1 day ago in Articles
Christina Lam went from the sidelines to full-on track enthusiast in 8 simple steps.
I'm starting a conversion on my race bug so I thought I'd put up a thread here of my progress. This isn't a standard swap, and not a standard car, but should have some good info none the less. Some of you might remember a previous build thread I put up on GRM a while ago but I can't find it now.
Some history: I bought this bug a few years ago as a replacement chassis for my last race bug. The current bug's name is Lucy (as in the daughter of the devil), and she is a track special that can still be street driven. I swapped on 944 turbo S2 suspension, 911 turbo (930) brakes, got the roll cage welded in, and dropped in my current race motor. Current motor is a fully built 2165cc, t3/t4 turbo, all forged internals, dry sumped, ITBs, cnc heads, and megasquirt2 ecu that I built from the ground up. The car weighs 2050lbs with a full tank and me in the seat, and it puts down 330hp to the wheels. I run 17x8 and 17x9.5 fikse fm5 wheels with 245/40r17 and 275/40r17 hankook z214 c71 rubber respectively. I usually autox in OSP (over street prepared), finishing 2nd in class and 8th overall last year. I've been autoxing for 12 years, hill climbing for 4, and championed 4 times through all of it.
Some pics of the bug as it sits now:
The reason for the swap: I ran two drivers in my car last year, which is like doubling your season. I noticed that no matter what I did, my head temps kept creeping up to 400-425F. A new turbo and a header swap helped reduce back pressure into the heads but didn't pull temps down. I could switch to e85 but as it sits now I can burn through most of a tank of gas in 20min of track time, e85 wouldn't even last that long. The sti motor being water cooled should get better milage and nearly equal power with minor bolt-ons. Reliability and cooling are big motivators for this and the newer/cheaper parts certainly don't hurt.
The new hotness: I picked up a 2007 US sti 2.5L, 45k miles, looks to be in decent shape and I just started tearing it down. I plan on doing tgv deletes, lightened flywheel, throttle body swap, shortened/baffled oil pan, 11mm oil pump, and accusump for starters. Dry sump pump and pan will come later once i get the motor tuned, I already have a cooler and tank.
I've also got a 5sp subaru ty754vbaaa transmission on the way which will get a center diff delete/coupler and a 3.9:1 flip ring and pinion from subarugears.com. I've got a new OBX diff on the bench getting cleaned up and reworked with new bolts/washers.
I'm hoping to learn more about the motor and trans, and see if there is anything special I need to do to make the two work together or hold up to track abuse. Ultimately I'm looking for track worthy mods, and track reliable 450hp
Looks like a cool project.
I have been seeing more and more of these swapped beetles. I think they are cool.
Quick note - I'm going to keep adding updates here to catch things up. I've made a lot of progress but I want to put the full build here too.
As for wiring, fuel and ecu, here's what I have on paper so far:
Wiring: I'm really tempted to re-wire the car because I need more circuits now and I have seen the short comings of my limited switch panel. I have already started putting circuits on paper and I need to find a good resource for colored/striped wire spools (12-14ga mostly). I've also been eyeballing a digital dash setup, aim mxl pista, racetechnologies dash2, or racepak iq3, because they can fit in the stock dash which I'd like to put back in the car. Another change would be a move to motorsport/aircraft style breakers instead of fuses. It's a little spendy up front but I think it's worth it.
Fuel: I need to ditch my current ATL well-cell fuel cell to use the spare tire area for the radiator so I'm on the hunt for another fuel cell that will fit up front. I'll be employing a surge tank this time around since I was hitting starvation at high lateral g's when the tank got down about half way. I'll probably go with twin bosch 044 motorsport fuel pumps and get another aeromotive fuel pressure regulator since the last one worked flawlessly. For the first phase I'll probably stick to stock sti injectors (unless I find a good deal somewhere) and use braided line and fittings again.
ECU: I'll probably go with a megasquirt 3 this time around, mostly because of cost and familiarity. I've had a few MS units now and I want to upgrade to the newest one. I need to verify, but I believe the 07 sti uses a 36-2-2-2 crank trigger wheel, and the MS3 can use that. The MS3 should be able to control the intake cam AVCS if I ever choose to employ that feature as well. I'm looking for a good motorsport wiring connector so that the engine wining can be quickly disconnected. I totally dig the new megasquirt pro, but I don't know if I want to spend that much just yet.
