FINALLY... I'm driving in my car again. I have been for about a week now. I've been breaking it in using the method we were talking about above. I made a rookie mistake installing the motor and forgot to make sure a hose clamp was tight so on the first drive the hose popped off and coolant went everywhere. I got the clamp tightened, and other than that, the installation went perfectly. I had to use the AP to clear codes 2004-2022 so that the car wouldn't run in limp mode for TGV's. The first drive I let it be in limp mode, and then couldn't shake the thought that I might miss another check engine light in the process. Anyway, those were all the codes to ignore associated with the TGV delete. No other codes have popped up, and I'm still using an otherwise OTS Cobb map (Stage 2 91). I am noticing a little bit of the hesitation that the car demonstrated before the build, but now I assume it's either Throttle slave servo, TPS, MAF, or a bad A/F sensor. Luckily, I have another A/F sensor just in case. I'll have to diagnose it further as I take the car to get tuned after the break-in process is complete. The reason I lean toward throttle controls, is because the car won't surge between 2500-3000 rpm as long as I'm at 50% throttle or more. It's just a little weird, that's all.
The motor feels completely solid, with solid, smooth power along the rev range. I only barely notice the piston clatter when it's cold, and then in the drive thru because I can hear it echoing back. Otherwise I can't tell at all that the car is anything other than stock internally. I really look forward to installing the injectors, fuel pump, and then tuning it to squeeze some more out of this bad boy.
The lightened flywheel I put in was an excellent choice, IMO. I haven't gotten any check engine lights for knock or anything yet, and it seems to run just like stock except for faster revving. The stage 1 clutch feels really good, although the kit said it would take 750 miles for break-in. I noticed a little bit of a clutch-burning-smell at first, which I expected, but what's weird to me is that I still get a little bit of vibration and smell on some downshifts, if I let the clutch out slowly to do it. I hope that's just something related to the break-in too. I have about 325 miles to complete the clutch break-in, so maybe that will make the difference? I'm hoping someone else has a little experience that can lend some insight to the clutch. It did actually vibrate a little letting it out under acceleration for a little while too, so that's encouraging.
I had the car gone long enough that it's almost time to put my snow tires back on. I didn't even get to use it for any autoX events this summer. Hopefully winterX is starting soon. I'll have to start checking the schedule.
The best news is that I just accepted another job, which should free up some time so that I can get back into events and playing more with the car in general.