By David Nguyen
| Ever wanted to show off your exotic NSX engine without having to remove the stock solid engine bay cover?
You can get one of those carbon fiber/lexan cover from DC Sports for $700 (top). Or if you know someone in Japan, you can get an NSX-R mesh engine cover (~$2000 USD) like the one found on the NSX Type-R (bottom).
Or if you have a few hand tools, $20, and a few hours, you can make your own mesh engine cover like the one shown below (click for larger picture).
|Or if you have a few hand tools, $20, and a few hours, you can make your own mesh engine cover like the one shown here (click for larger pictures).|
All of the supplies listed can be found at your local Home Depot or hardware store.
- Take off the engine cover by removing the 4-10mm bolts.
- Unscrew the two hinges, support rod, and support rod lock (take note the position of the lock with the open end facing outwards from the center.) You'll also notice that there are two additional phillips screws located on the right side of the cover towards the center. These are used to mount the support rod lock for the Japanese/UK versions (if you mount the support rod in reverse, you'll see that the rod locks right in place here). This is because the drivers access the engine cover on the right side for Japanese/UK versions.
- Peel the back the rubber molding surrounding the edges of the engine cover.
- Take a pair of pliers and pull out the 20+ washers holding down the noise baffle (not shown). Remove the noise baffle. Notice that the cover is strengthen with support ribs throughout.
- Lay the cover with felt side facing up. Take a compass and measure 3" between compass ends. You'll need at least 3" in order to clear the support rod mount and support rod lock mount. Verify by measuring the distance between the side wall and both mounts from the underside. Run the compass with one end along the edge of the engine cover and at the same time, mark the position of the other end with a bright color marker. Once completed, you should have an outline of the engine cover as shown.
- Drill a hole anywhere on the inside of the outline. This will be the entry point for the saber saw.
- Support both sides of the engine cover with "work-horses" or chairs. Cut along the outline with the saber saw. You'll notice that there will be some "hard-to-cut" places as you are cutting through the support ribs from the underside. Once in a while, look underneath to check your progress. Don't worry if the felt get dirty as you will be repainting it later on.
- The end result of your cut should look as shown. If you've measured the gap correctly, you should still have the support rod mount and support rod lock mount still in place.
- Take your cut-out and lay it on top of the noise baffle as it would normally be installed. Outline the cut-out on the baffle and trim with a *sharp* utility knife. The noise baffle is composed of fibers and can be difficult to cut if you have a dull knife. This piece will be used to cover the remaining undersides of the engine cover.
- See all those support ribs? You'll need to cut those out with a dremel tool or 'clip' them off with cutters. You'll want a flat surface to mount the mesh. Even those stumps which holds the noise baffle via lock washers will have to be cut off. The noise baffle will be held in place with epoxy. Smooth down the surface after all the support ribs and stumps have been removed.
- Lay what's left of the engine cover (not the cut-out) with underside facing up. Lay the mesh on top of the cover and trim the mesh along the inside edge of the cover. You should have a mesh cut-out with ~3" of margin for use with the epoxy. In order to get the mesh to lay flat on the engine cover, you will need to cut out a small section where the support rod mount and the rod lock mount sits.
- Mix the JB Kwik epoxy and secure the mesh at all corners. JB Kwik works best because it cures in less than 3 min. It is use to set the mesh in place. If necessary, use masking tape to hold in place until cured. Once secured, epoxy the rest of the mesh where needed.
- Lay the noise baffle that you've cut over the mesh and secure with the tube adhesive. You will need to enlarge the holes in the noise baffle where the support rod mount and rod lock mount sits. This will ensure that the noise baffle sit flat against the mesh.
- Once everything has set and cured, spray the engine cover, mesh, and noise baffle with the flat black paint. The felt on the top side should also be painted to give the cover that 'new' look.
- Reinstall the rubber molding, support rod, and support rod lock (with open end facing away from the center).
- Reinstall the engine cover.
Caution: The glass top will drop and lock in place much easier now since there’s no ‘back’ pressure from the solid engine cover. Care should be taken when locking the glass top. Let the glass top sit on the engine cover and push to lock. You might feel some ‘slack’ when pressing down on the glass, even when locked. You could put some rubber washers to take up the slack, but it should not make any noise, even over bumps.