Finally, here's some more goodies for the folks who don't know much about the bug. A few autox videos for you :)
No muffler installed in this one, just a 3" down turn off the turbo... yes, it was loud
And lastly, and external view where you can hear the car starving for fuel after a left hand sweeper
Another note - I've been meaning to put this build thread up on GRM for some time but kept putting it off, I don't know why... I think you guys appreciate my kind of crazy. Keep refreshing as I update through the afternoon :D
Now on to the good stuff! I started tearing into the STI motor some more to see what I bought, but the more I looked, the more I liked. I pulled off the crank pulley and timing cover to take a look at the timing belt and crank trigger wheel. The timing belt was in great shape and didn't have any cracking or defects much like the accessory belts I pulled off. The trigger wheel is a 36-2-2-2 setup which will make setting up the megasquirt nice and easy since it's a supported tooth profile.
While I was at it, I pulled the coils and spark plugs, and checked down the bores with a bore-scope. Cylinders and piston tops look great, and the plugs are all iridium tip gapped to .028". Coloration on the plugs was good and there was no debris or flecks that signal detonation. While the plugs were out I put a squirt of oil down the bores and put the motor through a few rotations and everything is smooth.
Got my new (to me) flywheel in this week. It's a gently used Aasco aluminum 11lbs. flywheel that should be perfect for race duty, purchased off one of the nasioc guys. I had to run down to the subaru dealer to grab some flywheel bolts and I'm hoping I can use the vw flywheel tool to help tighten them.
I spent the day Saturday on this little project. On the newer Subarus they have a small half-butterfly in the intake called the tumble generator valve, or TGV, that helps develop turbulence which keeps fuel droplets suspended in the air and improves low speed driveability. Unfortunately, even when they are wide open they block a lot of airflow, about 50%. I've seen TGV delete manifolds for sale but I figured I could do the work myself and it would be a fun project.
First step, pulled the butterflies and shafts from the TGV bodies. I got excited ( a little frustrated ) and had to drill the screws out of the butterflies which seems to be a common problem, but in the effort I forgot to take pics. Here's the TGV body in the vice, and I already removed the divider on the left side with a hacksaw. The TGV only blocks about 65-70% of the opening and you can see the lip the butterfly rests on in the body.
After a little work with a die grinder to smooth the edges here's a nearly finished TGV body, and then both of them together.
Once they're all cleaned up, you put in some plugs where the throttle shafts were and you're done! All in all it took about 3-4 hours to complete and should make a big difference in flow, especially since I took the time to port match the TGV bodies while I was at it.
But wait, there's more! This is like the never ending update. It was also a race weekend! During the week I had replaced the throttle cable, and tweaked the tune to help the cold start a bit. The bug was running much better, and more than a couple folks had noticed at the autox. The course was very tight and technical, which is kind of a bastard thing to do for the first run of the season while folks are rusty. The last few corners were particularly bad with 150 degree turn backs between short sprints. I managed a 50.117 and beat my nemesis by .040 seconds, so close!
This is from April...
Got some more parts in this week. Finally got my transmission, a TY754VBAAA from a ver 5/6 sti.
After doing some research, the Aasco flywheel I picked up takes a larger 228mm clutch disk and beefier pressure plate. Coincidentally, the later VW Bus, and earlier 911's also use a 228mm clutch. It'll work with the trans but not without some modification. There's a bunch of webbing in the bellhousing that will need to be clearanced and i'll have to do lots of test fits with the motor off the stand.
I also got my new megasquirt MS3X ecu this week. I opted for a prebuilt unit with a couple mods, the mapdaddy 4bar dual baro sensor, and the real time clock to time stamp logs. I've temporarily turned the dining room table into a lab and started testing and programming the MS3X. I'm looking into a lot of new features I didn't use/have on the ms2.
What I've setup so far: waste fire ignition batch fire injection radiator fan control tach output boost control through table blending water injection pump control water injection valve control front axle VSS input transmission output shaft VSS input VSS output to drive speedo traction control with dial-a-slip%
I'm also looking into adding: oil pressure fuel pressure dual cylinder head temp exhaust temp
That's it so far, I'm still configuring everything. I need to get a couple 3 wire potentiometers to use with the adjustable boost and traction control settings. I have the wiring looms ready to go and once the motor/trans are ready the fun can begin!
This is from my good friend Ambryn who is doing a similar swap on his bug/truck kit. Very helpful wiring links that I made use of.
Looking for a nice but not crazy expensive 30 pin bulkhead connector? Look at this one http://www.eficonnection.com/eficonn...spx?ItemId=761
Looking for fancy striped wire? Look here http://www.eficonnection.com/eficonnection/Wire.aspx Not very cheap, but VERY nice selection.
