting or welding on the body could be done without having to worry about ruining plastic parts or wiring. This would also make it lighter for when I had to place the body on the frame for testing purposes. One thing I had to keep in mind while taking this hatchback apart was that I was going to have to put some parts back together. Now I have a repair manual for the car and I'm pretty good at remembering how things are reassembled, but this thing could be apart for more then a year and my memory might not be as exact as I needed. Because of this I made sure to take lots of pictures in areas that would have to go back together.
I started by removing everything I would not be keeping for this project. The front seemed like a logical place to start. I removed the engine, steering and front suspension in one piece. I figure if I ever want to make a go-kart or dune buggy, this would be a good place to start. Next I took off the bumper, exhaust, and hood to free up some space.
The rear suspension was one of the harder parts to separate. I ended up having to cut off some of the bolts in order to get the job done. One thing to note: when cutting with an angle grinder near a gas tank, make sure to remove it or fill it full of water. I did neither of these things telling myself I'll just be careful and not get too close. Well it turns out that things didn't go as planned. As I was cutting the grinder kicked and nicked the gas tank. Instantly I had gas flowing from the tank on to the ground. I quickly tossed the grinder aside and unplugged it before running to get a container to catch the fuel. My heart pumping from the fear of what could have happened. If that tank would have been empty, I might not be here today writing this website. That was the end of work for that evening. I was just happy to be alive.
With all unnecessary parts removed, I could focus on documenting and removing what was left. I started by detaching the wiring harness from the engine bay. This led me to the interior where I took out the seats to give myself room to work. Then I unbolted the dash and put it in to storage. With everything exposed I could take out the HVAC stuff along with the rest of wiring. The pedals were removed and placed on the shelf for modification. The TDI accelerator pedal would have to be grafted on to the pedal bracket. But that's for another article. The last things to come off were the door and rear bumper.
With the car basically a shell, I could get to cutting off the unneeded brackets and trimming the underside to fit the frame.