This place has less color choices, but is very affordable www.wirebarn.com
These guys also have a bunch of solid colored wires and decent prices http://www.awcwire.com/Default.aspx
Looking for super cool relay and fuse blocks? Go here http://www.rallylights.com/SearchRes...?CategoryID=54
Here's one more. Crazy selection, prices are good too http://www.prowireusa.com
This article is full of good info for making bullet-proof harnesses. No one can afford to do everything they talk about, but good info. http://www.rbracing-rsr.com/wiring_ecu.html
Hope this helps!!
Time for some updates, bad and good.
The last autox was on 5/5 and I had a chance to play with the tire pressures again. Raised them up to 18psi front and 19psi rear, which made the front end stick soo much better than before. Unfortunately the rear was quite a bit more loose and I had a hard time keeping it under my thumb. I was running 2 drivers and towards the end of the group we were basically hot lapping the car to finish up, which meant we didn't change the tire pressures. When my co-driver was driving, I noticed the engine had a weird tone to it, and when I finally got to drive I felt it was down on power. Very noticeably down on power. It sounded like there was an exhaust leak, but this was something worse. You can hear in the video is sounds like 2 different sized engines running in sync making a weird harmonic. The video was my 3rd run, and I tried to get one more out of it but shut the car down half way through due to oil pressure loss. My guess is that one of the lobes on the cam is going flat which means I have to do a full tear down to fix it. I can't be too upset, that motor has seen over 4000 race miles without failure, and only got tune ups and oil changes. I also placed 1st in class on a double points event, and I happen to have an EJ257 sitting in the garage.
Into May now...
Despite racing and breaking things, work does actually continue on the car.
I finally got some parts in over the past couple weeks. I got my cast aluminum 2 piece shortened sump, and I finally got my transmission conversion goodies from the land down under. Subarugears makes a flip ring & pinion kit for the 5sp and I'm way impressed with the quality. Besides the R&P the kit comes with a setup tool, center diff spool, plug for the shortened center diff housing, output shafts (mine are type2/porsche pattern), a machined shift knob and a couple of stickers for good measure.
This week I've been working on the transmission and tearing it down to see what I bought. It's a TY754VBAAA from a 99-01 ver. 5/6 STI and supposedly one of the strongest 5sp built, or so I've read. It came apart in short order, found lots of corrosion on the through bolts that clamp the transmission together, not sure if that's normal galvanic corrosion or what. Before tear down I checked the shift action and it was still tight and notchy which gave me hope.
Looking at the gear stacks, they didn't look bad at all. First and second syncros got beat up pretty good but I've definitely seen worse. I tried to get close up pictures of the synchros but dropped my camera instead. :P I never did take the pics and now the stacks are off getting rebuilt with the new pinion shaft.
Another quick project that didn't get photos is rebuilding the OBX lsd. I got the rbryant kit, tore apart the OBX expecting to resurface it and was pleasantly surprised. The OBX wasn't perfect but was very serviceable in the shape I received it. The bolts and washers were replaced anyway as a precaution and everything bolted back together just like it should.
Last night I modified the case to accept the flipped differential. This is going to look so wrong to subaru guys :) I used a grinding disc to take care of most of it and I have some flap discs that I'll use to smooth things out later. I accidentally ground through the case on one of the bolt holes so that will have to be patched up later. For now the diff fits and spins easily with no contact and plenty on clearance.
Next on my to do list is to clearance the bell housing for the sti clutch parts. I have an Exedy stage 1 STI pressure plate and disk on the way and once they are here I can check for interference.
Big holiday weekend means lots of car work! I started the weekend by working on the other project first and finishing up the rear suspension. I finished the weekend by pulling the motor out of the race bug.
First up, got my gear stacks back with a collection of new gaskets, seals and shims.
Also got the new pressure plate and clutch, Exedy stage 1
Lastly I got some wiring components in, 100' of 8 colors, 14ga, chemical and heat resistant wire, and a couple of 22pin bulkhead connectors.
"I should have this outta here by dinner!" Nope. Drained 2.5 gallons of oil from the tank, then some from the motor, then some from the lines... and there was still oil dripping from here and there. I didn't get a picture of it but the header had separated at the slip fit. That would cause all the symptoms I was having right before I trailered it. Still going to check the lift at the valves to be certain.
It took a while to get the header, intake plumbing, and oil lines out of the way. Besides where the header separated there was only a bit of an exhaust leak on #4 and everything else had sealed tight.
Sunday, I started pulling everything else to get the motor out and on the stand before BBQ time. Fuel lines out, and manifolds off, and the motor pops out nice and easy. I wheeled the EJ25 out of the garage for some good comparison shots before cleaning up.
Transmission comes out next then it's time to pull the seats and the oil tank. The subaru trans needs to be finished up in the coming days, and wiring is also on the horizon, which will be a tedious job, but should be easier with the wiring diagram I've been working on.
Into June now as work progresses
Got some more work done on the car this weekend, even though it was 95F+ in the driveway on saturday. I spent most of saturday inside designing the new wiring harness and reading up on the MS3X VVT control. I want to see about using that for the ej25, but it adds 10 wires to the engine harness. Once it cooled off outside I started trimming down the center diff housing for the subaru trans. The guys at subarugears put an awesome video up on youtube that shows where to cut.
On sunday I headed over the Ambryn's place to get some help welding up the center diff housing, and to meet up with Ron who has a subaru swapped porsche 912. The 3 of us are at different stages in our swaps and so far have picked eachother's brains quite a bit. After chatting a bit (hours) Ron headed home and Ambryn and I got to work, but really Ambryn worked and I supervised.
Cleaning up some shoddy grinding that somebody did and making it look pretty
Looks much better after removing what's left of the freeze plug boss
Ambryn welded up the subaplug and the leftover holes. He blasted it afterwards to check for pin holes and clean it up.
I treated Ambryn to lunch and a great little taqueria (a staple food for me) and headed home to get a little more work done. Sean, my tire warmer/co-driver, came up to give me a hand for a bit. We pulled the seats out to make getting into the back easier to pull engine/ecu wiring and oil lines.
While I was at it I pulled the shift coupler free and Sean removed the trans and trans strap kit from the back.
I've been going over cage re-design ideas in my head a lot recently. I haven't been happy with the cage because it cuts into the driver space too much and it needs to be closer to the A/B pillars. I also want to eliminate the rear package tray so the firewall slopes from the bottom of the rear window to just above the transmission nosecone. That will give more room for the turbo and oil cooler underneath but I'll have to modify the rear cage stays. I'm contemplating chopping the cage forward of the main hoop, then shortening the rear cage stays to match the new firewall, and staying with a 4 point until a new cage can be welded in.
I have a question, may be stupid, but whatever...
Why not run the Subaru engine the original way and remove the rear seat and kinda back half the car with a tube frame rear section with engine mounts and suspension pickups and turn it from a rear engine rear drive to a mid engine rear drive? Seems like almost the same amount of work.
OR... Now take a IFS from an S10 pick-up and put it up front since you've now reversed the output shaft rotation and make it AWD. Either one of these would be super awesome. ESPECIALLY the AWD.
EDIT: Now I see you blocked off the AWD outlet. Nevermind.
Flipping sweet, what a monster! Found the older build thread here.
conquest351, I have plans on paper for a tube chassis bug, with a rear clam shell and one piece front end. It would be a mid-engine design, a-arms all around, with ls3/porsche or audi v6 diesel/porsche drivetrain. But let's not get ahead of ourselves :)
Things have slowed down a bit, but progress continues. Work has been killing me lately so I spent last weekend out camping near Yosemite with a bunch of friends and it was a great way to unwind. I learned a valuable lesson about drinking at 8000', not too much and not too fast.
I got some new parts in that will go on the car soon. Back in March or so I put an order in for these 935-style adjustable spring plates and they finally came in. They are 7075-T6 aluminum, with a burly M20 heim for the pivot, and grade 12.8 hardware throughout.
They replace the spring plates forward of the rear disk in this picture.
I bolted up the rear motor mount/adapter from subarugears.com since I was worried it might not clear the mendeola rear suspension brace. It's a tight fit but it works.
Speaking of Mendeola, I saw that they offered their own mounts for the subaru swaps, so I ordered their front mount and shift rod coupler. Top notch parts from great guys!
Racing season is still in full swing but the car is on blocks, what to do? I called my friend (and closest competitor/nemesis) Ian to see if I could co-drive his car. Ian has an OSP '99 miata with the Flyin' Miata catalog thrown at it and it's a fast car, faster and better setup than my beetle. Well, I was able to best Ian in his own car by 1.23 seconds, and drive it to a 7th overall in raw time, and 4th in pax. It's not all bad, I did pay his entry, and he had a datalogger going so he can compare our runs to learn from the whole thing. I learned quite a bit as well, like how wonderful an lsd is and what lack of understeer feels like on turn-in. I'm pretty jealous I have to say, it's a sweet ride.
spydrb8 wrote: conquest351, I have plans on paper for a tube chassis bug, with a rear clam shell and one piece front end. It would be a mid-engine design, a-arms all around, with ls3/porsche or audi v6 diesel/porsche drivetrain. But let's not get ahead of ourselves :)
Cool man, when you do that, go ahead and make me a clone, k? LOL I'd love to put the VW/Audi 2.0t in the back/middle of that thing and crank up some boost and throw a set of fat ass tires all around on it with killer suspension.
Like this... http://www.historicracer.com/features/beetle-chevrolet-super-saloon-restored/
Into August now, not much done over the summer since I was out having fun.
I've been crazy busy with vacations and work since the end of June. I was either out of town or running around with friends who were in town. I was able to work on the trans here and there, but made it more difficult than it needed to be.
When I got the aluminum Aasco flywheel I didn't know there was a difference in the STI and WRX parts. When I did some digging I saw that you could clearance the bell housing to make it work. Not really....
I trimmed the webbing around the bell housing to clear the flywheel and clutch and did my first test fit. the bottom inspection opening isn't big enough and the clutch fork pivot is too close. It clears on one side but as I ground a hole in the bell housing near the starter boss to make it fit on the other side I saw it wasn't going to work.
Ambryn came to my rescue and welded up the hole for me, but I didn't get any good pics of it before the repair work. I had to grind the starter boss flat again, and profile the area where the clutch fork pivot shaft plug goes in. I needed to re-tap the hole as well since the threads melted a bit from the filler work.
Now with the trans cleaned up I can put it together
Things went together easy enough when I remembered to include things like the vss drive gear and shaft :P After cleaning the case halves to remove all the aluminum dust I dropped the driven shaft in to do the shim measurement. You put it in without shims first and use the subarugears tool to find out how many shims to add.
The pinion depth shims are cheap so I ordered a bunch in different thicknesses ahead of time to have them on hand since every dealership I talked to didn't keep any in stock.
Next I turned to the bearing races and seals for the differential. Just mark then loosen the adjustment cups on either side, the bearing will probably fall out while you are doing this. Replace the o-ring and the axle seal, make sure that the seals are the the "wrong" side. Left goes on the right and vise versa, that way the oil grooves are in the correct orientation for the reversed R&P.
Quick note about the differential. I got an OBX LSD and replaced the washers and bolts "just in case". Before i put the ring gear on, I tested the output shafts and they were too tight to go on. I used a dremel to run the grooves on the diff splines until I could get the output shafts on. This is fairly common with OBX diffs it seems, when I tried the output shafts on the stock diff they slip on nice and easy.
Time to put it all mostly together. Put the case halves together and tighten it all up, but leave the nose cone/center diff housing off. Those differential bearing cups need to be adjusted now and rather than go through the pics (which I was too busy to take :P ) you can watch the subarugears video which was hugely helpful.
Once I did that, I took it all apart, greased up the ring gear and put it all back together again to check the pattern. You don't have to do this but I was really curious, and it came out fine.
Let's talk about RTV. Let's talk about you and me. Let's talk about all the good things but mostly bad things that you see. Let's talk about sealant. Let's talk about sealant...
Just a little line and spread it out with your finger, it should be a very thin coating meant to fill gaps. I'm tired of seeing half a tube of liquid gasket, RTV, or permabond used to seal surfaces.
I got all excited and forgot to get a good shot before the nose cone and axle stubs went on so BAM! built transmission ready for install. I did the common trans fluid mix of 1qt. motul 75w90 and 3 qt. redline shockproof synthetic gear oil, which gets great reviews on nasioc.
I mentioned earlier about difficulties with the STI flywheel & pressure plate. I went and got a whole new WRX setup to use on the car instead but took some shots side by side while I had all the parts.
Right side: STI Aasco 11.5 lb aluminum flywheel, Exedy 15803 stage 1 clutch and pressure plate
Left side: WRX ACT 9.5 lb chromoly flywheel, Exedy 15802 stage 1 clutch and pressure plate
Basically the WRX parts are the ones you should be using with the 5sp. Your life will be a lot easier if you do. For a street bug using this swap I'd go with a heavier 12-15lb. flywheel, but in the race bug lighter is better. The WRX stuff is a bit smaller in diameter, which reminds me of the bug vs bus flywheel/clutch/pressure plate questions when running my old type 4 motor.
So I WAS going to try and test fit the motor and trans but sent the oil pan off to get modified instead. The awesome, bug@5speed pan doesn't clear the stock subaru mounts, so I need to run a shortened stock sump. There's no shortage of work to be done though so I continued stripping the bug. I finished pulling the fuel system, and fuel cell out of the car to make room for the radiator. I got everything out and started cutting before I realized I hadn't taken any pics :P
The radiator is for a 95 rx7 turbo but it fits perfectly in the bug. The bottom mounts attach to a lower radiator support welded to the forward body mount points. The top of the radiator is braced to the body on either side, and it's pretty sturdy. You can also see the new fuel tank that is loosely resting in the stock location. It's a 15 gallon RCI tank, and I wish there was a better place to put it, but for now it has to sit up high
As I was test fitting everything, I grabbed the air/water intercooler setup and started placing parts. The heat exchanger is an upgraded Ford Lightning part, water pump also comes from the Lightning, and the tank is a simple 1 gallon cell. The heat exchanger fit perfectly behind the stock grill opening, but finding a good spot for the tank and pump was a bit harder. I' worried that filling the area behind the radiator will kill the air flow, and I don't want to heat soat the water tank. Between the tank, pump, heat exchanger and lines, the extra weight adds up. I've been thinking about doing an air/air setup out back but now it'll probably get serious consideration.
After a bit of a break I started working on wiring. I pulled out the race dash and switch gear, and started trimming back the harness. I wasn't happy with the location and routing of the stock harness, so with all the new parts I'm re-doing the wiring again to clean it up and simplify the circuits. I'm also going to go with a more modern fuse/relay box relocated to the glove box area for easy reach. I'm going to go back to the stock dash, and use a digital dash in the stock location which should be a little easier on the eyes.
Got my shortened pan and pickup back from Jeff who did an awesome job. Got them bolted onto the motor so I can get a trial fit of the motor and trans in the next few days.
My motor is a US spec Sti and I've noticed that the pans and pickups are different. The Sti pan is more narrow than the wrx and forrester pans. If you use equal length headers they won't fit if you have kickouts or a non-Sti pan. I'm going to supplement the oil system with an Accusump until I get a dry sump pan and pump. The section that was chopped was so smal l it only lost a quart or less of storage. When I refill the motor I'll mark the new high point on the dip stick and be good for the moment.
Two steps forward, three steps back, pretty frustrating weekend, but important update none the less.
I started by getting the motor ready, bolting on the flywheel, and clutch assembly. This job was made easier thanks to the aircooled vw flywheel lock, handy little thing.
While I was at it I did some more body mods to make sure I had enough clearance for the motor and turbo. I removed the sealing tin from the rear package tray, and cleaned up the sides to match.
Next I got the motor and trans together nice and easy and tried to get it into the car. Firstly, the output stubs had to come off to get the trans in the right position. Then it became obvious the turbo wouldn't clear the package tray. Try as we might I was about an inch from getting the new motor mount bolts in. Finally I pulled the trans off the motor so I could manhandle it into place and see what the problem was
I'm going to come out and say it right away, the subaru trans will not fit the bug without modifying the body. With the medeola motor mount in the lowest position, the top of the bell housing just clears the package tray, BUT the clutch fork does not. Also, the new nose cone/old center diff housing contacts the body above the torsion bar tube. You need to modify this area like you did for the old 901/914 trans swap.
I was hoping I wouldn't have to do any body work but it's necessary. I'm going to use this as an opportunity to re-do the cage as well as prototype a mod I've had in my head for a while. The idea is to take the rear package tray and make a 45* angle from the bottom of the back window to the floor above the transmission. To make this happen I have to sacrifice the front of the roll cage to keep the main hoop/rear stays, so out came the cutting tools and the cage.
The rear cage stays will have the plates cut off and the legs shortened to meet the new raised floor. It will be cleaned up and have what's left of the old front section removed.
A very empty beetle...
On a side note, I'm drawing up the new wiring plans, and I want to switch to a digital dash. I've been looking at the Aim MXL Strada, Race Technology Dash2 Pro, and the Racepak IQ3 and want to find folks who have used them. Of the 3, the MXL Strada is the only one with official support for the megasquirt MS3 on CAN bus, the other 2 are CAN capable but don't support MS3 on CAN bus, only serial. Once you factor in logging and camera control the Dash2 Pro and IQ3 start looking better due to price. Any info would be helpful.
Into September now, nearly caught up. The end of August was particularly hard after learning about the death of a close friend and former co-driver. It caught us all off guard, he had a stomach ache and a couple weeks later he was gone. It's been a couple months now but I still tear up thinking about it, god speed Biehruz.
It was a rough week, but I hunkered down and soldiered on. Found out a good friend and former co-driver passed away very suddenly a week ago. He was pretty young at 29, and I didn't even know he was sick, but he had late stage liver cancer. Biehruz was the kindest and most competitive guy I know, he will be dearly missed.
Worked on the bug off and on but got a lot done over the weekend. It seemed like I was spinning my wheels, but hopefully now I'm over the hump. The rear package try was ready to be modded so I started there. I cut along the sides and in the corner so I could fold the flaps up to meet in the middle.
I trimmed up the sheet metal and I'll make a new floor later. You can see the new floor brace I started on that may also support the accusump later. I started to pull the rear suspension apart because it needed to come out to get the front transmission mount in.
With the floor trimmed up it was time to try and fit the motor again. it's a bit of chicken and egg when it comes to the front trans mount. You can't place it without having the motor/trans together, but its a pain to get the motor/trans into place as a whole unit. Eventually I got them into the car and bolted the motor mount in using the lowest setting. Just eyeballing it now looks like the cross pipe for the header sits about where the old turbo was mounted.
I had to cut a little flap to clear the nose of the trans. After the fact I realized it might fit if I had ground down the rib on top but it still would have been a tight fit. Of course I failed to notice the brake line for the rear was right against the body so I cut right through it :P
Now it was time to completely remove the rear trailing arms so I could locate and drill the holes for the forward trans mount. It was such a pain in the ass to drill the holes, my arms were killing me by the time I was done. I needed to pull the trailing arms off anyway to upgrade the spring plate and swap out the driver's side trailing arm to match the passenger side.
I quick comparison between the old '87 944 turbo trailing arm (bottom) and the new '90 944 S2 arm (top). The big differences being the elimination of the bump stop pad and the new arm is ready for a wheel speed sensor. There is a different stub axle with teeth around the cv cup if you're curious.
Passenger side bolted in loosely for test fit of the new 935-style adjustable spring plate. Seriously awesome part, thanks Alex!
That's about it for now. It doesn't seem like much but for each thing I had to do something else to get it ready. Hopefully now it goes a little smoother and there won't be as many problems.
Lots of little projects to keep me busy while I wait on money and parts. I worked on getting the new fuel tank frame fabbed up and painted. It'll hold the larger 15 gal fuel tank in the stock location (which is higher than I want), and do to the slight angle I should have better fuel pickup but slightly less capacity.
I want to get a stock dash back in the car, to clean it up, and because one of the classes I want to run in requires it. I bought this one a while ago but only unwrapped it this weekend and it was a mess. A lot of rust and dirt from sitting and the dash pad was cracked. I threw some paint on it to make it a bit more pleasing to the eye and I'll clean it up later. The metal dash strip in the original from the car and has the correct VIN, I saved it just in case I wanted to put a dash back in the car.
Installed the mendeola stiffy brace and got the suspension bolted back in to make sure everything cleared alright. I also replaced the brake line I cut through when I was cutting the flap for the transmission nose cone. I also tested fitted a modded down pipe from a previous project to get an idea of routing for the exhaust. While everything was in place I measured for the new axle length I'll need and it's 18 3/4" which I'll need to order from sway-a-way.
You probably noticed the trans fluid and catch pan under the car in those last pics. I turned the motor over with the trans in gear to make sure everything was still good and one of the axle seals started leaking. It's about a drip a second which is pretty bad, so I think the retaining spring came off the inside of the seal. I'm going to have to pull the trans back out of the car to fix it which is a pain, but better to do it now than later.
Took a long weekend to work on the bug, the big task on hand was pulling the motor/trans to replace the leaking axle seal. Surprisingly, I was able to pull the motor/trans very quickly by leaving the trans mount and engine cradle in place. Not that I plan to make use of that feature very often, but it is handy. The longest part of the job was running down to the subaru dealership to get parts. I sent more time in traffic than I did on the whole axle seal job. So here's a shot of a beautiful, not-leaking, reversed R&P 5spd (the stain is from the previously munged axle seal)
I also got an email from the folks over at subarugears.com regarding the oil level and potential future leaks. Since the center diff housing is cut in half, and the trans doesn't sit at the same angle it does in the subaru, it's necessary to put the full amount of gear oil in to get good coverage on 5th gear. This does put the oil level about 1/3 up the axle seal and while it's okay for street use, under race conditions I'll need to vent the case to prevent oil from blowing out. I'll probably use the whole I accidentally ground through the case for the breather which should be above the oil level. They did mention not to use the dipstick tube because the bottom of that is below the oil level and could cause problems.
I spent a little time upgrading my toolbox this weekend too. Yes, it's a cheapy harbor freight box, because I'd rather put 10k into my drivetrain and not my toolbox. I was using a 26" craftsman roller and top box but I out grew it a long time ago. The new 42" box can hold most of my tools plus my electrical/wiring tools, and a later side addition can hold the engine building and precision tools. I got some tool organizers as well so everything is easier to find which is part of what started this upgrade in the first place. I was just getting tired of having to search in 3 or 4 places to find the tools I needed. No toolbox is complete without some bling so I put a bunch of stickers on it to make it faster :)
Spent Saturday striping the wiring out of the bug and separating the harnesses. I put the dash in so I could figure out the new fusebox mount and wire routing. So far the chassis harness is ready to go (lights, wipers, horn, starter), and I got the engine ready for power wiring (alternator+, starter+, and battery+). Spent some time that night pouring over the subaru wiring diagrams to figure out alternator and coolant sensor wiring. Once the dash went in I realized how much the cage intruded into driver/passenger space, I can't wait until the new cage goes in this winter.
On Monday I dragged my laptop out into the garage and did a lot of measuring, head scratching and ordering parts. I ran out of, or didn't have the right AN fittings for the fuel system so I ordered those and moved on to coolant plumbing. I used some cut up radiator hoses for mock up and ordered the necessary silicone bends. I have some industrial gates hose I could use under the car but I would rather get some stainless 1.5" pipe for looks/lightness. A new throttle body, air/air intercooler, and intake/exhaust plumbing are all on order too.
I'm in a rush now to finish everything up before the rainy season starts, and last weekends storm was a reminder it's just around the corner.
Slow progress on the bug, a lot of hurry-up-and-wait. I'm working on wiring, plumbing, and exhaust at the same time as I run into blockages.
Wiring: Fascinating and tedious, I love and hate wiring. I'm using the existing engine harness to create a new one using a couple weatherpak 22-pin connectors for quick disconnect. I'm on the first part of this which is simply figuring out what needs to be on the engine side of the bulkhead connectors and getting the ends terminated. COPs, injectors, cam angle sensors and crank angle sensor are done at the moment. Also related to wiring, I found a good deal on an open box Aim MXL Pista so I'll be using that for the dash. I like that it's compatible with the MS3X can-bus, a big factor in the decision, and I'm wondering if I can feed sensor data back to the MS3X from the Pista.
Plumbing: I ordered a handful of 1.5" silicon bends and couplers for the cooling system, so those are ready and waiting. I want to pick up some stainless 1.5" pipe and get it bent to hug the underside of the bug, that will be lighter than the reinforced gates hydraulic hose I have I need to find a good diagram of the engine coolant routes to make sure the swirl pot and turbo are plumbed correctly. I've been waiting on a fuel surge tank, which finally arrived yesterday, to finish plumbing the fuel system. Now that it's here I can finish the AN hoses and be done with it. I've been on the lookout for ideas on how to plumb an accusump into the ej25 but still keep the oil/water cooler. Everything I see just replaces the oil cooler with a sandwich plate for the accusump.
Exhaust: I bought way more than I need so I have plenty of materials to screw things up a couple times. Turbo back, the exhaust will only be about 2 ft. long at most. I got a 3" v-band output flange for the turbo, some 180 and 45 degree 3" pipe, a couple 3" v-band clamps, and a 3" Borla xr-1 oval muffler which hopefully takes some bite out of the exhaust volume. If not I think I might have a 3" supertrapp floating around which should do the job. Ideally, I need to be below 92db to run at Lagua Seca in my back yard, or shell out for no-limit days.
In racing news I had a great event a week ago Sunday. Event #8 autoxing with NorCalUFO in Marina, and it was a fairly fast but technical course that wasn't easy to read. I've been in a heated points battle with my nemesis all year, and this was his last chance to take the championship away from me. We ran in the afternoon and since we had a 2 driver car our tires were getting pretty hot. Ian (nemesis), on the other hand got screwed by the grid master, a newbie cutting in line, and the karts, so all his runs were basically on cold tires. I pulled a 48.1 to his 49.0 cinching the OSP championship points race. I'm currently 3rd overall with 2 races to go, not sure I can swing 2nd overall but it's worth a shot. The downside to this, is that the Cayman has killed my poor tires, so after this season it's time for another set.
This thread is making my head asplode. Wow.
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